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FIND YOUR FIT: BEST SHOES FOR LONG RUNS

Best Running Shoes for Long Runs

LONG RUNS: WHY THEY ARE IMPORTANT

If you look at most traditional marathon training plans, odds are you will find a scheduled weekly long run in there, usually topping off at about 20 miles at the peak of the training cycle. It’s important for your body to build up its aerobic endurance in order to perform well on race day. Long runs also help teach your body how to be more efficient in its energy usage and oxygen processing. This education of the body through high-mileage workouts is great for every runner, not just folks training for longer races like a marathon.

While there are many benefits to adding a longer workout to your weekly training repertoire, there are a few things you have to watch out for. 

While we focus on building leg strength and aerobic endurance through adding on the miles, we must not forget who is taking the pounding the most with every step: YOUR FEET! 

As you add on the miles, your feet need all the help they can get to help cushion the impact of every stride. Which brings us to your choice in footwear…

FIND YOUR FIT FOR YOUR LONG RUN

Not all shoes are built for the same distance. Some shoes are lighter and made for tempo runs and short distance races. Some shoes have carbon-fiber woven into the midsole for snappy transitions in long-distance racing. And some shoes have an extra amount of cushioning built into the midsole for when you want to crank out a high-mileage workout.

A max-cushion shoe is the perfect choice for anyone looking to run 8+ miles in a single stretch. Here are our top picks for your go-to long run shoe.

BEST RUNNING SHOES FOR LONG RUNS 2021

Check out the list of the Best Running Shoes for long runs in 2021 below!

HOKA BONDI 7

Hoka Bondi 7 - Cushion

HOKA is no stranger to the idea of high-cushion running shoes. But if you really want to go all-out and give your feet the luxury they deserve, then look no further than the Hoka Bondi 7. 

The Bondi 7 is HOKA’s highest-cushion shoe, weighing in at 10.7oz — that means even more material between your foot and the ground. It also comes with a newly updated plush heel collar, made from ultra-soft memory foam. If you are gonna be in those bad boys for 60+ minutes, you might as well be as comfortable as possible right?

Shop HOKA Bondi 7

HOKA Mach 4Men's HOKA Mach 4 Shoe Review

While we are on the subject of HOKA, we would be remise if we didnt mention to the new darling style that is quickly becoming everyones favorite: The HOKA Mach 4

This 4th generation model has taken several leaps forward in its design and performance capability. The Mach 4 is designed for logging long miles, BUT has the responsiveness and energy return of a high-quality race shoe. Weighing in at only 6.77oz, this trainer might just be the best speed shoe for long runs we have seen in awhile. 

If you are someone looking to test your speed at longer distances on a weekly basis, the HOKA Mach 4 is your best bet. 

Shop HOKA Mach 4

NEW BALANCE 1080v11New Balance 1080 v11 - women's

Speaking of LUXURY… the ultra-premium NEW BALANCE 1080v11 is NB’s answer to the question of how to best protect your feet from high-mileage activity.

Containing their Fresh Foam material, the impact of each step feels less intense and harsh on the foot. Plus, they have made their knit upper even more breathable and even stretchier than the last version, meaning your foot feels the love all around.

Shop NEW BALANCE 1080V11

ON CLOUDULTRAOn Cloudultra

ON’s solution to protecting your feet on long runs is manifested in their high-mileage trail shoe, the ON Cloudultra

What makes this shoe so unique is the the double the amount of Helion superfoam to help cushion every stride on your ultra-distance runs.

More clouds, more cushioning, more run. 

Shop ON CLOUDULTRA

ASICS GEL-NIMBUS 23

ASICS Nimbus 23

Positioned as their go-to trainer for long-run impact absorption, the ASICS Gel-Nimbus 23 is a perfect choice for logging lots of miles. Only weighing in at 9.2oz, the shoe’s use of the ASICS GEL technology provides the shoe with sufficient shock absorption without the need for extra material. 

The Gel-Nimbus 23 also has gender-specific cushioning pillars, designed to provide optimized cushion placement for every runner.

Shop  ASICS GEL-NIMBUS 23

FOUND YOUR FIT?

Found the one that’s right for you in this list? AWESOME! If not, check out the JackRabbit Fit Finder

Now go forth and crank out all those miles!

 

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Training

WHAT TO EXPECT: EXERCISE POST COVID-19 VACCINE

By now many of you have either received your COVID-19 vaccination or have started to get your appointment(s) planned.

That should bring a huge relief, relative to the coronavirus anxiousness of the past year, but that doesn’t mean you should jump right back into hard workouts right away. 

Daily running, trail running and triathlon training is important to all of us, but it’s important to take a few precautions relative to the timing of your vaccination shots, according to Boulder, Colorado, running coaches David Roche and Megan Roche, M.D. They recommend avoiding hard workouts, long runs and especially difficult training weeks just before and for three or four days after receiving a vaccination. 

Exercise post vaccine

The only real risk of exercising after a COVID-19 vaccine is that some of the side effects may reduce the quality of your workout and make it less enjoyable overall. There is no evidence that exercising right before or right after the vaccine would impact the effectiveness of the vaccine, says Dr. Humberto Choi, M.D., a pulmonologist at Cleveland Clinic who has treated hundreds of COVID-19 patients in the intensive care unit. However, exercise could increase the intensity of some of the known side effects. 

While the side effects of the first dose of the Pfizer and Moderna shots have generally been reported as mild, those side effects have been more prevalent after the second dose of Pfizer and Moderna vaccines and the single-dose Johnson & Johnson vaccine. Common side effects, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) include pain, redness, and swelling on the arm where you got the shot as well as tiredness, headache, muscle pain, chills, fever, and nausea.

“We also try to avoid having athletes do very hard workouts or long runs just before receiving the vaccine,” the Roches said in an article in Trail Runner on April 12. “And assuming no severe reactogenicity, we still try to avoid very hard workouts or races in the three full days after the first dose, and four full days after the second dose.”

They’ve also seen some of the athletes they coach return to normal training and express increased fatigue or soreness three to seven days after a vaccine dose. They believe that delayed response could be due to the interaction of the immune response with other life and training stresses and suggest taking more rest as needed.

Exercise post vaccine

Furthermore, the Roches reported they have also seen anecdotes of a minor amount of short-term changes to the menstrual cycle in some athletes, including increased premenstrual symptoms, shorter cycles, heavier cycles or missed cycles, but that could also be a random association. If you have any unusual symptoms, they recommend consulting your doctor. 

Keep in mind, that vaccinations take two or three weeks for full efficacy and you should still practice social distancing and wear a mask to avoid the chance of spreading the disease to others. Whether you feel well enough to run, bike or swim after your COVID-19 vaccine depends on which side effects, if any, you experience. 

As a rule of thumb, Dr. David Wyles, an infectious disease specialist at Denver Health recommends listening to your body. If, post-vaccination, you don’t feel well enough to exercise or just feel a little “blah” and don’t feel like it, take a rest day. Missing a track workout, long run, group run or even an online class might be a disappointment, but it will benefit you in the long run to rest or take it easier for a few days.

Depending on the type and intensity of your side effects, you may consider doing a gentler version of your standard workout. For instance, if your arm is achy but the rest of your body feels fine, you may modify an interval workout on the track to a more moderate fartlek run with fewer bouts of speed. If you have a 12-mile long run planned, consider cutting it in half and making up the mileage later in the month. If you have a strength session or a HIIT workout on your schedule, do a milder version or just put it off for a few days. 

If there is a bright spot to not having many races to run, it’s that it gives us plenty of time to take a break from our training. There will be plenty of time to get back to your hard training and racing.

Mike Wardian, an ultrarunner and marathoner from Arlington, Va., says he had a bit of nausea and fatigue after getting his second Moderna shot in early April, but that didn’t stop him from running a 17-mile run the same day. Still, most elite athletes have reported taking it easy to not risk any lingering fatigue.

Simon Grannetia, an elite-level distance runner training in Colorado for the 2021 Olympics, received the Pfizer vaccination shots in April and decided back off his training a bit and wait a week before his next hard workout on the track. He said he didn’t feel a thing after his first injection, but he had a sore arm at the point of the injection and a bit of fatigue after his second.

“I just ran easy and got more rest after my second shot,” Grannetia says. “I didn’t want to risk any disruption of my training so I figured a few extra days of moderate running and getting more rest and sleep would be good for me anyway and benefit me down the road.”  

Categories
Mental health Training

WHY RUNNING SHOES ARE A POSTIVE INVESTMENT IN YOU

Why Buying a Pair of Running Shoes is the Best Investment in Your Health

By Brian Metzler

I occasionally hear runners talking about the cost of running shoes. And yes, I get it, and I agree $100 to $160 or more represents a lot of money for most of us.

But if you at it a slightly different way, that’s also a very good investment in your health and well-being, both from a short-term and long-term point of view. A pair of running shoes can typically last you at least three or four months. So, if you look at it that way, you’re really talking about $25 to $40 per month or less than $10 per week. (And if you can find a good pair of shoes on sale, it’s much less than that.)

But what really makes it a great investment is what you get for that money — especially at a time with so much economic hardship related to the coronavirus pandemic and high unemployment rates.

Here are a handful of scenarios that you’ll likely benefit from for that relatively small weekly sum of your hard-earned dollars.

Running shoes - Invest in your health

1. You will become healthier.

Happiness is a new pair of shoes and that leads to improved health if you keep running several times every week.

No matter the challenges you might be facing right now, you’ll become healthier and reap the benefits physically, mentally and emotionally. Running can help you get through struggles and hardships, boost your morale as you look for a job and keep you on an even keel. Plus, you’ll be compelled to get more sleep because you’ll be tired.

You don’t have to run every day or even run very long. All you have to do is be consistent. Just keep lacing up your new kicks and going out the door and you’ll improve your fitness. It won’t happen overnight, but it will happen. Just be patient, be consistent and trust the process.

2. You will become happier.

There is probably a study that correlates running and happiness, and if there isn’t, there should be. It can start as a survey of one, simply by recognizing the fact that you almost always feel better after a run than before it. The more you run and the more fit you get, the better you’ll feel about yourself. It’s all about the release of endorphins and serotonin—chemical compounds and neurotransmitters that make us more energetic, more alert and happier.

Those elements are released by the brain during and after easy to moderate running (or any light to moderate exercise), which is why you’re almost always glad you went for that run—especially those runs you thought about nixing because you were too tired, too busy or too grumpy.

Running won’t make your fantasies come true or cure all of your woes directly, but over the long term you’ll benefit from your commitment, consistency and hard work.

3. You will have more money.

Buying a pair of running shoes and running consistently will actually help you save money. How? First, you’ll start to prioritize your time around your running and realize that is truly a priceless way to spend time.

With a lot of other activities not available now anyway — movie theatres, spectator sports, live music shows and more — you’ll realize that life is pretty good when you keep things simple and safe and use running as your primary outlet for fitness and fun.

4. You will become more accountable.

As much as running can be a free-form leisure activity — you can run any time of the day, for any distance and with others or by yourself — the more you get into it the more it demands accountability and a sense of presence.

Logging proper mileage, hitting workout times, showing up on time for a group run and forcing yourself to get out of bed an hour early are all things that will spur accountability. Not only will you learn to make time for running, you will also find yourself being more prompt and present in everyday life too.

Running shoes - run strong

5. You will become more optimistic.

If you let it, running breeds excitement, positivity and success. By running consistently and committing to the goals you develop, running will create an incurable optimism that will not only make you look forward to your next run or race, but it will also make you look forward and encourage you to improve other aspects of your life. Trust me, it can be infectious — in a very positive way!

Running in bad weather, running through aches and pains and running through fatigue will all build positive energy that will pay off in other places. Running in frustratingly windy conditions or a rainstorm or hot, humid weather will toughen you up and help you realize other things in life aren’t so bad.

6. You will become more ambitious.

Running can help you change and improve many aspects of you. As you run more, you’ll improve your fitness, which will lead to a boost general demeanor, self-confidence, self-esteem and self-worth.

Suddenly you’ll endeavor to do even more with running: run faster to improve your best times, run with friends, go to more races, run longer weekend runs and eventually, when races return, train for a half marathon or marathon.

7. You will eat better.

Whether or not you started running to lose weight and regardless of what your dietary habits are, the simple act of running consistently, and all of the positivity it brings will encourage you to make better nutritional choices.

Part of that will be a conscious effort—as your physical fitness improves, so too does your mental acuity—that will help you opt away from eating too much or eating less healthy foods on a regular basis. But part of it is also subconscious. Your body will start to crave certain types of foods for the rich nutrients they contain and your brain will guide you to better choices even without you knowing it.

After a few months of running, you’ll look back and be able to recognize the changes you made in your choices, even if you don’t remember consciously changing.

8. You will become a better version of yourself.

If you’re just starting out, the positive effects of running will begin immediately, even if you don’t recognize them right away. If you’re a lifelong runner, running will continue to help you become a better version of yourself. No, runners are not perfect, but the more you submit to the authenticity of running, the more you realize it contains a power bigger than yourself. Running will help you become a better version of yourself.

You just have to keep lacing up those shoes you bought and keep heading out for a run. Remember, it’s less than $10 per week.

SHOP RUNNING SHOES

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

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

Brian Metzler - Boulder Running Company
Brian Metzler - Trail racing
Brian Metzler - Les Alpes
Categories
Training Training

SETTING RUNNING GOALS WITHOUT RACES

Setting Running Goals Without Races

7 Reasons to Keep Training Without a Race on Your Calendar

By Brian Metzler

Well, 2020 sure has been an odd year for running, hasn’t it?

All those amazing running goals we all had at the start of the year — running Boston, finishing an Ironman, entering a trail race … heck, even competing in that local 5K race — all vanished amid the Covid-19 pandemic. We’re all in this together, but all is not lost.

Remember, running has not been canceled!

Even though thousands of races have been called off, there are plenty of reasons to keep training. As the country re-opens and a some kind of new normal begins to emerge, there are plenty of reasons to keep training and setting running goals even though there are no races.

1. Indulge in the Vibe

Right about now, we could all use some kind of daily affirmation to remind us that, amid the challenges and stress we’re all facing, life is good. And that’s what running provides us, even without seeking it. You don’t need any more motivation to keep running than to know that running makes you feel good — physically, mentally, emotionally — and it can be just the stress-relieving panacea you need right now. Running cannot solve our challenges, but it can create balance, provoke thoughts and stir the soul of those who engage in it on a regular basis.

2. Embrace the Journey

You probably can’t train for that race you had hoped to, but you can still train as if you were going to race it. The thrill and reward of training doesn’t have to be tied to a finish line moment or a new PR.

Remember, the destination is the journey of fun, fitness and yes, even sometimes frustration. But the journey continues on a daily basis and amid the strain, struggle and the fatigue, it is always restorative and rejuvenating. As Boston Marathon champ Des Linden says, you just have to keep showing up.

3. Run Faster

Running faster workouts can be one of the hardest parts of training, but they can also be very rewarding and a good way to up your fitness level. As you build your aerobic base and endurance, you become stronger and more capable of running faster. Start implementing some sort of up-tempo speed workout once or twice a week — a tempo run, a fartlek workout or intervals on the track — and consider turning your next long run into a progression run in which you pick up the pace for the second half.

4. Run Virtually

Virtual races not only give you an inspiring goal to shoot for and a good reason to follow a training program, but many also raise money for charities and other good causes. While it might seem odd to pay money to train for what will be a time trial that you’ll be running alone, you can eliminate that awkwardness by signing up with a friend to share the journey of training and racing.

It’s not about the metal and the T-shirt — which most virtual races offer as part of the sign-up package — it’s about the progression you make toward your running goals.

Setting Running Goals

5. Challenge Yourself

There are plenty of ways to challenge yourself on a weekly basis despite not having any races on your calendar. Consider chasing Strava segment leaderboards and Fastest Known Times (FKTs) on you local or regional trails. Do a benchmark workout every two or three weeks on the same day — perhaps a 10K tempo run or 6 x 800m repeats — to be able to compare your efforts and track your progress. No doubt your improved fitness will allow you to do those workouts easier at the same pace or faster.

6. Find a Race

Even though the Boston Marathon, Western States 100 and Bolder Boulder 10K have been canceled, some races are still happening. Several states are starting to allow running races to take place this summer and fall, including Utah, Alabama, Montana, Wisconsin and Washington.

Although there is no guarantee they’ll remain on the schedule, you might be able to find a race and run your heart out after all.

7. Plan for Next Year

If you are resolved that you won’t be racing until next year, there’s still plenty of reason to train and set running goals this year. The miles you log and the fitness you gain this year can have physical and mental carryover effects to 2021.

The chances of improving your 2021 marathon time or finishing your first ultra-distance race can be greatly enhanced by increasing your mileage, improving your strength and increasing your speed this summer and fall.

About The Author: Brian Metzler

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 “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.”