Tag Archives: suunto

Great Bentley Half Marathon 2020

On Sunday 2nd February I took part in the Great Bentley Half Marathon for the first time. Lorna and I signed up to the race because her brother Alex had enjoyed it in 2019 achieving a personal best. As the race is local to Colchester, where Lorna’s parents live, it was easy to get to and we thought it would be good timing ahead of the Barcelona Marathon on the 15th of March.

I travelled back to Colchester on Saturday evening after work. We carb loaded on pizza and chips and put our feet up watching a film before getting an early night. Having not raced for a while I was really looking forward to it. Over the last few months I have been following a training plan as part of the Fast Running “Performance Project Spring 2020”. The plan is put together by Tom Craggs and Robbie Britton and so far has included quite a lot of fartlek, lactate threshold/tempo and easy long runs. I have definitely started to realise the benefits of running at closer to 5k/10k pace more regularly and subsequently the easier slower runs are feeling more comfortable week on week.

Leading into the race I was looking forward to seeing what sort of shape I was in. However I was also aware that the following weeks training included some tough sessions that would be a struggle if I emptied the tank in the race. I decided I was going to run at around goal marathon pace and practice my nutrition strategy.

Obligatory kit pic

Arriving at the Village Hall I felt good, I’d slept well and my legs were feeling relatively fresh having rested on Saturday. Number pick up and bag drop was straightforward and then I ran an easy 2k with Alex to get the legs moving. It felt like the race start came around really quickly. I think I was quite relaxed because I wasn’t aiming for a PB. We listened to the quick race briefing while positioning ourselves on the start line and then we were off as the clock struck 10:30am.

Everyone bolted from the line but I tried to hold myself back and settle into a rhythm around goal marathon pace. I was aiming for around 4 min/km pace but my first few kilometres were closer to 3:50. The course was really flat so I felt comfortable holding that pace for the first 6k or so. I tried to resist the temptation to race but with my legs feeling good I decided to push on and see what time I could do. In the car on the way to the race Lorna predicted this would happen!

At the half waypoint I picked up the pace nearer to 3:25 min/km for the next 5k. I thought if I could hold that pace for a while I could get closer to a finishing time around 75 minutes. As I reached 10 miles a lot of the course was taking us into a headwind. Due to my “alternative” pacing I was moving through the field but was running a lot of the race on my own.

I caught up with a little group and decided to ease up and tuck in with them for a couple of kilometres. As I was tiring, before every corner I was thinking, “please let the wind be behind us when we get round there” but unfortunately the majority of the last 5/10k was into the wind.

Having battled the wind I knew early on I wasn’t going to get that close to 75 minutes but in the conditions I was happy to cross the line in 1:16:19 in 12th position. On one hand I was thinking “these sessions in the week are going to be brutal” but on the other hand I thought, “I guess I’m in decent shape at this point in marathon training and once I recover I’ll feel stronger”. I was excited to see how Lorna, Alex, Rob, Smithy and Frosty had got on. Lorna’s dad and sister made it to the finish to cheer everyone on; we stood on the village green along the finishing straight which was uphill, on grass and into wind… just what you need at the end of a gruelling half marathon. Despite the tough conditions everyone ran really well and were pleased with their times.

Overall the Great Bentley Half was an excellent race. It was really well organised and is a quick course, I guess that’s why it’s so popular with all the local clubs. If you want to take part you’ll have to sign up as soon as registration opens, it fills up quick! I hope to take part again next year.

As marathon training ramps up over the next few weeks the key will be staying consistent and prioritising the sessions and long runs. Some of us are taking part in the Cancer Research London Winter Run on Sunday, which should be fun. Fingers crossed it wont be too windy!

Hope your training and racing is going well.


My favourite running kit from head to toe

I haven’t blogged about running kit for a while so I thought I’d write a post about some of my current favourites that make running more comfortable for me.

Cap: Ciele Athletics FASTCap

A few months ago The Running Works began stocking Ciele Athletics, ever since I have been expanding my cap collection. I am a big fan for a number of reasons; they are super comfortable, lightweight, breathable, flexible and packable. Ciele have a good range of caps, including; TRLCap, GOCaps and FASTCap. My favourite is the FASTCap as it has a lower profile being made of three panels as opposed to the five panelled GOCap.  


They come in a variety of colours and cost £30: http://run-fast-retail.net/catalogsearch/result/?q=ciele
Tops: Adidas Supernova T-shirts & Adidas Adizero singlets

The main reasons for opting for Adidas Supernova T-shirts is that; they fit me well and are really lightweight and breathable. The most important thing for a running top is that it has to be good at moisture wicking and drying.

When racing I generally wear an Adizero singlet, similarly to the Supernova t-shirts I find they fit me well and are super lightweight. As you want to push your limits in a race you don’t want to be carrying any extra weight, as Adidas put it “light makes fast”.   



Watch: Suunto Ambit 3

I have had my Suunto watch for over a year now and I have been really impressed. I was incredibly lucky to win it via a competition on Instagram, the only drawback was that I couldn’t choose the colour and so received the quite bold lime green watch. The best thing about the Suunto Ambit 3 for me is the battery life. I used to have a TomTom runner (or as I called it SteveSteve) and I had to charge it quite regularly, now I can normally do 4 or 5 runs before charging. The watch is really simple to use and has lots of cool features. Through the movescount app you can create a cool little video of a run and you can sync straight to Strava so you can monitor your stats. Other pluses are that it is really lightweight despite looking a bit chunky and it doesn’t take very long to pick up GPS (normally within 10 seconds).  

The Suunto Ambit 3 is currently £175 from the Suunto website: http://www.suunto.com/en-GB/Products/sports-watches/Suunto-Ambit3-Run/Suunto-Ambit3-Run-Lime/

Shorts: Adidas Supernova & Adidas Adizero split shorts

In terms of shorts I generally opt for the same brand/ranges as my tops. When training I’ll wear Supernova shorts and when racing I’ll don some Adizero split shorts. The Supernovas have some reflective detailing which is good and a small zip pocket for keys etc. I wear the Adizero split shorts for racing because I want to feel comfortable and streamlined. The Supernova shorts retail at £31.00 at The Running Works: http://run-fast-retail.net/adidas-men-s-supernova-running-shorts. The Adizero split shorts cost £34.95 on the Adidas website: http://www.adidas.co.uk/adizero-split-short-men/AI3183.html.

Socks: Stance

Since The Running Works began stocking Stance a fair few months ago they have become my favourite socks. I used to choose between a variety of sock brands depending on what type of running I was doing, which trainers I was going to wear and what the weather was doing. I choose to wear Stance now because I find them super comfortable. As Stance put it their socks:

“Feature a custom blend of moisture-wicking fibres that keep your feet cool and dry. A network of mesh vents wraps from the top of the foot to the arch to further enhance breathability while Stance’s Air Channel Cushioning uses an articulated foot bed to increase padding and airflow. Its tight, 200 needle count stitching is paired with a reinforced heel and toe for a clean appearance and plenty of durability.”

The Fusion Run range of socks is vast and therefore you can find a sock suitable for each run. If I’m hitting the trails I’ll opt for some OTC (over the calf) whereas if I’m heading to run around in circles aka track I’ll put on lightweight tabs. When I’m road running I’ll wear the Crew height. Mainly because they are comfortable and due to the massive range of styles/colours they look cool. 

 I previously wrote about the UK leg of the Stance Street Art European Tour that I was lucky enough to go on; you can read about it here: https://steveskinner3.wordpress.com/2016/07/08/stance-european-street-art-tour-london/

Stance socks are available to buy at The Running Works: http://run-fast-retail.net/products/accessories/socks?manufacturer=1436

Stance website: https://www.stance.com/

Trainers: Adidas Adios Boost

Over the last couple of years I have accumulated quite a number of running trainers. Despite trying a large number of brands none of them have trumped my trusty Adidas Adios. When I began training for the Bristol Half Marathon in 2011 I bought my first proper pair of running trainers, they were the Adidas Adios with the standard EVA midsole. I absolutely loved those trainers, so much so that I still have a couple of them stocked up in a box at home. However as Adidas introduced the Boost technology I decided to give them a try knowing that I wouldn’t be able to get the pair with EVA in the future. I have since gotten used to the more bouncy and energy returning midsole and tend to do all my training in them despite being labelled a racing/lightweight shoe. Having relatively narrow feet the Adios seem to fit my feet perfectly, over the last 5 years I haven’t had a single blister and no signs of black toe nails. I guess I can get away with using the Adios as a training shoe as I am pretty light on my feet but also because they provide enough cushioning for me. They are also great for track sessions and races because they are light. I have recently ordered the Adios 3 and can’t wait to start running in them, I believe they haven’t changed much apart from more grip in the forefoot equating to an added 5g in weight. This was on request from the elite runners, quite often I see a large number of them racing in the Adios particularly over half and full marathons. 

 Here is a link to the Adios 3 available for £109.95 on the Adidas website: http://www.adidas.co.uk/adizero-adios-3-shoes/AQ2429.html?pr=CUSTOMIZE_IMG_adizero%2520Adios%25203%2520Shoes

I like the new orange colourway a lot!

I’d be interested to hear your opinions on any of your favourite running kit or the kit I’ve mentioned, drop me a tweet or message on Instagram @StephenSkinner6.

See a lot of you soon