Is the Olympics worth all the effort & expense?

When you see some of these images of abandoned Olympic venues, compiled by Jake Heppner you would wonder about the selection process behind these venues and why more is not made of these fantastic resources.

How the Athens Aquatic center looked back in 2004.

Everyone talks today about sustainable development and surely when a country is financing the development of such resources the expectation is that they will continue to be used and maintained.

The link to the image article is

Sad to see.

Rock and Road Kinvara

This Saturday has us welcoming Saucony to Galway for the 4th year on the trot.

2000x1200 Saucony AK banner


Back in 2011 the Rock and Road was my first standalone Half Marathon race and it remains one of my favourite race courses. I missed 2012 and was overjoyed to get to run it again in 2013 gaining a new PB for that distance. Again forces beyond my control conspire to exclude me from the sold out 2014 event but no doubt I’m destined to be odd and will run again in 2015. (Long term planning!!)

Wish you all the very best of luck running the 10k and Half Marathon in Kinvara on Saturday. Enjoy every minute of it, even when you are cursing yourself, it will be a day to remember.


What does all this ‘gait analysis’ mean to you?


For a number of years now, we have been building a reputation as THE place to go to buy your running shoes. All of the staff in our affiliated stores (Bray, Ballymount & Galway) are very keen runners or triathletes of some distance or another.

We all share the same desire as you to train and race injury free. All year round. So allow me to tell you how we do it….

Continue reading “What does all this ‘gait analysis’ mean to you?”

…whisper words of Wisdom…

whisper words

Just to recap on this series of posts.

Three different paces, three different sets of cadence and stride lengths (naturally occuring) and a comparison of Ground Contact time summaried in content here Let it be… and here …let it be…

The thing which has eluded discussion so far is the effect on Landing Forces these changes have. I’m not going to attempt the maths on this but basically we’re talking about the force generated by my body weight in term of foot contact, grms / sq cm / second.

I have a gut feeling that as a result of Ground Contact time decreasing with a parallel decrease in surface area of foot (moving further forward on the mid foot) the actual grms/sq cm/sec will actually be a constant, or pretty close to a constant  factor.


Because these cadences and stride lengths are a natural reaction to the paces that I am running at. I am not forcing any particular cadence or stride pattern, they are my body tuning into what it needs to do in order to balance my body weight on my feet for a particular period of time while it deals with landing forces and propulsive energy.

So. The words of wisdom. In all of this you have to tune into what your body wants to do naturally, first. Once you are aware of how your body is reacting to the running patterns then you can comfortably address stride and cadence , if necessary.

There is no point in attempting to force change on your body. You will get injured. Instead easy gradual changes will work with your body. But the starting point is knowing where your body is first.

A great tool for tuning into your body is to incorporate some minimalist work into your training routine. It doesn’t have to be barefoot (and I would be slow to recommend barefoot unless you are disciplined in how you manage the transition) but it can be.

Ideally, a low, lightly cushioned shoe that you can wear which allows you to get a sense of what your feet are doing. Take this to a treadmill where you can relax and ‘tune’ into where your landing forces are focussed, how your feet, legs, knees, hips are reacting and working in unison, how your upper body is positioned; relaxed hands, arms tucked in, straight back but relaxed shoulders.

Do small sessions like this, warmups and cooldowns for example. As your body learns and adjusts to the form and the muscles remember the patterns you can easily take these subtle changes in form to the road, track or trail, whenever and wherever you run and a natural tweaking of cadence and stride length will occur as you body adapts slowly to the changes.

Hopefully this makes sense?


…let it be…

Let It Be

Taking my previous post Let it be… on a bit I want to continue the observations.

Running at my comfortable pace the ‘natural’ pace my foot follows a traditional heel to toe rocking motion.

Running at my HMPace my foot follows a shorter heel to toe rocking motion beginning slightly forward of my heel.

At ‘flat out’ or interval pace I am running on my toes. All my weight is concentrated on the mid to front of my foot. (This is not an issue as you will understand shortly)

Focusing primarily on the natural pace work for a moment. If I run at the natural form I land on my heel, my foot pronates inwards with slight over pronation on the left leg (controlled by my choice of shoe) and through to the mid and forefoot for the propulsion phase of my stride.

What happens if I increase the cadence at the same pace?

Well, first of all I have to shorten my stride right down to fit that many steps into the time. Lets reverse the maths for a second…..

By the magic of paper and pencil,  running at my HMPace cadence (180bpm) at natural speed I would have a stride length of 1.06 meters and my ground contact time remaining the same 0.666 seconds per side per minute the following happens –

  1. 1000m (distance covered) / 1.15m (stride length)  x 0.712 (GC Time) = 619.13 seconds total GC time / km
  2. 1000m (distance covered) / 1.06m (stride length)  x 0.666 (GC Time) = 628.3 seconds total GC time / km

Do you see what has happened?

Following conventional wisdom by shortening my stride and increasing my cadence results in me incurring LONGER ground contact time and all while I am more loaded onto the front of my foot. So in effect spreading more body mass over a smaller area more often per kilometer!!

What I am identifying in a long and convoluted manner is that forefoot running is not the be all and end all of running. In certain circumstances it can be a nice idea to aspire to achieving but actually be detrimental to your overall running health.

There are mitigating factors and I’ll examine those next so that it is not all about sensationalising the topic.

Let it be..

Tomorrow I’m giving a presentation on “How to choose your perfect running shoe”.

I’ve done these before and while they are similar to the conversation that you have with customers in the shop the setting is different and the crowd is different so you need to be prepared more.

One of the topics that has been batting around in my head for the last while is to do with people overthinking their running.

In my opinion far too many people are getting hung up on heelstriking / forefoot striking etc and as a result are either hanging up their run progress or are injuring themselves.

I briefly touched on this topic before in a post about my selection of shoes and how I use them. In particular how I seem to have preference for different shoes depending on the type of running that is being done. Now, don’t get me wrong I’m not banging a drum about footwear before form, I’m highlighting that they are mutually beneficial areas of your run that should be addressed in training.

As mentioned in that post above, different paces, different shoes suit better or worse.

“What do you mean?”, is the chorus I hear.

Well… let it be…

By this, I am suggesting recommending that whatever your natural running form is you allow it to flow through. Don’t try and force change on what comes naturally to you, work with it enhance it, make it work for you rather that you trying to work against it.


Take me as an example.

If I go out for a run without any goal, just a nice relaxed run trotting around the area, after a while I settle into a rhythm that just works. I lose myself in the run, relax into the surroundings, find a rhythm that resonates nicely for me. All of this is subconscious and happens when I switch off.

Let me put this in numbers.

I’m 86kg (important to know for later) 6′ tall and using a footpod I know that I run naturally at 83/84 strides per foot per minute with an average stride length of 1:10 – 1:20 meters.

Doing the sums this means –

(83.5 x 2) x 1:15 = 192.05 meters per minute


11.523 km per hour or roughly 5:12 minutes per km is my natural, comfortable pace at which my HR (Heart Rate) will be around 140 bpm (Beats Per Minute).

Now, the important thing to take out of this is that every minute my bodyweight lands on my feet 167 times or to be more precise a multiplier of my body weight creates a landing force on each of my feet 83.5 times per minute which means my Ground Contact time is 0.712 seconds (at this pace) per foot.

Now, I’m not an engineer so I’m not even going to calculate what the point load per square cm is for an 86kg mass landing from approx 25cm is but I’d gladly take someone’s calculations if anyone is good enough to do those for me.

I have a funny intuition that whatever that ^ calculation works out to be it will remain fairly constant through this series of posts.

So what happens if I run faster?

Let’s look at my Half Marathon pace (HMPace) of 4:30 minutes per km.

Again using footpod data 89/92 strides per foot per minute averaging 1:22 – 1:25 meters

(90 x 2) x 1:24 = 223.2 meters per minute

= 13.4 km per hour

The important factor is again Ground Contact time which in this instance is 0.666 seconds.


If I go at a ‘flat-out’ sprint for an interval:

(100 x 2) x 1:60 = 320 meters per minute

=19.2 km per hour or 3:12 minutes per km

Ground Contact time is 0.6 seconds

So the faster I go the less Ground Contact time there is per foot but to achieve this I have to increase the cadence or number of foot landings per minute. Makes sense?

Further examination of this trend in this is that the faster I’m moving, the less ground contact time there is, the higher my cadence,  the further forward I am positioned on the foot.

The reason I’m looking at these figures and establishing them is because they have a bearing on the footwear that I should be choosing to suit me naturally but they also have a bearing on what suits you too.

More to follow.


Silence the Green?

A while back we posted about the demise of the cult shoe the Green Silence.

Since then runners are hunting high and low to snatch up the last pairs of them before they disappear forever. Its seems that there are a few of a certain special edition Green Silence still floating around…

Green Silence UK
Photo by PaulieC on

I’m not quite sure why they’re left over…  😉

Think these are a much better limited edition Green Silence and I’d definitely line up for several pairs if they brought them back like this:

Green Silence Eire
Image tweaking by BeepBeep67 on

In the meantime you may have to satisfy your Green Silence needs from our Webshop.

Happy running!

Do you remember?….

Who put the ball in the English net?

Do you remember who stuck the ball in the English net?

We’d a lot of fun last October with the @BrooksrunningIE window dressing competition. Here’s a picture to jog your memory…

Ghost window

In case you missed the fun, it was an epic battle of fans and ultimately it came down to a ‘Like’-off between ourselves and ‘The Lincolnshire Runner‘ with it going right to the wire. You can read the report above.

A few people have asked about what we do with all the props used in these displays. Being very much a ‘reduce, reuse and recycle’ person, pretty much all of the window is stored for using again. The sharp eyed few will spot the perishables and wonder about those.

Well the answer is simple.

Pumpkin soup!!


Regarding the other thing question …

It was Stuttgart, 1988 and Ray Houghton was the hero then.



Treadmill Workouts & HR Training for #Zero25k


I’ve been asked several times about how best to translate the #Zero25k workouts into Treadmill Sessions.

It is on treadmill that the opportunity to truly tweak the session to suit the individual is possible.

Ultimately the goal is to have you running a 30minute 5k comfortably. This equates to faster than 6 mins per km running.

The simplest and best way to manage your fitness and speed is by listening to your body. The easiest and simplest way to do this is training by Heart Rate (or HR) using a Heart Rate Monitor (HRM) to assess your effort and guide you to the work rate appropriate for you.

A rough guide for anyone starting out is using a simple formula to understand what zones you should be working in. A HR Zone is a particular effort where the body is utilising different metabolic systems to fuel the muscles that are doing the work.

As you can see by the slide the ‘Aerobic’ or ‘easy’ zone is predominantly a fat burning zone where body fat is the main fuel used. Working out at in this zone should be a comfortable pace, easy effort and as a guide you could have a conversation with someone running with you.

At the other end is the anaerobic zone where fuel is burned in the absence of oxygen. It is very inefficient for endurance running and is the primary workout zone for sprinting.

For the #Zero25k sessions you should be warming up and cooling down in Zone 2, work phases are Zone 4 and recovery is in Zone 3.

With most treadmills having some form of built in HRM you can easily gauge the paces and efforts that you should be working at.


Use the calculator in this link to figure out your personal zones. (Save a copy of it to your computer) Test your HR while running and note the paces of your first Zone 4 work. This is the pace to use for the remainder of the session. As you progress to the later stages of the workout your HR will be higher but don’t adjust the pace to make it easier! It’s only a short workout and the Tempo run will bring you big advances in your fitness.

'HRM Zones' - docs_google_com_spreadsheet_ccc_key=0ApibUSRUitQ8dG9kRHU4blN2RV9hYXROb1ppUmF2ZXc&usp=drive_web#gid=0

Using myself as an example.

Warmup for me is HR >132bpm (Beats Per Minute)

Work Phase – HR >156bpm but less than 162bpm

Recovery Phase – HR <156bpm but above 144bpm

Feel free to make a copy of the calculator for yourself and print it off to put beside your treadmill. If you note your paces now you will see that in a few weeks, your pace will be faster for the same HR. This proves that you are fitter AND faster! 🙂

Any questions, as always, just ask.

#Zero25k Week 4 – Turning the Corner


Around here, it’s starting to look  more like a weather forecast than a running blog!

What with every single one of the last 4 Saturdays featuring some form of a storm warning or other, it’s been a challenge for our #Zero25k runners to get out.

#StormRuth was the latest one headed our way and judging by the radar the weather people have run out of colours for this one!

Nevertheless, well done everyone, that was a good workout on Saturday morning, great progress

Running at pace is what it is all about.
By working just that little bit harder on the work phases you will see the improvements in your fitness and running take a big leap forward. Despite what you may think, this will get easier each session.

Your Week 4 session was:

  1. 5 minutes warm-up
  2. 3 minutes jogging
  3. 90 seconds recovery
  4. 5 minutes jogging
  5. 2.5minutes recovery
  6. 3 minutes jogging
  7. 90 seconds recovery
  8. 5 minutes jogging
  9. 5 minutes warm-down

Now, remember the ‘walking’ phase is gone, for good. Recovery is not ‘having a break’, catching up with chat or a walk. You should be running in the recovery phase too, just not as fast or with as much effort. At the end of this week you are into the middle third of the program and should be getting fitter and stronger.

Everyone is well capable of running continuously for 30 minutes now, it’s all about pacing yourself properly, and that is what we will be working on in the next block of training.

The weather is going to be against us this week, but this is not an excuse to dodge the sessions. No such thing as bad weather, just bad choice of clothing!

If you are stuck for time you can do the session on a treadmill:
1% incline
10kmph work pace
6kmph recovery pace

Homework, as always (for now), two more sessions of the full workout above and I will see you all on Saturday.

Happy running!

Sean & Edel

PS: keep an eye on the blog for more information on Heart Rate training and how to tailor your efforts to suit you.

PPS: I just realised some of you may not be getting the main shop newsletter so here’s the latest February News