Archive for the ‘Run Training’ Category

Should You Take Ice Baths?

June 14th, 2013

Many coaches and athletes believe that ice baths can help your body recover from strenuous exercise, like a long run or a heavy sprint session. The idea is that the intensity of the cold water on your legs helps flush out lactic acid and other toxins, and the bath approach is able to treat a large area of muscle at once. Blood flow to your muscles also increases post-ice, which means more oxygenated blood to help your body recover more quickly.

Creating an ice bath is pretty darn simple: just fill a tub about halfway with cold water and then empty three bags of ice into it. This should bring the water to between 54 to 60 degrees Fahrenheit. It’s good to confirm the water temperature with a thermometer, and to start on the high side of this temperature range for your first few times in.

The hardest part is often convincing yourself to actually get in. Sit in the tub so that your legs are fully submerged, and grit your teeth until your time is up. Five to eight minutes should be plenty of time (and, sorry, might feel like a mini-eternity).

So would your training and performance benefit from adding in an ice bath routine? It depends. Below are some suggestions for different runner profiles.

If you log high mileage with lots of long runs

If you’re lacing up nearly every day for high mileage training, then ice baths could enhance your recovery and training. Many distance athletes will take an icy plunge for 5-15 minutes following their two longest runs of the week. Read more…

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Stay Fit This Summer for XC Season

June 11th, 2013

If you’re a competitor with a cross-country season coming up in the fall, you can’t afford to neglect the training opportunities of the summer months. In many cases, if you just stay disciplined enough to run regularly all summer long, you’ll have an edge when the season starts. Here are a few tips on how you can get in some serious training without it becoming a chore.

Take a Break

You spend most of September through May training and competing, so it’s totally reasonable to bookend your summer training with a week or two off to let your mind and body recover. Though it might be hard, take an entire week (or maybe even two if you’ve been nursing injuries or mental fatigue) away from running or training. This is a great time to plan a vacation, because you won’t have to worry about juggling training and your other vacay activities.

Train Early

For most of us, summer brings at least a few weeks of pretty hot weather. Running early in the a.m. is a great way to beat the heat and reduce some of the dangers of running in hot weather. If you plan on hitting the pavement first thing in the morning, make sure to hydrate effectively the day before, so your body is equipped for your training session. If you’re a real early bird who’s out before the sun rises, make sure you have adequate reflective gear so motorists can see you.

Run with Friends

Round up a group of fellow runners or teammates and train together over the summer. It certainly doesn’t hurt if a few of these friends are faster than you are – that’s how you’ll get better. You can turn it into a social event by sharing a weekly run and then taking turns hosting a post-run BBQ. It’s a triple win: training run, bonding time and good eats.

Take an Active Vacation

Instead of trying to fit running into your vacation, plan a vacation around your runs. Choose a city or wilderness area you want to check out, and travel there with the intent of exploring on foot. If you’re a trail runner, try camping in a new spot, and kick off each day with a run to explore the nearby trails. If you prefer roads, head to a city and see what’s going on each morning when you run. It’s easy to note the places you’d like to check out again later in the day.


Who says games are only for kids? Pick up games like ultimate Frisbee and tag can be a great way to get in a little extra movement and socialize at the same time. Gather up a group of friends and pick a time and place to meet each week. Activities like these will help you relax and keep mental fatigue at bay so that you’re ready for more challenging workouts.

More Tips

In addition to the suggestions we mention above, check out these training tips in the Runner’s World forum for some other perspectives on summer run workouts that can help you prepare for XC season.

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Fresh Summer Snacks

June 7th, 2013

The summertime heat can subdue even the most voracious appetites, but you still have to keep yourself fueled. When high temps crush our appetites, we reach for the fresh flavors of fruits and veggies to whip up healthy and easy snacks. Try one (or five) of our favorite summer snacks to keep you running strong through the hot season. We’ve got something to satisfy whatever your palate craves – sweet, salty… even sour.

Frozen Yogurt

Okay, we know what you’re thinking – we said healthy snacks. Hear us out. Start with about half a cup each of Greek yogurt and frozen fruit of your choice. Toss them into a blender and pulse them until your mixture has a nice creamy consistency. If you want a little extra sweetness, add a touch of honey. Put your fro yo in the freezer for about 45 minutes to let it firm up a bit more, then stir and enjoy a protein and antioxidant-packed snack.

Kale Chips

Kale chips are a salty, savory delicious alternative to potato chips. Remove the fibrous inner part of the kale leaf and tear the leaves into chip-sized pieces. Toss the leaves with a tablespoon of olive oil and seasonings of your choice. Spread the chips out on a cookie sheet and bake at 350 for about 10-15 minutes. Check on your chips about half way through and shuffle them around on the cookie sheet so that they bake evenly. When finished, the chips should be light and crunchy. Enjoy them alone or with a side of guac.

Apple with Almond Butter and Cinnamon

We took a little twist on the apples and peanut butter so many of us remember from our childhoods. Slice up your favorite kind of apple and spread the slices with almond butter (try crunchy for an added texture experience). Sprinkle the top with cinnamon to taste, and enjoy. Apples are plenty juicy to give you a little hydration boost, and the fat and protein from the almond butter will help fuel your day.

Dill Pickles and Cheddar

If you’re craving something salty with a little touch of sour, it’s hard to beat the dill pickle and cheddar combo. Choose a high quality dill pickle, and extra sharp cheddar. Slice the pickles into chunks, and slice the cheese into very thin pieces. Use toothpicks and skewer two pieces of cheese and two pieces of pickles on each for an easy-to-eat finger food. This snack has a nice sodium boost that can help you replenish the salts you lose on a long hot run.

Dark Chocolate Strawberries

The classic dessert of dark chocolate and strawberries is tasty any time of the year. To make this snack healthier, use extra dark chocolate (85% cacao or higher) to minimize the sugar content, and drizzle the melted chocolate on strawberries instead of dipping them. To make this treat even more refreshing, stick the chocolate-drizzled berries into the freezer for a few hours before eating.

Cucumber and Hummus

Cucumber has a very high water content to help you with your hydration endeavors this summer. Chill an English cucumber in the fridge for a few hours prior to prepping this snack. Slice the cucumber into spears, and dip the spears in your favorite hummus. The chickpeas in the hummus have protein to keep your body satisfied, and the cucumber will offer a delicious and refreshing crunch for anytime snacking.

PB Banana Bites

PB banana bites are like a miniature, healthier version of an ice cream sandwich. Slice a banana into ¼” slices. Mix a few tablespoons of peanut butter with ½ teaspoon of honey and spread the mixture between two banana slices to make a mini sandwich. Place the bites into the freezer so you can grab a few for a quick snack on the go.

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How To: Take a Rest Day

June 6th, 2013

The Rest Day Equation

Hill workout? Check. Negative splits? Check. Rest day? Uh…maybe tomorrow. Yeah, we thought so. Most dedicated runners excel when it comes to pushing through long runs or sweating out an intense sprint training session. But when it comes to resting, many of you are at a loss. We’re not going to tell you to trade in your trainers for a pair of bunny slippers, but skimping on rest isn’t doing you any favors. Here are a few tips to make the most of your rest day:

Rest After Max Effort

If you’re only going to rest one day each week, plan your rest day for the day following your hardest workout. Giving your body a little extra chance to recuperate from a strenuous training session will help you to maximize the benefits of your workout.


If you can schedule your rest day on a day when you don’t have work, it will help you squeeze the most juice out of your day off. This is the perfect excuse to sleep in a little. Your body repairs itself most effectively when you’re catching some zzz’s, so stocking up on your day off can help enhance your performance on your next workout day.

Try Compression

Slip on a pair of compression socks, sleeves or tights to give your legs a little extra love on your day off. Graduated compression for recovery can reduce muscle soreness and decrease recovery time by encouraging increased blood flow. Blood carries away toxins in tired muscles, and oxygen-rich blood helps muscles recover.


Even though you’re taking a day off, don’t skip out on much-needed calories for the day. Your body needs plenty of fuel to recover from your week of training, and you won’t pack on pounds in one day without training. Focus on foods rich in protein to help repair muscle tissue, and carbohydrates to help replenish your depleted glycogen stores.


Forgive the corniness, but taking a rest day isn’t just for your body, it’s for your mind also. Resting can help ward off the mental fatigue that often accompanies tough training. So give your mind a little vacay on your day off. Browse the comedies on Netflix or spend some time with good friends who always leave you in stitches. Laughing will lower your cortisol levels, give you a generally more positive outlook, and help you feel refreshed.


We know: it’s not the most glamorous thing to do on your day off, but hear us out. If you take the time to crush your to-do list on your day off, it will free up your time during the rest of the week. If you don’t have to worry about running errands during the week, you’ll be able to focus on your training sessions more effectively. Get your errands out of the way early in the day so you can just kick back and enjoy the, uh, rest of it.

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Electrolyte Capsule Supplements Compared

June 5th, 2013

Electrolytes: they’re what plants crave. Do you? As the weather heats up, getting an extra dose of electrolytes on the run can help prevent dehydration. An electrolyte supplement can also go a long way in helping to prevent some of the dangerous effects of heat exhaustion, including muscle cramping, lightheadedness, and nausea.

A consistent supply of electrolytes during sustained activity keeps your muscular, digestive, nervous, and cardiac systems healthy. In many cases, distance runners will need more electrolytes than a sports drink or gel can provide. That’s where electrolyte supplements come into play. These supplements provide a balanced blend of electrolytes designed for quick uptake in the body.

All of the electrolyte supplements Running Warehouse carries include sodium and potassium. Here are some other benefits of specific supplements:

For Higher Sodium: Succeed Vegetarian S! Caps

Succeed S! Caps have the highest amount of sodium per serving with 341mg in each capsule. That’s over 33% more than SaltStick Caps, the next saltiest supplement.

For Vitamin B6: Hammer Endurolytes Capsules or Powder

Reach for Hammer Endurolytes Capsules or Hammer Endurolytes Powder if you want an electrolyte supplement with Vitamin B6.  B6 is key in protein metabolism as well as the metabolism of carbs and fat. It’s also necessary for the proper functioning of many enzymes in the body, which are crucial to metabolic function.

For Caffeine: SaltStick Caps PLUS

The electrolytes in SaltStick Caps PLUS come with a little extra kick to keep you going. Each capsule contains 30mg of caffeine (a shot of espresso contains about 40-75mg of caffeine), which can help you push farther when you’re out on a training run.

For Vitamin D: SaltStick Caps

Try SaltStick Caps if you want a little extra boost in your Vitamin D intake. These electrolyte capsules include 100 IU of Vitamin D3. Vitamin D is essential for proper cell functioning and is a key player in the development of strong bones.

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10 Favorite Summer Fruits and Veggies

May 24th, 2013

One of our favorite things about summer (besides all the gloriously long days to run in the sunshine) is hitting up local farmers’ markets for fresh and delicious produce. Fueling your body is key to health and performance, and seasonal summer produce can add an extra dose of vitality to any meal. Reach for varieties that are high in antioxidants to help combat free-radical damage produced during exercise. Here are ten of our favorite summer fruits and vegetables:

1. Avocados

Ahh, the creamy deliciousness that is the avocado – also called the alligator pear by the particularly awesome. Avocados provide plenty of healthy fat and a hefty dose of Vitamin C, Vitamin K and Folate. Just one cup of this berry (yep, berry) has about 25% of your daily needs for Vitamin C, a key antioxidant for immunity. Slice some avocado into your lunchtime sando, or blend some with a little cocoa powder and honey to make a creamy pudding.

2. Blackberries

Delicious raw or baked into delicious treats, blackberries are little antioxidant powerhouses. Just a cup of these beauties (raw) contains about 50% of your daily Vitamin C needs, and eight grams of fiber to help you feel full longer. Toss blackberries into a salad or mix them into your morning quinoa for a sweet spin on a classic meal.

3. Chard

These greens might seem unassuming, but chard has some serious health benefits. One cup (raw) has around 44% of your daily needs for Vitamin A, 18% of your needs for Vitamin C, and 374% of your needs for Vitamin K. All of this nutritional benefit is packed into a whopping seven calories per cup. Yeah, we said seven. Because of its mild flavor, Swiss Chard works well when blended into smoothies for a little extra nutritional boost in the morning or post-workout.

Read more…

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7 Hot Weather Running Safety Tips

May 21st, 2013

Some runners like it hot. And we’ve got to agree, there’s a lot to enjoy when hitting the dirt or the pavement on a nice toasty day. But if it’s really hot outside, it’s important to take a few extra precautions. Take a look at our top tips for running safely in hot temps.

1. Hydrate Pre-Run

If you’re already a little dehydrated when you head out the door for a run, you’re risking severe dehydration and heat exhaustion – especially on a hot day. Many runners will drink at least 16 ounces of fluid (either water or a drink mix) about two hours prior to heading out into blazing temp, and follow it up with another 8-16 ounces 15 minutes before starting their workout.

2. Protect Yourself from UV Rays

Running in the sun’s rays for a short period of time nets you a little Vitamin D, but there can be too much of a good thing. Protect your skin from damaging UV rays with clothing that has UPF protection (like the Asics ARD Singlet or a pair of arm coolers), running sunglasses and a quality sunscreen. Also, seek out as much shade as you can while you’re out.

3. Bring Fluid with You

If you plan to be out for more than 20 or 30 minutes when the weather’s scorching, it’s a good idea to bring hydration. Your hydration needs during your run will depend on how much you sweat and how long you’ll be out running. In hotter temps it’s a good idea to drink about five to eight ounces of water (that’s one or two big thirsty sips) every fifteen minutes or so. Read more…

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Planning Meals Before Race Day

May 20th, 2013

The phrase ‘pre-race fuel’ makes most runners think of one thing: pasta. Delicious bowls of steamy, noodle-y carbohydrate goodness to fuel your muscles through your half or full marathon. Consuming carbs is important in the days leading up to a distance race, but you certainly don’t have to eat pasta every night. Here are a few things to keep in mind when you’re preparing your meals the week of your race.

Eat Carbs

When you eat a very carbohydrate-rich meal, the majority of the carbs are stored as glycogen in your liver for later use. When you’re working out (or pushing through your mileage on race day), your body is able to pull energy from your glycogen stores to keep you going. Glycogen is perhaps the easiest form of stored energy for your body to access.

Try to select carbohydrate options that are low in fiber, because high amounts of fiber can cause digestive problems for many athletes. Prior to a race, opt for white rice instead of brown, and save the whole wheat pasta for a post-race meal. Tired of the same old pasta? Try one of these low-fiber carb options for race week: white rice, bananas, yogurt, peeled white potatoes, white bread or white flour English muffins.

Eat Protein

Make sure that you get plenty of protein pre-race. Protein will allow your muscles to effectively recover after your training sessions so that you’re ready on race day. It’s particularly important to eat a protein-rich meal within an hour following a strength training session, so that your body has fuel to rebuild. Opt for lean sources of protein, like chicken breast. Here are a few of our faves: tilapia, turkey breast, tofu and eggs.

Eat Familiar Foods

The days before a race are not the time to experiment with new and exciting foods. Stick to foods that you know will make you feel great. Some runners feel fantastic the day after a big pasta feed, while it leaves others feeling bloated and sluggish. Play around with your diet (when you’re not prepping for a race) to figure out what foods and meals make you feel and perform the best.

Eat Enough

While you don’t want to gain weight, the days before a race are not the time to try to lose a few pounds. Make sure that you’re getting enough calories so that your body has plenty of fuel. Making sure that you’re getting plenty to eat before your race will help ensure that your body has energy to charge through the finish line. If you feel like you’re having a hard time getting enough calories to compensate for the mileage you’re logging, try snacking on healthy, calorie-dense foods like raw nuts and full fat Greek yogurt throughout the day.

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VFuel 30 Day Trial

May 15th, 2013

We’re stoked to welcome a new energy gel brand to our all-star lineup. VFuel Energy Gel (formerly ViFuel Energy Gel) is carefully formulated to help endurance runners avoid the performance-crushing sugar crash and maintain stable energy levels.

The gel uses less sugar than many other gels to help provide stable energy. VFuel also uses significantly less sodium than many other energy gel formulations, so you might want to try an electrolyte supplement with your VFuel.

The gel was developed by endurance runners from Colorado, so we know they’re well-versed in endurance trail running, but we wanted to take the gel for a test ride ourselves. We had two of our own endurance trail runners, Erik and Tera, use VFuel exclusively for an entire month. Here’s what they had to say:

RW: What did an average training week look like for you when you were testing VFuel?

Erik (E): I was running about 55-60 miles a week with a lot of five to eight mile runs, two longer runs of 12-18 miles, and one up-tempo run.

Tera (T): I was running about 70 miles a week on average around the buildup to a 50-mile race. I didn’t do any speed work, just long runs building mileage.

RW: How’d you like the taste of VFuel?

T: I found it to be very palatable during a run. It has a very plain flavor, not highly sweet. It has a bit of a bitter aftertaste if I’m taking it before a run, but I didn’t even notice it on the run.

E: Compared to the Clif Vanilla and Clif Cherry Chocolate that I typically use, VFuel had a little edge to it on the aftertaste. It doesn’t have that same sweetness, and it tastes very clean.

RW: How did the gel settle in your stomach?

Read more…

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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.


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.


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).


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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