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Archive for the ‘Run Training’ Category

Energy Chew Comparison Test

May 10th, 2013

The right energy chew can make your run training even more enjoyable and effective. But it’s pretty tough to know what flavors and brands you’ll like best if you just look at our website. That’s where the whole idea of an energy chew comparison test came from.

We had almost 20 staffers test our top-selling flavors in each energy chew we carry to see how they rank when it comes to aspects including firmness, sweetness, saltiness and flavor enjoyment. You can shop all energy chews here, and check out our findings below.

Firmness

Our tasters found that many of the chews sampled were quite firm, with Jelly Belly Sport Beans and Extreme Sport Beans offering the firmest texture and Honey Stinger Organic Energy Chews offering the most squishy texture.

Sweetness

In addition to being softies, the Honey Stinger Organic chews are also the sweetest tasting of the energy chews we tested. GU Chomps were the least sweet tasting. Interestingly, our testers found the Extreme Sport Beans less sweet than regular Sport Beans. This isn’t because of the addition of caffeine – the Extreme Sport Beans Assorted flavor has a slightly more mellow mix (Pomegranate, Cherry and Watermelon) compared to the regular Assorted flavor (Berry, Fruit Punch, Lemon/Lime and Orange).

Saltiness

Our testers found that none of the energy chews sampled had an overwhelmingly salty flavor, but Jelly Belly Sport Beans were ranked as tasting the saltiest. Honey Stinger and Clif Shot Bloks tied as the least salty of the bunch, but if you happen to be a salt fanatic in search of electrolytes, keep an eye out for the Clif Shot Bloks Margarita Flavor, which has 210mg of sodium per serving compared to 70mg in their other flavors.

Enjoyment of Flavor

This is where it really gets personal, and our results were quite scattered in this category. Turns out, our testers are a very opinionated bunch, and their opinions about which flavor is most enjoyable were all over the map. So it looks like we’ve utterly failed in our quest to guide our readers toward the perfect flavor sensation.

However, many testers commented that overall, the flavors were what they expected based on the flavor names. So if you tend to like strawberry or lemon, for example, there’s a good chance you’ll enjoy these flavors of energy chews. If you want to experiment with flavors, the variety packs from Jelly Belly and Clif might be the way to go before diving in to get a 12, 18 or 24 pack of any single flavor.

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Should You Add Sprinting to Your Training?

May 7th, 2013

Most distance runners throw a little speedwork into their weekly grind every now and then to break up the long miles and boost their heart rate. Typical speed workouts include mile repeats, steady state tempos, fartleks, ladders, in n’ outs, or just a quicker pace run of the usual course.

But if you really want to improve your technique, not to mention your race times, it may be time to rethink your list of workouts and learn to run like a sprinter.

Benefits of Sprinting

Intense, short-repetition running puts stresses on the body to produce energy anaerobically. This way, when your aerobic ability has been tapped, you can dig deep and convert lactate into speed and keep pushing when others are hitting a wall.

In addition, sprinting can teach you to run faster while remaining relaxed. If you are more relaxed, you will be running more economically. Speed sessions are also a great time to work on technique. When moving at race pace, or faster, you recruit the exact muscle fibers you need for economical running.

What to Expect

Since the anaerobic system is being taxed during sprints, you won’t get the classic burning lung exhaustion more common in longer aerobic workouts. Instead, your lungs might feel great but your body feels like it is failing you. The point is to move fast without your form falling apart.

It’s really important to take the time for a full recovery in between reps. This can vary from runner to runner, but a good rule is you should feel you could perform the next interval as well as the previous one. Always be aware of the rest you take. Taking too much time off can cause the body to cool down and you don’t want to enter the rep with cold muscles.

Summing Up

Adding a speed workout once a week can break the monotony of intense mileage training, improve running economy, better your form, and give you the speed to kick down your opponents on race day.

In the coming weeks, we’ll post some suggested drills and workouts on incorporating sprints into your routine from Joe Rubio, coach extraordinaire and co-owner here at Running Warehouse.

Matt Run Training , ,

Understanding Supination

April 30th, 2013

When you shop for running shoes, it’s common to hear about pronation support, but what if you’re a supinator? Since less than 5% of runners supinate, the topic is frequently neglected. If you’ve been feeling like the redheaded stepchild when you shop for running shoes, we’re here to help. Here are the basics on what supination is, how it affects your running and how it should impact your running shoe choice.

What Is Supination?

Supination, sometimes called underpronation, means that when you run your foot remains planted on the lateral side (the outside edge) for the duration of time while the shoe is on the ground. In the typical heel-to-toe foot strike transition, the foot supinates prior to ground contact, pronates (rolls inward) after ground contact to absorb much of the impact, and supinates again at toe-off.

Runners with very high, inflexible arches frequently supinate. To determine if you pronate, take a look at the bottom of a pair of running shoes after you’ve put a few hundred miles on them. If the midfoot of the shoe is worn primarily on the outside edge, then you might be a supinator. We can also help you complete an online gait analysis to determine whether or not you supinate. Read more…

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Pre-Race Fuel Recipe from Oiselle

April 19th, 2013

The search for the perfect pre-race fuel never ends for a competitive runner. The starting point is easy, sure. You know you want carbs, and plenty of ‘em. But in what form, and with what accompaniments?

Many of the runners here at the RW offices have enjoyed their share of pre-race pasta feeds, but sometimes the plain old pasta thing gets a little stale. That’s why we were tempted to try the tasty Spaghetti Bolognese recipe that we found over on the Oiselle blog. Carrots in pasta? Count us in. The dish looks… scrumptious.

Take this recipe for a spin and tell us how it turns out for you!

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5 Tips to Fit Run Training into Your Schedule

March 18th, 2013

The alarm goes off like a starting gun in the morning, and the rest of the day looks something like this: Wake kids up. Shower. Wake kids up – again. Breakfast. Schlepping to school. Work. Kids to music/sports practice. Grocery shopping. Pick kids up from practice. Home. Homework. Dinner. Kids ready for bed. Wash dishes. Clean kitchen. Glass of wine (seriously). So how do you fit a consistent running program into a schedule that busy? We’ll show you!

1. Workout Early

If you workout in the a.m., you’ll be far more likely to actually run because nothing else will have time to get in the way of your training session. So when your alarm goes off, pretend it actually is the starting gun. Grab a quick bite to eat (like a small banana with a smear of peanut butter, or half a bagel with a little cream cheese) if you feel like you need it, and then lace up and head out the door. Bonus? You’ll already be humming with that post-run glow before most people have even opened their eyes for the day.

2. Include Your Family

If you have children, try running with your kids. It will help you fit your workout in, model a healthy lifestyle and give you an opportunity for some quality family time. Running with little ones can be a great way to bond, and there’s a way to share running with children of all ages. If you don’t have kids, try running with roommates or your significant other. Combining workout time with quality time with loved ones can help you make the most of a busy schedule.

Read more…

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Garmin $50 Rebate Is Back!

March 15th, 2013

If you’re a student athlete or school coach, 2013 is your year to get GPS-connected for improved training performance. Garmin’s going to help you do it with a $50 rebate offer on top-selling models. Until October 31, 2013, this leading GPS running watch maker is offering student athletes and school coaches a $50 mail-in rebate for the Forerunner 210 and Forerunner 610.

How do you get the rebate? All you have to do is purchase an eligible model from us and send in the Garmin Mail-In Rebate Form along with the product UPC barcode and copies of your receipt and student/school ID. It’s that simple to get a little extra cash in your pocket.

Rebate Model Rundown

Forerunner 210: The 210 is one of Garmin’s most affordable, easy-to-use GPS watches. It’s available on its own, with a heart rate monitor, or with a heart rate monitor and foot pod bundle. Big features include:

  • GPS with HotFix to sync up with the satellite quickly
  • Live pace and distance data with totals when your finish your run
  • Custom Interval Training for speed work
  • 1,000-Lap memory
  • Ability to compare and analyze data with Garmin Connect and Garmin Training Center

Forerunner 610: In addition to all the features of the 210, the Forerunner 610 adds these key features:

  • Touchscreen interface that works when wet or when wearing gloves
  • Vibration alerts for time, distance, and run/walk breaks
  • Virtual Racer to compete against previous course PR’s
  • Virtual Partner feature to train alongside a digital person
  • Auto Pause stops/starts timer for you based on speed
  • Wireless data transfer to your computer with included ANT+ Stick

Matt Run Training, Running Accessories , , , ,

Nutrition for Endurance Runners

March 14th, 2013

What's on Your Training Table?

Many ravenous endurance runners end up on the ‘see food’ diet: when they see food, they eat it. If you’re logging lots of mileage, it is important for your diet to include plenty of calories, but what those calories are and when you eat them can significantly affect your performance.

How much do you need?

First it’s important to figure out approximately how many calories you need each day. Each person’s calorie needs are different, based on height, weight, age and activity level. As a good starting point, figure out your Basal Metabolic Rate (the number of calories your body burns during a day of rest) using a BMR Calculator.

You can then use the Harris Benedict Formula to approximate your additional calorie needs based on your activity level. If you’re not sure how many calories you’re currently consuming, enter your food intake for a couple of randomly chosen average days on a food calculator program like FitDay to get a ballpark number. Now that you know how many calories you need, let’s take a look at where those calories should come from – and when you should eat them for optimal performance.

Carbohydrates

If you’re engaging in endurance running (read: your workouts are typically 40 minutes or longer, and at least 95% of your effort is aerobic), then you’ll need ample carbs to fuel your muscles as you burn sugars for fuel. Many runners think of pasta as a cornerstone of the runner’s diet, but there are plenty of other healthy carb sources that are worth a look. A few of our favorites are oatmeal, quinoa and sweet potatoes.

Read more…

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Energy Gel Taste Test Comparison

March 1st, 2013

For many of us, energy gel is the, uh, ‘glue’ that holds our long runs together. You might have a special place in your heart for a certain brand or flavor, but if you’re a gel novice or looking to expand your horizons, we’ve done the hard work of trying out every brand of gel we carry here at Running Warehouse.

Last week, we rounded up over a dozen energetic RW staffers to test out gels from Clif, GU, Hammer, Honey Stinger, PowerGel, Accel Gel and 2nd Surge. Of course, we didn’t tell our taste-testers which gel was which, because we wanted unbiased feedback. Here’s your guide to tasting the rainbow of energy gel brands and flavors:

Viscosity

Viscosity is an incredibly important factor when it comes to gel enjoyment. Some athletes want a thick, almost frosting-like gel, while others prefer a gel that is closer to the consistency of a juice. If you’re looking for a very viscous energy gel, then try something from Clif or GU, both of which topped the charts in our tests when it came to gel thickness. If you want a gel that has more of a liquid consistency, then try a gel from Accel Gel, 2nd Surge or PowerGel, all of which came back as the least viscous gels. If a more middle-of-the-road consistency is what pleases your palate, then you should be happy with a gel from Hammer or Honey Stinger.

Sweetness

We rated gels on a scale of perceived sweetness. In the chart below, you can see the average score each gel received from our taste testers.

Read more…

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Heart Rate Monitors Plain and Simple

February 27th, 2013

You don’t have to be a gearhead to jump – or run – into the world of heart rate monitors. Today’s market offers a great selection of sleek and simple monitors that are easy to operate.

Why Buy a Heart Rate Monitor?

Incorporating heart rate training gives you more control over your workouts and can be a clutch training tool when it comes to making fitness gains and breaking through plateaus. A heart rate monitor can help you make sure you’re hitting your target heart rate during a workout, or staying in a lower heart rate zone on an active recovery day. You can also use a heart rate monitor to work intervals of higher and lower intensity exertion.

Whether your running goals are fitness or race-performance related, a heart rate monitor can enhance your training. These nifty little gadgets are a much more precise way to keep track of your efforts than ‘perceived exertion,’ giving you the power to manipulate your workouts to achieve your goals.

Our Popular Models

If simple is your style, here are a few of our favorite basic heart rate monitors:

Timex Easy Trainer

The Timex Easy Trainer offers a no-frills approach to heart rate training. All you need to do is secure the included heart rate monitor strap around your chest and press the red ‘On/Off’ button, and you’re on your way. The large, easy-to-read display helps you keep track of your heart rate on your run, even in the dark thanks to the INDIGLO® night light. After your run, the Workout Review feature recalls activity time along with average and peak heart rates.

Polar FT4

The Polar FT4 provides heart rate information, as well as an estimate of calories burned during a workout. This heart rate monitor also has a coded heart rate transmission, so it will correctly pick up your own heart rate even if your training partner is wearing a heart rate monitor as well. You can even set heart-rate-based target zones with visual and audible alarms, and choose from eight languages to display. Read more…

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Should You Cross-Train?

February 26th, 2013

If you want to run harder and race faster, you need to run more… right? Maybe. But sometimes when you increase your running mileage or intensity too much you increase your risk of getting injured. Linzay Logan over at Competitor magazine has found that creative cross training is the key to improving performance and sidestepping overuse injuries, and we’d agree.

Cross training can help you reach peak performance without sidelining yourself with too much heavy mileage. When you engage your muscles in activities beyond running (like cycling or swimming) you strengthen the smaller support and balance muscles throughout your entire body, which gives you a superior level of base fitness.

Engaging in a variety of exercises will help prevent overuse injuries that can occur when you do the same exercise day in and day out. Since doing new and different workouts can result in more muscle soreness at the beginning, we like to pamper our muscles post-workout with the I-Knead Medium Massage Roller or the Moji 360 Mini Massager.

Don’t be afraid cross training will only consist of monotonous hours on a stationary bike… get creative! While prepping herself for an upcoming marathon, Logan even found a way to cross-train in the snow. Read the full article here.

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