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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)

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)

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)

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)

Nike Next% womens

NIKE AIR ZOOM ALPHAFLY NEXT%

$250: The evolution of Nike’s paradigm-changing carbon-fiber plated-shoe technology has led to the Alphafly NEXT%. This is a maximally cushioned shoe that induces efficient forward propulsion with the aid of a curvy plate and dual Air Zoom units in the forefoot. It has considerably more foam but a lower heel-toe offset than the original Vaporfly 4% and Vaporfly Next% shoes.

But unlike those first two models that incorporated a plate with a uniform thickness, the Alphafly Next% has a full-length carbon-fiber plate with a thickness that is scaled for the specific size of the shoe. Although slightly heavier and higher off the ground than the original two Vaporfly models, this shoe serves up noticeably more energy return, stability and impact protection with a much smoother ride. It’s the world’s fastest marathon shoe, but also the quickest to sell out when after they are periodically re-stocked.

Weights: 7.4 ounces (men’s size 9.0); 6.1 oz. (women’s size 7.0)

Heel-Toe Offset: 4mm (40mm heel, 36mm forefoot)

Categories
Diversity Interviews Trail Running

SACRED SPACES: LEARNING THE LAND OF THE NAVAJO

EMBRACING THE LAND WE RECREATE ON WHILE PROTECTING OUR ELDERS AND THEIR STORIES

By Tiona Eversole

I begin to walk up the rough road on the edge of the Sangre de Cristo mountains through the darkness. A few faint lights from the nearby town Alamosa, Colorado, are visible below in the vast San Luis Valley. I look down at my watch — the time is 3:23 a.m. I’m not typically this early of a riser, but I want to reach the summit of Sisnaajiní, or Blanca Peak, by sunrise. With a few friends by my side, I quicken the pace as the minutes move toward dawn.

Sacred Spaces: Dibé Nitsaa or Hesperus Peak 13er in the La Plata Mountains of Southwest Colorado near Sharkstooth trailhead
Summer views from the summit of Dibé Nitsaa, or Hesperus Peak. The author plans to return to this summit in a few weeks as long as the snow holds off. Photo by Matt Yeoman

THE FOUR SACRED MOUNTAINS

Sisnaajiní, also known as the Dawn or White Shell Mountain, is one of the four sacred mountains of the Diné, or Navajo people. This impressive, 14,345-foot mountain signifies the eastern boundary of Diné Bikéyah, the traditional homelands of the Navajo.

I have chosen to begin my journey across Diné Bikeyah with Sisnaajiní because of the reverence my people hold for the dawn, signifying the beginning of a new day. It was the first mountain created by the Diyin Dine’é, or Holy People. The Diyin Dine’é stir in the early hours of the dawn, which is why our hogans — traditional houses — are built with the door facing east. It is why I always try to start my morning runs heading east. 

I reach the summit of Sisnaajiní, and facing towards the sunrise, offer a prayer to the Diyin Dine’é with corn pollen from my medicine pouch. I am in a sacred space, so I tread lightly and do not overstay my welcome. The wind carries the chill of late September. We take each gust as a word of caution, and begin our retreat to the basin below.

Over the course of the next few weeks, I will travel across Diné Bikeyah to summit the three other sacred mountains, which include Tsoodził (Mount Taylor) to the south, Dook’oosłííd (San Francisco Peaks) to the west, and Dibé Nitsaa (Hesperus Peak) to the north. 

Tsoodził, also known as Blue Bead or Turquoise Mountain, is next. This is the mountain that watched over me as I lived out my adolescent years in the tiny New Mexico town of Bluewater Village. Despite growing up a short distance away, I have never stood on the top of Tsoodził.

Next is Dook’oosłííd, or Abalone Shell Mountain, an area that I am unfamiliar with. I’ve traveled through Flagstaff, Arizona, but have not spent much time in these prominent peaks easily seen from town. I plan to summit Dook’oosłííd close to the same time as Tsoodził, as the snows of the coming winter will soon arrive (one storm already has this year), which could put my mission in jeopardy.

The fourth and final summit of Dibé Nitsaa, or Big Sheep Mountain, is the summit I’m most concerned about. In my current home of Durango, Colorado, Dibé Nitsaa is, debatably, the tallest peak in the La Plata Mountains at 13,232 feet (some argue that nearby Lavender Peak is slightly taller). This mountain is also known as the Jet Stone Mountain for the dark, heavy rain clouds that reside among the peak. This late in the season, snowfall has the potential to make this ascent tricky. Only time will tell.

Sacred Spaces: Summit of Dibé Nitsaa or Hesperus Peak 13er in the La Plata Mountains of Southwest Colorado
Looking at Dibé Nitsaa from the trail. Photo by Tiona Eversole

TYING THE LAND TO CREATION STORIES

Many of our creation stories are tied to the four sacred mountains and the land within their boundaries as well. The mountains are home to the Diyin Diné’e, and demand the most respect when one visits these spaces. Tread lightly through these breathtaking landscapes, respecting the plants and animals that call this place home while also practicing leave no trace ethics. 

Prominent landmarks such as Tsé Bit’a’í (Shiprock in northern New Mexico) and Tsé Biiʼ Ndzisgaii (Monument Valley on the Arizona/Utah border) tell their own unique stories of monsters and warriors, with the rock monoliths serving as reminders of the slain monsters that once walked the earth. 

Other places such as Tséyiʼ (Canyon de Chelly in Arizona) are the settings for stories that include key deities such as Spider Woman, who is known as a protector and advisor to the Diné, and gave them the gift of weaving. Her home is Spider Rock in Tséyiʼ.

These stories tell of who we are, of where we came from and how to live our lives in hózhó, in beauty and harmony. This is why we are meant to stay within the boundaries of the four sacred mountains. Everything we need is right here: water, food, herbs for medicinal purposes and ceremony, shelter and our people.

Sacred Spaces: The Mittens of Monument Valley Tribal Park on the Arizona/Utah border at sunrise
The first glimpse of sunrise at Monument Valley. Photo by Tiona Eversole

PROTECTING OUR ELDERS

The Diné are a people of oral tradition, with many of the creation stories passed down from one generation to the next. Our songs reverberate through our traditional ceremonies, and are tied to the creation stories that help to remind us of our existence in this world. The stories of our ancestors live in the voices of our elders. However, our elders need our help.

While the land within the four sacred mountains is beautiful, abundant and diverse, the living conditions for Diné living on the reservation are similar to those of a third world country — and it’s happening right in our backyard. Many families do not have access to running water, healthy food options and immediate medical care.

My journey to the top of the four sacred mountains across my homelands is not only for myself and to deepen my understanding of the land — it is also a means to raise money for Navajo elders ahead of the winter. Pre-COVID, Our elders were already struggling to make ends meet. Now, COVID-19 has added another threat to their overall health and well-being, and has wrecked the entire Navajo Nation. I have teamed up with nonprofit, Adopt a Native Elder, to help bring supplies to elders in need.

LAND ACKNOWLEDGEMENT

The Diné stories of these lands are nizhóní, beautiful. So are the elders that keep these stories tucked away in their hearts, waiting to share them with those who will listen. These tales and folklore are deeply embedded not only in their memories and traditional upbringing, but in the rivers, canyons and night skies of the Southwest as well.

Many areas of Diné Bikeyah are now considered public lands. Public lands are defined as “land owned by a government.” I urge you to gain a new understanding of what public lands are, and to learn about the history and creation of public lands. Spoiler alert: It’s not pretty. Many of these public lands we know today came into existence through wars, displacement of tribes from their homelands and broken promises. These lands weren’t “saved” by the government; they were stolen.

On this National Public Lands Day, I encourage you to reevaluate your perception of the lands that you recreate on. Who lived here before the government stepped in? What stories are tied to common landmarks and popular destinations you visit in the Southwest? The Diné were not the only ones who inhabited this area. Many other tribes such as the Ute, Pueblo, Hopi and Zuni all roamed these lands, and have their own stories to tell.

Listen, and you will find that these lands are rich with culture and history.

ABOUT THE AUTHOR:

Ya’ah’teh’ shi’ keh’ do shi’ Dine’. Chishi’ nishli. Bilighaana bashichchiin. Tl’aaschi’i’ da shi’ cheii’. Bilighanna da shi’ naali’.

Hello my relatives and my people. I am Apache born for Anglo. My maternal grandmother clan is Red-Cheeked People. My paternal grandmother clan is Anglo.

Ti lives in Durango, Colorado, and spends her time romping around the Southwest. She is an avid runner, mountain biker, rafter, hiker and snowboarder. Follow her adventures on Instagram at @run.wander.ride.

Categories
Nike Reviews Trail Running

NIKE PEGASUS TRAIL 2 & NIKE TERRA KIGER 6

TWO NIKE TRAIL RUNNING STYLES ARE BACK WITH NEW EDITIONS

Trail running season is still on! Brian Metzler reviews the Nike Pegasus Trail 2 with added love for the Nike Terra Kiger 6.

Both these styles feature Nike’s dynamic React foam debuted two years ago in road running shoes. The combination of shock-absorbing cushioning and energy return bounce is ideal for the trails too. Cushy but not mushy, it reacts swiftly in every step, providing a comfortable, lively ride.

Read on to learn about these two dynamic trail shoes for your next outdoor adventure.

Nike Pegasus Trail 2
Nike Pegasus Trail 2

NIKE PEGASUS TRAIL 2 REVIEW

THE BUZZ

The Pegasus Trail was Nike’s original trail running shoe. Although it has come and gone, it was brought back to the forefront in recent years. It’s been greatly improved over the past two editions. The Pegasus Trail 2 replaces last year’s Pegasus 36 Trail but it’s more of an overhaul than an update. It’s a mid-range, do-everything trail shoe for mild to moderate terrain for novice to expert level runners.

WHAT’S NEW?

This year’s Pegasus Trail has undergone numerous updates that have improved its fit, feel and performance. First and foremost, the shoe now has Nike’s energetic React cushioning foam in the midsole, creating a softer, springier ride. The upper and outsole have also been improved to be more durable and performance-oriented. This makes the Peg Trail 2 adaptable for a wider range of surfaces and weather conditions.

The reinforced upper, semi-firm heel counter and interior neoprene bootie provide locked-down security, holding the foot in place in the heel and saddle while still allowing the toes wiggle and splay.

The upper and tongue are perforated to enhance breathability and drainage. A pull tab off the heel allows for easy-on, easy-off functionality.

The full-coverage durable rubber outsole has low-profile directional lugs inspired by mountain bike tire design, meaning some are designed to aid a runner going uphill and others are designed to provide braking securing while running downhill.

The only drawback to the Pegasus Trail 2 is that it’s slightly heavier (about 2 oz.) than its predecessor, the Pegasus 36 Trail, and some other contemporaries on the market. While the soft, energetic demeanor doesn’t allow it to feel heavy, the extra ounces are definitely noticeable.

FIT, FEEL, RIDE

The Pegasus Trail 2 fits true to size without the typical snugness common to most Nike road running shoes. It has a medium to wide interior from heel to arch to toe, so narrow-footed runners might have to cinch the laces down extra tight. The step-in feel is soft and plush rounded out with a supple and comfortable tongue and heel collar.

The thickly cushioned midsole feels both shock absorbing and lively, soaking up the impact force of hitting the trail and then returning some of that energy in the next stride. The width and reliable traction provide consistent stability and confidence on all kinds of terrain. All in all this serves up a sturdy but springy ride.

WHO IT’S BEST FOR

Trail runners who love a consistently comfortable and springy shoe will really appreciate the new Nike Pegasus Trail 2. It’s ideal for dirt roads, smooth dirt trails and mildly technical routes with rocks and roots. Although it’s not super light, it’s light and flexible enough to be nimble and definitely race worthy for longer distances.

Several key features offer protection against rocks, roots and other trail obstacles. This includes reinforced toe bumpers and sidewalls. There is also a faux gaiter collar that helps keep dirt and debris out of the shoe.

Our wear-testers liked the soft feel and springy ride of this shoe, but we loved the flowy, run-wild vibe that it oozes. It offers an ideal mix of cushion, support, stability, traction and freedom.

SHOP PEGASUS TRAIL 2
Nike Terra Kiger 6
Nike Terra Kiger 6

NIKE TERRA KIGER 6

If you’re looking for a lighter, more agile trail shoe that’s engineered for more technical terrain, consider the Nike Terra Kiger 6 ($130).

It features both Nike React foam and Zoom Air packets for dynamic cushioning. It also features a flexible, segmented rock plate for protection and a sticky rubber outsole for optimal traction on dry surfaces.

It’s a lightweight shoe (9.3 oz. for men, 8.3 oz. for women) with a lower heel-toe offset (4mm) and a low-to-the-ground feel.

SHOP TERRA KIGER 6
Categories
Brooks Running Gear

BROOKS RUN VISIBLE COLLECTION

RUN PAST DARK WITH BROOKS

Do you have enough hours in the day? Silly question, no need to answer! With the new Brooks Run Visible Collection, your need for more daylight hours, might be defunct given their new solution for running outside at the dawn/dusk time of day.

As the days make way for the darker seasons, low-light and night-running take on a necessity. Brooks Running set out to solve the issue of staying visible when running in the urban jungle of dawn/dusk/night runs.

Brooks engineers are keen to let science guide them. With that in mind, they met with scientists to inquire, not only how humans see light, but also how humans discern what is another human in certain types of low-light and no-light situations.

Brooks Run Visible Jacket, Tights and Shorts
Low light or no light, no problem

It came to light (pun intended) that in order to ‘see’ a runner as a human in motion, the brain is drawn to interpreting the motion zones of the approaching object to discern what they are. For us two-legged mammals, that means the key joints and moving parts of the human skeleton.

Taking all of this data into consideration, the smart folks at Brooks designed the Run Visible Collection with key reflective components around the joints of the human body.

Their goal? So you look like a runner, not a supernova when you’re reflected in the headlights of an oncoming car.

Brooks Run Visible Hoodie

LIGHT ‘EM UP STATS

The Run Visible Collection is designed so you’re identifiable as a human being from 600ft away. When it comes to low light, every foot counts when it comes to identifying yourself as a runner.

WHAT IS CANDLE POWER?

Each piece included in the Brooks Run Visible collection is designe to reflect back light. Thanks to the neon color and reflective strips, it’s the equivalent of 300 candles burning in the same location.

If you’re past the age of, err, 40, you’ll appreciate what forty candles burning on your birthday cake look like. Multiply that inferno by 7.5 and there you have it.

Brooks Run Visible Carbonite Gloves

THE BROOKS RUN VISIBLE COLLECTION

Running in the dark is not limited to the just northern climes. So, Brooks has made their Run Visible apparel in styles to suit all climates for shorter winter days.

Those in the ‘almost Canadian’ states will need a little more coverage than their neighbors in the ‘almost Caribbean’ states.

With that in mind the collection features a lightweight carbonite jacket, tights, gloves and hat as well as shorts and a technical running tee. Add to this, if you’re going head to toe, you might as well add in a pair of the carbonite socks to complete the visibility puzzle.

SHOP RUN VISIBLE APPAREL

Categories
Reviews Running Gear

LAYER UP COLOR FOR FALL 2020

COLOR IS A KEY PART OF RUNNING GEAR FOR FALL 2020

As the temps cool down and days get shorter heading into autumn, now is a great time to switch out your closet and fill it up with all things fall. Running gear, fresh kicks and new workout cloths are a fun way to revive your fitness energy and gear your head for new routines and chillier weather.

There’s nothing quite like a crisp October morning jog with the sun glimmering through those golden leaves #amiright?! From pumpkin-spiced earthy tones, bright retro neons, soft sherbert tones and blue in every hue, here’s the latest and greatest in seasonal color trends in running gear you can look forward to at JackRabbit this fall!  

Running Apparel: Fall 2020 Retro Brights

RETRO BRIGHTS

Apparel is leading the retro neon trend in a big way this fall with bold patterns, graphic prints and bright neon color blocking that we all rocked way back in 1992.

Neon pops and strategically placed reflective accents are great for being seen and overall visibility, especially as we head into the fall when days become shorter and visibility is key. 

New Balance Fast Flight Jacket
New Balance Fast Flight Jacket
Oofos, Oh La La Coral
Oofos Ohlala Recovery Thong
Nike Windrunner - Orange
Nike Wind Runner Jacket
KT Tape - Glow
KT Pro Elastic Athletic Tape
New Balance 1080 v10
New Balance 1080 v10
Adidas UltraBoost 20 - Rose
Adidas UltraBoost 20
Vooray Cinch Backpack
Vooray Stride Cinch Backpack
Brooks Run Visible Womens Jacket
Brooks Run Visible Apparel
Running Apparel: Fall 2020 Indigo Blues

INDIGO BLUES

Take a fresh spin on red, white and blue and channel some chill even on your toughest runs.

This year we’re seeing blue in every hue with lighter summer shades transitioning into darker tones for wearable yet striking layering options in the fall. Let’s not forget convenient storage for snacks, keys, credit cards, face masks, sunglasses – whatever! 

Nike City Sleek Tank
Nike City Sleek Running Tank
Nike Windrunner - Blue
Nike Windrunner Jacket
Brooks Sherpa Shorts - Navy
Brooks Sherpa 5″ Shorts
Nike One Luxe Tight - Blue
Nike One Luxe Tights
Icebreaker 150 Crew
Icebreaker 150 Zone Crew
Nike Men's Element Half Zip
Nike Element Half Zip 3.0
Running Apparel - Fall 2020 Earthy Tones

EARTHY TONES

Get ready for pumpkin spice flavors coming into the fall season with burnt oranges, faded sherberts, army green and mustard yellow across all categories including footwear, apparel and accessories.

With all kinds of options for liners and length, here are some of our favorite performance threads perfect for layering on the evolution of trail. 

On Cloudventure Orange
On Running Cloudventure
Vooray Rover Backpack
Topo Designs Rover Pack
Nike Yoga Top
Nike Women’s Yoga Tank
Under Amour Streaker Long Sleeve
Under Armour Streaker 2.0
Hoka Speedgoat Fall Colors
HOKA ONE ONE Speedgoat 4
Nike Men's Element 3.0
Nike Men’s Element 3.0 Top
Categories
Training

RUNNING GUIDE 2021

10 WAYS TO APPROACH YOUR TRAINING FOR A NEW YEAR

Runner and writer Brian Metzler offer his running guide for 2021 with actionable tips you can adopt now to end off 2020 on a better footing.

By Brian Metzler

Good riddance, 2020! We can’t get rid of you soon enough! While there have been plenty of unsettling aspects of 2020 that we’ll never escape, we can go forward with a new attitude and a new approach to the new normal that is emerging.

No matter if you’re a new runner, a marathoner, a trail runner or a triathlete, here are few ways to stay positive and keep your training heading in the right direction until you have a chance to focus on a race in 2021.       

1. Look forward.

OK, let’s face it, 2020 has been a rough year no matter how you slice it. As a runner, it’s time to get over it and move on. When it comes to your training, it pays to always look forward and never look back.

Whatever new normal presents itself in 2021 won’t impact your ability to re-focus and train for something new. Yes, 2020 threw a wrench into everybody’s plans, but with a forward-thinking approach, we can make 2021 whatever we want it to be!

2. Focus on the Process.

Yes, even though there is a lot of unknown, you need to get back to setting goals — a new marathon PR, your first Ironman, completing a 50K trail race. But you won’t get there thinking about uncertainty of what lies ahead, only the success you wish to realize. To get there, focus more on the process than the goals. Focus on being consistent, going through the daily grind of training and keeping on, keeping on. Your fitness will come and, when the opportunity arises, so will your successful race results.

3. Be realistic.

Shoot for the moon when you make your goals. There’s no reason you shouldn’t go after a new PR. But also be realistic. For example, your marathon PR is 3:35 right now, there’s probably not a realistic scenario that you’ll be able to run 3:15. Aim for 3:25 and give it everything you have. If you’ve completed an Ironman in 14 hours, shoot for sub-13. Or if you’re relatively new, start by shooting for a fast half marathon or 70.3 triathlon first. The more you can focus on a smart, realistic goal, the better the chance you’ll have to achieve it.

Running Guide - train

4. Have fun!

First of all, whatever exercise you do on a regular basis — no matter if it’s running, hiking, biking or swimming — it should be fun! No matter what kind of training you’re doing, you’ve gotta enjoy it. Yes, you’ll have rough days and rough patches, but over the course of every week you should love what you’re doing. Lean into your tenaciousness. Relish in your fitness. Learn to love the feeling fatigued legs. If you don’t like the journey, you won’t like the destination.

5. Make your rituals to become routine.

We all occasionally deal with frustrations that hampered us: fatigue, soreness, wavering motivation, and feeling out of shape after taking a break. The keys to counteracting those down moments are planning the rest of your activities around your running, focusing on your strengths, and reducing or mastering the parts that are constantly a challenge. The transformation from ritual to routine is what makes running really a real pleasure, something that’s really special for people for their entire lives.

6. Rest more.

Remember that the only way you’ll improve as a runner or triathlete is by making sure you get sufficient sleep and rest to match your training intensity and effort. You can train as hard and as long as you want, but if you’re not getting enough sleep, rest and recovery, you’re never going to benefit from the training. Build in rest regular rest days, either with light cross-training or no training at all. And by all means, turn off your devices and screens and go to bed 30 to 60 minutes earlier than you normally do. Your mind and body will reap the benefits, and so will your fitness.

7. Do more alternative training.

If you want to become a better runner, you have to do more than running. Make time for fast workouts, form drills, stretching and even massage. (Either professional massage or self-massage with recovery implements such as a foam roller or Roll Recovery device.) Be diligent about doing strength work three times per week, no matter if it’s yoga, CrossFit, Orange Theory or even just a regular plank routine. Don’t think of it as an additional burden, think of it as a piece of your overall performance puzzle.

8. Be flexible.

As 2020 has taught us, things can go wrong. Unexpectedly wrong. Badly wrong. But the race — and, more importantly, your training —must go on. So if things don’t go as planned or if you suffer an injury or if it rains on race day, take a deep breath, deal with it and move forward. If you can’t run the marathon you planned, use that fitness for an epic long-distance trail run. If your triathlon is canceled, create your own multi-sport endurance adventure from your front door. Endurance sports aren’t about a singular moment, but how consistent and how much passion you sink into them over the arc of a long time — over the arc of your lifetime.

Running Guide - Food for runners

9. Eat better.

You know you can eat better. We all know we can eat better. But instead of forcing yourself into a extremely limiting regime change — such as off of a sudden following a vegan diet — make small, subtle changes. Choose a big, hearty salad over a burger and fries. Snack on fruits, vegetables and low-fast cheese. Avoid deserts except on one or two special occasions per month. You don’t need advice. You just need determined focus tied to your overall fitness goals. And remember, when you finish your goal race, you reward yourself by eating whatever you want!

10. Challenge yourself and be brave.

You won’t get anywhere by softly going through the motions. If you want to run better, you need to train better. If you want to achieve greatness, you have to train that way. Make sure you get out of your comfort zone when you’re training. Your hard workouts should be hard. Long runs should be fatiguing. Strength workouts should leave you sore. But with proper rest and recovery, you’ll start to feel the results of your advanced fitness and that will lead to increase confidence and the ability to push yourself harder.

Once you get to your next starting line, trust your training and repeat the mantra “I am ready” and then go make it happen.

Be brave and challenge yourself with conviction and good results will follow.

Categories
Interviews Saucony Training

LAURA THWEATT: OLYPMIC TRIALS & 2020 RUN TIPS

LAURA THWEATT TALKS OLYMPIC TRIALS AND SHARES HER ADVICE TO RUNNERS

By Brian Metzler

Saucony athlete Laura Thweatt ran the fiercest, gutsiest race of her life on Feb. 29 at the U.S. Olympic Trials Marathon in Atlanta, finishing fifth place in 2:29:08 but missing a berth on the U.S. Olympic Team by a mere 18 seconds. Despite the disappointment of narrowly missing the team, that effort galvanized her resolve to return to the elite marathon scene after years of injury. (Prior to being hurt for part of 2018 and 2019, Thweatt ran a 2:25:38 personal best at the 2017 London Marathon, the sixth-fastest time in U.S. history.) But when COVID-19 swept across the world and changed everything, the 31-year-old marathoner had to reconfigure her approach to running and training like everyone else.

We caught up with Laura near her home in Boulder, Colorado, recently to talk about how she’s maintained her training, her favorite new shoes and how she’s looking forward to 2021.

Laura Thweatt - Running

Well, 2020 was going to be a new chapter in your running career anyway, right?

“Yeah, I started training with a new coach, Joe Bosshard, and a new training group, Boss Lady, after several years of great success under Lee Troop and honestly there was a lot of unknown going into the year. I trusted Joe’s coaching, but it took me a while to feel comfortable in training. Anytime you change coaches, you wind up doing things differently, doing different workouts, learning different ways to get fit and approach a race build-up. So that was hard. I was running the miles and getting fit, but it was a big change. Also, I was the only marathoner in the group.

The other women in the group are amazing — Emma Coburn, Cory McGee, Aisha Praught-Leer, Dominque Scott-Efrud —  but they’re all track athletes who run shorter, faster events. But it all worked out in the end and about a month before the Olympic Trials Marathon, I felt really good about my training and how it was working out.”

How did you approach the Olympic Trials?

“I was still nervous and a bit worried going into the race. I knew I was running a lot fewer miles than most of the women there. I was running about 80 miles per week and there were plenty of women running 100 to 110 miles per week, but ultimately I couldn’t worry about that. I did a great 27-mile run in my build-up and that gave me a lot of confidence to know that I was fit and that I had to trust my own training.

When I got to Atlanta, I knew that the race was going to come down to how well I could compete and how determined I was. And that’s what I did. Midway through the race, I felt really good, really strong and I kept fighting. I knew I was running a good race and, despite the ultimate disappointment of not finishing in the top three, I was really happy with how well I competed and the final results.”

What is your take away looking back on your result now?

“It was one of those things I wasn’t sure how to feel. On the one hand, I was really proud of the race that I ran and felt like it was the first race since London in 2017 that I was really able to get out there and race with confidence and strength and have the belief that I could do it. So that was really great, but it was also super heartbreaking to come so close and put it all out there on race day and realize it just wasn’t quite good enough.

But overall, I walked away feeling like there were a lot of positives to take away from it.”

What advice can you give to everyday runners who are dealing with the massive changes in the world because of COVID-19?

“Well, we’re all in this together. No matter if it’s elite athletes or recreational runners, we all have to find a way to make things work. I know it’s been a sad year because so many people have gotten sick and died and many more have lost their jobs.

Fortunately, we all have running that can keep us healthy and keep us focused. Running has always been my favorite form of exercise and my daily therapy too, a great time to think and figure things out. So my best advice is to tell people to stay after it, keep lacing up their shoes, keep showing up and keep running.

A daily run can go a long way in making everything else work out smoothly.”

The Saucony Endorphin Collection

Even amid the crazy year, Saucony released three great new shoes in 2020. How are you using each one?

“It’s been a great year for Saucony with the new line of Endorphin shoes. Each one of them is so different, but so good! The Endorphin Pro is what I wore in the Olympic Trials and it’s an amazing shoe — so smooth, so fast and so easy to run in. The carbon-fiber plate embedded in the midsole makes every strides so smooth and so efficient that you barely feel the shoe when you’re running.

I love the Endorphin Pro for racing and long, fast training efforts, but I think the Endorphin Speed is my favorite. It’s also very fast, but it’s very versatile too. You can run long runs, you run fast intervals and you can run easy runs in that shoe. It has amazing cushioning that feels soft and bouncy, but it’s resilient and quick and not soft and mushy like some shoes.

And then the Endorphin Shift is just a really good all-around training shoe for a marathon, ideal for long runs, recovery runs and even tempo runs.

They’re all really amazing shoes that have really changed the game and helped me train better every day of the week.”

How have changed your outlook since the COVID-19 pandemic shut everything down?

“It’s been a crazy year since the Olympic Trials. I am so glad I had that opportunity to race because it was only about a week or two later that everything got shut down and races were postponed or canceled. I was going to take a break and then get ready for the spring track season, but once everything got shut down, I took about a month off from running to recover and also work on my strength.

I had hoped to come back and run the New York City Marathon in November and started training for that, but eventually that was canceled too so really I spent a lot of my summer training and being healthy without a real racing goal ahead of me. That was hard but we all have to make the best of it and keep looking forward to 2021 when things will return to some sense of being normal again.”

Have you been training this year?

“Everyone has really approached this year from so many different angles. Some athletes have taken a step back and shut things down. Other people have been trying to stay in some kind of competitive shape and have been jumping into racing opportunities as they’ve come up. And others have just taken the opportunity to train and get ready for next year. There’s no one way to approach it. It’s just all based on what’s best for the individual. And nothing really counts for much, but I know a lot of athletes want to stay sharp and have the experience of racing.

For me, I’ve been training pretty well, but I’m a big planner so it’s been hard for me to approach some of the races that have popped up, only because I like to map things out well in advance of a race. But that’s been hard to do this year.

It’s exciting that the London Marathon is still doing an elite race, but for my first thoughts were ‘Can I plan for that?’ and ‘Can I get over there?’ So it’s been a really strange year for all of us.”

Have you been doing anything differently?

“I think the biggest thing I’ve done differently is that I spent a lot of time at home making my own food and cooking more than ever. I haven’t really changed my diet, but I’ve experimented with a lot of things and tried new things and that’s given me a greater appreciation for the food I eat but also for the time and effort that goes into it. I haven’t made sourdough bread or anything, but I’ve enjoyed learning how to cook more foods and use more ingredients.

And like everyone else, I’ve watched a lot of Netflix but I’ve also read a few books too. It’s amazing how you pass time when everything seems to change.

Fortunately, I still have running to keep me sane.”

Laura Thweatt - Saucony Endorphin Speed

TOP TRAINING TIPS FROM LAURA THWEATT

What’s your best advice to recreational runners training for a half marathon or marathon?

“My best advice is to train as best that you can and go into a race with confidence to run as well as you can, but also make sure you enjoy it and that it’s a happy experience. I see so many runners who dread running or are overly worried about a race experience and that’s not good.

We all get injured or sidetrack and sometimes don’t train as well as we could have, but there is no perfect training buildup. You can only do what you can do, but you should rely on that and trust your training.

Also, running should bring you joy, no matter if you’re an elite runner or a new runner just starting out. Make it the one thing in your day that is full of positive energy and you’ll be able to feed on that throughout the rest of your daily life.”

How are you looking forward in 2021?

“The pandemic has changed my outlook for next year, if only because I want to get a qualifier for the 10,000-meter run at the U.S. Olympic Track and Field Trials in June. So I’ll focus my first part of the winter on running a fast 10K and see how that goes and hopefully get into the Trials. [Laura was fifth in the 10,000m at the 2016 U.S. Track and Field Trials.]

After that, I’ll switch to marathon training and then hopefully run the New York City Marathon in the fall.”

How do you think running will rebound in 2021?

“Next year will be a huge year for running once things start coming back. I think we’ll have to wait and see, but it’s going to get better and things will return to normal and races will come back, even if it’s different.

It’s an Olympic year, so that will be exciting and just in general to have races come back that you can plan for and train for will be so refreshing after this year. Thinking about training for four months and then running through the streets of New York City is super inspiring right now; I think it must be for a lot of people who don’t have race goals.

If we can all keep that in the back of our mind as we go out for our daily run now, things will be OK.”

Follow Laura Thweatt’s adventures in Colorado and beyond on Instagram.

Categories
Saucony

SAUCONY X PRINKSHOP WOMEN RUNNING COLLECTION

Introducing the Saucony X Prinkshop Women Running Collection, a bold initiative to support women from the leading running shoe brand.

SUPPORTING WOMEN’S LEADERSHIP IN POLITICS AND IN SPORT

⁣⁣55 years ago, Lyndon B. Johnson signed the The Voting Rights Act which  prohibited racial discrimination in voting, granting black women (and men) the right to vote in every state. This landmark day finally allowed all women, regardless of race, the right to have their voices heard. It granted them the chance to make a difference. 

55  years later, women are still vying for a place on the podium. There is still the need for women have more than a seat at the table. Saucony has taken this goal to see more women run one step further.
⁣⁣
In support of a new campaign called ‘Women Running’, Saucony and @prinkshop have joined forces to get behind HER in the race. This special collaboration supporting female leadership in politics and sport has the goal to encourage equal representation in both.

Welcome to the Women Running collection from Saucony and Prinkshop.

Saucony x Prinkshop - Kinvara

Each piece in the Saucony X Prinkshop Women Running collection features bold red, white and blue colors symbolizing a non-partisan approach to supporting female candidates running for office. It’s not about party, it’s about participation. 

For each item sold, a 10% donation will be made to She Runs. This is a non-partisan, non-profit organization that supports female leadership in politics. The organization encourages women to run for office, providing them with the tools to get to the starting line.

SAUCONY X PRINKSHOP

The collaboration, the concept of ‘Women Running’, came about through a creative exchange between Saucony and Prinkshop.

Saucony commits strongly to their mission: empowering the human spirit, with every stride, on every run, and in every community. With that, Saucony is truly invested in the #RunforGood platform; it’s more than just a slogan. This collaboration with Prinkshop is testament to that.

When Pamela, the creative force behind Prinkshop’s ‘wear what you care about’ concept, spent time doing a brand deep dive. She was drawn to this piece of the Saucony DNA. In Pamela’s own words, “the idea of “Women Running” just came to me.  Prinkshop is very women-centric in terms of the issues we care about. So, the double meaning of Women Running for a running brand like Saucony and in light of the upcoming election, just made sense”.

The Saucony team met with Prinkshop in their NYC studio in November of 2019. Pamela started putting some concepts out there for the crew to react to.

The HERO graphic and idea was one that we all took to immediately. The repeating Venus symbol print was born from the graphic. We use the colors, the bright red and blue, to show we are stronger together. We should be supporting more women as they run – either for sport or for office.

Saucony x Prinkshop - Run for office

JACKRABBIT SUPPORT

Brittney Hoss, VP of Merchandising at JackRabbit was all-in to support the ‘Women Running’ Collection.

‘As a woman working in the running industry, I could not be more excited to support the Saucony x Prinkshop ‘Women Running’ Collection. In addition to embracing women in the sport of running, encouraging women to run politically is such an important piece of the ongoing conversation around where we belong and the equality we are owed. 

I am encouraged to be living in a time where all people are reflecting and changing their perspective on the value of women’s contributions. When we are equal partners in providing access to all facets of society, we create a much more balanced, powerful and complete community. 

Not to mention, the design is a beautiful representation of the movement; I cannot wait to proudly sport these Kinvaras on my next run’

JackRabbit is proud to support the Saucony X Prinkshop collaboration. Now available, while stock lasts, the Saucony HERO collection features the bold Kinvara running shoe, plus an on point t-shirt, hat and tote bag.

Whatever your style, you can wear the HERO whichever way speaks to you. We encourage all of us to speak loudly this year, and ‘run’ for what is meaningful to you.

SHOP SAUCONY HERO COLLECTION

Saucony x Prinkshop - the collection
Categories
Asics Reviews

ASICS GEL-KAYANO LITE REVIEW

The ASICS GEL-Kayano Lite is a new kid on the block in 2020. Brian Metzler takes a look at this new, innovative twist to the GEL-Kayano family.

THE BUZZ

There are few runners who haven’t loved the ASICS GEL-Kayano through the years as a smooth-riding stability shoe. What has ASICS done now? They made a dreamy, maximally cushioned version of the Kayano that’s lighter, more energetic, faster and more eco-friendly than the original.

While the GEL-Kayano 27 still exists in the line as a reliably secure stability shoe, the ASICS GEL-Kayano Lite is a lightweight stability model with a softer and livelier vibe that weighs 2.5 ounces less than its legendary predecessor.

ASICS Gel Kayano Lite - what's new?

WHAT’S NEW?

A lightweight and very resilient midsole configuration combines a thick amount of luscious FlyteFoam cushioning with ASICS GEL packets embedded inside. Other aspects that differ from the GEL-Kayano 27 include a new engineered mesh upper made from recycled polyester, an overall reduction in componentry and an adaptive stability dual-density foam setup that helps offset pronation.

The new engineered mesh upper helps provide a better, more accommodating fit and noticeable breathability. It’s feathery soft and form-fitting, one of the most comfortable uppers we’ve ever slipped our feet into.

Strategically placed segmented rubber sections on the outsole provides plenty of traction and stability while also helping to keep the overall weight down. The mid-foot cutout sections also allow for greater flexibility and heel-toe transitions while still assuring full-ground contact for inherent stability. 

The midsole has a design feature known as 3D Space Construction, which is a grid of hollowed out chambers in the heel and forefoot that allow a runner compress the foam more for an improved cushioning experience. It also allows the cushioning to provide a “tuned” experience for men’s and women’s specific gait qualities.

ASICS Gel Kayano Lite - New and Light

FIT, FEEL, RIDE

The ASICS GEL-Kayano Lite fits true to size with a classic, medium-volume fit. It has a snug, secure heel that utilizes the brand’s renown exoskeletal Heel Clutching System that provides a reliable, wrap-like fit around the back of the heel.

The recycled polyester upper provides support in the mid-foot but flexibility in the forefoot and wiggle room for the toes. The step-in feel and soft interior feel luxurious and comfortable the moment you slip them on, but also when you’re out on a run.

The ride is exquisitely soft and smooth with a touch of bounciness, providing sufficient cushioning and energy return for long runs, tempo runs and recovery runs.

WHO IT’S BEST FOR

Runners who enjoy lightweight shoes with a resilient but stable ride will love this shoe as a versatile everyday trainer.

Whether you over-pronate all the time or you just need stability in the late miles of a long run or race, the ASICS GEL-Kayano Lite could be a great shoe for you. Although it’s not a featherweight racing flat, it could be an ideal choice for racing a 10K to a marathon.

ASICS Gel Kayano Lite - Pros

PROS: ASICS KAYANO LITE

ASICS has reimagined how to provide overpronating runners with a stable ride. A slightly firmer section of foam that runs along the inside of the sole helps support the foot as it rolls through the gait cycle.

This shoe inspires you to run better by providing comfort and energy return in every step. It provides subtle stability that isn’t overbearing or awkward. Just lace it up, and it will take your fitness to new heights!

This shoe has an amazing green story. Aside from the upper being made from recycling polyester, the lightweight Flytefoam midsole is made eco-friendly, durability-enhancing Cellulose Nanofiber and the shoe is colored with non-toxic, water-based dyes.

Asics Gel Kayano Lite Cons

CONS: ASICS KAYANO LITE

There are precious few cons to bring to the table with the new GEL-Kayano Lite. It’s a stability shoe, so not for those who do not need that support. But for those who do, the Kayano Lite is a game-changing addition to the stability category.

TECH SPECS

ASICS Gel Kayano Lite - tech specs

TESTER’S FINAL THOUGHTS

ASICS is on the right track with redesigning its classic models. As much as I love the stability of the original GEL-Kayano, I love this shoe even more. The GEL-Kayano Lite offers plenty of stability, but it’s also considerably lighter and much more fun to run in!

SHOP ASICS GEL-KAYANO LITE

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
Brian Metzler - Trail racing
Categories
hoka one one Reviews

HOKA BONDI 7: A TRUE ROMANCE

The HOKA Bondi 7 is in for the long haul. Endurance athlete, Lori Pacheco has taken every version of the HOKA Bondi with her over the course of her Ironman career. She shares her unique perspective on how the HOKA Bondi has evolved and what the 7th edition has to offer.

Hoka Bondi 7 - Chasing down the competition

HOKA BONDI

by Lori Pacheco

I am an early adopter of HOKA ONE ONE shoes; I remember purchasing the very first Bondi available. At the time it was a unisex model (I know, right?!) In that era of minimalist, zero-drop shoes, my body was feeling old(er) and battered, so was really interested in a shoe that would provide extreme cushioning but with zero or close-to-zero drop.

The Bondi fit the bill.

My first impression back then was, “Man, these shoes are ugly and make my feet look huge, but it’s like running on marshmallows!”  Remember this was an era when minimal was in and HOKA stormed in with these – in comparison – enormous looking shoes!

Fast forward to 2020, I’m now on my 7th pair of Bondi’s. You could say, in the world of running shoes, we’re into a long term relationship.

I have mixed a few other shoes in the past couple of years, including HOKA Clifton 5, Saucony Ride ISO and New Balance trail shoes. But I remain a faithful Bondi user for the vast majority of training and long course triathlon miles.

I’ve worn a Bondi model for my last 7 Ironman races and a few half-marathons and 70.3 races.

WHAT’S NEW FOR THE BONDI 7

The HOKA Bondi 7 pairs the maximum cushioning you expect with a 4 mm drop. The sole on this model is still the nice cushioned ride, but the responsiveness feels like a BIG upgrade.

The sole is a little more structured, a little stiffer, and feels a little quicker off the pavement than previous models. There is less of the sense of energy loss that comes with the running on marshmallow feeling that came from those first editions. A great improvement!

The early stage meta-rocker delivers a very smooth and comfortable stride. It feels as though it makes my stride a little more efficient, and reduces my tendency to heel strike, which may also help it be easier on the hips and knees.

The rubber areas of the sole provides additional structure and firmness. For those with longer toes like me, the inflection point is behind the first metatarsal which is critical for avoiding turf toe.

This is by far the best and most supportive mid-sole design for my long toes of any shoe I’ve worn in the past decade.

The upper is very breathable. There was no sensation of overly hot feet, even running in 95 degrees days; my only option for wear-testing!

HOKA’s information states that these have a wide toe box. It may be wider than the Bondi 6. For me, the shape of the upper does appear to be a little narrower than models 5 and earlier, particularly at the ball of the foot.

Since I have a long, fairly narrow foot, it’s an almost perfect fit for me. There’s no need to tie the laces extra tight to keep the foot stable. The shape of the shoe holds the forefoot firmly and comfortably in place. 

HOKA Bondi 7 review

WHO’S IT BEST FOR?

Don’t let my ‘experienced’ endurance athlete age bracket fool you, the Bondi is not just for a mature athlete. Runners of any age can benefit from the cushioning and meta-rocker technology, especially at the longer training distances.

I would particularly recommend this shoe for those stepping up in distance, from a 10K to a half, or a half to a 26.2. 

Given there are very few races currently, now would be the perfect time to add this shoe to the rotation for long base miles and runs in zones two and three.

It would also be a great shoe for anybody generally increasing mileage for Covid stress relief. I would even recommend it for walkers as well as the heel stability is good. For those who spend a lot of time on their feet at work, the shoe’s combination of cushion and support would be excellent. 

EVOLUTION OF THE BONDI

Any discussion of the Bondi has to acknowledge that over the course of 7 model years, the fit has bounced around a bit.

The earliest models were very roomy in the toe box and I had to tie them so that the lace holes were almost touching to keep my foot from moving around.

The Bondi 6 ran quite long and I ended up not loving it and made a temporary switch to the Clifton 5, although to be fair I also ended up with a full size smaller than normal in that shoe as well. I’m normally a 10 but ran in a 9 that season!

That being said, the Bondi 7 does seem to be back to a more traditionally sized last. For this demo, I have been running in a 10. They do feel a teeny-tiny bit longer than I normally like, but it’s not detrimental and could just be because I’m a bit of a freak about how my shoes fit. 

DURABILITY

So far, these Bondi’s seem very durable. I have about 100 total miles in wear testing and there is minimal to no sole compression.

The bottom of the soles are not yet showing any of the smoothing of my normal wear patterns yet, and the uppers are still in great shape with no holes or noticeable stretching.  

FINAL THOUGHTS

In the past I would have recommended the Bondi only to people looking for a maximally cushioned shoe, and willing to live with the sensation of the softer sole.

The new, more responsive sole makes this new Bondi 7 a good option for a much broader slice of the running world. This model, the Bondi 7 is by far the best and most potentially crowd-pleasing Bondi yet. 

SHOP HOKA BONDI 7