Getting back in shape after the birth of my first baby has not been as straightforward as I imagined it would be! So my goal has been to focus mostly on regaining my running fitness and get back into trail racing first.
Training time is very precious and I need to be as efficient with the time as I can be. I have been doing most of my runs straight from home to maximize the actual running time, rather than driving to the forest or trails. I needed a shoe that I could run comfortably in on both the road and any trails/ gravel roads that I could get to from home.
I decided to try the Challenger ATR 3 as it is the perfect all-terrain/hybrid shoe for training on a mix of roads and trails. It feels like the Clifton 3 (which is my all-time favourite shoe!) with a similar lightness, responsiveness and cushioning in the mid and forefoot but with a more aggressive grip on the sole, and a more durable upper.
So far it has been brilliant on all terrains and from the very first run, I have loved it!
I started out being heavier and less fit than normal post-pregnancy so I found it to be a great option cushioning wise, helping me not to overload my joints as I began the process of re-strengthening.
The lugs/tread on the sole are sturdy but not too aggressive so it's been super
comfortable running on the roads, yet rugged enough that I have felt really
confident running off-road in a variety of conditions and terrains in terms of
traction and grip. So it has been perfect for the style of training I have been
Its upper is durable and yet breathable and quick drying, with a snug formfitting feel. I have run through a few small rivers and creeks and deep mud puddles and not had any feelings of wet uncomfortable feet. Its super responsive and has a great underfoot feel, although for the more rough or technical trails I would probably opt for a shoe with slightly less forefoot cushioning like the Speed Instinct to gain a better underfoot feel or the Speedgoat with a more rugged sole/tread for the more technical terrains.
I had the opportunity to race in the Challenger ATR3 for a mid-distance 24km off-road event recently and found that distance wise it was perfect. It felt light/
responsive and had just enough grip to keep me upright in the clay and mud. It worked well as the race had 3 distinct styles of terrain and I was just as happy on the gravel roads as I was on the mud/clay and bush tracks.
However, if I were doing that length race again with less gravel roads and more mud or technical running I would opt for the Speed Instinct.
So, if you're looking to do some trail running this winter but want a shoe that is versatile between both road running and trails, is super light, form-fitting, and responsive with a great grip that works for both training and racing then I would defiantly suggest the Challenger ATR 3 as the perfect option.
Your feet will thank you for it!
See more from Hannah HERE>>
Kona, The Ironman World Championships. The most hyped and talked about race of the year. The sole focus for many triathletes over their year or even their careers. But should a pro triathlete put 'all their eggs in one basket' and sacrifice their season for just this one race. HOKA athlete, Laura Siddall gives her take on this konundrum and her 2018 Kona race run down.