Sunday, November 20, 2011

NB Minimus Road Zero

After wear-testing the yet-to-be-available Minimus Trail Zero-Drop (MT00) from New Balance for about 2 months (Check my earlier review HERE), I was asked to give the Minimus Road Zero-Drop (MR00) a try to see how the new range of zero-drop light-weight shoes from New Balance will do when they go to market in March 2012.

With the number of new minimalist shoe offerings from New Balance, I have yet to get a chance at the 4mm heel-toe drop Minimus Road (MR10) that was only recently launched. So, here I am leap-frogging ahead slightly to take a jab at the MR00 instead. The NB MR00 certainly did not disappoint as I unravel the 6.4ounce package from the box. The upper was more plush than that of the MT00, and yet retain that breathable mesh-like material and honeycomb-patterned good looks.

I found the shoe tongue to be quite interesting, with one side fixed on, leaving the other side to be just pulled in for a snug tuck-in. There were just a few lace holes to go through and putting it on was such a cinch. The MR00 retains the ever popular Vibram outsole (see NB Minimus Zero Sole) that has been synonymous with all the minimalist offerings from New Balance, with the flooring being flatter than the trail version - primed for road running.

So how is the traction of this slick beauty? I had the opportunity to bring it for a short run on rather wet and slippery concrete ground (after a bout of afternoon rain), and was pleased with the road-holding capabilities of the MR00. The horizontal strap was diminished and even softer than the MT00, giving the front of the foot much better room for movement - I could wriggle my toes with ease and yet got the snug feel without the constrained-feeling.

The MR00 retains the good mid-foot cushioning and responsiveness of the MT00 and some of its very popular racing comps like the RC1300 series. However, the pleasant surprise was that there was even some heel cushion, not too much, just good enough to give that comfort when the legs go tired and would like some heel support. In spite of the zero drop configuration, I did not feel much strain nor work on the calves as I would on some of the other minimalist zero-drop options.

After putting it through its paces for 7km-10km runs, I am convinced that this will be another hot seller when it becomes available at the stores in March 2012. With the many attractive colorways it will come in, there is no doubt that many NB fans and runners will clean out the stores as what had happened to the MT10 and MR10 in the recent launches. NB will do well to get a better gauge on demand for the Zero series and bring in sufficient numbers to satisfy the growing market for vibrant, effective minimalist offerings such as the NB Zeros!

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Friday, November 11, 2011

Compression Socks For The Distance Runner

Ever wondered if those 'funny-looking-long-socks-to-some' work for endurance and distance runners? If you have been noticing more marathoners and ultra-distance runners having them on during training and races, you would have seen the myriad of colours and brands that they come in.

Compression garments, and lately compression sleeves and socks have been largely worn to speed recovery after long and hard workouts as they aid in better bood circulation and veinous return, which go towards flushing out the lactate wastes accumulated during exercise. With the waste products causing muscle soreness and sometimes even cramps, it is no wonder these compression tights and socks play an important role in helping us recover from the soreness much faster, enabling us to get onto the roads and trails sooner rather than needing more time to rest and recover.

I have used compression tights such as 2XU in post-race and training recovery, and have used them in races to good effect, often delaying the onset of cramps (which used to inflict me before). Although the long compression tights are useful, they are restrictive when I need more localized compression like just for the calf region. That is when compression calf guards and socks come into play.

I have used a number of compression socks and guards in the past six months like CEP Compression, BV Booster calf sleeves, 2XU Compression Socks (new) and calf guards, all with positive effect to a greater degree. The CEP compression socks are very comfortable and more importantly, perform well - good that they come in some nice colours as well. The BV Boosters are high performance and good value for the slightly higher price they command. The 2XU compression socks are new to the market (coming on after their popular range of calf guards), and on initial testing show promise of a performing product at attractive price points for the marathoner seeking his/her first pair of compression socks/sleeves. They come in race and recovery models to cater to the different compression requirements.

Without having tried enough brands and haven't had sufficient exposure to them, I found a good review article about compression socks from Runners' World which gives 'a good guide to compression socks for any scenario'. If you are looking to have faster recovery from those hard and long runs, half, full and ultra marathon races, avoiding or delaying onset of calf cramps, you may wish to try out some of these effective compression socks and calf sleeves. You never know if they can help you recover faster and alleviate your cramping issues. As they say, the taste of the pudding is in the eating...try to know if they work for you.

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Thursday, November 03, 2011


Step into my wheels. Race in a wheelchair relay challenge on the Singapore Grand Prix race track and help us raise funds for a sports outreach programme for the physically disabled. Come support me and my fellow physically challenged athletes as we race against Singapore runners and cyclists for a good cause!
- Fung, President of HAS Handcycling Association of Singapore

All running friends and community are invited to join us at this Wheelathon Roadshow to have try-outs of the handcycle and wheelchair.

Do visit the official website for more information about the actual event on 12th November 2011.

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