Categories
Gifts for Runners

GIFT GUIDE: BEST WINTER TRAIL RUNNING GEAR

Embrace the cold, wet and mud this winter season with JackRabbit’s top gifts for trail runners from footwear to apparel and must-have accessories.

Even the most seasoned trail runners tend to dread winter training. Getting up from bed and knowing you’ll be running in the dark cold hours, likely alone are not the most incentivizing training circumstances.

For those of us (like me writing this!) who are barely making it out the door, here’s a quick rundown of the best running long sleeves, jackets, shoes and accessories that make getting dressed (if anything) fun.

LAYER LOVE

In anticipation of the cold, we tend to overlayer because we can’t fathom being cold even for one second. However, after that initial 5-minute warmup period, you’re thinking about dropping layers and tying them around your waist.

Pro-tip: take off the last-minute decision layer before you leave; you likely don’t actually need it.

RUNNING TOPS

Running tops – these are a great and easy way to keep the midsection a little warmer.

Trail Running - Men's Running Tops

New Balance Men’s Jacquard Short Sleeve Top. $45. It’s functional enough to run in and also nice enough to make that zoom call in.

Trail Running - Women's Running Tops

Nike Miler Short Sleeve Running Top. $35. Lightweight and breathable top that you’ll end up wearing all day!

Trail Running - Long Sleeve Men's Running Top

Saucony Stopwatch Long Sleeve Top. $34. Layer over the running top. The long sleeve layer acts as a light pullover.

Trail Running - Long Sleeve Top

Saucony Stopwatch Long Sleeve Top. $34. The anti-microbial finish helps reduce odors and for those darker runs, it has reflective logo marks

JACKETS

Running jacket (optional) – not taking off that last-minute layer decision? That’s ok! At least this can be tied around your waist.

The Brooks Carbonite Jacket was made for both warmth and visibility while out running.

SHORTS vs. PANTS

The Great Debate.

At the end of the day, this great debate comes down to preference and cold tolerance. Some runners refuse to wear pants unless it’s under 32 degrees F, others will only wear shorts if the temperature is in the 50s.

There’s no real right or wrong here, but whatever you choose, comfort is key.

RUNNING SHORTS

Trail Running - Men's Running Shorts

Men’s New Balance Impact Run 5″ short. $45. 5inches, practical and moisture-wicking. What more could a guy want?

Trail Running - Running Shorts Hers

Women’s Nike Tempo Lux 3″. $40. The perfect length to keep a perfect stride on the trail and lightweight enough to wear under tights if it gets a bit colder.

RUNNING TIGHTS

Trail Running - Running Tights Men's

Men’s New Balance Impact Run Heat Tights. $90. The perfect balance between warm and breathable

Trail Running - Running Tights Men's

Women’s Saucony Fortify Tights. $85. These tights have pockets. Enough said. How long have women been asking for pockets? Too long!

WINTER TRAIL RUNNING SHOES

Runners know it’s critical to check weather and trail conditions before heading out. If it’s too wet and rainy, it might be a road day to preserve the trail system.

Here are winter trail running shoe top picks.

Trail Running - GoreTex

New Balance Hierro v5 Gore-Tex $150. A great lightweight trail shoe that can withstand the cold wet terrain that also acts as a good transition shoe from road to trail and back.

Trail Running - Hoka Trail

HOKA ONE ONE Speedgoat 4. $145. The tried and true all around trail shoe. The Speedgoat works well on even the wettest of trail surfaces to provide a breathable and largely dry running experience

MUST-HAVE WINTER ACCESSORIES

These accessories never go out of style and last for miles. For both safety and warmth, these are what we don’t leave home without.

Trail Running -Petzl Headlamp

Petzl IKO Core Headlamp. $90. The 100% compostable packaging is only half the reason this headlamp is a must have. The Petzl IKO Core has a rechargeable battery, 3 different lighting options (from ‘Oh yeah, this is nice’ to ‘OMG turn off the brights’).

Trail Running - Feetures

Running Socks. $9-$22. Feetures has a sock for everyone and meets every need. They are moisture wicking, come in different thickness and styles that make the most sense with where you’re at.

Icebreaker Gloves & Headband – Because matching is key and Icebreaker delivers both. The Icebreaker Sierra Gloves and Affinity Headband are essential to keeping your most vulnerable ligaments that affect the rest of the body, warm.

Plus, no one likes cold hands.

Trail Running - Icebreaker Gloves
Trail Running - Headband

Categories
Brooks Reviews

BROOKS ADRENALINE GTS 21 REVIEW

THE BUZZ

Most runners relish in a comfortable, smooth-riding running shoe. This includes runners who appreciate or need a bit of added stability in every stride.

With the new Adrenaline GTS 21, Brooks has continued to evolve its best-selling stability trainer. It has a new smoother, softer ride and more adaptable support.

Brooks Addrenaline GTS 21 - What's new

WHAT’S NEW

Brooks has slightly tweaked its GuideRails stabilizing technology to provide holistic support for a runner’s entire kinematic chain from the feet to the hips.

A new uniquely airy and supportive upper rounds out an exceptional update. The midsole has been updated with a longer segment of soft, plush DNA Loft foam. This combines with the more compliant Bio Mogo DNA for an optimal blend of cushion and support.

Brooks continues to evolve its GuideRails support system aimed at keeping the knee aligned. It does this with medial and lateral bumpers that nudge a runner’s foot back to the center if it veers too far to one side. It can provide maximum stability or just a hint of stability depending on your gait pattern. In other words, the support is there when you need it and not when you don’t.

The outsole retains the segmented crash pad design that provides sufficient traction, optimally targeted cushioning and improved flexibility.

The Adrenaline GTS 21 is slightly lighter than last year’s edition and considerably lighter than the version from two years ago.

The weight reductions have been made possible from the new engineered mesh uppers that lack any unnecessary decorative elements. The new edition of the Adrenaline GTS is virtually as light as the Brooks Glyercin premium cushioned neutral shoe.

FIT, FEEL, RIDE

Brooks has improved the fit, feel and ride of this popular shoe by making it slightly softer but more precisely stable.

The new upper gives the Adrenaline GTS 21 a more comprehensive and accommodating fit. It comes complete with a high arch, cushy tongue, padded heel collar, premium footbed, snug heel and wide toe box.

It is as comfortable as any shoe in the Brooks line, but it’s also as secure as any stability model on the market.

The beauty of this shoe is that that stability is delivered subtly and almost imperceptibly. It offers you just the amount of support you need when you need it. Otherwise, it feels and performs like a cushy neutral shoe, with a soft, accommodating sensation when your foot hits the ground and a smooth, rolling sensation to the toe-off phase.

The ride is mildly energetic, but not at all bouncy or lively like some other daily trainers.

Brooks Addrenaline GTS 21 - what's new

WHO IT’S BEST FOR

Runners who want, need or appreciate stability-enhancing support in every stride will really enjoy the Adrenaline GTS 21. It’s a durable and reliable everyday training shoe.

The Adreanline GTS 21 a great long run shoe and recovery shoe. It can be sufficient for tempo runs in a pinch, even though speed isn’t its forte.

It might not have the range of a lot of its contemporaries, but for a stability shoe it’s a gem.

If you have just one horse in your stable, the Adrenaline GTS 21 can be a good choice to be the only pair of shoes in your quiver.

This could be a good choice for a half-marathon or a marathon shoe for a committed mid-pack runner. It’s not ideal for running shorter and faster workouts and races.

Brooks Addrenaline GTS 21 - Pros

PROS: Brooks Adrenaline GTS 21

The Adrenaline GTS 21 is built on a midsole platform made from DNA Loft foam and BioMogo DNA. DNA Loft is a lightweight blend of EVA foam, rubber and air that provides a good balance of durability, smoothness and comfort in the heel and along the lateral edge to the forefoot. BioMogo DNA is a cushioning foam that includes a nontoxic natural additive encourages anaerobic microbes to munch away 50 times faster once it hits an active, enclosed landfill.

The new Engineered Air Mesh upper is soft, pliable and comfortable, but it offers specific support where your foot needs it most. It hugs the foot from the top, side and front and keeps it securely attached to the footbed.

We love this shoe because it feels like a comfy, neutral-oriented cruiser, but it provides understated support and stabilizes every stride without any extra bulk or awkwardness of traditional stability shoes.

Brooks Addrenaline GTS 21 - Cons

CONS: Brooks Adrenaline GTS 21

While this shoe is lighter, smoother and more flexible than previous editions, the Adrenaline GTS doesn’t have the liveliness to handle faster track and fartlek workouts as well as some performance-oriented stability models.

TECH SPECS

Brooks Addrenaline GTS 21 - Tech Specs

SHOP ADRENALINE GTS 21

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 running
Brian Metzler - Trail racing
Categories
Gifts for Runners

GIFT GUIDE: TOP PICKS FOR HIGH-MILEAGE RUNNERS

Do you have someone special in your life who never seems to NOT be running? Are they consistently cranking out 30+ miles a week? It takes a special kind of person to be a high mileage runner, and while they seem invincible, need to place an even higher amount of care in their training regimen. They put their bodies through the ringer week after week, so it’s important they set themselves up for success. 

Here are the top gifts for the high mileage runner in your life, recommended by our very own in-house high mileage runner, Andrew.

Andrew Lyle Running Strong
Andrew ‘high-miler’ running the Athens Marathon 2019

BEST GIFTS FOR HIGH-MILEAGE RUNNERS

Watch and learn as we take you on a tour of a JackRabbit store for the best of the best for logging the miles.

RECOVERY FOOTWEAR

I use recovery footwear whenever I can when I’m at home. Because my feet take a pounding running so many miles every week, it’s important for me that I take care of them anytime I’m NOT running.

My preference is the Oofos OOahh Slide Recovery Sandal

Oofos recovery slide

 

VIBRATING FOAM ROLLER

There’s only one thing better for a runner’s calves than foam roller… a VIBRATING foam roller. I use a vibrating foam roller because it digs in to my muscles, reducing my soreness, on an even deeper level and helps me recover faster.

My preference is the Hyperice Vyper 2.0

Hyperice Vyper Roller

GPS WATCH

There’s a reason GPS watches have become an industry standard. When you run enough miles on a weekly basis, you want to make sure you are being as ACCURATE as possible with your mileage tracking. Whether I’m using the “lap” feature to track my splits on track, or gauging my pace every mile on one of my long runs, my watch is my favorite accessory. 

I use the Garmin Forerunner 245 Music; I like to have my tunes.

ENERGY SUSTAINING NUTRITION

Anyone who’s logging 8+ miles on their weekly long run needs to have a nutrition plan. During longer activity, we lose a lot of sodium while we sweat and burn a lot of calories, which is why I incorporate nutrition into my longer runs.

I personally prefer energy gels, like GU. GU Energy Gels provide electrolytes to keep my sodium levels up, CARBOHYDRATES to give me energy, and branch-chain amino acids to decrease any damage to my muscles. 

Gu Energy Gels

HIGH-CUSHIONED FOOTWEAR

Not every day is race day. Although I make sure to incorporate speed workouts on the track and faster tempo runs into my weekly schedule, a lot of the time I’m just trying to maintain my high mileage goals. For these longer runs, I use a more cushioned shoe to help support my tired feet while pounding away at the road. 

I recommend the brand HOKA ONE ONE, who is widely known for their use of high cushioning in the midsole. I’m neutral footed, so my go-to is the HOKA Clifton 7. Plus their TK Pack colorway is sickkkkkk 

Hoka Clifton 7
Hoka Bondi 7 - Cushion
Categories
Gifts for Runners Trail Running Training

GIFT GUIDE: NUTRITION FOR RUNNERS

If there is something all runners have in common, it’s that we could do a little better pre-, during- and post-run nutrition.

This year for the holidays, help yourself and the runner in your life stay on top of their nutrition game with these easy items.

Ultra-runner Laura knows a thing or two about the how prep, fuel and recover from a run. Ready on to learn her best nutrition offerings available at JackRabbit to fuel your next adventure.

laura cortez - fuel the run

PRE-RUN NUTRITION

There’s about a 50/50 split between runners who eat before every run and those who can’t fathom the thought.

Which camp do you lie in?

Picky Oats

Pre-run-food lovers

Eat now, thank us later. The Picky Oats Performance Oatmeal has some of the cleanest ingredients around and contains the perfect amount of carbs, sugar and protein to make every run just that much better. Plus, these are made with beets which studies have shown to potentially help running performance over a period of time.

Waffles

I-refuse-to-eat-before runs, runners

If you don’t like stoopwafels, you probably just haven’t had one yet. These Honey Stinger Waffles are the perfect size for any stomach.

Trying to procrastinate your run? Pro tip: warm this sucker up over the stove or coffee.

DURING-RUN NUTRITION

Virtual raise of hands for those who eat during their runs. Hardly any? That’s what we thought.

After about 90 minutes your body becomes more or less depleted and needs additional sugars and energy to remain efficient.

Choose your nutrition below:

Gu Gel

Gels: For those who just want the nutrition to be over with. GU Energy Gels are a runner’s staple with the variety of flavors and calories to meet your needs. A JackRabbit fave flavor? Lemon Ginger GU

Honey Stinger Energy Chews

Snack: For those who want to take their time or maybe munch over a longer period of time, try these Honey Stinger Energy Chews. They’re like gushers but for running and minus the gel filling.

POST-RUN NUTRITION

After running, there’s about an hour long recovery window to get the nutrients your body needs at a rate that is most effective.

Ideally, your body will be taking in carbs and proteins within an hour after your workout.

Cracker Bar

Snack: Try the Honey Stinger Organic Cracker Bar – packed with tons of flavor and organic ingredients, it’s the ideal pick-me-up.

Skratch Recovery Mix

Recovery drink: Get all the protein and carbs in one delicious drink. The Skratch Labs Sport Recovery Drink has been a go-to drink for us after long runs and hard workouts.

DAILY NUTRITION

Consistent nutrition and hydration intake during the day is also essential to being at the top of your running game. UCAN has a great Hydrate Electrolyte Mix that’s easy to drink throughout the day.

UCAN

Runners, we’re just scratching the surface here. There are myriad other ways to get your calories and your recovery on at JackRabbit. We’ve spent years mixing, chomping, chewing and digesting (yes, the latter is probably the most important of all) many different types of sports nutrition for all types of adventures.

Check out all the running nutrition options at our virtual ‘Nutrition Kitchen’ at JackRabbit.com.

SHOP ALL RUNNING NUTRITION AT JACKRABBIT
Categories
Gifts for Runners

GIFT GUIDE: TOP MEN’S RUNNING FASHION

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

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

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

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

The Minimalist

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

Minimalist Runner

SHOP THE LOOK

Vuori Outdoor Trainer Shell

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

Vuori Men's Performance Jogger

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

Hoka Bondi 7 black - Men's

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

Ciele Black Men's Hat

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

The Weekend Warrior

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

Weekend Warrior Runner

SHOP THE LOOK

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

Rhone 6 inch men's shorts

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

Hydroflask Black

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

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

The ‘Everyday is Race Day’ Guy

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

Race Day Guy Runner

SHOP THE LOOK

New Balance Men's Fortitech Run Top

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

New Balance Men's Thermal Running Tights

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

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

Goodr Sunglasses for men

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

Brooks Running Trucker Hat for men

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

NB 1080 v10 Mens

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

The Sheik Urbanite

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

Sheik Urbanite Runner

SHOP THE LOOK

Men's On Running Jacket

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

Men's On Running Pants

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

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

Goodr Mick and Keith's Midnight Ramble

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

Massage Ball for Runners

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

Categories
Asics Reviews

ASICS GEL NIMBUS LITE 2 REVIEW

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

THE BUZZ

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

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

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

ASICS GEL Nimbus Lite 2 - What's New

WHAT’S NEW

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

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

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

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

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

ASICS GEL Nimbus Lite 2 - new and improved

FIT, FEEL, RIDE

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

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

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

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

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

WHO IT’S BEST FOR

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

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

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

TECH SPECS

ASICS GEL Nimbus Lite 21

SHOP ASICS GEL NIMBUS LITE 2

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

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

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

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

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

ALTRA PARADIGM 5 REVIEW

THE BUZZ

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

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

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

Altra Paradigm 5 - What's New

WHAT’S NEW

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

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

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

FIT, FEEL, RIDE

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

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

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

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

Altra Paradigm 5 Review

WHO IT’S BEST FOR

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

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

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

Altra Paradigm 5 - Pros

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

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

Altra Paradigm 5 - Cons

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

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

ALTRA PARADIGM 5:
TECH SPECS

Altra Paradigm 5 - Tech Specs

SHOP ALTRA PARADIGM 5

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

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

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

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

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

ALTRA TORIN 4 REVIEW

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

THE BUZZ

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

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

Altra Torin 4 What's New

WHAT’S NEW

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

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

FIT, FEEL, RIDE

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

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

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

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

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

Altra Torin 4 Mid

WHO IT’S BEST FOR

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

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

TECH SPECS

Altra Torin 4 Tech Specs

Altra Torin 4 Pros

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

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

Altra Torin 4 Cons

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

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

SHOP ALTRA TORIN 4

Altra Torin Plush Mid
Altra Torin Plush 4.5

ALTRA TORIN 4.5 PLUSH

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

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

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

SHOP TORIN PLUSH 4.5

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

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

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

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

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

REEBOK FOREVER FLOATRIDE GROW

Plant-based Performance With No Compromise

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

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

REPLACING OIL-BASED PRODUCTS WITH PLANTS

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

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

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

SUSTAINABLE MATERIALS

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

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

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

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

SHOP REEBOK FOREVER FLOATRIDE GROW

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

YOGA FOR RUNNERS: FOCUS ON FEET

How yoga is beneficial for your runner’s feet

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

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

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

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

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

3 YOGA POSES FOR FEET

(and preventing plantar fasciitis)

Yoga Instructor, Vincent Gerbino

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

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

Yoga for Runners - Lunge pose

LUNGE POSE

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

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

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

Yoga for Runners - Fist Toes Pose

FIST TOES POSE

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

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

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

Yoga for Runners - Toe Stands

TOE STANDS

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

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

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

SHOP YOGA ESSENTIALS