Brooks Launch 3 Review

Brooks Launch 3 Shoe Review

The Brooks Launch 3 is a lightweight trainer.  The Brooks Launch 3 is an excellent option for anyone who is looking for a fast and responsive trainer that can be used for anything from racing a 5k to a marathon.  I know a lot of runners who prefer the Brooks Launch 3 as their daily trainer as well.  It’s a shoe that can pretty much do anything.

Initially I bought the Brooks Launch 3 based on the Olympic color pattern.  Even though I was injured at the time, I loved the limited edition color and didn’t want to miss out.  I wasn’t alone, and the Brooks Launch 3 sold-out in-store pretty quickly.  I didn’t know if I would end up running in them, but I knew they could be an option too.

Brooks Launch 3 Review

Brooks Launch Fit: 

I like the fit of the Brooks Launch 3.  Like the Brooks Ghost 10, the Brooks Launch 3 has a wide toe box and a narrow heel.  In general, I find the shape of most Brooks Shoes to be true to size.  The midfoot is shaped to match to hug most arches. Plus, like most Brooks shoes, the top is now a completely seamless and mesh upper. I wear a size 10, and a size 10 Launch 3 fits like a glove.

To add: I didn’t run in the Brooks Launch or the Brooks Launch 2, but I tried them on at work a few times.  The Brooks Launch 3 was redesigned to be seamless, which is great for anyone with a super-wide food (like me).

Brooks Ride: 

At first glance, the Brooks Launch 3 wouldn’t be a shoe I would pick out for myself to run in.  It’s lightweight, and I typically like more cushion.

That being said, the Brooks Launch 3 has an excellent lightweight, but firm feel to it. I like to think it has an extra springy push wand amazing energy return with the rubber in the forefront.

The front, as well as the midfoot, have been designed with more cushion. I run rather far on my toes, so the front-loaded cushion in the Brooks Launch 3 is much appreciated!  Plus, many shoes lack rubber in the forefront, and the Brooks Launch 3 forefront gives you extra rubber. The fast heel to toe transition and energy return in the midfoot and the rubber in the forefoot, make the Brooks Launch 3 great for speed work. The Brooks Launch 3 uses a DNA midsole cushioning, which dynamically adapts to your foot and gait.  The Brooks Launch 3 is shaped for a fast heel to toe transitions and added speed for amazing energy.

After a few runs, I ultimately decided I liked the Brooks Launch 3 and will keep them in my rotation.  I’m debating buying a second pair to keep the “Olympic pair” for special occasions…(Like what if an Olympian wants to go to a diner or something?)

For my personal use, I plan to run in the Brooks Launch 3 as a workout shoe or a “faster feeling shoe.”  I don’t plan to do long runs or high mileage in them.

Similar models: Saucony Kinvara, Saucony Ride, Nike Pegasus, Brooks Ghost

My Current Rotation:
Asics Cumulus 18
Hoka Clifton 3
Saucony Triumph
Brooks Launch

Brooks Launch 3 Pros:

  • The Brooks Launch 3 is lightweight but cushioned
  • Price point of $100 ($110 for the limited edition color I chose)
  • Great shoe to use for racing or training

Brooks Launch 3 Cons: 

  • Less cushion than a traditional trainer
  • Less durable than a traditional trainer. If you’re using these for a marathon shoe, you might want to invest in a couple of pairs.

You Can See All Current Shoe Reviews Here.

Finally, have you subscribed to the LOLZletter? It’s a free newsletter that comes out each Monday. In the newsletter, I share running industry trends and things relevant to the sport. 

Questions for you: 
Do you wear Brooks? Have you tried the Launch 3? 
What is your favorite running shoe? 

Sunrise Serinity 5k (20:14)

Last weekend, my husband and I were looking for a fun 5k to do. Then my in-laws came into town and wanted to find a race too.  After a little research, we found the Sunrise Serenity 5k about 45 minutes away. We didn’t know anything about the location of the race and as you can imagine that came back to bite us in the butt.

The course was located deep inside Ridely State Park. To be honest, there were no other cars on the road, and we wondered if we were even going the correct direction.  All we saw were miles of trails and an extremely hilly road. Once we made it to the start, we saw a few other people.

We signed up for the race course and warmed up.  We didn’t know which direction the race ran, and we warmed up in the wrong direction.  During our warm-up, we ran down a giant hill.  After about a half mile down the hill, we turned around because we realized we would be climbing back.  The first warm up mile was 11 minutes and had an elevation gain of 300 feet.  It made me dread racing.  The next mile was a little better, and I found myself a little more confident in the race.  I told myself it would end up being a workout and not to worry about it.

The race started at 8:30.  We got to the race start at 8:30 but they called everyone back to the DJ booth to do warm up stretches. After the delay, we were off at 8:45.  Got to love small town 5ks…

After the start, I found myself as first woman overall and something like the 10th person.  The first mile went downhill.  Since I knew the course was out and back, all I could think about was running back uphill.  I saw my husband way out in front, and I found myself running alone.  I crossed the first mile in 6:29 and I knew I was in trouble.  Running the first mile, which was net downhill, in a 6:29 meant I was probably going to ride the pain train home.

me running cornfield

The pack separated, and I found myself running alone.  I spotted my husband at the turnaround, and he was second overall.  I was excited for him to have such a good race.  Being the serious person I am, I winked at him and said you’ve got this.  After the turnaround, we began climbing the hill we just ran down.  To be honest, I felt better running uphill. I crossed the second mile in 6:33 and was pleasantly surprised.  I hadn’t fallen off as much as I anticipated.

Like many 5ks I’ve run, the final mile was just spent focused on the finish.  I was approaching two racers, and I wanted to pass them.  The first, a middle-aged male, I caught while weaving around runners going the opposite direction.  For the rest of the race, I ran nearly side by side by a 10ish year old who ultimately outkicked me.  Running with someone was nice.  I ran the final mile in 6:31 which I was shocked and pleased with.

I crossed the finish line in 20:14 and as first female overall.  With the course terrain, my fitness level, and the heat I was very pleased.  Actually, I was more shocked than anything.

My father in-law, Tim and I
My father in-law, Tim and I

Thoughts:
As I mentioned in my training log, I am happy with how my running is progressing. I do believe if I raced on a flat course I’m in 19:30 shape.  I have no complaints, and I’m feeling extremely motivated and excited to run healthy again.

Questions for you:
What is the hilliest race you’ve done?
Do you generally check race courses and elevation charts before signing up?

Workouts: The Comeback Begins?

Training:

Last week was the best week of training I’ve had since being injured.  I don’t want to jinx myself, but I finished the week confident, healthy and motivated.  I haven’t felt that combination of thoughts since early May.

me running 1

So what happened?

Monday: Easy 60 minutes Core
Tuesday: Easy 11 Miles (Wissahickon Park) Core
Wednesday: Rest
Thursday: Easy 60 minutes
Friday: Easy 80 minutes with father in law
Saturday: Sunrise Serenity 5k (20:14)  Core
Sunday: 60 minutes
Total: 50ish miles

Thoughts:

All of my runs throughout the week were easy.  I was able to run with my husband on Tuesday and my father in law on Friday.  On Tuesday, my husband and I went to Wissahickon State Park in the morning.  Just like central park in NYC, Wissahickon is a great local park with miles of trails.  We easily got 11 miles on the main train.

As far as effort and speed, none of the runs were remotely exciting but I’ll take all of the injury free runs I can get.  I’m just slowly building the base.  The more boring the training log, the better it is for me.

The Sunrise Serenity 5k

On Saturday I ran the hardest 5k course I’ve ever run.  The race was an out and back course.  The first half went down the side of a mountain and the second half came right back up.  We didn’t do our research beforehand and were not expecting it.  Honestly, I’m extremely pleased with my time and I know on a flat course I’m in 19:30 shape.  The race definitely motivated me!

Post race with my father in law and husband
Post race with my father in law and husband

For Next Week:

I’m at the part of running and training that I feel good. However, I don’t want to get overzealous and get back into 70+ mile weeks.

Questions for you: 
What was your best workout?
When you’ve been injured, have you ever hit a point that you feel like you’re “back”? 

Sherban’s Diner (South Plainfield)

Sherban’s Diner (South Plainfield)

Last week, the owner of New Jersey and I met up at the Sherban Diner in South Plainfield.  We’ve both been to most of the diners in Somerset and Middlesex Counties, so Sherban’s was one of the few we haven’t been too.

We met up around 6 pm on a weekday. There were only a few people in the restaurant.

Her website, New Jersey Isn’t Boring, has opened my eyes to so many different things the state has to offer.  If you ever venture off of the turnpike, I highly suggest you check out her website.

Sherban’s Diner Atmosphere: B
Sherban’s Diner has an older atmosphere too it, and that’s because Sherban’s Diner has been around over 40 years. Not in the traditional old dining car way, but it is in an older building with an older design to it.  It was clean, and there was nothing terrible about it, but it could use a remodel.  It reminded me of a casual “mom and pop” restaurant.

Sherban's Diner

Sherban’s Diner Service: C
When we arrived at Sherban’s Diner, there were only three other parties in the restaurant.  After waiting several minutes for a waitress to come over, a waitress asked if anyone had helped us.  We said no, and she said she guessed she would do it.  She didn’t come around often, and I felt as if I was begging for drink refills.  She also never asked if we wanted dessert and assumed we did not. It took another 10 minutes for dessert.

Sherban’s Diner Coffee: B
At Sherban’s Diner, there was nothing unique about the coffee flavor.  I did like the cute tea mugs they used.

Sherban's Diner

Sherban’s Diner Food: C
When I arrived at Sherban’s Diner, I wasn’t that hungry.  They had several options.  I knew the “cucumber salad” was one of their signature dishes, so I ordered it, and honestly, nothing was interesting about it.  It wasn’t bad, but it wasn’t unique or interesting.

Sherbans Diner Cucumber salad

I also ordered the Sherban’s Diner “famous” Greek Salad with chicken.  The salad didn’t come with anything unusual. I don’t know why the menu states it is as: famous.  It was one of the most boring salads I’ve had.  Plus, they didn’t give any pita bread with the salad.  It might be the first Greek salad without pita I’ve had. Sherban's Diner

I ordered the Greek bread as a side which was honestly my favorite part of the meal.  Sherban's Diner

Sherban’s Diner Dessert: C
I ordered the Coconut cake as a dessert to go.  The actual cake was dry, but the whipped cream frosting was good.  The shredded coconut was overpowering.  The cake was decent, but once again, it wasn’t that unusual.

Sherban's Diner

Sherban's Diner

Sherban’s Diner Price: $$$
For my cucumber salad, Greek salad, bread, cake, and coffee, the cost was $25.  Honestly, it wasn’t worth the price at all.  Something I found entertaining, is they charged 25 cents for a to-go box.  Sherbans diner recipt

I’ve never been charged for a to-go box before.  Was the price worth the meal? No.

Summary/Would I come back to Sherban’s Diner (South Plainfield)?
Sherbans Diner wasn’t anything to write home about. It wasn’t terrible, and everything was edible. However, it isn’t somewhere I would go out of my way to go too.  In fact, I probably won’t be back.  You have to take the good with the bad, though.

I had a great time catching up, which was the important part, to begin with…You can see Cyd’s review of Sherban’s Diner (South Plainfield) here.

Summary:
Atmosphere: B
Coffee: B
Service: C
Food: C
Dessert: C

Overall:C

You can see all of the diner reviews here. 

Questions for you:
Have you ever been charged for a to-go box? 
Do you like coconut cake?

Why You Should Take a Running Rest Week

Cutback week…

Down Week…

Less Running…

Essentially all phrases that mean, not running and taking a running rest week…Why You Should Take a Rest WeekIt seems counter-intuitive to take a week to back off mileage, intensity, and speed.  So why do it at all? 

Reducing your training for a week can help keep overuse injuries away.  Rest weeks allow your body to repair damaged muscles but also allow your mental state to rebuild.

As runners, we often want to run as fast and as long as possible.  We want our mileage to be consistently high, and we want to be at our best all of the time. I’ve been there and paid the price in my early twenties. I had multiple injuries (including stress fractures) from running too fast, not enough easy days, or not taking enough rest and recovery days.

Rest, down weeks and taper, can be the hardest weeks to incorporate into training.

When Should You Take a Running Rest Week? 

Like there is a different shoe for every runner, there is a different “right time” to take a cutback week for every runner.  Generally, every 4-6 weeks, athletes should take time a week of decreased mileage and intensity.

How Much Should You Cut Back?

Again, there is no right or wrong answer.  Most recovery weeks cut back anywhere between 25-50% of weekly mileage or 50-90% of the highest mileage weeks. There are some rest weeks, I might reduce the number of days per week I run. Other runs, I cut the miles per week. Usually, I spend a week doing mostly easy runs or maybe even some short cross-training. Either way,  I run less and take more rest and recovery.

This is essential during marathon training or big races. If you follow a training plan or have a running coach, you should make sure it includes recovery weeks.

How Can Rest Weeks Prevent Mental Burnout?

Let’s face it, at some point, most runners “burn out.”  My burnout came shortly before I got injured.  I tried to push through it, but looking back, my body was telling me to rest.  I should have rested both physically and mentally. Taking a rest week can take more mental strength than speed workout or long run. We want to return to running or run every day. We want to run fast! We want to improve our vo2 max. But, the rest and recovery are what helps us reach our goals.

Taking a rest week allows yourself to “miss running” and to rebuild the confidence you once had.

Bottom Line:

Any runner, elite or not, can benefit from taking a rest week or running break  It will help recover mentally, physically, and emotionally.  You aren’t going to lose fitness from taking a step back from running for a week.  In fact, you are going to recover and gain fitness.

Finally, have you subscribed to the LOLZletter? It’s a free newsletter that comes out each Monday. In the newsletter, I share running industry trends and things relevant to the sport. 

Question for you: 

Do you take recovery weeks or running breaks?

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