It’s a high-mileage shoe, perfect for marathon training.
Built for: Road
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If you’ve ever suffered the frustration of waiting for your GPS watch to connect, you’ll welcome the in-built tech the UA HOVR run footwear suite. A sensor embedded into your insole (don’t stress – you can’t feel it) allows even the most techno-phobe runner amongst us to connect your shoes to your phone like a pair of headphones. Tracking your speed, distance, cadence and stride length, your post-run data automatically uploads to Under Armour’s MapMyRun platform.
The chip doesn’t use GPS on its own, so needs to be calibrated to your stride if you want it to be as accurate as your Garmin, but if you’re running out the door without your watch, or it dies mid-run, the Infinite is a good backup. The chip will out-last the life of the shoe and doesn’t need to be recharged, and will update with new technology and features as you update the app – a nice feature.
But do we actually need a chip in our shoes? Firstly, the MapMyRun platform displays ‘shoe life’ – clocking up the total kilometres your shoe has done, whether you’re running, walking or wearing them in the gym. As well as this, the data sent to the coaching feature in MapMyRun gives you personalised coaching tips based on your performance. You can calculate your target stride length according to your pace, and read tips on how to improve your running technique.
While there’s currently no way to get the data onto your running watch, Under Armour have said Garmin, Suunto and Apple Watch connectivity is something they are working on.
Aside from the tech, to run in, these are similar to the likes of the Asics Gel Nimbus or Brooks Glycerin in their level of neutral, cushioned foam. HOVR is Under Amour’s high energy-return foam, which you can see through the cutout windows in the midsole. The feel? At first, there’s a firmness underfoot, but on the run they feel extremely cushioned as you clock up the kilometres – a good marathon shoe.
The thick layer of foam is wrapped in a fishnet-like fabric, which has been designed to limit how much the material can expand when compressed. The engineered mesh upper is lightweight and breathable, with plenty of reflective elements for running in low light.
Gender specific construction
Like other brands on the market, Under Armour have tweaked the design for a gender-specific fit based on their own research into each gender’s anatomical needs. We were lucky enough to visit the design lab in Portland to hear more about how their biomechanics team found women’s heels to be shorter and their arches more sensitive, meaning the female sock liner and tongue is softer and higher.
Like all high mileage shoes, the HOVR Infinite has a large outsole, built to take the hammering of a marathon training schedule. The Infinite’s design has thick rectangular pods underfoot, for support, with deep grooves running across the shoe allowing it to remain flexible. Of course, this amount of rubber makes the shoe heavy, but it doesn’t feel it underfoot.
I’ve worn the shoes for 64 kilometres at the beginning of my marathon training and am impressed by the comfortable cushion on long runs (I’m a stompy runner), but also the lightness on the track.
10 Marathon Training Tips, powered by Under Armour
Whether you’re in the middle of training for your first 26.2 or prepping for your crack at the distance, here are some training tips that will help you toward your goal:
1. Keep a training diary.
Write down your daily mileage, run times, race distance and times, and how you feel. It’s hard to remember what you did later, so write it down immediately. This will help you learn from your training, especially if you end up doing more races in the future.
2. Increase weekly mileage by no more than 10 per cent.
This allows for a gradual increase in mileage and reduces the risk of injury over time.
3. Include a “cut back” week.
Every third or fourth week of training, take your foot off the pedal and cut back a little. This means reducing your mileage and using it as an easy week.
4. Run three to four days a week.
Include one long run, two shorter runs for speed and strength, and an optional easy recovery run day. For speed, focus on your run pace one day a week by running slightly faster in short increments of time or distance. For strength, include some hills one run each week. Long runs are runs that increase your distance. Run these at a slow, comfortable pace, about 1 or 2 minutes per kilometre slower than your expected goal pace.
5. Alternate a hard day with an easy day or a day off.
This allows your body to properly recover from the hard effort, which is when real adaptations take place.
6. Take at least one day completely off per week.
Rest, and recover. Two days a week for rest and recovery is okay when you’re new to marathon training, too!
7. Monitor your resting heart rate.
Take your resting pulse each morning before arising or use a smart watch that measures heart rate. Keep track of it in your training log. After several readings, you will have a baseline number. As our fitness improves, our resting pulse decreases. If you see your resting heart rate spike up by 10 per cent or more above your normal resting pulse, take it easy that day. This can be a sign of fatigue, lack of recovery between workouts, or an illness coming on and it is best to take the day off, sleep in, or change a hard workout to a very easy one, until your resting heart rate returns to normal.
8. Consider cross-training one or two days a week.
Performing complementary activities will increase your aerobic conditioning without additional running. Swimming, cycling, or rowing are good options. Keep cross-training activities to 45 minutes, one or two times a week, and do them at a very moderate intensity level.
9. Consider strength-training twice a week.
This can be weight training, or a Pilates or Yoga class.
10. When in doubt, always listen to your body.
If you are tired, rest. If a workout feels hard, it is hard. If you need a day off, take one. No matter what a training plan says, the real coach of your training will be your body, so tune in and take notes on what it’s telling you throughout your journey.