Categories
Gifts for Runners

GIFT GUIDE: TOP MEN’S RUNNING FASHION

JackRabbit sums up our top men’s running fashion for 2020.

No two runners are the same, and that’s especially true for their personalities. While some runners like to show off the flashy colors of their crisp, fresh out-of-the-box shoes, others enjoy an all-black, muted aesthetic. 

While some enjoy the fresh crisp air at 5am every morning, others barely struggle to make it out the door. 

Here are the JackRabbit top men’s running fashion recommendations … the personality edition.

The Minimalist

What’s more minimalist than the all-black look? You keep it simple. You don’t want to stand out,  but people DO notice you because you rock the look so well. Like a vintage wine, you will never go out of style. 

Minimalist Runner

SHOP THE LOOK

Vuori Outdoor Trainer Shell

Men’s Vuori Outdoor Trainer Shell: $112. You shouldn’t have to sacrifice your look for your change in activity. That’s why this Vuori trainer shell makes the cut. It’s both lightweight and technical, making an excellent choice for Training, Running, Hiking, Traveling, & Chilling.

Vuori Men's Performance Jogger

Men’s Vuori Sunday Performance Jogger: $89. Vuori is well-known for its unyeielding focus on comfort. These joggers, while still built for performance, make comfort look carefree, perfect for the minimalist.

Hoka Bondi 7 black - Men's

HOKA ONE ONE Bondi 7: $150. All black meets all cushion. Comfort doesn’t get much more luxurious than the HOKA BONDI. This stylish neutral trainer will be sure to turn heads (downward)

Ciele Black Men's Hat

Ciele Running Hat: $40. Wear the hat brand EVERYONE is talking about, without flaunting it. You keep things subtle, but you recognize quality when you seen it.

The Weekend Warrior

You’re not trying to PR your next race… Heck, you’re not even into racing that much. You like to run, but if Brunch is a calling… you are cutting that SATURDAY long run early, buddy. You’re relaxed and comfortable with who you are.

Weekend Warrior Runner

SHOP THE LOOK

Men’s Running Jacket: $180. Let’s be honest you want that stylish zip jacket more for the comfort than the technical features. Luckily, we have the jackets that deliver both.

Rhone 6 inch men's shorts

Men’s Rhone 6″ Tempo Shorts: $68. Comfort is your number one priority, especially on the weekends. That’s why these Rhone Shorts are a no-brainer, made with lux Italian fabric to surpass the rest of the class.

Hydroflask Black

Hydroflask Water Bottle: $50. Hydrate or die-drate. You are smart enough to recognize a full weekend of play, with some mild running thrown in there, is going to leave you a little dehydrated. That’s why the hydroflask is the perfect accessory. It looks fancy and will act as a constant reminder that you need to drink more water!

Goodr Iced By Yetis: $25. They are polarized, which means they are high quality lenses. Yet, they are also casual looking… just your style 😎

The ‘Everyday is Race Day’ Guy

You’re tired of your friends slacking on your group runs together. If you come out to run, you are going to RUN. No dillydallying, no breaks every 5 minutes, absolutely NO stopping to look at the “pretty” views. You don’t want your Strava followers to think you’re slow, now do you?

Race Day Guy Runner

SHOP THE LOOK

New Balance Men's Fortitech Run Top

New Balance Fortitech Run Top: $65. New Balance really knows their stuff when it comes to technical race gear, while also making you look cool. Since you will ABSOLUTELY NOT sacrifice your performance for the sake of style, it’s a good thing NB is so good at providing both.

New Balance Men's Thermal Running Tights

New Balance Men’s Thermal Tights: $89. Keep warm on winter runs with thermal tights to keep you running whatever the temps.

Garmin Sport Watch: $600. Tracking your workout with your PHONE?! No way. Not for you. You know that GPS watches provide the most accurate tracking for your outdoor (and indoor) activities. You’re trying to PR your next race, so you need the best gear to support your hard-core training as much as possible.

Goodr Sunglasses for men

Goodr Sunglasses: $25. To eliminate eye glare, thus keeping you at maximum performance level. PolarIzed lenses are the only way to go. You cannot let a sun glare affect your pacing on your late afternoon tempo workout.

Brooks Running Trucker Hat for men

Running Hat: $26. To prevent you slowing down by eliminating headwinds in your hair. You need to be as aerodynamic as possible, and your hair gets in the way. You need a hat.

NB 1080 v10 Mens

New Balance Men’s 880 v10: $130. You need a shoe that is lightweight, but also able to withstand the miles of your intense long runs. They neutral 1080 is your go-to.

The Sheik Urbanite

You’re the one your hometown friends always talk about. You’re not a showoff by any means, but you seem to inspire people with both your personality and your impeccable style. You love your life in the city, but mange to keep a pretty chill attitude about it all. 

Sheik Urbanite Runner

SHOP THE LOOK

Men's On Running Jacket

Men’s On Weather Jacket: $240. You stay in-the-know, so you heard about On Running from your European friends WAY before your friends did in the states. That’s why you know that this On Jacket is the absolute peak of style, luxury, and technical detail. And now that it’s available here in the U.S. watch how quickly your friends will want one too after they see you rocking the look.

Men's On Running Pants

Men’s On Running Pants: $170. Living in a large city, full of rich and diverse culture, you like to express your love for that in your clothing. That’s why you choose these On Running pants. On searched the world for the right materials to match the Swiss designs: Japan for the PA-ripstop, Taiwan for the stretch fabric, Italy for the comfort waistbands. The result? Something new the world over.

Men’s Nike Running Hat: $25. You’re stylish. You know how to accessorize. Every runner needs a quality hat to complete their look, and you know this.

Goodr Mick and Keith's Midnight Ramble

Goodr Sunglasses: $25. Finishing a run at the perfect view of your city’s skyline, at sunset of course, means you need a good pair of polarized shades to maximize enjoyment of the moment.

Massage Ball for Runners

Orb Massage Ball: $25. Like we said, accessories complete the look. And what’s a better accessory to play with than a recovery tool reduces muscle fatigue and tightness while promoting flexibility.

Categories
Asics Reviews

ASICS GEL NIMBUS LITE 2 REVIEW

Coming to JackRabbit, the ASICS GEL Nimbus Lite 2 is a fabulous update on the well-received first edition from 2019. Read Brian Metzler’s review and ready yourself for it’s arrival at JackRabbit stores and online late November 2020.

THE BUZZ

The encore edition of last year’s inaugural ASICS GEL-Nimbus Lite is a soft, lightweight, neutral-oriented everyday trainer that will put a bit of a spring in your stride. It’s a reliable high-mileage shoe for a wide range of runners. The new edition is much more versatile, comfortable and stylish than the original.

The Nimbus Lite 2 is somewhat of a hybrid between a traditional cushioned everyday training shoe and a lightweight performance trainer.

You can consider this edition your trusty everyday-of-the-week shoe. Alternatively, you can pick and choose the days you’ll use it based on the running on your schedule.

ASICS GEL Nimbus Lite 2 - What's New

WHAT’S NEW

Even though last year’s original GEL-Nimbus Lite was well-received, this year’s version has been exceptionally revamped and refined. The eco-friendly Flytefoam midsole is softer, more pliable and more sculpted this time around. The internal GEL cushioning packets are softer and noticeably more resilient.

The revised seamless, engineered knit upper is comfortable and effective. This has helped lower the overall weight by a half ounce per shoe.

The wide outsole remains unchanged, with a mix of exposed foam and carbon rubber segments at key places. These are placed to align with common foot strike patterns. The slightly wider footprint allows for maximal ground contact and a touch of inherent stability. The small carbon rubber sections provide enhanced durability and traction in high wear areas.

As with the previous edition, there is no hard plastic support shank under the arch. This means the Nimbus Lite 2 is infinitely flexible and rolls easy from heel to toe.

The bright color motif and modern aesthetics of the GEL-Nimbus Lite 2 puts among the most attractive shoes in the market. We all know that feeling good on a run starts with looking good and this one delivers! There are numerous reflective elements integrated into the shoe, providing greater visibility at night and low-light hours.

ASICS GEL Nimbus Lite 2 - new and improved

FIT, FEEL, RIDE

The step-in feel of the GEL-Nimbus Lite 2 has a soft and plush feel with a performance-oriented fit. The rear of the shoe has a compact fit with a lightly padded heel collar and a thin exoskeleton heel clutch. The saddle is nicely integrated with a lacing system and new engineered knit upper that adapts to different foot shapes and volumes.

The GEL Nimbus Lite 2 feels moderately light the moment you lace it up. When you start running though, it feels light and energetic once you’re in motion.

The midsole is comprised of a single layer of next-generation Flytefoam. The high heel-toe offset gives it a thicker/softer sensation in the heel and a slightly firmer feeling in the forefoot. That allows for comfortable heel-striking strides and snappy toe-offs, especially at higher speeds.

The ride is soft and smooth but also extremely agile and lively. This combination inspires quick-cadence running and a slightly faster pace than most everyday trainers.

The new engineered knit upper of the GEL Nimbus Lite 2 is soft and pliable, but it also offers a touch of support from thin, lightweight 3D-printed overlays (built into the ASICS logo). These help keep the foot locked down on the run. The shoe is just wide enough in the forefoot for the toes to wiggle and splay, but not loose enough to feel sloppy.

WHO IT’S BEST FOR

The GEL-Nimbus Lite 2 is a great choice for a wide range of runners who run with a neutral-oriented gait. Those who appreciate lightweight everyday training shoes will be well-suited to this new edition.

It can be a do-everything training shoe for runners who prefer neutral shoes without much structure or support. It’s also capable of inspiring long runs and faster efforts like tempo runs and fartlek runs.

It could also be a race-day shoe 5K to the half-marathon for novice to intermediate runners.

TECH SPECS

ASICS GEL Nimbus Lite 21

SHOP ASICS GEL NIMBUS LITE 2

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Brian Metzler has run races at every distance from 50 meters to 100 miles. He has wear-tested more than 1,500 pairs of shoes, is a three-time Ironman finisher. He occasionally participates in the quirky sport of pack burro racing in Colorado.

He’s the founding editor of Trail Runner magazine, is a former senior editor at Running Times. He was and editor in chief at Competitor Magazine.

As an author, he has penned “Kicksology“, “Running Colorado’s Front Range” and the co-author of “Natural Running: The Simple Path to Stronger Healthier Running” and “Run Like a Champion: An Olympian’s Approach for Every Runner.”

Brian Metzler - Les Alpes
Brian Metzler - trail running
Categories
Altra Reviews

ALTRA PARADIGM 5 REVIEW

THE BUZZ

The Altra Paradigm 5 is the ultimate long-haul road runner when it comes to cozy comfort, smart cushioning and moderate control.

The new edition is a soft, smooth-riding max cushioned high-mileage stability shoe with extraordinary shock absorption and energy return attributes.

Tester’s Take:This shoe soft, poppy and fun! It feels like a cushy neutral shoe, but it provides subtle support of a stability shoe.”

Altra Paradigm 5 - What's New

WHAT’S NEW

Altra redesigned and rebuilt the Paradigm and came up with a much better performing shoe this time around. A new upper and integrated Guiderail system is integrated into the springier AlterEgo midsole/outsole chassis. This creates a better fit, feel, ride and look.

The Paradigm provides subtle stability from its medial GuideRail system and the slightly firmer SabiliPods. These pods define three zones of balance for a runner’s foot as it rolls through the gait cycle.

This shoe has an internal heel counter and stabilization unit that integrates with the rear part of the midsole. This helps to reduce awkward movements or inward rolling after impact with the ground.

FIT, FEEL, RIDE

The new Paradigm fits true to size to slightly wider from heel to arch to toe box. However, like all Altra shoes, it has a roomy forefoot that allows your toes to flex and splay.

The step-in feel is exorbitantly plush but not mushy, and the smoothly lined interior gently cusps the rearfoot and midfoot.

On the run, the Paradigm has cushioning for days, but it also serves up precise handling that keeps your foot moving forward without overbearing control.

This new edition is energetic and moderately bouncy, soft but not definitely not sloppy.

Altra Paradigm 5 Review

WHO IT’S BEST FOR

Runners who tend to run a lot of miles and need or want a bit of structural guidance will rave about this shoe. And committed Altra customers, especially those who have run in previous editions of the Paradigm, will absolutely love this shoe.

The Paradigm is the ultimate tool for medium to long runs, well-appointed for recovery runs and light and energetic enough for racing from 10K to beyond the marathon.

Note: The reason Altra builds its shoes on a level platform is to allow the heel and forefoot of a runner’s foot to always be an equal distance from the ground. Unlike shoes with elevated heels and sloping profiles, Altra’s shoes create what the brand calls an optimal foot alignment. This cultivates better running form and encourages a low-impact foot strikes.

Altra Paradigm 5 - Pros

The refinements to the Paradigm have made it slightly lighter and more lively, which helped make it more versatile for a wider range of running. It won’t be your first choice for faster, interval-based workouts, but it’s a shoe that runs lighter than it feels and can hold its own on longer up-tempo efforts.

All Altra shoes are built with a “Footshape” toe box that is wider and more rounded than most other shoes, thus allowing a runner’s toes and the transverse arch to splay and flex to allow for more effective muscular output for natural stability and optimal propulsion at the toe-off phase of a stride.

Altra Paradigm 5 - Cons

One thing to consider about the new Paradgim is that it’s built on a level or “zero-drop” platform and it might take some time to adjust.

Ultimately, we think it’s a great setup for a lot of runners to help their feet move and flex naturally. But if you’ve been running in shoes with a high to moderate heel-toe offset, consider make a gradual transition into Altra shoes built on a level platform.

ALTRA PARADIGM 5:
TECH SPECS

Altra Paradigm 5 - Tech Specs

SHOP ALTRA PARADIGM 5

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Brian Metzler has run races at every distance from 50 meters to 100 miles. He has wear-tested more than 1,500 pairs of shoes, is a three-time Ironman finisher. He occasionally participates in the quirky sport of pack burro racing in Colorado.

He’s the founding editor of Trail Runner magazine, is a former senior editor at Running Times. He was and editor in chief at Competitor Magazine.

As an author, he has penned “Kicksology“, “Running Colorado’s Front Range” and the co-author of “Natural Running: The Simple Path to Stronger Healthier Running” and “Run Like a Champion: An Olympian’s Approach for Every Runner.”

Brian Metzler - Les Alpes
Brian Metzler - trail running
Categories
Altra Reviews

ALTRA TORIN 4 REVIEW

Running journalist Brian Metzler reviews the new Altra Torin 4. As one of the best-selling shoes in the Altra line up there is plenty to offer in this latest edition.

THE BUZZ

The Torin is one of Altra’s best-selling road shoes. It’s a well-cushioned and very responsive everyday trainer that promotes a natural running stride.

The Torin 4 has a brand new midsole foam, making it quicker and more responsive than ever before.

Altra Torin 4 What's New

WHAT’S NEW

The updated version of the Torin is slightly lower to the ground, more energetic and flexible. Also featured in 202o is a new upper. The Stroebel layer under the sockliner has been removed. The result is lowering the overall stack height by 2mm and creating a faster, more flexible shoe with greater proprioceptive “feel” for the ground.

The midsole is primarily comprised of a resilient material called Quantic. This is an energetic compound that provides exceptional impact cushioning and energy return. It feels great late in a long run and has enough bouncy “pop” to run up-tempo workouts and shorter races.

FIT, FEEL, RIDE

The reason Altra builds its shoes on a level platform is to allow the heel and forefoot of a runner’s foot to always be an equal distance from the ground. Unlike shoes with elevated heels and sloping profiles, Altra’s shoes create what the brand calls an optimal foot alignment. This cultivates better running form and encourages a low-impact foot strikes.

Like all Altra shoes, the Torin 4 fits snug in the heel and arch/saddle area but is roomy in the forefoot.

Although there are no heel counters or unnecessary overlays, the moderately reinforced upper and softly cushioned tongue provide a bit of structure that works with the natural movements of the foot.

The step-in feel is comfortable but not extravagant or overbearing. This allows the shoe to serve up a soft, cozy feeling that translates to a supple, smooth and energetic ride.

Although it is well-cushioned from heel to toe, it offers a dynamic sense of proprioceptive feel for the ground. That allows a runner’s feet to engage naturally and uninhibitedly from touchdown to toe-off. The responsive midsole foam puts a noticeable spring in every step, both at slower and faster speeds. 

Altra Torin 4 Mid

WHO IT’S BEST FOR

Runners who appreciate soft, lightweight and responsive shoes will love the Altra Torin 4. It has an ideal mix of cushioning and responsiveness for long runs, tempo runs, long intervals and recovery runs.

If you’re a runner who has adapted to shoes built on a level platform, it could be an ideal racing shoe for any distance from 5K to the marathon.

TECH SPECS

Altra Torin 4 Tech Specs

Altra Torin 4 Pros

All Altra shoes are built with a “Footshape” toe box that is wider and more rounded than most other shoes, thus allowing a runner’s toes and the transverse arch in the forefoot to splay and flatten, allowing for more effective muscular output when the foot lifts off the ground at the toe-off phase of a new stride.

Our wear-testers love this shoe for how it fits, how it feels, how it rides and how it looks. If you’ve never run in Altra shoes before, this is the perfect one to start your natural running journey.

Altra Torin 4 Cons

The only caveat to the Torin 4.5 is that it’s a shoe built on a level or zero-drop platform and it might take some getting used to.

Ultimately, we think it’s a great setup for a lot of runners. But if you’ve been running with a high to moderate heel-toe offsets, make a gradual transition into Altra shoes built on a level platform.

SHOP ALTRA TORIN 4

Altra Torin Plush Mid
Altra Torin Plush 4.5

ALTRA TORIN 4.5 PLUSH

The Torin 4.5 Plush is a similar but slightly different version of the original Torin. Lightweight, cushy and stylish, the Torin 4.5 Plush is a sweet ride. It’s one of those rare shoes that can go the distance and also double as a sporty casual shoe.

The Torin 4.5 Plush has a slightly higher stack height and a softer ride than the standard Torin 4. It has a more luxurious step-in feel and features a new, mod-looking adaptable knit upper that looks good with jeans or a pair of casual shorts.

It looks cool and feels dreamy, making it a great option to kick around in when you’re not running. 

SHOP TORIN PLUSH 4.5

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Brian Metzler has run races at every distance from 50 meters to 100 miles. He has wear-tested more than 1,500 pairs of shoes, is a three-time Ironman finisher. He occasionally participates in the quirky sport of pack burro racing in Colorado.

He’s the founding editor of Trail Runner magazine, is a former senior editor at Running Times. He was and editor in chief at Competitor Magazine.

As an author, he has penned “Kicksology“, “Running Colorado’s Front Range” and the co-author of “Natural Running: The Simple Path to Stronger Healthier Running” and “Run Like a Champion: An Olympian’s Approach for Every Runner.”

Brian Metzler - Les Alpes
Brian Metzler - trail running
Categories
Reebok Reviews

REEBOK FOREVER FLOATRIDE GROW

Plant-based Performance With No Compromise

Available at JackRabbit, the Reebok Forever Floatride Grow is a trailblazing innovation in sustainable running shoes.

Reebok, committing to reduce their use of petroleum-based materials in their products, have launched the Reebok Forever Floatride Grow made with products from plants and is featured as part of their Cotton + Corn lifestyle collection.

REPLACING OIL-BASED PRODUCTS WITH PLANTS

The new plant-based running shoe, is actually an updated version of Reebok’s award-winning Forever Floatride Energy.

To start, each component in the Floatride Grow was meticulously researched and tested in order to identify the most sustainable natural ingredients. They needed to meet the high performance standards required for a best-in-class running shoe.

Enter materials such as castor beans, eucalyptus tree, bloom algae foam and finally natural rubber. The latter sourced from real rubber trees rather than petroleum-based rubber found in other performance gear.

SUSTAINABLE MATERIALS

  • Upper: Durable eucalyptus tree textile upper
  • Midsole Cushioning: Plant-based castor bean Floatride Energy Foam provides lightweight, responsive cushioning
  • Outsole: Algae-based EVA foam sock-liner, natural rubber outsole

The running community has been one of the most vocal when it comes to demanding more sustainable products. Consequently, Reebok and other brands have focused on innovation and are responding.

“The earth is a runner’s arena, and we have a responsibility to help detox the world for the athletes who run in it,” said Matt O’Toole, Reebok Brand President.

“Our Cotton + Corn collection was the first step in making shoes from things that grow. Now, we have taken an award-winning running shoe, the Forever Floatride Energy, and reinvented it using natural materials to create what we feel is the most sustainable performance running shoe on the market.”

SHOP REEBOK FOREVER FLOATRIDE GROW

Categories
Injury Prevention / Health Clinics Pilates, Yoga & More Training

YOGA FOR RUNNERS: FOCUS ON FEET

How yoga is beneficial for your runner’s feet

Most of us know the ancient practice of yoga has myriad benefits for the body, mind and spirit.  Add to that, yoga offers some serious perks for runners, like improving flexibility and helping with recovery from long runs.

Adding a simple yoga routine to your weekly training regime tailored specifically to the biomechanics of running and the stresses put on a runner’s body, can have beneficial impact.  The pluses are aiding recovery and prevention of strains and muscle fatigue in the long run.

Many runners (myself included) are quick to state the lack of time to fit in a yoga session to our already busy lives.  We’ve drawn upon the knowledge of JackRabbit team member and yoga instructor Vincent Gerbino, to share his tips on a few yoga poses any time-crunched athlete can fit into their day for maximum benefits.

This session, we focus on an area special to all runners – feet.  They support us and take much of the running load.  They can be prone to ailments such as plantar fasciitis, tightness and general aches and pains.

Read on to learn three key yoga poses for feet easy to incorporate into your day to keep your feet stretched and importantly build strength.

3 YOGA POSES FOR FEET

(and preventing plantar fasciitis)

Yoga Instructor, Vincent Gerbino

‘These are poses familiar to anyone who attends my yoga classes. A little yoga each day goes a long way in terms of strengthening your body and bringing you to amore blissful every-day state. You’ll need to be barefoot to reap true benefits of these poses, plus, doing so will help you have better connection and control on your feet when your running shoes are on.

It is best to use a yoga mat, mostly for safety’s sake and to get good grip to hold the positions for Fist Lunges and Fist Toes pose. Toes stands can be done wherever you have a stable & hard flat surface.’

Yoga for Runners - Lunge pose

LUNGE POSE

Lunge Pose: Start with the lunge, at it activates the whole leg, from the hip socket down to the ankle and foot. Start out standing at the top of your mat (known in yoga as Mountain pose).

Drop the hands to the floor and stabilize them under your shoulders, bring your weight to your right foot and step your left foot straight back. Keep right knee directly above right ankle. Dig the ball of your left foot gently but firmly into the mat, so that you are pushing down behind the big toe.

Let the toes spread and push down behind each of the smaller toes. Hold the lunge for at least 20 seconds. Step back to the top of your mat and repeat the exercise on the other side.

Yoga for Runners - Fist Toes Pose

FIST TOES POSE

Fist Toes Pose:  Start out standing at the top of your mat. Drop the hands to the floor and stabilize them under your shoulders. Step left foot back and then the right foot to make a right angle with your legs and your torso (known in yoga as Downward Dog pose).

Feet should be hip-width apart and hands shoulder width apart. Flatten the back and align arms with the torso. Flip the feet and make fists with your toes; toe knuckles will dig down into the mat as the tops of the feet and fronts of the shin stretch.

This pose takes some getting used, to start with short intervals, not holding the pose for more than ten seconds. Repeat three or four times. At you get used to the mechanics of the pose, lengthen the intervals to 20 seconds.

Yoga for Runners - Toe Stands

TOE STANDS

Toe Stands: Toe stands can be done in stationary fashion, or you can also walk aroundSimply stand and then raise your heels off the ground.

Push down behind your big toe and let the toes spread enough so that you feel stable pressure behind each of the smaller toes as well, and don’t let the ankles roll in or out.

You can do longer stints for toe stands as this movement flows the pattern of normal plantar flexion, the motion we do when walking and running. You can walk around the house or hold the pose in one place. Make sure you remain connected to how the movement feels if you are walking around.

SHOP YOGA ESSENTIALS
Categories
Asics

EKIDEN WORLD CHALLENGE 2020

ASICS EMBRACES THE JAPANESE CHALLENGE OF THE EKIDEN RELAY

The Ekiden Relay is a historical part of Japanese running culture. First debuted in 1917, it’s a long distance multistage relay race. The original event was a three day, 23 stage run from Kyoto to Toyko over 507 kilometers.

The name Ekiden draws upon an old Japanese transportation system. Mail and officials would travel by relay across the country by horse or by foot. The first relay was inspired by this method of traveling long distances; it’s become an integral part of running in Japan.

The ASICS World Ekiden 2020 will embody everything about the spirit of the relay. It’s an accessible 26.2 marathon distance for six team members. You’ll compete with teams from all over the world to be part of this global adventure.

Johnny Gregorek receiving the tasuki sash from his team-mate

Listen to middle distance runner Johnny Gregorek explain more about the Ekiden.

SIGN UP FOR THE ASICS WORLD EKIDEN

THE TASUKI: SHARE THE SASH

As each runner completes a leg of the relay, they wear a tasuki, a cross-body sash, that is passed from runner to runner. The tasuki represents passing the spirit of the race from one to another, embodying the team effort of the Ekiden.

ASICS World Ekiden 2020 - Tasuki

ASICS WORLD EKIDEN 2020

The World Ekiden 2020 will be the ultimate virtual team challenge. The 2020 relay celebrates ASICS’ Japanese heritage and introduces runners to the heartbeat of Japanese running culture.

The 2020 relay is a virtual, team challenge. Taking place on ASICS’s Runkeeper platform, the relay features teams of six runners will complete a marathon distance over six legs.

JOIN THE 2020 WORLD EKIDEN CHALLENGE

Dates: November 11th – November 22nd, 2020

ASICS invites runners to discover the exhilarating challenge and team-on-team rivalry of the Japanese Ekiden—virtually.

Sign up and start a team of up to six runners. Get ready to compete with teams from all over the world as you run a marathon, leg by leg. Create or join a team of up to six runners. Each teammate will run between 5K and 10K, totaling the marathon distance.

Virtually log your leg of the race on the ASICS RunKeeper app between November 11 and 22. Work hard and run fast as you strive to pass the virtual tasuki to your teammate!

Sign up here to join the ASICS Ekiden World Challenge race.

SIGN UP FOR THE ASICS WORLD EKIDEN

Finishers will get a place on the ASICS global leaderboard & unlock access to exclusive rewards. Share your results with friends and family on social, and don’t forget to tag #ASICSWorldEkiden!

PREP FOR YOUR EKIDEN, SHOP ASICS
Categories
New Balance Reviews

NEW BALANCE FRESH FOAM 860 v11 REVIEW

THE BUZZ

The New Balance Fresh Foam 860v11 is a reliable daily trainer with loads of cushy comfort and stabilizing support.

The 860 v11 is ideal for short runs, long runs and week after week of high-mileage training. It’s also versatile and secure enough to go through the grind at the gym, too.

New Balance 860 v11 - What's New

WHAT’S NEW

New Balance updated this reliable training shoe with a softer midsole foam package to improve the comfort and ride. It also features a new upper to improve the fit and performance.

Those changes have given the 860v11 a lively new vibe and the fresh feel of a modern stability shoe.

The geometry of this shoe offers plenty of cushion and support while also playing a role in taking pressure off the Achilles.

The relatively high heel-toe offset (10mm) and heel stack height (31mm) is ideal for new runners. It also serves those interested in long, slow comfortable miles.

FIT, FEEL, RIDE

Forget what you know about stability shoes. The New Balance 860 v11 is sporty, plush and smooth. First, it is available in three widths (narrow, medium and wide) so it’s very accommodating to all sizes of feet. Generally speaking it has a medium volume interior from heel to toe.

The step-in feel is soft and luxurious, combining a squishy top layer of its footbed, a padded tongue. It also introduces a flared Ultra Heel collar, which both wraps the foot and reduces tension on the Achilles.

The thin layer of Fresh Foam midsole cushioning sandwiched between the footed and a thicker layer of EVA foam helps soften the ride and add a tinge of springiness in every stride.

New Balance created the concave and convex dimple pattern of the Fresh Foam compound. This alters levels of compression and resistance under impact based on gait data recorded from thousands of runners.

The ride is smooth and consistent, though not overly energetic. The new two-layer midsole foam gives it a mildly springy feel. The energy return is minimal even though the comfort value is high.

WHO IT’S BEST FOR

Runners who appreciate soft cushioning and need a bit of support to offset mild to moderate over-pronation. The 860 v11 is a great workhorse training shoe that can be a great shoe for many types of runners.

It’s suitable for new runners who don’t vary their pace much, taller or larger runners who want more cushioning and support.

The 860 also serves those who are known to pronate consistently or tend to endure form fatigue in final miles of a long run.

New Balance 860 v11 - Pros

PROS: New Balance 860 v11

The key component of the 860v11 is the medial post that provides noticeably stability under the arch. You can definitely feel the extra support in every stride — especially if you’re a severe over-pronator — but the shoe provides a smooth transition from the heel to mid-foot to forefoot without the clunkiness of some stability shoes.

The uniquely shaped and styled engineered mesh upper is similar to that of the New Balance Fresh Foam 1080v10. And let’s be honest, the heel flare feature that keeps pressure off of the Achilles tendon makes it look a bit like an elf slipper. Our wear-testers loved the stretchy and supportive upper because it kept our feet comfortably and securely in place while running.

The 860v11 is a very durable shoe that will likely be able endure at least two seasons of training. Does that mean you’ll get 350 to 400 miles out of them? Yes, it’s quite possible, thanks to the durable nature of the midsole foam and the segments of blown rubber on the outsole.

New Balance 860 v11. Cons

CONS: New Balance 860 v11

The 860v11 is not a speed merchant by any means, so don’t expect it to be your go-to shoe for interval workouts or your next 5K race. However, it can suffice for moderately fast tempo runs in a pinch and your next half marathon or marathon, especially if you’re seeking extra support late in the race.

TECH SPECS

New Balance 860 v11 - Tech Specs

SHOP NEW BALANCE FRESH FOAM 860 v11

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Brian Metzler has run races at every distance from 50 meters to 100 miles. He has wear-tested more than 1,500 pairs of shoes, is a three-time Ironman finisher. He occasionally participates in the quirky sport of pack burro racing in Colorado.

He’s the founding editor of Trail Runner magazine, is a former senior editor at Running Times. He was and editor in chief at Competitor Magazine.

As an author, he has penned “Kicksology“, “Running Colorado’s Front Range” and the co-author of “Natural Running: The Simple Path to Stronger Healthier Running” and “Run Like a Champion: An Olympian’s Approach for Every Runner.”

Brian Metzler - Les Alpes
Brian Metzler - Trail racing
Brian Metzler - trail running
Categories
Reviews Running Gear Training

TOP FIVE MARATHON SHOES FOR 2020

Brian Metzler rounds up the best of the best for your virtual race months.

There still aren’t many races in the U.S. this fall. However, you can still create your own opportunities to run fast on your own — either through virtual races, personal time trials or simulated race efforts with your running pals.

To run your fastest, you’ll need a lightweight, speedy pair of shoes. Here are five of the best shoes in a variety of price categories that will keep you on pace for fast times and inspiring new goals for 2021.

Brooks Launch 7 - womens

BROOKS LAUNCH 7

A $100 running shoe? For racing a half marathon or marathon? Is that a mistake? Heck no! The Brooks Launch 7 is an energetic and well-cushioned shoe that also comes with an affordable price tag. With a relatively light and snappy demeanor, the Launch is somewhat of a unique ‘tweener. It falls between the category of performance trainers and the wide range of high-mileage trainers that are about a full ounce lighter. But if your race goals are modest or just want to complete a 10K, half marathon or marathon at your own goal pace, this can be an ideal shoe is for you.

Plus, it can also double as an affordable, do-everything trainer shoe that’s versatile enough to endure long runs and also quick enough to run faster, shorter workouts like tempo runs, fartlek runs and track intervals.

Weights: 9.2 ounces (men’s size 9.0); 7.5 oz. (women’s size 7.0)

Heel-Toe Offset: 10mm (26mm heel, 16mm forefoot)

SHOP BROOKS LAUNCH 7
Hoka Rincon 2 mens

HOKA ONE ONE RINCON 2

$115 While Hoka One One’s Carbon X is an exceptional long-distance racing shoe, we’ve chosen to focus on the fast and light Rincon model for this roundup of racing shoes instead.

Why? First, it’s a great shoe for running fast over all distances from 5K to the marathon. It’s also because it’s much more affordable too. The Rincon 2 is unfettered and fast, but it still has a lot of cushioning in every stride thanks to the full-compression EVA midsole.

The Rincon doesn’t feel like a stripped-down racing flat, but the soft, smooth and energetic demeanor allows it to perform like one when you want it to. It’s light and fast enough to be an energetic performance trainer for fast workouts. It also enough cushion and protection to be a long-run shoe or even an everyday trainer.

Weights: 7.7 ounces (men’s size 9.0); 6.8 oz. (women’s size 7.0)

Heel-Toe Offset: 5mm (men: 29mm heel, 24mm forefoot; women: 26mm heel, 21mm forefoot)

SHOP HOKA RINCON 2
New Balance 860v8

NEW BALANCE 890V8

$120: New Balance has several racing shoes with carbon-fiber plates embedded in their midsoles. But the 890 is the brand’s tried and true featherweight performance-oriented trainer/racer. It has always been known for its light, agile and very energetic vibe.

The New Balance 890 has been overhauled in recent years. It now includes a high-rebound FuelCell midsole, a supportive yet comfortable knit upper and a gusseted tongue for a snug, race-day fit. It has a semi-firm feel and a slightly lower to the ground geometry. This gives it excellent feel-for-the-ground proprioception and a lively feel in every stride. The 890 is fast, light, versatile and capable of taking you race-day goals. Even if your race is a virtual event or your own personal time trial!

Weights: 8.4 ounces (men’s size 9.0); 7.2 oz. (women’s size 7.0)

Heel-Toe Offset: 6mm (25mm heel, 19mm forefoot)

SHOP NEW BALANCE 890 v8
Saucony Endorphin Pro - Men's Style

SAUCONY ENDORPHIN PRO

$200: The Saucony Endorphin Pro is a top-tier long-distance racing shoe. It features a carbon-fiber plate embedded in a soft, very resilient midsole foam. It debuted on the feet of Saucony pros at the 2020 U.S. Olympic Trials Marathon in February in Atlanta, including women’s second-place finisher Molly Seidel. It represents the best of Saucony’s engineering and design efforts. It’s built on SpeedRoll technology, a forward-leaning geometry that propels you forward. It has a feeling of continuous momentum, so you can run faster and more efficiently without running harder. It feels light, firm, energetic, efficient and smooth, especially at faster speeds.

Weights: 7.5 oz. (men’s size 9.0); 6.3 oz. (women’s size 7.0)

Heel-Toe Offset: 8mm (35.5mm heel, 27.5mm forefoot)

SHOP ENDORPHIN PRO
Nike Tempo NEXT%

NIKE AIR ZOOM TEMPO NEXT%

$200: The Nike Air Zoom Tempo NEXT% mixes durability with a design that helps push to a personal best. The result is a shoe built like a racer, but made for your everyday training routine.

Nike ZoomX foam in the footbed delivers energy return as you move forward. A visible Zoom Air unit provides responsive cushioning, giving you an additional spring with your stride.

The rubber outsole features a design created using data from hundreds of runners. That information helps place traction where your foot needs it most, giving you grip on multiple surfaces.

Weights: 9.8 ounces (men’s size 9.0); 7.9 oz. (women’s size 7.0)

Heel-Toe Offset: 10mm (46mm heel, 36mm forefoot)

SHOP AIR ZOOM TEMPO NEXT%
Categories
Interviews Reviews Training

RUNNING A VIRTUAL MARATHON & THE BEST SHOES TO DO IT

Virtual Boston is in the books for 2020. With in-person marathons out, runners all over the world have been encouraged and inspired to run their virtual marathon anyway.

This month we checked in with two runners from Colorado who chose to run their ‘Bostons’ in two very different places.

Meet Kara Diamond-Husmann, who ran her race up Vail Pass in Colorado (ok, she’s is also an ultrarunner!) and Jess Gillman, who ran a fast, flat race to celebrate what would have been her very first Boston.

Go forth on your own virtual marathons and races, and celebrate the journey. As theses ladies clearly demonstrate, 2020 is all about the journey.

Kara - Virtual Marathon in Vail
Running Vail Pass as the ‘Boston Marathon’

KARA RUNS ‘BOSTON’ IN VAIL, COLORADO

by Kara Diamond Husmann

Boston Marathon holds a special place in my heart! My first Boston Marathon was in 2007 during the infamous Noreasterner. I’m usually a one and done on race courses; I want to race so many places. But, after the Boston bombings I decided I’d run the Boston Marathon every year after and nothing has stopped me from running it even a tibial stress fracture one year. There was no way I was going to let Covid-19 stop me!

Planning for the virtual marathon I knew no PR’s were going to happen, so I designed my course in a town that holds a special place in my heart, Vail, Colorado.

I love the trails, but there was a 6 hour time limit to get a medal, so I knew I needed mostly road. But, I wanted to climb; I love hills! All my life I’ve passed the Vail pass bike route, so I thought this was the place to set my marathon route. Add to that I’ve always wanted to hike Shrine Trail Ridge at the top, so, because I was in charge, I incorporated that in my route too!

On the drive up to Vail, I actually started to get some pre-race jitters. As we drove by the virtual marathon course I mapped out, I was thinking, ‘What? This is steep!’ The elevation of the run starts at 8,700 feet and climbs to 11,900 feet. And, then I’d need to run it all the way back down and I know what downhill running does to the body.

PRE-RACE VIRTUAL MARATHON

The night before we pretended we were having dinner in the North End of Boston and made pizzas for authentic race preparation.

I packed all my nutrition GUs, Cliff Bar, Shot Blocks and 4 water bottles for the run since there would be no aid stations on this course. I’d also have to carry the clothes I start out with in the morning. Mountain morning air is chilly and there’s no throwing clothes on course when it’s your own route.

In the morning, I ate breakfast and gathered my gear and some signs I made for myself to carry. With my Bib number in hand, I drove off to my unofficial ‘Boston’ start line! The beauty of my start was an empty Porta-Potty line, I went to the bathroom and visualized being in Hopkinton walking to the start from Athletes Village.

I set my watch and off I went. No fanfare, just a beep.

The first mile I was uncomfortable and my breathing was off from being at 8,700 feet and a steep climb right away. I imagined myself at mile 1 in Boston and pretended to see the crowds lining Hopkinton and running down that steep hill instead of the climb. The miles ticked away and I fueled exactly like I do in real marathons and drank at miles I stop at aid stations.

At mile 9 I reached the top of Vail Pass at 10,600ft. I felt good. But mile 10 I started to feel the altitude and thought I have 1,300 feet more climbing to do before I reach the ‘WELLSLEY girls.’

I took my mind off the climb and looked around thinking how lucky I am to be in this beautiful place. Once I hit a two-mile single track I started seeing people out on a short hike. It gave me energy seeing people. They’d say nice things and I’d think to myself, do they know I ran from Vail Village up here!

Kara - Boston Marathon in Vail
Kara with the ‘Wellesley Girls’ on the top of Vail Pass

Being a self-supported race seeing people was a huge mental boost. By mile 13.1 I was running along Shrine Ridge and it was absolutely beautiful, I could almost hear the WELLSLEY girls offering their support.

The turn around was here and it was all down hill. Ouch! I took in a Cliff Bar; my stomach was churning from the GUs and needing some solid food. The run down was a mental game and I kept putting myself on Boston’s course to keep me running. Bikers would fly by and cheer me on; it gave me a motivational boost!

With one mile to go, I saw the Citgo sign in my head and could hear the crowds cheering as I ran in. Visualizing turning on Boylston and hearing the cheers I kicked it up a notch and sprinted to my car and stopped my watch!

I was on cloud nine!

I felt good and drove back to my condo where my daughters decorated the place. We celebrated the day pretending we were in back in Boston. I even put on my celebratory jacket and walked around Vail Village. A few people stopped to congratulate me and even a couple said they heard about me running on the pass earlier in the day running 26.2 miles and thought it was a CRAZY RUN!

I loved the day and another – albeit solo – Boston Marathon in the books.

Every Boston Marathon really does have a special story, and this one will stay with me forever.

Jess - Highline Canal
Jess with her ‘rabbits’

JESS RUNS ‘BOSTON’ ON THE HIGHLINE CANAL TRAIL, COLORADO

I think what pushed me to do a marathon on my own steam was the fact that I had essentially been training for the Boston Marathon since November of last year.  I’d put in so many long runs, hill repeats, strength training days to help me take on Boston in April of 2020 and the thought of letting all the preparation go to waste made me really sad to think about. 

As we all know, marathon training is no easy thing. It takes time and dedication in order to run a successful marathon and I for one was not going to let it being cancelled stop me from seeing what I could do on virtual race day!

Being from Colorado, we are really lucky that we have a ton of amazing paths we can run for miles and miles! I had several options leading up to my race day but ultimately decided to run a route where I knew other people would be on that morning.  Because we had to start so early (5:00 am) I wanted a route that would be pretty popular in case of an emergency.  Sadly, being a female runner we always have to think about our safety when we are running in the dark and also being in Colorado, we have to worry about the possibility of wildlife chasing us – which incidentally did happen on the ‘race’ at mile 9!

There was an awesome group putting on a small race called “Boston not Boston” so we used their course for the most part which made it easier because they mapped out where the restrooms were on the route in case they were needed and also trouble spots where traffic may be crossing.  I am very appreciative of this group for doing a lot of the dirty work for me! 

Jess Boston Marathon in Colorado
A ‘Boston’ race day jacket is just as sweet

RACE DAY AND RACE PREP

Did I have to dig deep for this virtual marathon?

For the race itself, no! For the training leading up to the race 100% yes. 

I remember being on some long runs in the summer heat thinking to myself, “Why are you doing this? You could be sleeping in or heading to the pool versus running 19 miles”. This is when I had to dig and really think about what I wanted and why I wanted to do this race. 

For the actual race, it was such a build up to that point for myself that I was ready. I had no goals in mind for time, no thoughts on outcome only that I wanted to be with my friends, talk, laugh and hopefully sit on a pace that felt comfortable so that I could run and coach my sons 3 year old soccer practice immediately after. 

I think when you have been working up to something for so long as an athlete, when it comes to game day you know you are prepared because you trained, you know you can run that race because mentally I had run that race over and over again! 

Mentally I was beyond prepared for this day, that moment!

SUPPORT CREW FOR A VIRTUAL MARATHON

My run crew came and ran with me! Holly and Emerald had been with me from the start of this road to Boston.  Both are former Boston Marathoners themselves (2007 and 2009) so they knew how magical this race is suppose to be. They wanted to do everything in their power to make this special for me even though we were not in Boston. 

Holly had planned to run the first half with me and Emerald was going to run the last half. Holly being Holly decided at about half way that she felt good and was going to keep going, she ended up running all 26.2 miles with me. 

Emerald is the gazelle in the group and she met us half way with nutrition and Advil! She kept us on pace and even doubled back because I was having an issue with my hydration pack rubbing my shoulder raw!

Both of these girls selflessly helped me achieve my goal and they did it with a smile on their face! To them I am immensely grateful and I hope others have such an amazing community of friends that can help support them. 

Additionally, a group called Run to Change Lives had set up small cheer zones along the route and so every now and then we would here a shout from someone saying, “Strong ladies, you’ve got this!”

It was small gesture, but felt oh so mighty!

BOSTON 2021?

I plan on applying for the Boston Marathon for 2021 when that application opens.  Until then, I am just running to run and have fun. 

I have unfinished business with Boston Marathon, and so I am determined to run that course and celebrate with 30,000+ runners when it is safe to do so. 

Until then, I am just going to keep on running. 

Best shoes for a virtual mararthon

TOP FIVE MARATHON SHOES IN 2020

Brian Metzler rounds up the best of the best for your virtual race months.

There still aren’t many races in the U.S. this fall. However, you can still create your own opportunities to run fast on your own — either through virtual races, personal time trials or simulated race efforts with your running pals.

To run your fastest, you’ll need a lightweight, speedy pair of shoes. Here are five of the best shoes in a variety of price categories that will keep you on pace for fast times and inspiring new goals for 2021.

Brooks Launch 7 - womens

BROOKS LAUNCH 7

A $100 running shoe? For racing a half marathon or marathon? Is that a mistake? Heck no! The Brooks Launch 7 is an energetic and well-cushioned shoe that also comes with an affordable price tag. With a relatively light and snappy demeanor, the Launch is somewhat of a unique ‘tweener. It falls between the category of performance trainers and the wide range of high-mileage trainers that are about a full ounce lighter. But if your race goals are modest or just want to complete a 10K, half marathon or marathon at your own goal pace, this can be an ideal shoe is for you.

Plus, it can also double as an affordable, do-everything trainer shoe that’s versatile enough to endure long runs and also quick enough to run faster, shorter workouts like tempo runs, fartlek runs and track intervals.

Weights: 9.2 ounces (men’s size 9.0); 7.5 oz. (women’s size 7.0)

Heel-Toe Offset: 10mm (26mm heel, 16mm forefoot)

SHOP BROOKS LAUNCH 7
Hoka Rincon 2 mens

HOKA ONE ONE RINCON 2

$115 While Hoka One One’s Carbon X is an exceptional long-distance racing shoe, we’ve chosen to focus on the fast and light Rincon model for this roundup of racing shoes instead.

Why? First, it’s a great shoe for running fast over all distances from 5K to the marathon. It’s also because it’s much more affordable too. The Rincon 2 is unfettered and fast, but it still has a lot of cushioning in every stride thanks to the full-compression EVA midsole.

The Rincon doesn’t feel like a stripped-down racing flat, but the soft, smooth and energetic demeanor allows it to perform like one when you want it to. It’s light and fast enough to be an energetic performance trainer for fast workouts. It also enough cushion and protection to be a long-run shoe or even an everyday trainer.

Weights: 7.7 ounces (men’s size 9.0); 6.8 oz. (women’s size 7.0)

Heel-Toe Offset: 5mm (men: 29mm heel, 24mm forefoot; women: 26mm heel, 21mm forefoot)

SHOP HOKA RINCON 2
New Balance 860v8

NEW BALANCE 890v8

$120: New Balance has several racing shoes with carbon-fiber plates embedded in their midsoles. But the 890 is the brand’s tried and true featherweight performance-oriented trainer/racer. It has always been known for its light, agile and very energetic vibe.

The New Balance 890 has been overhauled in recent years. It now includes a high-rebound FuelCell midsole, a supportive yet comfortable knit upper and a gusseted tongue for a snug, race-day fit. It has a semi-firm feel and a slightly lower to the ground geometry. This gives it excellent feel-for-the-ground proprioception and a lively feel in every stride. The 890 is fast, light, versatile and capable of taking you race-day goals. Even if your race is a virtual event or your own personal time trial!

Weights: 8.4 ounces (men’s size 9.0); 7.2 oz. (women’s size 7.0)

Heel-Toe Offset: 6mm (25mm heel, 19mm forefoot)

SHOP NEW BALANCE 890 v8
Saucony Endorphin Pro - Men's Style

SAUCONY ENDORPHIN PRO

$200: The Saucony Endorphin Pro is a top-tier long-distance racing shoe. It features a carbon-fiber plate embedded in a soft, very resilient midsole foam. It debuted on the feet of Saucony pros at the 2020 U.S. Olympic Trials Marathon in February in Atlanta, including women’s second-place finisher Molly Seidel. It represents the best of Saucony’s engineering and design efforts. It’s built on SpeedRoll technology, a forward-leaning geometry that propels you forward. It has a feeling of continuous momentum, so you can run faster and more efficiently without running harder. It feels light, firm, energetic, efficient and smooth, especially at faster speeds.

Weights: 7.5 oz. (men’s size 9.0); 6.3 oz. (women’s size 7.0)

Heel-Toe Offset: 8mm (35.5mm heel, 27.5mm forefoot)

SHOP ENDORPHIN PRO
Nike Tempo Next %

NIKE AIR ZOOM ALPHAFLY NEXT%

$200: The Nike Air Zoom Tempo NEXT% mixes durability with a design that helps push to a personal best. The result is a shoe built like a racer, but made for your everyday training routine.

Nike ZoomX foam in the footbed delivers energy return as you move forward. A visible Zoom Air unit provides responsive cushioning, giving you an additional spring with your stride.

The rubber outsole features a design created using data from hundreds of runners. That information helps place traction where your foot needs it most, giving you grip on multiple surfaces.

Weights: 9.8 ounces (men’s size 9.0); 7.9 oz. (women’s size 7.0)

Heel-Toe Offset: 10mm (46mm heel, 36mm forefoot)

SHOP AIR ZOOM TEMPO NEXT%