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    Beginners 5K Running Training Plan And How To Crush It In Just 6 Weeks

    If the thought of participating in a full-fledged running race seems daunting, starting with a five-kay run can be an excellent way to build confidence and ease into the world of racing. Not only does the shorter distance sound more achievable than a 10km or longer race, but 5km runs also tend to attract a fun-loving crowd of runners who value camaraderie over competition. Follow this training plan to go from couch potato to 5km runner in 6 weeks!

    5k Training Plan

    This plan, designed by fitness guru Amy Dixon, will help you build from a walk to running 30 minutes without stopping. Do all walking and running at an intensity level that feels challenging, but comfortable. Feel free to switch the rest day, but make sure you have one full rest day each week. And don’t forget to stretch.

    Getting Started

    Now that you have the plan, let’s look at starting out with a few basic items. Choosing the right gear can help you prevent running-related injuries and ensures the support and comfort you need on your 6-week journey. On your rest days, you can browse through the WH Tech and Gear section which is packed with expert advice, reviews, products and helpful tips.

    Adidas Supernova+

    Nike Dri-FIT Fitness Swift

    Nike Women’s Dri Fit Race Run Vest

    Puma Run High Impact Ultraform Bra

    Aonijie Funky Running Hat

    Salomon 250ml/8oz 28 Soft Flask More

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    Ultraboost Light Unveiled As The Latest Innovation From adidas Running

    The South African Marathon season is approaching fast. With the Two Oceans Ultra and Half Marathon scheduled for Saturday, 15 April and Sunday, 16 April 2023 respectively.

    Running is booming in our country, and, along with a huge increase in runners – by more than 10% since the 2020 lockdown, the tech in running shoes is forging ahead.

    One of the heroes of the new evolution of running-specific shoes is the BOOST cushioning from adidas. This month adidas unveiled the latest member of its most iconic running shoe franchise – the Ultraboost Light. Testament to their constant strive to take innovation to the next level, and in response to consumer feedback, the new Ultraboost Light has a ground-breaking new material at its core – Light BOOST.

    Marking a decade since the introduction of BOOST technology, the new and improved Ultraboost Light benefits from 30% lighter BOOST material. Resulting in a performance running shoe designed to offer epic energy, plush cushioning, comfort and responsiveness.

    Taking runners’ experiences to the next level, the all-new Ultraboost Light also includes:  

    A redesigned Linear Energy Point (LEP) found on the sole of the shoe reworked to optimise responsiveness and work in harmony with the new Light BOOST material. 

    PRIMEKNIT+ upper for an adapted fit that provides breathability and comfort.

    Continental™ natural performance rubber instils confidence in traction for all weather conditions.  

    A 10% lower carbon footprint* compared to previous versions.

    The new Ultraboost Light launches in a white colourway, featuring solar red and core black detailing. It is now available from adidas concept stores countrywide, online at adidas.co.za and on the adidas app.

    To celebrate the 10th anniversary of BOOST technology, adidas is also revealing a special edition version of the adidas Ultraboost Light with a dedicated colourway. The 10th-anniversary edition comes in a primarily black colourway, with black and yellow detailing. The same design that was found on the first-ever adidas silhouette with BOOST technology, the Energy Boost.

    Follow the @adidasZA #ULTRABOOST conversation on Instagram for more information. More

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    Is This Really The World’s Most Comfortable Running Shoe?

    Earlier this year, Asics launched the Gel-Nimbus™ 25 – the latest iteration of their Gel-Nimbus running shoe series – with a bold claim: “the most comfortable running shoe, as tested by runners”. That got our attention.

    What Asics Had To Say

    The Gel-Nimbus™ 25 contains PureGEL™ technology, which is designed to absorb shock and, according to Asics, creates the softest landing to date. Other notable features are the addition of Asics’s FF BLAST™ PLUS ECO cushioning foam, which is made using 20% bio-based material from renewable sources, and the stretchy, breathable knit tongue and collar.

    Independently Tested

    It took the Asics design team 18 months to come up with a running shoe that they believed could be called the “most comfortable”. They then handed it over to Dr Chris Bishop, a podiatrist and biomechanist at The Biomechanics Lab in Australia for testing. He designed a test to pit to the Gel-Nimbus 25 against three competitor shoes, as well as the Asics Gel-Nimbus 24. He recruited 100 runners – 52 men; 48 women – to take part in the eight-week study, which involved running on a treadmill for three minutes.

    All the shoes were disguised, so study participants had no idea which shoes they were wearing. After reviewing the study participants’ ratings across various categories, Dr Bishop concluded that, “Comfort is a perception factor which is not a biomechanical variable and it’s not the same for every individual. However, the results of this study were conclusive: the GEL-NIMBUS™ 25 was statistically the most comfortable running shoe tested.”

    WH Tests The Asics Gel-Nimbus™ 25 Running Shoe

    Intrigued by the lab results, Wanita Nicol took the Asics Gel-Nimbus 25 for a test-run under less lab-controlled, more plot-twisty conditions: South Africa’s roads.

    First Impressions

    The first thing I noticed, out of the box, was that the Asics Gel-Nimbus 25s felt a lot lighter than they looked. They’re actually quite broad and chunky looking, but this doesn’t translate into added weight. The next thing that jumped out at me was the tongue – it’s stretchy, perforated and a lot spongier than I’m used to. I find that running shoes sometimes squash the bridge of my foot and this tongue design prevents that from happening. When I read up about the shoe, I saw this was a key design feature – and the perforations I noticed are for ventilation.

    Fit

    The toe box is not as wide as I was expecting from the look of the running shoe, but it also wasn’t cramped – my toes had plenty of space to flex and move. (That said, I have narrow feet.) This snug fit also meant that my foot didn’t slip inside the running shoe, which can cause blisters. There’s a really nice, cushioned collar that prevents chafing and the laces – which are long and also have a good stretch, preventing them from digging into the top of your foot – have extra eyelets that you can use to create even more stability.

    Stability

    Speaking of which, the Asics Gel-Nimbus 25 has a broad base for a running shoe, making it feel really stable. That higher collar that wraps around your ankle also made me feel more secure.

    Grip

    The sole felt nice and grippy on the road and gravelly pavements, although I haven’t tested it in wet conditions.

    Versatility

    When you’re forking out a lot of money on a running shoe you may want to use it for different things. The shoe looks really good – on the run and with jeans. In fact, walking around the mall, I had a random stranger say, “I like your shoes!” and when a sports shoe passes the random-stranger test you must know it’s giving style! But as for other sports, this shoe feels, to me, like a road running shoe, end of story. I would not take it offroad – even just running over small stones, I could feel them right through all that cushioning (of course, I could just be long-forgotten royalty ala The Princess and the Pea). And while the base is broad and stable, I wouldn’t feel comfortable doing a functional workout in them with all that cushioning.

    Speed

    Sometimes you put on a running shoe and you feel like you just want to run as fast as you can. This is not that shoe. However, I felt like I wanted to keep going. I did my usual loop around the neighbourhood and as I neared the end, I still felt fresh and like I could go around again. I found it very easy to maintain a steady pace.

    Comfort

    And now for the big one – the Asics Gel-Nimbus 25 feels like running on marshmallows. The landing is so soft and pillowy, I didn’t feel any of the jarring sensation I sometimes feel as I start getting fatigued and I had none of the pain in my joints that I sometimes feel as a result. The fit is correct to size, so I didn’t ever feel that my toes were knocking against the front of the shoe or that my heels were slipping out of it. There was no painful chafing and no annoying bite of a lace or any other part of the running shoe. The only bit of discomfort I felt was that my feet felt a bit toasty, which I suspect might be welcome in winter when they typically feel like ice blocks on early-morning runs.

    A Running Shoe For People Who Hate Running

    So, the Asics Gel-Nimbus 25 is comfy. But who is it for?

    My take:

    I think it’s a good running shoe for people who hate running. From experience, I hated running until one day I put on a pair of shoes that cushioned my landing and took the pain out of the experience. I feel this shoe could be that gamechanger for other reluctant runners. It’s also good for recreational runners who just want to enjoy going for a jog and maybe run further but aren’t chasing a fast time.

    A more serious runner weighs in:

    While I – nowadays – enjoy running, I don’t run far and I don’t run particularly fast either. So, I asked my friend Amy (@‌amy_hoppy on Insta), a triathlete and half-marathoner, what she thought of the Asics Gel-Nimbus 25. Here’s what she had to say:

    “The Asics Gel-Nimbus 25 shoes are a slightly wider iteration of the 24, meaning greater comfort in the toe box for wider feet like mine. I love the new stretchy tongue and really enjoyed the comfort of the new foam configuration. It’s a shoe you can comfortably wear all day (I’ve tested that) and is ideal for LSDs (Long, Slow, Distance – i.e. your long weekend runs). It’s not a speed shoe (for short, sharp distances), but a good 21km+ and marathon shoe and everyday runner’s training shoe. Their comfort means that two-hour+ long runs won’t feel as taxing on your body and feet.”

    Price

    The Gel-Nimbus™ 25 goes for R3 499 at asics.com. The women’s sizes start at UK3 and go up to UK10, with half sizes available up to size 9.

    Asics Gel-Nimbus 25 | Papaya

    Asics Gel-Nimbus 25 | Indigo Blue

    The Verdict

    The Asics Gel-Nimbus 25 is a very comfortable running shoe. Is it the most comfortable in the world? I’d have to test a lot more shoes to make that call, but of the shoes I have tested, it’s certainly high on the list. Is it worth the price? If a jarring landing is holding you back from pursuing your running dreams, then I would say yes. And if you usually spend this amount of money on a running shoe, this one is worth checking out More

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    These Are The Stretches You Should Be Doing Before Race Day 

    For those with a race coming up, here is a quick routine of running stretches that you should do the day before to get your body prepped for the race!

    This is especially important if:

    You’ve flown to the event and have been sitting in a cramped aeroplane seat.

    You’ve been tapering and your body is feeling cranky.

    You’ve been sitting behind a computer a lot the week before the race.

    Your muscles are tight from all the training you’ve been doing in the build-up.

    Runners typically develop tight hamstrings, shorter muscles and tightness in the hips and groin area. This tightness could lead to injury and less than ideal performance on race day.

    Follow this routine for a good pre-race stretch (you can do it the day after race day too, to help with recovery).

    Remember, your body might be cold when you start moving, so make sure you move carefully and with intention, holding poses longer than you would initially (or in a vinyasa flow class).

    READ MORE: These Pilates-Fusion Moves Strengthen, Lengthen And Tone

    1/ Downward Dog

    Good for: Tight hamstrings and calves.

    Start with: Get into downward dog position with your body forming a triangle. Many runners won’t be able to get their feet flat on the ground – and this is fine. Spend about 2 minutes in this pose pedalling out your legs by lifting one heel and then the other and then teasing your heels closer towards the mat. It’s also good for your shoulders.

    2/ Low Lunge

    Good for: Hip flexors, hamstrings and quads

    Start with: From Downward Dog, raise your right leg into the sky behind you and then bring it forward beneath you, placing your foot between your hands. Drop your back knee onto the mat and raise your hands towards the sky. You should feel a nice, deep stretch in the groin area. Hold for 10 breaths and then repeat on the other side.

    3/ Runner’s Lunge

    Good for: Hip flexors, hamstrings and quads

    Start with: From Downward Dog, raise your right leg into the sky behind you and then bring it forward beneath you, placing your foot on the outside and in line with your right hand. This is an even deeper stretch, especially if you keep your back leg lifted. Hold this for 5 breaths and then drop your back knee. Place your right hand on the inside of your right leg and gently guide it, so that it opens up more to the side, opening your groin up more. Hold for 5 breaths. Let go of your knee and see if you can plant both forearms beneath your shoulders, down on the mat, on the inside of your right foot. Try and keep both elbows on the mat. Hold for 10 breaths This will deepen the stretch even more. repeat on the other side.

    READ MORE: Have You Tried The Explosive Cardio Hopscotch Workout?

    4/ Toes Pose

    Good for: Preventing plantar fasciitis

    Start with: Kneel on the mat and curl your toes under then sit your back on your heels. Hold for 10 breaths. You should feel a great stretch on the underneath side of your feet. Then flatten your feet while pointing your toes behind you. Actively lift your knees into the air to feel a great stretch on the top of your feet. This is great for your shins and arches.

    5/ Butterfly Pose

    Good for: Strengthens and opens hips and groin

    Start with: In a seated position, back straight, legs out in front of you, bend your knees and bring the soles of your feet together. Bring your heels as close to your pelvis as they can go, without pain. Wrap your hands around your toes and consciously work your knees towards the floor for 10 breaths. You can also use your hands to peel the top part of your feet open, elbows pressed into your knees so that the soles are facing towards the sky. Hold for another 10 breaths. For an additional variation, lie down on your back and keep your legs in the soles-touching-knees-out position. Stretch out your arms reaching for the wall behind you. Hold for 10 breaths.

    READ MORE: The 6 Greatest Recovery Tools That Ease Tight Muscles

    6/ Seated spinal twist

    Good for: Loosening stiff spine, neck and shoulders

    Start with: Sit with your legs out in front of you. Cross your right leg over the left, knee pointed towards the sky and the sole of your foot on the ground. Place your left palm on the floor at the base of your spine. Reach your right arm across your body and push it against the outside of your right thigh, near your knee, to deepen the twist. Hold for 10 breaths. Repeat on the other side.

    7/ Cow Face Pose

    Good for: hips

    Start with: From all fours, cross your right knee over the left, stacking one on top of the other. Sit down between your legs rooting both sit bones on the mat. If one sit bone is higher than the other, rest on a block or blanket. This is a very tricky position for runners as hips are usually so tight. If you experience any pain or feel that this position is too hard on your body, try the reclined version, by starting with lying down on your back. Cross your knees and send your feet out to the sides. Hold on to your right foot with your left hand and your left foot with your right hand. Or if it’s more comfortable, hold your shins. Pull your heels in towards your body, then out to the sides and slightly up. Hold for 10 breaths, then reverse leg position and repeat.

    8/ Reclining Pigeon

    Good for: Releases tension and tightness in the hips

    Start with: Lie on your back with your knees bent, and your thighs parallel and hip-distance apart. Cross your left ankle over your right thigh. Reach your left arm through the space between your thighs and reach your right arm around the outside of your right thigh. Clasp your hands below your right knee and flex your left foot. If your head comes off your mat, place a pillow or block behind your head. Hold for 10 breaths and repeat on the other side.

    9/ Bridge

    Good for: shoulders, core

    Start with: Lie down on your back. Bend your knees and place the soles of your flat on the ground in front of your bum, toes facing forwards. With your arms placed alongside your torso, you should be able to touch your ankles with your fingertips. Now slowly, hold your core strong and lift first your lower back, then middle back, then upper back off the ground. Hold your hips up as high as you can for 10 breaths. Then release slowly back down. Do this a second time except with the second bridge, clasp your hands underneath you, opening up your shoulders more by rolling your shoulder blades towards each other and creating more lift. This is a great counterpose to running because we’re often hunched forwards.

    10/ Legs up against the wall

    Good for: Relieves tension in legs and feet and stretches hamstring and glutes.

    Start with: Sidle up beside an open wall space, with your hips as close to the base of the wall as is comfortable. Swing your legs up the wall and lie back. Rest here anywhere from 10 breaths to 10 minutes. This can replace a standard savasana. More

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    The Results Are In: Running Proven To Significantly Improve Mood

    Johannesburg, 28 November 2022. A total of 99% of people feel good or great after going for a run. This was the key finding from a series of running support groups set up by Nedbank in partnership with the South African Depression and Anxiety Group (SADAG) leading up to and throughout Mental Health Awareness Month. The runs took place every day in August and September and were led by Nedbank Runified, Africa’s biggest virtual mass participation race. They aimed to show the nation that exercise, particularly running, can be a starting point to address what has become our nation’s next great health crisis: mental health.
    Nedbank Runified for mental health saw athletes, mental health advocates and running enthusiasts lead group runs across the country that were open to anyone who wished to take part. All those who participated were challenged to be cognisant of their mood before and after their run and to report back on how they felt.
    READ MORE: 4 Ways To Boost Your Mental Well-Being
    ‘The results were staggering, but also not totally unexpected’, commented Tobie Badenhorst, Head of Group Sponsorships and Cause Marketing at Nedbank. ‘It has been scientifically proven that exercise, particularly running, improves mental health and reduces depression, stress, and anxiety – this is widely known. But we wanted to illustrate this to South Africans in the most practical way – by facilitating support groups for anyone who felt they needed them. These groups were designed to allow participants to experience the mental effect of even light exercise first-hand.’
    Of those who participated, 59% described their mood as ‘flat’ before their run, with only 7% saying they were feeling great. Post-run, just 1% felt their mood hadn’t improved, with 17% describing their mood as ‘good’ and 82% as ‘great’.
    ‘With South Africa’s mental health stats being one of the worst in the world (one in three South Africans battle with their mental health), our hope is that Nedbank Runified not only gave those who participated an outlet to boost their mood but that it will broadly raise awareness and drive education on mental health. Ultimately, we hope it can create a shift in how we think about and approach mental health. We’d like to thank Nedbank for providing its Runified platform as the vehicle to help us do this and look forward to building on the achievements of the past months,’ added Badenhorst.
    ‘Nedbank has been involved in running for decades, and we are proud to use the Nedbank Running Club as a partner to create a lasting impact in the communities we serve. Through Runified, we were not only able to raise awareness while driving education on this issue, but through clear insights, we have also demonstrated that running, particularly in groups, can reduce stress, depression, and anxiety,’ concludes Badenhorst.
    Nedbank Runified for mental health is not yet over – those who want to join the movement can participate in November from anywhere in the world by joining the Nedbank Running Club on Strava or by searching #NedbankRunified on social media for more details.
    If you or your loved ones are battling mental health challenges, there is hope. Visit sadag.org or call 0800 567 567 in the event of an emergency. More

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    It’s Time For The Virtual Nedbank Runified Challenge

    It’s time for the Nedbank Runified challenge where runner’s join forces all over the country in aid of Mental Health Awareness month and Runify around mental health. This is the perfect first step towards a happier and healthier South Africa.
    Virtual Goal  
    The Runify challenge, in partnership with the South African Depression and Anxiety Group (SADAG), aims to demonstrate that running (particularly in groups) can reduce stress, depression and anxiety. The goal for the challenge is to collectively run 500 000 km by the end of the month. All you need to do is run as many times and as many kilometres as you can each week to help reach the target. Run for a greater cause, Runify for those around you and let’s get this movement going together, one step at a time.

    Join A Group Run
    The Nedbank Running Club is more than a club and welcomes runners of all fitness levels to unify through running.  Join one of the Runified partners in their respective cities for a 5 km group run.
    Durban 
    Nedbank Runified Durban group run hosted by Cuan Walker, Masibulele Mkhundlu & Nicola Schreuder
    Date: 22 October 2022  Time: 08h00 Venue: The Bike & Bean, Snell Parade, Stamford Hill, Durban, 4025
    Johannesburg 
    Nedbank Runified Johannesburg group run hosted by Tumi Sole & Zinhle Masango
    Date: 25 October 2022 Time: 17h30 Venue: Nedbank Running Club, Modderfontein, Flamingo Shopping Centre (Upper parking Area)
    Cape Town 
    Nedbank Runified Cape Town group run hosted by Amy Hopkins, Caley Jack, Nombulelo Mgabadeli & Graeme Richards
    Date: 29 October 2022 Time: 08h00 Venue: vida e caffè Table Mountain
    Join the Nedbank Running Club on Strava
    From 14 – 30 October 2022, run as many kilometres as possible to help Nedbank reach the 500 000 km goal in the two week period.
    Share your runs on Strava and all social platforms with #NedbankRunified and you stand a chance to win prizes, including Nike vouchers, Nedbank AVO vouchers, and Nedbank Running Merch.
     Visit http://www.nedbankrunningclub.co.za to join the Nedbank Running club in your area, no matter what type of runner you are. 
    If you or your loved ones are battling with mental health challenges, there is hope. Visit sadag.org for free resources to manage your mental health. SMS 31393 and a counsellor will call you back or call 0800 567 567 – available seven days a week, 24 hours a day. SADAG has a dedicated WhatsApp counselling chat line on 087 163 2030 available seven days a week, from 08:00 to 17:00.
    *In Partnership with Nedbank More

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    Eleven First-Time Female Marathon Runners On A Journey

    Empowering Change 
    In what has become an inspiring insight into each ladies’ deeply personal reasons for wanting to conquer their first marathon, the adidas Beyond Impossible Campaign has unfolded with the aims of empowering and encouraging the female community to lean on the sport of running for the purpose of bringing positive change into their lives. 
    [embedded content]
    The eleven ladies have been on a 16-week training program, under the watchful eye of Kathleen Shuttleworth, a Cape Town based running coach who specialises in middle to long-distance training. And even though the end goal is to complete the Marathon, there’s been a strong focus on building a sense of community, ensuring that the journey has been both supportive and enjoyable despite the challenge. 
    Commenting on the spirit amongst the group, Coach Kathleen said, “It’s been such an honour coaching and getting to know the ladies. Their dedication and enthusiasm to the program have been evident from day one. They’re a truly inspiring group of women, and I can’t wait to see each lady cross the finish line!”
    Zoë Brown, Ncebakazi, Kay, Leatitia, Shaakirah, Tracey, Yentle, Ashleigh, Melissa, Jana and Lenise were followed on their journey with beautifully shot 90 second individual videos, as well as a four-part documentary series detailing the 14-week journey of these courageous women.
    Follow the @adidasZA #BeyondMyImpossible #ImpossibleIsNothing conversation on Instagram, and be sure to keep an eye out for these special ladies along the route on race day – they’d love your support!
    *In Partnership With adidas More

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    Run In Comfort Over Any Distance With The New Under Armour HOVR Infinite 4

    Spring is a great season to start upping your running game and we’ve been testing for the perfect pair to make you excited to get out and run, while covering all your running needs at the same time. 
    The great thing about the UA HOVR Infinite 4 is the versatility of the shoe like this covers all the bases. Whether you’re going for a short run or taking on those long-distances, the new HOVR Infinite 4 is the queen of comfort. Much like its predecessor, Under Armour’s game changing HOVR Infinite range is a go to running shoe for all types of runners across the globe.
    What’s New? 
    Unboxing the new addition to the UA HOVR family you will immediately notice the exciting new look from this extensive makeover, and the new changes do not disappoint. The most important part of any road shoe is the midsole and its ability to keep you in comfort for the duration of your run so that the energy you put in is channeled into your pace, rather than worrying about any troubles with your feet. UA have kept the reliable, smooth, secure feel of the infinite by changing the cushioning midsole system, rethinking the outsole and simplifying the upper, resulting in a lighter, softer and more durable every day running shoe.
    High Impact
    The change of the midsole has been a significant technical mashup to deliver more efficient cushioning. By unwrapping and flipping the UA HOVR cushioning you now get a smoother sensation as the foot moves through the natural gait cycle, which for most runners starts with a heel strike. From here, most of the impact is absorbed in the midsole with a smooth transition to the toe off. A new upper has simplified the amount of fabric used to result in just one-piece of airy mesh, which means a lighter ride, and together with the 3D moulded insole, cradles your foot to help keep it securely in place. 
    Miles of Comfort 
    Coming back to the gait, we approve of the outsole makeover, which reveals anatomically placed deep flex grooves to provide flexibility in key areas to work with the natural forces in your stride and smoothly take you through each cycle to build up a smooth rhythm of running. This means you save energy. Unless you burn it on going even faster – recommended!
    New carbon rubber lugs under the heel offer improved traction and durability in high-impact strike zones to help propel you forward with greater confidence – another reason to up the tempo!

    At A Glance 

    Engineered mesh upper is extremely lightweight & breathable, with strategic support where you need it
    3D-molded sock liner cradles your foot for enhanced step-in comfort
    Responsive UA HOVR cushioning reduces impact, returns energy & helps propel you forward
    Anatomically placed, deep flex grooves offer flexibility in key areas
    Carbon rubber pods under the heel deliver greater traction and durability for those high-impact strike zones

    Stay Connected
    What we love about the whole Under Armour running range is the standard inclusion of Bluetooth in every pair of shoes. The insert in the heel records the data of your running gait, step count, ground contact time, strike angle and a whole lot more insight to analyse post run on the, free to download, MapMyRun app for your phone. It’s a simple matter of pairing your app with your shoe and then you don’t even need to run with your phone as the shoe itself is recording all the metrics. If you do run with your phone you can get the added benefits of having a real-time virtual coach advising you while you’re running. Bring on a spring full of running. 
    The new HOVR Infinite 4 is available in multiple colourways at Under Armour Brand House stores nationwide as well as online for R2899: www.underarmour.co.za
    *In Partnership with Under Armour More