Training for a half marathon could be described as the running equivalent of the sweet spot.  A perfect distance to train for especially on the work/life/training scenario that most of us look at every morning.

For some
13.1 miles (or 21.09 km for our metric friends) might be what Golidlocks would describe as ‘just right.’  For others the half marathon distance might be a step in the game before tackling the marathon milestone of 26.2 miles (42.19

Whatever the motivation behind stepping up to the start line, training for a half marathon calls upon some respect of the distance, some motivation and the right plan to get you there with no injuries, overtraining
or feeling under-prepared. 


There are miles and weeks ahead of you to get to the start and finish line of half marathon, and it’s much easier if you do it with a ‘friend’.  No need to reinvent the wheel when many have already trained before you successfully. A training
plan can be your training partner in crime based on experience and scientific studies showing the best way to prepare.

There are plenty of training plans to choose from depending in your ultimate goals, but most will follow
the same protocol of building base miles and stretching your endurance with long runs at the weekend.  

A good half marathon training plan should also incorporate some cross training and importantly rest days and dialed back
weeks to allow your body to absorb and adapt to the training load.

We’ve partnered with On Running to bring our JackRabbit running friends a twelve week half marathon training
plan to get you to the start line confident and ready. 


Before we talk training schedules, let’s talk about fueling the human fire.

Taking on any training plan – half marathon or not – is always a good time to eyeball your current state of nutrition and be truthful if you need to make
any adjustments.  You wouldn’t put junk into a Formula 1 racing car, so now could be a good time to treat your own motor with the respect it deserves.

Add an artist’s eye to the colors on your plate, it’s relatively easy to
spot when it’s nutritionally balanced in the wrong direction. Make sure every meal has plenty of colors in the spectrum, with a heavy bias towards green. Try it, it actually works and is a quick and easy way to add more balance.

Changes don’t have to be huge to get you on the right path. It’s easy to add in a green smoothie to breakfast three times a week for an easy nutritional
boost. After a couple of weeks, you might find yourself craving them instead of a cinnamon bun… Strange, but true, runners.

And drink… water.  Most of us are chronically dehydrated at any moment in time, so up your water intake
and give those cells something to work with for your next training block.


We all have race-day tales to tell, and us JackRabbits are no different.  Some of our half-marathoners in the JackRabbit warren share their tips and tales of running 13.1 and what it meant to them.

“I ran a Disney World Half Marathon
a few years ago! It was 6 months after breaking my arm and I wasn’t able to train much, but I ran the entire race and was sore for days after. That pain was completely masked by my bliss in completing my goal, and from high-fiving Disney
characters the entire run.” – Eric, Merchandising Pro, JackRabbit Denver

“If you think a half marathon is something you can’t conquer; think again. Following a training plan, running with friends, and having
the proper gear can get you over the finish line. It’s an experience that will stick with you for a lifetime and you’ll find yourself training for another one shortly after!” – Brian McKay, JackRabbit Morristown

“I spent the last 3 miles reciting you got this over and over to make myself finish , and I did!” – Kirsten, EVP at JackRabbit HQ

“Don’t decide on race day to try all the nutrition on the route, instead try
this on your long runs leading up to the race.  Will save you and your stomach, (and maybe your running pants) from experiencing what I call runners hell. This is where your stomach is disagreeing with your running and nutrition choices
and you have another 2 miles until the next portajohns…runners hell.” – Jess, JackRabbit HQ and London Marathon Runner

“The hardest part for me was learning it’s not a race against every person around you, it’s
a race against yourself. People will pass you. If you get caught up in trying to not get passed, you’ll push your pace too hard, get burned out, and may not make it to the finish line.” – Chris, JackRabbit Merch Pro


On Running have shared with us their go-to half marathon training plan.  Twelve weeks is three months of steady building endurance and strength each week to reach race day prepared.

be able to run three to four miles before embarking on this training program. Week #1 starts at the 3 and 4 mile distances working up to the full 13 miles in the last month of training before you get to dial it back for race week!

CROSS TRAINING: One day a week is dedicated to cross-training. This is designed to spread the training load and keep you moving forward and engaging full-body training. The guide shoes a bike icon, but anyting
goes here: swimming, gym, spin – the goal is it lasts over 30 minutes and you work up a sweat. 

REST: Mondays are rest days. These are as important as training, so take your rest seriously. 

And remember!
Always consult a physician to make sure you are ready for a training program.


The first month is all about gettting on a schedule and slowly building consistency into the first few weeks. Lace up your running shoes and enjoy the journey.


One month into training you should be feeling the benefits of training consistency and this is the month where the long weekend run is becoming more significant.  While this is an important build month, it's still ok to miss one or two
sessions over the month if life dictates that.


One month to go to race day, you should be getting comfortable with the race distance and the last month is all about building stamina and strength.  Race week – be mindful that the real work has been done in the weeks before, so rest up in
the final days before the Big Race Day. 


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GU Roctane products are brewed up for an athlete's most extreme efforts and/or long duration activities. No matter the quality, breakfast can only get you
so far into a long and intense training/racing day.  When the time comes, you need to call upon a sports fuel that packs all the nutrients to replace energy stores in an easy-digestible way.

The low-down?  GU Roctane
is for your most intense and hardest training days. Reach for it when you have an intense training or long-run ahead where bonking is not an option. 

What makes GU Roctane different from regular GU Gels?  Read on, dear


The biggest difference between GU Roctane gels and regular GU gels all comes down the smallest of ingredients.

The quantity of Branched Chain Amino Acids (BCAAs) is in higher supply in Roctane, as well as the addition of two more
essential amino acids – beta alanine and taurine. Add to these a higher sodium content than regular GU gels, because sodium is the primary electrolyte you lose when you sweat and the longer you train, the more you must replace. 

Why amino-acids?  The team at GU are scientists and there's sufficient scientific evidence for them to create Roctane for extreme training and racing efforts. It's all in the nutrients and the GU team has done all the hard science
work for the long-course athlete in mind.  These these types of amino acid provide the following benefits to an athlete: 

Branched Chain Amino Acids: Prevent mental fatigue and reduce muscle damage.

Beta Alanine: Helps buffer acidity levels in muscles to prevent soreness and delay the onset of muscle fatigue.

Taurine: Supports heart contractility and cardio output during long exercise

Check the chart below for a quick and easy reference to compare GU and GU Roctane so you can best determine which suits your particular training and racing needs.


As training and races distances lengthen, the more 'particular' – or would that be obsessive? –  athletes become when it comes to the way they want to consume calories. And with good reason.  

GU Roctane is available as
a regular 100-calorie energy gel format in seven different flavors to suit every taste whim: Blueberry pomegranate, chai latte (with caffeine of course) and cherry
lime to name a few.

For those who sit in the camp of consuming liquid calories, GU Roctane Energy Drink Mix comes in an easy-transport,
individual-serve packets or in bulk to keep at hand for hot training runs, high-intensity bike classes, or endurance rides outside. 

And let's not forget the caffeine. Much like GU's other products there are caffeinated
versions of GU Roctane that deliver 35mg of caffeine in a serving for an extra boost and to delay fatigue.




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There was a time when once an athlete had graduated from the college coaching system, there were few practical training options. Many Olympic caliber athletes would take full time jobs coaching or otherwise to continue to train when they could to reach their professional athletic goals.

The time was right for a different approach for and so cue the birth of the elite running club.  As a option for post-collegiate athletes with Olympic potential, they enable athletes to continue their running careers in an environment suited to elite performance.

These clubs naturally sprung up in key training locals across the US, usually at higher altitudes and many in stunning locations like Mammoth, Calif., Boulder, Colo., and Blowing Rock, N.C., bordering the state's national forests.

On Running, a company dedicated to elevating the running experience for all runners – urban to elite to endurance – is supporting two key elite coaching locations in the US with plans for more.  In being part these running clubs, On not only supports a suitable residential environment for some of the world’s best, they also support their mission of providing running education for all ages and abilities.  

Check out some of the training opportunities below for us athletes who might be past Olympic glory, but still aspire to greatness on our own terms. 



On Zapp Endurance was one of the first elite running clubs founded back in 2001.

Under its Zapp Fitness Foundation, the club focuses on elite marathon runners, and is nestled in tiny Blowing Rock, North Carolina, where the athletes train in a mountain location at 3,500 feet of elevation.  

Long-time head coach Pete Rea has been with the group since its inception and has lead dozens of athletes to the Olympic trials from 1500m to marathon distances. The current rosta of 10 athletes all live and train at the location and many are readying their performances to peak at the 2020 Olympic trials.

Since the beginning of 2019, On Running has partnered with newly named On Zapp Endurance supporting the resident athletes and coaches through the next Olympic season and beyond.

In addition to their elite athletes and as a non-profit the facility also serves to host high school and college athletic camps.  And there’s more!  Zapp also offers a unique experience for age-group athletes.


Aside from their elite coaching residency, ZAP Endurance offers what can only be described as the dream scenario for passionate age-group runners at their Retreat Center. Summer group running retreats for adults at the rural location have the goal of helping those who sign up to maximize their potential 

Running retreats are offered in a weekend or week duration to accommodate the reality of ‘adulting’ in the real running world. Imagine being able to set aside a few days to focus on training, while spending recovery time listening to featured guest speakers like Bart Yasso.  Yes please, sign this runner up!

The camps offer the everyday athlete with high expectations both the time to focus on training, and professional expertise covering nutrition, training, running form and the all-important mental game for athletic performance.  Check out the retreats and plan your next running adventure.


Zapp Endurace head coach Pete Rae has been with the team since the beginning and has coached with his team more than three dozen athletes to the Olympic trials.  His committment to both running the sport and running the lifestyle, is in part what makes the Zapp Endurance experience open to all. 

Coach Rae shared with us his thoughts, “Working with runners of every age and ability has been at the core of our mission at ZAP since 2001, marrying our full time pros with people who have been running some for decades and others for only weeks.

Our summer ZAP Endurance running vacations allow our resident pros who live here at ZAP full time to work with our summer guests in a relaxed intimate environment. We always make sure our pros know that these “campers” are the people who truly drive distance running – the women and men of the world who run at 4 am before work, while raising families – without them the pro side wouldn’t exist.” 

“Running is a truly transformative activity; simple, childlike and pure and whether you are a full time pro or someone in middle age taking your first running steps the pursuit to better oneself is the same.

Here at ZAP we encourage all of our adult summer guests to see just what they can do. The results are nothing short of amazing.”


Moving westward to California, the Mammoth Track Club as it is now formally known, was also formed in 2001.  Based at Mammoth Lakes in California, it clocks up an altitude bordering 8,000ft!  Over the years this elite level running club has produced 13 Olympians and over 30 US National Championship titles.
And included in these stats are the running household names such as Deena Kastor and Meb Keflezighi.

Mammoth Lakes is always been known as an ideal location for high altitude conditioning not to mention breathtakingly beautiful. It’s hard not to be inspired to be your best when surrounded by what the US does best – big, bold scenery!

The club is now run and coached by Olympians Deena and Andrew Kastor respectively, a pedigree that takes the runners from track to trail and into the impressive and inspiring Sierra Nevada Mountains. 

Again, what started as an elite club has grown beyond its first iteration.  The club grew into the name Mammoth Track Club when its state-of-the-art outdoor track opened and the club welcomed athletes of all abilities.

What better way to be inspired by spending ‘Track Tuesday’ on the same stomping grounds as the past, present and future athletic performers. 


Olympic and elite track coach Andrew Kastor leads the charge at the Mammoth Track Club where they also emphasize the club is both for elites and the rest of us either passing through or those who live in the Mammoth Lakes community.  

Coach Kastor share with us how they welcome runners outside of the winter months. 

“The Mammoth Track Club (MTC) welcomes everyone!  We've always played host to the world’s elite runners, but we also offer an opportunity for folks traveling from far and wide to run with our elite team.  During the Summer months, we encourage runners who might be on a “run-cation” to drop-in and run with us on Thursday mornings.  We typically get the chatty runner training for a Fall Marathon, asking our elites about our training methods at altitude and seeking overall running wisdom.  We love it!

Starting in April, the Mammoth Track Club’s adult membership comes out of hibernation. We begin our weekly Tuesday morning workouts at 7:00am down at the Whitmore Track. The open-to-the-public community track and sporting facility is located 9 miles outside of Town, near the Mammoth Lakes Airport. 

The track sits at 7000’ above sea-level and the views are literally breath taking!  These coached workouts take place on the same track where some of the worlds best athletes gear up for World Championships and Olympic Games.  This proximity to the high level action helps with the “buy-in” of our Mammoth Lakes Community.  Our pro athletes are always bumping into local runners at the grocery store or the post office who often lend words of encouragement or appreciation and support. 

The MTC elite athletes also get an opportunity to give back to the youth in the area, by playing an active coaching/mentoring role during our youth Summer camp that starts every June.”


On Running recognizes the same qualities in Mammoth Track Club as they do in On Zapp Endurance, a community of dedicated runners supported by those who live and breath their passion for the sport.  

Whether elite to amateur, we all have the same goal of being the best version of ourselves. These impressive and aspirational running clubs will only serve to create an ideal for running communities nationwide and beyond.

For more on On Running visit the JackRabbit On Running Experience.





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We’re brewing up some excitement at JackRabbit this month with the arrival of GU Nutrition's latest flavor in their taste rainbow.  

This one has all our beer-runners very excited – a new GU energy gel called Hoppy Trails.  Yes, you guessed right, GU has outdone itself with a distinct nod to beer, with the gel flavor derived from hops. 


This was our first question to the GU team as we ripped the top off a packet for the first time in a Tuesday afternoon marketing meeting  – does Hoppy Trails GU really taste of beer?

According to the refined palettes of the tastemasters at GU, the flavor of their latest performance gel is that of brewed hops, with citrus undertones.

Always one to do our own JackRabbit market research, we later passed around a Hoppy Trails sachet with a side-serving of a glass of liquid brewed hops alongside for comparison. We admit, GU have come up fine with a flavor that is just a tad sweeter than of a cool glass of IPA.

As GU Nutrition's marketing guru had to say, “[now you can] ‘have a beer before you get to the finish line!”


GU have always been pioneers in the sports nutrition industry. Literally, they invented the sports GEL, when the founder created the first reiteration of the gel to meet the performance needs of his athlete daughter.

GU is known for pushing the envelope with their gel flavors.  They’ve already had stellar flavor bombs like Birthday Cake, S’mores, and French Toast to name but a few.

Credit where credit is due, GU are nothing but innovative when it comes to offering the endurance athlete something to look forward to in the depths of a race for a digestible fuel that hits the blood sugar spot.   

At JackRabbit, we always have time for a brand with as much commitment to humor as they do the scientific development of their products.  In fact, we’ll drink a beer to that!


As runners ourselves who consume more than our fair share of energy-inducing gels in our time out on the trails, roads and pools, we have all at some point or another experienced ‘flavor fatigue’. And the ever-so-slightly tangy, bitter taste of GU’s Hoppy Trails gel makes for a nice flavor break

And for those of you who might ask, no, this is not fermented hops, so it’s not actual beer.  But a quick Hoppy Trail boost might be just the thing to get you to the finish line and experience the real thing. 


The new Hoppy Trail gel from GU is no gimmick. The gel has a pitch-perfect 100 calories per serving in the same energy ratio as all GU gels.  The sachets have landed and are now available at all JackRabbit stores nationwide and online.

What’s the best gift you can present your favorite running pal this season?  A six pack of Hoppy Trails of course.

Hoppy trails everyone!





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Katie Arnold is an ultra-runner, mother, writer for publications such as Outside Magazine and a complete inspiration for many.  Sponsored by GU Nutrition, Katie ran the infamous Leadville 100 trail race in 2018; her first century race, and was the first female to cross the finish line.  

Katie has suffered her share of setbacks, including a major break in her leg where she was advised she would probably never run again.  But she made it back to the trails and draws upon mental strength and training to have made it back into her running shoes.  We had the chance to talk to Katie at JackRabbit about her running and writing career, how she fuels with GU for her athletic endeavors and learn more about her new memoir, Running Home.  

You can follow Katie and her running adventures on Instagram @katiearnold

“I was at mile 80, and I was like, ‘Oh my God, I’ve never run this far. How did I get here?’ I mean, the miles just dissolved. And it was all mental. It was just chipping away at it, and then I got emotional. How did I get here? I mean, literally, how did I get here, after a broken leg and being on crutches? It was definitely magical.  – Katie Arnold on running her first Leadville 100 race in 2018



JackRabbit:  Your journey from being a long-time runner, to breaking your leg so severely your doctor recommended to you to find a new sport, to winning Leadville 100, one of the most sought-after wins an ultra-runner could want – you’ve had quite a busy few years!  How did you first get into running, ending up in the land of ultra-running?

Katie Arnold: I started running as a kid, when I was very young. I just always loved to be in motion. My first race was a 10K road race near my dad’s farm in Virginia. It was a total whim, almost a dare. I’d never even run a mile before let alone 6.2. I was seven years old. I must have walked a lot of it, and as I write about in my new memoir, probably hated a lot of it, but I loved crossing the finish line—the elation and runner’s high of having survived something seemingly possible stuck with me.

I continued to run on my own, and raced that same race every year. But otherwise I didn’t really compete except for some city track meets here and there. Running was personal for me, not competitive, and around the same time—age 7— I decided I wanted to be a writer, and so running became a way that i wrote. I would make up stories in my head as i ran, a waking, moving daydream also.

Since then, running has always been a way that I tap into my imagination. I often come up with ideas or stories when I run, or whole sentences. Much of my memoir came to me while I was running. I would try to hold all my ideas in my head while I ran so I didn’t forget them, or sometimes brought notecards and a pen on long runs and would stop and write things down (I must have been the last person on the planet to discover Notes or VoiceRecorder on my phone!). Now I do voice memos or type into my phone.

I started ultra distances after my father died, in 2010. I had a new baby and was nursing or pregnant for 4 years straight, and rocked by his death I fell into a deep anxiety that I was dying too. I write about this in RUNNING HOME—it was a combination of grief and existential mortality crisis and postpartum. I tried everything to help with the anxiety but the only thing that worked was running in nature. I had always sought and found solace in motion and in the natural world, since I was a girl, and so I began running longer and longer distances into the wilderness.

Nature healed me as much as running did.

I ran and won my first ultra, a 50K in 2012, and have kept going every since. But I still don’t compete as much as other elite runners, because running is still a private creative act for me as much as it is a physical sport or competition. It feeds my creativity and if I become too outward or goal oriented/competitive, it takes away from my creative process.

So it’s a delicate balance. I write about how I grapple with competition in Running Home.

JR:How have your performance priorities changed from when you started to where you are now?

KA: As I’ve raced more and across all distances I am more attuned to the natural rhythms of a training cycle and trusting my body and mind to tell me what I need and when. I am self-coached and self-taught and listening to my body and spirit are very important part of the training cycle for me.

I have added (daily) meditation into my training as a way to stay connected to the real reasons I run (see above) and being present helps me enormously in training and races. It helps me attune to myself and my surroundings, strengthen my mental training, and stay focused. It also helps allay anxiety when it inevitably comes creeping back in.

I’d say that the mental component, the mindfulness piece, has been the biggest shift in my training. I find if I don’t have those quiet moments leading up to big runs or races, I don’t perform as well on race day. Part of my meditation practice is letting go of the desire for future success and being present to what is.

I find when I run to win or train to win, explicitly, I am more likely to overtrain or get injured or race outside of my body. When I am running to run, to be in the flow of the moment and accepting what is rather than pushing against the clock or other competitors. I am much more relaxed and have better results. But it’s alwas a balance to keep the desire for results from driving the process.

JR: When were you first introduced to GU?

KA: I’ve been fueling on GU for as long as I can remember, easily since the early 00’s before I had kids and was really into mountain biking. That was my sport for a long time. I was into trail running, but I loved being on my bike and I would stash GU in my pockets for long rides and events like 24 Hours of Moab.

After my daughters were born, it felt too daunting to me to try to maintain my bicycle (never my strong suit anyway) and my babies, and my impulse was to simplify, so I really ramped up my running. it was easy to nurse the baby, put on my sneakers and run out the door to the trails.

GU has always worked for me from the get-go.If I’m hungry or spacey and tripping over my feet or starting to bonk, I will take a GU gel and within 5 minutes I will feel the effects on my pace, mental clarity, power, etc.

JR: How have the GU products changed since then?

KA: More flavors! Though vanilla is still my go-to. Birthday Cake is my new favorite. I hope they don’t discontinue it. It seriously tastes like a piece of cake from my 8th birthday party!

JR: What is your typical pre-race and race day routine? Post-race meal?

KA: I always pack in the calories the day before a race or big effort. Protein in the form of a bison burger or hamburger, lots of sweet potatoes and salad. This is my superstitious good luck meal, ever since I ate it before I spontaneously ran a marathon with Dean Karnazes in 2006.

I was just going to “interview” [Dean] while running a few miles with him, but before I knew it, I’d run the whole thing. It was my first marathon, and like my first 10K, it was kind of a spontaneous accident. Our pace was very conservative because Dean was running a marathon every day for 50 days in 50 states, and I felt like I could just keep running and running. I credit the giant hamburger I ate the day before! And Dean’s enthusiasm.

After a race, I try to do a GU recovery drink to get the carbs and protein in because I find I don’t have much of an appetite for at least 12 hours, sometimes longer. I want so badly to eat a huge meal but I rarely feel like it. So I’ll pick at what I can and then when I find myself starving the next day or day after, I eat whatever I feel like.

JR: What is your nutrition strategy like during races? And does it change based on distance?

KA: I try to eat 200 calories an hour, or 2 GU gels. I am still on gels more than liquid Roctane though I am trying to switch over a bit, and trust that the liquid nutrition will stick with me the way that gels and blocks do.

Recently I have been doing fewer gels, like one every 45 minutes, and I think that is not enough for me so I need to ramp it back up to 2 per hour. I always eat one 5 minutes before the start. I think that in shorter races I think I can get away with less but in reality I need the calories per hour and I can tell when I’m skimping. I get light headed (especially at altitude) and kind of clumsy.

If I’m feeling at all down or low in a race, the first thing I do is eat. In long races like Leadville I trained myself to eat off the aid station tables…whatever they’re serving and this was a good strategy. So I would eat Ramen and drink Coke, but everything else was 100% GU.


JackRabbit: Talking of Leadville, this race was your first 100 miler in 2018, and you won! We’ve read you had a race strategy, you followed it methodically, and it worked!  Can you share your thoughts about running your first 100 miler coupled with leading the race going into the unknown mileage?

KA: See above about meditation. My approach to training was very generous…everything counted. Everything. All time on my feet and cross-training, so walking my daughters to school every day and taking the long way home with the dog (3 miles) counted. Coaching their lacrosse team 3 days a week counted. Time in the weight room obviously counted, time cruising around town on my fat bike which I loved to do counted. Riding bikes with them. You have to be creative when you have kids and a demanding job (in my case writing ) and so I didn’t get hung up on weekly mileage.

As long as my long run was progressing more or less every week, and I was getting 15 miles or so on my watch…in any form…after dinner walks etc…I felt like I was on the right track. I also did a few strategic training races to get my big mileage, but they were always with a training mindset, not racing. It was important that I didn’t stress over it because the stress wouldn’t help me, only hurt.

And as I said above, I meditated most mornings before my run to set intentions and ground myself. This was huge. I didn’t know what 100 miles would be like so I trained myself to be OK with the unknowns, with not knowing…which is really what life is all the time, we just think we know what’s going to happen.

When I went to Leadville, I knew I’d put in the work and the training, at altitude here in New Mexico (up to 12,600 feet out my door) and a month of “speed” training, aka at sea level in Canada where we spend our summer, and I knew my mental  state was strong. So I just tried to relax and feel grateful for the journey, for being able to toe the line at Leadville, after my traumatic broken leg in 2016.

The gratitude and humility are big components in my race day “strategy.” They help prime me for flow, as does physical preparation. Knowing I’d done the work to the best of my ability enabled me to let go on race day and just open to whatever happened. Which was amazing! It was a prolonged flow state, almost 20 hours. Which now I realized I’d been training for all spring and summer without being conscious of it. 

JR: You write for Outside Magazine and have written a powerful book Running Home, about the power of running to change your life. Writing could be described as much of an endurance event as much as running.  Can you share with us why you are drawn to both writing and running?

KA: I’ve always been drawn to writing, since I was very young 5 or 6. I always knew I wanted to be a writer, there was never any question. My father, whom I write about a lot in Running Home, was a photographer for National Geographic and though his medium was pictures, he was a story teller just like I am , and a huge influence on the way I see and observe the world, and tell stories.

It’s all about paying attention and letting the story unfold, not trying to manhandle or control it, much like the flow state of running, when you are running flow you are not controlling anything, you are flowing with each moment. So that’s how I’ve always approached writing.

Keep your eyes open and capture all the details. In this way running trains me for writing because I am always very present (most days) when I am on the trail—all my sense firing. Writing is an endurance event , especially a book. Running Home took 3 years and I was able to sustain my momentum and energy the whole time, with one slight break (pun intended) when I broke my leg. Unable to run, I found that my writing stalled too. Which was a gift in a way because I could see even more clearly how the two are linked for me, and I was able to write more truthfully about the connection in my book. 

JR: Many athletes have to deal with injuries, but you took injury to a high level with a leg break a few years ago.  How were you able to navigate the recovery process and how did it impact you as a runner, writer, mother as well as your mental game?

KA: That was tough because it was a traumatic accident, in the wilderness, and I had to stay on the river for 6 days with a broken leg (I didn’t know it was broken) until we could get out and get help. So there was a lot emotional trauma as well as physical. I had to have surgery and the orthopedist told me I should give up running. That was frightening and hard to hear…and his words haunted me for a long time and sometimes still do.

But I was determined that would not be my story and so during recovery I focused on staying positive (meditation was important) and doing what I could to move my body every day and keep my spirits up.

Within days of surgery I had borrowed a trainer for my town bike, took the left pedal off and set it up on the patio and would spin one-legged for an hour or so to get my HR up and listen to podcasts. I only listened to positive things, and would only let positive info in…about recovery. I had a physical therapist who liked to talk about how bad running is for the knees and didn’t realize that that was counterproductive to healing! You really have to cultivate a strong mental state as much as you have to do your PT.

Strength training was huge once I got off crutches (14 weeks) and I was in the gym 3 times a week for an hour. That’s one of the best things to come from the accident. I still do it 2 times and it’s kept me injury free and has become an integral part of my training. When I skip it as I have for the past 10 weeks (gym closed due to mold!), I can tell! Overall the injury made me stronger mentally as I saw the power of positive thinking and imagery and the negative impact of negativity. 

JR: Let’ talk GU… what is your favorite GU flavor? Dream flavor?  Do you mix up the flavors, or are you drawn to a one-stop-flavor per season?

KA: Vanilla and birthday cake are favorites. Dream flavor: grape, like Grape Crush the soda we used to drink as kids. Also cola, maybe, or mint chocolate chip, that’s my favorite flavor of ice cream! Cookie Dough?

JR: Runners can be creatures of habit.  What advice would you give to others who are nervous about switching nutrition brands?

KA: Dedicate some time and days in each training cycle to practicing with different kinds of fuel and food. Because you need to be able to be nimble and adapt to new foods in a race…its good to train for that. I had never used Roctane hydration before Leadville and I practiced with it at training camp and had great results.

Some training days can be about nutrition or gear as much as they are about pace and strides (not that I ever really stress about specific workouts). Same goes with training yourself for new gear. You can pick a 3-week block to try new nutrition or gear, after a big race when you are in recovery mode and the stakes are low, or a few months out from a big effort. The most important thing is to be intentional about it and open-minded. You never know what’s going to work for you!  

JR: What is it that you like most about GU and why do you choose to use it?

KA: See above about how it works right away, give me steady energy and never any stomach issues. I’m lucky I think but my stomach usually behaves and I credit it a lot to my nutrition strategy and GU. I don’t have to think about my nutrition except to make sure I’m taking in calories, because I know it’s proven and it works for me every time. 

JR: You had “smile” and “flow” jotted down before you took on Leadville, can you tell a little more how you came to choose those? Are those just running thoughts, or do you also apply them to everyday life?

KA: I aspire to smiling and flowing through all my days but the reality is that it’s hard sometimes, with kids and deadlines and real life, so rather than get attached to being in a high performance flow state all the time, I choose to see flow as presence, being present to all the moments, and these can be the hard, doubtful ones as well as the effortless ones. This is an evolution for me in my approach to flow, because if you chase it or try to hold onto flow, you’re not flowing. That’s the conundrum.

But smiling is huge because it reminds me of why I run in the first place, not because I’m trying to win but because I love it and it makes me happy, and it’s how I love myself. Smiling is also proven to dull the perceived pain or effort…which is nice at mile 60 in a race. It;s like putting on music—a real boost. 

JR: And for all mother-runners out there, how do you balance training, racing, motherhood, writing when there are only 24 hours in a given day?

KA: Motherhood is the best thing that happened to my running! It forces you to be creative and efficient with your time, get your runs in when you can (which may be at odd hours when you’d rather be sleeping!) and this is good mental training.

Motherhood is great mental training because you think you’re in control but the reality is you're not! There are so many variables at play, just like ultra running.You learn to roll with things and also it puts everything into perspective.

Running is essential to who I am but my children…well there's nothing more precious to me in the world. It’s also almost impossible to overtrain with kids because there are too many other things I need to be doing, like driving them places or helping with homework etc so you can’t get too self-centered about things. Parenting creates a natural balance that's very healthy for endurance athletes.

Also my children are amazing motivation for me at races! Running into an aid station knowing they’ll be there keep me going, Especially if like at Leadville, they are wearing hilarious costumes that they keep changing…always a surprise! And to see them at the finish line, there's nothing like it.

The title of my book is Running Home because I’m always running home to my children and husband!





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Running provides a perspective that makes it possible for us to be stronger, more powerful women, athletes and contributors to the world.  

To celebrate International Women’s Day on March 9th, we’re embracing the mantra of HOKA ONE ONE’s Women Who Fly series ask our team, our friends and ourselves ‘what makes us fly’ as women runners. 

HOKA ONE ONE launched their Women Who Fly initiative to celebrate women athletes everywhere; a way for female runners to come together and empower each other. This initiative has taken the form of a weekend retreat, inspirational films and an overall way the HOKA and their shoes help create connections between female athletes and give them a platform to share their stories. 

Women Who Fly is about pushing boundaries, overcoming challenges and discovering your own strength. It's about celebrating women living their lives without limits and on their terms. 



Women Who Fly: We Are All
There are women who live their lives without limits.
Who do their own thing and go their own way.
Always running towards what they believe in.
Instead of worrying about what’s expected.
Women who don’t need the world to tell them they’re powerful or capable.
Because they know they are and always have been.
 They do what they want because they can.
And sometimes just because someone told them they couldn’t.
 We are those women, all of us are those women.
And the time to take a leap and soar is now.
 So lace up and get moving.
There are things to do, miles to crush and good times ahead.
It’s Time to FlyTM.

Using these words to guide us, we asked the ladies of JackRabbit and some of our best BFF Hoka-wearing friends to share with us what makes them fly and which women have inspired them along their running journeys.

Each one of us flies in our own way.  Are you going to lace up with us and HOKA ONE ONE, get moving? Allow yourself to be a woman who flies.




JackRabbit:What athletic pursuit makes you fly and why do you love it (or hate it but do it anyway!)?

Sarah Dickson: I love training for big goals. Whether that means a PR or adding another marathon to my list of running accomplishments! I love the challenge of getting up and “going for it” especially when it's early in the morning. It's me vs. myself.

JR:Is there a woman in your life who has inspired you along the way defined the way you have learned to ‘fly’ and believe in yourself?

SD: When I started this whole running thing, my mom got super stoked about it, also. She wanted to learn to run, too! She started off with run/walk and now can run a complete mile, without stopping. My mom is the furthest thing away from athletic, but just her ability to try and even manage her own PR, is a huge inspiration to me. She travels out of state, every other week, and no matter her workload, she goes out, puts in the time, and runs her mile. Go Mom, Go!

JR:What are you most proud of athletically or otherwise. Has that event/moment changed you in any way? No defining moment is too small!

SD: I was never a runner until I started workin at Run On! I was overweight, had poor eating habits and zero motivation to get my butt in gear. Between the motivation from my staff and the inspirational clients we have in the store, I decided I wanted to be a runner. I ran my first half and full marathon in 2017, and crossing both finish lines It was in that moment, that I knew I could do anything my heart and mind, set out to do. I was an INDEPENDENT WOMAN!

JR:What is your preferred HOKA shoe and why!

SD: I absolutely adore the HOKA Gaviota. The dynamic stability is just enough to keep my ankles from rolling, and the cushion is TOPS! And to top it all off? It weighs NOTHING!!!! It's easy to fly when your wings (shoes) fit like a sock!

JR:What is a favorite song that makes you fly and why?

SD: Normally, I don't listen to music while I run. However, when I'm grinding in the gym in my Hupanas, I love to crank up some Red Hot Chili Peppers, Aeroplane! 

JR:How do you help and support other women to fly?

SD: My favorite thing about run specialty is the stories. Everyone's is slightly different, but we're all here for the same thing: enriching our lives through motion. As women, we have to focus on building each other up, instead or breaking one another down. I love sharing my fitness journey with women who come in, especially when they are in the same boat I was, 2 years ago. Seeing a real life, normal, not elite, runner in the store is what unifies us! 


JackRabbit:What athletic pursuit makes you fly and why do you love it (or hate it but do it anyway!)?

Laura Cortez: Do multi-sport days count? If so, when the weather permits I love having a nice trail run in the morning for a sunrise summit then biking to a climbing destination with a good hike-in approach and spending the day playing up rocks. These things make me feel the most alive and challenged, and when I can string them all together for a full weekend, there’s nowhere else I’d rather be.

JR:Is there a woman in your life who has inspired you along the way defined the way you have learned to ‘fly’ and believe in yourself?

LC: My best friend Kylee is actually a really inspiring person to me. We have this joke of “smile through the tears,” that we’d always say when things were difficult during college, running-wise or other. But she really did do just that with supporting herself through it all, dealing with injuries so well and always having the guts to do exactly what she wanted even when it meant going at it alone.  

JR:What are you most proud of athletically or otherwise. Has that event/moment changed you in any way? No defining moment is too small!

LC: It was a really big mental and physical challenge when I decided to change my focus from road to trail – which is the best thing I could have ever done. From a competitive standpoint, on the road/track it was really easy to think the real race outcome was determined by body composition. And making the switch to trail demanded me to start over in rethinking the mental side of running and to understand that in order to enjoy and last on the trails I have to take care of myself and be healthy.

JR:What is your preferred HOKA shoe and why!

LC: The HOKA Clifton 5! I’ve been wearing them since the 2s when a friend told me they helped with her knee pain. I took a pair and haven’t looked back. Plus, they get great mileage. Also love the (#tbt) Tracer. I actually still have a pair that I’ll use for long road workouts just because the support is so great.

JR:What is a favorite song that makes you fly and why?

LC: I don’t typically run with music. But before races or in the off chance that I do, I’m kind of weird in that I listen to a lot of Beach House and Washed Out. It’s calming and helps me get out of my head to be in the moment with everything, which I’m admittedly horrific at.

JR:How do you help and support other women to fly?

LC: I’m a big advocate for women in sport and also diversifying what that picture may look like. I try to seek out women who want to get involved but don’t know where to start. Having a positive start in a new “thing” is a big factor in staying with it and building confidence to continue, at least that’s how I see it and what I try to provide for others.


JackRabbit:What athletic pursuit makes you fly and why do you love it (or hate it but do it anyway!)?

Ashley: The athletic pursuit of pushing yourself beyond your physical/mental limits is what keeps me going and what I love the most. Whether it's finishing a 100 mile ultra marathon, completing your first triathlon, or setting a PR its that moment – when the feeling of pain turns into a feeling of success and doubt becomes confidence- that defines us and allows us to grow.

JR:Is there a woman in your life who has inspired you along the way defined the way you have learned to ‘fly’ and believe in yourself?

A: I have so many lady heroes but two that stand out to me are: Jasmin Paris who broke the overall record for the Spine Marathon by 12 hours mere months after giving birth and my friend Lisa who has been courageously battling stage IV metastatic breast cancer for years. Everywhere you look you can find strong, resilient, and inspiring women who persevere even though the odds are stacked against them.​

JR:What are you most proud of athletically or otherwise. Has that event/moment changed you in any way? No defining moment is too small!

A: The most proud I have felt in my athletic journey is when I learned to appreciate and enjoy the process. Nothing in life is perfect and there will always be setbacks, injuries, imperfect conditions, bad races, etc. Once you accept the challenges and learn to thrive despite them, you grow as both an athlete and a human.  ​
JR:What is your preferred HOKA shoe and why!

A: My favorite Hoka shoe at the moment is the HOKA Clifton 5! The shoe fits my foot nicely and the cushioning really absorbs the impact of the surfaces I run on and feels nice underfoot.​

JR:What is a favorite song that makes you fly and why?

A: Everlong- Foo Fighters.  The lyrics “if everything could ever feel this real forever” speaks to many of my life experiences especially when running trails and climbing mountains. There are so many amazing moments in life that just don't feel real and you want to bottle those moments up and carry them with you forever. ​

JR:How do you help and support other women to fly?

A: Be kind to one another, celebrate other women's successes, and be a beam of light that radiates positive energy! Whether it’s a kind affirmation or a friendly smile, we can support other women every day. Focusing on improving our own self-worth and confidence and not focusing on comparing ourselves to one another is paramount. After all, we're on this crazy journey together!​


JackRabbit:What athletic pursuit makes you fly and why do you love it (or hate it but do it anyway!)?

Sarah Hall: I am definitely a lover of running. When I was 19 I was diagnosed with Rheumatoid Arthritis. My doctor told me I would be lucky to be walking without difficulty past the age of 30. There were few drugs that slowed the disease then, and still none that cure it. The best advice he gave me was to move – move every day and a lot. There were a few initial studies that were showing folks with Rheumatoid did better when they moved more. So I started running. I am convinced that running has changed the trajectory of my disease and allowed me to be far more active than I ever would be able to otherwise. I don't plan on stopping anytime soon. 

JR:Is there a woman in your life who has inspired you along the way defined the way you have learned to ‘fly’ and believe in yourself?

SH: Sappy and predictable, but it's totally my mom. She's the toughest lady I know, but she patient and kind and I am convinced she could straighten out world politics if they just let her in the building and she did her “Mom Look” at everyone. While growing up I thought she was tough, I realize now, she made my sister and I so independent. We've both traveled the world and set our own paths and we did this because she never made choices for us. She asked us what we wanted, then told us to go and get it. That's how I train now – good ole' logical “Mom” training. Set a goal, then go and get it. 

JR:What are you most proud of athletically or otherwise. Has that event/moment changed you in any way? No defining moment is too small!

SH: I left a career of 20 years in another industry to go and work at JackRabbit Sports. It was a terrifying move, but it was time to find a new passion. Every day I now get to help folks find their way in fitness and it is an awesome feeling at the end of the night. I've met so many people who are nervous, scared, unsure, and flat out terrified of the goal they've set for themselves and it is amazing to watch them come in, find the right gear, conquer their goal, and come back with a whole new outlook on life. 

JR:What is your preferred HOKA shoe and why!

SH: I am definitely a HOKA Clifton gal. That shoe is like an old friend. I've had it on for a few marathons, a 48 mile Disney extravaganza, and daily at work. It feels great on, hugs my foot like my best friend and never lets my heels touch the floor. BEST. SHOE. EVER. 

JR:What is a favorite song that makes you fly and why?

SH: Higher Ground by the Chili Peppers. It just gets me moving. But I'll listen to anything. Music makes me fly too! 

JR:How do you help and support other women to fly?

SH: We just hired a female pacer at our store. I love it when folks come in and they are expecting a dude and Joelle walks in. She's awesome and I love that she breaks the norm this way. I try to make sure we have a good mix of staff on the floor of strong women and guys.

I think it helps new runners to come in and see other women run too. I try to focus on the small stuff. I like making sure the women I come in contact with knows I am here for them no matter what – a challenge, the truth, a shoulder, whatever. If they do that too then eventually all women everywhere are supported. We just need to make sure to spread the love. 


JackRabbit:What athletic pursuit makes you fly and why do you love it (or hate it but do it anyway!)?

J'ne Day-Lucore: The experience of running on mountain trails experiencing the freedom and beauty, feeling like I’m one with the universe. Smelling the pine trees, hearing the birds, feeling the sunshine on my face through the trees, the rhythm of my breath and feet landing on the soft dirt, crunching leaves or sparkling snow. Sharing that experience with friends makes me fly.

JR:Is there a woman in your life who has inspired you along the way defined the way you have learned to ‘fly’ and believe in yourself?

JDL: My college cross country and track coach (1979-1982). Title IX enabled me to be part of the first women’s cross-country team in the history of my university. My coach was a pioneer in women’s sports and academia, getting a PhD in Exercise Physiology and Sports Psychology back in the 1970s and securing a job as a coach and professor at the university level. She believed in me and encouraged me to reach beyond what I thought was possible.

I started as a back-of-the-pack jogger on the team, unable to finish the first easy 5-mile team run without walking. At the end of the next track season, I qualified for nationals and was awarded a running scholarship. She also encouraged me to apply to graduate schools where I eventually completed a Masters Degree in mathematics.

JR:What are you most proud of athletically or otherwise. Has that event/moment changed you in any way? No defining moment is too small!

JDL: Guiding the first blind runner to finish the Pikes Peak Ascent in 2016. Crossing the finish line with Luanne was the most challenging and rewarding experience of my 28 ascent finishes. When she asked me to be her guide, I honestly didn’t know if it was possible for a blind runner to navigate through the difficult terrain and bolder fields and get to the finish line under the 6 hours, 30-minute cutoff time.

I had to stay mentally alert with constant decisive commanding, always projecting positivity and confidence. Luanne’s mental and physical fortitude for those 6 hours, 18 minutes reminds me to never give up no matter how impossible the odds.

JR:What is your preferred Hoka shoe and why!

JDL: I bought the HOKA Bondi on-line in 2010 as an aging runner (approaching my 50s!) with overuse injuries from a 30-year career of competitive racing. I haven’t run or raced in any shoe other than Hoka since I bought that first pair. I still wear the Bondi on the road and prefer the HOKA Stinson for trail running.  

JR:What is a favorite song that makes you fly and why?

JDL: I don’t listen to music when I’m running outside as being in nature brings me so much joy. However, I did create a playlist with favorite songs that are 180 beats per minute (exactly my running cadence!) to get through the mental and physical challenge of hard treadmill workouts. My favorite is “Bright” by Echosmith to remind me that “Life is good and that’s the way it should be” “Now I’m shining bright, so bright”

JR:How do you help and support other women to fly?

JDL: Now that I’m retired, I’m able to dedicate my time to coaching and leading daily group swim, bike and run workouts with other athletes and friends. I’m also honored to be a volunteer coach for Girls on the Run, sharing my running passion with elementary age girls (3rd-5th grade) training for their first 5K race.  




Follow JackRabbit and our running lives on Facebook where we share training tips, interviews and gear guides for every runner's lifestyle.  
Comment below how many pairs of running shoes you have in your collection?  There is no shaming here at JackRabbit!  








Are you ready to 'Helion' your run?

Introducing the On Cloudswift, the new style from On Running. A brand new running shoe featuring On's proprietary new Helion foam technology allowing a lighter, softer and more explosive run. 

If you’re a runner who likes to have one reliable shoe in your quiver, the new Cloudswift is an ideal choice.

Guest JackRabbit reviewer, Brian Metzler took the brand new On Cloudswift out for some runs with his gear reviewers, putting this brand new running shoe through its paces on long runs, speedworks and some fartlek training.

Read on to learn what they thought.


The On Cloudswift is a brand new everyday training shoe built on an innovative foam that offers optimal resiliency and energy return.

It serves up a comfortable fit and feel and a smooth, consistent and very energetic ride that’s ideal for easy runs, speed workouts and long runs.


On Running’s new Helion foam is a new compound made from hard and soft materials that offers amazing shock absorption and energy return properties while also providing durability and protection from the road.

To maximize the efficacy of the Helion foam, On created new shapes of its Cloud Elements cushioning pods so that they track diagonally and increase the horizontal cushioning. 

The new On Cloudswift remains super light because rubber is only featured in high-abrasion areas of the outsole, providing just enough grip and durability in wet conditions and rough roads.  This reduces weight but has the wear and tear support in just the right places. 

The new On Cloudswift features the firm plastic “Speedboard” that works like a propulsion agent, helping maximize the energy return as a foot rolls through the cycle of a stride. Although you can barely see it — it’s only exposed between the Cloud Elements in the rear of the foot — you know it’s there because every new stride begins with a boost of energy. 

On Cloudswift - 2019


Right out of the box, the fit of the On Cloudswift is snug and secure, wrapping the foot thanks to the sock-like upper and the soft, wide, flexible external saddle support bands that integrate to the laces.

The forefoot provides plenty of room for the toes to wiggle and splay as the traverse arch of the foot flexes at the toe-off phase of a stride.

Once laced up and dialed in, the Cloudswift feels like it’s part of your foot, promoting enhanced agility and natural flexibility on the run. It’s not a soft shoe or a firm shoe, but instead the perfect blend in between, serving up the great mix of comfort and performance.

Thanks to a wide platform, rockered (or convex) profile, plenty of cushioning and a firm plastic “Speedboard” that runs from heel to toe above the midsole, the ride you experience in the On Cloudswift is smooth, stable and electric from touch-down to toe-off.


What type of runner will match with this new style from On Running? Without a doubt, runners who appreciate lightweight and versatile running shoes will be drawn to trying this new style. Especially those runners who also appreciate modern design will love this shoe.  

On Running is a leader at the forefront of the modern running movement taking high-level style with performance technology. The distinctively clean aesthetics and functional design of the On Cloudswift make this running show a modern marvel.

It looks great, it feels great, it runs great.


On Cloudswift - Pros

Pros:On Cloudswift

The On Cloudswift is one of those running shoes that feels and runs lighter than the advertised weight. While we concur that it the spec weights are accurate, the airy design of the midsole makes it feel lighter and more nimble on the run.

On calls theHelion material a “superfoam that doesn’t tire” and we tend to agree. We took the Cloudswift out for a 10-mile road run and found it to be just as energetic in the last mile as it was in the first. 

We loved the Cloudswift’s versatility. We took it on long runs, short recovery runs and also did two speedier sessions—a 5-mile tempo run and a fartlek interval workout that included 2 minutes of race pace running and 2 minutes of jogging.

On Cloudswift - Cons

Cons: On Cloudswift

It took a few tries to find the right tension in the laces, partially because the two eyelets over the vamp tightened up independently from the four eyelets in the saddle support bands.

But once this is dialed in, this was not an issue, just remember to take some time to get the lacing right when you first lace up.



Brian Metzler has run races at every distance from 50 meters to 100 miles, wear-tested more than 1,500 pairs of shoes, is a three-time Ironman finisher and 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 and editor in chief at Competitor Magazine. He's the author of “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.”