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New Balance Warrior Prequel Running Shoe Review

Friday, October 11th, 2013

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New Balance gave me the chance to check out the new Warrior Prequel Running Shoes and I couldn’t wait to lace these babies up and take them for a spin around town. The Warrior Prequel is the first in it’s series and is a shoe built from the ground up without any creative constraints.

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The first thing I noticed when putting on the shoe was the molded tongue for a tight fit in the upper part of the shoe. I personally haven’t run in any shoes with this kind of support in the tongue and I was pleasantly surprised at how it cradled my entire foot. The upper is seamlessly welded for unmatched fit in any type of runner. This also lends itself for high performance for all types of foot shapes and sizes. The Warrior Prequel combines comfort, stability, and is ultra-light speed all in one package.

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The external stability cradle maintains the foot positioning in the center heel which helps all types of athletes. New Balance was also able to add rev-light material in the heel which is 33% lighter than other shoes with the same amount of cushioning.

I ran in these shoes but New Balance wants you to know these shoes are perfect for anyone playing team sports, crossfit, or anybody. New Balance tested them with recreational athletes and professional athletes to show it can work for anyone. I think they are great all around shoes but if you are looking for a running specific shoe you may want to try another New Balance running shoes.

Check out this video on how they designed the shoe.

 

Georgia runner to run XTERRA National Championships

Monday, September 16th, 2013

Deanna McCurdy of Peachtree City will be joining 700 other runners in the XTERRA National Championships this weekend. Deanna is running in support of Team Miles for Smiles, a Foundation for Angelman Syndrome Therapeutics, or F.A.S.T. Her youngest daughter is diagnosed with the disease. Those effected are born missing a segment of their 15th chromosome on the maternal side and require life long care.

Deanna placed 1st in the XTERRA Deep South Trail Run 15k (no big deal, right?) that she described as really, “a way to have a date with my husband, we were going to go mountain biking after I ran the race.” Sounds like a tough woman. But don’t be afraid, Deanna just has perceptive from raising a child affected by Angelman Syndrome. Her running mantra is, “I run because I can. When I get tired I just remember those who can’t run and what they would give to have this simple gift I take for granted and I run harder for them. I know they would do the same for me.” Deanna wears a blue reminder bracelet and friendship bracelet in support of Foundation of Angelman Syndrome and a friendship bracelet is from her 8 year old daughter.

Deanna says that when their daughter was born it turned their world updside down. The fact that you don’t know when “someday is” makes you jump on every opportunity if it presents itself.

What’s unique about Deanna’s foundation is that a cure doesn’t seem in a distance future, it’s being tested successfully and a cure could become imminent. 1 out of 15,000 children have the disease but Deanna says that many more may be prevalent in mis-diagnosis as autism or cerebral palsy.

If you want to support Deanna, her race, and the foundation, please visit their site at miles-for-smiles.org.

When to Stretch for a Run

Sunday, August 25th, 2013

Many runners are confused about when they should stretch for a run. In the past, it seemed like it was standard practice for runners to stretch both before and after a run. Stretching before and after a run was said to loosen your muscles, ease soreness, and help prevent running injuries. I did this for years until I read an article a few years ago in an ultra runner’s magazine. The article made me question my own stretching routine, so I decided to switch it up. Instead of stretching before my runs, I began to stretch only after my runs were completed. There was a noticeable difference after the first week once I stopped stretching before my runs. My legs actually felt sturdier during the runs, and I was convinced that stretching prior to a run was not the right thing for my body. However, I still continue to stretch after my runs to work out any tightness that I may feel, and also to help maintain my body’s flexibility.

I don’t think there is an absolute right or wrong when it comes stretching. I think that it depends primarily on the individual runner.  You should figure out what works best for you, and try not focus too much on what is said to be the “right way”. In some cases, you may prefer to not stretch at all for a run. Runner’s World has a very comprehensive article that touches on the topic of stretching.  There is also a video that can show you various types of dynamic stretches if you still feel the need to stretch your body.

The important thing to remember is that there really isn’t a right or wrong way to stretch for a run. If what you’re doing works, then keep doing it. On the other hand, if you are questioning your stretching routine, then don’t be afraid to try out a new technique. Like I said in a previous post; listen to your own body. Nobody knows when, or if, you need to stretch better than you.

Take life one mile at a time.

 

If You Don’t Like To Run…Then You’re Doing It Wrong

Friday, August 16th, 2013

I’ve heard many people over the years say why running is just “not for me.”  I think I’ve heard just about every excuse in the book as to why they don’t like running, don’t run at all anymore, or never even tried to run because of some sort of physical barrier.  I will be the first to admit that I haven’t always been a runner.  In high school, my running consisted entirely of what I did in football practice or games.  My attitude was, “If it was anything longer than 100 yards, then just go on with out me.”  However, once I became a paratrooper in the 82nd Airborne Division, running became part of my culture.  My division is known for long distance runs in Area J (a sandy, wooded, and hilly area on Fort Bragg).  Our runs together in Area J were often times pretty tough, but it was something that brought us all closer together.  Today, Chris Barber and I still reminisce about those runs we had.  There is still an ongoing debate as to who was the fastest runner in our platoon, but it was an experience that he and I will never forget.

The power of long distance running is unmeasurable.  I think it’s crazy when I hear people tell me that they weren’t built for running.  There is enough science out there now that proves ALL human beings were built to be distance runners.  Running is what we do.  It’s in our DNA, and there is not other animal on the planet that can do it quite like us.  Our natural ability to run long distance has been a primary contributor to our evolutionary development and success.

Here are four little tips that may help get rid of a few of those excuses as to why you aren’t a distance runner:

1.) If your body hurts when you run, then you probably need to evaluate your running form.  We could get into the whole debate about running shoes, and minimalist versus support shoes, but form is often times the main culprit for running pain.

2.) Tailor your runs to your own personal wants and needs.  This means that you must listen to your own body.  If your running partner is much faster than you, then don’t risk injury just to be able to keep up with his or her pace.  There’s nothing wrong with pushing your physical fitness levels.  Actually, I highly encourage it in order to make you a stronger runner both mentally and physically.  However, do it judiciously.  Distance running is a game of patience, so just relax and take your time.

3.) Enjoy your runs by running in a comfortable environment.  This means if you don’t like to run in the heat, then schedule your runs for the early morning or in the evenings when the sun is not so intense.  Is your trail not too safe after dark?  Then run with a friend or during daylight hours.  The important thing is that you plan your runs in a safe and comfortable environment so that you can focus on running, and not be distracted by a whole lot of external factors.

4.) Be a grateful runner.  Not everyone in the world has an opportunity to enjoy running because of physical or mental disabilities.  It is something that we all take advantage of, but it is an important thought to keep in mind when you’re running.  I’m grateful every time I lace up my running shoes and get out there on the trails.  Having an appreciative outlook on your ability to run can be an enormous contributor to your motivation.

In the end, just get out there and run.  There are going to be things that work for you that don’t work for other people.  However, in order to find out what works you have to get out there and learn your body.  Find out what your physical and mental limits are, and don’t be afraid to set new ones.  And lastly, remember that we are all runners.  It’s not unique to only certain human beings.   Instead, running is in us all, but it is up to you to bring it out.

Take life one mile at a time.

A Strong Upper Body Can Drastically Improve Your Run

Monday, August 5th, 2013

Runners have the tendency to focus primarily on the strength and condition of their lower body.  Obviously strong and well conditioned legs are vital aspect of a well-built runner.   However, upper body strength plays a key role in a runner’s form, efficiency, and overall success.  I realize how time consuming both running and putting in work at the gym can be.  The good news is that some of the best upper body workouts can be done in your garage, outside on your porch, or even at the park where you do some of your running.  The location of your workouts is not so much of a contributing factor to your success, but consistency is the thing that will be the game changer.  Just like training for a trail or road race, you must be just as consistent with training your upper body as well.

If there’s one thing I learned from my PT sessions as a paratrooper with the 82nd Airborne Division, besides running my ass off, it’s that you can never get enough pushups and pull-ups in for a workout.  With that being said, I’ve taken this vast knowledge of military-style workouts and tweaked them in a way to SERIOUSLY step up anyone’s upper body strength.  Pull-ups are considered one of the best upper body workouts because it works every muscle above the waist.  I know there are some “modifications” out there now to the pull-up, such as the kipping pull-up that crossfitters use, but I like to stick to the old fashioned method.  The traditional pull-up forces you to use only your upper body muscles to reach the top of the bar.  Pushups are also an excellent upper body workout that can be done just about anywhere.  It is best to mix up your pushup routine with various styles of pushups, but again, the key is consistency as it is with anything else.

Having a strong upper body, as well as a solid core, allows you to keep your proper running form even as your legs begin to tire.  Not only does this help during your run, but it will also help fend off those nagging injuries that can occur.  As your body becomes tired during a run, your running form will begin to weaken.  Many runners don’t realize that this isn’t happening because of weak legs, or a poor conditioning level.  This is happening because your upper body is wearing out faster during your run than both your lower body and cardiovascular system.  According to a Runner’s World article online, Olympians, and elite runners alike, are taking part in strength training to help improve their running game.  According to the article, “Based on the various training programs used by the elites, it’s clear that we don’t yet know the ideal strength training routine. What we do know is that strength training in many different forms results in better running economy and an improvement in running time to exhaustion. Put simply, you’ll be able to run faster, longer and stronger.”

I will be posting my own personal pushup and pull-up workouts, with pictures, very soon.  It will be a very useful tool for runners at any level, and your upper body will love you for it (except for the initial soreness).   Bottom line; don’t neglect your upper body.  Think of running as a full body workout.  For that reason alone, it is just as important to have a strong upper body as it is to have a strong lower body when you’re out there burning up the street or trails.

Remember to keep an eye out for my military-style workouts that are coming very soon on Seriousrunning!

Internet Marketing Internships for Military Veterans

Monday, July 15th, 2013

I want to help military Veterans get outstanding employment in the civilian world. I think our military Veterans are currently the United States’s best resource and can make a deep impact. The problem is that military Veterans just don’t have the right skills for today’s economy. It used to be that a “business manager” was a viable career path, but that’s no longer the case in our hyper-digitized society, everyone must not only be able to manage, but also create value with individual skillsz.

I got lucky. I had a brother that introduced me to technology and the Internet early on. I want to pass that luck to other military Veterans.

The first person I’m going to help is Eddie. Eddie has 23 years military service, is a SFC in the Army, and is preparing himself for the civilian world by taking classes in web design at night. He’s using the post 9-11 Bill to pay for it. I used the post 9-11 Bill myself to pay for (a very small portion) of my MBA at Emory University in Atlanta. I’m going to give Eddie some projects to work on for SeriousRunning and National Trail Running Day and connect him to industry professionals.

I’m also going to work with Justin. He was in the Marines for 4 years and is currently in the Army guard. He has a job that allows him a lot of free time in front of a computer so he’s going to try to write a couple of articles and learn how to create quality online content. He can then use these skills writing other sites like About.com. He’s interested in trying adventure racing but he just needs the shoes to take that first step. I’ve got plenty of extra shoes and I can only wear one pair at a time so I’ll help him make that first step.

If you are a Veteran and are interested in learning more about the Internet business please feel free to email me at chris@seriousrunning.com. Those two examples are real people that are beginning an Internship now.

Areas of study:

Social Media

Blog Writing

Search Engine Optimization (SEO)

Email Marketing

Event Marketing

Digital Marketing

Social Media Marketing

Online Advertising

SEM

Google Adwords

Google Analytics

Potential perks include free race entries, gear, and marketable skillz. Plus doing fun, extreme stuff like XTERRA adventure races.

Requirements are that you must commit to 10 hours per week and 1 weekly phone lesson. Please simply send an email describing yourself and what you are interested in to chris@seriousrunning.com. No resumes please. Internships are open now and will last until November 1st.

Happy Trails!

Chris

Co-founder & CEO

SeriousRunning & National Trail Running Day

Women’s Minimalist Running Shoes: Vibram Five Fingers

Wednesday, September 8th, 2010

After days of going over Men’s Vibram FiveFingers, it’s the Women’s turn now.  Vibram had their new collection of minimalist running shoes along with their old favorites at Outdoor Retailer this year.  They told me all about them and here’s what they said:

New Vibram Women’s FiveFingers KomodoSport: (MSRP $100) With today’s athlete in mind, Vibram FiveFingers has raised the intensity with Vibram FiveFingers KomodoSport.  This aggressive multisport design inherits what we love about the KSO with functional improvements that appeal to the most active fitness enthusiast.  For the first time ever, Vibram introduces a stitch-free, seamless 2mm footbed to reduce friction.  Heel and instep hook-and-loop closures help secure the stretch nylon upper to the contours of your foot-just like a second skin.  The KomodoSport wouldn’t be complete without a 4 mm Vibram TC1 performance rubber outsole which provides the grip and protection you need for a variety of cross training activities.  These shoes are good for running and fitness.

vibram-five-fingers-womens-kso1Vibram Women’s FiveFingers KSO($85.00) Over the last two years, the KSO has become the most popular model for women due to its comfort and versatility.  A thin, abrasion-resistant stretch nylon and breathable mesh upper wraps your entire forefoot to “Keep Stuff Out,” and a single hook-and-loop closure helps secure the fit.  A non-marking 3.5mm Vibram TC1 performance rubber outsole is razor-siped for a sure grip, and a 2mm EVA insole enhances plating protection and comfort.  These shoes are good for light trekking, climbing/bouldering, running, fitness, after sport, water sports, yoga and pilates.

Vibram Women’s FiveFingers Sprint: ($80.00) The lightweight and open design of the Sprint has made the is model a long-time vibram-five-fingers-womens-sprintfavorite.  Adjustable hook-and-loop closures across the instep and around the heel deliver a comfortable, secure fit.  A thin stretch nylon fabric comfortably follow the contour of the foot.  And a flexible, non-marking 3.5mm Vibram TC-1 performance rubber sole is razor-siped for improved flexibility and slip resistance.  These shoes are good for climbing/bouldering, running, fitness, after sport, water sports, yoga and pilates.

vibram-five-fingers-womens-classicVibram Women’s FiveFingers Classic: ($75.00)From day one, the FiveFingers Classic has drawn the attention and praise of the press and active barefoot enthusiasts alike.  Available for women and men, our original FiveFingers design takes a more casual and minimalist approach to barefooting.  The upper features a thin stretch nylon fabric that fits low on the foot.  Our non-marking 3.5mm Vibram TC1 performance rubber soles are razor siped for improved flexibility and slip resistance  over a  variety of terrain.  These shoes are good for fitness, running, after sport, yoga and pilates.

vibram-five-fingers-womens-bikilaVibram Women’s FiveFingers Bikila($99.95) Unlike any running shoe on the market today, the Bikila was the first model designed specifically for a more natural, healthier, and more efficient forefoot strike.  While many have been running in their Vibram FiveFiners for years, the Bikila is Vibram’s first model designed specifically for near barefoot running.  Built on an entirely new platform, the Bikila features a Dri-Lex covered 3mm polyurethane insole (thickets under the ball) and a 4mm anatomical pod outsole design that offers more plating protection, and distributes forefoot impact without compromising important ground feedback essential to a proper forefoot strike running form.  A more athletic padded collar and topline, a single hook and loop closure, a 3M reflective surfaces, and tear resistant TPU toe protection finish off this breakthrough design.  These shoes are great for running and fitness.

New Vibram Women’s FiveFingers Bikila LS(MSRP $100) Following in the footsteps of the original Vibram FiveFingers Bikila, the new Bikila LS offers a closed speed lace system to accommodate the wider foot or higher instep.  It shares the same revolutionary platform as the Bikila, featuring a Dri-Lex covered 3mm polyurethane insole (thickets under the ball) and a 4mm anatomical pod outsole design.  This combination provides superior plating protection and distributes forefoot impact without compromising essential ground feedback.  The bIkila LS upper is constructed of Coconut Active Carbon for natural breathability.  An athletic padded collar and topline, 3M reflective surfaces, and abrasion resistant PU toe protection add to Bikila LS road worthy design.  The defining feature of the Bikila LA is its closed quick lace system assuring a custom fit for a wider range of foot types.  These shoes are great for fitness and running.

Check out more Women’s Vibram FiveFingers.

Or check out some of the Men’s Vibram FiveFingers styles.

Is Gatorade good for Trail Running Hydration?

Wednesday, June 16th, 2010

gatorade-hydrationHydration and energy are essential for successful Trails Runs, but is yours being sabotaged by sports drinks?

Sports drinks were originally developed by scientists at the University of Florida in 1965 to help the school’s football players perform better during their 3-hour long games in 100-degree heat. Sound like your Trail Runs? Didn’t think so. Most of us have trail runs that last from 1 to 1 ½ hours at a moderate pace. The American Dietetic Association explains that unless you are an elite athlete or engaged in vigorous activity for more than 1 hour, plain water works perfectly for hydration.

There are two main components of sports drinks that aid in performance and hydration: carbohydrates and sodium. The carbohydrates come in the form of sugar to sweeten the drink and to add calories for energy. The sodium works to replace the sodium lost in sweat. However, neither of the components are necessary in drinks used for thirst and hydration for moderate runs that last less than 1 hour. In fact, drinking sports drinks when they are not necessary can add extra calories to your diet. The usual size 20-ounce bottle of a sports drink has an average of 140 calories, which means that you will have to run an extra 15 minutes just to burn it off!

Instead of drinking regular sports drinks, here are some healthy options:

- Flavor regular water with lemon, lime or orange slices

- Use lower calorie versions of sports drinks such as Gatorade G2 (71 calories per 20-ounce bottle), Propel Fitness Water (25 calories per 20-ounce bottle) or Powerade Zero (0 calories per 20-ounce bottle)

- Dilute your favorite sports drink with regular water

I know what you are thinking. “But I always drink Gatorade during races. It makes me feel better.” And you are right! There are instances when you do need to replace needed calories and energy during or after trail runs. I know that when I am training for half marathons, I tend to get leg cramps at night. What does that say to me? I am losing too much potassium through my sweat and need to replace it better. Ways to do that are through potatoes, tomatoes, bananas, oranges, or sports drinks! Consequently, I usually end my long runs with a large glass of Propel, berry flavor to be exact. The 45 minutes directly after your run is the best time to replenish the body’s losses.

Essentially, think of your body as a night club. As the night goes on, more and more cabs line up to take people home. Just like as your muscles work, they need to be replaced by what they lose, so transporters in your body line up to bring those lost elements from your bloodstream to your muscles and tissues. After the night club closes, people linger for awhile, so the cabs stick around for another 45 minutes or so to assure that everybody is brought home safely. Similarly, in your body, those transporters stick around for about 45 minutes to bring every needed mineral and nutrient available to replenish the muscles and tissues, which help to prevent soreness and cramping.

Moral of the story: Sports drinks work magnificently to replace your body’s losses if you are trail running for longer than 1 1/2 hours, hit that wall during a trail race when you feel your energy bottoms out, or are in need of extra calories and electrolytes. Otherwise, water is your best bet. It will quench your thirst without adding excess calories that you just worked so hard to burn off.

Happy Trail Running and Hydration!

-Lanier Thompson, M.S.

Great Trail Running Quote

Wednesday, May 5th, 2010

“I keep running and when I get to a place I can’t run anymore, I turn around and run home.”

downhill-trail-running-manI read this quote in a running magazine a while back and thought it was really neat.  The quote comes from a trail runner explaining how, and probably more importantly, why he ran down a steep rock cliff that all the other runners stopped and walked down.  This quote symbolizes why I love to go serious and extreme  Trail Running.  It’s a freelance, exhilarating activity where you get whatever you put into it.  If you want to walk down the cliff, you can, but if you want to challenge yourself and heighten your senses, then you run down it.  It’s up to you. Challenge yourself.

Another important challenge behind this quote is not the decision the Trail Runner made to run down the cliff, but the decision to just simply run until he can’t run anymore.  How many of us have run until complete exhaustion where our bodies could not physically run anymore?  I want to challenge myself to do that more often (probably not on a remote trail though).  I truly don’t know what I could be capable of achieving in running until I run to complete exhaustion.

Bottom line, I’m sure the quoted trail runner didn’t stand at the top of the cliff and think, “Should I run down this?”  He just did it.  Hansel from the movie “Zoolander” said it best, “I just grip it and rip it, that’s just how I live my life bro.”  Grip it and Rip it on your next trail run.

What is a Runner’s High?

Monday, April 12th, 2010

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Most trail runners have experienced it, some run just to attain it, while others have no idea what a “Runner’s High” is.  If you are a trail runner and have never experienced a Runner’s High then you need to run faster, push your body harder, and attain the point where you lose conscientiousness of what your body is feeling.

A Runner’s High can be described as an elevation of the senses while running, typically long distances and in a natural environment.  It is difficult for trail runners to describe the exact feeling (much like drug users) they get from a Runner’s High, but many equate it to the feeling of an orgasm.  Another good reason to go trail running.

Technically, a Runner’s High is associated with the release of endorphins in the brain.  Endorphins are any group of opiate proteins with pain-relieving properties that are found naturally in the brain.  The word endorphins comes from two parts: endo- and -orphin; which are short forms of the words endogenous and morphine, intended to mean “a morphine like substance originating from within the body.”  Knowing that human cells have receptors for this drug suggests that the body produces its own morphine like substances which it is believed can be released into the body by running long distances and gives trail runners the feeling of a Runner’s High.

While it is difficult to quantify exactly what feeling different trail runners get from this release of endorphins, it is agreed that there is a definite mood change.  The difference in Runners’ Highs can be a positive or negative one with differing levels of intensity.  Maybe that is why many trail runners become so Serious about Running, because they are the type of runners that get this intense positive feedback from running.

Whatever the science is and however your brain reacts to trail running, one thing is certain, there is a typical emotional feeling derived from trail running.  Everyone records their feelings differently but there is always a point during a trail run that your body changes.  So go out for a long trail run, and push to attain a close connection between your mind and body.  Let your mind take over while your feet are still moving, one in front of the other, and you are only aware of one thing…yourself.  Trail running is a free self-awareness seminar!

So say no to drugs and help keep the kids stay off the streets.  Get them running on the trails instead and let’s get hiiiiiiiigh together….on Trail Running.