Tuesday, February 21, 2012

Nike Lunaracer +

As the 2012 race season descends upon runners from the first time 5k’r to the experienced marathoners, racers will be looking for the fastest way possible to get to the finish line. Whatever your training entails, everyone can benefit from training faster and lighter than ever before. Enter the Nike Lunaracer +. In the last few years on the market the Nike Lunaracer has been on the feet of Olympic qualifiers like Kara Goucher and multiple marathon winners here in Utah.

The Lunaracer is built upon Nikes lunar platform with lunar foam- the material used in many Nike shoes to provide lightweight cushion for runners that demand a responsive ride. Unlike the Lunarglide and other Nike platforms that provide more support for runners as a daily trainer, the Lunaracer is designed to be a true racing flat for racing and fast tempo days. Weighing in at a mere 6.6 ounces for a men’s size 9, the shoe is nearly half the weight of many daily training shoes.

As a racing flat and shoe meant for speed, the Lunaracer really sets itself apart as one of the best designed shoes on the market. The light weight Nike Flywire that wraps the midfoot gives a secure glove like fit for the shoe. Nike does make this shoe to fit snug so you may want to consider going half a size bigger. The Lunaracer+ also includes a foot pod option for Nike Plus to track distance and run statistics with the Nike software that comes separately.

Putting the Lunaracer to the test for a few hundred miles and a full marathon, I have found my favorite shoe. I have set half marathon personal bests and noticed that the shoe has helped me maintain good form more so than any other shoe I have trained in. Many people experience blisters during a marathon, which I did while wearing the Lunaracer, but it’s very possible I did not break the shoes in enough prior to the race. Currently I use the LunarRacer on many of my runs because of the light weight minimal feel that allows me to focus of my form and achieving a good mid foot strike.

I would recommend the Lunaracer for anyone looking to gain an edge in racing this spring or summer!

Tuesday, February 7, 2012

CEP Compression Socks Review

As runners, we are always looking to find ways to improve our race times. From experience, we know that if our training improves, our races improve. What some of us may not know, is that the improvement of our training is directly correlated to how well we recover day to day; that includes our muscles, cardio and respiratory systems, and connective tissues. CEP running socks have found a way to do just that; with them, we can recover faster day to day, and even run faster in our workouts and races while wearing them.

CEP compression socks help recovery in a few different ways. For one, the graduated compression is specific to every calf size, and therefore is the perfect fit for everyone. With just the right amount of compression, CEP socks actually cause the arteries in the calf to dilate, reducing swelling in the muscles and connective tissue, and more quickly draining toxins and lactic acid built up due to running. The graduated compression means that they are tighter at the bottom of the leg, and get progressively looser as they approach the knee. CEP’s extensive research has found that this is the optimal way to increase muscle recovery.

The compression is also very effective at relieving the swelling of connective tissue. Compression socks can help with injuries such as shin splints and even achilles tendinitis. If you are injured, you won’t be able to set any PR’s in any event!

Not only do CEP compression socks aid in recovery, but they also directly improve performance while being worn. Due to the graduated compression and dilation of the arteries, blood is forced back up to the heart more quickly. This allows the blood to be re-oxygenated and re-circulated through the body again at a faster rate. CEP recommends wearing the compression socks in races, workouts, and after for recovery.

I wear my CEP compression socks during interval workouts, and will wear them this track season running for UVU. I have noticed that my times improve in interval workouts while wearing them, and I have especially noticed the advantages they give me in recovery. I have noticed that times improve while using these compression socks, and anything that will cut off even a few seconds from my 5K time, I will take advantage of!

Tuesday, January 31, 2012

The Progrid Xodus 2.0 from Saucony

Several weeks ago I decided to hike up the west face of Mount Timpanogos. I was in need of a new trail shoe so I turned to Saucony’s Progrid Xodus 2.0. Saucony chose to team up with Vibram for the outsole with an upper that is bulkier than some runners might want but, in my opinion, essential for a year-round shoe. The interlocking system is inside the shoe’s upper and there are metal rings to attach your gaiters to when the weather sends you a curveball. Both features are shout-outs to Saucony’s commitment to give you the best multiple purpose trail shoe. Translation, one shoe to rule them all and less cash spent on multiple shoes with limited function. I had the shoe so next step: the test.

I hit the mountain with my buddy around 9 a.m. and was immediately stoked to find how well the Xodus 2.0 felt. January in Utah usually means blankets of snow, but with an unusually dry winter I was able to see how the Xodus performed in multiple scenarios and terrain. In the first 3 hours the shoes found traction and left behind mud, loose slopes, ice, snow, and some pine forests with plenty of roots and rocks that unsuccessfully tried to trip me up. 3 hours in I took time to stop and evaluate my feet. To my surprise, and relief, they were warm and comfortable. I made it a point when resting to stand in the snow as opposed to bare ground to test the shoe’s insulation. Now, while warm, my feet weren’t uncomfortably hot. Higher in elevation the slope increased and the trail disappeared. Going straight up through trees and then scrub, the Xodus found hold still. Further up, loose shale slopes and rock faces were now exposed and I scrambled and crawled my way up them. Unfortunately, fading light prevented me and the crew from getting to the highest peak but on the way up the only problems that I faced were with my own legs as my thighs cramped, once some SportLegshttp://262running.blogspot.com/2011_09_01_archive.html, taken earlier, kicked in, the problem subsided and I continued up.

On the way down my feet were starting to get a little sore but nothing that prevented my ability to function. Once we hit a trail the shoes had to deal with mud for about ½ a mile. As the terrain became a little flatter and drier I kicked into a light run and was pleased that my feet weren’t hurting at all. Running was also easier on my knees than plodding slowly down the trail had been. I continued in a light job all the way down to the car.

The next day I had no incredible soreness plaguing my legs or feet. I attribute that to the Xodus 2.0. The shoe proved tough yet comfortable, warm, and the Vibram sole found grip everywhere I took it. Several weeks later I am using the shoes in my day to day routine and they are still as comfortable and reliable as the first day that I took them up. Overall an amazing shoe from the breathable upper and its interlocking system hidden within, it’s patented Saucony Progrid system in the midsole, to the Vibram outsole that never lost a footing. This shoe performs well at all levels that I have tested it at. Now it is your turn.

Tuesday, January 17, 2012

Saucony Kinvara Review

Saucony Kinvara Review

We all (hopefully) know that a good shoe is a must for distance running.
So then what qualifies a shoe as a “good shoe?” You’ll often hear words such as cushion, stability, traction, weight, and many other words we use to describe our shoes. So then why is it that for some of us our super cushioned or highly stable shoes still give us problems? Our definition of a “good shoe” may be different. For us, less may be more.

Most running shoes have a heel to toe drop ratio of 10-14 mm. That means that the heel has 10-14 mm more of material, giving the shoe more of a heel. This often encourages us to land more on our heels, and have a slower transition to our toes. Unfortunately, “heel-striking” can, at least for some of us, cause detrimental problems. The Saucony Kinvara has only a 4 mm heel to toe drop, giving us a quicker transition from the heel to toe. That decrease in cushioning also discourages heel striking, allowing us to run more on our fore-foot, and causing us to land under our center of gravity. Landing on your fore-foot can reduce shock to your bones and tendons, helping to keep you injury-free.

The Kinvara still has an excellent cushioning system. It’s Pro-Grid Lite technology works a lot like a tennis raquet or a trampoline; it works to disperse the impact of the ground throughout the material, instead of allowing it to travel straight up your legs. The triangular pattern on the bottom of the shoe also increases the cushion value by embedding itself into the shoe with each stride, allowing for cushion without having to add more rubber to the sole which would add weight. The Kinvara is an extremely light training shoe while still having a strong integrity to it.

Many have found the Kinvara to be a great option on race day as well!

I have personally gone through quite a few pairs of the Kinvara and Kinvara 2, and I am still a huge fan. Before using them, I was having problems with plantar fasciitis, and within a few days after switching to the Kinvara’s, it went away and has not come back since. Other shoes comparable to the Kinvara would be the New Balance Minimus, or any of the Brooks Pure Project line.

Bottom line, the minimalistic properties of the Saucony Kinvara could be many of our answers; with its extremely light weight, sock like fit, advanced cushion system, and 4 mm heel to toe drop, the Saucony Kinvara is becoming a popular way to solve some injury problems and give us the most comfortable ride we could hope for.

Tuesday, December 13, 2011


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