Hour 7 x Saysky - Finding balance in the future of ultra running
The Hour 7 ultra team and Saysky have been working together for a little more than a year now. Bound together by a love for the sport and with a common mission to provide support for amateur athletes.
The team has just returned from a training camp where they put the new Flow Collection to the test. Flow is our new high performance range for athletes demanding nothing but the best in terms of lightness and breathability. Explore some of the pictures below and then head over here to get your hands on the range before hitting the trails.
We also asked team manager and performance coach, Robbie Britton, to reflect on the future of ultra running and how one can find balance in this, when you’re just a normal “nine to five” person.
Pictures by Geoff Lowe.
FINDING BALANCE IN THE FUTURE OF ULTRA RUNNING - BY ROBBIE BRITTON
Bringing together people who care about making a difference and being part of something bigger than themselves is the basis of the Hour 7 x Saysky partnership
“The impact we can have on our fellow athletes and the sport as a whole is important.”
As the sport grows, we shall grow with it. Having the best kit, staying ahead of the science and knowledge, but also keeping the love will all be key to success.
Our sport is changing. It’s evolving even. Ultra-running is seeing an influx of faster, stronger and better informed individuals. Hour 7 not only wants to stay ahead of the game, we want to lead the way.
Noticeably professional athletes are starting to appear in the sport. First in the USA, but then Europe and the UK there are now full time athletes who are paid to run, eat, sleep, use some peculiar machine for recovery and then repeat.
It’s an expected, and wonderful, progression for the discipline that historically has always been on the outskirts of mainstream sport, but everyone needs to adapt.
THE “NINE TO FIVE” TYPE OF ATHLETES
At Hour 7 we work with athletes who fit their running into normal lives. We have athletes with a normal “nine to five”, trying to perform at a level that is anything but normal.
“Increasingly the demand is there to work harder, to train for more hours, to go beyond what you have done before, but more is not always better.”
Alongside the professionalisation of ultra-running, the science of the sport is bounding forward too. Larger studies into races like the Marathon des Sables, Western States and 24hr running are appearing. Case studies looking at the elite end of the spectrum give a great insight too.
Advancements are coming in shoe tech, sports nutrition, race psychology and beyond. To merely improve is to tread water with your competition. We have to work hard and smarter to get ahead.
A FIRST YEAR OF FINDING OUR FEET
Hour 7 celebrated its first birthday in January and what a year it’s been. We’ve seen records, international vests and a whole bunch of wins (with prolific racer Ollie Garrod doing a lot of heavy lifting with wins).
We’re still learning, but a lot of the lessons so far have been insightful, none more so than the difference between a full time professional athlete and the 99.9% of our sport, even at the elite level, that has to find the right work life balance to make it happen on a daily basis.
Facilities such as the lab testing with Dr. Jamie Pugh at Liverpool John Moores University are invaluable, having access to strength and conditioning coaches, nutritional support and coaching all need to take into account that time is the most valuable commodity for most of our athletes.
If we could support our athletes with more time, provide an extra hour in the day, it would be wonderful. An additional sixty minutes of sleep, recovery, strength work or food preparation could make a huge difference to a busy athlete. Even at the most basic level, an extra 60 minutes of time on feet, gradually removing the tread from a pair of training shoes, would be welcome.
“That’s the lesson that translates to most of the wider community. Find time. Make time."
Time is there, but for some of us it’s simply filled with work, family, sleep, social media…. Okay that last one might not help.
WHAT CAN GIVE AN ATHLETE MORE TIME?
Planning, organisation, support and using the time we already have as wisely as possible.
Prepare your kit the night before, batch cook your lunches on a Sunday, limit your screen time with apps and timers and commit to goals and targets with a coach or friends.
Every runner struggles with time, but if you had to find an extra 90 minutes a week (okay two hours with picking your outfit, tying your laces and waiting for GPS) to fit in 3 x 30 min easy runs, could you do it?
Would this have a benefit on your performance? Quite likely. As a team we focus on how we can create an environment that helps our athletes better use the time they have.
THE NEXT STEPS
As the Hour 7 team evolves, so does the team members. We have new additions in George Foster, Caroline Turner, Bethan Male, Jamie Stephenson and Lauren Woodwiss to join Sam Amend, Ollie Garrod and Damo Carr.
New people bring excitement, but also new experiences. We grow not only because of the value our experts have, but the experience and knowledge team members bring to the table.
“Every athlete is an expert in their own training and racing, everyone can learn from each other.”
As the sport of ultra-running continues to professionalise will there still be room for the amateur or part-time athlete who combines work, family and even other hobbies? We think so.
The sport is steeped in amateur tradition and, frankly, there are still significantly easier ways to make money in this TikTok age, even if you can’t shuffle dance. You still have to love the sport of ultra-running to be an ultra-runner. You need humility, a sense of humour and a masochistic desire to push yourself for very little material gain.
TRAIL TESTED BY HOUR 7 - THE FLOW COLLECTION
As the sport grows, we shall grow with it. Having the best kit, staying ahead of the science and knowledge, but also keeping the love will all be key to success. Saysky and Hour 7 are ready for the next step of this journey.
Get your hands on the latest and lightest gear before hitting the trails - shop the Flow collection here.