Competitor.com http://running.competitor.com Your Online Source for Running Mon, 19 Feb 2018 16:53:09 +0000 en-US hourly 1 https://wordpress.org/?v=4.5.2 http://running.competitor.com/wp-content/blogs.dir/3/files/2017/06/cropped-android-chrome-512x512-32x32.png Competitor.com http://running.competitor.com 32 32 Cheap Vs. Expensive Shoes: Does It Matter? http://running.competitor.com/2018/02/shoes-and-gear/cheap-vs-expensive-shoes-matter_169522 Mon, 19 Feb 2018 16:53:09 +0000 http://running.competitor.com/?p=169522 When it comes to running shoes, do you really get what you pay for?

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Time and again, runners are warned about the perils of cheap running shoes – the oft-repeated justification for a pricey pair of footwear is that that running shoes are an investment – and don’t we want to invest in the very best?

But when the average price of a pair of running shoes in a specialty running store in $114, that investment can sometimes sting. Do you really get what you pay for? Yes and no, says RunRepeat founder and statistician Jens Jakob Andersen.

Though all-purpose athletic shoes are often sold at lower price points than shoes designed specifically for running, they’re also not designed to withstand the rigors of running; treads wear down faster, and uppers disintegrate earlier. That alone makes a compelling case for investing in a dedicated running shoe, which usually costs more than their all-purpose counterparts.

“While any shoe can be used for any activity, it’s important to note that running shoes are crafted to function more resiliently than regular sporty kicks,” says Andersen. “The reason why specialty running shoes get more appreciation than regular footwear is that they have the features, the materials, and the construction to go with their price tags.”

Shoes specific to running have a precise construction, designed to hold the foot, encourage forward motion, and maintain comfort. Andersen notes that running shoe technology is continually evolving, fueled by a distinct body of research that looks to create faster, healthier, and happier runners. All-purpose athletic shoes, on the other hand, haven’t changed much over the years: “General athletic shoes tend to reuse the same materials, the same assets, and the same blueprints. Their manufacturers hardly innovate; in some cases, they even imitate.”

But innovation comes at a cost – the more expensive a running shoe is, the more likely the design is a result of a lot of people doing a lot of research. Still, that doesn’t mean that pricier running shoes are always better. In fact, Andersen’s study of 391 shoe styles from 24 running shoe brands found that the higher the list price of a running shoe, the lower ratings from customers.

“Brands have strong incentives to promote high-priced running shoes, but our study very clearly outlines that runners buying more expensive running shoes are less satisfied than runners buying mid-range or cheap running shoes.”

In other words, technology is nice, but many runners prefer to stick with what they already know works for them. Because tried-and-true shoe styles from established brands sell well, more of them are produced, thereby driving down the cost.

At the end of the day, however, it comes down to individual preference. Some are willing to pay a higher price for a particular feature, be it energy-returning foam or an eye-catching design. Others swear by a shoe’s capacity for injury prevention or faster splits, making a high-priced shoe well worth the cost. Shoes are as individual as the runner wearing them – a new runner (or one in search of their sole mate) should on a variety of styles at a variety of price points, rather than simply assuming more money automatically equals a better shoe.

“Many people buy running shoes for their efficacy during their intended activity. On the other hand, there are those who purchase kicks just because they look cool,” says Andersen. “It all boils down to the wearer’s level of comfort regarding quality, design, price, construction, and features. The cost won’t become a sheet of discouragement if the potential buyer believes that what they have chosen is for them.”

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Feeling Bored? Here’s How To Reframe Your Run http://running.competitor.com/2018/02/training/reframe_169509 Tue, 13 Feb 2018 15:43:33 +0000 http://running.competitor.com/?p=169509 “Running can be really boring, but boring is good. I think people need to shift their paradigm of boring.”

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If the statistics are right, the large majority of us who set New Years resolutions will abandon them by the time we reach February. It’s amazing how quickly we can go from inspired to indifferent. A bad case of motivational whiplash, our good intentions dissolve amidst the chaos and concern of everyday life. If that sounds like you, don’t worry, you’re not alone.

One of the major culprits that steals away our inspiration to take on new running goals is boredom. When we decide we to tackle our first 5K or finally knock the marathon off our bucket list, the first couple of weeks of training is often fresh and exciting, maybe even effortless at times. Soon enough, however, we begin to feel stuck—backed into a corner by a tedious routine we’ve committed to that doesn’t always feel like very much fun.

The driver behind that boredom is a lack of engagement in the process of training. We often approach running rather mindlessly, simply looking to plow through and check a workout off our to-do list rather than really immerse ourselves in the activity. It’s like you are literally running on autopilot. Interestingly, research suggests that we spend around half of our waking hours lost in thought—ruminating, planning, worrying—which causes us to miss the intricacies of what’s happening right in front of us. The result? Boredom and stress.

So what can you do to fight boredom and inject some new life into that training goal? Mindfulness is good place to start. At its core, mindfulness is attention training. It’s about bringing awareness to the present moment, training ourselves to notice when our minds have wandered, and gently guiding it back to the present. In paying attention to the task that is directly in front of us, we gain a greater appreciation for the richness of our experiences.

When I spoke with Dean Karnazes for my new book, Mindful Running, he told me this: “Running can be really boring, but boring is good. I think people need to shift their paradigm of boring.”

What runners like Karnazes have discovered is that when you peel back the layers and really tune into the panorama of the running experience, it’s not all that boring after all. One of the big keys to mindful running is curiosity. When you bring an inquisitive and attentive mind to the training process, you notice things about each run that are anything but mundane.

Take 10,000-meter Olympian Alexi Pappas’ approach. She is charged with racing 25 laps around a 400-meter track and says bringing curiosity to the moment is essential.

“I never get bored,” she told me. “I count laps and try to watch myself running the race as I’m running it—to almost amuse myself while everything is unfolding.”

So how might you leverage mindfulness to fight boredom on the run? Start with the following scanning exercises. You could spend a few minutes doing these at the beginning of every run or choose certain runs to devote to a mindfulness practice. As you move through each scan, try to keep you mind on the task at hand. If you get distracted, all mindfulness requires is for you to notice you’ve wandered and gently redirect back to the present. No harm done. These can be done in a wide variety of settings, just make sure you maintain an open awareness for safety.

Remember that in the beginning, keeping your mind on the present moment during these exercises can be especially difficult. Our culture trains us to constantly seek distraction. With that said, the field of contemplative neuroscience suggests that even a short-term mindfulness practice has the power to change the structure and function of the brain, essentially making present-moment awareness more second nature with training.

  1. Environmental Scan
    1. Bring awareness to your surroundings while you lace up your shoes.
    2. As you get moving, spend a moment engaging each of your five senses to get a full picture of your environment.
  2. Body Scan
    1. Start by bringing awareness to the top of your head and scan down, over your face, your jaw, your neck, and shoulders.
    2. If you notice tension, bring your attention to it and see if you can get it to relax.
    3. Bring awareness to your arms and legs as they move.
    4. Continue scanning down until you reach your toes.
  3. Mind Scan
    1. Identify the three thoughts that are most top of mind.
    2. Take stock of the pace of your thinking. Is your mental weather calm today or hurried and frantic?
    3. As thoughts pop into your head, see if you can simply label them, “that’s me worrying” or “that’s me planning” and then redirect your attention to your breath or your footfall.
    4. Continue anchoring your attention to your breath or footfall for the rest of the run or as long as you’re comfortable doing so.

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Used Running Shoes A Treasure For One World Running http://running.competitor.com/2018/02/news/one-world-running_169512 Mon, 12 Feb 2018 20:36:38 +0000 http://running.competitor.com/?p=169512 For most runners in the United States, a used pair of running shoes is an afterthought, tucked away in a closet somewhere or relegated to

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For most runners in the United States, a used pair of running shoes is an afterthought, tucked away in a closet somewhere or relegated to lawn-mowing duty after a race is over. But for runners in Nicaragua, Honduras, or other impoverished regions, those used shoes are a treasure.

Take, for example, Cuba: The average monthly salary is equivalent to approximately 25 US dollars. A gallon of milk averages about 8 dollars. A pair of Nike running shoes, at around 69 dollars, is a luxury most Cubans simply cannot afford.

Enter One World Running, a Boulder-based organization promoting health, fitness and nutrition by collecting, cleaning and distributing used running shoes to those in need around the world. Founded in 1986 by sports journalist Mike Sandrock, One World Running has distributed thousands of pairs of shoes worldwide.

The majority of the shoes come from individuals, running clubs or Girl Scout shoe drives.  Shoes are dropped off at running stores or shipped to the OWR headquarters, and a Boulder laundry, Community Plaza, donates their services to wash the shoes. Shoes that are in poor condition are sent to Nike in Beaverton, Oregon, where they are ground up and made into running tracks and playgrounds; the ones that are in new or near-new condition are distributed through shipments or service trips staffed by volunteers.

Just recently, Sandrock and his director, Ana Weir, led a team of volunteers to Cuba, where they distributed more than 150 pairs of shoes (including brand-new shoes donated by Brooks Running), along with hats, shirts, and bags, to runners in the town of Baracaoa. It’s an annual trip for OWR, who aids the local running community in putting on the La Farola race, an 18-mile race up and over the Cuchillas de Baracoas mountains. Other service trips scheduled for 2018 include Belize in April and Honduras in June – shoes and volunteers are needed for both. For more information, e-mail director Ana Weir at anaweir@yahoo.com, or visit oneworldrunning.com.

RELATED: Cuba Libre! A Cultural Exchange in Running

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The Real Load of Running http://running.competitor.com/2018/02/running/169505_169505 Mon, 12 Feb 2018 19:17:53 +0000 http://running.competitor.com/?p=169505 Running hits your bones, muscles, and tendons with large amounts of force — it’s critical to control these forces.

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The thrill of running can distract us from the reality of what is happening to the body with every stride. Your heart beats harder, pumping blood throughout the body. Sweat drips down your forehead as your body temperature rises. You feel the wind on your face as you turn round the track, up the trail, or down the road. These are the images that running conjures up in our heads and they are real, but while your heart and lungs are driving your engine toward redline, your chassis is under a lot of stress. Like it or not, your body must deal with 2.5 to 3 times its body weight with every single stride.

Think about this for a minute. If you stand up on both legs, you have half your body weight on each leg. And if you stand on one leg, that’s 100 percent of your body weight on one leg. Now take a barbell, add about 150 percent of your body weight to it, and hoist the load up and onto your shoulders; then stand on one leg.

Like it or not, this is how much stress your bones, tendons, muscles, cartilage, and ligaments support with every single stride you take. As runners, we’ve been told that distance running is a small amount of stress applied to your body for a long period of time. Well, we just shot that idea into oblivion. If anything, we could say that running is large stresses acting on our body for a long time.

Further complicating matters, running isn’t just a single-plane sport. In addition to these vertical forces, we also have to deal with braking and acceleration forces that amount to 40 to 50 percent of our body’s weight. And that’s while our body is kicked laterally by forces of around 15 percent body weight just from the effort of running. Running creates huge amounts of stress that act on the body from all sides with each and every step. No wonder running is hard!

This load acting on your body is absolute and somewhat mechanical. But your body’s response isn’t just mechanical. Imagine a rubber ball. If you throw a rubber ball off the roof, it will first accelerate to the ground. When it collides with the ground, the energy of the impact will flatten the ball out a bit and then the ball will rebound off the ground and spring back up again. The ball is passive—it compresses and rebounds based on the density of the rubber from which it is made. This is a simple illustration of how a passive object responds to load.

Now imagine you are soaring through the air in mid-stride and the same gravity that accelerated the rubber ball takes you back to earth. That’s where the similarity ends, because the body isn’t passive. It’s a complex system of parts with a neuromuscular system that actively moves, adjusts, and coordinates these parts in response to the mechanical forces of running.

Running hits your bones, muscles, and tendons with large amounts of force—it’s critical to control these forces. Learn more about how you can prepare your body for the stress of running. See more articles, self-tests, and exercises from Running Rewired.

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Elevate Your Run Performance By Taking The Stairs http://running.competitor.com/2018/01/training/elevate-run-performance-taking-stairs_169493 Wed, 31 Jan 2018 19:25:16 +0000 http://running.competitor.com/?p=169493 This post originally appeared on Triathlete.com. To take an elevator to the top of China’s Shanghai Tower, 128 stories high, takes

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Photo: Shutterstock.com

This post originally appeared on Triathlete.com.

To take an elevator to the top of China’s Shanghai Tower, 128 stories high, takes approximately 40 seconds—a technological marvel noted in the Guinness Book of World Records as the fastest elevator in the world. But Suzy Walsham of Australia would rather take the stairs—all 3,398 of them. It’s not that much slower, after all—running the Shanghai Tower took Walsham only 20 minutes and 44 seconds, a performance that contributes to her top standing in the Tower Running World Association.

Walsham, who entered (and won) her first “vertical marathon” in 2006, has dominated most of the 90 stair races she’s entered in the past 11 years. The sport, which requires lung-busting sprints up the stairwells of the world’s tallest towers, has helped Waltham become more fit in other forms of racing as well.

“I did 17:05 for 5K and 36:39 for 10K races last year,” says the 44 year-old Walsham. “Tower running has improved the strength and power in my legs, and I think mentally I am stronger, too, because tower running events are so tough.” And, she adds with a smile, running on flat surfaces feels comparatively easier after scaling buildings.

Stair workouts are easy to incorporate into any training routine, especially for those who are short on time. “A decent stair session can take 30 minutes or less,” says Waltham. It’s also a great option when the weather is bad, as most stairwells are temperature-controlled and protected from the elements. Stair training may also provide a workaround for injured runners—Walsham has stair-trained through muscle strains and Achilles injuries that were exacerbated by the road.

For those looking to take the stairs, it’s important to ease into the workout. “If you go out too hard, you’ll blow up. It’s quite different from running on the road, so understand that things get very tough, very quickly, as a lot of lactic acid builds up,” warns Walsham, who suggests introducing your body to stair workouts by jogging up 10 floors, taking a short rest, then doing 10 more. “As you get fitter, you can either reduce the rest time or increase the number of floors between rests.”

To add a strength component to a cardio-heavy stair workout, Walsham recommends taking the stairs two at a time, which requires more power, and using the handrail to pull up for a complete body workout.

Endurance Stair Session

This stair climbing workout is a staple of Walsham’s training for tower running competition, but also serves as a fitness test for upcoming road and trail races, especially ones that are hilly. “This session takes around 30 minutes, half of which I am running up stairs,” says Walsham. “If I can do this session I know I am in good shape.”

Warm-Up: 10 minutes easy running on flat elevation

Main Set: 10 x 30 floors with 3-4 minutes recovery (Walsham takes the elevator down to the first floor)

Cool-Down: After final repetition, walk down stairs.

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The Beginning Runner’s Workout Arsenal http://running.competitor.com/2018/01/news/beginning-runners-workout-arsenal_169477 Mon, 29 Jan 2018 19:07:00 +0000 http://running.competitor.com/?p=169477 New to running? These are the workouts that should make up your training plan.

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To become a runner, it’s quite simple: All you have to do is run. But if your aim is to improve as a runner – whether that means getting faster, going further, or running without injury – you’ll need to run with purpose. At the very least, runners should mix up their speed and terrain with each run to avoid falling into a rut, which can lead to plateauing performance, burnout, or injury. But to really thrive, runners should pull from an arsenal of workouts, each one designed to develop the mind and body into a strong, well-rounded runner.

Workout #1: Speed Session

Short, intense efforts interspersed with active recovery translate into an improvement in speed over longer distances, help teach your body to recover faster, and gives you more than one gear for race day. Speed sessions can be done a structured workout on a track, planned intervals within a run session on the road or trails, or a choose-your-own-adventure session with a Fartlek (Swedish for “speed play” run).

The Two Best Speed Workouts for New Runners
Basic Speed Workouts for Runners
The Basic Fartlek

Workout #2: Long Run

Yes, it teaches the body to cover the miles, but the long run is equal parts mental as it is physical. To have a successful long run, you’ve got to be smart about pacing, stay on top of fueling, and dig deep when things get tough.

A common mistake new runners make is focusing too much on the long run, forgetting that consistent running throughout the week is more important than doing one long run per week with multiple days off.

The Art of The Long Run
Are you Overemphasizing the Marathon Long Run?
How Long Should Your Longest Run Be For Marathon Training?

Workout #3: Tempo Run

Tempo runs include intervals faster than your default pace, but not so fast they are unsustainable. The duration of tempo intervals vary depending on your race goals, but typically last minutes or miles, and should be performed at a “comfortably hard” pace, not a sprint. Tempo runs can alternate with a speed workout in a weekly training plan, as doing both in one week may be too taxing.

Know Your Tempo
Tempo Run – With a Twist!
Push The Tempo (Run)

Workout #4: Strength Run

Even if all of your races are pancake-flat, you should still train on hills. Why? It’s simple – if you can power up hills, think of what you can unleash on a flat course! Hill running increases overall leg strength, which leads to faster race times and lower risk of injury.

Some runners, by virtue of geography, have no choice but to venture over rolling hills in every run. Others need to seek them out – and they should, during at least one run per week. This can be a part of a tempo run, incorporated into a long run, or even part of a speed workout with hill sprints.

Learn to Power over Hills, and Repeat
The Sisyphus Session
Hit the Hills, Reap the Benefits

Workout #5: Recovery Run

Not every run should be a hard session. Short, slow, easy-effort runs are the complement to the harder runs on your workout plan, allowing for a reprieve from the stress placed on the body while training. The key to a good recovery run is to make it a truly easy effort – many beginner runners continue to push the pace on these runs, negating the “recovery” intention of the workout.

Recovery Run
What Pace Should My Easy Runs Be?

Workout #6: Drills & Strength

Drills should not be treated as a separate, standalone workout. If anything, they should be considered part of every run. Taking five minutes before and after each run to perform basic drills and strength movements will pay off in improved running form and economy.

The Perfect Warmup for Speed Workouts
Essential Drills for Speed and Effeciency
3 Drills for a Better Running Stride

Workout #7: Cross-Training

You may be a runner, but that doesn’t mean you’re a one-trick pony. Cross-training allows the runner to build complementary muscles, prevent overuse injuries, and stay mentally fresh. Taking one day a week for a workout that isn’t running is one of the best things any runner can do. Options abound: yoga, swimming, cycling, hiking, group fitness classes, and weightlifting are just a few favorite cross-training activities for runners.

4 Awesome Cross-Training Workouts for Newbies to Elite Runners
How to Integrate Cross-Training into Your Running
Which Kinds of Cross-Training Are Best For Runners?

Workout #8: Rest

Yes, rest is a workout! Overtraining is a common mistake made by many new runners, who believe they don’t have the luxury of taking a rest day when there is training to be done. But believe it or not, you get faster when you rest. Taking one day off per week lets your body absorb the training you’ve done. For those who feel antsy, a gentle activity, such as yoga, is an acceptable rest-day activity that can satisfy the itch to train.

5 Tips to Recover The Right Way
Overtraining: Why it Happens, How to Spot It, and How to Dig Yourself Out
Adding Downtime To Your Training Plan

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7 Newbie Running Mistakes to Avoid http://running.competitor.com/2018/01/new-runner/7-newbie-running-mistakes-avoid_169475 Thu, 25 Jan 2018 19:37:03 +0000 http://running.competitor.com/?p=169475 Your fellow runners confess the biggest mistakes they made as beginners in the sport.

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Running is simple, but that doesn’t mean it’s straightforward. Chances are, if you’re new to running, you’re going to muck things up at some point. You’ll feel bad, but you shouldn’t – ask any runner, and they’ll likely tell you they made that very same mistake. We asked runners on Twitter to share their newbie mistakes, and they were quick to share their bloopers and mishaps. They’ve suffered plenty, to save you some – here’s what to learn from their running mistakes.

Mistake #1: Wearing The Wrong Shoes

I underestimated the importance of a good pair of shoes! -@occhickadee

Picking running shoes because they looked cool. -@im_beccable 

I bought a running shoe everyone I knew was wearing. I developed some lower leg issues. After getting properly fit I found out I was wearing a stability shoe when I needed something neutral. @theMikeGroff

Not getting a run analysis and picking and incorrect shoe for my weird waddle-style run stride. -@SchwarzAdam

Don’t crowdsource your shoe selection! Your training buddy may swear by a particular shoe, but that doesn’t mean it’s right for you. Instead, visit a local running specialty shop that offers gait analysis. By watching you run on a treadmill or outside, the shoe experts on staff can identify the right shoe for your running style.

Running 101: How to Select The Best Pair of Running Shoes

Mistake #2: Visiting Chafe City

Wearing cotton. – @OCRunner

Protect the nipples! -@1strockfister

As I started running longer than 1.5 hrs, noticed my nipples were a bit sore. Ya know the saying “rubbing salt on a wound?” Well, in a post-run shower, the salt pouring over my nipples was the most painful thing ever…until the salt reached my testicles! Ouch -@slotriguy 

Every runner experiences chafing at some point – and no runner enjoys it. The friction that happens when skin rubs against something, be it other skin, clothing, or even a watch band, can create a painful, burning sensation. To avoid this fate, wear technical fabrics that draw moisture away from the skin, avoid zippers and seams that can cause friction, and apply a skin lubricant to any skin surface prone to chafing.

Chafing
How Runners Prevent Chafing Issues

Mistake #3: Failing to Plan

23 years ago, going on a 20-mile run training for my 2nd marathon, bringing no water thinking I could stop & get some along the way. It was a big snowstorm so everything was closed. I had to try and eat snow….you can get dehydrated in freezing temps! I’m much smarter now. -@KennesawChiro

Not realizing how important it was to know where all the bathrooms were before a long run. -@run2normi 

The longer the run, the more planning is required. For runs of 60 minutes or more, consideration should be taken with regard to hydration, nutrition, and safety. Many hydration belts and vests on the market have ample storage for water, fuel, and a cell phone. A small amount of cash is a good idea as well – just in case you find yourself in need of a cab or a mid-bonk caffeine fix from a gas station. If you’re prone to – er, pit stops, it’s a good idea to know where you can go, lest you fertilize your neighbor’s bushes.

Running 101: Hydration During Running
6 Ways to Carry Gels on Long Runs

Mistake #4: Under-Training

Ran my first marathon (Ogden) after not running more than one 16 mile long run. Hip was jacked for months. – @WesDavis4 

Didn’t have a real program to follow when I trained for my first half. I didn’t do any speed work, I did 12 miles the week before the race (no taper) and I ran most of my long runs at race pace. -@MVGutierrezMD

Taking on more than I trained for. Like a half marathon w an elevation gain of 3400’. Be bold, be adventurous, but dammit build up to tough runs. Or expect to be in pain days afterward. -@tellmeastory314

You should enjoy your first race, not suffer through it! By following a training plan, you can condition your body to not only survive, but thrive on race day. Find one that is designed for the level of runner you are (beginner, intermediate, advanced) as well as your goals for the race. Finally, gather information about the race and adjust your training accordingly, whether that means running hills or acclimating to heat.

Which Training Plan is Right For You?
Competitor Running Training Plans

Mistake #5: Over-Training

Not understanding how easy those easy runs really should be! -@laurenlaughs

Not taking an extra day to recover instead of pushing through. -@fronsoe

While training for my 1st marathon I did a 20 mile run. The next day I did the Carlsbad 5000, a very fast 5k. I thought it could be a fun run but there was a lot of energy along the course. I pushed it too much and ended up with an injury. Now I’m smarter about long run recovery. -@ron_mahoney

Don’t skimp on recovery. Many beginners feel like taking an easy run or a rest day would mean losing momentum on their progress, when in actuality the opposite is true. Rest and recovery helps the body to absorb the training and allows time for your muscles, joints, and bones a chance to recover from the stress of training. Repeat this mantra: You get stronger when you rest!

How Much Rest Between Training Cycles is Enough?
Do I Really Need a Recovery Week?

Mistake #6: Forgetting Your Race Plan

Starting too fast during a race! – @HelenProdehl

Always, always, always going out too fast on a race! I still have to fight to slow myself down. -@ArgyleGecko

It’s easy to get caught up in the excitement of race day. It’s easy to focus on how good you feel on mile 1, and it’s easy to forget that you still have more miles to go. And when that happens, it’s really, really easy for the wheels to fall off in those later miles. Having a race plan – and, more importantly, sticking to it – will help ensure a solid performance from start to finish.

Racing Around The Marathon “Wall”
Sound Racing Strategies for Runners

Mistake #7: Falling Into The Comparison Trap

Comparing myself to more seasoned, experienced runners and getting frustrated. -@KaceySchreiber

I was too self-conscious to join a group, so I broke into running on a treadmill in a musty, windowless room without any support or camaraderie. Worse decision than the cotton. -@3DBrad

It’s natural to compare yourselves to others and see the success of others as a reminder of your own shortcomings. In the process, the comparison trap can make us lose sight of our own successes, and it can keep us from seeking out a support crew, which can make running so much more enjoyable! Rather than dwell on what others have accomplished, shift the focus to achieving your own goals. What progress did you make toward your goal today? Celebrate that victory – you deserve it!

Don’t Get Caught In The Comparison Trap

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Nike’s New Foam Offers a Cushy Ride http://running.competitor.com/2018/01/shoes-and-gear/nikes-new-foam-offers-cushy-ride_169481 Tue, 23 Jan 2018 23:45:51 +0000 http://running.competitor.com/?p=169481 The Epic React Flyknit shoe utilizes a proprietary foam for a smooth ride with excellent energy return.

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Nike’s latest release, the Nike Epic React Flyknit, features a soft foam that offers runners a smooth ride with excellent energy return. The proprietary React foam is engineered as one single piece to deliver maximum support and minimal weight in the shoe, while the Flyknit upper is constructed in one single piece to provide a snug fit on the foot. The outsole is a little thicker and wider than usual to counteract the soft compression of the foam and provide stability. The midsole and outsole are essentially the same material, but rubber has been added under the forefoot and heel for additional traction and durability. The heel clip keeps the foot secure and adds a pleasing aesthetic to the shoe.

Over the last few weeks of testing, the Epic React Flyknit experience has been excellent. The foam provides noticeable energy return, and that, coupled with the lightness of the shoe, makes powering up hills seem like less of a chore. The shoe is responsive on road and packed trail surfaces, and offers good traction in slick conditions.

The Nike Epic React Flyknit will be offered in two colorways: white and navy. The new release will be available to consumers beginning February 22 on nike.com and at select retailers.

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How To Start Running http://running.competitor.com/2018/01/new-runner/how-to-start-running_169471 Tue, 23 Jan 2018 19:34:01 +0000 http://running.competitor.com/?p=169471 The ultimate beginner's guide to becoming a runner.

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Congratulations! You’ve decided to become a runner. Now what? Though the path ahead may seem daunting, take comfort in knowing millions of runners been right where you are: At the very beginning, googling “how to start running” and wondering, “Can I really do it?” The good news: You can! Here’s how:

Step 1: Declare Your Goal

Everyone runs for different reasons. Some start running with a certain race in mind. Others just want to have 30 minutes of mind-clearing solitude each day. Still others wish to lose weight or get in shape for something specific. There is no singular “right” reason to run, so long as it’s the right reason for you. What’s more important is that you know what that reason is, as your “why” will get in a pair of running shoes and out the door each day.

Setting Realistic Running Goals
How To Be Bold and Realistic When Setting Goals

Step 2: Make A Plan

You wouldn’t set out to a new destination without a map to get there, right? The same philosophy should apply to your running. A training plan can serve as a roadmap for your running journey, giving you a clearly defined path to follow without inadvertent detours. Following a beginner’s training plan, keeps you from doing too much, too soon – a surefire recipe for injury and burnout. Many plans also emphasize the importance of cross-training and strength work, which are critical complements to staying healthy and injury-free.

Which Training Plan is Right For You?
Training Plan: 5 Weeks To Your First 5K
Beginner 10K Training Plan

Step 3: Get the Gear

Running requires very little in the way of gear: a pair of good shoes and comfortable workout clothes are all you need. That’s it. Down the line, you may want to invest in optional, but helpful gadgets and gizmos like a GPS watch or a hydration belt – let those be incentives for you as you develop as a runner! For example, set a goal to run four days per week for one month – if you achieve this goal, take yourself to the local running shop to treat yourself.

New Runner: Buying Your First Pair of Shoes
Everything You Need To Know About Buying New Running Shoes
Shoes and Gear Reviews

Step 4: Ease In

New runners often feel like becoming a runner requires – well, running. Many start out with the belief that walk breaks are somehow cheating or slacking off, when in actuality a run-walk method can be a great way to ease into the sport! Starting out with planned intervals of running and walking increases your fitness while reducing your chance of injury. Over time, you can reduce the duration of the walk interval.

Don’t Shun The Run-Walk Method
How to Eliminate Walk Breaks During Your Training Run

Step 5: Take a Holistic Approach

A good run starts long before you ever put on a pair of running shoes. What you eat, how much water you drink, and how much sleep you get are all critical factors to your success as a runner. Treat your body like a luxury automobile, and fuel accordingly. Premium fuel, in the form of fruits, vegetables, lean proteins and heart-healthy unsaturated fats, will keep your engine running. Water plays an essential role in maintaining overall health. And sleep is a critical part of the recovery process.

Nutrition for Runners
Water, The First Nutrient
Sleep Better (And Longer) To Run Better

Step 6: Go Run!

How do you become a runner? You simply run! The running community is a large and diverse one – and we’re lucky to have you join our ranks. Welcome!

12 Inspirational Running Quotes
6 Everyday Runners’ Secrets to Success
13 Instagram Accounts Runners Need to Follow

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We’re Stoked For These 2018 Races http://running.competitor.com/2018/01/news/2018-races_169463 Mon, 22 Jan 2018 19:44:14 +0000 http://running.competitor.com/?p=169463 From speed freaks to the sisterhood, there’s a fun race for everyone on the calendar.

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A race through a WWII airplane hangar, a jog past Mt. Rushmore, and the chance to earn a Star Wars medal from anywhere in the galaxy? Count us in. Every year, races jockey to provide the craziest, coolest, and most unforgettable experience for runners, and this year is no exception. The 2018 race calendar truly has something for everyone – here’s what we’ll be signing up for this year.

For the FOMO Runner: Star Wars Virtual Half Marathon
January 3 – March 31
rundisney.com

Didn’t snag a spot for the Star Wars Half Marathon at Walt Disney World? It’s okay – use the force to log your own virtual miles at home. Run a total of 13.1 miles, either all at once or broke up into several runs, and submit your finish time on the RunDisney Website for a finisher’s certificate and commemorative Star Wars medal.

For the Oddity Explorers: Tustin Hangar Half Marathon & 5K
March 11
Tustin, CA
tustinhangarhalf.com

We haven’t heard this one before – a race that aims to make you feel like an ant. And it does, thanks to a course that cuts through the historic Tustin Blimp Hangar, a 17-story high, 1,088 long blimp hangar that once housed WWII airships.

For the Sisterhood: National Women’s Half Marathon & 8K
April 29
Washington, DC
nationalwomenshalf.events

This inaugural women’s-only event generated buzz when registration opened last June for rolling entry fees starting at 1 dollar and progressed by five-dollar increments as spots were filled. A dollar is a steal – the course alone is a million-dollar race, looping around the Jefferson Memorial, Lincoln Memorial, WWII Memorial, and Korean War Memorial before finishing in West Potomac Park.

For Culture Kings and Queens: Rock ‘n’ Roll Oaxaca Half Marathon & 10K
April 29
Oaxaca, Mexico
rocknroll.com

If you like your races with a side of culture and tradition, the newest offering from the Rock ‘n’ Roll Marathon Series is worth the trip. Oaxaca, a World Heritage City, has mapped out a course that is equal parts stunning and historic, from ornate churches, archaeological sites, museums, and colonial buildings made of green volcanic stone.

For Speed Freaks: Vitality Westminster Mile
May 27
vitalitywestminstermile.co.uk

Don’t say it’s “only” a mile – there’s nothing “only” about the mile race. It’s a leg-burning, lung-busting race that will leave you breathless – and wanting to do it again. It’s especially true at this famed London race, which starts on the Mall and finishes in front of Buckingham Palace, with large and loud crowds to cheer runners every step of the way.

For Wanderers: Da Nang International Marathon
August 12
Da Nang, Vietnam
rundanang.com

Located in one of the most tourist-friendly areas of Southeast Asia, the Da Nang International Running Festival offers 5K to marathon distances along a pristine coastline. The community bands together to create an unforgettable race experience that includes well-stocked aid stations, helpful volunteers, and a ton of family-friendly activities for spectators.

For Sightseers: Mount Rushmore Half Marathon
September 22
Keystone, South Dakota
vacationraces.com

If you’re going to sightsee, might as well skip the souvenir shop and collect a race medal. This first-time race offers multiple vantage points to see the race’s namesake landmark and surrounding Black Hills. After tackling the tough course (almost 1500 feet of elevation gain), runners are rewarded with a beer garden where they can toast their favorite of the four faces.

For The Turkey Trotters: Six Tunnels To Hoover Dam Las Vegas Turkey Trot
November 22
Boulder City, NV
bbscrun.com

Eschew the traditional Thanksgiving dinner in favor of a trip to Vegas. Yes, we’re serious – after all, the coolest turkey trot takes place just outside city limits, at the Six Tunnels to Hoover Dam Turkey Trot. The event, which offers four races ranging from one mile to a half marathon, follows the Historic Railroad Trail along Lake Mead, through six tunnels and to the Hoover Dam and Colorado River Bridge. The best part? Vegas has more than 200 buffets, meaning someone else can take care of Thanksgiving dinner while you celebrate your new PR.

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Malia’s unique ambition http://running.competitor.com/2017/12/sponsored/malias-unique-ambition_169174 Tue, 12 Dec 2017 21:19:10 +0000 http://running.competitor.com/?p=169174 When Malia Glover’s kids approached her and said they wanted her to run the Rock ‘n’ Roll Arizona 5K with them, she

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When Malia Glover’s kids approached her and said they wanted her to run the Rock ‘n’ Roll Arizona 5K with them, she recalls saying, “I always tell you guys to step out of your comfort zone, so let’s do it.”

The single mother of five (ages 2 through 17), who is a full-time Manager, Provider Relations for Synchrony Financial’s Arizona site, wanted to get back into running through an employee engagement program called Synchrony Rocks. The program offers complimentary race entries for employees and their family through Synchrony’s partnership with the Rock ‘n’ Roll Marathon Series.

“When I initially said no to running, it was because, I guess, that fear of running. I knew what it took to run,” she says. But Malia found amazing support through both her employer of 18-plus years and her family.

“There’s never a dull moment in my family and in my life,” Malia says. “I wouldn’t have it any other way.”

Upon successfully completing the 5K, Malia had quite the surprise at the finish line when her manager, Alex Price, offered her the opportunity to run the Synchrony Financial Rock ‘n’ Roll Half Marathon Brooklyn-an experience she would get to enjoy with her family in the Big Apple.

Malia worked hard to build up to the half-marathon distance of 13.1 miles, since the 5K (3.1 miles) had been her farthest race. She joined a gym and found a running partner in her oldest son, Elijah.

“Running has brought me and my mom closer together,” he says. “It’s something that we both love now.”

Despite expectations of a tough race, Malia kept moving forward. “It is kind of a unique ambition to have, to run that 13.1 miles,” she says. “It shows my children that you can do anything. You can set those goals and you can achieve them.”

That doesn’t mean the journey was easy. Elijah says, “I think my mom is scared of failing.” She questioned whether she could do it. “Can I finish? I know I can. This is my time. This is my chance.”

So they lined up at the start of the Synchrony Financial Rock ‘n’ Roll Half Marathon Brooklyn, and before they knew it they were headed out down Eastern Parkway. They enjoyed the neighborhood feel of the borough with its tree-lined streets, and when they reached beautiful Prospect Park, they knew they didn’t have much farther to run. After crossing the finish line of their first half-marathon together, mother and son embraced in a quiet and tired celebration of victory.

Malia says, “I don’t see it as a completion. I think I see it as a start of a new journey for me in my life. I kind of feel that my daughters are going to start getting into running along with me. I think it’s a new beginning for all of us.”

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Our 2017 Holiday Gift Guide http://running.competitor.com/2017/12/news/2017-holiday-gift-guide_169441 Tue, 12 Dec 2017 18:52:32 +0000 http://running.competitor.com/?p=169441 The post Our 2017 Holiday Gift Guide appeared first on Competitor.com.

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SPONSORED: Polar M430 Advanced Running Watch http://running.competitor.com/2017/12/2017-gift-guide/for-fitness-runners/sponsored-polar-m430-advanced-running-watch_169394 Thu, 07 Dec 2017 18:41:48 +0000 http://running.competitor.com/?p=169394 Polar M430 Advanced Running Watch, $229.95 The new Polar M430 is a triple threat, integrating state-of-the-art running metrics, advanced

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Polar M430 Advanced Running Watch, $229.95

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The new Polar M430 is a triple threat, integrating state-of-the-art running metrics, advanced GPS and the freedom of optical heart rate technology – the ultimate training partner for runners who demand more. Purchase at polar.com 

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SPONSORED: Knuckle Lights http://running.competitor.com/2017/12/2017-gift-guide/for-adventure-runners/sponsored-knuckle-lights_169390 Thu, 07 Dec 2017 18:28:09 +0000 http://running.competitor.com/?p=169390 Knuckle Lights, $39.99 Knuckle Lights are worn on your hands, in the perfect position to light your path and be seen. Buy now at

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Knuckle Lights, $39.99

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Knuckle Lights are worn on your hands, in the perfect position to light your path and be seen. Buy now at knucklelights.com 

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SPONSORED: NormaTec Pulse Leg Recovery System http://running.competitor.com/2017/12/2017-gift-guide/for-off-duty-runners/sponsored-normatec-pulse-leg-recovery-system_169382 Thu, 07 Dec 2017 18:17:36 +0000 http://running.competitor.com/?p=169382 NormaTec Pulse Leg Recovery System, $1,395 The 2018 NormaTec PULSE is the ultimate in athlete recovery. NormaTec uses patented compression

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NormaTec Pulse Leg Recovery System, $1,395

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The 2018 NormaTec PULSE is the ultimate in athlete recovery. NormaTec uses patented compression technology to enhance the body’s natural ability to recover. Using NormaTec’s full-length compression boots before or after training boosts circulation, conquers soreness, flushes out lactate, decreases inflammation, and increases range of motion. Invented by an MD, PhD and perfected by professional athletes, the NormaTec PULSE Series is the go-to recovery system for the world’s best athletes.

For more information, and to buy your own PULSE, visit NormaTecRecovery.com

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Young Living Peppermint Essential Oil http://running.competitor.com/2017/12/2017-gift-guide/for-off-duty-runners/young-living-peppermint-essential-oil_169372 Tue, 05 Dec 2017 17:49:14 +0000 http://running.competitor.com/?p=169372 Young Living Peppermint Essential Oil, $28 If every runner had one essential oil, this would be it. A whiff can invigorate and settle a

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Young Living Peppermint Essential Oil, $28

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If every runner had one essential oil, this would be it. A whiff can invigorate and settle a nervous stomach. A drop in a massage oil soothes muscles. youngliving.com 

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Toad&Co Shire Sweater Legging http://running.competitor.com/2017/12/2017-gift-guide/for-off-duty-runners/toadco-shire-sweater-legging_169370 Tue, 05 Dec 2017 17:47:46 +0000 http://running.competitor.com/?p=169370 Toad&Co Shire Sweater Legging, $125 This special version of merino wool means these are naturally stretchy without the itch.

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Toad&Co Shire Sweater Legging, $125

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This special version of merino wool means these are naturally stretchy without the itch. toadandco.com 

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Rocco’s Healthy + Delicious http://running.competitor.com/2017/12/2017-gift-guide/for-off-duty-runners/roccos-healthy-delicious_169367 Tue, 05 Dec 2017 17:45:39 +0000 http://running.competitor.com/?p=169367 Rocco’s Healthy + Delicious, $30 Award-winning chef Rocco DiSpirito is also a runner, so you can trust his protein pancakes and

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Rocco’s Healthy + Delicious, $30

OffDuty_Rocco Cookbook

Award-winning chef Rocco DiSpirito is also a runner, so you can trust his protein pancakes and snickerdoodle(!) green smoothie. harpercollins.com

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Oofos Oocloog Sport http://running.competitor.com/2017/12/2017-gift-guide/for-off-duty-runners/oofos-oocloog-sport_169365 Tue, 05 Dec 2017 17:44:01 +0000 http://running.competitor.com/?p=169365 Oofos Oocloog Sport, $70 The squishy sole of these men’s recovery shoes can take away running pains. (Similar styles are available for

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Oofos Oocloog Sport, $70

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The squishy sole of these men’s recovery shoes can take away running pains. (Similar styles are available for women.) oofos..com

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Sarah Marie Design Studio Running Sucks Mug http://running.competitor.com/2017/12/2017-gift-guide/for-off-duty-runners/sarah-marie-design-studio-running-sucks-mug_169363 Tue, 05 Dec 2017 17:42:22 +0000 http://running.competitor.com/?p=169363 Sarah Marie Design Studio Running Sucks Mug, $18 Time to celebrate the redemptive power of running. sarahmariedesignstudio.com 

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Sarah Marie Design Studio Running Sucks Mug, $18

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Time to celebrate the redemptive power of running. sarahmariedesignstudio.com 

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