Training Tips: Intervals Featuring the New Balance Vazee

The CCVI Trolley Run has many partners who make our race possible. We're fortunate to work alongside Garry Gribble's Running Sports and New Balance for our race, and we've loved trying out the new Vazee Pace which made its debut in July. Elite runner and CCVI Trolley Run guide Gerry met up with race director Emily to share some tips on intervals, training, and why he loves the CCVI Trolley Run.


Hey guys! Gerry here. Let's talk about the New Balance Vazee. Vazee loosely translates to "let's go" so when I thought about what "let's go" means I went back to being a kid and telling my buddies, let’s go jump that fence, let’s go climb that tree, let’s go swim right after we ate (the things our parents tell us not to do)...  So when I was about to go run on a gloomy day, I was trying to make the connection between shoes and running when all of a sudden it hit me. I stood outside the parking lot of my work building watching the rain pour down and asked myself, “Should I go inside and run on the treadmill? Should I just call it a day? Then I looked down and my new bright shoes and thought, “Hey… LET'S GO!” I needed to get a workout in so what better way to test out a pair of lightweight neutral trainers than in some of the worst conditions: mud, rain, and with a runner who thinks it's normal to run 90-100 miles a week.

Here are my main takeaways about the Vazee:

1)  Weight: I was able to pick up the pace for my 15x one minute on, one minute off workout fairly easily. They almost feel like a flat but at the same time a trainer. I was able to get down to low 5 minute pace and still feel like my feet were supported. These are the perfect shoe for Trolley Run where SPEED is key. 

2) Toe Box: The toe box is perfect for those who not only have wide feet, but for letting your feet breathe. As I was running, my feet were never forced to stay in the confined space of the shoe. When I was getting on my toes, they easily rolled right to them. When I stepped on a rock, they conformed to the size of the rock. 

3) Water Rentention:  I ran in these during a downpour, and thought the shoes would fill with water and become extremely heavy. That was not the case. The fact that they only weight 7.5 oz makes them less vulnerable to water/sweat rentention. Even when I stepped in deep puddles of water, I didn’t feel like the Vazee got heavier.

4) Aesthetics: These shoes are great for not only running, but for wearing around casually. I never wear running shoes when I'm not running, but I wouldn't hesitate to wear these out and about. 

Now let's talk about training. All too often, I get asked by people, “How did you become so fast?” and “What’s your secret?” I think of myself as a competitive runner and am fortunate enough to be somewhat decent but the truth is, there are NO secrets. That's the beauty of running. Anyone can become better and faster with the right training plan.

Here are some of my tips for intervals and training:

1) DO NOT be afraid to get out there and run with people. Kansas City is one of the best places for running, and our running community is AMAZING! It’s always better to run with others, so if you need motivation, training tips, or just want to hang out, then get out there and get connected. Trolley Run, along with Kansas City Track Club and Garry Gribbles Running Sports provide group runs and more throughout the year. 

2) Fartleks: Many people want to get faster, but don’t know how. The Fartlek workout is a great starting point. Here's how it’s done: Run hard for certain duration of time, then run easy for that same or longer duration. Easy right? YES! Start off at 15 seconds hard then 30 seconds off for 20 minutes total. The gains you will see with this workout are amazing. As you progress, make the “hard” parts longer and the “easy” parts shorter. These workouts trigger all parts of your body and come race day, you will be able to crush it!

3) All I am going to say is HILLS!

4) One of a runner’s biggest flaws is running through injury or sickness. I fall to this advice more than anyone. Don't be afraid to take a day or two off every once in a while if you feel sick or something is bothering you. Trust me, a day or two off is so much better than a couple of months off. 

Mike + Gerry on the race route
USABA athlete Michael Kinoshita racing with Gerry as his guide during the 2015 CCVI Trolley Run

Now let's talk CCVI Trolley Run!
It's an AMAZING DOWNHILL RACE so it’s really fast! When I first moved from Texas to Kansas City, the race people talked about the most was the Trolley Run. And here are some of the reasons why:

1) The Cause: Trolley Run is the largest annual fundraiser for the Children’s Center for the Visually Impaired (CCVI). ALL funds raised for the race go towards critical programming at the center. CCVI is one of eight schools in the country that prepare blind and visually impaired children to succeed in the sighted world, and Kansas City is lucky to have such a great resource in the heart of our community. 

2) The Course: There's no better course than a downhill one! If you want a fast four mile time then this is the race for you. Also, the scenery of Kansas City is great as you wind through Waldo, Brookside, and finish on the County Club Plaza. 

3) The Friendships: I was very fortunate to get the opportunity to guide Michael Kinoshita, a visually impaired athlete, in the 2015 Trolley Run. It was an amazing experience! I got to eat dinner and hang out with him and other USABA athletes, and then see how willing (and competetitive) they were when it was time to race. Michael's time for Trolley Run was 21:16. That’s 5:20 a mile! The people you meet at this race are from all over the country, and the friendships you make are ones that will last a lifetime. Trust me, I know. 

4) The Prizes: We all love prizes, especially those that we ran our tail off for! The top four male and female finishers split a $6,000 purse, there's lots of delicous food at the After Bash, and they raffle off a CAR, courtesy of the Kansas City Buick/GMC dealers. Who wouldn't want a chance at that?

Looking for a fast downhill course for a great cause? Then the CCVI Trolley Run is where you want to be on Sunday, April 24th, 2016. Looking for some new shoes to train or race in? Then the New Balance Vazee is the shoe for you, and you can pick up a pair at Garry Gribble's Running Sports! Looking for more advice on training/intervals? Click HERE to like Trolley Run on Facebook and stay up to date with group runs and other activities. LET'S GO and run together!