Runners Rocking Old School: Training tools guide you but they’re not Gods

Sometimes a runner just needs to rock it old school style and get back to basics. Look beyond the Garmins, the heart-rate monitors, the target zones, the iPod/iPhone widgets, connect this, upload that, FitBit, BodyBug, BodPodWod, run-a-shoe-whiz…you get the picture.

The tech world is awesome, it’s always providing us runners new ways to trick our run. But even the most pimped out of sports watches won’t do a thing if the legs aren’t there. Same goes for running shoes that seem straight out of NASA.
old school watch
All the new running gadgets are training tools. Tools, nothing more. A tool is there to provide feedback, help guide you along. Certainly tools can be powerful ways to improve your training but a tool is not a God. Your Garmin is not, wait for it, a God.

Your running watch or shoes can’t distinguish perceived effort. It can’t make the adjustment for effort vs. time. Black and white numbers don’t tell you the full story, sometimes they lie. Running into the eye of a hurricane during 400 meter repeats, your watch can’t portray how HARD that XX:XX was.

In the end: EFFORT trumps TIME.

Work ethic will trump the newest, lightest shoe. A spike alone won’t race to a PR, I’m sorry.

Take advantage of these amazing, mind-blowing training tools. Having a virtual training log or place to report your mileage and workouts to is great, it can act as motivation and incentive for people to go OUT and run. In that regard it’s wonderful to have a community of runners cheering you on and kindly kicking your butt out the door.

ezzere peacock shirt

Workout hard, recover hard. ;)

[Napping in my Ezzere Peacock Runner Tee, you can BUY YOURS HERE! ]

Garmins and watches can also turn into mental nightmares if you get TOO hung up on the numbers and overly competitive. Quick rules:

* Easy Days: Keep them easy. Don’t race your d**n Garmin.
* Hard Days: Effort is ultimately the God, not the time. You know what hard feels like, you know what quasi-hard feels like, and if you know the goal for the day’s workout then the equation is simple. Go hard.
* Community Danger: The bad things with everyone knowing your workouts and weekly milage is getting competitive for the sake of just being competitive. So ask yourself these questions: 1) Do they award medals to people in training or is it on race day? 2) Are you doing XX miles and such-and-such workout because it’s in YOUR RUNNING’S best interest, or because you want to just brag you did XX miles.

So use all these tools, Runners, they’re out there, they can certainly provide some excellent feedback in planning your training. But ultimately you still need to listen to your body.

At the end of the day, sometimes you just gotta rock it old school.

Garmin Forerunner 10 Review: Uh-Oh, now I’m stuck in a love triangle

Shhh, you CAN’T tell my Garmin Forerunner 410 but I’ve been cheating on him. It’s horrible, I know, because you all know how much I love him, but I find myself also in love with the Garmin Forerunner 10.
Garmin Forerunner 10
The Forerunner 10 is the new, slimmed down version, and I was SO STOKED when the kind folks over there gave me a lime green one to test out. I took that baby for a spin (uhh, way more than once) and here are my thoughts:

* The Stats: This ‘little’ guy will track your time and distance on one screen, you can flip over to the other screen to see your pace and calories. To be frank those are really the only functions I use my ‘bigger’ Garmin for; since the 10 retails for $130, if you’re not needing all those ‘extras’ I would say your best bet is to go for the 10. To compare, the Forerunner 410 retails for $250. And for the record the 10 does have a virtual pacer feature if you’re into that.

* Alerts: The Forerunner 10 will beep every mile marker, which I really like. Sometimes I feel people can fall into the trap of getting too obsessed with their paces, especially on easy days, so what I’ll do sometimes is not look down at the pace and just keep track of all the mile beeps. It’s kind of like my compromise to going ‘naked’…I’d be a little too freaked not to know the overall mileage but I can handle with running off of effort and let the pace drop wherever it may for the day.

* Fit: The Forerunner 10 really does fit just like a ‘regular’ watch; I know that some of the older Forerunners are pretty wide and bulky and for a runnerchick with a thin wrist it sometimes made me feel like I was wearing a watch sleeve! Lol. That said, my Forerunner 410 does fit nicely on my wrist and that’s comfy; however, I will say the 10 is noticeably lighter.

garminella and prince

Ya…buy me a Garmin and it just maaaaaybe better than a ring. ;)

* Accuracy: As anyone who has a Garmin or understands the Satellite technology, it’s not always exact down to the molecular distance level. (Yes, I made that a word) I’ll run the same routes and some days the mile markers are a few feet either way, I’d say that the accuracy between the 10 and 410 are the same, so you aren’t losing any ‘quality’ for going for the more compact or cheaper Garmin.

* Cait Proof: The real test was I was able to get it out of the box, set, and run-ready all by myself, quickly without reading any of the instructions. Of course, go read the instructions, but my point is that the 10 really is that simple to use…I like that.

* Overall: Honestly, I love my Garmins and I’ve said that long before I ever got a bit of swag. I can’t say anything bad about them; the only slight annoyance I could say I found between the 10 and the 410 is that the Forerunner 10 seems to take a little longer to locate the satellites before my run. Other than that, if you want need Garmin technology and you’re only interested in distance, pace, time, and calories, this is your guy. I’d say it’s the best bang for your buck, and *perk* for me is that lime green is my favorite color. There are also pink and black available.

On that note, now I don’t know what I’m going to be doing with my little Garmin love triangle over here…I’ve been fair though and giving love to both. ;)

1) Do you own and use a Garmin? If so, which one?

2) Are there times when you don’t use your Garmin?
I believe sometimes getting away from the obsessed numbers game can help certain runners in relaxing on their runs and keeping those runs easy…but at the same time I won’t lie and going ‘naked’ is dang hard! :P

best running shirts

We May Be Funny Runners But Call Us Joggers And The Laughing Stops There!

The other night one of my friends asked me, “When you see people running, what are some of the things you judge them on?” Okay, so first off I guess I DO have to admit to being maaaybe just a bit judgmental of some of runners I see, but c’mon you know you’ve seen some things that made you giggle!
twitter catoon
* Texters/talkers/phonies: *Disclaimer* I know I open myself up to some blogger hate here, so I apologize in advance, and if you fall into this category I’ll still love you and maybe you can share how/why you do this. So, I do not understand how during a run people can get their thumbs texting and provide this crazy awesome spread of photo’s. I’ve seen people update their Facebook/Twitter accounts while supposedly in said run. I just don’t get it, and perhaps it is my insane LACK of coordination, but a part of my brain sort of thinks if you can text and tweet you probably should be running faster???

* Attire: Don’t get me started on the chaffage wonder of running in jeans, I’ve seen people sporting cargo pants loaded with TONS of things even a key ring so large I could hear sleigh bells. There are people running around in Converse (love the brand, not for running though) and it makes me full on cringe when I imagine the injury risk.

* Fuel-belters: Look, there are certainly times and places for fuel belts but a four miler is not one of them. Unless of course you’re running on the sun, any able bodied person should be able to make it through an easy run in the single digits without needing re-inforcements.
vibram shoes
* Form Freaks: HERE is a list of some of the common form maladies, and I’ll open up and share that I don’t feel too bad judging people because I can totally poke fun at myself for my own form faux pas. When I first started I looked like a T-Rex who had her arms jacked up so high I don’t know how I didn’t punch myself in the face. When I see people running like the Hunchback a part of me wants to catch up to them and puuuuuull their head up straight. [Core work really can help improve your form.]


* Dropping the J-Word: I wound up telling my friend that really, I may poke fun at people I see running but all of that is all well and good and PALES in comparison to the ultimate runner offense. It’s not something you see, it’s something that is only heard, like the worst curse word in the books: jogger. You call me a jogger, it’s GO time…I’m a runner, thank you very much.

The thing is, runners are awesome, even those who may do some wonky things…hey, I’m probably Queen of Wonky. I support all people getting out there and doing it, so don’t get me wrong there, I mean I have said on numerous occasions I live in the Utopia that is sarcasm.

Get running, be happy, be sweaty, be injury-free…just be on watch for any poor souls who dare to call us joggers!
Tomorrow is your last day to enter my Ambler Heat Beanies Give-away! :)

1) What are some of the funny things you’ve seen people do while running that make you chuckle?

2) Last time you got thrown the j-word and did you do anything about it?
It’s been a while, but I make a little joke about it, “Oh, hey now, you didn’t see me jogging I was running!” :P

3) Worst running attire related offense you’ve committed?
When I first started, I admit to just running in whatever kind of shoes that were the cheapest.

best running shirts

Protect That Runner Noggin: Ambler Heat Beanies Give-away

Every runner head is pretty stinking awesome. The cranium, the noggin, the noodle; while our legs do most of the PHYSICAL work the mentality of a runner defines how well he or she will actually preform.
your brain on running
A runner’s head can be their greatest asset or wind up turing into their greatest obstacle. That’s taking this head metaphor to a deeper level and you can school up on how to train your actual runner brain HERE, HERE, and HERE. Today’s post is going to be about the superficial head…so pull out your best ‘shallow’ model stereotype.

It sure is starting to feel a lot like Festivus and the winter weather generally leaves me curled up fetal position and talking myself up saying that it really isn’t THAT cold. Layers, Baby, layers and the parts of a runner that are most apt to chill over the quickest if not protected properly are the hands, feet, ears and face. It’s important to have weather-prudent gloves and socks but what about that noodle?

I don’t live in a state where snow is the norm, and what I call freezing is actually the ‘technical’ freezing point, not like you crazy Duluthians where 32 degrees would be downright balmy! So I don’t usually wear a hat for my runs but I know that it is ubber important for runners to protect their head and ears when out in the elements. Flashback fact from grammar school: you lose most of your body heat through the head.

Ambler, a family run business, got in touch with me about their Heat Beanies. Being that I’m doing my own little running shirts lineby my lonesome I’m more than happy to support the ‘little’ guys so to speak! :) Ambler’s mission is: ‘To make quality hats. We create fit, function and design with everyone in mind.’
ambler hat
They’ve got a few different varieties and they’ve fused fashion and function to corner the exerciser niche with their Heat Beanies. I was sporting the Orbit, my favorite color is lime green, and here are my thoughts:

* Fit: It’s a beanie which is nice because I’m pretty picky about ‘feeling’ anything when I run. As in if my gloves/watch/hair tie/hat/etc. are loose it bugs the CRAP out of me the whole way. So I would prefer the beanie style over a typical hat, just because it can get tight on there and stay put.

* Material: The beanies are made of a polyester microfiber with the lining around the headband made of fleece. It’s light and the lining provides more warmth to the ears, which usually chill over the fastest. It’s really light and overall pretty thin, it’s more than warm enough for me and while I haven’t take it out in actual super below-freezing temps or in the snow I’ll note that Ambler is situated in the Canadian Rockies so I’ll go out on a limb and say with the technical material it would trap heat in there and provide the warmth one needs without all that bulk. I would hate trucking around any excess material and bulk.

* Overall: I like the Heat Beanies and usually I’m pretty good at ‘sucking it up’ in terms of weather when it comes to a run (of course I dress appropriately to make it bearable!); but in all other areas of life I’m the biggest wuss, so I’m sure I could put these babies to use there as well.

Now the fun part for you guys, Ambler was kind enough to send one for me AND one to give away to a lucky reader. To enter leave a separate comment below for the following:

1) Visit Ambler’s website and tell me which of their hats you like the best.
2) Like me on Facebook.
3) Tweet, Facebook, or blog about the contest.

The giveaway will be open until Saturday, December 1st!

Protect that precious cranium, runner posse, because ensuring the superficial and gear aspect is covered allows you to focus on the HARD stuff. That being the physical right, left, right as well as taming the MIND which, if you’re not careful, can stage a revolt and make you slower than you’d like. ;)

best running shirts

Introducing The NEWEST Design For My Running Shirt Line

Because this is as close as I can get to having Runner tattooed across my face.

runner face shirt
I love this design because it pretty much sums it all up. Succinct. To the point. For once, the runner/writer who is forever using TOO many words is able to embrace brevity.

Runner. That I am. You most likely are too. It may not be written on our faces, but it etched on our bones. It is written on the soles of our feet, or at least on all those blisters!

Runner is splashed across our personality in more ways that we probably even realize.

If you are a runner you know it. You don’t need it tattooed on your face because it shines through without it. But let’s admit, it’s still a pretty cool idea…so wear the shirt and save yourself the painful needle time. ;)
runner face shirt
This is the NEWEST addition to my personally designed running shirt line! And perfect time for the holidays, no? ;) Screened on white, American Apparel 50/50 tech tee. Check out all of the designs and get yours today…then go get your run on!


1) If you could get one word tattooed across your face what would it be?

2) What is one way runner is splashed into your personality?

The Blister Atop My Runner Toe: Getting the RIGHT socks and shoes to spare your feet extra suffering (Injinji Giveaway)

Let’s talk runner feet. Don’t worry, by now you’ve realized I’m more of the art visuals and will spare you any actual photographs because runner feet tend to be gnarly feet! To be honest though, it’s almost like a little badge of honor…how gnarly can you go?

runner foot

20% Off Your Next Shoe Order if You’re Blister Free! Jk. :P

Runners put a beating to those ten little piggies and if a couple toe nails go, we’ll cite it as collateral damage. Blisters? That’s what extra race-bib safety pins are for, right? We do all we can to avoid blisters and whacked out toe nails but even that will only take you so far.

For blisters though, the right socks and the right sized shoes make a WORLD of difference. Actually the shoe sized issue can account for an appalling number of runner woes; and often times newer runners are unintentionally setting themselves up for far more torture than running alone is, just because their shoes are too small. Or they lace their shoes too tight.

Quick tips for shoe sizing: you want to have a thumb’s width between the tip of the shoe and your longest toe. (Ohh, is that your second one, or Big Mama toe? lol.) Also, your feet swell when you run, so make sure you are trying them on later in the day when your feet have expanded.

For blisters, that rests highly upon the kind of socks you are running in. Blisters are caused by heat and friction; the more rubbing, the more heat and the more chances you’ll get blisters if all of that rubbing is done between the sock and your foot. Moisture build-up also can result in blisters…umm, we are heading into winter and I’m pretty sure that drippy stuff is wet.

That’s why you want a technical material for those socks. Just like with tech material running shirts and other apparel, this will wick away excess moisture, be breathable to air those puppies out AND certain socks are with dual layer technology. That last one is just fancy talk for their being two thin layers in the sock; so all that that rubbing is done BETWEEN the layers of the sock rather than letting that friction occur between the sock and your foot.

So yay for socks and the right sized shoes, right? Well, it’s also getting colder this time of year (unless you’re a southern hemi-reader!) and I don’t know about you but I’m a weather wimp and can’t say I enjoy heading out when I know I’ll be seeing my breath. Those extremities have to bite the bullet and keeping them warm is important and makes running more comfortable too.
Injinji toe socks
Well, friends, the kind folks over at Injinji contacted me about these toe socks they’ve got going. Toe socks?! Yes, it’s okay, you know how I am not a fan of the Vibrams BUT socks aren’t going to mess up with your biomechanics so I was willing to check these guys out. Maybe even try to peel a banana with my feet? No, I didn’t, don’t worry.

The Det’s: Think gloves in the sock form. They are made with technical materials, CoolMax, Lycra and Nylon, to wick moisture and be breathable. There are rather thin and light-weight. I got the no-show kind but they offer other styles and even compression socks.

The Toe Feel: I will be honest, I am sort of weird and don’t like ‘feeling’ things on my feet, if that makes sense. I don’t like flip-flops because they bug me having that prong between my big toe. So I wasn’t sure how I was going to feel about these; I will say that the longer I had them on the more I did get used to the extra material between my toes. But to be totally honest I could still feel it and given the choice I’d probably still stick with a normal styled sock, especially if I were out running when the last thing I want on my mind is something clothing or hair in my face related.

Warmth: I think the major draw for me would be a little extra warmth by way of sock; I’d venture to say that the casing around my toes probably helped keep them a little warmer. Not a huge amount, but then again I wouldn’t want a fat, thick sock out running anyways! I really do love the material on these guys and they do a good job of the moisture wicking.

Pilates/Trail/Yogi Peeps: A big thing for Injinji is the draw from trail runners and those doing things like yoga or pilates. For trail running you’re putting yourself out in more extreme environments and you want gear and socks that will keep you warm and dry. For yoga and other times you’d want to be able to have a firm grasp on one toe or specific ones, I could see these as being really great for that. I know there are some models that have grippers on the bottom, again, that would be a definite perk for yoga or mat work.

Overall: I respect the creativity of Injinji and can appreciate where they are coming from, their tech material is comfy and I like it. I think if you’re into trails and yoga stuff you should give them a shot. For me, personally, because of my weird detest for feeling anything on my feet, I can’t say I’d go running in them. Maybe just every-day sorts of things or if I were doing pilates.

Well, do you want to try some Injinji socks out yourself?! The kind folks didn’t just give me some pairs to test out but gave me some extra socks to giveaway too. Yay for you…so to enter leave a separate comment below for doing any of the following:

1) Tell me what you’d do with your feet if you could use them like hands. [ie: peel a banana]
2) Go to the Injinji website and tell me which is your favorite sock
3) Follow me on Twitter
4) Like me on Facebook

This giveaway will end on Wednesday!

With that my friends, I hope you’re having a wonderfully blister-free Friday!

Your Runner Foot Type and the Quest for the Perfect Running Shoe

It may take some searching but eventually we all fall in love with the perfect pair of running shoes. How’s that for living happily ever after? ;)
perfect nike shoe
A great thing about running is that you really don’t need that much: a pair of shoes and please some running clothes too. However, what those supplies lack in quantity numbers they make up exponentially when it comes to their needs in the quality factor. Reread that sentence a few times until it makes sense…haha.

Running shoes are of insane importance, many new runners (and even not so new runners) aren’t able to grasp just how crucial having the right kind of shoes for THEIR foot type is. The three major foot types are: pronators, supinators and neutral runners; the majority of runners are pronators. We all fall on different variances of the foot type spectrum, but if you don’t know your foot and it’s specific needs you really need to school up.

Prontators. These are the guys who’s arches ‘sink’ in and roll to the ground as they walk. If you were walking in sand you’d see a ‘fatter’ footprint. This is the majority of the public and it’s important to find shoes with support in the arches. If your REALLY cave in at the arch you need motion control shoes, a step below that would be stability shoes. Sometimes people need arch support inserts or orthotics in addition to their shoes, I run in Super Feet and those would be my top suggestion for over the counter shoe inserts.

Neutral Feet. These are the people you should love to hate because they have the biomechanically ‘perfect’ foot strike. If they walked in the sand they’d have that cutesy little foot print, not a wide, fat arch. They can get away with those lighter shoes because they don’t need a lot of arch support and the cushioning materials are usually lighter. [That's changing thanks to new materials and the whole minimalist shoe movement...all those Nike Lunar shoes are being made with some crazy light materials that can still offer.]

Supinators. These are what some people call ‘dancer’ feet, they tend to roll out and away from the arch so in the sand they have suuuper skinny prints. They are also more ‘delicate’ because typically the bone structures are very rigid and a bit fragile so these runners need to be hyper-conscious that their shoes have a lot of cushioning. Sorry guys, this usually means you’ve got to shell out for more expensive shoes with a ton of cushioning. But if you don’t you’ll wind up hurt…soooo, it’s worth it.

running shoes

Okay, let’s make it a little more equal opportunity for all brands. :)

Outside of being intimate with your foot type you’ve got to stay diligent on tracking how many miles are on your shoes and be sure to replace them regularly. The general rule of thumb is a shoe is ‘dead’ after 500 miles, but that’s the law of averages and I did a whole post on why you may need to replace your shoes more often.

Walking into Big 5 and just snagging a box of shoes marked ‘Run Shoes’, then figuring you’ll be set for a year is on the fast track to getting hurt. Even if the pains aren’t in your feet you’d be surprised what ailments can be tracked back to the wrong pair of shoes…it could be as far away as your neck, people.

If you’re still having trouble deciding which kind of foot type you are or what kind of shoe to get, go into a running specialty store and ask one of them to watch you walk. Any good, running specific store will have instructed their employees how to asses a runner’s foot type from their walk and then be able to offer assistance.

Okay, yes, I’m Nike biased but only because I dream of spooning with my Tempo shorts in the night; hence the first caption. [So if there is anyone Nike people reading this and wnat to give me a little what's what please don't hesitate to reach out! Hehe.] But, I’d be lying if I didn’t say that there are other awesome shoe brands out there too. :)

1) What kind of foot type are you? How or when did you find this out?

2) What kind of shoes are you running in now? How do you like them?

3) Do you have any kind of shoe inserts or orthotics?

4) Finish this sentence and make it sort of tied to running: “You have to kiss a lot of toads before you find the perfect…”

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The Great Running Shirt Race!

It’s summer, we run, we sweat, but in an awesome running shirt even a drippy, sweaty beast like me looks cool. ;) This Arty Runnerchick has been working away on new designs and is excited to announce that I’ll be expanding on the line! You can check out my very first shirt, of the Get Chicking movement, in cased you missed it…or mosey on over to the store.

BUT…I need all of your help first! I want to know which designs you like, which ones you love, and which ones maybe not so much. You’ll be the ones deciding which running shirts will be the new additions. So if you could please take a few moments of your time and fill out my survey, I would greatly appreciate it. Also, it would be a huge help if you do like what you see to then pass this survey onto your friends…make sure the shirts YOU like the best make the cut!

Enjoy the SNEAK PEEK of what is to be coming soon!! :)
***I’m sorry for the technicial difficulties, the stupid javacode isn’t giving me the non-scrolling dimensions I want so if you find the scrolling annoying you can visit THIS LINK and fill the survey out there. Thank you for your patience!***

Happy Friday!! Go get your sweaty beast run on. ;)

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To Tote or Not to Tote: Running with a water bottle…Clean Bottle Review and Giveaway

Seems like the hot topic of as late is hydration. You can revisit my post earlier in the week about hydration tips for runners and wouldn’t you know that when I popped on over to the Running Times website there was an article just posted about the very same thing. Great minds think alike, maybe? I’ll kid myself into believing that even if it’s not true…hehe.

friend running

That's Running Times and me running with the same great's a stretch but roll with that. :)

Their article got really scientific about the whole ‘weigh yourself pre and post-run’ and then take the percentage of sweat lost from your entire body weight and apply that to the amount lost…etc. I sometimes feel that getting too wrapped up in these calculations and conversions may be a little much; certainly more knowledge can be better but at what point is it just over complicating things? In the end the article sums up that even outside of the fanciest tests, scientific equations, lab results and simulations everyone is different and should get to know their body and how they react to certain stressors. Isn’t that pretty much across the board in anything, hydration and training alike?

Athletes, the longer they are at it, become incredibly attuned to subtle nuances that the ‘average person’ probably wouldn’t think twice of. The thing is, when you’re constantly asking your body to perform at it’s best, you can sense those small degrees of deviations from the norm. Feeling 10% off of your best may not mean much if the most physical thing you do all day is stroll around the block, but in the quest for a PR 10% in a HUGE difference. Just some food and drink for thought.

Back to running and hydration, I’m not someone who carries a water bottle with me. I never have and unless I embark on marathon distance-plus training I don’t really plan on doing so. I’m a less is more type of runner and get annoyed if my watch is too big and bulky. Everyone is different and I know my body, I can make it through my runs without needing water or gels…that’s just me.


Taking hydration to an extreme.

But there are lots of runners who DO prefer to carry water and gels; there are the fanny-packs, the belts, and other similar contraptions. With today’s tech age I’m seeing runners taking their phones along like they are just as vital as the actual running shoes. Again, I’m a less is more person, but whatever floats your boat. It does make for some more interesting blog trolling as I can see the pictures other people post of them getting all sweaty with it. :)

I was contacted by a new company, Clean Bottle, who have come out with ‘The Runner’ and wanted me to share my thoughts on it. Even though I’m not a bottle-toter myself I’ll give my opinion on it to help runners who do carry hydration and other items on their runners.

The Runner Run-Down: Clean Bottle’s ‘The Runner’ is pretty neat in that it’s been able to combine a couple of different things in a smaller package. It’s a handheld water bottle with a mesh strap to hold onto; attached is a clear, pouch where you can slip in your phone or iPod in through a side zipper. There’s also a little cinch strap on the side that can hold some gels or other fuel. So it’s able hold quite a number of items that a fanny-pack would but it’s a lot less bulky.

The Pro’s: Like I said it can hold a lot of things and it secures them safely. There are loops where you could fasten your keys into as well, even a pocket behind the phone/iPod holder to stuff some money or identification. The strap to hold onto while running is tight enough that it’s not slipping around, and as for a water bottle that’s pretty much self-explanatory. It gets the job done. I don’t usually run with a bottle but I do carry one around other places and I’d take this guy along with me just in everyday life.

The Con’s: Personally I just hate holding onto things when I’m running and a filled water bottle could be a pound or two, but I know you drink it down and it gets lighter. It’s also a little tough to manage your watch or Garmin if you’re taking splits or something; hitting a button while still clutching a tote can be a little tricky. Other than that though, I can’t really say anything bad about it. If I did take hydration on my runs I’d think this would be preferable to a fanny-pack just because I really can’t stand those.

The Company: Clean Bottle actually really impressed me on the whole and not just because of their products; I like the start-up stories and this is one of them. As to their Clean moniker there is a strong tie to being eco-friendly, for which all of their items are, and 10% of their sales go to an environmental related charity you can choose from. They are currently on the Kickstarter website and if you’d like to help support their burgeoning business check it out and support.

Clean Bottle also gave me one of ‘The Runner’ bottles to give away to a reader, so if you’d like to score one leave a separate comment for each of the following:

1) Follow Clean Bottle on Facebook or Twitter.
2) Follow me on Facebook or Twitter.
3) Tweet, blog about, or Facebook about the giveaway
4) Visit Clean Bottle’s Kickstarter fund and if you sponsor them leave two comments and get a double entry there.
5) Tell me, do you carry water, gels, your phone, etc on your runs?

Deadline will be next Tuesday!

Until later, keep on sweating and swigging…water, that is. ;)
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The Case of the 500 Mile Shoe: How Often Do You Really Need to Replace Your Shoes Before You Call Them Dead?

We’ve all heard that a shoe is dead once it hits 500 miles, right? But as with any ‘rule of thumb’ that’s a generalization and just as we are each individuals with individual running quirks, these rules need to be tailored to fit the runner.
running shoes
Keeping tabs on how many miles we have run in our shoes is important because it gives us a gauge of when we need to remember to replace them. As in we can remember to get a new pair of shoes BEFORE our body starts to send us reminders in the way of aches, pains, and injuries. As ‘small potatoes’ as it may sound, running in the wrong pair of shoes or a dead pair of shoes account for a high percentage of running injuries. One simple shoe change would solves so many maladies but this ‘minor detail’ often gets overlooked.

Shoes aren’t cheap, of this I know, but saving pennies will leave you paying with injuries. Even though a pair of good running shoes may carry a not so appealing price tag, do keep in mind that with our sport shoes really are the only necessary, big investment. We don’t necessarily NEED the Garmins,so if it comes between picking one or the other lest I remind you the Garmin will get no use if you can’t run due to injury.

be you

Be YOU. And with that, remember that YOU need to tailor the 500 rule to your running feet. :)

But getting back to 500 miles before you need a shoe replacement. This is an estimate and here are some factors that sway that number:

* Foot strike. How you run is going to impact how long your shoes will last. If you tend to be a hard heel striker, run predominantly on outside of your foot, shuffle in your stride, are a heavier runner, over-pronate a lot…all of these are things that will wear down the tread of your shoes faster and thus make it necessary to swap shoes earlier than the 500 mile mark.

* Shoe quality. If you’re serious about running you shouldn’t be running in a pair from the sale bin of Big 5…just saying. It may seem like a cheaper route to for a knock-off pair but it’s a case of quality vs. quantity and in the end you’ll pay double with a crappy pair of kicks: you’ll have to replace them more often and you’ll probably get hurt along the way.

* Minimalism shoes. The whole minimalism movement isn’t just a trending wave it’s like a tsunami by now; yes these lighter than air shoes are quite awesome and can make you feel like you’ve dropped 10 lbs in shoe, but depending on your foot strike they aren’t necessarily the best choice for everyone. Minimalistic shoes and barefoot running can strengthen your feet and lead to positives BUT you need to beware of some things first; you need to gradually integrate using them, think twice if you’re a heavy pronator or supinator, and then keep in mind that with less shoe you’ll probably need to swap them out more often.

* Manufacturers needing profits. Shoe companies make money off of selling shoes, fact. It’s a business after all and truth be told the running shoes of today, while they are advanced in oh so many ways over their decades’ old counterparts, they also wear out faster. The materials are designed to not last forever and over the years their lifespan has shortened. Hey, in the end everyone has to make their profits somehow.

So the 500 mile thing isn’t so cut and dry, it’s got to be adjusted to YOU. Just as with training, each runner is different so you need to learn how to gauge the lifespan of your shoes based on your history. Sometimes that’s tricky to figure out but you learn along the way and when in doubt err on the side of caution…replacing your shoes earlier isn’t going to leave you injured,but wait too long and you could wind up lame.

injured runner

Don't wind up injured when a shoe change could have prevented it.

Outside of counting miles run on shoes an easy way to see how much life is left in them is to just look at the treads on the bottom. Most running shoes are black or darker on the outermost bottom layer…if you start seeing white or areas where that black color is nearly shaven down, the shoe is dead. Even if the spot of wear is only in on specific area (ie: the outside heel) and the rest of the shoe looks brand new, the shoe is dead. Get to know your tread pattern and then you’ll know where to look to find out how much longer your shoe will last.

Some ways to prolong the life of your shoe:

* Buy two at a time and then swap out between the two. It may sound strange but alternating days between two different pairs will keep each one spry for longer.

* Orthotics and cushioned inserts. To a degree these can help eek out a bit more life out of your shoes if you’re blasting through them every 300 miles. Heavy pronators should think of supportive inserts regardless, but it’s actually the cushioning of shoes that breaks down the fastest and leads to you needing a new pair. It’s the cushioning materials in shoes that are eaten away by our miles much faster than the harder, supportive materials used.

Getting rid of a dead pair of shoes if it’s prior to the 500 mile mark might be hard for some to do because it feels like a ‘waste’ of a shoes. But put your running health first and here are some things you can do to recycle the dead ones:

* Use the old pairs for walk-a-around shoes or for when you’re working on the lawn or scooping up dog poop.

* Donate your dead shoes to charity. There are always people without any shoes who would love your old ones; toss the dead shoes through the wash to spruce them up, then offer them up to someone who needs them. I know Julius Achon was always happy to take old shoes and send them off to his children in Uganda, you can visit his site HERE. Nike also has their Reuse-A-Shoe program.

Wow, so much for the whole ‘easy 500 miles life-stamp’ of a shoe right?? ;)

Thanks to Ali at Running With Spatulas for inspiring this post. If you haven’t signed up for her Spatula Runners Virtual Race and pledged to send in your awesome running pick, then DO IT! :) Then you can check out some yummy treats for your post-run refuel…heaven knows I can’t cook or supply and fun recipes. ;)

1) How often do you honestly replace your shoes?
I try to stay right on top of that one, I’ve learned that my body gets cranky when that tread pattern wears thin!

2) What are some reasons you might keep running in a dead shoe too long? (ie: forget, don’t want to spend money, don’t know you need to, etc.)

3) Do you run in any shoe inserts?
Not any more because I’ve worked a lot on my form and my foot strike has changed; I used to need orthotics though for extra support.

4) Where does your shoe’s tread wear thin the fastest? Or do you have no clue…hehe.
Mine is on the outside heel, it’s gotten better over the years though. When I first started running, no joke, I’d burn through a pair of shoes on the heel in a month tops. And back then I’d be hard pressed to think I even kissed 25 miles a week. ;)

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