I’m Glad I Went Out

Even on the drive home from work I knew I had to go out.  I was tired.  I had to go out.  I was stressed.  I had to go out.  It was wet and cold.  I had to go out.  The light was fading.  I just knew I had to go out.  

My foot has been bothering me for a year and it had not been the best day for my foot while at work.  I hadn’t eaten in quite a few hours.  I ran through a lot of reasons in my head why I should stay in.  I still felt the pull to go outside though.

So I went inside, grabbed some running clothes (I couldn’t have cared less how I looked or whether I could find something warmer), did some mobility exercises (because my foot was, as a friend once put it, “grumpy”), warmed up (I have too many old niggles not too), and I went out the door.  I couldn’t even find a headlamp to take with me in the dark.

I walked to the trail.  I walked up the trail.  The darkness was more of a comfort than a hinderance.  I began to run.  I knew I didn’t have much in me.  I think I only went out for maybe a mile and a half.  I stopped at one point and squatted down and looked out at the bright lights of Reno and said a prayer.  It was cold and windy but somehow I felt just a little bit of my burden slip away in the dark out there on the trail.

I brought home less weight than I took out.  I didn’t go far.  I walked half of it.  It wasn’t perfect… but it helped.  When I was cooking dinner at home after the run (I am being generous with the word “run”) I felt more grateful and just a little less stressed- I’m really glad I went out (even if it had to be alone) and I do not want to take that for granted.

Mobility Post Script:

Some of you might want to know what my mobility exercises were.  I like to take a small ball and divide the bottom of my foot into sections.  Then I stand on the ball in each section for about 30 seconds with as much weight/ pressure as my foot will allow.  It relaxes the soft tissue and allows (among other things) the joints to move more freely (and often affects pain if I am having some).  I don’t always recommend doing it right before a run unless you follow it up with some foot activation (like short foot exercises)- but if you have tight feet and ankles and make mobilizing them a habit- you will learn your own body more and know when you need to do it.  I mobilize my feet at least once a day (often in the morning or at night).  I recommend everyone learn how to do “soft tissue work” on yourself- it can reduce pain, help speed up recovery, and help you learn the wonderful body that we all get/ have to live in!

My First Race

One of the things I love about running is all the stories I have involving other people.  They go back a long ways for me.  Let me tell you one brief running story from a long time ago.

When I was in elementary school one of the gym teachers marked out a 50 yard dash course for us.  I was the third fastest kid in my school.  I couldn’t tell you what my time was.  The other two in the top three were the strongest kid in the school (number 2), and a girl named Michelle (who was crowned the fastest).

I should back up a little.  Michelle also happened to be the second girl I ever had a crush on.  I thought she was something else… but I was more than a little shy.  I had recently (a few months prior) used my allowance money to go buy a giant chocolate Hershey’s kiss, wrapped it, written a card, and rode my bike in the snow to deliver it to her house as a Chaunukka present.  Fun fact: Chaunukka can actually be spelled more than ten ways in english- but I digress.  

I was not particularly upset about the girl I liked beating me at the time but it’s important to keep in mind for what happened shortly thereafter.  Apparently (as it was told to me) the girl I was crushing on (at the wise old age of 10ish) was at a sleepover playing truth or dare and a friend of hers was dared to kiss me.  And this is where it gets interesting- she traded one of her dares with that friend so that she could kiss me.

So after school (the following Monday) they cornered me on the walk home and told me some version of the story above.  While I really wanted to kiss her I suddenly became very afraid.  I panicked. My response was to bolt.  In that moment I decided to start a second race… with the fastest kid in school.  I took off.  In the process I dropped my backpack and kept going.  My books were useless to me for once.  She gave good chase.  She was on my heels for almost a half a mile- but there were a few differences that I learned about that day.

First, I was afraid and she was not.  Second, a half mile is a lot different than 50 yards.  And lastly I had a different tolerance for physical pain than she did.  In one of my first real experiences with fight or flight I ran back to school, around the school, and through 10 feet of thorny bushes over both our heads to escape through the swamp with mud halfway up my knees where I was able to hop a fence, sneak through someone’s back yard, and take the long way home alone.  I think I actually l lost her at the thorns- but i didn’t need a heart rate monitor to tell you I was pushing over 90% for more than a mile.  

So I I beat my crush the second time we paired up in a race… but I don’t think I could really say I feel like I won that day.

If I were to time travel and give my younger self advice I would tell little me to just kiss the girl and discover you were more of a distance runner some other way.  I would also say, don’t give in to fear, it won’t help.  I think back to that day often.  Michelle, if you’re out there, I owe you one.

Strength for Runners – Beginner Series

I’m a firm believer that strength work is a crucial part of any successful running routine. This routine focuses mostly on the hips and core. When these areas have adequate strength you will be able to hold good form for longer, allowing you to run faster and with less injuries. Make sure you can perform each movement perfectly before adding the more difficult variations. Remember… Practice makes permanent, but perfect practice yields positive results!

All these movements can be done at home with either body weight or simple resistance bands. I even use Home Depot 5 gallon buckets filled with sand to add weight; no fancy equipment needed! I recommend completing this routine three times per week with 3 sets of 10 reps for each movement. For the planks, hold each position for 30 seconds or until you break form.

This video includes: lateral band walks, monster walks, push-ups, push-up with reach, planks, air squats, dead lifts, farmer walks, glute bridges, and core stability reaches.

Strength for Runners – Intermediate Series

I’m a firm believer that strength work is a crucial part of any successful running routine. This routine focuses mostly on the hips and core. When these areas have adequate strength you will be able to hold good form for longer, allowing you to run faster and with less injuries. Make sure you can perform each movement in our “Strength for Runners – Beginner Series” perfectly before adding the more difficult variations. Remember… Practice makes permanent, but perfect practice yields positive results! Each movement in this video is simply a more difficult variation of the movements in our previous video. These variations will challenge your balance and core stability.

All these movements can be done at home with either body weight or simple resistance bands. I even use Home Depot 5 gallon buckets filled with sand to add weight; no fancy equipment needed! I recommend completing this routine three times per week with 3 sets of 10 reps for each movement. For the planks, hold each position for 30 seconds or until you break form.

This video includes: lateral band walks, monster walks, push-ups, push-up with reach, planks, air squats, dead lifts, farmer walks, glute bridges, and core stability reaches.

Pre-Run Movement Prep

Looking for the perfect pre-run or pre-race warmup routine? Well here you go…

In this video I cover my favorite movements to get my body ready to run. Try this series out before you start your morning run or race warm up jog. Start with calf and achilles activation, then move to the hips and thoracic spine with a Verstegen Stretch “World’s Greatest Stretch”. Finishing with a series I learned from Bobby McGee.

Morning Mobility for Runners

I’ve found the best way to enjoy running is staying injury free. Less injuries equals more running, and at Reno Running Company we believe that is a very good thing 🙂

In this video you will find the morning mobility routine I preform EVERY DAY. It includes some trigger point and active release techniques, along with foam rolling and some dynamic stretching. This video and the next video in our series, Pre-Run Movement Prep, will help get your body ready to run.

Nobody likes the feeling of those first few miles where your body feels stiff and creaky. Challenge yourself to start every morning with 10-15 minutes of mobility and movement prep and I guarantee running will become more enjoyable.

Hoka One One, Evo Speedgoat

I’ve run in a lot of shoes.  Owing a running store has its perks when it comes to footwear options. We try the latest and greatest innovations allowing us to talk eloquently and realistic to customers.  Running in a shoe, you learn a lot about it, much like you do when you run with another person. 

I had the pleasure and luxury of testing out the new Hoka One One, Evo Speedgoat.  Before I get into the details, let me just say that I was a Speedgoat fan originally.  My feet are super sensitive to anything tight or restrictive and I appreciate the cushion at this point in my running career. I am retired from racing, but I do like to get out there and humor getting my Strava QOMs back, in true gritty mom fashion.  The trail I chose to test these shoes on was full of all types of terrain; rocks, water, soft dirt and accents and descents.  I like to fully commit to a run while testing shoes to give them an honest chance.  Although your shoes should fit you perfectly in the shop, sometimes you need to run on different terrain to feel the full effects of the technology.

The Evo Speedgoat fits pretty true to size.  The upper wraps around your foot like it was made for you. And the sheer weightlessness of this design makes you feel like you are in nothing at all. The rugged outsole holds your foot placement tight making the next foot-strike efficient.    For my shoe geeks out there, here are the specs:

  • MATRYX® upper textile, featuring high-tensile synthetic fiber strands across the midfoot for unparalleled strength and durability at minimal weight
  • Non-wicking treated fabric optimizes water drainage
  • Breathable vamp provides a comfortable fit with improved forefoot flexibility
  • Gusseted tongue prevents migration across the instep
  • Midsole and outsole feature the same cushion and traction as the Speedgoat 3
  • CMEVA foam midsole absorbs impact points and offers stable footing
  • Vibram® Mega grip high-traction outsole with 5mm lugs
  • Multidirectional lugs for supreme grip on varied terrain

For some, it’s hard to justify spending $160 on a pair of trail shoes that are going to get filthy with dirt and mud.  But you do get what you pay for with this new addition to the trail line up.  All the best concepts collide with this shoe.  They feel like a racing flat but have the benefits of a full cushion shoe.  But like all trail runners, you are not having fun unless you get a little dirty.  I am looking forward to running in the snow with these during the winter months and potentially paring them with some YakTrax.

Happy Trails!

How to Run Commute

First off why? Why would anyone want to run commute? For me the answer is quite simple; time management. I know the idea of running to work or school and then back home again might not sound like your thing but hear me out. By run commuting you can really get some much wanted miles in. Run commuting is a “double day” because you are running twice.

Time Management

Most of us are limited on time. If you are like me and have a full time job, wife and three kids you have probably contemplated quitting running all together because it feels so selfish. Run commuting allows you to save a lot of time and still get the miles you need to feel trained. You will also save time by not spending time driving somewhere to run, meeting others, etc. You will also overlap the time you would be commuting with the time you are running.

Logistics

Yes, logistically running to work or school can be tricky at first but once you get it figured out you will hone in your packing/pre-packing tricks and techniques. For me the solution was finding a good backpack to carry my work clothes, packed lunch and running jacket. I used the Salomon S-Lab Peak 20 as it has a larger volume than a running vest but fits like a running vest. Other brands like Ultimate Direction also make similar packs. The S-Lab Peak 20 is great because it adjusts on the bottom of the pack to the waist, on the top to the shoulders and then a zig-zagged side sinch that pulls the pack close to your back. This is great because it reduces the dreaded back and forth swing of running with a backpack.

The second order of interest would be showing up to work or school clean and showered. Luckily for me I work at a University and I have access to the showers in the fitness locker room. I simply shower, put on my work clothes and stroll into the office. I then reverse the process (minus the shower) when leaving work.

Enjoyment

This really depends on the route you take to get to work from your residence. I am extremely lucky in that I live in Reno Nevada right next to National Forest land that butts up next to my backyard and then almost right next to the University. I have access to over 50 miles of trails right next to my 4 mile straight shot commute. So, if I have time I can simply shoot out into the hills and add bonus miles on endless singletrack between my house and work. If you live in a city you may want to get inspiration from Ricky Gates and try exploring more, or “every single street” in your city. You may find backroads or alleys that you never knew existed.

I also find that run commuting, just like regular commuting is a great time to catch up on podcasts, news or listen to the music. When training you generally want to look at most runs as having a purpose (hills, intervals, long-run) but these commutes can simply be enjoyable miles. I take them slow and even run them in New Balance Minimus 10v1 shoes that I just picked up at the Reno Running Company. For me pace is such that it is great to focus on running efficiently and relaxed.

So give it a shot! I think you will find it is a great tool in not only your training, but also to save time.

Winter Running

First off let me preface by saying that running in cold and treacherous conditions may be dangerous. Please be careful if you are not used to running in wintery weather.

That being said, running in snowy wintery conditions can be awesome! Getting outside in blustery conditions does take a little practice but with the right gear and mindset it may be your new favorite running season.

Gear

Choosing what to wear will take time to figure out based on your preferences. This is probably the most crucial aspect of winter running. The challenge lies in temperature and moisture control. When you start running you will always be cold if you are dressed properly then hopefully you will warm up to a comfortable temperature. Layers and a light wind breaker that you can peel off once you begin warming up is always an options. Plus it is great to have a windbreaker in case the weather takes a turn for the worse. You will also want to wear a material that wicks moisture. Under your laysers of warm clothes you will build up sweat as you run. If you are not wear moisture wicking clothes you will eventually become quite chilly as you have wet clothes against your body.

Extremities are important. Your core generally isn’t too hard to regulate but hands, feet, ears can quickly become unbearably cold while the rest of you is hot if you do not have proper clothing. Reno Running Company carries a variety of gloves and mittens made specifically for runners. They are lightweight and convertible. I highly recommend a buff for your head. If you have not tried a buff for around your neck, face, head wrists, etc. do yourself a favor and watch our video about buffs.

When it comes to your feet you will want to run with taller run specific socks to wick the moisture and prevent blisters. You will want to go with a thick winter version. Also, you may want to consider investing in gore-tex or waterproof shoe. Lastly, when the snow is a bit deeper ankle gaiters which are generally meant for rocks and debris work great to keep snow from packing down your ankles

Safety

Some runners avoid winter running because it can be quite slippery and they are afraid of falling. That is understandable. However, there are ways to prevent this. Firstly I would recommend running somewhere flat if you are uncomfortable running in slippery conditions. Any little bit of off-camber terrain can cause slippage and cause you splat. Another tip is to stay off road. Sometimes the dirt and sand from trails provides a bit more grip than a slick and icy sidewalk. Lastly, you may want to consider get a pair of traction devices for your shoes. They work great and can be used on almost any type of running shoe. What am I talking about?…. just watch another video

Also, since it is darker in the winter months you should also be prepared with lighting (headlamp and blinking safety lights) should you find yourself out in the dark.

Fun

So if it still sounds quite miserable to you I challenge you to give it a shot. Find some buddies and go play in the snow. Winter months are a great time to not focus on nailing specific workouts but to get out the door and continue that active lifestyle by simply moving, feeling the crisp fresh air and reaping the reward for the accomplishment of crushing a wintery blizzard run. You’ll feel great!

Written by Ben Tedore,
Sierra Endurance Sports Athlete
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The Best Trails in Reno

If you happen to find yourself visiting or even better living in Reno and you are looking for a place to get out and venture you will be a happy runner. Reno is a superb location for trail running with trails for all types and for all season. The options and variety are endless. Despite the fact that Reno is located right next to Lake Tahoe and it’s wonderful wilderness many locals are perfectly happy with Reno’s trails choices.

So if you are looking for a flat long trail look no further than our only flat trail the “Ditch Trail”. The Ditch Trail winds through the upper parts of Reno before running alongside the hill west of Reno next to the Truckee River. The Ditch trail is a favorite amongst runners seeking flat terrain, running a tempo where they want to focus on their pace or simply recover on a non-pavement surface. It is also great for running intervals or fartleks if that is your thing. The western portion of this trail can be pretty exposed and windy while the the eastern section located in neighborhoods is often sheltered more. If you hit this trail at the end of summer you may also be able to snag some blackberries that grow wild along the trail for a mid run snack. The best place to park and begin your run is probably HERE.

If you are looking for a little more variation and maybe are close to downtown than you will want to go to Rancho San Rafael Park.  This park blows my mind because it is right next to the University of Nevada, Reno yet also right next to Humboldt-Toiyabe National Forest land. From this park is a vast network of 50 miles of trails that extends all the way to the summit of Peavine Mountain and beyond.  So from Downtown Reno you can travel one mile and be on endless trails that make it feel like you are instantly in the wild. And that is because you are!  To visit the park and start your run go HERE.

Lets say it is summer and you only are able to get a run in during the middle of the day.  A lot of trails in Reno expose you to our wonderful sunshiny days that we have but it can be a bit warm in the summer sun.  You may want to head a little further south and just to the west of the Reno Running Company store that I’m sure you will visit anyways and run the Dry Pond Loop.  This area is very popular because it really feels like you are up in the mountains and in the forest, yet very close to Reno still. The trail is well maintained and the views are breathtaking.  There is a bit of climbing, but nothing too bad.  Start your Run HERE.

If you are looking for something a little steeper and more challenging the Hunter Creek Trail is also very popular. This trail can become more heavily trafficked on the weekends but for a good reason.  The prize at the end of this trail is a beautiful waterfall. If you are looking for something challenging, scenic and Instagram worthy run this trail. This is also a great trail to simply hike.  Be careful crossing the creek which requires some fancy foot work from rock to rock and once at the top you will need to cross a log which is about 10ft above the creek.  The trailhead starts HERE.

If you are looking for something even steeper and longer some of the more serious local mountain runners often visit Chalk Canyon. This trail is relentless and climbs about 2.5k feet to the summit of Peavine. Don’t be afraid to give it a shot because the views of Truckee Meadows and Reno are amazing. You will most likely see deer that live in the higher desert environment.  You may want to carry a windbreaker or something warmer because it is often 10-20 degrees cooler at the summit and is always windy.  This trail runs up Chalk Canyon for the first 2/3 then up a ridge line to the summit.  To start this run go HERE.

I hope this gets you out enjoying our backyard! And if you have any questions many of the staff at Reno Running Company could certainly help with trail recommendations and if you are looking for someone to run with they may be able to find someone to get out there with you.

Happy Trails! #RENORUNNINGCOMPANY