serious running: trail running, races, shoe reviews

Archive for November, 2009

Running Gloves for Winter Running

Wednesday, November 25th, 2009

It’s time to get in the holiday spirit and what better way than getting your favorite runner the piece or running apparel they want and need, but haven’t brought themselves to purchase yet, Running Gloves.  Runners’ heat escapes from their extremities which is why it is important to cover their hands.  Runners extremities become colder than the rest of their body because when running, blood flow is redirected to more essential body parts like the lungs and active muscles, leaving other extremities left with decreased blood flow.  Runners can solve this problem by wearing running gloves.  Running gloves are also great for wiping sweat and snot, along with providing protection from falls that are more likely to occur when running in the darkness of the winter months.  All running gloves will keep your hands warm, but there are some small differences between running glove brands:


CTG Ultralite 180s Running Gloves are great gloves that also convert into mittens when the weather gets really nasty.  They have fabric pods located on the index finger so you can easily change the song on your iPod or MP3 player.  They also have a great reflective trim for those early morning runs.  Price:  $18.75.


Brooks Vapor Dry 2 Running Gloves transfers moisture away from your hands to keep them warm as you build up a sweat.  They feature finger grips which are functional for wiping surfaces like your nose or brow.  They also come with magnets that hold the gloves together when not in use.  Price:  27.95.


Asics Thermopolis Running Gloves have a great box finger construction which provides a comfortable fit.  If you like to wipe your sweat with your thumbs then the Asics Thermopolis Running Gloves are for you with their terry surface on the thumbs.  Price:  $24.99.

adidas-ultratech-ii Running Gloves

Adidas UltraTech II Running Gloves are great for keeping your hands dry and maintaining warmth. They are made with ClimaLite performance to draw sweat away and ClimaWarm thermal insulation to retain heat.  Price:  $19.99.

Does Viagra Improve Running Performance?

Monday, November 16th, 2009


In 2004, a study was conducted by The American Physiological Society in which they studied 10 different cyclists’ performance on a 6K course with a simulated altitude of 12,700 feet and found a 45% improvement in performance for most cyclists.  Runners, especially ultra distance runners, are now beginning to see the benefits of taking Viagra when exercising and racing.  Viagra’s use for increasing exercise performance originated with body builders, who it is hypothesized, started using Viagra to offset the side effect of impotence from steroid use, and found its benefits for increasing exercise performance.  Weight lifters began using it before work outs, using Viagra’s ability to dilate blood vessels to help deliver anabolics to various muscle groups.  The objective of athletes is to get the nutrients to the muscles as far ahead of time as possible in order to perform at optimal levels.  Body builders claim Viagra expands the muscles and pounds the nutrients in them.

As the study of cyclist shows, Viagra is also useful for other, more aerobic sports, like running.  Viagra increases stamina for endurance athletes by increasing blood flow to the lungs.  Viagra is a vasodilator which means it helps relax blood vessels to allow for increased blood flow.  This increase in oxygen in the blood flow to the lungs can be most helpful when running in high altitudes or oxygen poor climates.  The improvement in which the blood pressure is elevated in the arteries that supply the lungs is known as pulmonary arterial hypertension.  Runners of all types, at any altitude, can benefit from pulmonary arterial hypertension.

However, like many scientific studies, the interpretation of the results are mixed.  Some experts claim that the increase in performance by the use of Viagra could be due to athletes increase sex drive, which may lead them to have sex close to race time and therefore, increase their performance because of the euphoric state they are in after having sex, rather than increase oxygen to the blood flowing to the lungs.  Either way, Viagra is not currently a banned substance for most endurance races so it does not hurt to try.  The World Anti-Doping Agency is funding studies to detect whether the drug gives athletes an advantage or not.  If it does, it could be banned in future endurance events and running races.

So while it is currently legal, you can try to see if Viagra helps improve your athletic performance; however, like any medication, test at your (and your partner’s) own risk.

XTERRA Georgia Trail Run Series: Victoria Bryant 10K

Friday, November 13th, 2009


With the ever-growing popularity of the XTERRA Georgia Trail Run Series, race director Tim Schroer is always on the lookout for adventurous and exciting venues to hold new events.  Premiering on November 29th, the newest XTERRA Trail Run explores one of northern Georgia’s best kept secrets within the rolling hills of Royston’s Vicotia Bryant State Park.

Just three days after Thanksgiving, the XTERRA Victoria Bryant Trail Run offers the perfect way to get back on the fitness track after a day of full indulgence.  The 10-kilometer course offers an even mix of challenging climbs, rugged roots, technical single track, and breathtaking scenery.  This is truly an experience Georgia runners wanting to “Ditch the City” will not want to miss.

The race is on Sunday, November 29th at 8:30 am.  The entry fee is $30 until November 15th, $35 after that, and $40 on race day so register now before prices increase!  Medals and prizes will be given out to the overall top 3 male and female finishers.  Medals to the top 3 male and female finishers in each age group.  Like always, dri-fit shirts will be guaranteed for all early registrants.  Run the Inaugural Victoria Bryant Trail Race presented by an experienced race director a couple of days after Thanksgiving to burn off that cranberry sauce with a run through the woods!

Arm Sleeves for your Running Arms

Wednesday, November 11th, 2009


Arm sleeves are fast becoming popular in the sport of running.  Arm sleeves began a while ago with hardcore road cyclists and no runners are beginning to discover the benefits too.  The popularity started when elite runners started wearing these cyclists arm sleeves which now has spread to all types of runners.  Runners point to the temperature regulation, compression, and UV protection as why they enjoy running in arm sleeves.  Arm sleeves give runners another option for clothing they can wear at the start of a race and remove when their body begins to heat up.  They are easy to take off and can fit in a small pocket.  Arm sleeves can be made of synthetic yarns, fleece, or even bamboo.  These breathable and flexible materials make arm sleeves great for any running weather.  You can also get them in many different colors and patterns.


Elite runners began wearing arm sleeves to give them more space for sponsorship logos which has lead to the patterned arm sleeves.  However, arm sleeves are by no means mainstream for non-professional runners yet.  But with the increase of uses, like for protection against scrapes and cuts for trail runners, arm sleeves are gaining popularity.  If you are looking for a way to add compression, regulate tempature, protect you from UV rays, or protect your from brush and trees, then check out some arm sleeves.  It’s good to follow elite runners’ lead.  We do it all the time!

Slower Marathon Times lead to Higher Costs

Tuesday, November 3rd, 2009

The Biz Runner wrote about an article in the New York Times named, “Plodders Have a Place, but Is It in a Marathon?”  The article brings up the fact that Marathon times have become higher, which has diluted the accomplishment of finishing a marathon for all runners, no matter what time they finish with.  They have said that slow runners have disrespected the distance and have ruined the marathon’s mystique.  Here’s a solution, if you think running a marathon isn’t as big of an accomplishment anymore, run a 50K.  Problem solved.


Actually, not problem solved.  Chris Burch, race director of the Des Moines Marathon told the New York Times, “For every race director, there’s a very fine line between putting on a community event and putting on a race.”  Marathons take a lot of capital to be run successfully; therefore, you have to appeal to all types of runners, both the racers and community runners.  So how do you make a race attractive to all runners while not diluting the accomplishment for the more experienced runners?

The Berlin Marathon solution is to put the responsibility of finishing the race on their entrants.  They tell them before they sign up that they must run the race at a minimum pace.  Then during the race, the Berlin Marathon sends out a team running at that pace.  Anyone that falls behind that team will be asked to leave the race course.  This solves both problems, you get the entry fees of the slower runners, while enforcing the measure of accomplishment for finishing your event.

The Biz Runner pointed out that the longer runners are on the course, the more costs incurred to race directors for police on the streets, race workers, to pay the city to close the streets for the race, which can be the largest fixed cost to race directors, and much more.  His solution is to incrementally increase marathon runners entry fee based on time; going as far as to suggest billing your credit card based on your official finishing time.  But at what time do you start increasing fees?  He suggested the Oprah line; to increase fees incrementally starting at Oprah’s finish of 4:29:15 in the Marine Corps marathon in 1994.  The Oprah line is set at 4:30:00.  Are you above or below the Oprah line?


While the Oprah line may be a great way to make a goal time, it may not be the best way to charge slower runners higher fees.  If race directors increased fees based on performance, I believe it should be more standardized and mitigated for race conditions.  Also, there should be a flat fee in order to be fair, letting runners know exactly what costs they may incur from running at a slower pace.  This can be done very easily using a bell shaped curve.  Race directors can take the mean marathon race time, then take two standard deviations to the right of the mean in order to encompass the top 97.7% finishing times of their marathon participants.  The bottom 2.3% of runners are often outliers in which the variable cost incurred from each minute slower is exponential.  A race director could be paying for 2-3 extra hours of race time for only 2.3% of all participants!  These runners should be asked to pay a higher entry fee to pay for this extra cost, instead of it being covered with all runners race fees, no matter how long they use the race course.  Also, by charging these runners more, less of them will elect to run the race unless they are serious about it, making the accomplishment of finishing your race more desirable.  Of course, you will always have 2.3% of your customers unhappy that they have to pay extra to run your race, but they are the ones using your product, a marathon race, more than the others customers.


Runners are runners and all should be able to try to reach a goal of finishing a marathon; however, some may need to re-think signing up for a large, expensive marathon if their time is in the bottom 2.3% of all runners.  They should try running 26.2 miles on their own first to see if they fall in that lower category of runners.  You don’t need a race to accomplish your goal of running a marathon.