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I’m sure you haven’t managed to escape the hype about the latest shoe release from adidas, the Pure Boost X. This is the first shoe designed for women, by women. The thinking here is that, to date, all women’s running shoes have just been smaller versions of the men’s shoes, without any specific thought going in to any particular needs of women. Thus, the Pure Boost X was born. 

Now, my initial reaction to this launch was, shall we say, cynical. With the recent(ish) upsurge in the popularity of women’s fitness, it’s easy to presume that fitness products targeted at women are jumping on a bandwagon to cash in on an trend. With the success of amazing programmes like This Girl Can and the work of the Women’s Sport Trust, it’s easy (and a bit lazy) for brands to summon up a girl power campaign and use it for commercial gain.

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This isn’t to say that (a) I don’t approve of brands using their power to promote female participation in sport (I do) and (b) I wasn’t excited about the shoes themselves. I love new kit, am a huge adidas shoe fan (especially Boost technology) and was intrigued by the concept of the floating arch (more on that later). I just can’t say I’m immediately sold on female specific versions of products that aren’t gendered (like body glide or bic pens). 

I couldn’t find many specifics in the press materials about what elements of the design were female specific, and what female specific issues they were looking to address. I know that a lot of other runners and bloggers were asking similar questions, including my own readers and followers, and I found it frustrating that I didn’t know and couldn’t give an answer. Having visited adidas HQ, including their incredible innovation lab and bespoke athlete services, I felt like it wasn’t very ‘adidas’ to come up with empty claims, so I did some research!

I contacted adidas and they put me in touch with the VP of Design for adidas running, Ben Herath. From his explanation, it appears to me that the “women specific” angle is much broader than just physiological requirements, and also relates to female preferences for design, feel and performance. On the physical side, adidas’ research has found that women’s foot shapes vary wildly, as compared to men’s but also from woman to woman. Building in inherent flexibility (primarily evidenced by the new floating arch) allows the shoe to adapt to these varied female foot shapes, providing a snug “personalised fit”.

Further, adidas worked with hundreds of female athletes to listen to their preferences for design and feel of a shoe. They found that most female athletes undertake a varied fitness routine with running at the core (familiar!) and so versatility was important. The flexibility of the Pure Boost X allows it to be worn in a variety of different situations, and to provide a comfortable fit in all of them. Design wise, adidas found in their research that women like their trainers to look streamlined and preferred trainers that made their feet look petite (so, the opposite of ‘traditional’ support trainers!), so this was the focus with the aesthetic. I personally have very wide feet, and I like the way the floating arch wraps around the arch of my foot and makes them look a bit less like cuboids. Vain maybe, but I can’t deny that I like it!   

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Also, I was very kindly invited by adidas to appear on a panel at their Oxford Circus flagship store to talk about ‘Positive Energy’ in celebration of the Pure Boost X launch. Also on this panel was Jo Knight (editor of Women’s Fitness magazine and also We Heart Living), who mentioned some research that had come across her desk that showed that the length of a woman’s plantar fascia changed according to her monthly cycle. This prompted me to do some further digging, and I did find (for example, here, here, here) that there seems to be a link between increased oestrogen levels and the risk of ligament injuries. I am in no way professing to be an expert (and would love to talk to someone who does actually know something – drop me a line if that’s you!), but if the ligaments in your foot are changing on a weekly basis, a super adaptive flexible shoe might make sense? 

Anyway – do I actually like them?

In short, yes. They look nice and they’re ridiculously comfortable, genuinely like walking on clouds. I know that some others have had issues with the high back rubbing their heels, but I haven’t had any issues like this. 

The floating arch is weird at first, but I really like the snug fit. When I say “floating arch”, the arch of the shoes is actually suspended – it isn’t attached to the sole – and instead it’s like a cradle. When you put your foot on the ground the gap closes up under your foot, which means that the fit adapts to your foot shape. Weirdly, I have actually had cramp in the sole of my foot when wearing them for a particularly intense workout (the Zanna van Dijk bootcamp at The X being one of those times!), which I’ve put down to having to get used to the floating arch. 

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I’d personally say the Pure Boost X were more suited to workouts rather than running. adidas say they’re for running up to 10km in, and you need to work up to that, so the Pure Boost X are probably better suited to workouts involving running rather than being purely running trainers. I actually wear them a lot for walking too! So, if that’s what you’re looking for, it’s worth giving the Pure Boost X a go.

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Thanks to adidas for giving me a sample of the Pure Boost X for review. All views and dodgy research my own!

I’m starting to realise that I could probably fit more workouts in if I was more organised. With remembering kit, remembering food, remembering to eat at the right time. (Side note: does anyone else get so hungry that they get a really bad tummy ache? Sometimes I get it so bad that I can’t stand up. Once it comes on I’m pretty much a write off. It’s really awful and annoying). Anyway!

Sunday 

After having what felt like a useless week I went out on Sunday to run with Dayve. We ran 10km off road in Epping Forest. I cannot believe I found it so hard! God, I felt absolutely exhausted. It was really fun though. I love running with Dayve because he gets bored just running so he’s always looking for a hill to race up, a puddle to splash through, a log to jump over… a bit like running with an over excited puppy. He also pushes the pace past my comfort zone, which is really good for my progression as I need to stop running so slowly.

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I managed to keep the pace below 9 minute miles for the whole run, which was amazing as I cannot remember the last time I managed that! I find it hard to believe that I am the same person who once ran a whole half marathon at sub 8 minute mile pace, and I hope I can get back to seeing some 7-something minute miles by the end of the year. Lots of work to do between now and then though!

Monday 

Today I went to the gym after work, maybe at around 8:30pm. I did 45 minutes core and upper body workout, working on my tricep dips, followed by 15 hellish minutes with the foam roller. As well as being a much faster runner, I also used to be able to do unassisted tricep dips and chin ups. It’s time to get back to that. Currently my tricep dips are very assisted, but all progress is progress!

Tuesday 

Legs now ridiculously sore after Sunday’s trail adventure. We had a friend from university staying so I left work at a reasonable time and went for burgers and cocktails. Delightful.

Wednesday 

Legs still very sore. Regretting not stretching. Intended to go for a run, but the weather was awful so I decided to hit the gym for some mobility work instead. Ended up getting ridiculously hungry so just had dinner and massaged my legs at home. I massaged my calf muscles for about an hour (they were very sore) and I am so glad I did – they felt much better after this.

Thursday 

I set my alarm for an early morning workout but slept through it, as always! I don’t know why I bother. After work I joined adidas for a Supper Club in Victoria Park celebrating the opening of The X, their new temporary workout space in Victoria Park. The space is gorgeous and I love that they’ve lit up the park so that you can run through at night. It was great to see some other blogging babes and to chat the night away with Charlie and Claudia.

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Not entirely sure why I chose to wear tight leather trousers to a three course meal, but it was a mistake. 

Friday 

I went for a run after work. I finished for the weekend at around 7:30 and so headed for 5km down by the river at about 8pm. I love running down by the river at night; it is so so beautiful. After about 5 minutes my legs were hurting so I stopped and stretched off, and after that I felt a lot better. I forgot my watch, but I felt pretty strong and feel like I’m definitely making progress.

Saturday 

I got up at just before 6am for an early morning shoot with Greg Woodward in the Olympic Park. I did a lot of running and stretching, but I think it would probably be stretching it a bit to class this as a “workout”. I ended up in shorts for most of the shoot and after about 2 and half hours felt pretty frozen to the core! I warmed up in Counter Cafe with Dayve and then headed off to look after my nephew for the day.

 

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Another busy one this week! Terrible fitness wise, but in the interests of transparency and all…

Sunday 

I spent all day doing chores, while the sun was shining and my social media feeds were filled with sunny run photos. Then, when the sun went down and it started absolutely pouring, I went out for my run. Dayve and I went for 5k along the canal and it went terribly for me; my legs hurt and my stomach was not playing ball. Not good, but I went!

Monday 

This week has been so mad that I can’t remember what happened on Monday. Sorry!

Tuesday 

I went out for a run after work and it went horribly! Bit of a theme this week…! I felt sick and my legs were absolutely dead. I stopped after a mile and headed home for pancakes and foam rolling.

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Wednesday 

Up just before 6 to get to an early meeting on the other side of London. All day on site at a client’s offices, before heading back for a 5-7 meeting at my own office, and then heading out to Canary Wharf for a completion dinner with some more clients. Also known as the most exhausting day ever.

Thursday 

Full day at work before having to head off early for an event I was attending at the adidas store on Oxford Street. I was speaking on a panel with adidas athlete Jazmin Sawyers, instagram health bloggers Twice the Health and Women’s Fitness editor Joanna Knight. The event celebrated the launch of their new women’s specific shoe the Pure BOOST X. We answered questions on running, blogging, London life, nutrition, music and motivation. I also took this shoe selfie in a mirrored box, but someone else took it, which was very Kim K of me.

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Friday 

Friday morning was an early start for my weekly session at the Running School. It was a tough one this week, with longer running periods (working on endurance with my technique) and some steep inclines. Coach Nick said he was happy with my progress and has no concerns about my technique, so this was great news! I think worked until 8:30, because Friday nights are for doing cool shit like that right?

Saturday 

A total disaster of a day involving a missing sofa delivery and a lot of home organisation. I didn’t make it to the gym.

So, that’s three sessions, one of which was a total disaster and can barely even be classed as a session! Hopefully the coming week will be kinder.

x

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I’ve decided to start posting a round up every Sunday of my fitness activities from the past week, for a couple of reasons:

Firstly, I haven’t been too hot on blogging or getting my workouts in recently, so I thought a little accountability might go a long way.

Secondly, I also think that a little transparency can go a long way. When you’re on social media it’s easy to feel like everyone else is doing more than you, going harder than you, and eating better than you. There are times in my life where I am too busy to fit everything in, and so I thought I’d be honest about how much exercise I fit in around being a full time lawyer, renovating a flat and planning wedding.

So, what have I been up to this week?

Sunday

I did my Running School homework in Victoria Park! I’ve been going to Running School to work on my technique – I over stride and point my toes when I run, which means my calf muscles are always on (read: always sore). I’ve been loving it so far and have definitely seen improvements! My homework consisted of:

30 seconds running, 1 minute walk x 8

1 minute running, 1 minute walk x 6

15 minute run

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This might not sound like much, but my hamstrings and glutes are finally firing after years of being lazy, and they were absolutely knackered after this session. Felt like I was making progress though!

Monday

I went to try wedding dresses in the evening and didn’t get home until 10:30, so no workouts for me!

Tuesday

I worked until 10pm. That is all!

Wednesday

I was up at 5:30 to go to Sky High Yoga with some colleagues, which is a yoga class in the Sky Garden! It starts at 6:30 and it was absolutely freezing up there, but it was so worth it. The sun rises during the class and fills the gardens with light, and you can see the sun rising to the east with Canary Wharf and Tower Bridge in silhouette. You also get 20% off breakfast in their restaurant if you go to the yoga class, so I followed up the class with smashed avocado on toast with poached eggs.

I then worked until 10pm again and was very tired.

Thursday 

I had to be up super early to get to the other side of London for a meeting and spent all day rushing around. I was so exhausted when I got home and couldn’t stop whining about it.

Friday

Another early start! I had a 7am lessons at the Running School. We worked on glute activation exercises and focussed on my arm swing, which took quite a lot of mental strength.

Saturday

I headed to 1Rebel and did a Rumble class. Followed by brunch, obviously.

Four workouts during a manic week; not a bad effort if you ask me!

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There’s a new Get Fit 4 Free campaign from Sweaty Betty and it is ace!

I am a huge fan of SB’s Get Fit 4 Free collaborations because they provide a chance for everyone to get involved in amazing workouts. I love a chic high end studio as much as the next person, but spending £20 a class isn’t really affordable or sustainable for most people.

The latest Get Fit 4 Free partnership is with city studio of the moment 1Rebel and their boxing/martial arts inspired workout Rumble. Rumble mixes up punching, kicking, ducking and diving with classic bodyweight exercises (think planks, push ups and mountain climbers) and HIIT.

I was lucky enough to try the class out at Sweaty Betty HQ and it absolutely kicked my butt. I have never, ever, in my whole entire life, been so sore from a bodyweight exercise. Somehow, through punching the air, I had sore arms. The whole class is run to an amazing all-encompassing soundtrack that drives the class, which really made it for me, along with the amazing energy of 1Rebel master trainer Mila Lazar. It truly was an all-body butt-kicking sweat fest and I thought that it was ace. In fact, I loved it so much, I’ve booked in to Rumble at 1 Rebel this Saturday with some friends.

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However, to try the class you don’t need to book in to 1Rebel. You can access video workouts on the Sweaty Betty website, and you can visit live classes in store.

If you’re still not convinced, you can find 10 reasons to try Rumble over on the SB website!

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