Categories
Trail Running

RUNNING 14ers

THE ULTIMATE TRAIL CHALLENGE

By Brian Metzler

Laura Cortez admits that the first time she trudged up Colorado’s Mt. Elbert, it was quite a laborious task.

And who can blame her? Reaching 14,433 feet above sea level, Mt. Elbert the highest of the state’s 53 peaks that rise above 14,000 feet and the second highest mountain in the contiguous, lower 48 states of the U.S., behind California’s Mt. Whitney (14,505 feet). Oxygen is more scarce up there and it’s harder to breathe, so hiking at a slow walking pace can be a struggle for anyone, but especially someone who had recently moved from the lowlands of Texas to suburban Denver.

But more so than the thin air and the amazing scenery, Cortez was impressed by something else.

“We were hiking it at a slow pace and I saw a lot of people running down it when we were going up, and I thought that was pretty amazing,” says Cortez, 26, who works for JackRabbit.com as a brand retention strategist. “At the time, the concept of running up and down a mountain like that was a bit foreign to me. But then I started to hear people talk about and thought it was pretty cool.”

A few weeks later, when Cortez was with some friends in the San Juan Mountains in the southwestern part of the state, they decided to do a speedy summit of Wilson Peak.

“We kind of ran and speed hiked it and it was a lot of fun,” Cortez says. “To me it’s just fun to move fast on the trails and time is kind of irrelevant, but it’s amazing how much faster you can go up and down running than just walking.”

RUNNING 14ERS: WHAT’S IT ALL ABOUT

Running up and down Colorado 14ers has become all the rage this summer given that most races have been canceled because of the Covid-19 pandemic. While there are no official records for each of the peaks, there are “fastest known times” recorded with a combination of GPS tracking devices and the honor system. And it’s not just Colorado 14ers, it’s also high peaks in every state across the country. 

Why run up and down 14ers? Well, first, because there are trails leading to the top, and why not? It’s one of the ultimate challenges in running. Secondly, the scenery is almost always stunning. But mostly, it’s because the elective grind through the wild environment typically leads to an existential experience. Or at least the question: Why don’t I do this more often?

Running 14ers - Mt Bierstadt

RESPECT THE 14ER

The key thing to remember with any high-altitude running adventure — but especially with 14ers — is the mountain almost always wins, even if you’re super fit. You’ve got to head into every 14er experience with realistic expectations, being properly prepared for changing conditions and other variables and, of course, be willing to be humbled by the slow pace and the possibility of not reaching the top. Be sure to read trail descriptions, trip reports and maps about the peak you’ll be running before you go.

Wearing proper attire and carrying essential gear is paramount to a successful 14er experience. It’s best to dress for a cool-weather trail run — because it’s often cool and windy on top — and carry a small backpack with a hydration pack, a waterproof running jacket, a hat, gloves and some energy snacks. But first things first, you need a sturdy trail running shoe with exceptional traction, like the Hoka Stinson ATR 6, La Sportiva Bushido II, Altra Superior 4.5 or the Nike Wildhorse 6.

No matter if you’re running fast or mostly hiking and running where you can, the act of moving up and down mountains quickly can be an exhilarating experience, says Nike Trail athlete Tayte Pollman, who started running Colorado 14ers in 2020.

“The reward is different hiking a 14er than it is running,” Pollman says. “When I’m running, I’m more focused and get into a flow where I don’t even really think about stopping or taking things in. I just try to go and hold my pace, do my base to stick to my rhythm and listen to my breathing. Then once I get to the top, I can click out of that and know that I made it and take in the reward at the end. And then the downhill can be just fast and fun.”

Understanding pacing and when to walk is important, too, Pollman says.

“I think the biggest thing about running 14ers is that you get fatigued fairly easy, so I think it’s really important to make each step intentional and look where you’re going to place each foot,” Pollman says. “And if you’re using trekking poles, you should know exactly where you’re going to place each pole. You don’t want to do things that will waste your energy or cause you to slip at all.”

Summit Marker at Mr Bierstadt 14er

8 RUNNABLE 14ERS

There are a lot of runnable 14ers in Colorado, but these are at the top of the list.

Mt. Belford (Buena Vista), 14,197 feet, 8 miles roundtrip

There are several routes up this peak located northwest of Buena Vista, but the best one to run is the northwest ridge.

Mt. Bierstadt (Georgetown), 14,060 feet, 7 miles roundtrip

The first mile is a combination of downhill and flat, but the switchbacking route up the 2,900-foot ascent is pretty runnable until about 13,200 feet.

Handies Peak (Silverton), 14,048 feet, 5.5-8.0 miles roundtrip

You might never get a chance to run the Hardrock 100, but you can explore the course and go up and down this peak in the heart of the San Juan Mountains from either Grizzly Gulch or American Basin.

Pikes Peak (Colorado Springs/Manitou Springs), 14,110 feet, 26 miles roundtrip

Running up and/or down Pikes is a must-do adventure for every trail runner, either in the Pikes Peak Ascent and Marathon in mid-August or as a do-it-yourself excursion.

Mt. Elbert (Leadville), 14,433 feet, 9 miles roundtrip

This is the highest peak in the state and definitely worthy, but there are some very steep sections that will require power hiking. For a bigger challenge, go up Elbert and adjacent Mt. Massive in the same day!

Mt. Princeton (Buena Vista), 14,197 feet, 6.0-8.0 miles roundtrip

You can start at the trailhead at 8,900 feet or you can drive part of the way up the mountain on an old mining road to a small parking area at about 10,800 feet. Best of all, there is two hot springs resorts in the valley below.

San Luis Peak (Creede), 14,014 feet, 11.5-13.5 miles roundtrip

This little-known peak located in the Gunnison National Forest portion of the La Garita Wilderness has two long, but mild routes. It’s a bit out of the way, but worth the drive.

Longs Peak (Estes Park), 14,255 feet, 15 miles roundtrip

There are several routes up and down this majestic peak in Rocky Mountain National Park and each one of them is fairly long. The Keyhole Route is the most straightforward, but the Loft Route and the Cables Route offer unique, white-knuckle scrambling challenges.

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TIPS FOR RUNNING COLORADO 14ERS

1. Respect the Elevation

Elevation is a real thing and it affects everyone differently on different days. You can smash yourself early if you start out too hard, even if the terrain isn’t super steep. Start with a moderate, low-key approach and see how you feel as you get into it. If you’re not from a high-altitude environment, try to acclimate by arriving a few days ahead of time, drinking a lot of water, avoiding too much alcohol and getting a lot of rest. It’s not uncommon to get lightheaded, dizzy, disoriented or sick to your stomach — even when things are going pretty well. If those symptoms occur, take a rest break, refuel and rehydrate a bit and keep a realistic (and humble) outlook. Turning around and coming back another day is better than risking injury, illness or death.

2. Gear Up

As trail runners, we like to do everything light and fast and that’s what makes it fun. But you should always dress in moisture-wicking layers (because you’ll alternately be warm and cold often) and carry a small running pack with essential gear, including a lightweight rain shell, sufficient hydration, energy snacks, a first-aid kit, a mobile phone and a map of the route (possibly downloaded as a .gpx file). Wearing the right pair of trail running shoes for the terrain is key, and opting for a pair that offers more durability and protection. Lightweight, collapsible trekking poles (for example, like Black Diamond’s Distance Carbon Z) can come in handy, both going uphill and downhill.

3. Know the Route

Most 14ers have several routes and each are typically vastly different in terrain and difficulty. Study the route you plan to run and understand where terrain changes and where it becomes difficult, but also take a paper map or digital map with you. Keep in mind that up 14ers include every type of surface imaginable — loose dirt, packed dirt, mud, sand, streams, talus and scree — and often routes can head off in different directions from the summit.

4. Mind the Weather

Weather changes quickly in the mountains, especially above 12,000 feet. What might start like a calm, clear, sunny morning can turn stormy with snow and lightning in less than an hour. Also, wind patterns and directions can change at various elevations. It might be calm with no wind in your first 1,500 feet of elevation, but then you can encounter huge gusts during the next 1,500 feet of ascent, only to have it peaceful and calm on top. Check the weather the night before and the morning of your run and, most importantly, look for signs of dark clouds bunching up quickly, big wind gusts and lightning off in the distance.

5. Safety First

Always tell someone in advance where you’re heading and when you think you’ll be back, even if that means sending a last-minute text or email. Then be sure to check in when you get back. Weather, injuries, navigational challenges and other variables can easily turn a 4- to 6-hour high-altitude run into a 7- to 10-hour ordeal. You can get a rough estimate of your time on the mountain by checking the FKT of each peak at the FastestKnowTime site and then add 1-3 hours for your expected pace.

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 - Boulder Running Company
Brian Metzler - Trail racing
Brian Metzler - Les Alpes
Categories
hoka one one Reviews

HOKA RINCON 2 REVIEW

Brian Metzler reviews the HOKA Rincon 2, the breakout from HOKA launched last year. Is the second edition of the style snappier? Read on to learn more.

THE BUZZ

Featherweight and fancy free, the speedy HOKA Rincon 2 continues to the defy reality with being such an impossibly light maximally cushioned trainer.

It’s light and fast enough to be an energetic performance trainer, but it has enough cushion to be a long-run shoe or even an everyday trainer.

Hoka Rincon 2 - what's new?

WHAT’S NEW?

HOKA revised its early-state rocker geometry for quicker heel-toe transitions, giving the second edition an even snappier, faster feel.

The engineered sandwich mesh upper provides more security along the mid-foot and better breathability across the forefoot.

There is an accentuated heel pull tab behind the heel for easier entry. The slim tongue design helps keep the weight down and allows for a streamlined fit.

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

Hoka Rincon 2 running speed

FIT, FEEL, RIDE

The HOKA Rincon 2 fits true to size and similar to the original version, with a medium volume from heel to toe. Runners with narrow feet will really have to torque down the laces to get an optimally snug fit.

The step-in feel is plush and comfortable, but it’s the rockered geometry that you feel right after you lace up this shoe. That convex curvature of the outsole-midsole chassis produces a significant rolling effect. This helps smooth the ride from foot strike to toe-off and promote forward propulsion.

The ride is buttery soft but extremely agile and lively. It doesn’t produce a bouncy sensation, but more of a snappy, fluid motion.

The HOKA Rincon 2 inspires quick-cadence running and a slightly faster pace than you might expect, even on long runs and recovery runs.

All in all, this new edition puts a distinct burst of energy in every stride, especially at faster paces.

WHO IS IT BEST FOR?

Runners who appreciate a lightweight, energetic training shoe will absolutely love the HOKA Rincon 2. It promotes fast, efficient leg turnover in every type of workout, no matter what speed you’re running.

It can be a do-everything training shoe for runners who prefer neutral shoes without much structure or support. The Rincon 2 is capable of inspiring long runs and faster efforts like tempo runs, fartlek runs or even track intervals.

Add to this, this versatile style is also a great race day shoe for distance from 5K up to marathon distance.

Hoka Rincon 2 - pros

Pros: HOKA Rincon 2

The single-layer engineered mesh upper has been updated to create a better lockdown at the midfoot and improve breathability. It gives this version of the Rincon a more performance-oriented fit and adds to the fun, fast feeling.

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. It 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.

The Rincon 2 sits between the super-soft Clifton 7 ($130) and the firm Carbon X ($180) in the Hoka line. All three are great shoes for racing a half marathon or marathon, but the Rincon 2 ($115) a blend of both soft cushion and energetic snap at a value-oriented price.

Hoka Rincon 2 - cons

Cons: HOKA Rincon 2

Like its predecessor, the Rincon 2 doesn’t offer much in the way of support or structure. It’s a decidedly neutral shoe and runners who over-pronate or supinate will have find this shoe a bit unstable at times, especially when running fast and cornering.

SHOP HOKA RINCON 2

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

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

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

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

Brian Metzler - trail running
Brian Metzler - Trail racing
Brian Metzler - Les Alpes
Categories
Reviews Saucony

SAUCONY TRIUMPH 18 REVIEW

THE BUZZ

Brian Metzler reviews the new Saucony Triumph 18 and weighs in on the updates of this perennial training shoe.

Saucony’s premium neutral trainer, the Triumph, has gone through a lot of changes in recent years — some very good, some not so good. However, it’s come full circle in the past two editions and is back to being the super cushioned gem that it was for so many years.

It’s a soft, opulently cushioned everyday trainer that takes the sting and suffering out of long runs. 

Saucony Triumph 18 What's New

WHAT’S NEW?

The new edition of the Saucony Triumph 18 has been redesigned with a more comfortable upper, a more durable outsole and a lighter, faster feel.

This includes a new midsole foam and geometry for a snappier ride and a new engineered mesh upper for a softer, snugger fit.

In addition to the subtle support of the upper, the Triumph 18 also has an internal heel counter. Coupled with a cushy heel collar, this keeps the heel and ankle snug and secure when the foot strikes the ground and starts to roll through the gait cycle. 

Saucony’s FormFit upper design molds around your foot and helps create a luxurious, near-custom. The new engineered mesh upper feels soft and stretchy. It perfectly supports and cradles the precise size and shape of your feet. This is achieved by 3D-printed overlays as they roll through the gait cycle.

The carbon rubber outsole of the Triumph has been updated with a new pattern of flex groves for greater flexibility and quicker transitioning to the toe-off phase of the stride. It’s more durable, offers better traction and aids in the enhanced energetic ride of the shoe.

FIT, FEEL, RIDE

The Saucony Triumph 18 fits true to size with medium volume from the heel through the midfoot area. Add to that, it also features a slightly roomier toe box that allows your toes to wiggle and splay.

The step-in feel is heavenly — soft and cushy from all sides, almost as if the shoe is hugging your foot. The ride gives off a slightly bouncy feel with cushioning for days. This provides a little bit of an energetic spark as your foot rolls to the forefoot.

Saucony Triumph 18 Review 2020

WHO IS IT BEST FOR?

Runners with a neutral gait who appreciate and enjoy a really soft, cushy training shoe will love the new edition of the Saucony Triumph.

Bigger runners who rely on a lot of cushioning and inherent support will love it, too.

The lighter, more energetic feel is reminiscent of Saucony’s Ride shoe, only with more interior creature comforts and more structure.

With all this in mind, this new edition is ideal for long runs and recovery runs and can also hold its own on a tempo run if called upon.

Saucony Triumph 18 Pros

Pros: Saucony Triumph 18

The secret sauce of the Triumph 18 is centered around the new PRRRUN+ midsole compound and geometry. The thick layer of this next-generation foam feels light, springy and energetic, but it also aids the flexibility, durability and agility, too.

Our wear-testers think this is one of the best updates of 2020. The increased comfort, new foam, enhanced fit and more lively feel put it a rare category among luxe everyday trainer. It’s one of those shoes that feels sublime, and that definitely contributes to the overall running experience.

Saucony Triumph 18 Cons

Cons: Saucony Triumph 18

This edition of the Triumph is amazing for a lot of reasons, but the one thing it is not is super light or especially nimble.

It’s not going to be your first choice for short, speedy workouts. But that’s OK because of how it excels at longer, slower to moderately paced runs!

TECH SPECS

Saucony Triumph 18 Tech Specs

SHOP SAUCONY TRIUMPH 18

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 - trail running
Brian Metzler - Boulder Running Company
Brian Metzler - Les Alpes
Categories
Brands On Running

Don Saladino: BODYWEIGHT WORKOUT PROGRAM

Don Saladino Shares His Original 4 Week Bodyweight Workout Program

The current COVID-19 pandemic currently prevents many athletes from access to gym facilities and training equipment. As a result, many are turning to alternative ‘bodyweight workout program’ that requires little to n0 equipment. While this may seem like a set-back, many are actually finding they can produce the same results without the equipment.

DON SALADINO

Don Saladino, On-sponsored personal trainer and ‘Coach to the Stars,’ is one of the leading voices of this new shift in how we work out.

For over 20 years, Don Saladino has coached actors, athletes, musicians, and titans of business function at their full potential. He also developed a reputation for training some of the biggest names in Hollywood for the big screen.

THE PROGRAM

In a collaboration with our partners at On Running, we worked with Don to provide the running community a 4 Week Bodyweight Workout Program. This program is designed to help to re-engerize your workout routine.

The entire workout program is built to be done with ZERO bumbles and weights, so all you need is your body.

Even as gyms start to open up, many across the country still might not have access to gym equipment or might not feel comfortable yet going back to their local gym. Don is here to help.

Don designed this 4 Week Bodyweight Program to help turn you into a better functioning athlete, whether you are an avid runner or just a getting into the sport.

DOWNLOAD PROGRAM

Don breaks up this 4 Week Bodyweight Program into two segments. After the first 2 weeks, the reps increase and you start to push your body to new limits.

Don recommends training in the all new Cloud X from On Running. The Cloud X is built for mixed-sport workouts. It is a lightweight powerhouse easily adapts to any workout environment, both in- and outdoors.

You can access the entire 4 Week Bodyweight Workout Program here. Come join us and start your journey of maximizing your fully functional potential.

GET THE RIGHT GEAR

Don recommends training in the all new Cloud X from On Running. The Cloud X, built for mixed-sport workouts. It’s a lightweight powerhouse that easily adapts to any workout environment, in- and outdoors.

SHOP THE ALL-NEW CLOUD X
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Categories
Brooks Reviews

BROOKS GHOST 13 REVIEW

by Brian Metzler

THE BUZZ

The Brooks Ghost 13 is ready for new runners in 2020.

The Ghost is one of the flagship shoes in the Brooks line and one of the best-selling shoes in the U.S. It’s a cushy, smooth-riding neutral running shoe that serves up a comfortable fit, soft feel and reliable performance.

The Brooks Ghost is known for shock-absorbing ride and extended comfort on medium to longer runs.

Brooks Ghost 13 - what's new?

WHAT’S NEW WITH THE BROOKS GHOST 13

The biggest update to this year’s Ghost is the extension of DNA Loft midsole foam from the heel to the forefoot. This provides smoother heel-to-toe transitions

The engineered mesh upper on the Brooks Ghost 13 has been tweaked slightly to enhanced fit offering more comfort and breathability. The outsole has been adjusted slightly for increased flexibility, better traction and optimal heel-toe transitions.

The secret sauce of the Ghost 13 is the co-molded foam midsole that includes a thick, full-length layer of DNA Loft foam. This is a soft, lightweight and durable compound that absorbs and attenuates impact shock. It also features a thinner layer of environmentally friendly BioMoGo DNA foam, which stretches from the arch to the toes.

The outsole has been updated slightly with a slight adjustment in the flex gloves and positioning of carbon rubber segments. This optimizes flexibility without compromising cushioning. The outsole doesn’t slip at all on wet or dry surfaces.

The changes to the Brooks Ghost are minimal, but they help make a great shoe truly exceptional.

The Ghost 13 GTX ($160) also comes in a Gore-Tex-lined version for those days when you need a waterproof shoe.

Brooks Ghost 13 - review

FIT, FEEL RIDE

The Brooks Ghost 13 fits true to size and has a medium volume from heel to toe, although it has a slightly lower toe box height.

The step-in feel is exceptionally soft and luxurious, one of the most comfortable shoes available on the market. That plush feeling is accentuated out on the run and converts to long-haul comfort in the latter miles of a long run.

The Ghost rides like a luxury SUV with leather seats. It’s so smooth, soft and comfortable that you barely feel a bump in the road.

The thick heel cushion and relatively high heel-toe offset (12mm) encourages a heel-striking gait. However, the segmented crash pad in the heel quickly disperses that force and smoothes out the stride. It adds a bit of energetic propulsion as the foot rolls to the toe-off phase.

WHO’S IT BEST FOR

Runners who appreciate a soft, smooth and reliable neutral-oriented training shoe will really like the Ghost 13.

The slight refinements make it an exceptional high-mileage trainer, a shoe that’s light and nimble enough for some types of faster running.

The Brooks Ghost 13 is a great do-everything shoe for beginners and a great long-run training shoe for more advanced runners.

Brooks Ghost 13 - pros

Brooks Ghost 13: Pros

The co-molded foam midsole offers a dynamic, semi-custom cushioning experience that adapts to keep your foot moving forward.

The updated edition of the Ghost is a smidge lighter than last year’s, helping it become slightly more agile. Lighter is almost always better, especially when it comes to training shoes.

The new, two-color knitted upper delivers softness and breathability while also offering a fresh new look. A few of our wear-testers said they’d consider wearing the Ghost 13 as a casual shoe with shorts or jeans.

Although it’s a neutral shoe and not intended for runners who over-pronate, the Ghost 13 offers a bit of inherent stability from its wide foot print and the subtle and svelte internal heel counter.

Brooks Ghost 13: Cons

Con: The Ghost 13 doesn’t have a lot of get-up-and-go.

It can handle tempo runs and faster long runs, but it’s definitely not a shoe that easily accelerates to quick-turnover, performance-oriented running. 

BROOKS GHOST 13: TECH SPECS

Brooks Ghost 13 - tech specs

SHOP BROOKS GHOST 13

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 - Boulder Running Company
Brian Metzler - trail running
Categories
how to trail run Trail Running Training

HOW TRAIL RUNNING WILL REVIVE YOUR RUNNING

HIT THE TRAILS

By Brian Metzler

Have you ever found yourself in a funk about running? Or feel like your training has plateaued? Or had the feeling you just don’t feel like running?

We all have!

As frustrating as those moments can be, they’re a natural part of training — especially in the dog days of summer and when we don’t have any races to focus on.

There are many ways to rejuvenate your running, but few as failsafe as trail running. Going for a trail run and implementing off-road running into your weekly regiment can work wonders for you with numerous physical, mental and emotional benefits. Here’s how …

Trail Running - good for runners

6 BENEFITS OF TRAIL RUNNING

1. Trail running is different.

The best thing about trail running is what it is not. When we’re running on the smooth and generally flat roads, we’re often concerned with the pace we’re running, the mileage we’re running and how consistent our movements are. But when we’re on the trail, those aren’t the things that matter most.

Out on the trails, the surface is always changing, so our pace, our gait and our consistency can vary greatly. Embrace those differences and the inherent challenges that trail running brings and don’t worry about your pace or even there are some sections that are so steep you might have to walk.

2. Trail running is an escape.

Let’s face it, running on the roads or bike paths of the urban or suburban grid can be tedious. But running on trails — no matter if it’s a route through a local park, along a nearby river or over a mountain pass — can be a glorious and refreshing escape. Trail running allows you to get away from the monotony (and crowded places) for an hour or two, but it also provides you with a connection to nature, different scenery, a chance to view wildflowers and exciting destinations to run to.

Running to a through a forest, reaching the summit of a peak (no matter how big or small) or running to a waterfall can be a small but exhilarating way to stimulate your running.

3. Trail running is an adventure.

Trail running can put a dose of wild into our lives. Unlike running on the roads or doing workouts prescribed on your training plan, trail running can be a full-on adventure. Some trails are decidedly harder, more remote and more inspiring than others.

If you make it a point to seek out a unique, semi-remote trail once a week, you can experience that bit of thrilling, hard-to-describe excitement that is more common to mountain biking, rock climbing and backpacking than it is to road running. 

Trail Running Colorado

4. Trail running is a great workout.

Even though you might not be doing tempo runs, intervals or even monitoring your pace, trail running can be a remarkable workout. Running on trails works different muscles groups, requires greater agility and typically involves unpredictable acute heart rate spikes than road running. There’s no question that it can build aerobic fitness, but it can also build your overall strength and endurance in ways that road running cannot. Plus, the softer surfaces of trails are easier on your body, too.

Consider doing your weekly long runs to the trails to discover an enhanced level of endurance. Or convert your 6 x 800-meter track interval session into a 6 x 3-minute hill repeat session on a moderately inclined trail for an enhanced level of fitness.

5. Trail running is fun.

As much as we all love to run, sometimes we feel like it’s a chore. That almost never happens out on the trails. Trail running has a different vibe that makes it feel less about the monotony of running. It’s more like you’re playing in the woods with your friends like you did as a kid. Checking out the views, spotting a deer, or even engaging in the shared struggled of a hard hill or a fast descent are all part of that fun vibe that can inspire you to run trails more often, plan long weekend trail running outings with friends and sign up for trail running races.

6. Trail running will light your fire.

Trail running will challenge you, inspire you and engage you in different ways. Just as there are ways to “think outside the box,” trail running is a way to “run outside the box” on a regular basis. As you become more proficient at running on trails — learning how to become more agile, carrying the right gear and knowing how to find fun, remote and scenic trails — you’ll likely find yourself enjoying it more and more.

You don’t have go far or run precarious trails in the mountains; it starts with a good pair of trail running shoes and a curious sense of adventure. It won’t take long before you’ve rejuvenated your running like never before.

SHOP WOMEN’S TRAIL RUNNING GEAR
SHOP MEN’S TRAIL RUNNING GEAR

Brian Metzler was the founding editor of Trail Runner magazine. He is the author of Kicksology: The Science, Hype, Culture and Cool of Running Shoes. (2019, VeloPress)

Categories
Mizuno Reviews

MIZUNO WAVE RIDER 24 REVIEW

THE BUZZ

One of the living legends among running shoes, the Mizuno Wave Rider is a best-selling neutral, everyday training shoes intended for high-mileage running. The Mizuno Wave Rider 24 is the 2020 edition of the shoe.

The Wave Rider has evolved through the years and changed slightly as modern materials and technologies have been introduced. But, it remains a cushy, smooth-riding and very reliable running shoe for a wide range of runners.

Mizuno Wave Rider 24 Review - What's New

WHAT’S NEW: MIZUNO WAVE RIDER 24

The Mizuno Wave Rider 24 is lighter, softer, more stable and more responsive than the previous edition. That’s made possible by a slice of Mizuno’s new Enerzy midsole foam, more outsole surface area for optimal ground contact and more effective flex grooves in the forefoot.

The new edition also fits better, thanks to a more padded heel collar and a slightly roomier toe box. Wave Rider 23 was a very good shoe, but Wave Rider 24 is an exceptional one.

The Wave Rider 24 is available with two different uppers. Either a two-layer engineered mesh with horizontal laser perforations for breathability or a WaveKnit upper built from a soft, supportive flat-knit construction.

(Note: The Wave Rider 24 WaveKnit weighs slightly more than the standard version.)

Mizuno Wave Rider 24 Review - Feature

FIT, FEEL, RIDE

The fit of this year’s Mizuno Wave Rider has changed appreciably. It features a more comfortable and secure fit in the heel and a slightly wider fit in the forefoot to allow the transverse arch to flex and the toes to splay.

It has a similarly cushy feel from previous editions. So, when you step into the shoe it has a comfortable wrap-like sensation when you lace it up.

The ride is also similar to previous models — smooth, stable and consistent. Only, it’s now a tad bit softer and more responsive. This is thanks to the new Enerzy foam under the Parallel Wave plate in the rear of the midsole as well as the modified flex grooves in the forefoot.

It’s always been the consummate workhorse training shoe and it remains a durable, trusted shoe. Now that it’s lighter, softer and more energetic, it also has a bit of a penchant for faster running.

WHO IS IT BEST FOR?

Runners who enjoy a feeling of soft, plush cushioning, a smooth ride and a touch of reliable support, will love the Wave Rider 24. It’s perfect for long runs, tempo runs and recovery runs with ease.

Plus, its inherent comfort and support allow it to be an ideal half marathon or marathon shoe for a wide range of recreational runners.

Mizuno Wave Rider 24 - Pros

This edition of the Wave Rider will feel noticeably more cushy — 17 percent more cushy according to Mizuno. But it also provides 15 percent boost in rebound, providing an ultimate combination of shock absorption and energy return.

The outsole has segments of hardy carbon rubber under the heel for long-wearing durability and segments of blow rubber in the forefoot for soft, lightweight landings and slightly more energetic toe-offs. But the new forefoot flex grooves are what really helps put a spring in your step at the beginning of a new stride.

Mizuno Wave Rider 24 - Cons

The Waver Rider has never been a flat-out speed burner and even the slightly lighter version cannot compare to the agility of a performance trainer.

It’s not ideal for short intervals, but it can hold its own at mile repeats and fartlek runs in a pinch.

TECH SPECS

Mizuno Wave Rider 24 - Tech Specs

SHOP MIZUNO WAVE RIDER 24

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 - trail running
Brian Metzler - Boulder Running Company
Brian Metzler - Les Alpes
Categories
On Running

ON ATHLETES: THE ULTIMATE RUNNING PLAYLIST

RUNNING REMIXED: ON ATHLETES SHARE THEIR FAVORITE RUNNING PLAYLIST

For many of us, music plays an integral role in our fitness routine. A good running playlist can make or break your run.

Music can motivate you when you are struggling for inspiration at the tail-end of a long run. It can help you get in the right mindset during a warmup routine. The right song can even help you stick to a specific pace by providing a consistent beat to run to. 

Nowadays, technology has made it even easier to incorporate music into your running routine. Ever since the development of music-streaming apps, anyone with a smartphone has been granted access to virtually anything. Any song, artist, or playlist their heart desires.

You don’t even have to worry about holding your phone in your hand while running either., Yay running belts and armbands!

You can now conveniently place your phone in a secured pouch and throw on some bluetooth headphones. We recommend Aftershoks. After that, you’re off to the races!


Alas, thanks to all this new technology, the only thing you really have to worry about anymore is WHAT to listen to. It can be so difficult choosing a running playlist. Even when you have chosen one you like, it can get old pretty quickly.

That is why we got together with our friends at On Running to help us REMIX our running repertoire!

We asked some of our favorite On-sponsored athletes to send us their go-to running playlists, and what we received does not disappoint!

TOP RUNNING PLAYLISTS

Jerome Avery, who took Paralympic Gold for the 100m in 2016, sent us a list of go-to jamz that get him in the mood to dominate the track with this sprinting partner David Brown. 


David Kilgore, the Florida-grown running guru himself, sent us a list of timeless classics that get him through his long hours on the trail.

Rachel Cliff, one of Canada’s most talented and exciting elite-distance athletes, shared what she listens to that help her adapt to the recent changes in her training schedule.

Over a dozen of our favorite On athletes have shares their go-to playlists with us, which are available for you at any time on our Jackrabbit Spotify Account.

Join us today and discover your next favorite running jam!

CHECK OUT SOME OF OUR FAVORITE ON RUNNING PRODUCTS

SHOP ON RUNNING
Categories
On Running Reviews

ON CLOUD X REVIEW

THE BUZZ

The Swiss-engineered On Cloud X is a lightweight and energetic performance trainer that’s fast and agile enough to be a race-day shoe but cushioned enough to be an everyday trainer for many runners.

The Cloud X It features On’s unique Cloudtec cushioning system and a full-length engineered plastic plate for maximal responsiveness in every stride.

On Cloud X - What's New?

WHAT’S NEW?

The Cloudtec cushioning pods on the Cloud X have been enhanced with a new Zero-Gravity Foam. This works in concert with the lightweight Speedoard plate that helps propel the foot forward from touch-down to toe-off. A new engineered, knit-weave mesh upper provides more benefits. These range from enhanced foot security, better breathability and a sock-life fit that are ideal for fast workouts.

The engineered, knit-weave mesh upper has a sock-like fit. This holds the foot in place at the saddle/arch. Consequently, this also moves with the natural flex of the foot and allows the toes enough room to wiggle.

The seamless tongue, bootie construction, seamless interior and cushy sockliner create a smooth, secure irritation-free fit.

The outsole features smartly placed sections of an adhesive rubber compound under the heel and forefoot that provide reliable grip on wet and dry pavement and optimal durability. 

On Cloud X 2020

FIT, FEEL, RIDE

The Cloud X fits like a glove. With a soft, dual-density sockliner, smooth tongue, elastic laces and an upper that conforms to your feet, the Cloud X provides a comfortable, custom fit.

Adeptly, they feel moderately soft, very light and extremely dexterous once you lace it up. These sensations all remain on the run.

The Cloudtec cushioning pods move with the natural motion of your feet. They provide just the right amount of cushioning in every phase of the gait cycle.

The ride feels lively, low-to-the-ground and especially nimble, offering great proprioceptive feel for the road — especially at faster paces. They don’t give off a bouncy or marshmallowly sensation, but instead a feeling of consistent smoothness.

WHO’S IT BEST FOR?

A runner interested in a lightweight, smartly cushioned shoe for with energetic pop will love this shoe. It’s on point for tempo runs, interval workouts and races from the mile to the half marathon.

The On Cloud X also feels great for medium to longer runs at any speed.

On Cloud X - Pros

Pros: On Cloud X

The engineered, knit-weave mesh upper and performance-oriented elastic laces offer a comfortably snug fit.

On’s dynamic new Zero-Gravity Foam is both absorbent and extremely energetic. It keeps weight to an absolute minimum and provides maximum mobility and smoothness in every stride. 

The Cloud X is versatile enough to be worn for other types of gym-based workouts and looks and feels great as a casual lifestyle shoe too. 

On Cloud X - Cons

Cons: On Cloud X

Although the cushioning is dynamic and consistent, it’s not as abundant as some other shoes.

Runners who appreciate more cushioning and less “feel” for the road might feel the midsole of this shoe is too minimalist.

TECH SPECS

On Cloud X - Tech Specs

SHOP ON CLOUD X

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

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. 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 and editor in chief at Competitor Magazine. He’s the author of “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 - trail running
Brian Metzler - Trail racing
Brian Metzler - Les Alpes

Categories
Reviews Saucony

SAUCONY ENDORPHIN SPEED REVIEW

THE BUZZ

One of the best new shoes to hit the market in 2020, the Saucony Endorphin Speed is a lightweight, resilient and cushy everyday training shoe with a very speedy vibe.

The Endorphin Speed is built on a platform of a highly responsive foam and rigid nylon plate. The style combines a soft, comfortable feeling with a pop of energy in every stride.

Truly, it’s an amazing shoe for long runs, recovery runs, tempo runs and all types of speed workouts.

Saucony Endorphin Speed - What's new

WHAT’S NEW?

The Endorphin Speed is an entirely new shoe, an offshoot of Saucony’s top-tier Endorphin Pro racing shoe with a carbon-fiber plate.

Although the Endorphin Speed doesn’t have a carbon-fiber plate, it does have the same PWRRUN PB foam and a similar SpeedRoll geometry that propel a runner’s feet forward as a new stride begins.

This midsole is the secret sauce of this shoe. Saucony’s PWRRUN PB is an ultralight, PeBa-based foam. This provides a bouncy and propulsive feeling in every stride and at every pace. This foam is found in other Saucony shoes, but the semi-rigid nylon plate makes it really come to life in the Endorphin Speed. 

The outsole features sections of exposed foam and high-abrasion carbon rubber to keep the weight down, ensure optimal traction and maintain consistent durability.

“We knew it was good. Real good. But this just seals the deal. Introducing Runner’s World Editor’s Choice award winner, the Saucony Endorphin Speed.”

– Runner’s World Magazine
Saucony Endorphin Speed Men's

FIT, FEEL, RIDE

The Saucony Endorphin Speed fits true to size with a medium interior from heel to toe. Likewise, it feels soft and comfortable when you step into it and lace it up and noticeably pliable and bouncy when you start running.

On longer and slower runs, the cushioning and nylon plate provide a cozy but peppy sensation, but on faster paced runs the Endorphin Speed feels almost effortless.

The fit of the Endorphin Speed is enhanced by Saucony’s FormFit mesh upper, inspired by the upper material of elite track spikes. This upper moves and stretches while still keeping feet locked down to the chassis below the foot. It creates a lightweight but reliably secure connection that contributes to precise, efficient strides.

Interval workouts on the track and tempo runs are hard, but they feel a heck of a lot better wearing this shoe. There aren’t many shoes that fit, feel and ride like this one.

WHO’S IT BEST FOR?

Runners who appreciate a lightweight, well-cushioned shoe with a lively demeanor will love the Endorphin Speed. It’s agile and versatile enough to run at any pace and tackle any kind of workout with ease.

Equally, it can also be an ideal shoe for racing any distance from the mile to the marathon. It’s also especially inviting for 10K and half-marathon races. 

Saucony Endorphin Speed - Pros

PROS: Saucony Endorphin Speed

It’s rare that a shoe capable of doing everything well — long runs, recovery runs, speed work, tempo runs, intervals — offers so much high-performance zest.

Typically shoes with that much energy are found in the racing category and are limited only to fast running. The Endorphin Speed truly can do it all, no matter how fast or slow you run in them.

Saucony Endorphin Speed - Cons

CONS: Saucony Endorphin Speed

Our wear-testers didn’t really find any drawbacks to the Endorphin Speed, but to be fair it has a higher price tag than a lot of everyday training shoes.

Sure, $160 might crimp your budget, but it’s $40 less than the top-tier Endorphin Pro race rocket and it’s much more versatile and quite a bit more comfortable. You’ll definitely get your money’s worth if you opt for the Endorphin Speed.

TECH SPECS

Saucony Endorphin Speed - Tech Specs

SHOP SAUCONY ENDORPHIN SPEED

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 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 “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 - Boulder Running Company
Brian Metzler - trail running