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The Running List: Trail Running Shoes

Welcome back everyone! I'd like to start by congratulating all my fellow Rock n’ Roll San Diego Marathon finishers. And for the person who thought it was a good idea to put a massive hill from miles 21-23, screw you too! ;)

Now on to the good stuff. With temperatures holding steady at 100+ degrees here in Las Vegas, there are few options when it comes to running outside. Option one is to wake up at roughly 3:30 AM in the hopes of getting your run in while the overnight low is below 85 degrees (while this is what I often find myself doing to avoid the heat, the delirium that sets in around lunch time is enough to make me want to move to The People's Republic of Congo or somewhere where temperatures are relatively steady throughout the year). Option two is to run on a treadmill (though I would much rather cut my left arm off and slap myself across the face with it because that is how much I hate treadmills). Option three is to take to cooler climates, often times off the beaten path, and hit the trails (winner winner Tinder dinner)!!

Now, I have to admit that it took me a few (10) times to really appreciate trail running for what it is. The first few times I found myself hating every moment of it, carefully watching my steps so as not to trip, fall, and rupture a vital organ or two.  I couldn't seem to ever fully release the tension in my shoulders and found trail running to be more stressful than gratifying. That is, until one day when everything I thought about trail running changed.

A friend convinced me to run up to the notorious "N" located conveniently on the side of the hill in Reno, NV. As reluctant as I was to venture out, I obliged and made my way up the side of the mountain. Never taking my eyes off of my feet, we were at the "N" before I knew it! I couldn't believe it -- what was supposed to be a 40-minute climb felt like five. And then it hit me: the beauty of the trail run is that you are forced to be in the moment at all times.

When I run on the road, I am constantly looking ahead, always trying to find where I need to be and how long it will take me to get there. Rather than enjoying the moment, I find myself looking for the end point.  In trail running, I have no choice but to be present every step of the way, to take in each stride and enjoy the moment for what it is.

I hope that you too can find this pleasure in the trail...and while you are out there, here are my top picks for the best trail running shoes. May you find the best pair and enjoy every step of the way :)

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Women's:

1. Salomon Speedcross 3

2.  Brooks Cascadia 10

3. Merrell All Out Peak

Men's:

1.  Hoka One One Challenger ATR

2. Montrail Mountain Masochist III Outdry®

3. inov-8 X-Talon 200

Until next time, happy trails, roads, and any other unchartered terrains,
--Chelsea

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The Running List: Accessories to Help You Go the Distance

Coco Chanel once said, “Before you leave the house, look in the mirror and remove one accessory.” Coco Chanel was obviously not a runner. There are certain times, especially on my long runs, that I may be easily confused with a pack mule. Between my hydration, fuel, GPS tracking devices (I use two because I am neurotic), IPod™, hat, sunglasses and any other odds and ends I forgot to mention, it’s a wonder how I’m able to carry it all! While I would love to abide by Coco’s inspiring words, in the world of running, removing one item is just not possible.

This brings us to the wonderful world of running accessories, or as I like to refer to them: little treasures that make running several miles possible, practical and yes, even enjoyable.

As I mentioned, there are several small items that make a large difference when hitting the road for a few hours. Read on to see my head-to-toe list of favorite running accessories!

Starting from the top, it is an absolute must to have sun protection, especially in the overwhelmingly sunny city of Las Vegas.  A moisture-wicking, lightweight hat not only protects your head and face from the sun, but it also keeps your noggin cool. And take it from someone who used to run in an old Minnesota Twins hat: baseball caps do not make good running hats, as evidenced by the still-constant stench of sweat and salt, even after 17 washes!

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1. Arc’Teryx Accelero Cap

2. The North Face Better than Naked Visor

3. Solomon S-Lab Sense Ultra Set

4. CamelBak Ultra 4

5. Tifosi Optics Just

6. Under Armour Perfect Headband

7. Nathan Trail Mix 4

8. Ultimate Direction Access 10

9. Nike Distance Arm Band

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For a great running hat, you may want to check out Arc’Teryx Accelero Cap or, if you prefer a visor, The North Face Better than Naked Visor is a good option. Even with a hat, the reflection of the sun off of the black asphalt is pretty bright, which is why I like to go the extra mile (pun intended) and throw on a pair of sunglasses. Tifosi Optics Just are super lightweight, polarized and perfect for protecting your eyes from glare.

For runs that you take either before or after the sun has gone down, the Under Armour Perfect Headband is the ideal antidote for disobedient hair that constantly finds its way into your eyes, nose, and/or mouth while running.

While I deeply enjoy disconnecting from the outside world when I’m running, I do take my phone with me as a safety precaution. It is also nice to have in the small chance that I am surprised by an adorable herd of meerkats and need to snap a quick photo. Lucky for me, the Nike Distance Arm Band makes for a great place to store my phone. It’s moisture wicking and so comfortable, I often forget I have it on J

Finally, and most importantly, for long runs (typically considered six miles and over) a hydration belt/pack/vest is a must. My personal preference is the Ultimate Direction Access 10 as it is lightweight and contained to just one bottle. While there are several individuals who prefer to have multiple bottles for different liquids, like the Nathan Trail Mix 4, I like to eliminate the chance of taking a sip of what I think is water only to have it be cherry-flavored vodka and ralph all over (I’m not quite sure how that could happen, but I don’t want to take that chance!).

For even longer trail runs or runs where you may not be around civilization for a while, the Solomon S-Lab Sense Ultra Set and CamelBak Ultra 4 are great companions that can store up to 70oz of water!

Now that you have a fully accessorized running outfit, go out there and make Coco roll around in her grave…maybe even throw on one extra running accessory before you leave the house!

Until next time, happy trails, roads and any other unchartered terrain!

--Chelsea

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The Running List: Warm-Weather Running Clothes

Welcome back! My how things have changed since the last time I was here – the flowers are blooming, the days are longer and the temperatures are on a steady incline. This can only mean one thing: spring has officially sprung! Being a native resident to Las Vegas, we have the pleasure of enjoying about two months of this glorious time before temperatures reach the “don’t come out of your house our you will melt” zone. Knowing my days are numbered, I try to take advantage of these temperatures as much as I can. I insist on driving with my windows down, eating breakfast, lunch and dinner on my back patio, and, of course, running outdoors as much as possible.

It is no coincidence that this will be the third San Diego Marathon that I have trained for – no, not because I am huge fan of running on freeways and large hills, but because the race is typically either the last week of May or first week of June. This means that peak training just happens to coincide with the optimal Las Vegas weather! For some reason, waking up to the sounds of birds chirping and the sun shining makes it exponentially easier to roll out of bed, put on my clothes, and hit the road.

It also helps that I now only have to put on four articles of clothing rather than the 74 layers I was putting on in the dead of winter (this may be a slight exaggeration; however when you factor in gloves and head warmers, things get crazy).

Three, yes, just three articles of clothing: running shorts, a sports bra, and a running top. As I have previously mentioned, I am slightly neurotic when it comes to planning out what I am going to wear when I run. I like to have everything ready in the morning so I can literally roll out of bed, hopefully not hit my head on the nightstand (though it has happened more than once), put on my clothes, and head out the door.

Truthfully, I am usually not fully awake until two or three miles into my run, just the right amount of time and distance so that I can’t second guess my decision and crawl back in bed. With that, laying out my running wardrobe in the spring is quite shocking the first few times I do it, mostly because I feel like I am missing 71 articles of clothing. However, now that I am accustomed to only having the essential three, I am more inclined to pick pieces that work well with each other. 

Gone are the days of layering, covering, and hiding any semblance of a cute running outfit. Now is my time to shine and since I only need three, yes, just three articles of clothing to run in, you better believe that they are going to be the cutest, hottest, and most functional outfits of all my running apparel. With that, I bring you my spring-summer apparel running list:

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WOMEN'S

Outfit 1:

1. Nike Dri-FIT Balance Tank Top

2. CW-X Versatx Running Bra

3. Under Armour UA Armour Vent Moxey Short

Outfit 2:  

1. Under Armour Fly-By Stretch Mesh Tank Top

2. adidas Supernova Racer Bra

3. Brooks Infiniti Capri III

Outfit 3:

1. ASICS Fit-Sana Graphic Tee

2. Moving Comfort Fiona Bra

3. The North Face MA-X Short

Outfit 4:

1. MPG Sport Encourage

2. Champion Spot Comfort Full-Support Sports Bra

3. New Balance Accelerate Printed Capri

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MEN'S

Outfit 1:

1. PUMA PT At Cool Nov Tee

2. ASICS Woven Shorts

Outfit 2:

1. Under Armour UA coldback Run Tee

2. Brooks PureProject Woven Shorts

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Newton Running: Buy a Shoe, Grow Healthy Kids!

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When you buy the special edition Learning Garden shoe from Newton Running, you're planting the seeds of a better tomorrow. Through outdoor hands-on classrooms, at-risk students are connected to real food, strengthining their roots in the community and providing healthier choices to their families and neighbors.

With each pair of shoes purchased, The Kitchen Community offers one child access to a Learning Garden in his or her school, impacting 100,000 students daily.
Now is your chance to make a difference with the purchase of Newton Running's Learning Garden shoe, available exclusively at Zappos.com!

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The Running List: Let's Talk About (Running) Socks...

Welcome back friends! Now that you have all found the most perfect running shoe, it is time to pause for a moment, reflect, and think about what exactly we are putting in those shoes. For a runner, the feet are perhaps the most important parts of our bodies, which means it is essential to take care of them in any way we can.

While shoes are of the upmost importance, there is something that is equally important and often overlooked: running socks. That’s right, something that is so tiny and elusive (I must have nine currently floating around somewhere in the 4th dimension of my laundry room) can make a world of a difference in terms of comfort and relief.

When I first started running, I had no idea about all the various running socks. In fact, I’m pretty sure for a long while I ran in socks that were purchased in bulk next to the checkout register by the discounted gum. Needless to say, halfway through training for my first half-marathon my blisters were out of control!

For me, the first round of blisters appeared under the arch of my foot, towards my heel. This was when I first discovered Thorlos lightweight, no-show socks. There are also blister-preventing socks available that are great at providing the correct amount of padding in just the right places.

Soon after switching out of my tightie whities, my arch blisters subsided. For those that are just starting out or for moderate runners, you may want to try a pack of Wigmwam mid crew socks or a couple of pairs of Nike Lightweight Anti-Blister socks as they are a great value and do an amazing job at protecting the feet!

It wasn’t until training for my first full marathon that I started to get blisters in between my toes. In. Between. My. Toes. Frankly, I am not sure how this even happened, but let me just say, it was as awful as it sounds. At one point, one got so big and bad that I named him Hank and would give him a nice pep-talk before venturing out on a long run, hoping that he would comply and behave himself. Hank never listened and proceeded to just get larger and more unruly. This was when I found the joy of toe socks. Sure, they may look funny but boy did they make a difference! Toe socks are specifically designed to reduce the friction between the toes while running and tremendously helped reduce the size of my nasty blister (RIP Hank).

Finally – there is the compression sock. Compression socks are a great way to keep the blood circulating in the lower part of the legs and feet. They not only enhance blood circulation, but they help regulate skin temperature and fight bacteria. Similarly, compression socks can be worn after a run to help circulate blood flow and subsequently reduce inflammation.

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Anti-Blister Socks

1. Thorlos Lite Running Micro-Mini 3-Pair Pack

2. Drymax Sport Running Lite Mesh No-Show 3-Pack

3. Nike Running Anti-Blister Lightweight Socks

4. Wigwam Marathon II 6-Pair Pack

Toe Socks

1. Injinji Run Lightweight No-Show Coolmax 3-Pack

2. Injinji PED 3-Pack

Compression Socks

1. Powerstep Recovery Compression Socks

2. Zensah Tech + Compression Socks

3. 2XU Compression Recovery Sock

4. CW-X Compression Support Socks

While all of these socks can help reduce blisters, please note that some blisters are still inevitable – much like spilling red wine on a white shirt or the fact that every time I go to the bathroom at work,a Maroon 5 song will be on the radio. Some things we just have to prepare for and not get upset at when they happen. Personally, I like to think of them as little badges of honor…and I must remind myself that every time a new one inconveniently rears its ugly head.

Until next time, happy trails, roads and any other unchartered terrain.

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The Running List: Top-Ranking Running Shoes

Welcome back friends! Now that you are all experts and know what type of running shoe is best for you, I have made some selections for the best specific running shoe for each category: Netural, Trail, Stability, and Track and Field. For those that may need a little refresher of last month’s blog, please check it out here!

As I mentioned before, I wish there was one shoe that I could recommend that would be the best running shoe for you. Unfortunately, there is no magic shoe that is right for everyone. I suppose it isn’t such a bad thing, as then I would have nothing to write about and be out of a job just kidding, they don’t pay me for this gig, but I digress…

In reality, there are actually thousands of possible running shoes for every type of runner. It may seem like a daunting challenge, but think of it as a fun way to start with a few umpteen shoes in your virtual shopping cart, knowing  you get to whittle down the general selection to just  a few choice pairs - sort of like The Bachelor, but for running shoes!  

Now that we have made our Rose Selection, or whatever it is that they do on The Bachelor, (sorry, I actually do not watch the show but have heard good things) it is important to keep in mind exactly why these shoes will be important. For anyone serious about running,  (generally characterized by running three or more times a week) a good running shoe will be able to provide support in the correct places and spaces, cushioning where needed, motion control, and flexibility. In short, the perfect running shoe will act as an extension of your individual foot, hopefully allowing you to run longer, farther, and to places you have never been before!

Without further ado, I provide you my top three selections of running shoes based upon customer ratings, overall technical features, best sellers and functionality in these specific categories:

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Neutral:

1. Under Armour UA Speedform Apollo GR

2. Inov-8 F-Lite™ 240

3. Nike Flex Experience Run 3

 

Trail:

4. Salomon XR Mission W

5. Montrail Bajada™

6. La Sportiva Vertical K Men’s

Stability:

7.  ASICS Gel-Kayano® 21

8. Newton Running Kismet

9. Brooks Addiction™ 11

Track and Field:

10. Puma TFX Spring v5

11. New Balance Spike

12. Saucony Carrera XC

Until next time, happy trails, roads and other unchartered terrains! :)

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The Running List: 4 Rules for Finding Your Perfect Running Shoes

I have a distinct memory of my first pair of running shoes, mostly because up until six years ago I am pretty sure running shoes in my size only came in three colors: blue, black and/or white. Having a shoe size of 11 female makes finding any shoes, let alone running shoes, rather challenging. So when I found my very first pair of pink, black and lime green Nike running shoes, I was beside myself.

These were the first pair of running shoes that made me feel like a badass. They were sporty, and super stylish…but unbeknownst to me, they were NOT at all what I needed in a running shoe. During a training run with my old running team in Reno (shout out to NSET!) , one of my teammates spotted my spiffy kicks and told me I really needed new running shoes that supported my overpronation. My heart was broken. I somehow managed to pull myself out of my mild depression and face the cold, hard truth that my adorable running shoes were just not right for me. With that, I had to start from square one and find a new pair of running shoes.

I did, however, find a compromise by wearing my Nikes on weight training days – score!

Finding a good running shoe may seem like a simple task, but with so many options available, it can become quite daunting. Have no fear my dear friends; I have created this simple how-to guide to help you find the best running shoe for you!

Rule #1: Always remember that your feet are like snowflakes – no two are the same. I always welcome recommendations, but just because someone absolutely loves their own shoes, that doesn’t mean it’s a good match for you. This leads me to my next rule…

Rule #2: Before purchasing any shoe, it’s worth your while to have a qualified professional look at your stride. This can easily be conducted at your local running store, OR just watch the video below where one of our running buyers shows you how to determine your stride!:

Rule #3: Do not purchase a shoe based solely on aesthetic features. Sure, the pink and neon yellow, double laced, light-up sneakers with the glitter sole appear to be heaven sent; but beware, just because they look amazing does not mean they are functional or practical for YOUR feet.

Rule #4: Just like cars, go ahead and take your shoes for a test drive. It is important to try on several different shoes and walk around the house with them to see what works best for you. Remember, with Zappos' free and easy returns, you can order as many as you’d like and return the ones that don’t make the cut!

Be sure to stay tuned for my next "The Running List" post, where I will break down the best running shoes for those that need a little support, neutral runners, track athletes and trail blazers.

Until next time, happy trails, roads, and other unchartered terrains!

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The Running List: Cold-Weather Gear

post by: Chelsea B.

It’s cold. It’s dark. It’s 5:30 in the morning and I have a scheduled five-mile midweek run before I head into the office. Two months ago, jumping out of bed and hitting the pavement was no problem at all. That was when it was warm, bright, and birds were singing. 

I have to admit that as much as I love running, I hate running in cold weather. I was born and raised in Las Vegas where anything below 65 degrees is grounds for a “hard freeze warning.”

Now, despite my strong distaste and overall inability to function in cold weather, I absolutely hate running anything over two miles on a treadmill. Unless a volcano is erupting, there is a sharknado warning, or a pack of wild dingoes is on the loose, I will always choose to run outside.

With that, I know that I must suck it up and start layering up. Like any normal, slightly OCD runner, I like to have my gear laid out and ready to go the night before so all I have to do is literally roll out of bed and put them on. While getting ready for a run this time of year is a little more labor intensive than the good ol’ days of throwing on shorts and a tank, the good news is that there are tons of amazing cold-weather running products available to help stave off the frigid air that winter brings Woohoo!

From your oh-so important feet to the top of your head, Zappos Running has you covered (literally) so you can get those miles in through the coldest of days.

Below are some of my favorites in cold-weather running clothing & gear:

 Cold-Weather Gear for Running

1. Under Armour UA Qualifier Knit Pants

2. Under Armour Coldgear® Infrared Leggings

3. adidas Techfit Cold Weather Long Tights

4. Mountain Hardwear Momentum Running Gloves

5. Moving Comfort Fiona Sports Bra

6. Nike Running Elite Hyper-Lite No-Show Socks

7. ASICS Favorite Long-sleeve Top

8. New Balance Accelerate Long-sleeve Top

9. Brooks Essential Long-sleeve Half Zip Top

10. Salomon Active Beanie

11. Brooks Utopia Thermal Hoodie III

Until next time, happy trails, roads and other unchartered terrain!

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