28 April 2015

race report - 2015 waterloo marathon

meat loaf was right - two out of three ain't bad.

i'd stated my goals for this race earlier this week, and made good on (1) finishing top 3 for my age group and (2) running a negative split.

well, at least i think that i ran a negative split.

at my daughter's request (so that she could have friends at the house for an overnight without worrying about her dad going to bed at 6pm) i'd booked a hotel room in kitchener (the city adjacent to waterloo), and so headed down the day before to get into the marathon mood.

i had half a mind to try to snag my race kit on saturday, but there was only a four-hour window that they would be available and i missed it.  having arrived into town about 30 min. too late, i decided to drive the course route to familiarize myself with what was reported to me as being a very hilly course.  as it turned out, there were a number of formidable hills to take note of, and specifically two that appeared within the last 6km or so of the course.  it was the first time that i'd driven a marathon route in advance, and in my mind it was well worth it - if for no other reason than to check out the beautiful heritage covered bridge.

A photo posted by patrick voo (@pbfvoo) on

the rest of the evening was spent at the motel resting up and finishing the carb load process.  that morning i'd performed the 'western australia carb load' requisite workout (1 mi. w/u, 150s @ 1 mi. pace, 30s flat-out, 1 mi. c/d) and so was taking in approximately 12g of carbs for every kg of lean body mass for the remainder of the day.

as i watched a little bit of UFC 186 prelims on the tele, i laid out my race kit to be sure that i'd be worry-free in the morning.  one of the things that i'd not done before for an 'away' race was to bring two pairs of racing flats - and this time i was glad that i did.  given that i was so positive going into the competition i didn't want anything to mess with my headspace - and the one last variable was a niggling doubt about wearing the Skechers GOMeb Speed 3 as my shoe of choice.  i'd done some key race pace workouts in them but wasn't entirely sold on them feeling as solid as the GOMeb Speed 2 - and given that that was the other pair that i'd toted along, i made an almost-gametime decision to wear the Speed 2 for the race.

the remainder evening would have gone off swimmingly except for the fact that the guests in the room adjacent to my bedroom wall decided that this would be a great night to party (loudly), rearrange furniture at random and intermittently get into verbal sparring all the way until 2am.

if they were there for the marathon too then they had some secret to sleep that i certainly knew nothing about.

race day
you know how one of the standard rules of smart running is 'never try anything new on race day'?

i didn't listen well in school, either.

i started off the morning with something i'd not practiced in any previous races - an early morning shakeout run.  when my 4:30am alarm went off (not that i needed it - i'd been tossing and turning since the neighbours finally passed out or something) i threw on some sweats and headed out for about a 10 min. shuffle down the street, ending up outside the nearby tim horton's waiting for the staff to open for the morning.  i really wanted a toasted bagel for breakfast.

bechtel park in waterloo was the next stop, where the race would begin and end.  the park houses an indoor soccer facility where the on-site registration and kit pick-up took place - and showing up about 80 min. before start time meant that (a) i was bibbed and chipped with 75 min. to go and (b) there were no line-ups at all to use a port-a-potty.

there were a few other 'never-done-befores' that were part of this race:
  • the day before i'd performed the western australia carbo-load workout - different from my previous pre-marathon day workout of 5 km of easy running
  • i donned my new skechers performance division racing kit for the first time
  • i wore the tiux compression socks (review upcoming) that i'd received in the mail just two days prior, courtesy of 9run.ca and tiux

  • A photo posted by patrick voo (@pbfvoo) on
  • in line with a decision that i'd made to really pay more attention to my body during this race, i chose to run naked ... no GPS watch or timing device of any kind for me.
given that i had no splits of any kind to really base my race report off of, i thought that i'd break it down in terms of sections of the course ...

>> stage 1 - bechtel park to bloomingdale road
i stayed back to start with the 'second wave' (of only about 100 runners), and the first 2km or so dropped about 25m - almost boston marathon-like.  i quickly settled into a easy-running pace, of what i wasn't quite sure but it felt like i'd just headed out on a group workout run.

>> stage 2 - bloomingdale/sawmill road to crowsfoot road
this was the first stretch of rolling hills, and lasted about 7km.  as we started to head out into the rural areas the wind also became noticeable - not quite a factor yet, but enough so that i found a fellow named jeff (from the london pacers) who was trucking along at my nice easy pace and we took turns drafting off of one another.  jeff was a bit taller than me so i found his height of some benefit in slicing through the wind - even though he was a lean running machine.  i'd find out that this was his first ever marathon distance, although he was familiar with half-marathons and shorter races.  jeff also provided me with my first and only read on pace, as he indicated that our steady 4:45/km pace was fine for him but if i wanted to step it up not to worry about him.

>> stage 3 - crowsfoot road to maryhill road
the turn onto crowsfoot road was almost a hairpin, and introduced the first short & steep hill on the course.  thanks to my advance scouting of the route i was prepared for it, and after cresting the hill we were now out in the mennonite countryside.  this 7km section was the flattest stretch of the course, but the most travelled ... by horse and buggy.  there must have been seven or eight families that passed by us presumably on their way to church, wearing their best sunday black and making it feel like we'd stepped through a wormhole back into the early 1940s.  but it was all very cool, and they were friendly enough to acknowledge back every wave of thanks for the wide berth as they went by.  and having to dodge the occasional horse apples on the road was something distinctly different as well.

my new friend jeff had dropped back during the ascent onto crowsfoot, which left me running with rob, a guy i'd met keeping warm inside the building before the race start.  he was a 30-marathon guy with the guelph victors who was tackling this race and then planning for the toronto goodlife marathon the following week.  i knew that i was still running easy because rob had planned to come in at just under 4 hours.

>> stage 4 - maryhill road to katherine street north
wind and dirt sums it up.

maryhill road was almost an entirely unpaved section of the route, pitted in the tire-track lanes and loose gravel towards the shoulder.  it runs through some wooded stretches, but for the most part was flanked by open fields - and this was where we could start to feel the effect of the wind coming in from the northwest.  the weather network predicted that they would be about 19-22 kph winds, and coming across your body it felt somewhat refreshing as the sun was now high in the sky and the temps had to be around 7°C.

this was the section that i started to find myself catching up to and picking off runners.  i hadn't sensed an increase in effort - instead i focused on keeping my cadence quick and footsteps light, breathing deeply from my diaphragm and enjoying the sunshine and fresh (well, occasionally fertilizer-laced) air.  i think that i passed four runners on this stretch of road.

one more quick note here - as you might gather, the cheering sections were fairly sparse out in the back roads in particular, but there was one couple that provided support at the intersections, then got into their vehicle and drove ahead to the next intersection to root everyone on again.  they must have done this at least five different times (that's how frequently i saw them), and they even picked up my hat when i ditched it and returned it to me after the race.  i would find out later that they are not volunteers but just fans - the husband having been a 2:25 marathoner in his younger years but not being able to run anymore due to two blown out knees.  i just gotta say that these folks were fantastic.

>> stage 5 - katherine street north to river's edge dr to line 86
a short 3.5km where a lot happened.  the first thing was the turn into the headwind - there was no mistaking that this would be a challenging length of road, however short, due to the resistance and placement in the race (wrapping up at around the 26km mark).  the second notable marker was that it was along this stretch that we ran through the famous covered bridge and took on the second short & steep hill climb.  and the third thing that sticks in my memory about this section is that i passed another four runners, and could only make out about four more runners ahead of me as we turned each corner.  could i have climbed towards the front of the pack ...?

>> stage 6 - line 86 to northfield drive east to university avenue east
in short, the most amazing 11km of my racing life.     

i picked off the other four runners that i'd spotted in front of me - which was a huge boost every time that i passed one, but it also gave me the (false) impression that i might actually be at the head of the race since there were no other marathoners in sight.

i clicked through to 33km without experiencing any kind of runner's wall.  this may have been in part due to fat-loading, proper carb-loading, or having made the choice to (again, first time ever) take in five gels over the course of the race instead of my normal four gels.

and at 33km i knew that i still had a racing gear, and i kicked into it.  i wanted to keep everyone that i'd passed in the rear-view mirror.

>> final stage - university avenue east to bridge street west to bechtel park
these final 5km were roly-poly, and held the last steep & short hill climb.  we also were joined by the half-marathoners whose gun time started 30 min. after the full marathon, and so there were more people to use as 'targets' to chase down.

with about 3km to go i spied someone clipping along at a good pace about 300m ahead of me - too fast to be within the half-marathon crowd that i'd caught up to, and so my pipe dream of leading the marathon was over but i also had someone that i could try to catch.  however, try as i might i could only get to within about 150m of him even with a hard-effort sprint finish down the bechtel park straightaway.  it was a huge boost however to spot 3:11:xx on the official race clock and to know that i would set a new marathon PB by about three minutes.

the start/finish line - the fan and volunteer support was terrific!

crossing the finish line i did feel a bit of the burn, but afterwards had not ever felt as strong finishing any marathon distance run.  even my stomach cooperated, allowing me to take in some decent calories from the generously provided 'finshers food bag'.

wanting to stick around to find out just where i'd finished, i headed back into the soccer dome to find ed whitlock there.  ed had served as the honorary race ambassador wishing us all well at the start, and stuck around to award prizes.  if you don't know who ed is, you're missing out - he is currently the holder of 33 world age-group record times in both indoor and outdoor racing events, including a 2:54:48 marathon while 73 years of age (!), which when age-graded works out to a 2:03:57.  ed was incredibly personable albeit on the reserved side ... it was interesting that during the course of our conversation i mentioned tackling a 50km trail race next (sulphur springs) and he responded by saying "you'd never find me doing that!"  apparently ed deliberately sticks to pavement and would never (and he distinctly said "never") be out on the trails.
the legend himself, mr. ed whitlock

i managed to find the posted results, and was pleasantly surprised with an eighth place finish overall, and a second place finish in my age category (meeting my 'A' race goal - and possibly my 'C' race goal of a negative split, but i don't know for sure).  sadly, i was the last place finisher of entrants from the city of barrie (2/2) thanks to my new friend, 'fast' bill steinburg.


my age-group podium standing landed me with a sport first-aid kit courtesy of st. john ambulance - a nice (and extremely useful) prize to go along with the hand-made clay race medallion.

in all the waterloo marathon was a fabulous race.  it was a gorgeous day, i managed a PB (and another clear BQ time), and really very well run.  definitely a hilly course, but nothing that should scare anyone off.  my hat's off to tony lea and his team for organizing a great event.

my thanks also goes to jim willett, the barrie running ninjas, the barrie roadrunners, Skechers Performance Division Canada, team running free, stan ong and the Hansons Marathon Method for helping me pull this off.  for now, it's time to get into the ultra part of the competition season ... see you on the trails (except for ed)!

race gear for the 2015 waterloo marathon:


24 April 2015

fat-loading: the breakdown

after my initial stab at a 10-day fat-loading regime i wanted to share a few quick insights and reflections - just in case you might be considering it in advance of your next marathon/race.
  1. it's a challenge to be creative and stay within boundaries.  my short list of go-to items included a whole lot of tuna, avocadoes, almonds, cheese, olive oil and chicken caesar salad.  most meals were a mix-and-match variation using those core foods.
  2. i tried to keep a log of each meal that i ate - and even found that to be tough ... which seems funny since i log every run/workout.  somehow i've got a full day and a half where i cannot remember what i ate.
  3. the first hard workout into the fat-loading schedule was a 16k Hansons Marathon Method tempo run (at marathon pace) - and after the first kilometre it felt like i absolutely hit the wall.  talk about pushing past your limits.
  4. i lost weight.  which seems strange when you let people know that you're maxxing out on your (healthy) fats.  but sure enough i dropped about two pounds, even when it felt like i was taking in more calories than i normally would.  my friend and unofficial advisor stan suggested that it probably had to do with carbs retaining more water than fats.
  5. there were some interesting recipes that i did try to tackle, including a cauliflower crust pizza.  while i still have some work to do in terms of really nailing the crust texture, it turn out too badly - if i do say so myself.

  6. A photo posted by patrick voo (@pbfvoo) on

  7. after all of this i think that i will be including a few more low-carb/high-fat meals into my regular diet.  even though by day three all i could think of was pasta and garlic bread, by day eight i was pretty ok with what i was eating morning, noon and night.
  8. and i'll fat-load again - maybe even longer in preparation for The North Face Endurance Challenge Series Gore-Tex 50-miler this july.  (psssttt ... if you're thinking of signing up for any distance at this event, use the promo code D30PVON15 for a 15% discount!)
of course the proof is in the fat-loaded pudding, so we'll have to see if there's a pay-off on race day in terms of a smoother transition from glycogen-burning to fat-burning as a fueling process.  keep an eye out for my race report to get all the goods!


20 April 2015

the best laid plans

it's race week once again!

it's boston marathon monday - which means that i'm glued to my tv and just about every social media outlet providing updates and live coverage of the race.  there are numerous friends that i'm following who are competing at this iconic marathon today, including (and here's my shout-out!):
the london marathon will be run this weekend as well - another world marathon major, and one of the most exciting races of the year for me.  they consistently put together one of the most competitive fields available, which means fast paces and awesome rivalries.

but for me, my focus will be on sunday's waterloo marathon - my first big race of the 2015 season, and an event that i've never run before.

to this point i've had a great series of months in training, following the Hansons Marathon Method.  i've tried to incorporate some new elements into my preparation for this race, including a tempo-finish long run, and fat-loading as part of my taper.

time to for at least one more new thing to try before reaching the starting line - and that's to post my goals.

like many runners who invest months (if not years) of focus before putting their legs to the test, i have the tendency to second-guess my ability and readiness.  as such, in the past i've kept my cards close to my chest and not shared broadly what i hope to accomplish in any given run. 

but you know what - i wanted to freshen things up for myself this year, so here goes nothing.

as is often recommended i have set three goal levels (as there are so many things that can happen over the course of 26.2 miles):
  • 'A' goal - finish in the top 3 for my age-group
  • 'B' goal - finish with a 3:10 time or better
  • 'C' goal - run a negative-split.

this is big step for me - i'm confident of my conditioning, that i've exercised sufficient mental discipline to see my training plan through, and now it's just about believing that i'm as good as i can be.  just recently i read an older article about the frame of mind that sets many elite athletes apart - they carry an unshakeable sense that they're entirely capable of winning the races that they enter.  and since running (especially distance running) is arguably more mental than physical - my friend and running sensei jim repeatedly reminds me that 'running is 90% psychological and the other 10% is in your head' - i believe that i'm ready to rock the waterloo marathon.

to all of you who have shared your support on facebook, twitter, dailymile, strava and by email - not to mention those who have logged miles with me in training - thank you so very much.  i promise to make you proud!


14 April 2015

burn baby burn: a newbie takes on fat-loading

i've carbo-loaded before.  a three-day focus on building up my carbohydrates stores in advance of marathons has worked well for me - and truth be told i like gobbling down all of those muffins, breads, pastas and sports drinks.  it's kind of a treat.

but this is a first.

i'm fat-loading.

after having read several articles about this recently highlighted approach to distance event competition preparation (some in favour - like here, here and here - and some not so much - like here and here), i decided to give it a go in advance of the waterloo marathon on apr. 26.  given that i'm a hack at everything i do, i thought that it would be best to consult somebody who is (a) experienced in fat-loading, (b) a high-level athlete and (c) well-studied in sport sciences.  so without a second thought i reached out to my friend stan ong for advice.


gracious as ever, stan was quick to say that he was glad that i'd asked, and then probed just a bit to find out how to best craft a fat-loading plan that would meet my specific needs (including finding out what a typical meal would look like for me, my current weight and foods that i won't/can't eat).  factoring in all of this info, stan came back with an outline of a daily menu that i could riff off of and use to map out the week's grocery store trip.

if you've followed along with my blogventures then you know that i can't leave well enough alone - i like to tinker.  the beauty with this outline that stan's provided is that it has some flex to it - he even makes concessions for the occasional 'carb craving', allowing for a piece of toast or fruit here and there.  with that in mind, i was keen to launch into this new dimension of race readying.

A photo posted by patrick voo (@pbfvoo) on
i'm now a day and a half into it, and so far i've noticed a few things:
  1. stan provided advanced warning that fats don't provide that 'full up' feeling like carbs do - and i admit to feeling noticeably hungrier after each meal yesterday and today.
  2. so far it looks like fats lead to less weight gain than carbs - maybe because carbs trigger greater water retention.
  3. it's already painful to stare at the loaves of bread and bags of potatoes on my kitchen countertop.
but i will see this thing through - and trust that there will be a pay-off come race day in terms of efficiently metabolizing fat as fuel, and staving off the vaunted 'wall'.

fat fingers crossed!


10 April 2015

taking the scenic route to rotterdam

this week i've got a cool shout-out to some friends of mine who are traveling the world with their four kids!  rob and rose meeder are both doctors but decided that they wanted to create a lasting memory and legacy by taking this once-in-a-lifetime trip.  as part of the journey rose has had the chance to train with ethiopians, and will be competing in the rotterdam marathon this weekend - how cool is that?

you can find out more about this super-cool planetary tour by watching this promo video:

so while i continue to thaw out from the canadian deep freeze of 2014-15, i'll live (and run) vicariously through my globetrotting friends. 

have a great race rose, and make sure to check out the 'marathon supporter' pixelboard at the 37K point and 500m before the finish line!

you can follow rose, rob and their kids on their trip via twitter: @TheMeeders



07 April 2015

[guest post] gear review - Skechers Midnight Running Tight

i'd shared an extra pair of the Skechers midnight running tight that i'd received from Skechers Performance Canada with my friend, training partner and fellow Barrie Running Ninja rick "rickyd" doucet - and in exchange he offered to share some of his own personal reflections on this piece of technical running apparel.

so without further ado, some words of review from the master b-boy and registered lethal weapon himself: 

rick and i from the 2014 MEC Barrie Race One
- - - - - - -

I wouldn’t classify myself as a new runner. I wouldn’t say that I have a lot of experience or expertise. Other than good footwear I have no running “gear”. So when one of my two running mentors offered me a pair of SKECHERS running tights I said “sure”. As I become more passionate about the sport, I’m always looking for ways to improve and find more advantages.

I think I wore a pair of nylons in a play in high school some 30 or so years ago. Needless to say, it felt odd just putting tights on. During my first run, I absolutely noticed them every step of the way. It felt strange being squeezed as I ran. I had to go out a few more times to make an honest opinion about their 'benefits'.

What I’ve noticed is that my knees don’t feel quite as tired afterwards. I feel like the compression kind of springs my legs back into a strait position after each step. I can’t tell you the exact math, but on a 24 km run, even 1% less effort per stride adds up. I’ll take it. Less effort and less pain = happy runner.

On the downside - the ankle zippers are very stiff. And the waistband is already starting to curl inside the pants.

But the bottom line is positive. I do like them very much and I will be buying more. I think next I’ll have to try some SKECHERS running shoes next.


04 April 2015

race report - 2015 MEC Barrie Race One (10k)

i don't think that i've ever been so happy for a less-than-PB race time.

as a proud member of the Barrie Running Ninjas (led by our sensei and MEC envoy jim willett) i was eager to participate in and support the first community MEC race of this season.  our intrepid little tribe normally meets up every saturday morning at 9am for a 10k (or so) jaunt around the city, so showing up for a race at the same time that we would normally otherwise be gathering was no biggie.  it was great to have rick, lewis, mark, sarah, samantha, and trevor coming out to represent the dojo in both the 5k and 10k. 

i'd had this race marked on the calendar but not as a target race - i'm still focusing my efforts on the waterloo marathon in three weeks' time.  so what's a marathoner in training to do when a 10k race is conflicting with a scheduled long run day?


incorporate it as a fast-finish to your planned 26k workout.


this was a hotly anticipated event for our local MEC store in part due to the fact that they had managed to 'qualify' for chip timing this year as a result of last year's race series success.  while MEC has always put forward great races (check out some of my previous race reports here, here and here) this would be a huge bonus feature - in my estimation, chip timing almost sells itself in terms of attracting registrants.  this would definitely be a boost to the already growing interest and level of competition at the MEC barrie race series.

normally registration and kit pick-up is a breeze - and to a certain extent it was again.  the one variable that played into it this time around was the fact that the race would take place on easter weekend, and that meant that the day before the race was good friday - a stat holiday.  MEC wouldn't be open, and so any pick-ups had to be on the wed-thurs prior to race day or one race day itself.  it was also a two-stage process as the timing chips (provided by Speed River Timing) would not be available until the morning of race day.  again, not a real inconvenience, but something that had to be factored into the pre-race plans.

race day
i arrived approximately two hours before the scheduled 9am start time in order to get in an easy 16-18k before the starter's horn would sound.  i knew that i'd have to pause to get chipped up, and i planned for at least one bathroom break during the early miles.  the first stretch of running would and did afford me the opportunity to scout out conditions all along the course route and they were notably varied ... with a windchill of about -9°C but clear sunny skies there were sections where i was overdressed for the conditions and other sections where i was thankful to have come as prepared as i did.  

passing by the start/finish area several times i was greatly encouraged by the groups of runners amassing at the registration/kit pick-up/chip pick-up tents.  i was certain that this would turn out to be an excellent day for MEC and for the local running community.

i tried to time the conclusion of my easy run workout portion with the projected 9am start, but i could hear the race marshal announcing that the start would be slightly delayed in order to accommodate 10k runners who were still waiting in the porta-potty lineups.  apparently three porta-potties and the other nearby facilities were not processing people fast enough.

as the race finally got started, i found myself at the back of the pack - quite deliberately.  my aim was to finish with a tempo-ish run, so trying to bump out the 10k at about goal race pace (4:24/km).  but between the log jam on the narrow bayside trail and the runners who were more interested in conversing than picking up the pace i wound up weaving a bit to get into the clear (i know, it chews up energy and is the wrong way to start a race - but consider the fact that i was well into my 19th kilometre of the morning by this point).

miles 1-3:  20:08 
i kept telling myself that i was trying to just hit "race pace" (my mental mantra), and i was monitoring the level of my breathing to make sure that i wasn't overcooking it.  but after i heard the first mile beep on my garmin and checked the elapsed time i noticed that i was clipping around a 4:12/km which was faster than i had counted on.  but i was convinced that the 'feel' of that first mile was what i was after, and i managed to cue in on a few runners that were still ahead of me and carrying out a steady effort.  by the end of the third mile i found that i'd passed these runners and could only see one guy about 300m ahead of me, effectively leaving me running alone in the heart of the race.

miles 4-6:  20:08 
how's that for an even effort?  that's exactly how it felt too - even though we'd now turned a bit into the wind.  after the fifth mile i caught and passed that guy (found out later his name was rob) who was 300m ahead and then tried to steamroll my way through the final mile - opening up my hands and bumping up the cadence for the homestretch.  by this time i'd caught up to a bunch of the 5k runners who'd started 10 min. after the 10k horn and did not cover the first three-mile out-and-back - so there was a bit of "on your left" going on, though not quite in captain america style. 

last 390m:  1:31
what a tease - just as you come into sight of the start/finish line you have to run past it, loop around the back and cross over the mats from the other side of a parking lot.  and in this twisty finale one of the guys whom i'd passed during the third mile (having assessed at the time that he was probably pacing his heavier-set but still very capable buddy) turned on the afterburners and blew past me to finish eight seconds ahead.


even before checking my splits i'd a good sense that i finished in the 42 min. ballpark with an even effort the entire way - and i was super-pumped about that.  a nice fast-finish long run which left me spent in the finisher's chute but with the knowledge that i'd sustained a strong kick for the last 10k.  i was going to check the posted chip-time results but the crowd around the board was a bit too thick, and the wind a bit too biting once we all stopped working up a sweat.  i'd find out later online that unofficially i'd placed first in my age-group.


checking in with the other ninjas, the update was that mark and trevor posted top-10 finishes in the 5k, rick managed a top-15 spot while still recovering from strep throat (although his account was that it was a 'brutal' result), lewis snagged a strong top-25 finish, sarah hit a new 5k PB and samantha rocked a fast time and the funkiest running tights around!

l-r:  jim, trevor, moi, rick, sweet lew, sarah, mark (samantha had to jet for home)

what else can i say - i'm feeling really good about today's long run workout as an indicator of how i'm going to feel in the latter stages of the marathon later this month.  it's exactly what i'd hoped for, and it was a great day to share it with my amazing training partners and friends.

if you've never hit up a MEC race before, get in on the next one(s) in your region!

race gear for today:  


03 April 2015

gear review - Skechers midnight running tight

i know - you're still trying to get over the fact that Skechers should be taken seriously as a running company.

maybe you're starting to hear about how many people are training in and racing in Skechers Performance Division footwear.

maybe you've noted that premier athlete and Skechers Performance brand ambassador meb keflezighi is the reigning 2014 Boston Marathon champion.

maybe you've seen Skechers as a feature sponsor at road races and triathlons.

but what else have they got to do with running?

how about technical apparel?

late last year i received several pieces of Skechers Performance gear to help get me through my season of winter training, and among them was the midnight running tight.

now i will admit that i'm a tight-wearing kind of guy - especially when it comes to layering up for harsh tundra-like workout conditions as are common in this neck of the woods.  when i first tried the midnights on i will say that i was slightly disappointed - i hoped that they would feel like compression tights, but they slid on more like tight-fitting yoga pants - and the ankle cuff was loosely fitted, not wrestle-over-your-heel narrow.  minor letdown at the outset.

however, they felt velvety smooth - the spandex/poly fabric has a really nice hand to them, and i could quickly tell that the next-to-skin contact would not ever be an issue.  in fact, they worked extremely well as a semi-thermal tight because they are a heavier weight than a standard technical tight.  

although not required during the winter (because i wore them underneath a nylon-paneled outer pant) the reflective detailing on them are well-placed from the appliqué Skechers logo mark on the mid-thigh to the shin-crossing sewn-on reflective strips.

so there were many functional aspects of the pants that i did like - so what didn't i like about them?

for one, i wish that there was some kind of pocket system integrated into the tights - whether an external zippered pocket at the back just below the waistband, or even a small internal key-pocket.  if i'm going to head out on a run with these tights as a single layer, i'd like to have somewhere to keep my keys or a bit of cash.

second, i had a question about quality - in particular as it relates to the rear-facing cuff zippers.  they feel solid enough, but that's in part where the issue lies - they're so solid that it's almost a two-handed job to zip or unzip them.  now given that they are pretty stretchy at the cuff it's not a big deal to whisk the pant over your unshod feet, but if for whatever reason you want to unzip the bottom of the leg for additional clearance it's not that quick-and-dirty.  better zipper sourcing next time please. 

my video review is available here:

considering all of this i do really like the midnight run tight - so much so that i made sure to get one of my running partners into his first pair of tights, and it was in a pair of these.  for comfort, function and affordability (at just $40 USD) Skechers has gone and done it again!

*** disclaimer:  i was provided with the Midnight Running Tight by Skechers Performance Division (Canada) but was not obligated to provide a positive review.  all opinions - however poorly expressed - are my own.