Competitor.com http://running.competitor.com Your Online Source for Running Sat, 31 Jan 2015 02:26:08 +0000 en-US hourly 1 http://wordpress.org/?v=4.0.1 Hood River, Oregon: A Perfect Pacific Northwest Getaway for Runners http://running.competitor.com/2015/01/features/hood-river-oregon-perfect-pacific-northwest-getaway-runners_121982 http://running.competitor.com/2015/01/features/hood-river-oregon-perfect-pacific-northwest-getaway-runners_121982#comments Fri, 30 Jan 2015 22:11:40 +0000 http://running.competitor.com/?p=121982

Hood River lies about 30 miles north of Mt. Hood, where the Hood River intersects the Columbia River. Photo: Scott McMullen.

It’s impossible to dread the hour-long journey between Portland to small-town Hood River, Ore. As the road gracefully follows the

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Hood River lies about 30 miles north of Mt. Hood, where the Hood River intersects the Columbia River. Photo: Scott McMullen.

It’s impossible to dread the hour-long journey between Portland to small-town Hood River, Ore. As the road gracefully follows the slight bends of the Columbia River Gorge, every sweeping curve offers stunning views of the famous Pacific Northwest canyon to the north, with groves of tall trees layering the south side of the highway. The verdant landscape remains in plain view along the entire commute, and the two-lane highway is speckled with worthy turn-off points to snap a panoramic photo along the way.

“Here you’ll discover a world of year-round outdoor recreation, dramatic vistas, historic landmarks, fantastic food, wine and beer—and best of all, warm, friendly people,” says Joanie Thompson, the marketing director at Breakaway Promotions, which hosts races in the region. “Our year-round running and recreational activities for the whole family and our fresh local culinary delights and award-winning wineries make it a popular destination for visitors from around the world.”

Veer off halfway through the drive to discover Multnomah Falls, one of the area’s notable landmarks and Oregon’s tallest waterfall. The roaring waters mark the start of the Mark O. Hatfield Trail, a perfect choice for a demanding run or hike of any distance. The entire trail goes for 60 miles and ends at Starvation Creek in Cascade Locks, with trail access at various points along the way.

Drop your bags at the Hood River Hotel for the weekend, and scurry a few blocks east toward the Old Columbia River Drive, following the climbing switchbacks until your quads have had nearly enough. Once the public road ends and the on-foot-only access begins, the lookout points between you and the end of your run seem to silent screaming legs.

RELATED: Destination America: The Ultimate Running Travel Guide

Where To Run

Named after a former state senator, the Mark O. Hatfield Trail offers up to 60 miles of dirty bliss, totaling an elevation gain of 13,000 feet and exploring the Hatfield Wilderness away from civilization. The popular route has five total trailheads—perfect for mapping out a day hike. For the outdoor enthusiasts, five days is the recommended time between start and finish, with various camp locations sitting 4–7 miles from each other along the way. Located in Cascade Locks, less then 30 minutes from Hood River, the Bridge of the Gods Trailhead offers both a beginner and experienced option for runners. Both loops cover portions of the Pacific Crest Trail, one a demanding 10.4-mile trek and the other a 4.4-mile jaunt with much less elevation gain. If you’re dying for nature without the rugged trail, park at the top of Old Columbia River Drive in the lot and continue on foot past the gate on the Columbia River Highway State Trail, where the sounds are your footsteps and sights are towering maples changing with the seasons.

Where to Race

For those searching for the ultimate trail experience, run the Gorge Waterfall 50K or 100K (March 29 & 30; rainshadowrunning.com). The out-and-back course passes a ton of falls in the area, giving runners an opportunity to experience them twice during their journey. Starting and finishing on the Marina Green along the river, the Columbia Gorge Half Marathon (Oct. 25; columbiagorgemarathon.com) has proven to be one of the most scenic races in the country. With a date set right at the change of the seasons, the course is dotted with fallen maple leaves in every shade of fall. Runners climb for the first half of the 13.1-mile distance before heading back down and joining the full marathoners on the course. Plus the finish is stocked with a heated tent and full Mexican buffet for every person with a bib. The Bridge of the Gods Run (Aug. 16; bridgeofthegodsrun.com), offering a marathon, half and 10K, is another must-do to truly revel in the area’s beauty. All three distances cross over the race’s namesake bridge and run adjacent to the river—don’t forget to straddle the Oregon-Washington state line before you finish!

Where to Shop

Official partner of the Columbia River Gorge Marathon, Shortt Supply (116 Oak St.; shorttsupply.com) is a go-to stop for runners in downtown Hood River. The local vibes and small store size allow for a personal experience with employees, all of which are knowledgeable in shoes, gear and the neighboring trail system all along the gorge. Before you venture from the Portland Airport to the heart of the gorge, stop at the Portland Running Company (800 SE Grand Ave.; portlandrunningcompany.com)—but be prepared for a slight workout from the store’s on-site gait analysis. Bonus points: Bring an old pair of trainers so one of the employees can check out your wear patterns before sending you around the block a few times in a new pair!

Where To Eat

There’s no shortage of eateries and coffee stops in Hood River, most of which are within walking distance of each other. Stop in at River Daze Café (202 D Cascade Way) for local, organic eats made from scratch. The joint is praised for its delicious sandwiches, including the all-day breakfast options served up on a homemade English muffin. After fueling up, talk a short walk up Oak St. toward Dog River Coffee (411 Oak St.), the coffee provide at the Columbia Gorge Marathon. The espresso and coffee options deliver the appropriate amount of zing, and the secondhand furnishings take a chapter out of Portland’s eccentric feel, offering a fun atmosphere to rest the legs and catch up with your running buddies. For dinner, go for Italian at The Subterranean (113 3rd St.), a basement establishment offering up traditional pasta dishes and seafood. Snag a spot at the four-seat bar and make friends with the owner, who frequently greets the patrons as they arrive. If a greasy pie is more your palate, Andrew’s Pizza (109 Oak St.) across from the Hood River Hotel serves up the basic options, including a gluten-free crust option for a few extra bucks.

Weather

The region experiences rain or snow every winter, with December and January being the highest months for precipitation. Winter temps can dip below 30 degrees, and summers can climb into the high-80s in July and August. Pack a jacket and experience the changing colors and seasons in October, a popular time for the area to shed its last fall leaves and start calling for running gloves. Visit during the early summer months and try your hand at windsurfing in the Columbia River.

RELATED: Ashland, Oregon: A Renaissance-esque Running Stop

Area Highlights

Drink

Hood River County is host to a thriving wine scene with more than 15 wineries offering tastings.

Destination

Travel Oregon named the Columbia River Gorge one of Oregon’s “seven wonders” due to its outstanding scenery.

Tours

Grab a ticket for one of Hood River’s Mount Hood Railroad excursions, including a murder mystery or Western robbery theme for riders!

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America’s Oldest Trail Race Will Have Live Stream in 2015 http://running.competitor.com/2015/01/news/americas-oldest-trail-race-will-live-stream-2015_121966 http://running.competitor.com/2015/01/news/americas-oldest-trail-race-will-live-stream-2015_121966#comments Fri, 30 Jan 2015 19:32:15 +0000 http://running.competitor.com/?p=121966 The 105th running of The Dipsea trail race will be available to watch live and free via the internet.  The historic trail race from Mill

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The 105th running of The Dipsea trail race will be available to watch live and free via the internet. 

The historic trail race from Mill Valley to Stinson Beach, Calif., will be available for live streaming this year after an agreement formed between the Dipsea Race Committee Inc. and Ultrasportslive.tv earlier this week.

“For many years people have only been able to imagine what it is like to compete in the Dipsea and now, with Ultrasportslive.tv, we will be able to show people—runners, volunteers, spectators, media worldwide—what the Dipsea is really like as it happens in real time,” says president of the Dipsea Race Committee Inc. Merv Regan in a press release. “The goal of this partnership is to provide a new and unique view of this beloved and scenic trail race to a wider audience to follow step by step on race day.”

Known for its exclusivity, with a 1,500 entry limit and slight favor toward local residents, live coverage of The Dipsea will provide more accessibility to the race. Along its scenic yet treacherous 7.5-mile course that winds its way through Mt. Tamalpais State Park, the Ultrasportslive.tv camera crew plan to be stationed at the start line in downtown Mill Valley, the aid station at Cardiac Hill and the finish line on Stinson Beach.

Last year’s winner Diana Fitzpatrick, a 56-year-old attorney and three-time Olympic Marathon Trials qualifier, plans to compete again in this year’s race. If she wins, she’ll become the first runner to win three consecutive Dipsea races since seven-time Dipsea champion Sal Vasquez in 1984.

The 2015 race will be held on June 14th.

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Global Running: Chilean Patagonia Is The Next Frontier Of Trail Running http://running.competitor.com/2015/01/trail-running/global-running_121907 http://running.competitor.com/2015/01/trail-running/global-running_121907#comments Fri, 30 Jan 2015 17:12:16 +0000 http://running.competitor.com/?p=121907

Two runners approach the mountains on the way to Grey Glacier in the Ultra Torres del Paine 67K race last September in Chilean Patagonia. Photo: Wagner Araújo

A look at why the Patagonia region of Chile is becoming trail running’s most buzzworthy destination.

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Two runners approach the mountains on the way to Grey Glacier in the Ultra Torres del Paine 67K race last September in Chilean Patagonia. Photo: Wagner Araújo

A look at why the Patagonia region of Chile is becoming trail running’s most buzzworthy destination.

There’s a stunning, take-your-breath-away sensation the moment you see the spectacular granite spires inside the Torres del Paine National Park for the first time.

The enormous park is a still-unpolished gem of the Chilean side of Patagonia—the large, sparsely populated and awe-inspiring region at the southern end of South America. Long a favorite destination of international sightseers and hikers, Torres del Paine is starting to become a focal point of runners—both for running races and exploring the trails via hut-to-hut running adventures.

The monoliths dominate the horizon line of the enormous Chilean sanctuary and provide a reassuring point of reference amid the huge mountains, thick pine forests, cascading streams, unfathomably blue lakes and austere glaciers. As a runner, those views also perfectly frame your own existence as you ramble over the park’s 135 miles of windblown but otherwise pristine trails.

“It’s a very special place, an amazing place for running,” says Nico Barraza, an American runner from Flagstaff, Ariz. “The first time I was there, I was overwhelmed and completely inspired, both by the trails, the views and the vibe.”

PHOTOS: Patagonian International Marathon

In 2013, while doing research in Chile as a graduate student in environmental engineering, Barraza ventured down to the southernmost part of the world not named Antarctica to run the inaugural Patagonian International Marathon. That race, along with a half marathon and 10K, was held on the rolling gravel roads of Torres del Paine National Park and served up spectacular sights to the handful of runners who traveled from Europe, North America and South Africa to get there.

Soon afterward, race director Stjepan Pavicic, partially from Barraza’s suggestion, created the Ultra Trail Torres del Paine 42K, 67K and 109K trail races, which debuted in September 2014. (The longer two races offer qualifying points for the events held during the Ultra-Trail du Mont-Blanc festival in Chamonix, France, in late August.)

“The road races are great, but getting deep into the park on the trails is magical,” says Barraza, 24, who put his postgraduate education on hold to pursue ultrarunning on a full-time basis. “I fell in love with that place. Being there and experiencing that changed my life and showed me what I wanted to do and who I wanted to be.”

More than two dozen North American runners traveled 25 to 30 hours on multiple flights to Punta Arenas, followed by a two-hour bus ride to overnight in the town of Puerto Natales and then another two-hour bus ride to Torres del Paine to run one of the road or trail races in the park last fall.

“I lived in Chile about 30 years ago for a couple of years, but I never made it down to Torres del Paine and always wanted to go there,” says Brett Johnson, an avid marathoner and Los Angeles attorney who ran the Patagonian International Marathon last September. “The minute I found out about the race, I knew I had to do it. How often do you get to run in such a beautiful place, where your company is a condor flying overhead or a fox alongside the road? It’s just completely unique part of the world.”

RELATED: Global Running Adventures Around The World

Running isn’t new to Patagonia. The ancient indigenous Patagone people, literally known as “people of big feet” to the first European explorers, were subsistence hunters who would run down deer, large flightless birds and guanaco (an animal similar to a llama) for food. While those ancient people and their culture have since disappeared, the lush environment and raw remoteness remain.

“It is so peaceful,” says Yassine Diboun, 34, an ultrarunner from Portland, Ore. “I had to keep reminding myself that we were at the very bottom of the world. It’s so crazy to think about where you are. You kind of lose yourself in such an amazing place like that.”

Last September, for the second straight year, Diboun won one of the Patagonia races. He won the inaugural 109K trail event handily, but it was in the days afterward that the splendor of the park really unfolded for him. Along with fellow Americans Matt Flaherty, Willie McBride and Anne-Marie Dunhill, he spent a day running and hiking up to a hidden glacier with a close view of the famous stone towers (with some new Chilean running friends), then spent two more days running the legendary “W” hiking route—a 30-mile trail through three of the park’s most magnificent canyons.

At night they retired to a rented cabin at Refugio Los Cuernos, and after a dip in the wood-fired hot tub, they shared meals, told stories and chilled by the fire while Flaherty strummed a few songs on the house guitar and regaled the group with stories about Bob Dylan.

“It was an amazing way to disconnect from the world but connect with the people you share the trail with,” Diboun says. “We had great conversations and developed friendships based on our being there and experiencing all of that together.”

PHOTOS: Trail Running In Chilean Patagonia

Despite the advent of a few races—all of which benefit a regional reforestation organization—don’t expect the park to be overcome by runners anytime soon. Running is booming in Chile and Argentina, but most of the runners, races and running culture can be found in and around the capital cities of Santiago and Buenos Aires, more than 2,000 miles away.

“Not many Chileans have visited Torres del Paine, but we all know what a beautiful place it is,” says Max Keith, 26, an up-and-coming Chilean ultrarunner from Santiago. “For me, what makes it so special is meeting runners from other places and spending time with them on the trails. That’s what trail running is all about, no matter where you live.”

What’s Next?

Ultra Fiord 2015 is a new ultra-distance event that will be held on April 16-18 in the remote backcountry areas on the outskirts of Torres del Paine National Park. In addition to 30K, 70K and 100K races, the event will also include the first 100-mile race in Chilean Patagonia.

Through the race’s Corre y Reforesta (Run and Reforest) program, proceeds will benefit Reforestemos Patagonia (an organization committed to helping replant trees burned in a 2010 forest fire) and one new native tree will be planted for every runner who participates in the races. Among the top North American ultrarunners already committed to the race are Joe Grant, Jeff Browning, Stephanie Howe, Krissy Moehl and Luke Nelson. For more, visit ultrafiord.com.

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Rita Jeptoo Gets a Two-Year Ban For Doping http://running.competitor.com/2015/01/news/rita-jeptoo-gets-two-year-ban-doping_121952 http://running.competitor.com/2015/01/news/rita-jeptoo-gets-two-year-ban-doping_121952#comments Fri, 30 Jan 2015 16:04:57 +0000 http://running.competitor.com/?p=121952

Rita Jeptoo will not be breaking any finish line tapes for at least the next two years. Photo: PhotoRun.net

The reigning Chicago and Boston Marathon champion will be eligible to compete again on Oct. 30, 2016.

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Rita Jeptoo will not be breaking any finish line tapes for at least the next two years. Photo: PhotoRun.net

The reigning Chicago and Boston Marathon champion will be eligible to compete again on Oct. 30, 2016.

After the confirmation of a positive “B” sample test for the performance-enhancing drug EPO in December, Athletics Kenya has suspended two-time reigning Chicago and Boston Marathon champion Rita Jeptoo for two years, retroactive to Oct. 30, 2014, according to a report this morning by Reuters.

“AK followed due process in her (Rita Jeptoo) matter and it was appropriate that she serves a two-year ban,” AK chief executive Isaac Kamande told the news service.

RELATED: Rita Jeptoo Tests Positive For Banned Substance

Jeptoo, whose positive “A” sample test was reported on Oct. 31, asked to have her “B” sample tested, but that result also came back positive. The 33-year-old marathoner, who won the Chicago Marathon for the second straight year last October after annihilating the Boston Marathon course record in April, has not spoken with reporters since the announcement of her failed tests.

Federico Rosa, Jeptoo’s agent who has denied any involvement in his athlete’s cheating, has followed through on his promise to institute regular blood testing for all his Kenyan athletes, according to a report earlier this week by The Daily Nation. As of Monday, the blood-testing machine was being cleared at the Jomo Kenyatta International Airport’s customs department.

“All my athletes are close to us and stand with us and are very upset for the situation,” Rosa told Competitor.com shortly after Jeptoo’s failed “A” sample was announced. “I will try to make maybe a monthly blood test, very simple with three parameters so you see the valuation of the blood and on our side publish [the results] so anybody can see and this can help to control. And the main thing is to do a laboratory in Eldoret where you can do a blood test out of competition because that is going to really stop the athletes to do this anymore because they don’t want there to be an issue.”

Two weeks ago, it was announced that the World Marathon Majors—a six race series of major marathons, which includes Boston and Chicago and has an annual $500,000 first-place prize for the men’s and women’s winner—have pledged support for a new anti-doping agency in East Africa, where on-site testing has been virtually non-existent. Jeptoo, who won the 2013-2014 series, was slated to accept her award at the New York Marathon weekend in November before reports of her positive “A” sample test surfaced.

On Tuesday, it was announced by the International Association of Athletics Federations (IAAF) that eight more Kenyan athletes has been found guilty of various doping violations—none of them were said to be associated with Rosa—and would face suspension.

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Shoe Talk: The North Face Ultra Cardiac http://running.competitor.com/2015/01/video/shoe-talk-north-face-ultra-cardiac_121947 http://running.competitor.com/2015/01/video/shoe-talk-north-face-ultra-cardiac_121947#comments Fri, 30 Jan 2015 01:21:46 +0000 http://running.competitor.com/?p=121947

The just-released shoe earned its stripes on the terrain of Ultra-Trail du Mont-Blanc.

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Our latest Shoe Talk takes a look at the just-released Ultra Cardiac by The North Face, which earned its stripes on the terrain of Ultra-Trail du Mont-Blanc.

Learn the thinking behind this shoe’s innovation and see if it’s right for you.

RELATED: Sneak Peek: 17 New Running Shoes for 2015

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5 Places to Run In…San Francisco http://running.competitor.com/2015/01/features/5-places-run-san-francisco_121924 http://running.competitor.com/2015/01/features/5-places-run-san-francisco_121924#comments Thu, 29 Jan 2015 23:50:52 +0000 http://running.competitor.com/?p=121924

Photo: Shutterstock.com

Our new series explores the best spots to run in some of the best cities in the world. First up: San Francisco, California.

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Photo: Shutterstock.com

Our new series explores the best spots to run in some of the best cities in the world. First up: San Francisco, California.

Running around the Golden City is a just as glamorous as its shiny nickname. From the rolling hills through the Presidio to outstanding views from the Golden Gate Bridge, San Francisco offers a unique experience to any type of runner in any part of the city. Plus, the city is stacked with scrumptious food, scattered pockets of quirky character and tourist attractions worth re-visiting year after year.

Here are five of the top stops as you run your way through the City by the Bay:

Crissy Field

Scope out the San Francisco Bay Trail and follow it toward views of the Golden Gate Bridge. Various trails throughout the old park give runners directional options, while the early 20th century buildings offer visitors a run through history. On a clear day, Alcatraz can be spotted on the water. For an extended run when 4-5 miles isn’t enough, just keep going across the Golden Gate Bridge and back—that’s an extra 3 miles round trip. Sitting right on the bay, Crissy serves as the Presidio’s “front door.”

RELATED: Marin County: A Bay Area Sanctuary for Runners

The Presidio

This 1,500-acre national park, formally a military outpost, is a stellar spot for a quiet run and a full day of exploring indoor and outdoor attractions around the space. Choose from any of the popular trailheads inside the grounds and create a run of any distance, bouncing up and down one route or in between multiple trails. Don’t forget to check out all of the various outlook points as you stop for a breather.

Golden Gate Park

Resting on the west edge of the quirky Haight-Ashbury area of the city, this 1,000-plus acre park is home to tons of walking/running paths, verdant grassy knolls with shady patches and a lot of interesting people watching. Step onto one of the various dirt trails in the park and navigate to the edge of the Pacific Ocean or past the botanical gardens inside the park. If you’re itching for a post-run picnic, runners can dash across Stanyan Street to Whole Foods on the east end of the park.

The Embarcadero

Start at AT&T Park and follow the Embarcadero along the bay to finish at Fisherman’s Wharf. Along the way, you’ll pass the recently re-located Exploratorium, street performers, the Ferry Building Marketplace and tons of pedestrians enjoying the city—but don’t worry, they are quick to move aside for runners along the popular route. The wharf is a great ending spot to grab some grub and digest before the return trip.

The Land’s End Trail

Run along the Pacific Ocean and gawk at the gorgeous views of the bay and Golden Gate Bridge. The remains of sutro baths are not to be missed along the way—nor is spectating the remains of various shipwrecks throughout the early 1900s. Jet off on any of the side trails to mix up the scenery on the way back to your starting point; a recommended beginning is the Merrie Way lot.

RELATED: Higher Ground — How the Bay Area Became the Hottest Scene in Trail Running

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An Inside Look at Saucony’s Innovation Lab http://running.competitor.com/2015/01/shoes-and-gear/inside-look-sauconys-think-tank_121818 http://running.competitor.com/2015/01/shoes-and-gear/inside-look-sauconys-think-tank_121818#comments Thu, 29 Jan 2015 23:45:14 +0000 http://running.competitor.com/?p=121818

Saucony vice president Spencer White discusses shoe design.

The brand is constantly running through new ideas at its headquarters in Lexington, Mass.

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Saucony vice president Spencer White discusses shoe design.

The brand is constantly running through new ideas at its headquarters in Lexington, Mass.

There’s often nothing quite so elusive and secretive at a corporate HQ as an Innovation Lab. You know the drill. An athletic shoe company will take you around to see lots of cool mockups and design drawings, but there’s always that one door in the building that you just can’t get inside. At Saucony’s headquarters in Lexington, Mass., though, the door to that lab is refreshingly open.

Saucony’s Human Performance & Innovation Lab is run by Saucony vice president Spencer White. The lab, in a large, open space, is dotted with a few workstations,some large video and computer screens, 3D motion capturing devices and an impact-sensing force plate treadmill, and sits at the end of an open-plan floor occupied by dozens of the brand’s design and marketing staff. Entrance to the lab is via large, rolling garage door-like openings, which creates a feeling of openness to the space.

On a recent visit to the headquarters, White, Saucony president Richie Woodworth and senior vice president-global product Pat O’Malley offered Running Insight a tour of the lab and shared their views on what the word “innovation” means to them—how it is achieved, dreamed up and put into action.

The purpose of the Innovation Lab is twofold, Woodworth says.

“One is to validate concepts we have in our products already at market and second is to delve into the realm of innovation,” he says. “What’s the consumer looking for? What is a runner looking 
for? What new running experiences can we bring to the consumer that provide a better way to run or a better experience? That is the definition of innovation for us—creating a better running experience.”

Woodworth describes the open-door nature of the company’s lab as unusual but purposeful.

“No fingerprints 
or eye scans are needed to get in. We built the lab trying to ensure it was built into everyday thinking,” he says. “That is a base foundation for what we think of as a culture of innovation. The lab is the epicenter for that. If a designer has an idea or a problem, they walk right in and say ‘I’m thinking about this’ and Spencer can test it. Or he can share research. There are no gates to get that feedback. It helps us think about innovation as a daily task.”

Saucony, which was purchased by Stride Rite in 2005 and became a part of Michigan-based Wolverine World Wide in 2012, has gone through a transformation in the past decade. Woodworth, president of Saucony since 2006, has helped the brand become a thought leader in the running space.

“People will look to us to see what is new, and 10 or 15 years ago that wasn’t the case for Saucony,” Woodworth says. “We leaped from fast followers to now we have in some cases changed the conversation in the industry.”

RELATED: 17 New Running Shoes For Summer/Fall 2015

One key has been Saucony focusing on “geometries.” The brand switched to an 8mm heel-toe offset in most of the shoes across its line, a move that was spurred on by its research into minimalism. While the brand never chased the barefoot, zero-drop craze, it did make significant changes that its research indicated were needed.

“Minimalism was the consumer asking for something different. Our job is to figure out what they’re really asking for and then deliver it,” O’Malley says. “We can do that because we have no pressure to invent things here. We do have pressure to innovate. With an invention you start with the shoe, but with innovation you start with the runner. We innovate around the runner.”

White points out that while Saucony is not a “giant company” that plans out product five years in advance, its innovation lab “gives us freedom to react quickly and innovate as if we did have those five years. Our planning process can be sped up, we can test those concepts in a shorter period of time. Innovation can’t be ‘let’s take forever’ and it is not just about advanced concepts. If it works better than the previous model then it is making the product more functional.”

O’Malley says Saucony has “a very defined bullseye” and one that allows employees to be courageous. “We have to answer one question: ‘Does this make it better for the runner?’ And when that is your bullseye it gives you the courage to try things. When we want to take a risk we can get everyone in the room and debate it and ask the question ‘What is better for the runner?’ And that allows us to take calculated risks, more so than anywhere else I have been.”

The consumer is demanding innovation, says O’Malley. “Six or seven years ago, consumers started to ask for something different, something lighter, lower offsets, minimal shoes. That opened the door for us to do things we had research for, but it gave us the courage to try things because the consumer wanted it.”

RELATED: Competitor Staff’s Gear Picks

Built four years ago, Saucony’s innovation lab 
is a space that the brand uses to do everything from testing prototypes to doing research on runners of all varieties, including the brand’s elite athletes.

“We use it to collect data that helps us understand how runners move,” White explains.

In doing so, the team looks at the entire runner, not just the feet. Sensors are attached to runners for 3D motion captures and the treadmill measures force. As a result, when a runner runs in the lab, you can see what part of their body is absorbing stress and measure changes in things like stride and shoe dynamics. In 2014, the brand opened a Saucony Stride Lab with a similar force plate treadmill at the new Boulder Running Company store in Denver and has begun to use that data in its shoe design process too.

RELATED: New Boulder Running Company Store Breaks The Mold

In 2015, the results of some of Saucony’s recent innovation will be evident in the new ISO-Series of footwear, O’Malley says. Shoes in the ISO-Series include the Triumph, Hurricane and Zealot, and include the brand’s new technologies: ISOFIT and PWRGRID+. The ISOFIT dynamic fit system adapts to the runner’s foot in action, allowing the shoe to move in harmony with the foot. The PWRGRID+ platform, meanwhile, delivers enhanced cushioning.

* * *

Running Insight is the leading business news source for the running industry. You can view additional articles at www.runninginsight.com.

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Out There: The Rehab Room http://running.competitor.com/2015/01/out-there/out-there-the-rehab-room_121912 http://running.competitor.com/2015/01/out-there/out-there-the-rehab-room_121912#comments Thu, 29 Jan 2015 19:18:47 +0000 http://running.competitor.com/?p=121912

These days, Susan Lacke's life revolves around padded tables. Photo: www.shutterstock.com

Susan Lacke experiences what it's like to be on the sidelines, nursing an injury with other broken runners.

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These days, Susan Lacke's life revolves around padded tables. Photo: www.shutterstock.com

Susan Lacke experiences what it’s like to be on the sidelines, nursing an injury with other broken runners.

We sit on a row of padded tables, introducing ourselves:

“Jenny, ACL.”

“Tom, IT Band.”

“Susan, Ankle Reconstruction.”

It’s as if our last names (and identities) have been replaced by our injuries. In a way, they have. Jenny ACL has been a runner since she was 11 years old. Tom IT Band is baffled by his glut of free time now that he can’t go on long runs—what do normal people do during the weekend? As for me? I’d like my last name back, please and thank you. “Ankle Reconstruction” is a real mouthful.

But for now, it’s my identity: Susan Ankle Reconstruction. I’m a part of a ragtag bunch of injured runners in a physical therapy office.

As we chat over the hum of E-stim machines, everyone sympathizes with everyone else, and everyone agrees everyone else’s circumstances are BS. Everyone complains about insurance, doctors and missing races. We talk about the alternative treatments we’ve tried and how if one more non-runner casually suggests, Why don’t you just find a different hobby? we’re liable to take a bat to the windows.

Mostly, we talk about how much we want to run again.

All the while, we rotate through the rehab protocol: Graston, Exercises, E-stim, Ice. Every day, the same routine. We are an assembly line of broken runners, waiting for our parts to be fixed. One of these days, we’re promised by doctors and therapists, you won’t have to do this anymore. Until then: Graston, Exercises, E-stim, Ice.

When healthy runners jog past the picture window out front, our heads turn in sync to follow them, sighing wistfully. One of these days …

RELATED: Beer, The Recovery Brew

Eventually, a broken runner comes in with a dozen donuts and announces it’s her last day at physical therapy. The rest of the group congratulates her as she distributes the celebratory maple-frosteds and chocolate long johns. We smile until she walks out the door, then we slump on our tables.

“That’s BS.” Tom IT Band sighs.

“Total BS,” I agree.

“We’re gonna be here forever,” says Jenny ACL before gesturing to the Dunkin’ Donuts box from under the wires of the E-stim machine. “Pass me that apple fritter.”

The following week, there’s a new person (“Lindsay, Runner’s Knee”) in the row of tables. There is never a shortage of injured runners.

I like these people. I don’t know their true last names, but I like them all the same.

Injury can be synonymous with loss—of routine, of stability, of identity and community—and isolation only amplifies the loss. But with my fellow injured runners, I see how injury can be synonymous with opportunity—to rebuild, grow and come back stronger than ever. Runners have built a strong, supportive community, and injured runners perhaps more so.

Alone, I dwell on the BS and construct a pitiful, self-loathing narrative where my injuries are so unique, no one could possibly understand how I feel. In my row of tables, we refute all cases of Special Snowflake Syndrome and marvel at how quickly the self-loathing dissipates in the camaraderie.

RELATED: Learning To Run Again

In isolation, I’ll scroll through a Facebook feed full of Strava segments, race reports and photos of group runs I’m missing. As Susan Ankle Reconstruction, I best bring my “A” game to my exercises, because Tom IT Band makes everything a competition (he is, after all, a runner).

And though I huff every time another runner leaves behind a box of donuts on her way out the door to reclaim her identity as a fully functional runner, I need to experience that feeling. It inspires me to work harder so the next person through those doors will be Susan Lacke.

As I reach across the aisle to pass Jenny the box of donuts, we share a knowing smile. I know she’s thinking it, too:

One of these days …

****

About The Author:

Susan Lacke does 5Ks, Ironman Triathlons, and everything in between to justify her love for cupcakes (yes, she eats that many). In addition to writing for Competitor, she serves as Resident Triathlete for No Meat Athlete, a website dedicated to vegetarian endurance athletes. Susan lives and trains in Phoenix, Arizona with three animals: A labrador, a cattle dog, and a freakishly tall triathlete boyfriend. She claims to be of sound mind, though this has yet to be substantiated by a medical expert. Follow her on Twitter: @SusanLacke

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9 Spring Races to Get Your Season Started http://running.competitor.com/2015/01/photos/9-spring-races-get-season-started_121869 http://running.competitor.com/2015/01/photos/9-spring-races-get-season-started_121869#comments Thu, 29 Jan 2015 19:07:27 +0000 http://running.competitor.com/?p=121869

These events are popular among runners wanting to shake off the winter cobwebs.

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While winter races take place across the United States—in cold and mild climates—the spring truly signals the start of the running race season. The Boston Marathon on April 20 is obviously the signature, but where else can you knock off the winter cobwebs?

Here’s a look at some of the most popular spring races out there, from 5Ks to full marathons. See if one fits into your 2015 race calendar:

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Workout of the Week: Stephanie Bruce’s 1K Repeats http://running.competitor.com/2015/01/training/workout-week-stephanie-bruces-1000m-repeats_121880 http://running.competitor.com/2015/01/training/workout-week-stephanie-bruces-1000m-repeats_121880#comments Wed, 28 Jan 2015 23:49:27 +0000 http://running.competitor.com/?p=121880

Running this workout on the road is great practice when training for a marathon. Photo: Shutterstock.com

Improve your ability to run goal marathon race pace with this sneaky tough interval session.

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Running this workout on the road is great practice when training for a marathon. Photo: Shutterstock.com

Improve your ability to run goal marathon race pace with this sneaky tough interval session. 

It can be said with a high level of consensus that one of the major goals of marathon training—regardless of whether your goal is to finish the race in just over two hours or a few minutes under four hours—is to improve your ability to run goal race pace for the entire 26.2-mile distance.

There are many workouts runners can sprinkle into their training schedules to achieve this end, including long intervals and tempo runs at goal race pace, but a favorite of professional runner Stephanie Rothstein-Bruce, a Oiselle-sponsored athlete who trains with Northern Arizona Elite and sports a a 2:29:35 personal best in the marathon, is a simple session of 8-10 x 1,000m at goal marathon race pace with a short 60-second recovery jog between repeats.

Bruce, who along with her husband Ben coaches runners through Running With The Bruces, likes to have her athletes do this workout 4-5 times a year, and usually twice during a specific marathon buildup. “Doing the workout at the beginning of the cycle and [once again] closer to the race can help measure the fitness you’ve gained,” explains Bruce.

If you’re not in marathon training, running 8-10 x 1K at marathon race effort with a short jog recovery between reps during the base phase of your training cycle can be a great substitute for a tempo run and will help develop aerobic strength early in the training cycle.

Bruce says this workout is best done on the road, but it can also be done on the track—with caution, of course. “If you’re injury prone, stay off the track,” advises Bruce. “The workout is long and requires a lot of turns. A road is great practice as that’s where the marathon will be run.”

Here’s how you do it:

The Warmup: Easy 15-20 minute jog followed by drills and 3-4 x 20-second strides.

The Workout: Run 1,000m (or 2-1/2 laps of the track) at your goal marathon race pace. After completing your first ‘K’ at goal marathon race pace, jog easily for one minute and repeat this sequence 8-10 times depending on your experience and fitness level.

The Cooldown: Easy 15-20 minute jog

“This workout is great practice to get your legs used to running marathon pace, while also teaching your body to clear out lactic acid,” explains Bruce. “The short rest allows you to get your heart rate back down so it’s not a full-blown marathon tempo, but you still get 5-6 miles of work at marathon pace. It gets very tough and uncomfortable at the end but with such short rest the workout is over sooner than you think.”

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Reports: Matthew McConaughey to Star in ‘Born to Run’ Film http://running.competitor.com/2015/01/news/reports-matthew-mcconaughey-star-born-run-film_121886 http://running.competitor.com/2015/01/news/reports-matthew-mcconaughey-star-born-run-film_121886#comments Wed, 28 Jan 2015 23:39:28 +0000 http://running.competitor.com/?p=121886

Photo: Jaguar PS/Shutterstock.com

The film adaptation is still in its early stages.

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Photo: Jaguar PS/Shutterstock.com

Multiple entertainment media outlets are reporting that actor Matthew McConaughey has been cast to star in the film adaptation of the best-selling book “Born to Run: A Hidden Tribe, Superathletes, and the Greatest Race the World Has Never Seen.”

Deadline.com and Entertainment Weekly have both confirmed that McConaughey has signed on. The book, written by Christopher McDougall, chronicles a journey to the Copper Canyons of Mexico to learn the secret about the Tarahumara Indian tribe and their renowned running ability. The book was a smash hit upon its 2009 release and still sells nearly six years later.

Details about a film adaptation have been minimal to this point, including a possible release date. Deadline reports that the film is being produced by Mickey Liddell, Deb Newbyer and Lorenzo di Bonaventura.

RELATED: The Legacy of Born to Run

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Boston Marathon Finish Line Photo Goes Viral http://running.competitor.com/2015/01/news/boston-marathon-finish-line-photo-goes-viral_121860 http://running.competitor.com/2015/01/news/boston-marathon-finish-line-photo-goes-viral_121860#comments Wed, 28 Jan 2015 20:57:29 +0000 http://running.competitor.com/?p=121860

Photo: Philip Hillman/Twitter (@PhillyIdol1017)

Amidst the blizzard, the Boston Marathon finish line stands out thanks to a man and his shovel.

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Photo: Philip Hillman/Twitter (@PhillyIdol1017)

Amidst the blizzard, the Boston Marathon finish line stands out thanks to a man and his shovel.

Boston is being buried in snow this week, but it didn’t stop one man from taking good care of the Boston Marathon finish line on Boylston Street.

Philip Hillman snapped a photo of a man shoveling off the famous yellow finish line on Tuesday and shared it on Twitter. By Wednesday morning, the photo had gone viral, popping up all over social media and in news outlets around the world.

Boston Athletic Association executive director Tom Grilk released a statement Wednesday, saying: “We saw profound acts of courage and kindness following the bombings which occurred in the City of Boston in April 2013 near the Boston Marathon finish line. Since that time, we have continually witnessed an outpouring of support for this great event and the City, demonstrating just how unique and special this race really is and all for which it stands. For someone to brave the winter blizzard to clear our finish line for us is yet another statement as to what our event means not only to runners but also to Americans. We, at the Boston Athletic Association (B.A.A.), are the organizers and are responsible for the management of the Boston Marathon, but an act like we see depicted here proves that – in Boston – everyone owns the Marathon.”

Some areas in eastern Massachusetts received more than 2 feet of snow, according to the Boston Globe—and more could be on the way.

The identity of the shoveler was a mystery at first, and sparked the Twitter hashtag #whoshoveledthefinishline. CBS Boston identified the man as Chris Laudani, an employee at the Back Bay Social Club on Boylston Street. ESPN interviewed Laudani, who says he’s not a hero but just a huge fan of the marathon. Laudani ran the Boston Marathon in 5:41:15 in 2011.

The 2015 Boston Marathon will be held on April 20.

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How Do You Determine Your Best Racing Distance? http://running.competitor.com/2015/01/training/determine-best-racing-distance_121848 http://running.competitor.com/2015/01/training/determine-best-racing-distance_121848#comments Wed, 28 Jan 2015 19:12:43 +0000 http://running.competitor.com/?p=121848

Moving up to the marathon as you get older is not uncommon—and it’s not just because you slow down as you age. Photo: Shutterstock.com

There are lots of factors to consider beyond your physique and genetic predisposition.

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Moving up to the marathon as you get older is not uncommon—and it’s not just because you slow down as you age. Photo: Shutterstock.com

There are lots of factors to consider beyond your physique and genetic predisposition.

Some of us are natural speed demons. Others amongst us are long-distance gazelles. But, most of us usually aren’t both. How, then, do we figure out what distance we’re best at?

“You typically look at body type and genetics,” says Rod DeHaven, head coach at South Dakota State University and a 2000 U.S. Olympian in the marathon.

For elite runners, there are lab tests that can help you determine what distances you might be genetically predisposed toward. You can test your VO2 max (the maximum rate your body consumes oxygen), although in recent years VO2 max has been considered less of an indicator for potential performance. You can also find out if you have more slow-twitch or fast-twitch muscle fibers. You can even measure the markers of recovery after a long or hard workout.

But, if don’t have all that fancy equipment, you can still make an educated guess as to what distance your genetics are pointing you toward.

“Just seeing how fast you are at any shorter distance will tell you what you can do in the longer races, if you train appropriately,” says Tim Noakes, a professor of exercise and sports science at the University of Cape Town. In his book, Lore of Running, Noakes provides a finish time predictor chart for different distances. (There are plenty of other pace predictor charts available as well.) How you stack up against the predictor charts can give you a rough idea of how good or bad you are at any distance. If you run much faster in the marathon than your 5K time would predict, then it’s possible you’re comparatively better at the marathon.

RELATED: Confidence-Building Workouts From The Pros

You can also judge which workouts you are best at and how you recover from them. DeHaven says runners should ask themselves: How does my body react to a long run? Do I recover quickly? “If those are absolutely debilitating for you, then you just may not be inclined toward longer distances,” he says. If you love long, hard tempo runs, on the other hand, then the half marathon or marathon might be ideal.

Some of a person’s natural ability can be enhanced through training—certainly, as a coach, DeHaven hopes so—but some of it can’t. At South Dakota State, DeHaven often gets kids out of high school who are decent milers, but without amazing speed. Through an increase in volume and strength work, he can turn them into better milers, but not necessarily into 800-meter or 400-meter runners. As they continue to add miles and experience, those runners can continue to get better at longer and longer races.

Moving up to longer distances as runners get older is actually not uncommon—and it’s not just because we slow down as we age. The experience we gain through training can make us better at longer distances.

“Most young runners have better basic speed than endurance and it usually takes more time to achieve a high level of performance in longer distances than in shorter ones,” says renowned coach Dr. Jack Daniels from the Run S.M.A.R.T Project.

“You have to learn how to pace yourself. And, it takes a few years to learn how to do this best in longer races,” explains Noakes. “Then you have to adapt your skeleton to the strain of daily training and your muscles to carry the load in longer races.”

All that takes time—sometimes years.

DeHaven himself made the transition from the 800 meters to the marathon as the years passed. After failing to qualify for the Olympic Trials on the track, DeHaven ran the marathon trials instead. The longer training didn’t just make him a good marathoner, it made him faster at the shorter races too. And, it all paid off when he won the U.S. Olympic marathon trials in 2000.

RELATED: Sound Racing Strategies For Runners

Plenty of professional runners make the move to longer distances over the course of their careers, although they could have another motivations too.

“It’s difficult to make money on the track,” admits DeHaven. For elites and sub-elites, the payday at the starting line of a marathon can be significantly better than for a 10K on the track—making it an appealing option.

For those of us not worried about making a living, though, there are still lots of considerations beyond physique and genetic predisposition. We have to consider preference and lifestyle too.

“The longer the distance you race at, the more you have to train. So athletes choose the racing distance for which they are prepared to train,” says Noakes. “Then the brain comes in as well. The longer the race distance, the more important the mind is in determining success, because it determines how much you will train and how much discomfort you are prepared to accept in training and racing.”

If we’re trying to figure out what distance we might be best at, it’d be counter-productive not to take into consideration what it takes to get good at anything: time.

“Do you have the time to commit to it to actually see what you can do?” DeHaven asks somewhat rhetorically.

And, don’t forget: You have to have fun too, or you won’t be good at all.

“Similar to asking the question, ‘Would you rather be a runner or a concert pianist?’ [ask yourself] Where is your heart? What sounds the most fun to you?” advises Daniels.

****

About The Author:

Kelly Dunleavy O’Mara is a journalist/reporter and former professional triathlete. She lives in the San Francisco Bay Area and writes for a number of magazines, newspapers, and websites. You can read more about her at www.sunnyrunning.com.

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Are Ice Baths A Waste Of Time? http://running.competitor.com/2015/01/training/ice-baths-waste-time_121844 http://running.competitor.com/2015/01/training/ice-baths-waste-time_121844#comments Wed, 28 Jan 2015 18:30:34 +0000 http://running.competitor.com/?p=121844

Think twice before sliding into a bathtub full of ice cubes, according to the results of one study. Photo: www.shutterstock.com

New research shows ice baths aren’t all they’re made out to be.

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Think twice before sliding into a bathtub full of ice cubes, according to the results of one study. Photo: www.shutterstock.com

New research shows ice baths aren’t all they’re made out to be.

It’s a love/hate routine with endurance athletes: Peeling off the sweaty shorts after a long workout to soak in a tub full of ice water. It isn’t comfortable, but it’s necessary to accelerate recovery.

Or is it?

New research published in the January issue of the Journal of Sports Sciences claim cold-water immersion “have no benefit in promoting recovery.” The study, which evaluated 24 male athletes after strenuous exercise, compared athletes without an ice bath to those in standing and seated cold-water immersion. Various markers of physiological stress, including Delayed Onset Muscle Soreness (DOMS), were measured before and up to 72 hours following the test.

“There is strong evidence that suggests that athletes feel better after an ice bath, which is likely why they are so popular,” says Dr. Jonathan Leeder of the English Institute of Sport, who led the study. “However if you objectively measure how indices such as muscle strength and power recover after an ice bath, the evidence is far less conclusive, with many research studies showing no effect.”

In fact, Leeder says new evidence suggests using ice baths may have a negative effect on adaptation to training: “It is suggested that the cold water blunts inflammation, but inflammation is a critical aspect of the repair and adaptation process, so it potentially shouldn’t be manipulated.”

RELATED: A Runner’s Guide To Ice Baths

For this reason, Leeder only endorses ice baths in competition scenarios, where the feel-good factor is important but training gains are not the focus.

Leeder, who also serves as a Physiologist for the British Cycling Team, suggests athletes in training skip the ice baths for a snack and a nap instead.

“There are three basics to optimal recovery for athletes: optimal nutrition, sleep and rest. It is our belief that the benefits of doing these three things well far outweighs the ice bath,” Leeder says. “A well-periodized training plan that allows for high-quality rest, alongside proper sleep and nutrition, is the best form of recovery.”

This story first appeared on Triathlete.com

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Junk Miles: The World’s First Wearable Tomato For Athletes http://running.competitor.com/2015/01/video/junk-miles-worlds-first-wearable-tomato-athletes_121682 http://running.competitor.com/2015/01/video/junk-miles-worlds-first-wearable-tomato-athletes_121682#comments Wed, 28 Jan 2015 15:55:58 +0000 http://running.competitor.com/?p=121682

A Japanese company is developing a practical way for runners to eat tomatoes while on a run.

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A Japanese ketchup manufacturer is developing wearable fuel technology for athletes.

From luxury cars to vending machines that stock sushi and pantyhose, Japan is now paving the way for wearable food technology. Last week, Nagoya-based food company Kagome released a promotional video for the Wearable Tomato Project. The project aims to develop the world’s first wearable tomato that athletes can easily consume while running or working out.

“We are still at the developing stages, but the finalized product won’t be something simple which you could wear on the hands. It’s probably going to look more like a backpack,” a spokesman at the company told “Japan Real Time” of the Wall Street Journal.

Kagome has also indicated that this “backpack” won’t resemble a juice dispenser like a hydration pack, but aims to allow athletes to ingest whole tomatoes.

Certainly, the amino and citric acids in tomatoes helps to convert glucose into energy and reduces inflammation, which makes it a beneficial mid-run fuel. However, the beta-carotene-rich fruit is also difficult to store and eat while on the run. Hence, why one of Kagome’s developers was inspired to invent the wearable tomato as a quick workout meal to replace a more commonly used fruit for fueling, the banana. The above video outlines this in a comic display of tomato testing.

The wearable tomato’s unveiling is scheduled in time for the Tokyo Marathon Expo on Feb. 19. It should compliment the tomatoes and pickled plums served at the marathon’s aid stations.

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Hal Koerner’s Tips for Winter Trail Running http://running.competitor.com/2015/01/trail-running/hal-koerners-tips-winter-trail-running_121828 http://running.competitor.com/2015/01/trail-running/hal-koerners-tips-winter-trail-running_121828#comments Wed, 28 Jan 2015 05:29:00 +0000 http://running.competitor.com/?p=121828

Photo: Shutterstock.com

Learn how to navigate winter's tough elements with these tips.

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Photo: Shutterstock.com

Adapted from Hal Koerner’s Field Guide to Ultrarunning with permission of VeloPress. Preview Hal’s book at www.velopress.com/hal.

Few ultras are held in urban environments; the vast majority of routes run through natural settings where the scenery helps inspire you across the distance. Although many runners have a deep affection for wilderness, they are not necessarily versed in what it’s like to be deep within it for many hours. Being prepared for wildlife encounters, knowing how to purify water, and getting comfortable on challenging terrain such as ice, snow, mud, and technical footing are crucial tools in your ultra toolbox.

Similarly, it is invaluable to be able to handle running in cold conditions, to know how to deal with hot temperatures and how best to cope with running at higher elevations or at night, and, most important, to know how to stay found out there (that is, unless you are mastering the finer details of going to the bathroom in the woods).

RELATED: Ultra-Experienced: 5 Questions With Hal Koerner

Running on Ice

The best solutions for confronting icy conditions are hobnails, which are screws you put into your outsoles, carbide-spiked trail shoes, and MICROspikes, removable minimal crampons that bite into the ice. I favor MICROspikes because they can be quickly slid on over your shoe when conditions get dicey and then easily removed when you are on firmer ground, and they are also light, efficient, and pretty easy to carry. There are other types of traction devices, such as traction cleats that are based on a spring system rather than teeth, that are good for walking and hiking. They are not as effective in running, however, because the spring can snap under the greater weight and impact.

Good technique on ice includes being very focused; taking shorter, faster, lighter strides with a wider stance for better balance; having your hands as free as possible; and slowing your pace appropriately for the conditions.

Running in Snow

The first thing to remember about snow is that it has many different personalities. It can be soft and powdery, heavy and wet, or hard-packed, with each type creating its own potential hazard. Running in wintry weather means you can be enjoying an easy day, glissading down a peak, for example, and the next thing you know you are on rock-hard ice! This abrupt change presents a dangerous situation, so be familiar with what you are running on and remain alert to temperatures and terrain changes.

When you head out in snow, stay protected from the elements as best you can. Cold and its more menacing partner in crime, frostbite, can end a run quickly. Staying protected means having full coverage from your feet on up. It is common to break through the upper crust of older snow, only to ram your shins into the hard surface and cut yourself. Because of this, capris aren’t a wise choice when the course is likely to cross through snow fields; go with tights or pants instead. Also, wear higher socks, which can go over or under tights and provide much-needed insulation on your ankles, where abrasion, exposure, and frostbite are common. Further, toe socks are a potentially hazardous choice in the cold; better to allow for the heat that grouped toes create. Wear wool and technical materials, not cotton, which will chill you when it gets soggy.

As for shoes, regular shoes and wool or at least wicking socks are probably all you will need, especially in dry, light snow. In heavy, wet snow, Gore-Tex shoes can provide waterproof protection, but they can also trap water inside, adding weight and creating an unpleasant feeling, as well increasing your susceptibility to blisters. Regarding the outsole, some rubbers are better than others in snow. If you are running in a lot of snow, the main thing to look for is an aggressive tread; this helps with confidence and keeping you upright.

I like to dress in layers, such as a long-sleeved shirt coupled with a vest that covers my core but allows unrestricted arm movement. I really like wool tops, which are great insulators; wool is a natural fiber and a warm option that also works well to wick moisture as the temperature rises. These days, with advances in technical materials, you can get away with a stand-alone piece more than you used to, saving you from the need for multiple layers and having a bunch of extra clothes to deal with as you warm up.

RELATED: Winter Running Advice From America’s Coldest Places

A hat is a must: It covers your ears, an area sensitive to frostbite, and keeps you from losing heat through your head. Gloves or mittens for your hands are also essential. Gloves are a practical choice because they allow you to tie your shoes, get into zippered pockets, adjust your audio, and so on. However, mittens pool the warmth of your whole hand and are a better choice if you are concerned about frostbite. Fortunately, there are convertible mitts, which provide the dexterity of a glove with the warmth of a mitten, as a great hybrid option.

Quick Tips for the Cold

  • Come prepared with everything you may need, using drop bags or layering on your person as is practical.
  • Dressing in layers is key. Today, technical materials and clothing are so thin and lightweight, there is no excuse for not carrying them along with you if you know you may be facing cold conditions. Calf or arm sleeves are a great option for added warmth and are easily removed.
  • Dehydration can lead to getting too cold, so stay on top of your hydration.
  • Make sure you are getting warm liquids to help warm your core. Many aid stations will have soup or oatmeal available.
  • Make sure you have hats, gloves, and extra socks (wool). Even if you don’t have to replace the socks you are wearing, the extra ones make handy mitts if you need them.
  • Do your due diligence: At what point in the race might you need items such as a hat or parka? Plan accordingly.
  • Never underestimate nighttime temperature swings, especially at altitude. Too, if you end up having to walk or stop, that’s when you get the coldest. The heat you were generating while running gets lost, and you can go into a hypothermic state, especially if your base layers are wet from sweat. So if you encounter large drops in temperature, make sure that you keep moving to generate heat, even accentuating movements more than you otherwise would.

Running in Mud

Running in mud can present a few unpleasant challenges. Thick mud can pack into the bottoms of your shoes, adding what feels like a ton of extra weight. A gunked-up bottom means significant loss of traction, as well. Finally, as you tire, dredging through mud can lead to muscle strains, cramps, and pulls as the tackiness of the mud causes you to stride differently and exert your fatigued and electrolyte-depleted muscles.

Your pace and stride are going to slow and change in mud. Be prepared to be on all fours on a muddy incline, if necessary, using your hands to get traction. Try to stomp off as much mud as possible or wipe off what you can on a rock. Many trail running shoes have self-cleaning soles, making them more effective at shedding mud than road shoes. Some trail shoes, however, actually hold on to mud, depending on the outsole pattern, the depth of the lugs, and the particular mud type. Certain clay will stick to any shoe, regardless of the sole surface. When you buy your shoes, it pays to inquire specifically about their various features to ensure you are getting what you want.

Getting dirty is a part of trail racing. Embrace it if you can. The North Face championships in 2012 turned out to be a mud bowl of epic proportions. Some runners were completely defeated by it. Watching them slog through the course, you could see they had no motivation, no momentum. For them, the course was miserable and went on forever. Others, however, ran through it like kids playing in mud puddles, embracing it and having a good time with it. Same conditions, different attitude—and most likely different end result, too. Yes, mud can be frustrating, but staying positive will get you through the course in better fashion and likely at a faster pace. Remember, it’s just another variable to hurdle! Roads are predictable. That’s why we love trails, right?

The post Hal Koerner’s Tips for Winter Trail Running appeared first on Competitor.com.

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Video: Better Jumping For Faster Running http://running.competitor.com/2015/01/training/video-better-jumping-for-faster-running_121766 http://running.competitor.com/2015/01/training/video-better-jumping-for-faster-running_121766#comments Tue, 27 Jan 2015 22:13:23 +0000 http://running.competitor.com/?p=121766

This video demonstrates two key jumping exercises you can start doing right now to take your running to new heights.

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This video demonstrates two key jumping exercises you can start doing right now to take your running to new heights. 

Built on our squatting foundation, the squat jump teaches us how to be powerful, which will help us clear a stream in a single bound and shift gears for a strong finishing kick.

Regardless of the specific sport or activity, our hips are the biggest power generator in the body. The squat jump is a simple exercise that reinforces this natural and intuitive extension every runner performs in the act of cruising down the road or trail. But remember, not all runners do this well, so a little practice goes a long way towards improvement.

RELATED: How To Do A Box Jump

Do you struggle running faster down hills or just running faster in general? Many runners aren’t prepared for the higher velocity and impact that comes with faster running and put on the brakes on without realizing it. The broad jump teaches us to land with stable feet, knees and hips despite the demands of forward momentum.

After mastering your squatting mechanics, add these two jumping exercises into your warmup or strength routine. Not only will you start landing like a cat, but you’ll be more effortlessly rocking those descents and crushing your competitors at the finish line!

Want more from The Run Experience? Sign up for our email list, get a free e-book and direct access to more great videos, articles and video-based training plans to improve your running technique, strength, and know-how! 

RELATED: 3 Tips For Better Running Form

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How Runners Prevent Chafing Issues http://running.competitor.com/2015/01/injury-prevention/how-runners-prevent-chafing-issues_121522 http://running.competitor.com/2015/01/injury-prevention/how-runners-prevent-chafing-issues_121522#comments Tue, 27 Jan 2015 19:13:33 +0000 http://running.competitor.com/?p=121522

Chafing can happen to the best of us, when we least expect it. Photo: Greg Hall

Some tried-and-true strategies to prevent chafing before it pains you.

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Chafing can happen to the best of us, when we least expect it. Photo: Greg Hall

Some tried-and-true strategies to prevent chafing before it pains you.

During the intense final scene of the 2011 comedy “Horrible Bosses,” Kevin Spacey’s sociopath character is in the process of framing three men for a murder he committed when he randomly blurts out, “You can’t win a marathon without putting some Band Aids on your nipples!”

To which one of the victims, played by Charlie Day, turned to his friend and asked, “What does that mean?”

Ahh, but many runners know exactly what that means. If you’ve run long enough, certainly you’ve experienced a painful episode of chafing, where your skin is rubbed raw from the repetitive motion of running. Oftentimes, a chafing mishap happens to us once (and only once) before we learn our lesson and make sure our checklist covers that issue going forward.

But how can we better prevent chafing? And how do we deal with fabric-on-skin crime in its immediate aftermath?

Chafing is typically the result of consistent friction between skin and clothing, though it can also happen skin-to-skin. The result is skin rubbed raw, and in some cases, well beyond that. Due to the different apparel we wear, it seems men and women have different problem areas with a few common trouble spots.

Here’s a look at where chafing surfaces, how to treat it and how to prevent future occurrences from happening.

Thighs

A lubricant applied to your thighs before the run (we’re fond of BodyGlide) will help, but the problem could be in the shorts you’re wearing. If you’re noticing that a certain pair of shorts is always near the scene of the crime, try a different pair.

Says running coach Christine Hinton, who’s seen her fair share of chafing issues: “Certain strategies can help. If your upper thighs rub together, consider a pair of longer, tighter shorts.”

Nipples

Kevin Spacey nailed it, though he was speaking mostly to male runners.

Without safeguards in place, miles and miles of running can cause nipples to react horribly with a sweat-drenched top, rubbing them raw and in the worst cases, making them bleed (Google it if you dare). Races on chilly mornings can further compound this problem.

This is widespread enough that there are products on the market to prevent chafing of the nipples (NipGuard is one of the more well-known ones). If you need a remedy already at home, listen to Spacey—a couple of band-aids can be strategically applied to act as a barrier between the friction (pulling them off can be a problem if you have chest hair, but that’s another article).

You could also use a lubricant like BodyGlide on your nipples. Some men even use just normal deodorant as a lube.

One more tip: Avoid cotton shirts. They get wet and stay wet, and soaked shirts are one of the main issues.

RELATED: Dealing With Injuries That Aren’t Really Injuries

Armpits

Again, the armpits are an area with plenty of constant friction during the course of a long run, so it makes sense that chafing issues can pop up there (swimmers notice it, too). Skin rubbing against a shirt, or on recently shaved armpit stubble, can cause quite a bit of pain.

Like other areas, a lubricant applied before your run is the best answer. Some even apply the lubricant to the shirt to keep both offenders at bay. And avoid stubble, even if it means shaving right before your race.

Sports Bra

The sports bra is also a common cause of chafing for women, and Hinton notices it typically happens on the shoulder straps, or on the band along the bottom of the bra. Hinton recommends spreading some lube, either BodyGlide or Aquaphor, across all potential problem areas to prevent chafing.

Another tip? “Some women find relief wearing their bras inside out, so exposed seams are on the outside. A lot of manufacturers are now designing them this way,” Hinton says.

Lady Parts

As Hinton wrote for Women’s Running, “nothing below the belt is safe” if clothing has exposed seams or moisture-collecting material. For women, that includes about anything your imagination can think of, front to back.

Writes Hinton, “BodyGlide, or other lubricants, should be applied liberally on all areas you experience chafing. Take a sample of the product with you on longer runs to reapply along the way.”

Hinton knows an ultrarunner who carries a tube of Chapstick specifically to apply to areas that begin to chafe. “We always joked not to borrow her Chapstick, because you never know where it’s been!” Hinton says.

Heart Rate Monitor

Much like the sports bra, a heart rate monitor strap can cause issues on longer runs.

Lube is the easiest prevention measure, but of course, another, more-expensive answer is to get rid of the strap. Mio Global creates heart rate monitors minus the need for a strap, and GPS watches like the Tomtom Multi-Sport Cardio are starting to incorporate a heart rate monitor detected from the wrist.

Is the Damage Already Done?

OK, so you found this article a little too late (you should Google this before the race!) If you’re currently in pain somewhere, Hinton recommends gently cleaning the area with water.

“Then, depending on the severity, you can use diaper rash ointment or an antibiotic cream like Neosporin,” Hinton says. “A day later you should have scabbing, so be careful to protect that area from re-chafing.”

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Running Tech Buzz: Motigo In-Race Cheering App http://running.competitor.com/2015/01/shoes-and-gear/tech-buzz-motigo-race-cheering-app_121786 http://running.competitor.com/2015/01/shoes-and-gear/tech-buzz-motigo-race-cheering-app_121786#comments Tue, 27 Jan 2015 17:49:23 +0000 http://running.competitor.com/?p=121786

Photo: Shutterstock.com

Struggling during a race? A new app allows for in-race cheering from your family and friends.

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Photo: Shutterstock.com

Struggling during a race? A new app allows for in-race cheering from your family and friends.

You sign up for a marathon, log plenty of high-mileage training weeks and you get to the starting line. But what happens when you start to struggle or hit the wall at mile 20 and need support from a friend, spouse or training partner?

Believe it or not, there’s an app for that.

Wearable technology is all the rage this year in running, and new gadgets, new apps and new forms of web interactivity are popping up all the time. One of the coolest new apps is called Motigo, a new iPhone app that allows your friends, family members, training group partners or a coach to send personalized motivational messages to you at specific points during a race (if you’re running with music or at least wearing ear buds).

How does it work? It’s pretty simple: Download the free app, find your race in the list of thousands of events and simply alert your friends and family that you’re racing and that you need their support. If they’re willing to download the app and record a fun, inspirational or perhaps snarky message or two, you’ll get a bit of motivational vibe piped into your ears during your run. (Anyone who downloads the app get one free “cheer,” but additional cheers can be purchased for $1.99 apiece or five for $7.99.)

“Before a race, you can look at your phone and see that you have cheers, but you won’t know who they’re from or when they’re coming,” says Dan Nagler, a Denver runner who created the app with his wife, Celeste Lo. “The idea is that you get an awesome surprise from someone that gives you a motivational boost.”

During the race, the music volume automatically lowers and a message plays. The app works concurrently with other run-tracking apps like Nike+, Strava and Map My Run. (An Android version of the app is in development and is expected to be ready this spring.)

“Motivation is such a huge part of finishing a race for a lot of people, enduring through mental barriers,” Lo says. “We really feel like we’re offering an emotional fuel for people. Running is hard for a lot of people. It’s hard on the body, it’s hard emotionally, and having this kind of personal support during the race can be a big help.”

RELATED: 7 Transformative Pieces of 2015 Running Tech

A few other run-tracking apps allow for some sort of cheering function, including Race Joy and Runtastic. However, those are both live-tracking apps that require real-time monitoring of a runner and neither offer an option for personalized messaging. The Nike+ run-tracking app offers pre-recorded, non-personalized cheers from select Nike athletes.

With the Motigo app, messages are scheduled to play during a certain point of the race—for example, mile 20. But if you’re a spectator cheering from the side of the road at mile 20, additional encouraging messages can be sent after your runner passes. (The app can also be customized for a virtual event or even a training run.) The messages played during the race can be archived and listened to later.

The idea for Motigo actually came up during a race. Last January, Nagler was running the Rock ‘n’ Roll Arizona Marathon with a friend in Phoenix when it dawned on him there was a disconnect between the many people were on the side of the road anonymously cheering for runners and the runners, like him, who were struggling in the race.

“I started to look around and thought, ‘Wow, everyone is running with phones, everyone is running with ear buds and there were people lining the streets, which was really cool, even little girls giving high-fives,” Nagler says. “But there was no one cheering for me and no one specifically that I cared about. My friends and family are mostly in New York, San Francisco or Denver and none of them were there to do it with me.

“By mile 18, I would have loved to have heard from Celeste, just encouraging me, motivating me and cheering me on because it was hard,” Nagler says. “I really wish I could have heard from Celeste, but I didn’t want to talk on the phone at that point. My thought was that it would be cool to have something play in my ears automatically while I was listening to music.”

RELATED: Garmin Announces New Wearables For 2015

Last spring, Nagler and Lo did some background work and research, interviewed lots of runners and by July had a working beta version of the app that they tested with runners at four races in the summer and fall. Motigo is currently in the middle of an Indiegogo online fundraising campaign, but version 1.4 was released on Jan. 27.

“The overall response was heartwarming,” Lo says. “We’ve seen people get goosebumps or literally start to tear up when we explain what the app does.

“It’s a huge thing for runners. It taps into your memory and also leaves a lasting impression that you had this huge race that you were so scared to run, but you had your support—your friends and family—right there with you the whole time.”

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Video: The Benefits of Slow Skipping http://running.competitor.com/2015/01/video/video-benefits-slow-skipping_121784 http://running.competitor.com/2015/01/video/video-benefits-slow-skipping_121784#comments Tue, 27 Jan 2015 17:12:25 +0000 http://running.competitor.com/?p=121784

Try this drill before a run workout to get your muscles warmed up.

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This drill works all of the muscles used while running. Focus all of your effort going up, and do two sets of 15-30 seconds.

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