serious running: trail running, races, shoe reviews

Archive for August, 2009

The Costs of Trail Running

Monday, August 31st, 2009

There are a lot of costs associated with running in general, but specifically for trail running there can be a bit more of a cost.  I’m here to help you mitigate those costs.  It’s cool to be frugal in a bad economy.


A must for trail runners is a proper pair of trail running shoes.  You can run trails in road running shoes, but that isn’t as effective.  You leave a lot of speed and agility out on the trail.  You can’t afford to lose any speed and agility.  If you want to start trail running I suggest you invest in a pair of trail running shoes.  You can do this without increasing the cost to your overall running shoe buying habits.  Instead of putting more miles on those road running shoes, you will be putting more miles on a more rugged pair of trail running shoes, resulting in less running shoe purchases over time.  Think long-term growth.

There is a cost to learn a new sport, like trail running, but the best part of trail running is that it doesn’t take a lot of effort to enjoy it.  Of course, there are many techniques and practices to learn for trail running, but you don’t need to know anything before your first trail run, just go out there and run.  The rest you can learn OJT baby, or “On the Jogging Trail…training.”

There is a cost to traveling to the trail head.  Most of us don’t live within running distance (notice I didn’t say “walking” distance, walking is for suckers) of a running trail so we have to drive to the trail head.  If you want to experience other types of trails then you always have to travel far to go trail running.  On an unofficial survey I conducted on twitter, trail runners drive an average 20 miles to get to a trail head.  So how do you mitigate this cost?  Take a friend with you and share the gas!  It’s fun to share gas with friends!

So now what is your excuse for not trail running?  Sorry, being lame is not a valid excuse.

Check out our New Trail Run Listing Search and Win a $25 Gift Certificate

Friday, August 28th, 2009


You have to keep working hard to improve yourself in running as well as in life.  That’s why we at are constantly working hard to try to improve.  We have recently added a all new, one of a kind, trail run locating resource, an  interactive Trail Running map!  Don’t be startled, that was just your standard of living increasing.  Now you can check out which of our over 900 trail runs is closest to you!  Just click on the map and zoom in to your location.  The clusters will split into specific trails in your area until you find the specific listing you are looking for.  Click on the desired trail run to get the full information.  Easy to access information, I love Technology.  I think that’s what I’m going to name my first born, Technology.  So powerful.

Check it out and see if your favorite trail run is listed.  If not, then add it to the listing.  This weekend is actually the last weekend for adding trails to be entered in our contest to win a free $25 gift certificate.  We are giving away two of them and picking the winner at random from those who have submitted trail running information.  Not easy enough?  How about then we make it a little easier for you to enter to win.  Now, you can be entered to win by helping locate exact trail head locations.  If you click on any of the white markers on our map and update the exact location you will be entered to win as well!  Just click on the icon and then the trail run listing and place the marker on the correct location.  Help your fellow trail runner find that gnarly trail you love to run.  I know, you don’t want anyone else running on your trails, but don’t be selfish.  Trail Running is something everyone should be able to enjoy.  So spread the love!  It’s not like you own Nature…I do.

Nature Boy Chris Barber, Woooooo!

“To be the man, you’ve got to beat the man.” -Ric Flair

Urban Trail Running

Thursday, August 27th, 2009

What do you do when you can’t get to the trail for a trail run?  You should go for a non-perfect substitute for trail running I like to call Urban Trail Running.  Urban Trail Running gives you the training, health benefits, and excitement that trail running does while staying in the city!


Running in a city can lead to many types of injuries because of the continuity of the flat paths and the rigidity of surfaces.  Animals tend to take the path of least resistance, but you’re not an animal, you’re a human, take the path with resistance, your body will thank you.  The mechanics of running on a flat/even surface makes every step the same.  This can cause damage and stress to particular areas of your body.  One of the most common injuries to runners is the iliotibial band syndrome which is caused by muscle imbalance because running on flat surfaces does not work your stabilizer muscles.  The hard concrete running surfaces can aggravate these types of injuries as well as create injuries on their own like shin splints.  Shin splints are caused by the repeated stress on the shin bone, often as a result from running on concrete.  So what should you do?  Urban Trail Running of course.

Urban Trail Running is taking the exercise benefits and some of the excitement you get from Trail Running to the urban environment.  Of course you want to run the trail, but you can’t always make it out so Urban Trail Running is your next best option.  First focus on finding differing surfaces, this is often the most difficult task in an urban trail run.  Look for parks and other grassy areas, small running trails, or windy roads.  You may be able to find paved paths in your city that curve a lot which is good for working on your balance.  Anything that varies your terrain or route will help you work on your lateral movements and stabilizing muscles.  Personally, where I live there are many small parks with large hills that I like to run through to vary my steps on my run.  If you don’t live in an area with small parks then look for culverts.  Anywhere there is water there is usually uneven terrain that you can run on.  When running on the street try to run on as much asphalt as possible.  Not only is asphalt not as rigid as concrete, but it is sculpted at more of an angle, giving you more of an uneven surface to run on.  If in a ultra urban environment like Manhattan, look for steps and other uneven surfaces to vary your run.  Run down the subway stairs, hurdle the entrance stall, run a half circle inside the subway terminal, then hurdle back over the entrance stall, and then run back up the stairs. Trust me, Manhattans have seen much stranger.

Overall, to Urban Trail Run you need to vary your surface and terrain as much as possible.  Jump over benches instead of logs, run down embankments instead of steep hills, and hop over steps instead of roots and rocks.  Urban Trail Running is going to be the new craze.  All the kids will be doing it!  Don’t you want to feel like a kid again?

Jeff Galloway on Running…a Business (2 of 2)

Wednesday, August 26th, 2009


In 1975 Jeff Galloway started his first running training camp, starting with Lake Tahoe, California.  Jeff says, “I just wanted an excuse to go train out in Tahoe.”  This excuse grew into the extensive network of training groups and retreats all across the United States which Jeff still conducts today.  He also has expanded these retreats Internationally to Greece and soon to Japan, for a total of 90 Galloway training events a year.  Typically Jeff will conduct 5-hour schools in each city where he will go over individuals’ form and give initial evaluations.  From there, runners contact Jeff via email as he monitors their progress and alters their training schedules based off performance and how they are feeling during the training plan.  So how does Jeff have to the time to do all this?  He constantly works.  He said, “I answer every email sent to me, it may be 2 months before you get a response, but I’ll answer it.”  Jeff estimates he responds to about 100 runner’s questions a day!  This may take a lot of work, but this is what Jeff attributes his business success to, helping people and making connections.  Jeff always wanted to help people and improve their quality of life and is at heart a teacher.  Because of this, he talks to a lot of people which has helped his business.  Jeff says, “The best marketing is word of mouth.”  Another marketing technique of Jeff Galloway’s ventures is event driven, like the event happening at his store Phidippides at Ansley Mall in Atlanta, GA, this Saturday where you can get a chance to run with and speak with Jeff Galloway himself!  An free event like that is sure to create some buzz!

Jeff also said that from listening and working with so many different types of runners he is able to improve his expertise in running.  Someone who has helped train over 250,000 people has probably seen it all, but that doesn’t stop Jeff Galloway from continuing to learn and modify his training plans.  When asked what is greatest accomplishment has been he didn’t say winning the first Peachtree Road Race or running the Olympic games, he said,”Helping so many people and being able to hear from them.”  Jeff is amazed at how strong running has gotten and that people who are out of shape are taking up running, and some with his help are running marathons!  Something he never imagined would ever be possible!  However, I think the running boom of the early 1980s is something he helped make possible from the word of mouth buzz he created from his shoes stores to his books to his training programs.  Jeff Galloway has positively touched many people’s lives throughout his business career and continues to do it today.  Why?  Because he enjoys helping people.  Probably the best strategic business plan ever.

Jeff Galloway on Running…a Business (1 of 2)

Tuesday, August 25th, 2009


I recently had the opportunity to speak with Jeff Galloway on building and running a business.  Not only is Jeff a very accomplished athlete, being on the 1972 Olympic team, breaking the U.S. 10-mile record in 1973, and winning such races as the very first Peachtree Road Race, the Honolulu Marathon, and the Atlanta Marathon, but he has also become very successful in the running industry.  Jeff Galloway has become an expert in the sport of running, writing best-selling books such as “Galloway’s Book on Running,” starting Phidipiddes Running specialty store, starting many inaugural races, and training over 250,000 people in Jeff Galloway’s Training Programs.  As a runner and an aspiring entrepreneur, Jeff Galloway inspires me.  That is why I wanted to ask Jeff some questions about his experience in the business of running.

Jeff Galloway’s first entrepreneurial venture was Phidippides running specialty store in 1973.  He started the first one in Tallahassee, Florida with a partner who was one of his professors in graduate school.  While Jeff wanted to keep the sporting goods store running specific, his partner wanted to expand the product line.  In 1975 Jeff and his partner decided to part ways so Jeff could start a running specialty store in Atlanta.  Phidippides was one of the first running specialty stores in North America.  Here Jeff developed their unique running shoe fitting process which enables Phidippides employees to match the right shoe to the person.  Phidippides still uses this superior fit process today without special gadgetry, which has given better results than the fit processes of their competitors.  This superior process, along with being one of the first to the running specialty stores market, made a perfect opportunity to franchise Phidippides.  In the late 1970s and early 1980s Phidippides was franchised for a nominal fee.

From Phidippides, Jeff Galloway’s other entrepreneurial ventures were bred.  Jeff says, “A lot of entrepreneurial things came out of the store, the most important thing is to wait until demand reaches a critical mass, then you react.”  In 1978, at the request of many of his Phidippides customers, Jeff began developing training plans and giving running advice.  He would conduct training sessions in Atlanta and also began to communicate training plans with other runners outside of Atlanta via phone, fax, or even letter.  This lead to his very successful training clinics, events, and retreats that he currently conducts all across the Nation and the World!

Tomorrow I’ll tell you more about how Jeff was able to leverage his running experiences and knowledge to develop some of the most popular training programs in the World and become an expert in the running industry!

Inaugural National Trail Running Day a Success!

Monday, August 24th, 2009


I hope you didn’t miss the Inaugural National Trail Running Day this past Saturday.  It was a great success with runners taking to the trails all over the Nation.  Over 3000 trail runners participated in official events this year by running in group runs, trail races, and doing trail clean-ups.  Thank you to everyone who participated and helped make it a success!  Don’t worry if you missed it, there’s always next year.  Put it on your long-range calendar now so you don’t forget, August 21st, 2010, is set for the 2nd Annual National Trail Running Day.  You only have 363 days left to plan your celebration.  If you have any pictures from National Trail Running Day that you would like to share, please feel free to add them to the National Trail Running Day Facebook group.

Again, thank you to all who participated in the Inaugural event.  Now you have something to tell your grandchildren about.  How way back in 2009 you participated in the very first National Trail Running Day!

Caster Semenya to undergo Gender Verification Test

Monday, August 24th, 2009

Germany Athletics Worlds

Caster Semenya won the Women’s 800 m race at the World Championships this past Thursday by almost 2 seconds ahead of the rest of the field.  Check out this margin of victory.  The win looks like something out of this world and almost impossible.  Caster definitely had a leg up on the rest of the field, but was it hard work, genetics, or gender doping?  Nobody is sure but something has to give.

Her dramatic improvement along with her muscular build and deep voice have sparked speculation.  IAAF general secretary Pierre Weiss said the gender tests were ordered because of, “ambiguity, not because we believe she is cheating.”  So unlike Saturday Night Live’s “Pat,” it looks like we will be able to find out what Caster’s true gender is.  Check out this interview from Caster and see what gender you think she most closely resembles.  You could be wrong like Eric Modiba, head of the Nthema Secondary School where Caster attended who said, “She never wore a dress.  It was only in Grade 11 that I realized she’s a girl.”  Well Mr. Modiba be prepared to change your mind again.

Knowing your Running Limits

Friday, August 21st, 2009

First off, Happy National Trail Running Day Eve!  I am so excited that I woke up at 5 this morning just thinking about all the awesome trail running I’m going to do tomorrow.  I gotta do some last minute shopping today…


I want to talk about running within you capabilities and limitations.  I learned about knowing your limits for the first time when I was 18.  A group of friends and I drove up to Tsali trails in North Carolina to do some mountain biking Senior year of High School.  After our ride we were cruising down Hwy 28 a couple of miles from the trails and drove over a bridge across a lake.  So we decided to jump off it.  This actually started a craze for me and my friends which we called “bridge jumping.”  From then on we never passed over a bridge without someone saying, “You think we could jump this?”  At any rate, after some jumps we wanted something a little more extreme so we went to a second bridge that was probably twice the height of the first one.  We walked down to the water see how deep it was.  There was a fisherman who had a depth finder and told us it was deep enough but someone had died a couple of years back jumping off that bridge.  Of course our 18 year old egos knew that that would not happen to us.  So we went back to the bridge to look down and consider jumping.  I said to my friend who would do anything extreme, “I’ll do it, if you do it first.”  I’m not really into being a guinea pig.  He turned to me and said, “I’m not going to do it.  I know my limits.”  This was the first time I had ever heard any of my friends talk about having limits and especially this friend.  He wasn’t scared of anything!  We didn’t jump the bridge and went to meet my parents for a Southern cooked meal.  The reason I remember this day is because I had always grown up with limitations put on me and I was usually trying to figure out how to push the limits.  Actually limiting yourself?  Yes, you should.

I ran another runner to absolute exhaustion last night at my running club.  I felt bad with a smidgen of pride.  We were doing a 5 mile run and admittedly I started the pace out pretty fast.  We had a larger group running with the “faster” people and I wanted to spread it out a bit.  I knew who our fastest runner was (a female actually), so as long as she kept pace then it was not too fast for a group run.  For the first time, another guy, a 22 year old who runs 5Ks in the 17s, stuck with us.  I had never run with this guy before but a lot of people in the group knew him.  I could tell he was hurting by his breathing during the run but he was keeping up.  With just under a mile left I got stuck behind the two of them on an uphill so I went around them and pushed it up the hill.  I like to push the hills, get them over with as soon as possible.  Well, I think this other runner took this as me racing him.  So he turned on his speed and from there until we got back he pushed his pace to the limit.  I stayed with him, staying a half stride back, running his pace, but I could tell he wanted to kill me in this run.  I won’t get competitive in group runs unless you verbally challenge me.  We finished on a downhill with each other and his legs just plopping on the ground, he wasn’t running, I knew he had nothing left in his legs.

After we were done I went to give him a high five but he was busy walking around, cooling off.  I talked to some other runners and hung out for a bit.  Then I saw him sitting on a bench with people around him.  He was out of it.  In a daze.  Could barely talk and that was only one word answers.  We got him some jelly beans, orange juice, Gatorade, and nuts, but he was too exhausted to even in take any of these nutrients.  He then laid down on the ground because he was too weak to sit on a bench.  We were concerned and luckily had a doctor with us who was monitoring this exhausted runner as well.  After about 45 minutes to an hour he actually started to “come to” and hold a conversation, even smile a bit.  We called his girlfriend to come pick him up to make sure he would be alright the rest of the night.  That’s what you get from trying to push the pace with.  You can’t beat me.  “Don’t touch me, cause I’m electric, and if you touch me, you’ll get shocked!” -Beastie Boys.  Now I know this running club is going to be a race day for me and I’ll have to treat my eating as such.  I’m sure he wants revenge…but he will never taste it.

The point is, you have to know your limits and capabilities.  I have the utmost respect for this other runner.  To leave it all out there on a 5 mile group run.  Not letting anyone pass him.  That’s how serious runners are, always pushing it, not accepting defeat.  But the problem is that he overexerted himself to the point where he actually put himself in danger.  I’m all for taking risks, but calculated risks.  You must know your capabilities and properly set your limits to avoid a catastophie like a serious injury.  If you haven’t been running and are not in shape to run a 17 minute 5K then back it off a bit, there’s nothing wrong with it.

Listen to Ice Cube and, “Check yourself before you wreck yourself fool.”

Vibram Five Fingers Running

Thursday, August 20th, 2009


First, I saw a lot of talk about Vibram Five Fingers on the Internet.  That’s understandable, I’m on the Internet a lot.  But now I’ve started seeing them around town and at running clubs.  As soon as people see someone wearing the Vibram Five Fingers they want to know everything about them.  All of the runners that have started wearing Vibram Five Fingers say they take some getting used to but they love running in them and are pain free.  I honestly think that is Vibram Five Finger’s marketing strategy, they are so strange that everyone wants to strike a conversation about them.  Then usually the wearer says they have never felt better running.  What better marketing can you get?  One runner yesterday said, “That’s it.  I’m buying a pair tomorrow.”  Not knowing this person to necessarily be a man of action I asked, “Tomorrow?  Really?”  His responded, “Well the stores will probably be closed by the time we are done with our run, don’t you think?”  I think that’s an immediate sale for Vibram Five Fingers!

Personally if I were Vibram I would take it one step further and include some information about the product that the buyers can read.  That way when wearers are “marketing” they can speak more intelligently on the subject.  I often find myself explaining more about the concept of the Vibram Five Fingers, being developed for runners to run how humans were build to run, to inquiers because I have more knowledge on the subject from reading and research on the Internet than the actual wearers do.  This is what Vibram Five Fingers says about their product:

“The typical human foot is an anatomical marvel of evolution with 26 bones, 33 muscles and hundreds of sensory receptors, tendons and ligaments. Like the rest of the body, to keep our feet healthy, they need to be stimulated and exercised.

“That’s why we recommend wearing FiveFingers for exercise, play, and for fun. Stimulating the muscles in your feet and lower legs will not only make you stronger and healthier, it improves your balance, agility and proprioception.”  There are many different styles to choose from depending on what activity you plan to use them for.  Trail running I hope.

The science makes sense, but my question is, ‘What does it do to your body in the long run (pun-intended)?’  Sure the pain goes away now but there haven’t been people running in these over a long-term to find out what possible side-effects that may occur in the long-run (again, pun-intended).  It is going to be interesting to see how far this craze will go and if it will last.  Until then, check out to hear more stories about Vibram Five Fingers to decide for yourself if you want to join the party.  Or you can just wear some around town so people will talk to you.  You’re so popular.

Kara Goucher’s Running Style

Wednesday, August 19th, 2009


A friend of mine sent me this article in the Wall Street Journal about Americans losing ground to Kenyan runner’s in the International running scene and how Kara Goucher’s different approach to training is helping her get back into the International competition.  She’s just gripping it and ripping it.  Like Hanzel in Zoolander said, “For me, it’s just the way I live my life.  I grip it and I rip it.”  Very well thought out words Hanzel.  That is essentially what Kara Goucher is doing.  Kara doesn’t run for distance or time when training.  She just goes for a run twice a day and runs as fast and as far as she is feeling that day.  She just grips it and rips it.

I honestly don’t understand all of the heart monitor, pace setting, caloric in-taking regulation people have in their training.  I want to run as fast as I feel I can run, why do I need to have a heart monitor?  I know how my body is feeling.  Likewise, why would I want to shoot for a certain pace in a run?  What if I’m feeling better than usual, do I have to hold back to stay at that pace.  I start all of my races a little faster than I think my overall race pace is going to be just in case I’m able to hold that faster pace.  Maybe I’ll be able to hold it the whole time or maybe I’ll get tired, so I’ll slow down a bit.  And why would I watch all of the calories I intake?  I eat enough to fulfill my hunger.  My hunger is based off of how many calories I have burned in relation to what my body thinks it is going to need to get it to the next time I eat.  I’ve been judging how hungry I am my whole life!  Why would I want to track it now?  However, I do know that I have to eat healthy, but “healthy” is a broad term.  Whatever it is you do to try to “pace” yourself or not “over do it,” try not doing that.  Just grip it and rip it, rock with the feel, and go with your own flow.

When racing you want to race like the Kenyans who “enjoy the battle” or Kara who says, “Sometimes we get obsessed with time.  You can’t win a race like that.”  She’s right, you can’t, because the race is not about time.  It’s about you against the other runners, all you need to do to win is run faster than them, it’s that simple.  As far as your race against the course, you should know the route and know what to expect, but you shouldn’t think about specifics, just what the overall layout is in relation to how you are feeling.  Remember, it’s all about feeling.

So be like Kara Goucher and feel your run.  It feels good don’t it?  Oh yeah.