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Archive for December, 2012

2012 Predictions: Results

December 31st, 2012

Last year we brought you our top ten predictions for the running world of 2012, and we wanted to circle back and see how many of our predictions panned out. Let’s take a look.

1. Olympic Fever

What we predicted: Lots of excitement around the London Games.

What we saw: If you watched the Olympics last summer, you were not alone. More than 219.4 million people in the United States tuned in to the 2012 Games, making it the most popular televised event in US history.

2. Minimalism… with a Twist

What we predicted: Minimalist shoes will stick around, but we’ll see a popularity spike in ‘elemental’ shoes.

What we saw: We’ve seen – and really enjoyed running in – many elemental shoes from a variety of manufacturers. This slimmed-down, yet protective style of running footwear is a trend we hope to see carry into 2013.

3. Streamlined Trail Shoes

What we predicted: Stripped down, streamlined trail shoes that offer great traction with a faster design and good feel for the terrain.

What we saw: Trimmed-down trail shoes have been extremely popular among our staff and customers alike. A few of our favorites? The Asics Gel Fuji Racer and the New Balance MT/WT110.

4. Record Race Turnout

What we predicted: With running’s growth in popularity, 2012 will be a record year when it comes to race registration.

What we saw: More and more races are starting to use a lottery system for registration, like the ING New York City Marathon, because the number of interested entrants is so high. It looks like this trend will continue in the coming year, with the 2013 BMW Berlin Marathon selling out in a record-breaking 3.5 hours.

5. Bold Shoe and Apparel Colors

What we predicted: Bright, bold hues in running footwear and apparel.

What we saw: The 2012 run product color palette was anything but bland. Most colors you can imagine (and some you probably can’t) appeared in both footwear and apparel for 2012. This was a big win for runners looking to make bold statements with their run apparel.

6. Crazy Races

What we predicted: Out-there, zaney races for runners with a little sass.

What we saw: From races in which you get doused in color or tackle obstacles to races in costume or in your skivvies, we saw fun, bold races in 2012. We think next year we’ll have to have a ‘stache dash of our own!

7. Personal Coaching

What we predicted: More runners turning to a personal coach to enhance their training.

What we saw: We think that mobile device fitness apps may have filled the void of personal coaching. Many runners find the apps give them a convenient way to get feedback on their workouts any time, anywhere.

8. High-Tech Apparel

What we predicted: Light, high-quality fabrics and a focus on performance.

What we saw: A few manufacturers out there certainly wowed us with the products they produced, but we think there’s even more to come in 2013. Lightweight, highly breathable fabrics that feel silky soft against the skin are starting to emerge from a few brands, and we’re excited to see the trend catch on.

9. Fitness Apps

What we predicted: An explosion of fitness apps designed to combine a passion for running with a slight (or not-so-slight) tech addiction.

What we saw: A plethora of fitness apps, some of them wildly popular, ready to help runners track their progress and even compete against other athletes, virtually. The Nike+ community even got creative and many people planned running routes that would create words or pictures when they uploaded maps of their run to the Nike+ site.

10. Focus on Recovery

What we predicted: An effort by runners to incorporate therapeutic recovery practices, like the use of foam rollers, into training programs.

What we saw: We can’t speak for the entire running community, but it seems that all you Running Warehouse faithfuls focused on recovery this year. We saw a growth in demand for both recovery drinks and foam rollers.

Did you see the same results in your running life? What running trends do you predict for 2013?

Alice Running Sport ,

Three Benefits of Having a Running Partner

December 28th, 2012

Don’t get us wrong, sometimes you just can’t beat the convenience and solitude of running alone. Just lace up a pair and head out the door whenever you have a free moment for some uninterrupted zen. But there are many benefits to training with a partner, to help you get as much as you can out of your workouts. Here are a few of the reasons we like to buddy up when it comes to training.

Get Motivated

While we love the ease of getting a run in when we’re going solo, skipping a workout is even easier. When the weather gets blustery, or when the time change leaves you in am darkness, it’s very enticing to just hit snooze and catch a little more shuteye. Having a running partner will hold both of you accountable to your workouts, so that you can develop a consistent habit and get the most out of your training.

Stay Strong

Having someone to talk to can help pass the time on a long run, or on a particularly grueling run. A running partner will help you power through when the going gets tough. If you’re a busy student, you can multi-task by studying on the run with a running partner from your major. Problem solving or discussing material from class while you run will help you get through your run, and your classes.

Safety First

There’s some truth to the old adage ‘there’s safety in numbers.’ If something unexpected happens while you’re on your run, it’s nice to have a running partner with you who can help you navigate the situation. Even if you opt not to run with a partner, it’s a good idea to let someone know where you’ll be running and roughly when you expect to be back.

Do you run with a training partner? What benefits have you reaped from shared workouts?

Alice Running Sport , ,

Too Much Rest: Training Reversibility

December 26th, 2012

Train, race, rest, repeat. You know the drill, and as a runner you know what a huge impact rest can have on your performance. The tricky part is finding the balance between not enough rest and too much. Not enough rest will leave you mentally and physically fatigued, which can result in injury or burnout. Too much rest will leave you weak. Take a look at what happens to your body when you rest too long, and devise a plan for getting the rest you need without sacrificing performance.

Cardiorespiratory Fitness

You know the feeling of getting back into ‘running shape’ after a long break from training. Your lungs burn, and you feel like you’re going half as fast for twice the effort. What you’re feeling is the result of a decreased VO2 max brought on by a lack of training.

Your VO2 max will decrease by about 6% after a month without training, almost 20% after nine weeks without training, and up to 25% after 11 weeks without running. What this means is that if you just miss a couple of weeks, it’s fairly easy to regain your prior fitness level. If you’ve been idle for a longer period of time, it can take five or six months of training to get back in the swing.

Muscle Strength and Metabolism

Resting on your laurels for too long can result in, well, flabby laurels. Or at least decreased muscle tone and impaired metabolic function. Skipping out on training for longer than two weeks can cause muscles to atrophy, resulting in decreased strength to push you through long mileage. Although many people think that your metabolism simply slows down when you take an extended break from exercising, it actually changes as well, in ways that can be very detrimental to your training goals.

Your body specifically loses its ability to effectively metabolize fat, which means increased fat storage. The body stores fat in adipose cells, which are able to expand to store more adipose tissue (or fat). Once adipose cells have expanded, it’s easier for them to hold fat in the future, making it harder for you to trim down again when you get back on a training plan. When you detrain, your adrenaline levels also drop significantly, which inhibits your body’s readiness to head out for a workout.

Just the Right Rest

If you’re mentally burned out from your training or if you’re starting to feel the little aches and pains that can come before a bigger injury, a slightly longer rest phase might be a good idea. To make sure the rest will help and not harm your training, follow these simple guidelines:

  1. Choose how many days you will rest beforehand. Don’t take more than a week off, but choose at the beginning of your rest period when it will end, and mark your first workout post-rest on your calendar. This way you won’t agonize over when your next workout should be, which can sap you of the mental renewal that a few solid rest days can give you. Having your workout marked on your calendar will also keep you from pushing your workout back ‘just one more day,’ which can lead to training losses.
  2. Give yourself a break. On your days off, give yourself a mental break from thinking about training. Read a book, try a new recipe or catch a movie with a friend. Taking a mental break from training will help you feel refreshed and ready to start training again when your break is over.
  3. Get plenty of sleep. Not having workouts for a handful of days will free up some time in your schedule. While it’s easy to fill up your time with other activities, it’s important to make sure you get plenty of shuteye so that your muscles can fully recover from your training.

Alice Run Training, Running Sport , , ,

Being Smart about Adding Miles

December 22nd, 2012

When it comes to weekly mileage increases as you train for your next marathon, you can follow the general rule of adding one mile per week for each base run you complete. So if you get in four runs focused on aerobic conditioning, you should be able to increase weekly mileage by four miles. You’ll then need to hold steady at the new mileage for two to three weeks, with a focus on increasing your intensity during the second and third weeks.

Building miles and endurance is an essential part of training, but keep in mind that endlessly adding mileage is not a good aerobic training strategy. Many marathoners follow a “two up, one down” or “three up, one down” approach to adding mileage, dialing back every third or fourth week before adding mileage again. This strategy helps to push your aerobic conditioning while minimizing the risk of fatigue and giving your body a chance to rebuild.

As usual, it’s also a good idea to listen to your body as you decide when to increase mileage and by how much. If you bumped up your miles a few weeks ago, and you’re still feeling a bit sore and tired or having trouble meeting your pace goals, you may want to hold steady for a week or two longer than you originally planned. Also keep an eye on your running form and if it’s starting to break down as your mileage increases, that’s a clear sign that you need to hold steady or even take a step back temporarily. There’s no positive benefit that comes from compromising your technique just to get a few more miles on your odometer.

To help guard against adding mileage too aggressively, some runners add in a cross training regimen focused on building strength and flexibility. Consider adding strength training sessions, which will naturally help your body handle longer distances, and workouts such as yoga or Pilates to stay loose and limber.

Matt Run Training, Running Sport , , , ,

Viva La Launch!

December 21st, 2012

So it turns out that rumors of the demise of the Brooks Launch have been greatly exaggerated. We learned this week that the Launch has been saved from the chopping block, rescued from the grave, pulled from the brink, insert additional metaphors here.

Now that the Launch remains safely in the land of the living, what’s the future have in store? 2013 brings a return of the Men’s Black/Silver/Nightlife colorway and the Women’s Cobalt/Aquarius/Silver colorway. We expect no new color updates until Spring 2014. Right now, we’re hearing that an updated version of the shoe is expected for Spring 2015, though we have no details of how extensive the update will be.

It’s pretty amazing that the Launch has made it as long as it has without an update. The shoe first “launched” in Fall 2009, making it a great granddad among the current crop of lightweight running shoes. All the new kids that came out in recent years got lighter and lighter, but the Launch still compares favorably to many new models and has developed quite a following of runners who use it as a speedy trainer or race day shoe.

Brooks Launch Colors for Men and Women Available in 2013

Matt Running Shoes , , ,

Saucony Kilkenny XC5 Sneak Peek

December 20th, 2012

The Saucony Kilkenny has developed a reputation as being a quality, comfortable cross country shoe with good traction and flexibility in a lightweight design. The spikeless version has also been a bit of a crossover hit for runners who want a very barebones shoe for training. (See the current Men’s Kilkenny XC4 /Women’s Kilkenny XC4.) In the upcoming XC5 version, Saucony introduces a cleaner look and even brighter color combos to advertise the performance capabilities of this shoe.

Men's Green/Citron Kilkenny XC5

What to Watch For

  • Lighter Weight: According to Saucony, the new Kilkenny drops about 0.4 oz across the board. The Men’s size 9 will be 5.6 oz/5.9 oz (spikeless/spike) and the Women’s size 8 will be 5.0 oz/5.3 oz (spikeless/spike).
  • Streamlined Upper: The weight reduction comes from a new upper that uses fewer overlays but is still designed to deliver a close-feeling, performance fit.
  • Carryover Platform: Saucony made no changes to the mid/outsole introduced on the Kilkenny XC4.

MSRP
$60.00 (spike), $55.00 (spikeless)

Women's Purple/Vizipro Orange Kilkenny XC5

Launch Date
July 2013

Men’s Colors
Green/Citron Kilkenny XC5 Spike
Green/Citron Kilkenny XC5 Spikeless
Black/Red Kilkenny XC5 Spike
Black/Red Kilkenny XC5 Spikeless
Vizipro Orange/White Kilkenny XC5 Spikeless

Women’s Colors
Green/Pink Kilkenny XC5 Spike
Green/Pink Kilkenny XC5 Spikeless
Purple/Vizipro Orange Kilkenny XC5 Spikeless
Pink/White Kilkenny XC5 Spikeless

Matt Running Shoes , , ,

How To: Find a Running Partner

December 19th, 2012

A running partner can bump up the fun factor and the safety quotient.

Those long miles by your lonesome can work wonders for the body and soul, but buddying up can help you stay motivated and train consistently. Some folks are fortunate enough to have a good friend or family member who’s right in sync with their pace and distance. If you’re not so lucky and you’re struggling to find a good running buddy, here are a few tips to connect with a running partner.

Assess Your Goals

Before you try to find a running partner, make sure you know exactly what you want out of teaming up. Think about your own training goals, and answer the following questions:

  • What distance are you training for?
  • How much mileage do you plan to log each week with a partner?
  • What will be your pace when running with a partner?

A running partner who’s too fast for you may result in you getting left in the dust, or worse, injured. Conversely, you might not get the training you’re looking for if you reduce your own intensity or distance to match your partner. It’s important to look for a running partner who has goals and abilities comparable to your own, so that the training is beneficial for both of you.

Think Over the Logistics

Simple things like when and where can be big factors in finding a good training buddy. What time during the day do you typically run? How far would you be willing to travel to meet up with a running partner? Keep these things in mind when looking for a running partner. As important as it is to be flexible, inconveniencing yourself to train with a partner won’t do wonders to keep you motivated.

Find the Right Partner

So you know what you’re looking for in a prospective running partner. Now, where do you look?

  • Joining a local running group or club can be a great place to start when it comes to finding someone to run with. You’ll meet a variety of runners in your area, so you can match up with the person whose goals, training and ability best match your own. Check out the Road Runners Club of America to find a group near you.
  • If there’s no running club in your area, start one! You can gather a group of like-minded people from your community using a networking site like Meet Up.
  • If that special someone in your life happens also to be a runner, you may not have to look far for a training partner. Try going on a few runs with your significant other to see how it works out for the two of you. It’s possible that running together will not only increase motivation, but also add new joys to your relationship.

What other strategies have you used to find a great running partner?

Alice Running Sport , , ,

Holiday Gingerbread Muffins

December 18th, 2012

The delightful, not-too-sweet spice of gingerbread is one of our favorite treats during the holidays. These days the gingerbread flavor comes in so many forms, too…cookies, cakes, lattes, houses…so we mixed up a batch of muffins (with cream cheese frosting!) to see if we could capture the taste that gingerbread lovers crave and the healthfulness that runners demand. Try it for yourself and see what you think.

Here’s What Ya Need for the Muffins:

  • Large mixing bowl
  • Mixing spoon
  • Measuring cup
  • Muffin tin (the recipe will yield about 36 muffins)
  • Paper muffin tin liners
  • 3 ½ cups all purpose flour
  • 1 tablespoon baking soda
  • 1 tablespoon ground cloves
  • 1 tablespoon ground ginger
  • 1 cup brown sugar, loosely packed
  • 1 cup molasses
  • ¾ cup canned pumpkin
  • ½ cup nonfat Greek yogurt
  • ½ cup applesauce
  • 1 cup hot water

…And for the Frosting:

  • Small mixing bowl
  • Mixing spoon
  • Measuring cup
  • Measuring spoons
  • 1 ¼ cup extra firm silken tofu
  • ¾ cups cream cheese (or light cream cheese)
  • 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
  • Agave sweetener to taste

Here’s What Ya Do:

  • Preheat oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit.
  • Line muffin tins with paper liners.
  • Combine all dry ingredients in large mixing bowl.
  • Gently fold in molasses, canned pumpkin, nonfat Greek yogurt and applesauce.
  • Divide batter evenly into muffin tins.
  • Bake on middle rack for 20-25 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted into center of the muffin comes out clean.
  • Remove muffins from oven and allow to cool completely.
  • While muffins are cooling, prepare the cream cheese frosting. Combine all frosting ingredients in a small mixing bowl and mix thoroughly. Cover and chill in refrigerator for one hour.
  • When muffins are completely cool, spread with frosting and serve. Refrigerate any leftovers, as frosting is perishable.

Alice Running Sport , , ,

A Brief History of the Waffle

December 17th, 2012

The waffle has earned a special place in the hearts (and stomachs) of many runners who can’t get enough of its sweet and tempting carby-goodness. We’d like to honor the glorious evolution of this pastry-like food with a brief tribute to it’s past…and a glimpse into its future.

Humble Beginnings

Waffles originated long ago in Athens, Greece…we’re hoping this makes them part of a healthy Mediterranean diet. They were called obelios, and were cooked over a fire between two metal plates, which served as the first waffle irons. The popular pastry eventually found its way through Europe, where folks got fancy and started engraving waffle irons with coats of arms and religious symbols. Natch.

Chicken and Waffles

We have former US prez Thomas Jefferson to thank for the Declaration of Independence and… chicken n’ waffles? Legend has it that the eloquent politician brought a waffle maker to the new world from France near the end of the 18th century, and that a dish combining waffles with deep-fried chicken started appearing in cookbooks soon thereafter. Since then, the combo has become a favorite among many Southerners and across the U.S.

Waffle House

In the mid 1950’s in Georgia, neighbors Joe Rogers and Tom Forkner hatched a plan to create a franchise restaurant chain that served tasty food at a great value. The result was Waffle House, now a well-known name across the US. The restaurants are open 24 hours a day, 365 days a year, so you can get your waffle fix anytime. If Waffle House doesn’t have a location in your town, you can always get one started. Would you like a franchise with that?

Nike Waffle Racer

Bill Bowerman’s first Nike Waffle Racer may be one of the most fascinating pieces of the waffle puzzle for runners. The Oregon track and field coach felt that most racing shoes used too much material in the upper, and didn’t have sufficient traction on the outsole. He created a stripped-down version of racing shoes, custom-fit to each of his athletes, using scraps of leather and pieces of elastic. What’s the kicker? He snagged his wife’s waffle iron and used it to transfer the waffle pattern to the outsole of the shoe, to increase traction, and the Nike Waffle Racer was born.

Honey Stinger Waffles

So where, you might ask, can the waffle go from here? Honey Stinger has brought us the future of the waffle, in a revolutionary new form. If you’re sick of snacking on ambiguously flavored foodlike products before, during and after your training sessions, then the Honey Stinger Waffle can be your answer. It’s a real food solution for training nutrition. Each waffle is individually wrapped, so that you can easily take them with you on your run, or throw a couple in your gym bag for post-work workouts. We have five flavor options to choose from, all of which are made with 100% USDA organic ingredients.

Alice Running Shoes, Running Sport , , ,

Yes, Please: Women’s Sugoi Firewall 180 Pant

December 15th, 2012

Sugoi Firewall 180 Pant

Christmas tunes are playing in every store, Starbucks has brought back the Gingerbread Latte and Ugg boots abound. There’s no way around it… it’s wintertime! Every year winter brings us a season of hot tea, hot-tubbing and cold training sessions. We were hesitant to head into the chill this year, until we met the Sugoi Firewall 180 Pant. This pant seriously gives us the warm fuzzies. Here’s what we love:

Thermal Interior

The interior of this pant is fully brushed, which gives it a fuzzy, cozy feel reminiscent of your favorite flannel pj’s. The peached interior ups the warmth factor of this piece, so you’ll stay nice and toasty even in frigid conditions.

Waterproof Shell Fabric

The exterior fabric is windproof to keep the icy gales off your gams as you workout in wintry conditions. Although the fabric is highly technical, it maintains a very soft and flexible feel, giving you great range of motion.

Adjustable Waistband

The elastic waistband hits just below the natural waist, and has side Velcro tabs that allow you to get an extra-secure fit, so these pants won’t slide down as you run.

Pockets

Two large front zip pockets give you ample room to store an mp3 player, pair of gloves/arm warmers or other essentials on the run. Lockdown zippers with guards will keep zippers from bouncing up and down while you run.

Reflectivity

Winter means it’s not just getting colder, it’s getting darker, too, so we were stoked that Sugoi was generous with the reflectivity on these pants. Reflectivity around pockets, behind knees and down the sides and front of these pants will help you be seen by motorists when you’re running in low light.

Alice Running Apparel, Women's Running , , ,