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Running Shoelace Overview

August 20th, 2013

Running is beautifully simple: you just lace up and head out the door. But wait…what’s the deal with all the different types of shoelaces out there? Shoelace styles differ in more than just appearance, with each type offering a unique benefit. Figuring out which shoelace style is your favorite can enhance your training and racing experience.

Flat laces

Flat laces are the most common type you’ll find as standard equipment in your running shoes. They’re also one of the easiest styles to lace up, so if you’re putting a new set of laces in your trainers, you might opt for this style. Flat laces tend to stay very securely tied, which is why many of the runners here at the ‘House prefer these both for training and race day. The flat lace also spreads pressure more evenly across the top of the foot.

Round laces

If you’ve found that you have a hard time getting your stout double knot untied after your run, round laces might be just the ticket for you. Since the lace is round, the knot isn’t able to cinch down on itself as much as it can with flat laces. Round laces also tend to give a shoe a more “minimal” look, which is why you’ll find them on shoes like the Brooks PureProject line and the Nike Free Flyknit+. You can try a pair of round laces in your everyday trainers for easier on/off.

Specialty laces

For ultimate convenience try a specialty lace designed to give your shoe a more custom fit and provide easy on/off. For a lace that cinches down instead of tying, take a look at Yankz! Sure Lace System or Lock Laces. For an even more streamlined lace experience, grab a pair of Xtenex X300 Shoe Laces. Just lace up your shoes and pull these laces snug (no knot necessary). The laces stretch enough for you to slip your foot in without readjusting them, so your trainers will always be ready to go when you are.

BOA Laces
The BOA lace closure system is comprised of steel lace, nylon guides and a mechanical reel. You simply twist the wheel to find your preferred level of tightness, and then pull the wheel up to release the steel wire when you want to remove the shoe. There aren’t many shoes with this technology (Zoot is the only brand we carry that currently offers it), but for runners who want a quick, easy way to “dial in” the fit of their shoes, this system hits the spot.

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Trivia Time: 25 Fun Running Facts

August 9th, 2013

For runners like us, geeking out on statistics is almost a form of cross-training: we track our mileage with GPS watches, log our training details and carefully plan to reach our next PR. So when a rest day rolls around, what do we do? We hit up our old friend Google to find some fun running stats. C’mon, did you really think we’d waste a day on something unrelated to running?

  1. The average men’s finishing time in U.S. marathons is 4:26.
  2. The average women’s finishing time in U.S. marathons is 4:52.
  3. 57% of runners purchase at least two pairs of running shoes each year.
  4. Four-time Boston Marathon winner Bill Rodgers’ favorite pizza topping is mayonnaise. Yep, mayo.
  5. In 1990, only 25% of road race finishers in the US were women. Now the ladies make up more than half of road race finishers in the US.
  6. Speaking of ladies and gents: many studies show that couples who run together also do…um… other things together more frequently as well. We’ll leave it up to you to guess the activity.
  7. If that fun fact doesn’t light your fire, how about this one: your feet can produce a pint of sweat each day.
  8. Speaking of bodily fluids, when we run, our hearts create enough pressure to squirt blood 30 feet.
  9. The first New York City Marathon was held in 1970, when 127 runners paid one dollar each to run a few loops through Central Park. Fewer than half of the entrants finished.
  10. You can store about 2,000 calories’ worth of glycogen in your body to fuel your running. But it’s important to replenish your stores, so chow down on the carbs post-run.
  11. Fauja Singh is the oldest person to ever complete a full marathon, finishing the Toronto Waterfront Marathon in 2011 at the age of 100. So no, you’re probably not ‘too old to run.’ Read more…

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5 Post-Workout Carb Fixes

August 6th, 2013

If you automatically reach for a bowl of pasta to get your carbs, you’re missing out on an abundance of carb-heavy treats. A cup of pasta offers about 43 grams of carbohydrates, but a few of our favorite post-workout carb refuel snacks offer vitamins and minerals in addition to carbs, to help feed your whole body well.

Bananas and Sunflower Seed Butter

Bananas pack 51 grams of carbs in each medium-sized fruit, and are also loaded with potassium to help prevent muscle cramping. For a quick and satisfying snack, smear a banana with some sunflower seed butter. To tweak this snack for hot weather, slice the bananas, smear each slice with sunflower seed butter, and stick ‘em in the freezer for a few hours before getting your munch on.

Quinoa with Tomatoes and Balsamic

A cup of quinoa will give you 39 grams of carbohydrates, along with 5 grams of fiber and 8 grams of protein to help your muscles rebuild. Cook quinoa and mix with grape tomatoes and basil, with a drizzle of extra virgin olive oil and balsamic vinegar.

Acorn Squash

This tasty little squash offers a healthy dose of Vitamin C and filling fiber in every serving, as well as 15 grams of carbs. For a sweet yet healthy snack, drizzle a little bit of butter over cubed acorn squash and top with cinnamon and nutmeg, then bake at 350 until soft.

Sweet Potato Fries

This tasty tuber has 41 grams of carbs in a one cup serving, and plenty of Vitamin A for eye health. For a delicious snack, slice a sweet potato into fry-like strips, toss with olive oil and bake at medium heat until soft in the center and crispy on the outside. Try dipping them in a spicy mustard sauce for a little extra kick.

Yogurt with Melon

Two yummy, carb-rich foods get even better when you put them together. Yogurt gives you about 18 grams of carbs in each cup, along with probiotics for digestive health. Honeydew melon gives you about 16 grams of carbs per cup, and also offers a ton of Vitamin C. Cube some chilled melon and eat it over plain yogurt for a refreshing snack.

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Treats for Trail Runners

August 2nd, 2013


More and more runners are trying trail running, and manufacturers are taking note by creating some pretty rad gear for offroad duty. We caught up with a few of our own trail runners around the RW offices to see what gear they’re stoked on right now. Here’s what they had to say:

Top Picks in Shirts

“[For a recent 100 mile race] I chose The North Face Better Than Naked Short Sleeve Top. I chose The North Face top because it’s so ridiculously light and really felt like I wasn’t wearing anything (hence the name), but at the same time I wanted to have something to protect from the sun’s rays.” – Tera

“I just bought the Gore Women’s Air 2.0 Shirt, and I had to justify spending so much on a shirt, but it’s AWESOME! So comfortable, and it fits really nicely under a pack.” – Juli

Top Picks in Shorts

“It is all about the Pearl Izumi Ultra Split Short. Welded hems for ultimate comfort and minimal chafing, comfortable waistband, holster pockets that carry the right amount of product [a few gels]. This shorts are comfortable when you are in them all day.” – Erik

“The Nike Rival Skirt offers an internal short brief, which works really well against chafing. I like the idea of a skirt over the short brief, so you don’t have to bare all and can still look cute.” – Tera

Top Picks in Footwear

“I’m finding more cushioning is becoming my best friend, and an offset of about 8 to 10 tends to be the sweet spot for me without risking potential injury. I’m currently very fond of the Asics Gel Scout and the New Balance WT1210.” – Tera

“I really enjoy the New Balance MT1010. It is highly responsive, has solid protection for the downhills, and it’s very flexible. It’s a great shoe for technical trails and for those who enjoy feeling the trails underneath their feet.” – Dan

Top Picks in Hydration Gear

“The UltrAspire Surge has been my go-to pack. 2L of liquids, easy to reach pockets in the front, comfortable fit and feel. It’s also easy to adjust and there’s room to carry an additional bottle if needed.” – Erik

“I use the Nathan Intensity Pack. I love that it has a 2 liter bladder, and it fits really well. I tried on a lot of packs, and only this one and the Salomon S-Lab 5 Set Pack fit. It’s great for smaller people, and it’s women’s specific, which is awesome.” – Juli

Top Picks in Extras

“The Brooks Hat all the way…very comfortable and durable.” – Erik

“For any long run over two hours, Bodyglide is a must. I don’t leave home without it!” – Tera

“When I do [wear sunglasses], it’s a pair of Tifosi Slip. They’re lightweight, have an interchangeable lens, and are a good value for the price.” – Erik

VFUEL! (Peach Cobbler) So awesome. Tastes great, very light and doesn’t leave you feeling like you have to drink 5 gallons of water to wash out the residue. It’s one of the only gels I really like.” – Juli

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Run-deroos: Men’s Running Underwear

July 29th, 2013

Running shoes are undeniably your most crucial piece of gear, but what ranks second in your book? The perfect split short? Or maybe an aggressive pair of sunglasses? What about running underwear?

Do not underestimate the power of this little piece of running equipment for your running equipment. Running underwear can enhance your run and they may even be your new favorite on rest days too. If you haven’t experienced the security, comfort and excellent moisture management of athletic underwear, you’re missing out. But don’t worry: we’ve got you covered with a great selection of men’s running underwear. Take a look at a few of our best-in-class options.

Seamless: Asics Men’s ASX Boxer and Brief

The seamless design of the Asics Men’s ASX Boxer and Asics Men’s ASX Brief provides chafe-free support on your run. An anatomical support system gives you stabilization during activity, and moisture-transfer fabric helps keep you dry and comfortable.

Great Stretch: Nike Men’s Core Compression Short

If what you seek is supreme stretch, reach for a pair of Nike Men’s Core Compression Shorts. The four-way stretch fabric of these underwear will move with you for a freedom of movement as you run.

Secure Support: Saxx Kinetic Boxer and Brief Fly

You can be your own Sexy Sax Man in these run-deroos. The Saxx Kinetic Boxer and Saxx Kinetic Brief Fly bring a whole to meaning to the word support. An internal articulated pouch with side panels provides secure…storage on your run.

Lightweight: New Balance Men’s 6” Trubase Short

If you want a lightweight performance piece, throw on a pair of New Balance Men’s 6” Trubase Shorts. The lightweight fabric and minimal design of these boxers makes them a great option for race day.

Ventilation: Under Armour Men’s 6” Boxerjock

The Under Armour Men’s 6” Boxerjock sports a breathable mesh fabric in the crotch area to enhance ventilation and keep you dry on your run. A wide flat waistband sits snugly on your waist without digging in, and moisture-transfer fabric pulls sweat away from your skin to eliminate chafing.

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Charity of the Month: Challenged Athletes Foundation

July 24th, 2013

We’ve been impressed many times in the past with the ways that runners come together as a community during times of need. The sheer number of running charities out there speak to the desire of the human spirit to do more. To connect more. To help more.

Sport is about so much more than just working out, and we’ll be highlighting a few charities built around a common love of sport. Tune in each month to check out a different charity, and get inspired to contribute or start something of your own.

First up? The Challenged Athletes Foundation.

Who They Are

The Challenged Athletes Foundation (CAF) works to support individuals with physical disabilities so that they can lead active lifestyles and participate in competitive athletics. They believe that “involvement in sports at any level increases self-esteem, encourages independence and enhances quality of life,” and they strive to create a movement in which athletes with physical disabilities are viewed the same way as athletes without physical disabilities.

What They Do

The Challenged Athlete Foundation supports athletes in many ways, from providing grants for running legs and athletic wheelchairs to coaching athletes as they develop their skills and fitness. Many CAF athletes serve as spokespeople, delivering messages of inspiration and determination to individuals with physical disabilities. The foundation hosts races and events centered around the goal of empowering all athletes to tackle big goals and challenge their perception of their limits.

What You Can Do

If this charity is something that strikes a chord with you, there are plenty of ways to get involved. Volunteer at an event near you, or create a new event to fundraise. You can also donate funds, or – if you own a business – look into corporate giving and sponsorship. The Challenged Athletes Foundation gives even more individuals the opportunity to participate in sports and tap into the inspiration of the powerful global community of athletes.

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New Nike Trail Running Shoes

July 19th, 2013

Nike Running, a powerhouse in the world of run training and racing, is stepping off the roads and onto the trails this season with two new trail shoes. When you think of trail running, Nike might not be the first footwear manufacturer that comes to mind, but you won’t want to miss the new Zoom Terra Kiger, or the Zoom Wildhorse.

Both of these trail monsters have a heel-to-toe drop of 4mm and a cushioned yet responsive platform. The big differences between these two new models? The Terra Kiger has Zoom Air units in both the forefoot and heel, while the Wildhorse only has a heel unit. Plus, the upper of the Terra Kiger has a few more bells and whistles, including Dynamic Flywire and engineered mesh.

Nike Zoom Terra Kiger

We sent out three of our own folks to test drive the Nike Zoom Terra Kiger, and our testers here at the ‘House are unanimously impressed with this shoe. If you want a performance fit and a secure ride on diverse terrain, you owe it to yourself to give this shoe a try.

“The Terra Kiger gives you a sticky rubber outsole with plenty of traction on the trail. The Zoom Air units protect you from the ground but doesn’t disconnect you. I picked my way through terrain with confidence, even though the shoe doesn’t have a rockplate.” - Taro

“Just a really refined shoe. You can tell Nike put a lot of development time into rolling out a great product here. And no signs of chafing after over 50 miles in this upper. I can focus on where I’m going, not on how banged up my feet will be afterward.” – Nicole

“One of the perks of this job is getting plenty of comped shoes to test. So I don’t buy a lot of running shoes. But I’m actually going to buy a second pair of Terra Kigers. They really are so good that I want to have a pair in the bank.” – Matt

Nike Zoom Wildhorse

The Zoom Wildhorse uses a platform similar to the Terra Kiger in many respects. From the outside, it looks the same, but it is solid foam up front instead of integrating a Zoom Air unit.

The dynamic upper moves with you and protects your foot from loose sticks and debris on the trail. There’s more room overall in the upper compared to the Terra Kiger, which is a benefit for runners who like a less aggressive fit. A lugged outsole identical to the one on the Terra Kiger gives you plenty of traction.

“So what’s best for me?” is the big question for many trail aficionados who are debating which of these two Nike models to add to their lineup. In our opinion, the added features of the Terra Kiger are well worth the extra $15 tacked onto the MSRP, but keep in mind that you’ll also be trading up to a closer, more performance-oriented fit. Either way, we think you’ll find a lot to like in these new models, and kudos to Nike for making a solid move into the trail market.

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Salomon Sense Hydro S-Lab Set Gloves Review

July 18th, 2013

Salomon never ceases to amaze us with their groundbreaking technologies, and the Salomon Sense Hydro S-Lab Set Gloves are no exception. Sometimes, you don’t know how much better a run experience could be until you try a new piece of run gear. Innovations like flat waistbands that don’t dig in and lace pockets on trail shoes can take your run from good to great. These gloves are one of those innovations.

The Salomon Sense Hydro S-Lab Set Gloves are available in small, medium and large sizes to provide a nearly custom fit to a variety of hand sizes. The pair of gloves even includes a single 8oz Salomon Soft Flask to fuel your hydration needs. We sent Randy – our hard goods accessories buyer and a genuine gearhead – to test the gloves on the roads and trails, and here’s what he had to say.

RW: Overall, how would you describe the user experience?

Randy (R): I generally don’t want anything in my hands while running, but the Sense Hydro Gloves didn’t bother me. I also liked how you can take small sips. If I drink too much while running, I’m really prone to getting cramps. The bite valve was nice and soft, really easy on the teeth. I was also able to still use my fingers – I could re-tie my shoes without taking the flask out of my hand.

RW: How is using the gloves different from using a standard handheld bottle?

R: Standard handhelds are prone to sloshing around, and you always have to grip the bottle no matter how tight you get the hand strap. With these, you can still keep your hand relaxed and there was no sloshing because the soft flask reduces in volume as you use the liquid.

RW: Does the flask stay secure even if you don’t hold it with your hand?

R: The flask does stay secure with the strap and bungee alone. I never felt it was going to fly out of my hand.

Read more…

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Women’s Running Skirts

July 16th, 2013

The high heat of midsummer has us looking for new ways to stay cool on our runs, and sometimes a running skirt is just the ticket. Whether you’re a ‘taking-names-and-charging-hard’ kind of woman or you just want to look hot while you log miles at the track, there’s a run skirt for you. Don’t believe us? Take a look for yourself.

Adjustable: Nike Women’s Rival Stretch Woven Skirt

The Nike Women’s Rival Stretch Woven Skirt lets you express your mood on your run from day to day. The internal fitted short provides freedom of movement while the outer skirt has drawcords on each side to adjust skirt length and provide a ruched effect. Leave the skirt full-length when you’re feeling mellow, or cinch the cords for a sassier look.

Short on Length: Oiselle Women’s Bum Wrap

The short and sexy Oiselle Bum Wrap (shown at right) is true to its name. An internal fitted short moves with you while an outer skirt covers your assets with a flirty wrap-style construction. Use the side zip pocket to stash an ID card, key, gel or other essentials.

Trail Ready: Salomon EXO S-Lab Twinskin Skort

When it’s time to attack tough, technical trails, slip on the Salomon Women’s EXO S-Lab Twinskin Skort. The internal fitted short features EXO Sensifit Technology to provide postural control and muscle support as you run, and the lightweight outer skirt offers two back mesh pockets to stow nutrition and other essentials on a long run.

Modest: Nike Women’s Skapri

If you love the look of a skirt but want the coverage of a capri, slip on the Nike Women’s Skapri. The soft inner capri offers sleek coverage, while the outer skirt adds a dose of style. The skirt is constructed of stretch fabric to move with you, and has two side slash pockets and a back zip pocket for secure storage of essentials.

Lightweight: Pearl Izumi Women’s Ultra Skirt

The Pearl Izumi Women’s Ultra Skirt offers fierce, lightweight coverage for the serious endurance runner. Two back hip holster pockets let you stash your nutrition, and a back zip pocket provides additional secure storage. The wide flat waistband stays in place without digging in, and side splits allow for excellent range of motion. Yeah, it’s a pretty badass skirt.

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New Oakley Running Sunglasses Models

July 15th, 2013

We’re stoked to be expanding our lineup of Oakley running sunglasses. These new shades protect your eyes from harmful UV rays, help diminish distracting glare and will get you psyched to run hard with an aggressive aesthetic.

Flak Jacket XLJ Transitions® Sunglasses

If you run in the mornings or evenings (or from morning to evening), you likely experience changing light conditions. That’s where the Oakley Flak Jacket XLJ Transitions® Sunglasses come in. The lenses in these frames adapt to changing light conditions so you can continue to see clearly. The semi-rimless frame offers lightweight coverage and the secure grip coating on the nose pads and ear stems keep these frames in place.

Half Jacket 2.0

If you want sleek, straightforward performance and some style from your running shades, the new Silver/Fire Iridium and Pearl/Violet Iridium colorways of the Oakley Half Jacket 2.0 deliver a semi-rimless design and rubber grips on the nose pads and ear stems so they stay securely in place.

The Oakley Half Jacket 2.0 suits a wide variety of face shapes, but the Oakley Half Jacket 2.0 XL makes it accessible to even more runners. The XL offers all the benefits of the standard size, and is best suited for medium to large face shapes.

Women’s Commit SQ Polarized

The Oakley Women’s Commit SQ Polarized Sunglasses offer exceptional visual clarity and cut down on glare. These lightweight frames stay securely in place thanks to rubber grip coating on the nose pads and ear stems, and a hydrophobic lens coating keeps them free of water and oils.

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