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>>
We chatted to Caitlin about how they make their relationship work around their heavy training loads and transient race schedules.