Archive for February, 2013

Race of the Month: Rock ‘n’ Roll Marathon New Orleans

February 5th, 2013

When we were watching the ‘Niners lose on Sunday (sorry all you SF fans), we couldn’t help but think that New Orleans looks like it would make for a great vacay destination. With too many historical districts to name, and the mouthwatering thought of gumbo, we were pretty much ready to buy our plane tickets. We like it best when our vacations involve running, so we were fired up to see that New Orleans will be hosting a stop on the Rock ‘n’ Roll Marathon Series on February 24.

If you haven’t heard of the Rock ‘n’ Roll Marathon Series yet (seriously, are you living underground or something?), then prepare yourself for awesome music, great swag and a healthy helping of fun with friends. The race sports a different live band at each mile marker, to keep you pumped up and motivated for your entire race. Post-race, the Dirty Dozen Brass Band will flaunt their musical prowess at the after party. The ensemble had their start 35 years ago, and offers a fresh, inviting spin on big brass music.

Enjoy a half or full marathon, or partner up with a running buddy to tackle the half marathon as a 2-person relay. The race begins at seven a.m. for all competitors and half and full marathon runners will race together for the first 12 miles of the course. All participants will enjoy a journey through historic St. Charles Avenue, the French Quarter and City Park. The race ends – and the after party starts – on Roosevelt Mall behind the New Orleans Museum of Art. It’s a post-race bash  you won’t want to miss.

Ready to experience some of Louisiana’s finest? Register now for Rock ‘n’ Roll New Orleans.

Running Sport , ,

New Runners and Heel Striking

February 4th, 2013

The topic of heel striking is not exactly fresh fodder for controversy among runners, but this article over on Runners’ World caught our eye.

A group of Danish researchers recently found that nearly all novice runners are, in fact, heel strikers. Other studies have found that heel striking is less prevalent among more experienced runners, so what gives? It could be that the newbie runners were issued the Adidas Supernova Glide 3, a traditional neutral shoe. It wouldn’t be surprising to find that a good chunk of heel cushioning encourages runners to heel strike, and the Danish researchers admit that the results may have been different if study participants were given more minimal footwear.

Read the full article here to see some of the latest info on running footstrikes.

Running Shoes, Running Sport ,

Maintaining Muscle Endurance during Time Off from Running

February 4th, 2013

Look at Those Mitochondria Go!

If you’re a sprinter and you take a handful of weeks off, you’ll likely experience less of a performance hit than a distance runner. This is because your speed and strength will stick around longer than your muscle endurance when you take a long break from training. Why is that? Well, muscle endurance has everything to do with having a lasting energy source, and the energy generators in the cells, mitochondria, can decline in number quickly with inactivity.

Here’s a little more background and some useful tips for distance runners to keep their endurance up if and when they need to take some time away.

Two Weeks Too Many

If you just take off a few extra days from your training, you’re probably fine. Of course, “fine” is a relative term – you might be a mini basketcase or a bit of a grump, but the break shouldn’t have any noticeable physiological effects at least.

Performance typically starts to take a hit after about 7-10 days of inactivity. By the time you hit a two-week hiatus, you’ll almost certainly start to feel the effects of detraining on your endurance. Your mitochondrial density (more on this in a sec) will decrease and enzyme activity in your mitochondria will slow down, causing your endurance to plummet. You’ll probably also start to see an increase in body fat, especially if you’re eating the same way you were when your training was in full tilt.

Mitochondria: The Little Engines That Can

Stretch your memory all the way back to freshman year bio. You might vaguely recall your teacher saying something about the mitochondria being the “powerhouse” of a cell. How do these little blobs in your cells work their magic? With the help of oxygen, they break down carbs, fat and protein to release the energy stored inside.

The trick here is that your body can actually increase the number of mitochondria in each cell. And that’s just what it’ll do in response to increased energy needs. Increased mitochondrial density in your muscles helps to improve endurance by giving your muscles an adequate source of energy when running at a faster pace. But just as your body can increase mitochondrial density, in a classic case of ‘use it or lose it,’ the body will also decrease that density quickly in response to inactivity.

Loss Prevention

If you’re unable to train the way you normally do because of an injury, illness, or hectic schedule, try to create a modified training plan. The focus of this plan is simply to maintain the benefits of your prior training during your hiatus. Clear your training modifications with your physician before you try them, to make sure you won’t be prolonging or aggravating your injury with activity.

Whenever possible, reduce how much you train, rather than just burying your running shoes in the closet. This could mean cutting mileage, or stepping down from six workouts per week to three or four. If you have a joint injury, try working out on an elliptical to eliminate impact. For something like a stress fracture you might try cross-training in the pool. Engaging in an endurance activity other than running (like swimming) will keep your mitochondria density up, and can help you maintain your endurance when you’re ready to lace up again.

Run Training, Running Sport , , , ,

Asics Gel Nimbus 15 Sneak Peek

February 2nd, 2013

Asics Gel Nimbus 15 Women's Running Shoe, Wine/White/Flash Yellow

Nimbus: The king of the clouds in the Asics shoe stratosphere. OK, no more creative writing classes for us. But seriously, if you want a supremely cushioned neutral trainer, it’s hard to top the Asics Gel Nimbus series. On the heels of the very popular Asics Gel Nimbus 14, the 15th version of the shoe will add in more of the cushioning technology Asics is known for and introduce a fresh design from heel to toe.

What to Watch For

  • FluidRide Platform: Debuting on the Nimbus 15, a new two-piece midsole design blends cushioning and responsiveness. The top foam layer contains injected/blended rubber, positioned closest to the foot to maximize comfort. The bottom layer, without the rubber blend, is lighter and more responsive. (Note: the sample shoes pictured are branded with Solyte, but this new platform will not contain Solyte in production.)
  • More Gel: For maximum impact protection, Asics increases the size of the front and rear Gel pads compared to the 14.
  • FluidFit Upper: Another debut on the Nimbus 15, the upper features multi-directional mesh on the medial and lateral sides of the shoe, along with stretchable welded reinforcements. It’s designed to provide the ultimate biomorphic fit, and we’re eager to give it a try.
  • Weight Bump: Asics lists weights of 11.5 oz (Men’s size 9) and 9.4 oz (Women’s size 7). That’s a slight uptick from the current model and should not be perceptible when running.


Launch Date
April 2013

Men’s Colors
Black/White/Multi Asics Gel Nimbus 15
Lightning/Blue Steel/Lime Asics Gel Nimbus 15
Storm/Black/Flash Orange Asics Gel Nimbus 15

Women’s Colors
Wine/White/Flash Yellow Asics Gel Nimbus 15
Lightning/Hot Punch/Marigold Asics Gel Nimbus 15
Titanium/Hot Pink/Mint Asics Gel Nimbus 15

Asics Gel Nimbus 15 Men's Running Shoe, Black/White/Multi

Asics Gel Nimbus 15 Women's Running Shoe, Lightning/Hot Punch/Marigold

Asics Gel Nimbus 15 Men's Running Shoe, Lightning/Blue Steel/Lime

Running Shoes, Sneak Peeks , , ,

Brooks PureDrift

February 1st, 2013

Brooks PureDrift Men's Shoe

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A minimal shoe with just a touch of cushioning from the hard ground below, the Brooks PureDrift is a dream for those looking for a near-barefoot running feel.
(View Men’s Brooks PureDrift and Women’s Brooks PureDrift)

Big Features

  • Removable Sockliner: A lined footbed beneath the sockliner allows for either a 4mm offset with the sockliner in or 0mm offset with it removed.
  • Flexible Ride: Deep flex grooves throughout the platform give the PureDrift plenty of flexibility from heel to toe.
  • Slipper-Like Fit: A stitch-less upper combined with asymmetrical lacing deliver a natural and comfortable sock-like fit.

Road Test

Promising a lightweight design, low stack height, and flexible ride with either a 4mm or zero drop platform, the PureDrift has attracted the attention of many runners, especially those seeking a near-barefoot feel.

So how does the PureDrift perform? Ground feel is excellent in this shoe, yet thanks to its slight (albeit firm) cushioning, it lacks the bare-bones pounding sensation of many of its quasi-barefoot competitors. This isn’t the smoothest landing shoe out there, but runners can rest assured that there is some protection from the impact of footstrike.

One notable feature of the PureDrift is its removable insole – the shoe’s 4mm offset is reduced to zero drop when the insole is removed. Testers didn’t notice the difference in offset either way – the insert seems to compress down in the heel considerably under body weight, and both options encourage a mid-to-forefoot landing. We did, however, find the cushioning to be significantly firmer without the insole.

The upper, designed around a wider last to allow for toe splay, nicely accommodates a higher volume foot. Some testers looking for a snugger fit found the upper to fold over itself in several places, resulting in a crease over the top of the foot. When wearing a sock, the creasing isn’t noticeable. It’s just one small quirk of an otherwise excellent minimal shoe option.

Runners Say

“I couldn’t tighten up the laces without the upper bunching up; there was a bit too much material there for a snugger fit.” – Taro

“This shoe has a very flexible forefoot. I might even go as far as to compare it to the Nike Free Run.” – Joanna

“The PureDrift is a firm shoe, but its definitely not as firm as some of the practically barefoot shoes that have come through the office. Its touch of protection can make the difference as the miles add up.” – Matt

Brooks PureDrift Women's Shoe

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