Thursday, 16 November 2017

The sound is in your mind, not in your ears

The first question arises when you listen music through an AfterShokz headphones is how can I feel the sound if my ear canal is free? The first sensation is weird, but when you understand this reinvented listening experience and you get use to it, you will love this gadget for ever.

We have selected a few key simple facts to help you to know better the system used by AfterShokz:

1. How they work: Bone conduction technology produces sound via mini vibrations that travel through your cheekbones to your inner ears, bypassing your eardrums completely. 

2. Curiosities: Bone conduction technology has been around for many years as a tool to help those with hearing loss. Even Beethoven, who was hearing impaired, used bone conduction to listen to music by biting down on his composer’s wand that was touching the piano.

3. Industry: Hearing aid(s) users, Military communication, Sports headphones and Scuba diving are the 4 major industries have benefited from bone conduction technology.

4. Safety Open ear design: AfterShokz transmits audio via a pair of transducers that rest on your cheekbones, leaving your ears uncovered and canals unblocked. As a result, you can listen the ambient noise normally, without the traditional limitations (A 2012 study documented a three-fold increase in the number of accidents involving pedestrians wearing headphones, and nearly 70% of those accidents resulted in death).

5. Reviews: 
Everyday Hearing: “Overall, these wireless bone conduction headphones are a great solution for those wanting to enjoy audio without cutting yourself off from everything around you”. 

The Verge: “For people who have a good reason to keep their ears open while listening to music I can recommend the Aftershokz, which were comfortable, had solid battery life, useable controls and are a regular top pick among specialist sites”. 

Trusted Reviews: “If safety, rather than sound quality, is your primary concern then you’ll find plenty to like about the Aftershokz Trekz Titanium”.

Forbes: "These are the headphones I would want to use for outdoor activity. They’re lightweight, provide decent sound with wireless freedom, and let me hear background noise --like traffic. 

If you would like to try out an AfterShokz, feel free to visit us at Reigate, Oxted, Tonbridge and Tunbridge Wells stores. Besides, we will be offering 20% off on Sportz Titanium & Trekz Titanium AfterShokz headphones on #BlackFriday. Simply use the promo code 'SSBlackFriday' in store the 24th of November and get the discount! 

Tuesday, 7 November 2017

David Earl: "I wanted Tennis to be affordable, with high quality and get all ages playing"

David Earl, Head Coach at Redhill Lawn Tennis Club and Simply Sports collaborator, has been awarded the prestigious Coach of the Year Award by Reigate & Banstead District Sports Council. The organization concluded that David has been "a highly active member of the local community, inspiring many people across all age groups to start or return to tennis".

He started his coaching career at Sanderstead in Surrey before taking on abroad "to learn more about the different styles of coaching". In the UK, he has worked at Parklangley, Surbiton Rackets Club and Reigate LTC. "My goal at Redhill is to make sure the club reaches it's potential but more importantly I want every member to be on court having great fun and improving all the time". Now, he has started the LTA Level 5 coaching award, the highest Tennis coach qualification in the world.

- Did you expect to receive the Reigate & Banstead and Sports Award 2017 like coach of the Year? 

No and I went to the awards evening with a terrible case on "man flu" so I thought i'd just sit at the back quietly watching the winners go and up get the awards! I was really happy to hear my name read out and I think I look shocked in all the pictures. The last year at Redhill has been hard work but really rewarding so getting an honour like this was icing on the cake.

David Earl receiving his Sports Awards.

- According to the organization, one of the reasons to reward you are “inspiring many people across all age groups to start or return to tennis”, do you see yourself like a tennis inspiration?

I'll let others decide how I'm seen but my goal was pretty simple when I first moved over to the area to start Boom Coaching. I wanted Tennis to be affordable, high quality and get all ages playing, learning and competing at a sport that's given me so much. We've managed to get 10 schools playing and have huge plans for 2018 so watch this space whatever age you are!

- Why should kids play Tennis?

Tennis assists coordination more than any other sport so at a basic level Tennis will give young athletes a better chance of being a rounded athlete. When a child first comes to our coaching our first goal is to give them skills in a sport they can play for the rest of their lives, some will take to it quickly and others will have to work harder but the lessons learnt about themselves and the technical, tactical, mental and physical side of a demanding sport go much further than the court, there's lots of key life skills.

- Another reason for your award is that you've increased membership at Redhill Lawn Tennis Club. How have you done this?

Good quality service and good results. We have a 7 day per week coaching programme with our youngest participants being 4 years old and our oldest nearer 74 years old (I won't tell you who though!). Every school holiday we have junior courses and they start at £10 per day, adult groups are £10 for 90 minutes and our monthly junior coaching programme is £30 per month for 3 sessions per week so we always aim to keep our prices at a realistic level.

- Do you think people need a little push to play tennis?

I hope we can cater for everyone but in 2018 we have some very exciting plans to get everyone on court. We know that there are a lot of people who are rushed off their feet and don't have a long time each week to dedicate hours to learning the ins and outs of tennis. We are planning on launching a new service at Redhill Park and Redhill Tennis Club where we get some hardcore cardio and coaching points in a 40 minute session. Keep an eye on Boom Coaching.

- What do you need to play tennis?

I would say Boom Coaching of course but the truth is you don't need much. The courts in parks are free to use, Tennis Club membership is often around £20 per month and then a friend and racket. At a club there'll often be sessions for people to walk up and play as well as tournaments but if you're looking for a partner you can always call us and we'll help

- Many people say that your tennis training system is enjoyable. How important is have fun in your sessions?

Very! We keep our sessions sociable so everyone can have a laugh but all sessions have strong teaching points because there's lots of fun in getting better

- Tell us about your new qualification.

I'm on the Lawn Tennis Association Level 5 Master Club Coach award at the moment. It's a two year course and the highest qualification possible for a Tennis Coach so it's not easy. I'm only at the start but it's been great to be pushed and as someone who is always trying to get better i'm loving the challenge.

Thursday, 12 October 2017

Brooks Transcend and forget the feared running impact

Our ambassador in the Intersport Run Reigate 2017 Vicky Maher has been telling us last weeks in three post published on our blog different stories about the race: her first half marathon, her painful training for the 10K and her chronicle of the race last September. We asked for her a last favour: a review of the Brooks Transcend, which provided by Simply Sports and Brooks and she wore on her training and during the competition and below you can read her opinion. We can anticipate that her score is close to the perfection. Before the review, we asked for her she defined herself as runner to know her a little bit. 

A massive thank you to Vicky for her collaboration and for having allowed us to experience for a few weeks like a runner before a race. That was our idea about being a Simply Sports ambassador.
Vicky during the Run Reigate (Sussex Sport Photography).

Name and surname: Vicky Maher

Age: 39

How often do you use your trainers?: 2-3 times a week.

Model of trainers analysed: Brooks Transcend. 

Running Profile: I started running 9 years ago. I had never been good at PE, I was the uncoordinated clumsy child, no balance and last picked for every team. No sport ever grabbed me but I did quite like to when the sports day came round and I whilst I wasn’t a good runner I wasn’t terrible. Fast forward to 2008 and you find me age 30 in a pub with two friend, Liz & Wendy. I can’t remember whose suggestion it was that we run an 8K race but we all decided it was a good idea.  Wendy found some training plans to start us running and we went out together to get fit enough to run. The race was the Windsor Running 4 Women 8K and it was a lovely course, I keep saying I’ll go back one day. 

Running with these friends petered out fairly soon after the race and I was uninclined to run alone, I didn’t feel I was good at pacing or motivating myself but as luck would have it I discovered another friend, Laura, went out running every Sunday morning at 8am. This was an ideal time for me being a morning person and she was much fitter and faster than I was. I quickly learnt to keep up with her and we had the added bonus of being able to chat about our week, the kids etc! 

Vicky trying on a few Brooks trainers at Reigate store.

I also had a friend Karen who had told me about an organisation called parkrun and persuaded me to join. She found I had a parkrun near me at Tilgate and told me it was free to join and run. I signed up but did nothing more for around a year. Finally I screwed up the courage to go in 2013 and I have never looked back. Laura usually joins me and since last year so do my mum and sister when they are able.  Sometimes the kids come although they find getting up hard! I ran the Reigate Priory parkrun when it started up and have been there quite a few times, my total parkruns is now over 100 and my friend Karen came all the way from Cardiff to help me celebrate my 100th run

So races!  Since that first one at Windsor I have done the YMCA fun run (5 miles) twice.  First in 2012 with Laura when I was pleased to be under an hour (58:30), and then again this year where my new pb was 49:19.

I ran my first half marathon at Run Reigate in 2015 with a time of 2:13:58 and then the Run Reigate 10K (my first official 10K) this year and was thrilled to come in at 59:43.
When I started running I had shin splints and favoured off road softer ground but in training for the Run Reigate Half marathon in 2015 I finally felt like a real runner. For the first time I was able to go out on my own road running and now that’s my preference. I still had pace issues running solo for a long time so relied on music to help me keep time.  These days I find my legs usually know what they want to do and I just go with it!

Love mapping software and use both mapmyrun and my Garmin FR10 to map what I do, it’s a nice reminder.  

Goals: I would definitely like to do another half marathon, I am 40 next year and want to be even fitter than in my 30’s. I would love to think I was capable of a marathon but I know that would involve an awful lot of work, and I was out of action for a long time after the last half!

Vicky's Review (On a scale from one to ten):

Vicky's Conclusions: I found these trainers a massive help in my Run Reigate 10K, the cushioning meant I didn’t get any joint pain during the race at all and I really felt my feet were being properly supported as well as cushioned from impact. The only thing that stops me giving them a full 10/10 is the grip isn’t quite as good as my old shoes and I would be worried about using them in muddy or icy conditions.

Tuesday, 19 September 2017

The Big Day

Today we run and we live the Intersport Run Reigate on Vicky´s Brooks Transcend. Our ambassador in the race Vicky Maher, who is recovering an injury, tell us kilometre by kilometre her experiences in her 10K. Thank you Vicky for your collaboration in this month. We are really proud of your job as our ambassador and we have enjoyed a lot with your stories!

"I was nervous. My physio signed me off Thursday as better which was encouraging but I have to keep up the exercises. The weather turned colder this week and I started sniffling. I knew I couldn't afford a cold and dosed myself daily with vitamins to try and get to Sunday. Saturday night wasn't a great nights sleep due to some unkind soul playing music till 2:30 am but I got enough to be raring to go this morning and abandoned my ideas of healthy porridge for a bacon and fried egg sandwich. Two cups of tea and I was set. I walked up to the park passing all the people setting up cones and deploying marshalls and arrived in the park just in time for the announcement that the holding pens were open. The weather was overcast and far cooler than my run of 2 years prior, perfect running conditions!

I am not sure what happened to the warm up but we were ushered past the stage where I caught a glimpse of the lovely Dame Kelly Holmes before waiting for the off. And off we went. I am not good at being slowed during the start of runs and like to find my pace quickly but I jogged along with everyone else until things thinned out. I quickly spotted some friendly faces marshalling and watching on the hill and remembered why I love Intersport Run Reigate, the atmosphere is fabulous! 1km in already and I my garmin recorded 6:04 Not a great start as I like to go off well under 6 min but hardly surprising given the crowd and the hill!

Vicky Maher takes a selfie after running her 10K.

2nd km, now this is more like it, a lovely long downhill stretch. My Garmin buzzed to record at 5:03, much more like it! 3rd km and more friendly faces, still a lovely gentle downhill slope and 5:32. Beginning to feel the push now though, have I gone off to fast? Can I keep this up? Don't forget that hill at the end!  Ooh mummy's house and there she is, quick wave and shout feeling very red in the face and we turn the bottom of the course and start heading back up the A217.

The 4km mark passes in a blur, I don't notice the Garmim buzz because I have water, then my house with my family taking pics and then the lovely St Catherines Hospice people handing out sweets... Mmmm jelly heart! That's enough to have me very happy turning onto the country roads at the 5km mark for the most enjoyable stretch of the race. Trying at this point not to do mental calculations about how much time O can afford to lose on THAT hill. (Losing time will be inevitable!) I love running where it's green and having closed roads means I can enjoy it safely. I'm in my stride now, my legs are doing their own thing and all I have to do it keep my head and my rhythm and hit 6km (5:53) and 7km (5:58). Shoutout here to Reigate Grammar who were on water stations. I had the pleasure of joining them in year one and we had a blast. Their encouragement again this year was epic.

Vicky during the Intersport Run Reigate (Sussex Sport Photography).

Oh no the hill is coming but it's okay, more friends! Simply Sports running club leader Steve (dad to gorgeous boys in my girls school years) runs out to give me a hug and then friends on Park Lane to take my mind off what's coming, I am at 8km and my watch is reading 47 minutes.... I actually do a double take, I could conceivably get a good time if only I don't lose too much time. I am proud of myself, I have run the whole way to this point and I have achieved my goals of enjoying myself and of thanking every Marshall who claps or shouts encouragement to the runners.

I start the hill and am determined to "just keep swimming" which goes well until I hit the very steepest part. I did slow to a brief walk as did everyone around me but there was no stopping me now. I thanked a lady who told her friend "that's the worst bit over" as she passed me and she gave me a big grin. I put everything I had into the run down toward the park at which point Dame Kelly Holmes who I am since told started AFTER the 1/2 marathoners over took us all and ran into the park.
Vicky with the Simply Sports team.

I pushed as hard as I could to the cheering of the Priory Park crowds, with no hope of spotting anyone I may know amongst them, aware that this could be make or break for a time I could be proud of and came across the line at an astounding 59:43.

Chuffed to pieces as my Garmin reported my sub an hour target pre injury had been achieved. My Results Base time then arrived very quickly via text to confirm what I could hardly believe.

I met up with my family and went to see the Simply Sports and Brooks folks and had a pic taken with the Simply Sports team.

Could not be happier. If it hadn't been for Simply Sports I may never have run today as I was feeling damaged and incapable of doing the run justice so thank you so much guys. You gave me a reason to run and now I wouldn't have missed it for the world".

(by Vicky Maher)

Monday, 11 September 2017

Training through the pain

In the text below our ambassador in the Intersport Run Reigate Vicky Maher tell us about her training programme to be ready for the 10K Run Reigate next Sunday. Many runners will be identify with her words because she is recovering from an injury which have not allowed her to train normally. Runners, does this sound familiar? Enjoy with her experience and tips. Just 5 days for the race!!!

"So if you read my last blog you know I am running the Intersport Run Reigate 10k this year. Having marshalled the course last year I got a free place (yey!) and I thought about running the half again but the training is HARD and I've actually never run an official 10k so I signed up for that. I run parkrun every week and my pb is 28:10 so I wanted to get under an hour. Great target and totally achievable, right? But my body had other plans. After running Reigate YMCA fun run in the spring my back started giving me pain until it got to a point where I could hardly move. I eventually went to see a physio (the lovely Wako at Reigate Park View Clinic) and my biggest fear was allayed. It wasn't caused by running. Hurray! No it was caused by much simpler things to give up... sitting at a desk for work all day, housework and gardening! So I was told I had a bulging disc and have been having regular physio and doing exercises to try and get the disc back where it should be.

All this means my running got abandoned for a while but, with my Physio's blessing, I am able to Intersport Run Reigate. I know I won't be aiming sub 60 anymore; but just getting round while I am not yet fully healed will be an achievement.

I was hoping to run the Reigate Athletics Summer 10k as part of my training but I was barely back running at that point so instead I joined the Intersport Run Reigate Team of volunteers. Getting to hand out medals was AWESOME plus I got one of this years very cool t-shirts to spur me on! 

Vicky (second right) with Run Reigate helpers in Priory Park.

My training programme has also been very cut short as until 6 weeks before the big race I had only just got back to parkrun and my back was getting sore by the end so my Physio gave me strengthening exercises including the dreaded plank. 😣 These are apparently helping my core... all I know is by 4 weeks before the race I can manage 8km pain free. But getting out to run when you hurt before you start? That's hard. And I seem to have developed a mental attitude that I can't do least for the first half of my runs. I hit half way and I'm fine but for some reason I am being far more negative than usual so I need to work on turning that around. 

Vicky collecting her Brooks Transcend with Olivia and Adrian.

Three weeks to go I ran Reigate Priory parkrun this week. It's not my usual parkrun and I find it harder than Tilgate (my home run for the last four years) but as my best running buddy Laura has achilles tendon issues and my mum (who started running last year!) has plantar fascitiis, I decided to stay local.  So I got in at 32:25. Not bad but just not enjoying running. Later in the week I got out for a reasonable 8k. My time was only 4 minutes over my ymca fun run time from pre-back issues so that's positive.

Two weeks to go and I opted a solo Reigate parkrun again. ... why is it some weeks are hard and other are easy? This week I felt good, strong and enjoyed running for the first time in two weeks. Result? I equaled my course pb of 30:42. So chuffed. Typically it didn't last though 8.7km in the week took 61 minutes which I am not thrilled with but still determined just to enjoy it on the day. Highlight of the week was my trip to Simply Sports. Race pack collected, beautiful new Brooks Transcend collected, sport bra on order (both courtesy of Simply Sports for being their Intersport Run Reigate ambassador this year) and bought a new running vest too. I feel all set now and can't wait to try out my shoes on Saturdays parkrun :-)

Vicky and her running buddy Laura.
One week to go. Eeek!  Went back to my "homerun" of Tilgate parkrun today (last Saturday). I started running there before Reigate parkrun was started and it's still my favourite course. I was overtaken by the 30 minute pacer before chevron hill (the big one to the uninitiated) which is never a good sign but got a finish time of 30:05. Biggest news today though is I put my socks on standing up and didn't fall over! Sounds daft doesn't it? But I haven't been able to do that for months!

Another big thank you to Simply Sports today too. My running buddy Laura went to see the helpful team there and chose some Saucony trail shoes which should help with her Achilles issues so she was back at parkrun with me today ;-) (Saturday).

So I will sign off my blog today (Saturday), planning some restful runs this week and nothing too long with lots of strengthening exercises!

I wish you all a brilliant Intersport Run Reigate. See you next Sunday!"

(by Vicki Maher)

Thursday, 31 August 2017

"The Run Reigate was one of the best days of my life"

The Intersport Run Reigate is four years in September. We are proud of collaborating and sponsoring a race that is not only the Best Half Marathon 2017 (with fewer than 5,000 runners) in the country, is a 10K, Kids Race and an social event in Surrey that has helped raise in excess of £500,000 in 3 years for local charity partners and hundreds of UK charities. 

But the running races are your memories as well. That is the reason why we are compiling memories and feelings of the race on our social media in a section called "Your Intersport Run Reigate". We started with the article "Reigate Half Marathon recap" published by Anna Smith-James, known as Anna The Apple, in September of 2016. In that 'repost', Vicky Maher commented us her story, which is more than a comment is a life experience and an inspiration. Now, Vicky, who have lived the Run Reigate from different perspectives: runner, marshall..., has accepted our challenge and she will be the Simply Sports ambassador in this edition. Soon, she will tell us our blog how she is training for the 10K and her experience after the race. Thank you Vicky for sharing it with us and for being our ambassador. Below, we reproduce here her full text about her first Run Reigate:

"I ran Reigate half marathon in 2015 and I can honestly say it was one of the best days of my life. I had never run a half marathon before and whilst I parkrun most Saturdays stepping up from 5k to a half was hard work. Finding time and determination to train was the hardest part but I am not someone who does things by halves and I'm quite competitive with myself so I wanted to give it my best shot. I told myself I should be able to complete it in 2.5 hours and signed up with that goal in mind. 

Vicky Maher, Simply Sports ambassador in the Run Reigate. 

I remember two of my training runs very clearly, both the only occasions where I have been out running and nearly given up. The first was a run through Reigate town and up to Redhill before looping back home. I was around the 7 mile mark and just thought, I can't do this. I was ready to call home and ask for a lift and then thought no, even if you just walk home you can do it. So I carried on. The second time was just two weeks before the big day and I was aiming for 13 miles. I had run down lonesome lane for the first time and when I got to Meath Green it started raining. Within a few minutes it was coming down really heavily (my Bluetooth earphones never recovered!) And I got my phone out to call my husband to collect me and then stopped myself. I realised I was soaked through and actually it couldn't get much worse. Plus it might rain on the day. I carried on and was so chuffed with myself. 

She was supported by her family an her neighbours during the Half 2015 .

So onto the big day. Wow. I remember crowning Cockshott hill on the way out. There were huge crowds and I saw several people I knew and missed many more. I was already going faster than I had intended swept along on the wave of excitement. I already knew the course quite well having been on a water station the first year and living in Sandcross Lane which is on the route. I loved running down lonesome lane, it's so picturesque. I have to say I was grateful for every gel and water station! Coming up the a217 got quite tough, it felt very warm in the full sun and interminably long. My parents live near sidlow bridge and it was lovely to wave to my mum. She said afterwards I looked very relaxed which amazed me, I felt like I was struggling by then. 

Vicky at the finish in 2015.

The water station by the Beehive was very necessary and as I came up Sandcross Lane my spirit was somewhere beneath my feet. Then I saw my neighbours. They had all come out, my family too and they had put a banner up on the house. To hear them all cheering me on sent my spirit soaring and I knew then I could finish it. Coming into Priory park to family and friends waiting for me was just the best. I had done it in 2 hours 13 minutes and won a bottle of prosecco from my lovely colleague who bet me I couldn't get 2 hours 20 mins :-) The prosecco was fab but the bet itself was a real spur for me to push myself. I will always remember the atmosphere on route. So many people out cheering and clapping, kids on driveways handing out jelly babies (lifesavers!). They all adsed to a superb atmosphere and made me proud to live in Reigate. Last year I marshalled and this year I will run the 10k for the first time. Unfortunately I am struggling with an injury so I am not pushing for a fast time but I am determined to be fit enough to get round. I can't wait to be part of Run Reigate again". 

by Vicky Maher (Twitter @VixThatRuns)

Thursday, 10 August 2017

Brooks Glycerin 15 or running with pillows under your feet

Brooks has decided to take another step forward in his particular search for the perfect cushioning in a running trainers. Cushioned, comfortable and soft could be the keywords for the Brooks Glycerin 15, released recently around the world and now available at Simply Sports.

Brooks has choosen “the ultimate super soft ride” as slogan for the new Glycerin 15. But, where is this supreme comfort on the shoe or, in another words, what's so special about this model?

The American running company inform that the “super soft cushioning” comes from the Super DNA midsole, which provides 25% more adaptable cushioning than the standard DNA midsole.

But it is not only more cushioning, the transition zone is smoother from heel to toe and the upper has the ability to move and expand with the stride thanks to 3D Fit Print technology. As additional benefits, Brooks highlights “Ideal Pressure Zones evenly disperse impact away from your body for an effortless ride. Air Mesh with four-way stretch expands with your foot and provides maximum ventilation”.


Support level: Neutral
Midsole drop: 10 mm.
Surface: Road
Weight: 300.5 gr. (Men) / 260.8 gr. (Women)
Midsole: Super DNA and full-length cushioning with Omega Flex Grooves
Outsole: Ideal pressure zones and blown rubber forefoots
Upper: 3D Stretch print, air mesh with 4-way stretch
Heel: Comfort collar


Running Shoes Guru: "A solid update to an already great line makes the Glycerin 15 a shoe that must be considered for high mileage daily running".
Contras: "None"

Sole Review: "The G-15 is a versatile neutral shoe in the true sense of the word, delivering a plush running experience which is deserving of the high price tag".
Cons: " The outsole durability is worst in class, and the SuperDNA midsole, while smooth, doesn’t deliver the engaging ride experience of other shoes featuring tech like Everun or Zoom".

JackRabbit: "The Brooks Glycerin is known for its premium cushioning and it still offers the same plush running experience with a lighter feel".

Runner Click: "The Glycerin 15 is a relatively lightweight and flexible shoe, despite the amount of cushioning Brooks manages to pack into it. It also provides good support for runners with medium to high arches".
Cons: "The Glycerin 15 is not the most expensive Brook shoe, but it is up there. But keep in mind, Brooks is known for quality shoes. I have already put enough miles in and haven't seen much in the way of wear and tear, so I expect that runners who purchase this shoe will more than get their money's worth".

Coach Mag: "It’s hard to imagine a more comfortable shoe than the Glycerin 15. Putting on them  is like slipping your feet into a warm bath".
Cons: "The grip on wet pavements was a bit lacking.

Running Warehouse: "Premium cushioning with plus comfort, the Glycerin 15 offers a few new updates while maintaining the soft, plush ride users have come to love".

Availability: The Glycerin 15 is available at Simply Sports (Reigate and Oxted) and Christopher Hull Sport (Tonbridge and Tunbridge Wells) in Black/Electric Brooks blue (Men) and in Capri/Evening Blue and Evening Blue/Purple cactus (Ladies). The price is £134.99.