Category Archives: Gear

Christmas Wishlist for Runners

With  Christmas fast approaching I decided to put together a list of ideas for the runner on your list.  Here are some of my suggestions:

  • Books are a great idea. There are many good books on running out there. Here is a list of suggestions I put together, some I have already read and others that I want to read.  You could also get them a subscription to their favourite running magazine like Canadian Running or Runner’s World.
  • Energy bars and gels make for great stocking stuffers since runners are always looking for carbs to fuel their runs. I like GU Roctane gels and Clif Bars. If you are looking to get them something different check out these new gel options made with maple syrup – Endurance Tap and Untapped.
  • With winter approaching wamr gear is a must in many places now. If you know a runner like me who is often misplacing them gloves are a great option. You can find several options here.
  • Injury prevention and recovery are very important for runners. I have the following items that have been very useful in helping me recover from long runs and precent injury – a foam roller, a Pro-Tec Roller Massager which is great for calf muscles and  a Prostretch Plus which is useful for stretching tight hamstrings and calf muscles.
  • Finally, if you are out of other ideas a race entry. Whether it is a local race or an out of town race in a location you want to visit a race entry would be appreciated by any runner on your list.

That is just a short list for now. i may add to it if I think of anything else to add as Christmas approaches.

What would be on your wishlist?

Saturday Stories

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It is time once again for another edition of Saturday Stories, a collection of some of my favourite stories and blog posts from the past week. As always, if you came across anything you feel is worthy of mention here feel free to post a link below.

Here are this week’s stories…

A comment on a recent story of cheating at a marathon.

A post about remembrance day and running.

Some tips to help you stay motivated.

A post about the benefits of taking a break from running.

Finally, since Christmas is approachinggift ideas of runners.

Saturday Stories

20131123-083252.jpg

It is time once again for another edition of Saturday Stories, a collection of some of my favourite stories and blog posts from the past week. As always, if you came across anything you feel is worthy of mention here feel free to post a link below.

Here are this week’s stories…

A post about the mechanics of fatigue.

I agree with this opinion on races. What do you think?

The first 100 shoes to cross the finish line at the NYC Marathon.

Another STWM recap from one of my fellow digital champions.

Saturday Stories

20131123-083252.jpg

It is time once again for another edition of Saturday Stories, a collection of some of my favourite stories and blog posts from the past week. As always, if you came across anything you feel is worthy of mention here feel free to post a link below.

Here are this week’s stories…

A post about how to deal with aches and pains.

A post about the running’s role in dealing with tough times.

Since I participated in the Toronto Waterfront marathon last weekend as a digital champion and shared my recap earlier this week I thought I would share recaps from some of my fellow digital champions that you can read here, here, here and here.

Saturday Stories

20131123-083252.jpg

It is time once again for another edition of Saturday Stories, a collection of some of my favourite stories and blog posts from the past week. As always, if you came across anything you feel is worthy of mention here feel free to post a link below.

Here are this week’s stories…

Is there such a thing as a marathon hangover?

25 reasons to be a thankful runner.

Do you find joy in your racing?

A post about tracking runs.

Saturday Stories

20131123-083252.jpg

It is time once again for another edition of Saturday Stories, a collection of some of my favourite stories and blog posts from the past week. As always, if you came across anything you feel is worthy of mention here feel free to post a link below.

Here are this week’s stories…

A reminder about the importance of sleep with regards to training and performance.

A review about one of my current favourite shoes, the New Balance RC 1400.

A post about the beauty of training.

A post about the benefits of foam follers for recovery.

Gear Review: Swiftwick Aspire Compression Socks

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Recently I was given the opportunity to test a pair of Swiftwick compression socks. You can check out their product line here. At $35 per pair the Aspire Twelve is a cheaper option than some of the other brands on the market.

You’ll notice on the website that Swiftwick offers socks in several different lengths. Personally, for my longer or tougher runs I prefer running socks that cover the calf. As a result, I ended up testing the Aspire Twelve.

In terms of colour, Swiftwick offers 8 different options for the Aspire line. I went with Fusion Blue because they matched the shoes I currently have in my rotation.

Since I have had the socks for a few weeks now I have had the opportunity to wear them for a handful of runs. I have worn them for longer runs and also for speed intervals.

The Aspire socks feel light when you have them on your feet. Unlike other socks I have tried these ones did not feel tight in the toe once I had my shoes on. In terms of length, the Aspire Twelve sit about 1-2 inches below my knees, a little lower than other full length compression socks I have tried.

One thing I will mention about these socks is that they feel a little tighter in the lower ankle than other socks I have also tried, possibly because they offer more compression in that area. Don’t be surprised if you find it tough to get these socks over your heals the first time you try to take them off.

All in all I had a positive experience with these socks. I did not have to worry about blisters or sore muscles after my long runs in them. I would recommend these socks if you are in the market for a pair of compression socks.

Gear Review: Altra The One

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After reading about Altra shoes I was quite interested in trying a pair of their shoes. More than anything I was interested in seeing how their idea of a zero drop shoe would work for me.

For those of you who are not familiar with Altra and their approach to designing running shoes their idea was to develop a running shoe that encouraged proper running form. They felt that elevated heels and narrow toe boxes in other running shoes was hurting runners more than helping them. You can read more about that here.

Recently I was sent a pair of Altra The One2 to test. I was looking for a light neutral shoe to add to my rotation and thought this model would be fun to try. Weighing 5.9 ounces they certainly fit that criteria. 

Picking these shoes up out of the box the first thing I noticed was how light they were. When I ran in them it felt like I was wearing a pair of slippers. They feel like a shoe that is made for a fast run.

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Altra, suggests taking time to transition to a zero drop shoe. Since I am used to running in shoes with an 8-10 mm heal drop I was hoping the transition would not take too long.

The first week I had the shoes I used them for my my easy run over to the set of stairs where I have been doing my calf workouts, approximately a very easy 3.5 km run. Week two saw me use them for an easy 9 km run and a more intense workout as I used them for my hill workout, approximately 9 km.

My last run in them so far, was last Sunday’s long run of 28 km. I was certainly pleased to have them on my feet when I ran the first and last 6 km at my goal marathon pace.

My calf muscles were a little stiff on Monday but otherwise I felt no effects from that long run. So I would suggest waiting another week or two before doing such a long run if you are new to zero drop shoes as I was.

I am planning to give them another shot on a long run in order to see if this shoe would be a good race day shoe for me in the marathon distance. As it stands I think they have good potential for that.

Overall I really like these shoes. For a shoe with minimal amount of cushioning they have a very soft feel to them when you run in them. The other aspect I like about them is the wide toe box. I don’t generally wear wide shoes but I have had pairs of running shoes that felt tight in the toe box depending on what socks I was wearing. Obviously that is not an issue with Altra shoes.

If you are looking for a fast shoe I recommend giving  The One2 a try. Just make sure to take your time transitioning to the zero drop if you are not already used to running in a more minimalist shoe. I am certainly looking forward to getting in some more quick runs in my pair. 

Note: the opinions expressed here are mine. Although a pair of shoes to test I was not paid to write this post.

A Long Run Divided Into 3 Runs

Sunday my schedule called for 27 km with the final 8 km coming at my goal marathon pace. My plan was to get started early with my youngest daughter in the Chariot for the first 19 km at an easy pace. Following that i planned to drop her off at home and do the remaining 8 km on my own.

As many of you know already, runs do not always go exactly as planned. Instead of going the way I planned my 27 km run ended up being divided into 3 runs of nearly identical distances.

The first part of my run went partly as planned. I started out with my youngest daughter as planned. However since her sister was awake when I left the house meaning I would have to find a way to include her. The first part of my run ended up being a quiet 9.5 km at an easy pace.

The second part of my run began when I returned home to switch kids with my wife. I headed back out with my other daughter to get in the remaining 9.5 km at an easy pace.

After dropping my oldest daughter at home I headed back out for what was supposed to be a quick 8 km on my own. Taking advantage of a main street closed to traffic on Sunday mornings I decided on an out and back route. The first half of this portion of my run went as planned. However, as I hit the turnaround point I ran into my parent in-law riding their bikes back toward our neighbourhood so for the second half I had pacers beside me on bikes.

To top it all off I also drained the batteries on 2 Garmins yesterday and had to finish my run without a watch. My current Garmin died as I dropped off my second daughter. I grabbed my old Garmin which was still in a drawer when I headed out for the marathon pace portion of my run. Unfortunatley it died before I finished that portion of my run.

Thanks to mapping websites I know I completed the 27 km I intended to but since my old Garmin died before I finished my run I am not sure exactly how long it took me to complete.

In the end my run did not go as I had planned but this run probably turned out better than planned.

Saturday Stories

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It is time once again for another edition of Saturday Stories, a collection of some of my favourite stories and blog posts from the past week. As always, if you came across anything you feel is worthy of mention here feel free to post a link below.

Here are this week’s stories…

How gold medallists trained.

Ways to tell it is time for new shoes.

A post about learning to run.