Tag Archives: Iffley Road

Team Iffley

I have been part of Team Iffley for over a year now and think it is about time I explained how and why I partner with Iffley Road as well as letting you know about my favourite pieces of kit.

I first became aware of Iffley Road back in 2015, I was attending an event celebrating the first birthday of Like the Wind Magazine and got talking to founders Claire & Bill. As I was in the middle of training for my first marathon I asked them for advice on balancing speed sessions and long runs. They were both really helpful and I could tell how passionate they were about running straight away. Subsequently Claire emailed me a few book recommendations that have been great. Following the event I started following Iffley Road on social media and kept a close eye on what kit they were releasing. I was really impressed with the brand image and the functionality of the apparel.

I love their “Icons” video: https://youtu.be/Z5Tuats6HtU

My opportunity to work with the brand arose when they were looking for ambassadors through the Freestak platform. I applied straight away and was lucky that Claire and Bill liked my ideas and thought I would work well in the team. Since then I have written a number of pieces, sketched some of my favourite London landscapes and worn their kit for hundreds of miles in training and racing.

I am really excited to work with Iffley Road in 2018. Team Iffley includes Ben Fogle, James Beckinsale, Tom Wheatley & Sam Pearce.

My favourite Iffley Road kit

Marlow Running Jacket Night Sky Orange

I practically live in my Marlow jacket. It is really lightweight for a water proof jacket and the sizeable back pocket is perfect for cards, keys and phone. The elasticated cuffs and hem ensure it fits nicely, there is a good amount of room for swinging your arms and there isn’t too much excess material which can be typical of other waterproof jackets.

Hove Running Top Night Sky

I have been wearing the Hove long sleeve top for the last few months and it fast became one of my favourite pieces of Iffley apparel. It is the perfect top for cooler weather and is incredibly functional thanks to the tri-stripe hanging loop and in-seam pocket for a card and keys.

Cambrian Chevron Running T-Shirt Vivo Red

Last year Iffley Road designed kit for the Vivo elite race team. As it was popular the two brands have created a limited edition range perfect for chasing PBs. I have raced a lot in my Cambrian Chevron T-Shirt; it is really lightweight, soft and breathable. As with the Hove Running Top it features an in-seam pocket so it is ideal for long training runs.

Lancaster Striped Running Vest Track White Blue

The Lancaster Vest is great in hot weather. I wore mine on holiday in Barcelona last year when it was 30 degrees and it wicked well and dried quickly. I have found that all my Iffley tops dry really quickly which is excellent.

Thompson 6” Running Shorts

Whenever I’m running and just need a card and keys I always opt for my Thompson Shorts. They are really comfortable and feature side pockets as well as a zipped inner pocket. As they are relatively short I often wear them to race in.

Admittedly Iffley Road running wear is often a little more expensive than other brands. However, having ran in most of their range I think it is good value as it is durable, functional and more often than not becomes a favourite that you will wear on a regular basis. Personally I see running kit as a good investment, the more you can run in comfort the better.

I hope you have found this piece insightful. If you would like any specific information about any of the Iffley kit please don’t hesitate to comment or write to me on Twitter or Instagram (@SteveSkinner_).

Steve

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The Run Through Battersea Park 5k

On Saturday 6th January I took part in the Run Through Battersea Park 5k. I signed up in December because I knew it would be a good opportunity to see what sort of shape I was in ahead of marathon training. Having banked some consistent mileage over the 5-6 weeks leading up to Christmas I was confident of clocking a time close to my PB of 16:30. During the week I completed a few tough sessions so I knew I would be racing on tired legs. However, in December I took part in a few parkruns and managed to clock times below 17 minutes on courses with hills and sharp corners.

I woke up on the Saturday morning really excited to race. Having not raced much over the last few months I couldn’t wait to push the pace and see what I could do. In recent weeks I have definitely started to enjoy racing 5ks more. This is probably thanks to some tough but great track sessions. I also feel as though I’m starting to embrace suffering more than I have over the past couple of years.

I decided to jog the 4km from home to Battersea Park to “warm up”. It was absolutely freezing! Arriving in plenty of time I picked up my race number without having to queue at all. With it pinned to my Iffley Road vest and having attached the timing chip to my trainers, I was ready to go. I jogged around the park for a short while to keep warm and then headed to the start line for the 9:30am start.

The Run Through races are great because you can choose which distance you want to do on the day. I opted for the 5k in this instance because a) it was cold and I wanted to get it done quickly and b) I wasn’t feeling 100% after a long tiring Friday moving offices. Two others and myself bolted off the start line. A runner in a Belgrave Harriers vest took to the front and opened up a gap pretty quickly, I was alongside the other runner for the first kilometre or so and then he dropped back. For the first lap I was in no-mans land but worked hard to hold around 3:20min/km pace. At first I struggled to get into my stride, in hindsight before the start I should have done some strides to wake the legs up.

Representing #TeamIffley in the Track White / Blue Lancaster Striped Vest

Mentally it was tough to see the first runner heading off into the distance and not have anyone to chase but over the last few months I have done quite a few tempos and been getting used to pushing the pace and embracing the struggle on my own. I kept thinking “don’t ease up, you can hold this pace”. Going into the second lap I knew I had a lot of work to do to get closer to my PB. With 2km left I knew I could afford to go for it. I upped my pace and found it motivational running passed the runners taking part in the 10k; it was great to hear a few shouts from friends. I got my head down and made the most of the final kilometre being slightly downhill.

I crossed the line in second place in 16:45. It would have been great to claim a new PB but in the circumstances I am really happy with the result. Overall it was a great event, Run Through always do a stellar job. I cannot recommend the Battersea Park race enough if you are looking to better your 5k or 10k PBs. Thanks to finishing second I have been given a free race entry to another of the Run Through races so I will probably be at the Lee Valley Park 5k/10k/half marathon on the 27th of January. I’m not sure which distance I’m going to do yet but it should be fun either way. Let me know if you’re going to be there or if you have any other Run Through races lined up. I hope those of you that took part in the Battersea race enjoyed it as much as I did and got the times you wanted.

This week has been a bit of a write off training wise due to the office move and struggling with a bug but I’m hoping to be back training hard soon. The London Marathon isn’t going to run itself and it is less than one hundred days away now!

See a lot of you soon.

Steve

The Strava Mile – London

A month or so ago I received an email from James Poole (Advent Running co-founder & Adidas Running Captain) inviting me to an event he was collaborating with Strava on – the Strava Mile. I’m good friends with JP, use Strava and really enjoy mile races, I was in!

Before I knew it race day arrived. After a big weekend of mileage at Endure 24 and a tough 10 x 1k track session on Tuesday night my legs were feeling a bit sorry for themselves. I opted to run the 4k or so from work to Mile End track to try and loosen the legs up. Struggling to hold a few 4 minute kilometres I wasn’t expecting to be breaking any records on #MyMile.

I was greeted at the track by Claire, Bill and Johnny from Iffley Road. They were supporting the event and providing tees to runners. As I’m a Team Iffley ambassador Claire gave me some of their lovely Thompson shorts in a new blue colourway to race in.

The event was a lot of fun; it was great to catch up with friends that I hadn’t seen in a while due to training predominantly on my own for the last few months. As the start time of 7pm neared James hit the mic to let us know the schedule, there was to be 4 mile races: Sub 9, 8, 7 & 6 and below. With my legs beaten up I was glad the final mile was sub 6 and not 5. I thought I would be left suffering at the back in a sub 5 race. It was great to watch friends flying round the track, many of them achieving personal bests. For some it was their first mile race, I suppose there aren’t that many around so it’s great for events like this to be organised.

I ran a few strides to try and get the legs ready for action. There was a large group in the sub 6 race. I positioned myself near the front but decided I would try and crank the pace up in the final two laps if the legs would allow me. With my mile PB at 4:44 I knew I wouldn’t be able to get near that but thought 5 would be a good target. In hindsight I should’ve tried to get the inside lane like James Brewster (pro!) or started a bit further up as I was forced to take a wider lane on a couple of occasions costing valuable seconds. I got into my stride and was on the right pace for sub 5, 3:06min/km.

It was great to have people to chase down, surprisingly my legs felt good after completing the first lap and going under the Strava gantry to cheers from friends.

Going through halfway I was still on pace and another sub 5 was within reach, I started to pick it up to try and bank a few more seconds and make sure I would achieve the time.

The last few laps went by in a blur; I gained ground on some of the runners in front and crossed the line in 4:55.

https://www.strava.com/activities/1036670638/overview

I was really happy and surprised with the result. It always makes me wonder what time I could achieve if I trained and tapered specifically for a mile race.

After everyone had run their miles we grabbed some tacos and beer. The event was a lot of fun, thank you James, Strava, Iffley Road, Eddie (Camden Town Brewery) etc for putting it on. I really hope there will be many more events like this in the future.

I hope everyone else that was there had as much fun as I did. See a lot of you soon.

Steve

The Bideford 10k 2017 

On Sunday the 14th of May I took part in the Bideford 10k. Lorna and I signed up because my mum and cousin Tilly (alongside Uncle Andrew) were taking part in their first 10k races. I never imagined that my mum would take up running but a few months back she started training. She ran the Tamar Lakes parkrun before increasing her mileage gradually. I loved getting texts like “Am really enjoying running in this fab weather. Did 5 miles this morning. Have ran 47.5 miles so far this month!” I think she must’ve been inspired by reading Jo Pavey’s book This Mum Runs, I managed to get it signed when Jo came into The Running Works and sent it to mum for Christmas. It was also great to know Tilly and Uncle Andrew were training well; I could see they were increasing their mileage sensibly, thanks Strava. My Auntie Hannah decided not to do the 10k as she wanted to cheer but she has recently started running as well. She is a regular parkrunner and has been really enjoying it; she’s lost a lot of weight and knocked a massive amount of time off her parkrun PB in the last few months. I’m really proud of all of them for starting running and making so much progress.

It had been 8 months since I had last been in Devon so this trip was well overdue. We got the train to Exeter on Friday night to get a lift to Pyworthy with Sarah (my sister).

On Saturday morning Lorna and I went for a 6k shakeout run, the weather was great and it was nice to be out in the fresh air. After freshening up we popped up to see my gran and grandad. As Lorna hadn’t been to their house before I showed her the shed where I used to help grandad with odd jobs and play darts. It was great to be back there, it was funny because in my mind the kitchen and shed were a lot bigger but I guess I remember them through a small persons eyes. After a good catch up Sarah, Lorna and I travelled down to Bude for lunch and an ice cream.

When we got back my stepsisters Nic and Kelly and my nephew Caleb had arrived. It was great to see them and play trains with Caleb; it’s amazing how much he has grown and he can speak so well. The day was flying by, we chilled for a little bit and then went out for a meal. We all carb loaded up for the race, and then we watched some TV and got an early night.

Race day arrived; I woke up around 7am feeling fresh and raring to go. With the race not starting until 10:30am we had plenty of time for breakfast and to sort race kit.

I opted for my new Iffley Road Lancaster Maple Stripe Vest, Thompson Gravel Black Shorts, Stance Uncommon Solids Crew socks and my trusty Adidas Adios.

We arrived in Bideford an hour before the start, this allowed us to catch up with everyone and do a little bit of a warm up. In the lead up to the race I was feeling really relaxed, I think it always helps having either friends or family around. Also, I hadn’t really set a goal time or trained specifically for the race so there was no added stress. I was excited for my mum and Tilly and couldn’t wait to see how they’d get on. As 10:30 neared we all positioned ourselves on the road side, no start corrals here. Having looked at the results from 2016 and knowing the route narrowed over a bridge in the first kilometre I decided it would be good to start on the line.

After training for and completing the Boston Marathon my legs were feeling good. In the weeks since the marathon I did the Hackney Half, went to track a couple of times and have started to increase the mileage again. With my 10k PB being 34:50 I decided to aim for 3:30min/km pace and go from there. Joining everyone else in speeding off the line I went through the first kilometre in 3:21. This was a little quick however knowing there was a short sharp incline at the start of the second kilometre I was happy to bank a few seconds. After the climb I settled into my target pace, I was in about 9th position but after a few more kilometres I passed a few runners. The front two were off into the distance, not to be seen again but there was a small group that I could try and reel in. I was closing the gap, probably around 200m or so behind them at the turn at Instow (5k in). After making the turn the wind was blowing straight into my face, I decided to close up on the group and tuck in behind for a while. I eased off a bit and this cost me a few seconds, my 7th kilometre took 3:44. Despite the wind it was nice to be running alongside the River Torridge. When there were openings in the trees on my left I tried to spot Lorna, Tilly, Uncle Andrew or mum on the road to see how they were getting on. Unfortunately, I didn’t get to see any of them. My legs were feeling good, I passed the group of runners and set my sights on trying to catch 3rd place. One of the runners from the group upped his pace and stayed on my heels. I picked the pace up a little clocking 3:37 and 3:34 for my 8th and 9th kilometres. I crossed the bridge and dodged an elderly couple with bikes at the traffic lights. With 400m to go I moved through the gears, I couldn’t catch the runner ahead but I made sure not to be overtaken. I crossed the line in 35:02, 4th position.


I had a quick chat with Sarah, Auntie Hannah, Eliza (cousin/chief cheerer), Auntie June, Nic, Caleb, Auntie Kath, Uncle Dave & Bex before running down the home straight with Lorna, cheering her in. She finished in 43:58, 90th overall and 4th in her category.

I met her after she came through the finish line, we then ran down the finishing straight with Tilly and Uncle Andrew. She was still running really well and my uncle was encouraging her all the way.

She crossed the line in 51:58, 354th position, 4th in her age category. Well done Tilly (and Uncle Andrew)! Lorna and I ran to the bridge again to wait for my mum to cross the river. We were looking out for her pink high-vis top. She took the corner smiling and waving at us. She asked how we’d got on whilst upping her pace in the last 400m. I went ahead to get a good position to cheer her in, I gave her a high five and she crossed the line in 1:01:24, 708th overall, 32nd in her age category.

It was such an awesome moment and I’m so proud of her for putting in the training and finishing the race.


Overall it was an awesome race and a great day. Here’s a link to a video of the race: https://m.youtube.com/watch?v=mTb__u4gh1w.

I’m hoping we can all do a race again soon and I’m looking forward to seeing how much they all progress in the next few months with other events coming up.

Next up for me: Night of the 10,000m PBs (20/5) and the Westminster Mile (28/5)
See a lot of you soon

Steve