Category Archives: Gear

Gear Review: Wiivv Insoles

Just over one year ago I came across a Kickstarter project for custom-fit 3D printed insoles. The project piqued my interest and I decided to support it by ordering a pair.

I received my first pair of insoles nearly a year ago now. Since then I have run many kilometers with them in my shoes. Last year’s Ottawa Marathon was my first race in them.

According to the website, “Wiivv’s Custom-Fit 3D Printed Insoles provide foot support and superior comfort throughout your day and with every step you take. They are designed to reduce foot pain, joint discomfort, and muscle fatigue.”

The process for ordering is very simple. You download an app on your smart phone then take a couple of pictures. The pictures are submitted at the end of the process and designers use the pictures to create your custom insoles.

Before I go on to give you my thoughts on the insoles based on my experience with them I should point out that I am a Wiivv ambassador this year. jf

As mentioned, I received my first pair of insoles shortly before the Ottawa Marathon last year. The website recommends that you get your feet used to them by wearing the insoles in your shoes for short periods for a couple of days before you start using them regularly.

Based on my experience, this is certainly a good idea. if you are not used to wearing insoles with arch support you will certainly notice them the first time you try them.

That said, the feeling goes away quickly once your feet get used to the new found support. As mentioned above, I have run quite a bit of mileage in my insoles and I no longer notice them when I have them in my shoes. However, I do notice when I forget to put them in my shoes (I generally have 2-3 pairs of shoes on the go so I do have to switch my insoles as I alternate shoes).

Fortunately I now have two pairs of insoles, one full-length and one 3/4 length, so I do not forget them often. I plan to wear the full-length ones when I run the Boston Marathon in a few weeks from now.

If you are interested in ordering your own pair of custom-fit insoles you can click here and save 20% on your order.

In addition, Wiivv recently launched a new kickstarter campaign. Their concept is now being applied to sandals. For more information click here to get the details and support the project.



I came across this power meter for runners last year while searching Kickstarter for running related campaigns. I ended up backing the campaign and have had a Stryd device since September.

Unfortunately my model of Garmin was not on the initial list of watches that could be paired with the device. I put it aside after receiving it and only recently realized my Garmin can now be paired with it.

I have been using my Stryd device for about a week now. I have run a handful of runs with it so far but I am still very much getting familiar with the device. As you can see from the picture above it is worn like a heart rate meter.

If you are not familiar with Stryd it is a power meter for running. From what I understand power is a metric that has been used for cyclists but this is the first time someone has adapted it to running.

The first step to running with a Stryd is to run a critical power test – a 5 minute easy warm up, easy pace 800m, 5 minute warm up, max effort 1200m, 30 minute recovery, max effort 2400m and a 10 minute cool down. This test helps you set up personalized zones for different workouts you will be doing.

Having never run with a heart rate monitor I was not sure if it would bother me as I ran. I ran with it during my 30 km run yesterday and it did not move at all and did not cause any chafing.

Although I do not have much experience with the Stryd so far one thing I do like about it is the power map you get when you review a workout. Using different colours it shows where you slowed down, allowing you to have an idea of how consistent your run was. You can see what I mean here with my map of yesterday’s long run..

Stryd is something I will definitely continue to run with now that I have it working. I am looking forward to using it to help improve my running form and consistency.

If you have any experience using a Stryd I would be interested in your feedback since I am just starting to use mine.



Saturday Stories


It’s time once again for another edition of Saturday Stories, a collection of some of my favourite stories and blog posts from the past week.

Here are this week’s stories…

A post about wearable technology for runners.

A great story about runners returning to Boston to support a survivor of the Boston bombing.

A post about the value of hard work and dedication during training.

Saturday Stories


It is time once again for another edition of Saturday Stories, a collection of some of my favourite stories and blog posts from the past week.
Here are this week’s stories…

A post about training for a fall marathon.

A post about how my friend Kenny balances work and marathon training.

A post about the benefits of compression socks.

A post on the hazards of racing.

Breaking in my New Pair of Shoes


Last week I week I wrote a post about it being time to retire a pair of shoes. Tonight’s post is about the replacement. I decided to go with something similar to my previous pair of shoes which was a pair of New Balance 890 v4.

The New Balance 890 had been my go to everyday shoe since I tried the first version of it back in 2011. I owned several pair of them and ran a few marathons in them. The other pair of shoes currently in my rotation is the 890 v5.

This time I decided to try something new because of the positive reviews I read about the Fresh Foam Zante. I wasn’t too concerned about making the change because I still have my other pair of 890’s if I end up preferring them for my longer/ slower runs for whatever reason.

Tonight I had my first run in my new shoes with an easy 9 km run and my first impression is a positive one. I will probably have more to say later on but my first impression is that they felt lighter than my 890’s and have more spring in the toe. There also still seems to be enough cushioning for a soft ride.

Time will tell if I decide to stick with them as my shoes on race day when I run the Philadelphia Marathon but I think I am going to enjoy running in my new shoes.

Time for New Shoes


I am just about ready to retire this pair of New Balance 890’s. I bought them in the winter and they helped me get through training for the Ottawa Marathon and half of my training for the Philadelphia Marathon. I even ran a 10 km race and a 30 km trail race in them. For me there are usually three signs that it is time to retire a pair of shoes.

The first is the mileage on them. I keep track of the mileage on my shoes and the rule of thumb is that I can usually get 700 km out of a pair. Sometimes I end up retiring them just before I hit 700 km and other times I manage to get a few more runs in them and stretch their lifespan over 700 km. this pair currently have 699 km on them.

The second sign that it is time to retire a pair of shoes is a lack of cushioning. Over time and after repeated use the rubber used to provide cushioning in shoes starts to break down. When this happens I can feel it every time my foot strikes the ground.

The third sign fits in with the second one. To go along with the lack of cushioning In a well used pair of shoes I get aches in my ankles and my knees following a run that I normally do not get. It is nothing serious and does not last long but it serves as a reminder to me that it is time to replace my shoes.

All three signs I mentioned now apply to this pair of shoes so I will be retiring them within the next week after a few more runs.

When do you decide to replace a pair of shoes?

Saturday Stories

It is time once again for another edition of Saturday Stories, a collection of some of my favourite stories and blog posts from the past week.

Here are this week’s stories…

A study on whether you should run more or run faster.

Advice on when to replace your shoes. 

Interesting into how one of Canada’s best marathoners approaches training.

Saturday Stories


It is time once again for another edition of Saturday Stories, a collection of some of my favourite stories and blog posts from the past week. 

Here are this week’s stories…

How a runner set four personal records while still enjoying beer.

Do you need different types of shoes. This post focuses on Nike shoes but the message applies to other brands.

Can running serve as pain relief?

My Week in Training

This week started off as a normal week with me fitting in three 9 km runs home from work with one of the runs coming at marathon pace. I made sure to fit in a run the first three days of the week because I knew I would not be able to run from Thursday-Saturday.

The reason I was not able to run for three days this week was I had an appointment for laser eye surgery Thursday morning. It is a decision that will have benefits in terms of running, mainly no more having to put in contacts before every run or rushing home to remove dry contacts. For this week it meant a lighter load in terms of mileage than I old normally opt for.

Today I was able to get back to my usual routine. First I started off by picking up a new pair of shoes since the two pair in my current every day rotation are due to be retired soon…

Then tonight I got back to running with something new for me, a beer mile. It is something that was a bit of a running joke with the group I regularly run with for the last couple of summers. Tonight we finally got around to doing one. With a time of 14:03, including one penalty lap, I won’t be setting any records any time soon but it was an interesting way to get back to running.

How did your week go?

Saturday Stories


It is time once again for another edition of Saturday Stories, a collection of some of my favourite stories and blog posts from the past week. As always, if you came across anything you feel is worthy of mention here feel free to post a link below.

Here are this week’s stories…

Tips for winter running from No Paine No Gain and iRunnerBlog.

A post about reviewing the current year and planning for next year.

In yesterday’s post I mentioned that I would be part of Team Awesome for Ottawa Race Weekend. Today I thought I would share posts from my teammates about it – here, here, and here.

Pour les francophones vous trouverez des articles en français au sujet de l’Équipe formidable – ici, ici et ici.