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JULY 2016

| JULY 2016

Fitness wearables get serious

Best new hydration packs


CLICK HERE to read everything new runners need to know.

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Page 26



CLICK HERE to learn about 4 great strength workouts for runners.


4 Easy Strength Exercises for Runners How to Treat & Avoid Common Injuries Essential Yoga Moves



Simple lab tests that can improve your running



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Celena R.

GNC Store Manager, 2000 Sydney Games Athlete

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At GNC stores across the country, Associates like Celena can help you find a personalized nutrition regimen to help fuel your next PR.

Q: Everyone’s talking about probiotics. Can they help my training? A: Probiotics won’t “make

you faster” but they can help you feel better – letting you give your all during training. Probiotics help support digestive health, which is especially great for runners. High-intensity exercise causes stress on the cells of your intestinal wall. Probiotics can help strengthen those cells. To make an even greater impact, GNC Ultra 25 Billion CFUs Probiotic Complex Sport has also been formulated to help increase nutrient absorption – helping you get the most out of your fuel.

Q: The higher the mileage, the more I worry about my knees. What can I do for my joints?

Q: I know protein is important, but how can I get enough without bulking up?

Q: I like to get nutrients from food but it’s tough. How can I supplement my diet?

A: Running can take a serious

A: Don’t fear bulking

up. Endurance training demands protein for muscle recovery. Without it, muscles break down without building back up.

A: Even the healthiest eaters struggle to get every nutrient, every day. When you add training into the mix, nutrition gets even more demanding and confusing.

Pure whey protein is great for that muscle recovery. GNC Pro Performance® 100% Whey Protein has even heightened pure whey’s benefits by optimizing its nitrogen – which is key to supporting lean muscle.

That’s why GNC has scientifically curated supplement programs specific for different needs. GNC Pro Performance® AMP Ripped Vitapak® Programs for both Men and Women contain a multivitamin as well as minerals and supplements that help with metabolism, hydration and more – just what a runner needs.

toll on your body. Luckily, Omega-3s, found in fish oil, help to support the body’s anti-inflammatory response as well as muscle recovery.

But not all fish oil supplements are created equal. Higher potency is key. Each serving should have 500mg or more of DHA and EPA – two absolute musts when we formulated our GNC Triple Strength Fish Oil.


Check out GNC FAQs for answers about:

Visit the GNC Learning Center to explore:

Fitness • Diet • General Health Supplements • Specific Concerns

GNC Health Search • Recipes Product Finders • Social Community



Have Questions? Get Social!

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READY. SET. ROCK. M A R AT H O N | 1/2 M A R AT H O N | R E L AY | 10 K | 5 K | 1 M I L E

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NOV 10-13


JUL 16-17


DEC 3-4


AUG 6-7




SEP 3-4


JAN 14-15


SEP 17-18




SEP 25


MAR 11


OCT 1-2





MAR 19




MAR 26




APR 1-2


OCT 15-16




OCT 15-16


APR 29


OCT 22-23


APR 23


OCT 30



OCT 30


JUN 3-4


NOV 5-6


JUN 17

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Captured 6

Beautiful Brooklyn On any given fall day, running through Brooklyn can be a real treat. The trendy and popular New York City borough is full of incredible sights—from the gorgeous autumn foliage in Prospect Park to the stunning architectural gems in its brownstones that line its iconic streets. But on Oct. 8, running through Brooklyn will be better than ever with the Rock ‘n’ Roll Brooklyn Half Marathon, thanks to a new course, several key logistical improvements, a new conveniently located race expo at Penn Plaza Pavilion in Manhattan and more entertainment and cheer squads along the race route. It’s one of the only running events to shut down major streets and landmarks in New York City’s most populous borough, which means runners will get an intimate and exclusive experience as they bound through parts of the Big Apple. The race begins at the iconic Brooklyn Art Museum, and a stunning finish line awaits everyone in Prospect Park in the heart of one of New York City’s most charming green spaces. “The Rock ‘n’ Roll Brooklyn Half Marathon course offers a little bit of everything in an urban course,” says course operations director Ted Metellus. “It’s got its climbs and its descents. It has its straightaways and its turns. But during it all, you will be running down tree-lined streets and through a beautiful park.” For more details or to register, go to

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Click here to see more photos from the 2015 Rock ‘n’ Roll Brooklyn Half Marathon

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Photos: ryan bethke

Click here to watch a video from the 2015 Rock ‘n’ Roll Brooklyn Half Marathon.

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j uly 2 0 1 6



28 Running in the Dark of the Night

15 Starting Lines

BlacklistLA combines late-night running with urban art in Los Angeles. By Adam Elder



51 First Lap

59 Run It

We check in with elite runner Maggie Vessey and her latest custom race wear,

4 bodyweight exercises you

Our picks for a variety of

try the latest electrolyte-

can do anywhere

upcoming races

replenishing fuels, look at the

34 Run Healthy! How to fix the five most common running injuries. By Mario Fraioli

country’s most challenging trail, and meet a man who

Can the latest sports testing technology tell you anything useful? By Matt Hart

44 9 Race-day ‘Oh S#*T!’ Moments How to avoid the classic blunders that happen to all runners at some point. By Emily Polachek

David Laney’s Progression Run

uses running to change lives (including his own).

38 Blood, Sweat and Tears

52 Workout of the Month


Back Page 64 Last Lap Two-time Olympian Nick

53 Elite Insights

Symmonds explains why

Stephanie Bruce on building

track and field should look

back strength

to tennis, the busiest part of an Olympic year, and what’s

22 Wearable Tech

54 Coach Culpepper

How measuring power can

Tips to supplement your

advance your running.

running with strength training

26 Collective

56 Cross-Training

The latest hydration-carrying

Unlock your hips with these

products for summer running.

run-specific yoga moves

holding back the sport.

ON THE COV E R: Local runners Raquel Lambdin and Sam Lee were photographed in Coronado, Calif., by Nick Isabella.

B E LOW: On the run with BlacklistLA. Photo by Erik Valiente.

Click here to read about 7 habits of highly effective runners.

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Westin offers New Balance ® shoes, shirts and shorts to borrow as well as a complimentary bottle of water, so you can fit in your workout even if you can’t fit your gear in your suitcase. It’s just another way we help you stay fit when you are on the road. Learn more at

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© 2016 Starwood Hotels & Resorts Worldwide, Inc. All Rights Reserved. Westin and its logo are the trademarks of Starwood Hotels & Resorts Worldwide, Inc., or its affiliates.   New Balance Gear Lending is available at all Westin Hotels and Resorts on a limited basis and is subject to availability.


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TRA IL RUN N IN G Learn everything you need to know about running off-road at

Click here to access dozens of injury prevention articles.

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Each week we highlight a different

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Compared to native curcumin extract.

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Writers, Designers & Photographers


Brian Metzler senior editor Mario Fraioli managing editor Adam Elder web editor Ryan Wood associate editor Emily Polachek

contributing writers

Jeff Banowetz, Jonathan Beverly, Erin Beresini, Adam W. Chase, Jay Dicharry, Jason Fitzgerald, Matt Hart, Lisa Jhung, Max King, Duncan Larkin, Kelly O’Mara, Bryon Powell, Michael Sandrock, Roy M. Wallack, Sam Winebaum

senior graphic designer

Oliver Baker started at Competitor Group Inc. in 2006

Valerie Brugos

as a graphic designer for Triathlete magazine. While and learned from several very talented staff photog-

Alan Culpepper, Meb Keflezighi, Jason Devaney, Allison Pattillo


O l i v e r Ba k e r

taking breaks from designing layouts, he assisted

senior contributing editors


contributing photography

Oliver Baker, Nick Isabella, Shawn O’Keefe

raphers and videographers at the company. Today he uses those to produce imagery for CGI’s four

C i rc u l at i o n , m ar k et i n g & P r o d u ct i o n

publications and accompanying websites, as well as

production manager Meghan McElravy

special projects for the Rock ‘n’ Roll Marathon Series.

advertising production manager

For Competitor, he photographs the gear and training

Gia Hawkins director, pr Dan Cruz

pages every month, including pages 18, 26 and 51 in this issue.

audience development manager

Kristy Buescher manager, media marketing

Nicole Christenson

d i g i ta l s er v i ce s web developers Joseph Hernandez, Miguel A. Estrada, Rachel Blades web director James A. Longhini associate creative director Thomas Phan junior web designers Sean Marshall, Eddie Villanueva director, multimedia Steve Godwin

director, digital media & strategy

Aaron Hersh director, web development

M a ri o F ra i o li Mario, the former senior editor at Competitor, has been coaching runners since 2004. An NCAA Division

Scott Kirkowski Johnny Yeip

director, seo/analytics

director, creative services

II All American in cross country while at Stonehill College, Mario has run 4:09 for the mile and 2:28 for the marathon. In 2013, he authored The Official Rock

Matthew McAlexander Bruno Breve

system administrator

‘n’ Roll Guide to Marathon & Half-Marathon Training. For the past four years, Mario edited Competitor magazine’s Training department. In his final issue, he wrote “Run Healthy” on page 34 and edited our Training section for the last time, beginning this month on page 51.

A d v ert i s i n g

Doug Kaplan 312-441-1551, vp media sales Jason Johnson 858-768-6824, vp, media sales Ian Sinclair 860-673-6830, director, agency development Brenda Seidner Reilly 646-745-7689, senior director, media sales Justin Sands 858-768-6747, vp, media sales Gordon Selkirk 858-768-6767, director, media sales Andria Norris 858-500-7704, manager, media sales Jeff McDowell 858-768-6794, manager, media sales Jenn Schuette 858-228-3761, manager, media sales Kelly Trimble 858-768-6749, manager, media sales Rich Hurd 512-364-1703, svp, sales

St e v e G o dwi n The director of multimedia for Competitor Group Inc.’s media division and the Rock ‘n’ Roll Marathon

Series, Steve spent an evening in downtown Los

A cc o u n t s er v i ce s director Erin Ream

Angeles photographing and filming BlacklistLA, which we cover in this issue (with some of Steve’s photos) starting on page 28. Steve has 20 years of TV, film

Liz Centeno-Vera, Renee Kerouac, Kat Keivens


and video experience, and his specialty is in creating original running, triathlon and cycling content. An Click here to watch Steve Gowin’s video about trail running in Cuba.

Ironman finisher, he looks forward to spending more

digital ad operations

Carson McGrath

F i n a n ce vice presient, finance

Fran Malagisi

time running trails in 2016. a publication of

M att H a rt Matt Hart is a freelance journalist based in Boulder, Colo. His work has appeared in Outside, National Geographic Adventure and Men’s Journal magazines. As an endurance coach and former professional ultrarunner, Matt has spent more than two decades exploring wild places and the limits of human endur-

Josh Furlow Keith S. Kendrick senior vice president, events Tracy Sundlun senior vice president John Smith senior vice president Molly Quinn Senior Vice President, Media John Bradley president

chief marketing officer

9477 Waples Street, Suite 150, San Diego, CA 92121 • 858-450-6510 For distribution inquiries: 858-768-6493 Digital Issue support: Distribution management: TGS Media Inc. •, 877-847-4621 No part of this issue may be reproduced in any form without the written permission of the publisher. Competitor is a registered trademark of Competitor Group Inc.

ance and physiology. This month he subjected himself to a battery of the latest physiological tests for “Blood, Sweat and Tears,” on page 38.


official magazine

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. Y D REA . T E S . X I REM WELCOME TO THE NEW US. We know you only get what you put in. That’s why

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Click here to read about 7 habits of highly effective runners.

s ta r t i n g l i n e s


Following Fashion B y Em i ly Pol ac h e k

Last we heard of Maggie Vessey, the professional middle-distance runner had ended a four-year sponsorship with New Balance and begun designing her own line of fashionably flashy race kits that garnered plenty of media attention in 2014. The momentum carried well into 2015, in which she finished the season winning six of her final seven races.

This year Vessey is going on her third year without a sponsor. “At some point I do want to take that route with designing athletic wear and hopefully find a partnership where I can work with an established label,” she says. In the meantime, she continues to create intriguing and unusual race kits with fashion designer Merlin Castell. The 34-year-old has also relocated from

Los Angeles to her hometown of Santa Cruz, Calif., to train closer to her coach, Greg Brock, and maintain a low profile while preparing for the U.S. Olympic Trials July 1–10 in Oregon. In the build-up to Trials, here’s a throwback to some of Vessey’s key races and most recent outfits this past season via the @maggievessey Instagram:

Highlights of Vessey’s 2015 season include winning the 800m at both the Hoka One One Occidental Invite in Northern California and then the Prefontaine Classic in Eugene, Ore., showcasing a new line of outfits since 2014.

After Vessey’s 800m win at the American Track League event in Atlanta, Gail Devers had congratulated the fast fashionista for both her performance and style. “She encouraged me to keep doing what I’m doing and let me know that it is important to the sport,” Vessey says. “I was a little bit in awe—this is a woman I watched growing up. I remember her nails and what a fierce competitor she was. It was a really special moment for me.”

Unlike last year—when Vessey won the 800m race—at this year’s Stanford Invitational, she chose to run in the 200m and 400m events instead. She also debuted a new race kit with a textured floral patterned, backless top. She says this particular outfit is a preview for the three different looks she’s designing for the U.S. Olympic Trials, including, possibly, one with a patriotic theme for the 800m women’s final—scheduled for the Fourth of July.

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E V E R Y DAY R U N N E R 16

Click here to read about the best running movies ever made.


BACK ON HIS FEET Terence Gerchberg went from losing everything he owned to changing his life and others’ through running. B Y A L L I SON PATTI L LO

Terence Gerchberg says running saved his life. “You put one foot in front of the other and repeat,” says Gerchberg, the executive director of the New York City chapter of Back on My Feet (BoMF), a nonprofit organization that helps the homeless partly by getting them involved in running. “There are highs and lows but you keep going, just like life.” Born in New York and raised in Southern California, Gerchberg, 44, played sports as a kid, but never ran. His first race was a 3.5-mile corporate challenge in 2002. But running wasn’t his focus, gambling was. At the time, Gerchberg worked on Wall Street and was still reeling from 9/11, using card games as his escape, an escape that caused him to lose everything. After hitting rock bottom, sleeping on his sister’s couch because he couldn’t afford to pay rent, Gerchberg entered a rehab program in Maryland— and he and a friend entered the lottery to run the New York City Marathon. While in treatment, a friend called to say he had been accepted. “Running became my catalyst for change,” says Gerchberg, who has since run 13 consecutive New York City Marathons and is registered for his 14th this year. “Running gave me those endorphins and a second chance.

“Strive for more and have fun the whole time.”

Terence Gerchberg says winning a 5-mile doggy dash with his dog is his proudest running accomplishment to date.

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I don’t know where I would be without it.” While training for the 2002 marathon, Gerchberg says he became a “real” runner. “I logged my miles, read Alberto Salazar’s books, picked up magazines.” By 2003, he was coaching others, saying he sees his role as that of a motivator more than a coach. “There is no ‘S’ on my chest. Anyone is capable of doing what I’ve done,” says Gerchberg, who has a marathon personal best of 2:57:59. “Maybe the next water station or finishing a marathon is your goal. Maybe it’s securing housing or finding a job, like those with Back on My Feet. Either way, you need the dedication and discipline to keep going.” Gerchberg first became involved with BoMF in 2012, when he volunteered at one of its morning runs. He became a regular because he says the way it starts your day is perfect, and he enjoys giving back to the sport that has given him a renewed zeal for life. He has declared 2016 as the year for “bigger and better things” both personally and professionally. In addition to running Leadville 100, his first 100-miler, in Colorado this August, Gerchberg wants more people from BoMF to have access to races and feel the sense of accomplishment that comes from reaching a goal. “Running is such a beautiful thing,” Gerchberg says. “My passion has become my profession. Every day, I think, ‘I get to do this.’”

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fuel 18

s ta r t i n g l i n e s

Ar e You Getting Enough El ectrolyt es? B y Em i ly Pol ac h e k

Electrolytes are made up of four electrically charged minerals: sodium, potassium, magnesium and calcium—which we lose through sweating. For endurance runners, excessive loss of electrolytes, primarily sodium, along with inadequate hydration could lead to muscle cramping—it’s the body’s first indication, along with salt streaks, that you’re low on these essential minerals. “Electrolytes are essential for chemical reactions, muscle contraction and transport of fluid into the blood and cells to maintain equilibrium of fluid balance in the body,” says Liz Broad, a USOC senior sports dietitian. “The amount of electrolytes an individual

loses during exercise depends on their sweat rate and a range of other factors.” Broad adds that most people don’t need to replenish their electrolytes if they’re working out for less than an hour. Otherwise it’s recommended to drink 500 to 750ml of water with 200 to 500mg of electrolytes per hour during exercise, especially in hot conditions and if you’re a particularly agressive sweater. For this summer’s peak temps when you’re sweating buckets, drinking only water might not cut it, and these electrolyte supplements will do more than just quench your thirst.

Click here to read about drinking sports drinks vs drinking water.

Glukos Energy Gel $24 for case of 12 Instead of carrying a bulky water bottle mixed or dissolved with hydration powders or tablets, grab a pouch or two of this energy “gel” that’s more liquid than GU-consistency. The ingredients are simple: Its main ingredient is, yes, glucose. Out of all the sugars (which include sucrose and fructose), glucose is the fastest absorbed sugar, starting the moment it’s consumed. One highly concentrated 2-ounce gel pouch will provide the same amount of energy and 168mg of electrolytes as mixing one scoop of the drink powder in 8 ounces of water. Be prepared, though, because of the high concentration, the flavor is more intense than most products.

Herbalife 24 CR7 Drive With a total of 320mg of electrolytes per single scoop serving mixed with 8 ounces of water, this formula is most ideal for workouts lasting longer than 90 minutes. Unlike most traditional sports drinks, the CR7 Drive does not rely on artificial sweeteners, giving the acai berry flavor a more diluted and crisp taste. However, our testers did notice that the powder took some time to dissolve completely and much of it seemed to linger at the bottom of the bottle.

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Tailwind Endurance Fuel

Nuun Energy

$16 for pack of 7 sticks

$7 for a single tube of 10 tablets

It’s called Endurance Fuel for a reason—a single on-thego stick contains 200 calories and 431mg of electrolytes in 24 ounces of water. It’s meant for ultra races and allday hydration in which constant electrolyte replenishment is key. The all-natural ingredients make this product easy to digest, and gives it a clean and light flavor. Compared to the Herbalife 24 CR7 Drive, the powder dissolves more quickly after a few vigorous shakes.

Nuun has reformulated its electrolyte tablets, which now contain plant-based sweeteners and essential B-vitamins, including monk fruit extract, beet juice powder and avocado oil. The Energy formula also contains 40mg of caffeine sourced from green tea leaf extract—great for morning runs where coffee might not be an option. A single tablet contains the least amount of calories with the most electrolytes: 10 calories per 498mg in 16 ounces of water. Plus, our testers found that the tablets dissolve better than its powder counterpart (and it’s easy to pack on the go or while traveling).

photo: oliver baker

$32 for 29-ounce container

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With available Bird’s Eye View Camera* and standard All-Wheel Drive with intelligence (AWD-i). Prototype shown with options. Production model may vary. Before towing, confirm your vehicle and trailer are compatible, hooked up and loaded properly and that you have any necessary additional equipment. Do not exceed any Weight Ratings and follow all instructions in your Owner’s Manual. The maximum you can tow depends on the total weight of any cargo, occupants and available equipment. *The Bird’s Eye View Camera does not provide a comprehensive view of the area surrounding the vehicle. You should also look around outside your vehicle and use your mirrors to confirm surrounding clearance. Cold weather will limit effectiveness and view may become cloudy. ©2015 Toyota Motor Sales, U.S.A., Inc.

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adventure 20

s ta r t i n g l i n e s

Click here to watch a video about the Manitou Incline.

America’s Toughest Tr ail The Manitou Incline is less than a mile long, but it can feel like an eternity to reach the top.

When it comes to describing the Manitou Incline, there’s no mincing words. It’s relentlessly steep and a ferocious challenge for anyone who tries to hike or run it. Situated near the base of Pikes Peak in Manitou Springs, Colo., the Manitou Incline rises more than 2,000 vertical feet in less than a mile. It’s unyieldingly steep—68 percent in some places—but that’s why runners and hikers from near and far have been taking the challenge for years. The trail sits on the site of an old funicular railway that took sightseers up one of the lower flanks of Pikes Peak. The tourist railway existed from 1907 to 1990, but a rockslide damaged some of the rails and railroad ties and it was shut down. Almost immediately upon its closure, the Incline became a destination for hikers and runners. By 2012 the route fell into disrepair from heavy use and erosion, forcing a temporary closure for repairs and the replacement of the old railroad ties with modern landscaping timbers. While it takes the average hiker more than 90 minutes to make it to the summit, a well-trained runner can reach the top in less

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than 30. But that requires an all-out leg- and lung-burning effort. “It’s beyond relentless,” says Peter Maksimow, an elite-level mountain runner who lives nearby in Manitou Springs. “Whether you are a world-class athlete or a weekend warrior, the Incline has a way of humbling you. No matter how fast or slow you go, it’s really just about surviving. It’s one of the most challenging things you’ll ever do.” Colorado Springs trail runner Joe Gray, who owns numerous top-10 finishes in international mountain races, ran the fastest known time (FKT) on the Incline last summer when he reached the top of the 0.88-mile route in 17 minutes and 45 seconds. Although other unsubstantiated faster times have been reported, Gray’s time surpassed the longstanding 18:31 mark of mountain running legend and 12-time Pikes Peak Marathon champion Matt Carpenter. Manitou Springs resident Allie McLaughlin, a member of the 2014 U.S. Mountain Running Team, owns the fastest women’s time, 20:07, which she set in 2010. There are also some crazy records on the Incline that don’t necessarily involve speed. Roger Austin, a 50-year-old Colorado

Springs hiker, completed a record-setting 1,719 ascents on the Incline in 2015, while Brandon Stapanowich, a 31-year-old Manitou Springs ultrarunner, did 22 laps up the Incline and down the Barr Trail in 24 hours in 2014. “You can see it from anywhere in the city, so it just taunts you until you do it,” Stapanowich says. “And even after you do it, it’s still there waiting for you, challenging you to go faster or to do it more times. And that’s kind of how I got into doing multiple laps on it.” The only secrets to the Incline? Just keep putting one foot in front of the other. It helps to look down at the steps—don’t consider enjoying the view until you reach the top. And never underestimate the effort. “I’ve had a few people stand right in front of me and tell me they could easily go under 20 minutes,” McLaughlin says. “I don’t argue, I just say something like ‘yeah, you should totally go do that!’ Their thoughts usually are very different after they finish it for the first time.”

photos: Brian Metzler

By Bria n Metz ler

6/14/16 5:25 PM

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Click here to read about the best wearable tech gear of 2016.


POWER IS EVERYTHING Why power monitoring is becoming an important metric for runners B Y B R I A N M ETZL ER

As the modern age of wearable tech has started to unfold, a new measurement technology has the ability to revolutionize training for runners: the power meter. Cyclists have used power meters since the 1990s to accurately measure how much power they’re outputting and how that effort corresponds with their physiology. Power is the primary metric for cyclists, although, granted, it’s a much simpler concept to understand on a bike—essentially a function of how much force is being exerted on the pedals, crank arms or rear hub to make it move. Power meters for runners—and the corresponding training protocols based on power output—have only become available recently. So the art and science of using power for run training are still very much in their infancy. But those closest to the new technology—including pioneering coaches and elite athletes who are already incorporating power into their training—believe it can be a very important metric for running.

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“What we need, clearly, is a better way to measure the stress we are inflicting in our daily training routines. And that’s exactly what the power meter provides, and it is why the power meter has the potential to revolutionize your run training,” says elitelevel running and triathlon coach Jim Vance, author of “Run with Power: The Complete Guide to Power Meters for Running.” “With a power meter, you can measure your performance and training stress more precisely than ever before,” Vance says. “No longer will you wonder whether you are meeting the intensity, recovery, pace and volume goals of your training plan. Instead, you will erase any doubts about your training, and you will be able to monitor changes and improvements in every aspect of your running fitness.” Up until recently, the only way running power has been measured has been via a laboratory setting utilizing ground impact force plates. However, recent advances in 3D motion sensor technology have led to

the development of portable running power meters with a multitude of accelerometers that gauge the forward, vertical and lateral force on a runner in motion. In other words, these new devices measure how much energy it takes a runner to move through space. Why is power potentially so, well, powerful? First, power can allow runners to precisely manage their training intensity— no matter if it’s during a hard workout such as a 6×800-meter interval session, a long progression run, a hill workout or even a short recovery run. Tracking power output can reveal precisely how hard a workout is as it relates to physiological markers such as lactate threshold. It’s one thing for a runner to run a 6×800 track workout “hard” but it’s quite another to understand exactly how much power is being applied and how much should be applied as prescibed by the workout. That kind of precision can help athletes train better, recover better and ultimately compress training cycles, Vance says, as

6/14/16 5:26 PM

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Some discounts, coverages, payment plans and features are not available in all states or all GEICO companies. Customer satisfaction based on an independent study conducted by Alan Newman Research, 2015. GEICO is the second-largest private passenger auto insurer in the United States according to the 2014 A.M. Best market share report, published April 2015. GEICO is a registered service mark of Government Employees Insurance Company, Washington, D.C. 20076; a Berkshire Hathaway Inc. subsidiary. © 2016 GEICO

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Click here to watch a video with highlights from the Consumer Electronics Show.


POWER MONITORS: NEXT-LEVEL WEARABLE TECH Here are four new run-data devices that incorporate power monitoring as part of their comprehensive tracking functions. Each one tracks running biomechanics previously only possible in a high-tech lab. While all are intended to help runners better understand the exact movements of their bodies while running and become more efficient, each one offers slightly different data points and analytical review options.

coaches and athletes learn how to get more fitness from every workout. Secondly, power—and only power—can help a runner monitor efficiency. That’s possible by showing how both immediate form tweaks during a run and long-term changes in running mechanics (based on form drills, increased strength, higher cadence or even better footwear) can allow a runner to run with less power output. If a runner can learn and train to run at the same pace using less power output for a given distance on a consistent basis—whether it’s a 5K or a marathon—it means that runner is becoming more efficient. The longer the race, the more important efficiency becomes. Also, a runner can use power to optimize pacing and performance by using real-time power monitoring to understand the physiological demands of a workout or a race. Unlike heart rate or running pace (which have limitations and monitoring lag times), power is a near-instantaneous measure of the changes in a runner’s effort and also accounts for changes in terrain—for example, running uphill, downhill or over rolling terrain. Based on your own critical power number and your corresponding power zones, you can look at your power meter and understand precisely how hard of an effort to put out once a race begins. “As advanced technology becomes available for runners, the opportunity to get a step on the competition increases dramatically for the early adopters. The runner’s power meter is the latest example of that,” says Joe Friel, founder of Training Bible Coaching, co-founder of TrainingPeaks, and author of “The Triathlete’s Training Bible” and “The Power Meter Handbook.” “It’s a complex tool, but one with great potential for enhancing performance.”

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Lumo Run


Lumo Run offers two ways to track running data and improve running form and efficiency, through a clip on sensor pod ($80, going up to $100 on Aug. 1) or sensor-integrated apparel—running shorts for men ($199) and running capris for women ($199). Lumo’s sensors capture accurate running biomechanics through core body movements. The Lumo system tracks six key running metrics— cadence, bounce, braking, pelvic tilt, rotation and drop—and offers audible real-time performance feedback for each one, as well as post-run summaries and coaching tips.

RPM2 inserts are wireless remote monitoring pressure-sensing footbeds that track a runner’s power, pressure distribution, range of motion and running gait. Paired with a smartphone app, the RPM2 system ($499) offers insights into bilateral movement patterns and deficiencies so a runner can work to optimize power output and stride efficiency. The system includes two custom-sized footbeds (based on the measurement specs of your feet), a charging system, an armband to secure your smartphone and an instruction manual that details setup, usage and cleaning directions.



Stryd was the first true power meter for running when it launched last year. Its chest strap sensors track a variety of data, delivering heart rate, cadence, impact, movement, form, altitude and power values to its smartphone app and several brands of smartwatches. The Stryd system ($199) offers power value in real time, with no data lags like most heart-rate monitors. It serves up both audio feedback on the run and post-workout feedback for long-term improvement.

SHFT monitors numerous data points through tracking pods affixed to the chest and one foot. The SHFT system ($299) tracks power, stride length, footstrike, body angulation and cadence to guide runners to become as efficient as possible. It turns the data into live voice feedback via a smartphone app to provide real-time coaching during a run and displaying a personalized SHFT score. It also offers detailed analysis for long-term comparison and development of functional strength.

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© 2016 Flex Innovation Group LLC

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6/10/16 11:00 AM 5/20/16 1:36 PM

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Click here to see more hydration pack options.

Click here to read about more running gear.

By Alliso n Pat t illo

Summer running means sweat and lots of it—as many as 25 to 50 ounces per hour when it’s hot. We’ve rounded up the latest portable carriers— hand-held, waist belt and backpack styles—to suit your running and hydration needs.

[1] Montane VIA Snap 4, $149

[4] Nathan Trail Mix Plus Insulated, $65

This form-fitting pack is designed just for women with a stretchy body, movable and adjustable straps and a female-friendly cut. It comes with two 17-ounce soft flasks, has both front and back stretch mesh and zip pockets, and can hold a hydration bladder.

Nathan’s popular, no-bounce belt (it has multi-directional stretch to keep it in place), now comes with two 10-ounce insulated flasks that snap into holsters. It’s also been updated with a larger storage pocket big enough to carry a smart phone and snacks.

[5] Ultimate Direction Marathon Vest, $70 [2] UltrAspire Spry 2.0, $70 The second version of this race vest builds on the sleek, minimalist design of the original with an easy-to-use sternum hook, two sweat-proof pockets—perfect for salt tabs or cash—front stretch mesh pockets for bottles or food, a bigger zip pocket on the shoulder and a roomier rear stash pocket. It doesn’t come with a reservoir, but it has a rear pocket big enough to hold a 1-liter or 30-ounce bladder.

[3] Camelbak Quick Grip Chill, $28 Redesigned with a more breathable carrier that also has a pocket for essentials, the 21-ounce BPA-free bottle is insulated to keep beverages cool—and double-wall construction means no condensation. Plus, hands won’t get chilly when gripping the bottle—and hot, sweaty hands won’t cause your drink to get warm.

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Keep race essentials right where you need them with this breathable mesh vest’s two stretchy front pockets, and an iPhone 6-compatible, zippered pocket. Available in small, medium and large for a dialed fit, it also has a bottle-compatible front pocket, as well as a rear pouch big enough for a 2-liter or 60-ounce reservoir.

[6] Amphipod Hydraform Ergo-Lite Ultra, $28 Carry 16 ounces in a BPA-free, ergonomically designed bottle. The insulated neoprene sleeve carrier has a cushioned strap for hand comfort and a generous zipper pocket for essentials.

[7] Salomon Hydro Handset, $42 Comfort and convenience are the hallmarks of this adjustable mesh carrier and soft 17-ounce flask combination. It straps to the back of your hand, leaving you free to grab rocks and scramble if needed. Plus, it has a pocket big enough to carry a phone.

photo: oliver baker

H2O on the Go

6/14/16 5:30 PM

I was lucky to be alive.

She realized how valuable life really is when she nearly lost hers. Hear Jenny’s story of a hard-fought recovery and find out how the GPS running watch with advanced metrics can help you beat yesterday.

Jenny Fletcher, Garmin-sponsored professional triathlete, 3rd Guadeloupe 70.3, 2016

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Š 2016 Garmin Ltd. or its subsidiaries

6/10/16 11:00 AM


Click here to watch a video of a BlacklistLA run.




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ith w g in s. n e n ru gel t gh s An i - n Lo e t la rt of s e i n h ea b e om n th c LA rt i t s a kli ban c a Bl ur










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Click here to read about how Nike+ Run Club is making hard workouts fun. Above: BlacklistLA founder Erik Valiente. Opposite page: scenes from a Monday-night run through downtown Los Angeles.

ut on the impeccably neat plaza of the Walt Disney Concert As group running with a social bent continues to grow around all Hall in downtown Los Angeles, home to one of the world’s kinds of lifestyle pursuits—beer, tourism, dating—art may at first finest orchestras, hip-hop is booming out of a nearby speaker. A seem like an unlikely pairing. But it’s not. “It’s part of the experience few runners are here, doing those things runners do while they of an urban runner,” says renowned art dealer Jeffrey Deitch, an wait: stretch, sip water, sit around, adjust their phone holders. It’s avid runner himself, about street art. “Often, this is people’s first about the only thing going on as far as you can see—by 9:30 p.m., experience with ambitious artwork.” this corner of downtown in this famously car-choked city is dead And as running groups go, BlacklistLA seems to do everything still. But every minute, dozens of more runners keep materializing right to cater to a 21st century runner’s needs and desires: It turns like a flash mob: sometimes alone, sometimes in pairs or groups. exercise into a shared experience; offers a chance to explore the city, Soon there will be hundreds here on this warm spring Monday with great Instagram opportunities; plus Valiente posts a bunch night, all here to run together through a sleeping city. of ready-to-share photos of runners by the time they wake up on This is not a race, but there is a destinaTuesday. It seems to touch on many of the tion: a very, very large mural a couple miles Millennial generation’s stereotypes. away. It’s the two things this running group But the hundreds that show up aren’t all in that calls itself BlacklistLA was founded their 20s. There are people of all colors, males upon—running and street art—and it’s and females (though far more guys), newbie caught fire. runners and chiseled marathoners. Even the Two years ago, there were 11 people on dogs, maybe 10 or so brought along by their the group’s first run. Tonight there are easily owners, are diverse—from silky-furred lap 200. Some of the weekly Monday evening dogs to eager-looking pit bulls. And while runs draw more than 300. It’s not hard to —BlacklistLA founder Erik Valiente Valiente and his co-founders are Los Angeles see why: This urban running adventure gives natives, I meet a guy from Canada who just people a reason to look forward to Mondays, to meet other people, moved to the city today. He’s out here tonight to meet people. and to explore the many hidden corners of this massive city on foot. In fact, for Valiente, this is the entire point of BlacklistLA: A chance “We always say that they show up for the art, but they stay and for Angelenos to better know their city, as well as each other. Valiente used to drive to his job as a teller at a Chase bank. While continue to show up for the community,” says Erik Valiente, the friendly, cherubic-faced founder of BlacklistLA, who rides up on a it paid the bills, he was left unsatisfied with the experience—at least 10-speed with a messenger backpack from which hangs a big camera the thought of doing it for the rest of his life. He was already running, with a giant flash. In addition to the thrill of running together at having signed up for and completing the LA Marathon in 2007 for the first time on a bet (he’s run it every year since then). He tried to night, it’s the evening timing—with less traffic and many people off of work—that makes such a large gathering possible. start a running club in his neighborhood of Harvard Heights, just

“They show up for the art, but they stay and continue to show up for the community.”


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west of downtown, but without some kind of hook beyond exercise to draw people out every week, it didn’t last long. But he had the desire to build a community. “The only way I knew how to do that was through running,” he says. And so he landed a job at Nike’s running store at The Grove, where he spent some of that time as a coordinator for the Swoosh’s nascent Nike+ Run Club program. “Erik was really successful at that,” says Jerome Rideaux, Valiente’s former co-worker at Nike. “He had so many ideas and wanted to do so many different things. But when you’re under Nike you’ve got to get it past them, and he just wanted to do his own thing.” Rideaux remembers having dinner with his Nike store co-workers when Valiente unveiled his plan for a new running group. By then Valiente had ditched his car and was getting around the city on bike, and with this freedom he started taking a bigger interest in all the street art around L.A.—and now he could freely take photos of it all. People who followed him on Instagram always wanted to know where all this artwork was. He didn’t want to just tell them where to go, because where’s the fun in that? So his initial plan was to show people around via bike tours, but that quickly fizzled out when he realized that many of his friends didn’t have bicycles. “Then a light bulb popped into my head,” Valiente says. “I thought, why don’t we just run?” And so they did. There were 11 people. “We all fit in the photo,” Rideaux says with a laugh. Valiente called this group “Blacklist” in honor of street artists, because their work is often blacklisted and eventually painted over. In fact, the art’s impermanence also gave the group’s runs an immediacy. But the true genius was Valiente’s photo duties: He would take photos of everyone on the run then send everyone a Dropbox link to these photos later that night. Word about BlacklistLA soon spread through social media. Before Valiente knew it, he started arriving each week to several hundred people, as there are tonight, all amped up on music for a collective run through the city. The group’s Instagram feed now has more than 16,000 followers. “It’s growing so quickly and so fast that, you know when they say be careful what you wish for?” Valiente says, half joking. “Now it’s like, oh shit, OK … we’re doing this! That keeps me up at night, but these are good problems.” He quickly realized the need for help in keeping even a cheerful crowd lawful and under control, and so BlacklistLA cultivated a small volunteer army of pacers. They’re known as PulseKeepers, and each is outfitted with a glowing wrist or ankle bracelet and a handheld boom box to identify themselves and add a bit of ambiance. Several minutes before 10 p.m., as the big stereo keeps on playing and everyone else is stretching or talking inside this now full plaza, Valiente is in a corner, huddling in a circle with the PulseKeepers, going over the route and any dangerous sections, sharing info about the artist in case runners ask, congratulating certain volunteers for particular jobs well done and going over BlacklistLA’s other events for the week. Click here to read about how crowd-sourced running has taken off.


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Click here to read about the best running books ever written. Above and opposite page: Street art is the destination as well as the scenery along the way on BlacklistLA’s runs.

What does it feel like to run together with several hundred people through a city at night? It’s obviously fun. But it’s also powerful. It’s intoxicating. The 19th century psychologist Gustave Le Bon, often recognized as the father of crowd theory, wrote in The Crowd: A Study of the Popular Mind that “an individual immersed for some length of time in a crowd soon finds himself … in a special state, which much resembles the state of fascination in which the hypnotized individual finds himself in the hands of the hypnotizer.” Joining a crowd is, in some sense, a surrender of the self. It’s there in the language: “People” is plural; “a crowd” is a singular entity. After all, we’re not racing. And when we all take off down the hill, music blaring from those portable boom boxes that the pacers are carrying, everyone is excited, almost under a kind of spell. We are all moving together in the dead of night, like shock troops invading a city to a soundtrack of hip-hop and EDM. There’s also a cheap thrill to this: If everyone is staying on the sidewalk (which they mostly are) it’s a lawful gathering—but in any case, this certainly isn’t sanctioned. The run starts, people are whooping, and we make it all of two blocks before being stopped at a crosswalk. Everyone is giddy and full of adrenaline, practically twitchy at being held up like this. Then we get stopped at the next light. And at the following block too. The tension is palpable. As soon as that final crosswalk signal beckons, the runners at the front are off, and the group strings out. We’ve been let loose into the night; a PulseKeeper is usually nearby, but otherwise all anyone’s got is the person in front of him or her to know where to go. We dogleg into Little Tokyo, where we see signs of life. A few awestruck pedestrians; a driver stuck in a driveway for the foreseeable future, wearing a look of resignation as dozens of runners stream past his idling car; outdoor dining furniture that requires


some agile maneuvering around. Then onto a straight, mile-long industrial stretch, following a pair of disused train tracks over a mix of sidewalk, gravel, dust and scattered trash as we pass warehouses, homeless people sound asleep on loading docks, concertina-wire fences and massive bus yards. Every so often you see Valiente for a split second as you run past—or at least you see the flash of his camera. He’s continually leapfrogging the group, taking pictures then sprinting ahead on his road bike. A guy in the group running with a dog is feeling it; he’s shouting “Blacklist, yeah YEAH!” over and over, in a call and response, and a few people join in. The PulseKeeper nearby is feeling it. When we stop at a red light, she’s effusive with compliments and generous with fist bumps. Of all the things one could be doing past 10 o’clock on a Monday night, most don’t compare to this. A little farther, past a major intersection, and we’ve reached our destination: a giant black and white, abstract-expressionist mural by an L.A. artist of some renown named RETNA. It stretches eight stories high on American Apparel’s antique factory building, covering basically every surface that’s not a window. Phones are out. People are taking a breather, texting, ’gramming, sitting on the curb, chatting with the person next to them. Runners continue to trickle in. Valiente is across the street with a megaphone. After a few minutes and shooting some more shots, he gets on the bullhorn and gives a brief bio about the artist, reminding the group to tag him on social media. Everyone mills around a bit longer, then poses for a group photo. Then it’s back more or less the way we came, but on parallel streets. The group is far more strung out. The final 10 blocks or so are straight and uphill. When we finally reach the curb onto the Walt Disney Concert Hall plaza, several waiting hands are offering high-fives. The giant amp is still playing music. As everyone comes in—minus those who headed straight for their car or the Metro station—there’s

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a group photo, then a postgame group huddle and chant of “1, 2, 3 … Blacklist!” Some people stick around and mingle; others head their separate ways. Most will likely be back the following Monday, and no doubt some new faces as well.

After a run, Valiente’s night isn’t over. He’s usually up until 3:30 a.m. sorting through the night’s photos and uploading the selects to his photo-sharing website. This, along with planning tonight’s run and others throughout the week, plus the half-marathon training that BlacklistLA now offers, adds up to full-time work for him. But he’s not getting paid. “Hopefully this year is the first year I actually get some kind of money for this, because I’ve been living on fumes for two years!” he says. To that end, BlacklistLA recently became organized as a nonprofit—and Valiente is officially the founder and executive director. There are seven other people involved ranging from photographers and social media folks to finance experts, plus five seats on the steering committee. To make ends meet, Valiente is seeking funding from local grants and foundations to support what he feels is charitable work benefitting the city of Los Angeles. Major athletic brands have also shown an interest—Lululemon recently collaborated on a street-art project—and Valiente is open to the right kind of authentic partnership. Preferably a financial arrangement that supports BlacklistLA’s training programs and its annual 5K—not free shoes and gear, for example. It’s no coincidence that a movement like this has taken such hold in Los Angeles of all places. Thousands of young people move here every year; meanwhile it’s a city that is most often viewed from inside a car, despite having some of the best weather anywhere in the world. People are looking for a connection to the city, and a group like BlacklistLA provides that—connections not only with other people, but also a street-level connection to the city’s many neighborhoods. “If you’re from here you feel like there is community because you probably have a group of friends,” Valiente says. “But if you’re coming from another city, you don’t feel welcome because you probably land in Hollywood or places like what they show on TV. So you feel lonely and you give yourself a timeframe. “But you’re not giving L.A. a chance—you’re not putting yourself out there. But L.A. also wasn’t putting itself out there. It wasn’t welcoming either. If you need to travel 7 miles to go get lunch, how many communities do you pass on the way there? Who’s connecting those? Through art and running, we’re connecting each community.” The big picture always for Valiente, though, is Los Angeles as a whole. Last year on the city’s birthday, at the spot where it was officially founded, BlacklistLA organized a race called HBD LA 5K and passed out balloons to runners. The organization is expanding into all facets of running almost as quickly as it has grown. But it’s clear that the inspiration will always be the city in which it’s based. “I’m super down for L.A.,” Valiente says. “I love L.A. It’s my city. When I think of L.A., I just think there are endless possibilities in the land of sunshine and dreams. The land where you can make anything happen.”


Click here to watch a video of the ultra-distace race at the Burning Man Festival.

6/14/16 5:36 PM


Click here to see a video about one-leg quad stretches.

Click here to see a video about piriformis stretches.

Click here to learn about essential speed and form drills.

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6/14/16 5:38 PM





unning can be one of the quickest paths to fitness and a healthy lifestyle. The aerobic, muscular and emotional benefits of running consistently are well-documented. But the sad truth is that runners get hurt too. Overuse injuries often start out feeling like a nagging soreness then progress into persistent, sometimes sharp pain that keeps us on the sidelines. As mindful runners, we can take all the proper precautions to make sure that we’ll never have to worry about hurting ourselves, but the reality is that no one is immune to injury.



THE SYMPTOMS: This inflammation at the bottom of the foot is one of the peskiest problems plaguing recreational runners. There’s a sharp, tight, painful sensation at the base of the heel, like stepping on a nail, that can be fleeting and annoying, or persistent and excruciating. Eventually, the pain might go away as the day or a run is carried out, only to return afterward or the next day. THE CAUSES: Overtraining, overuse, ramping up mileage too soon or worn-out footwear can cause pain in your heel. But the root of the problem lies in tight and weak muscles. If your feet are weak, or your lower-leg muscles are overly tight, the heel takes on an excessive load and can’t handle the training you are trying to do.

Click here to read more about curing plantar fasciitis.

We’ll take a look at the five most common injuries for recreational runners who run several times per week and train for races from 10K to the marathon, how they manifest, and the best ways to both avoid and treat them. THE FIX: Orthotics and stability shoes can help, but they’re not a permanent fix. For more preventive solutions, stretch and strengthen the calves; roll a golf ball under your feet; ice the affected area; and avoid walking in bare feet. Also see if Active Release Technique is available where you live. In the long run, stretching and strengthening muscles in and around the feet will address the root of the problem.

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6/14/16 5:39 PM



achilles tendinitis


it band syndrome

The symptoms:  Inflammation of or around the Achilles tendon—the thick band of tissue that attaches the calf to the heel bone. With little blood flow to the area, the healing process is slow. Runners who suffer from Achilles tendinitis complain of swelling and sharp pain close to the heel, which can be incapacitating.

The symptoms:  Your iliotibial (IT) band is a tendon that connects your knee to your hip. IT band syndrome (ITBS) results when this tendon becomes inflamed. ITBS feels like being stabbed in the side of the knee when you run, especially when going downhill. It can quickly become crippling if not addressed and corrected.

The causes: Sometimes tight calves are the culprit. They put a lot of strain on the Achilles tendon, and overuse injury can develop during hard training. Aside from tight calves, worn out or unsupportive footwear can overburden the Achilles tendon over time, or a quick increase in volume and/or intensity can have the same effect much more quickly.

The causes: Unfortunately, lots of things. Running downhill and always running on the same side of the road are common culprits. Both put a lot of stress on the lateral side of the knee and cause friction between the IT band and the femur. Over time, the IT band tightens and may swell. The pain eventually intensifies to keep a runner from running.

Click here to read more about curing Achilles tendinitis.

The fix: Resting, icing and stretching will all help temporarily, and orthotics, heel lifts and structured shoes are also short-term solutions. Be sure to stretch and strengthen the lower legs with calf raises, single-leg deadlifts, single-leg squats and box jumps. Also, your shoe choices can definitely help or aggravate the situation. Finally, keep an eye on your training. Don’t do too much or go too hard, too quickly.

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Click here for 10 exercises to cure IT band syndrome.

The fix: Use a massage stick or a foam roller on your IT band (including the quads and hamstrings), along with ice and an anti-inflammatory. Also try Active Release Technique. Avoid aggressive downhill running, and if you always run on the same side of the road, switch directions every so often. Finally, strengthen your hips, quads, hamstrings and glutes after you’ve alleviated the pain.

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runner’s knee


shin splints

The symptoms:  Feel a constant ache underneath your kneecap when you run? You are likely experiencing runner’s knee, or patellofemoral knee syndrome. The main symptom is pain just below the kneecap that usually worsens as you increase the intensity of your running or exercise.

The symptoms:  This umbrella term can refer to a number of ailments that involve pain in the shin area. At their worst, shin splints can turn into a stress fracture along the tibia. In less severe cases, the muscles in the shin area may be tender and inflamed, and pain lessens a few miles into the run. Either way, it can make running unenjoyable.

The causes: The answer varies depending on the runner. It can be uneven running surfaces, poor shoe selection. Often, though, it’s because of weak quads, hamstrings and hips, or unaddressed biomechanical flaws. In most cases, the pain from runner’s knee can be traced to the inability of the tissues surrounding the knee to recover in between runs.

The causes: Shin pain can most often be traced to a sudden spike in training volume and intensity, when a runner’s lower legs aren’t yet strong enough. Combined with regular running on hard surfaces and worn-out or improper footwear, you have a recipe for disaster. Tight muscles don’t help either. The less mobile the muscles surrounding your shin are, the more stress there is on the entire area.

Click here to read more about curing runner’s knee.

The fix: If your knee continues to hurt, don’t run. Reduce inflammation with an anti-inflammatory/icing regimen. Long term, switch up the surfaces you run on, strengthen the area around the knee, make sure you’re running in proper footwear, and employ simple form fixes such as shortening your stride and striking the ground directly underneath your center of gravity.

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Click here to read more about curing shin splints.

The fix: Rest, ice and anti-inflammatories will help reduce tenderness and inflammation. As you ease back into running, pay attention to your training, equipment and environment. Don’t increase volume and intensity too quickly. Running on soft surfaces such as trails or grass will help reduce the impact on your lower legs, and paying close attention to the mileage on your running shoes.

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Click here to read about 7 new running books out this summer.


Can the latest and greatest sports testing technology tell you anything useful? B Y M ATT HA RT

It could be rightly argued that you simply don’t need sophisticated physiological tests to achieve your athletic goals. Roger Bannister didn’t know how much salt he had in his sweat when he ran the world’s first sub-4-minute mile in 1954. California ultra-distance runner Zach Bitter, on the other hand, who in 2013 set the world record for the farthest distance ever run in 12 hours at 101.66 miles, knows exactly how many calories he’s burning at a 7-minute pace, and what percentage of that comes from fat. Physiological tests are becoming more affordable, scientifically rigid and specialized for the citizen athlete. But what can a few tests tell you that you don’t already intuitively know? If you knew more precisely about how your body works, could you change up your training or alter your diet and run a better marathon? I got pricked, prodded and pushed in order to find out.

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6/15/16 11:41 AM


Test #1: Sweat Test

Click here to learn more about what a sweat test can tell you.


At the headquarters of Skratch Labs in Boulder, Colo., famed sports scientist Allen Lim straps a patch of pilocarpine to my forearm to test the sodium content of my sweat. This drug, induced into my pores by a 9-volt battery, forces a small area of my skin to begin to sweat at a rate somewhere between a lactate threshold and race-pace running effort. At some point, every long distance runner has to consider their electrolyte needs. To ignore this is to court catastrophe, and leaving it to luck will eventually ruin a race that was important to you. As runners, our customary way of knowing who needs more salt was simply who had the nastiest sweat streaks on their clothes after a race. “You primarily lose sodium in your sweat, and although people make a big deal of other electrolytes, it’s the

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salt that has the greatest performance and physiological consequences,” says Lim, co-author of “The Feed Zone Cookbook” and “The Feed Zone Table,” and sports science consultant to numerous elite endurance athletes. Sweat, however, is not the same across individuals. “I’ve seen people as low as 400 milligrams to 2,000mg of sodium per liter of sweat,” he says. “That’s like a shoe salesman carrying sizes 4 to 200.”

around 3,500mg per liter.

Lim has the rare ability to explain complicated science to anyone, a skill honed over years in the trenches of the Tour de France. The company he subsequently founded, Skratch Labs, makes electrolyte drink mixes that favor whole food ingredients. The suitcase-sized device he’s using to test me was originally designed to screen newborns for cystic fibrosis. Babies who have inherited the disorder have very salty sweat,

Lim stresses that this isn’t about constantly making calculations or trying to be an athlete-chemist. Those at either end of the spectrum should pay closer attention to what they ingest during long training sessions and races, but it’s less critical for someone like me. “We want people to know basically if they are low, medium or high salt sweaters,” Lim says. “And you are right in the middle.”

After 20 minutes he removes the armband and extracts my sweat. As it turns out I’m average, at 864mg per liter. “Tour de France athletes are in the 700s; normal people are around 1,000,” Lim says. And this jibes with what I’ve figured out through trial and error over more than a decade of endurance racing.

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Test #2: Blood Test

Click here to learn more about what a blood test can tell you.

Your lifestyle and habits affect these hormone levels, usually in small ways over time. When you’re training too hard and taking inadequate rest, your body sees this as a threat to your survival. So it downgrades resources to things like reproductive health because it has more pressing issues. Men might suffer a precipitous drop in testosterone, their virility hormone, and women could stop having menstrual periods (a condition called amenorrhea). On one level it’s a form of overtraining-induced birth control, but the danger is that if an athlete spends too much time in this state, injury and burnout are inevitable. Since we don’t have any insight into our hormone levels, we’re left to our own perception, and, honestly, we’re terrible at this.

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The only way to look under the hood is by getting your blood tested for hormone levels. Blood extraction is easy enough, but the challenge has always been having someone who knows athletes analyze your results and tell you in plain English what they mean. New internet services hope to bridge that gap. I signed up with one such company, InsideTracker, to see what I could learn about myself. I then went to a nondescript blood draw location in a strip mall close to my house. Five minutes and five tubes of blood later, I’m done. It was surprisingly painless and quick. Three days later, an email arrives—the results are ready. There is one big surprise: My testosterone group was low. The test showed that although I have enough free testosterone, too much of it is bound by sex hormone-binding globulin (SHBG), a protein produced primarily in the liver. When SHBG is high, it binds the testosterone and prevents it from being active. InsideTracker has videos to explain every

reading and hormone in detail, as well as a prescribed course of action, which I follow for the next three months the best I can— honestly, I fail about 20 percent of the time. Now, three months later I’ve tightened up my diet and have more energy for life. My follow-up test shows I’ve lowered my SHBG by 17 nmol per milliliter, but it hasn’t moved the overall number on my testosterone group. My vitamin D levels, which were in the perfect green zone on the first test, at 43 ng per milliliter, are now in the orange warning zone. This is likely because I take vitamin D3 supplements in the winter. This lifted my result to 53 ng, which InsideTracker flagged as borderline high, but most experts agree that toxic levels only begin closer to 150 ng. I’ve got some work to do before my next test in three months and this time I’m committed to 100 percent compliance. I can’t help but reflect on how a service like this would have saved me entire seasons of discontent and dysfunction when racing was my focus.


Hormones are coursing through your body right now. Traveling through your veins, these hidden little chemical messengers coordinate complex processes like cell growth, metabolism and fertility.

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Test #3: Metabolic Test What gets measured gets managed

Thankfully, the intensely unpleasant VO2Max test, the one where you run as hard as possible on a treadmill with that horrible breathing mask on, is fading from popular use by sports scientists. “It just doesn’t tell you anything useful,” says University of Colorado physiologist Jared Berg as he straps that same breathing mask on my face. Instead, he describes the protocol for the metabolic test he’s about to put me through. It sounds nominally more pleasant.

complex science of my body. I understand about 40 percent of what he says.

The goal is to find out how I use fat and carbohydrate substrates as fuel during various heart rate zones and running paces. The mask has tubes running out of it that attach to his computer next to the treadmill. I feel trapped and suffocated. Berg has me run increasingly harder and faster in 3-minute segments. He pricks my finger to record blood lactate levels between each increase. As I begin to run my sixth stage, at just over a 6-minute mile, my allergy to sustained anaerobic efforts flares, and I bail out. Berg assures me we got enough data, then disappears to crunch the numbers.

The data show that my optimum fat-burning zone is below 140 beats per minute, and this lines up perfectly with Phil Maffetone’s method of base training that I’ve been using as my governor this winter. It’s important to have optimal fat utilization in order to rely less on internal glycogen or external carbohydrate consumption during exercise. This, and the rate at which my lactate production overwhelms my ability to remove it, point to my need for a solid base training phase. And since fat oxidation is an aerobic process, Berg suggests 80 percent of my training time be spent in training heart rate zone 2, or below 140, to continue to improve fat utilization.

“You’re a stereotypical ultrarunner,” Berg says when he returns, explaining with charts and diagrams the

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I do get some solid, actionable takeaways: I learn how many calories I burn at each heart rate zone, and what percentage of that is coming from fat and carbohydrate. In my detrained state, my crossover point—the pace at which I go from metabolizing mostly fat as fuel to mostly carbohydrates—is a 7-minute mile and a heart rate of 155.

There is the risk of “paralysis by analysis,” of course, but going into a season or a race armed with personalized knowledge of your body is empowering. Just knowing seemed to be enough to nudge my behavior in the right direction. And as technology improves, it seems prudent to use it to your advantage. Your competition surely will.


Click here to read about 6 lies you were taught about lactic acid.

None of these tests are necessary—or inexpensive—and you can perform well without them. But having more information is always a good thing, and it allows us to make better, more informed decisions. Over years of trial and error some of this information might become apparent, but why not allow science to shorten the learning curve?

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44 Click here to read why “Yes, you are a runner!”

9 Race-Day ‘Oh S#*T!’ Moments How to avoid the classic blunders that happen to all runners at some point B y E m ily P olac h e k


i l lu st r at i o ns By s h aw n o ’ k ee f e


s runners, we do everything within our power to ensure race day is 110 percent perfect. We lay out our race kit the night before. We eat a decent dinner and breakfast that won’t rile up our stomachs by mile 10. We’re in bed early and set four different alarms. But sometimes the race gods are against us, it’s just not our day and well … sh*t happens (sometimes literally). Whether we can control it or not, here are nine race day mishaps to try to avoid (or perhaps commiserate in).

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Leaving your race bib at home You’re standing in your race corral only to notice you’re missing the one thing everyone is proudly sporting on their chests: your race bib (which often has the race chip attached to it too)! It’s too late to go back and grab it, and you’ve trained too hard to quit, so you run it anyway—probably worried that everyone thinks you’re a bandit. Your name won’t appear in the results and there will be no official proof that you ran. Hopefully you remembered a watch in case you clock a PR!

2. The buses don’t come Click here to read about 10 healthy habits of runners.

No matter how much you prepare, some things are beyond your control, like awful weather—or unreliable shuttles. In 2015, 1,700 runners waiting to run the Revel Rockies Half Marathon in Morrison, Colo., were left waiting in the parking lot because the buses shuttling participants to the start line forgot to show up. Calling 500 Ubers please!


stuck in The portapotty Line The morning coffee is finally kicking in and you either (1) Commit indecent exposure or (2) Shuffle in line for the portapotty minutes before the start, praying that it moves quickly. You’re finally inside when you hear the starting gun go off …

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46 Click here to read about 11 truths new runners must accept.


Forgetting to wear race shorts underneath sweats Sometimes the most obvious item to remember can actually be the thing we’re most likely to forget. “This happened to a friend of mine,” says veteran marathoner John Byrne. “We were at the start of a cool morning race and he’s about to drop his pre-race sweats when he realizes he doesn’t have any running shorts on. He wound up cutting his sweats into shorts. He looked like a dork with cutoff sweats, but he ran OK.”


Dropping valuables in the portapotty Thanks to your poorly timed bowel movement, you’re now in a rush to get out of the portapotty and get on with your race. In your hastiness, your sunglasses, or worse—your keys, wallet or phone— somehow departed into the gaping, smelly hole. It’s a lost cause and there’s absolutely no way you’re fishing it out now.

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Your watch’s GPS kicks in late At large races, this can be a potential problem. Everyone is turning on and setting up their watches minutes before the race. Right when you think you’re all set, you notice shortly after the first mile that your watch is still searching for satellites—or amid all the excitement, you had forgotten to press start.

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Going the wrong way Although not very common during road races, trail runners on courses with little to no marking have accidentally run several miles in the wrong direction. Even elite ultrarunner Hal Koerner admits to getting lost: “I’ve had so many races where I’m running down the trail fast in first place, thinking ‘Oh my god, I’m killing this race,’ only to find out miles later that I’m not even on the right course!”

Click here to read about why some runners have to poop during a race.


Your music dies If you can’t run without music, this might be the worst thing that could happen during a race, either because your headphones blow out or your battery dies. It throws off your groove and suddenly 13.1 or 26.2 miles is looking a lot longer. Humming a tune or having a ridiculous song bouncing along in your head just won’t do the trick.


You just gotta go When you gotta go, you gotta go! Sometimes nature calls at the worst possible times. It’s not a pretty part of running—and, trust us, the Internet is filled with nasty photos of both elite and recreational runners who couldn’t make it to a portapotty in time. So just own it. And make a beeline for the finish line or the next set of portapottys lining the course!

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first lap Click here to see a video about the grapevines drill.



4 Bodyweight E xercises You Can D o A nywhere B y M a r i o Fr a i ol i

Runners are adept at making excuses for why they can’t strength train: There’s either not enough time in the day, no gym access, or they’re afraid to put on bulk. All of these excuses are weak! In as little as 10–15 minutes, three to four times a week, you can become a stronger, more balanced

athlete, improve your muscle tone and also decrease the likelihood of annoying overuse injuries. The following four bodyweight exercises can be done anywhere, and the only equipment you’ll need to invest in is a stability ball. Perform this routine three

to four times a week. Start with one to two sets and build up to three to four over the course of a month. Move through the exercises quickly but take two to three minutes of recovery between sets. The key is consistency: Pick the days you plan to strength train and stick to it. No excuses!

3. Plank Matrix HOW: This exercise utilizes four positions: (1) Face down, forearms on the floor and shoulder-width apart; (2) Right side, forearm on the floor; (3) Left side, forearm on the floor; (4) Face up, hands on the floor behind you and shoulder-width apart. In each position, focus on keeping your core tight, hips aligned, butt tucked in and back straight. Focus on relaxed breathing as you hold each pose.

1. Air Squats HOW: Stand with your feet shoulder-width apart and your heels firmly planted on the floor. Put your hands straight out in front of you and begin lowering your body into a sitting position. Keep your back straight and push your weight into your heels as you reach a sitting position. Hold for three seconds before returning to a standing position. For an additional challenge, perform this exercise with a 10–15-pound dumbbell in each hand and keep your arms down by your side instead of putting them out in front of you. HOW MANY: Perform this exercise continuously for 60–90 seconds. Focus on completing each repetition with good form rather than trying to see how many you can do.

Photo: oliver baker

2. Stability Ball Hamstring Curls HOW: Lie on your back with your knees bent and heels resting atop the stability ball. Lift your lower back off the ground and push the ball away from you with your feet, straightening your legs and keeping your core tight. Then bring the ball back toward you and return to a relaxed position. HOW MANY: Perform the sequence described above for 60–90 seconds, focusing on engaging both your core and your hamstrings. Move quickly, but don’t rush.

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HOW MANY: Begin by holding each pose for 30 seconds and work on building up to 60–90 seconds over a few weeks.

4. Push-up Matrix HOW: This exercise utilizes three positions: (1) Hands parallel and shoulder-width apart; (2) Hands staggered, right arm forward; (3) Hands staggered, left arm forward. In each position, keep your back straight, core tight and your butt tucked in as you lower yourself to the ground. Keep yourself at ground level for roughly one second before pushing yourself back up to the starting position. For an additional challenge, try doing this exercise with your hands atop a stability ball. HOW MANY: Begin by doing five pushups in each position and work on building up to 10–15 over the course of a few weeks.

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Click here to see the 25 Greatest Running Books of All-Time.


DAVID LANEY’S PROGRESSION RUN WHAT: A high-quality long run that includes progressively faster intervals in addition to easy miles. WHY: “The workout gives you a ton of volume around marathon pace and a ton of work at your aerobic threshold without the effort of hammering a half marathon at YEARS race pace,” says David Laney, a U.S. Olympic Trials marathon qualifier who finished third at last summer’s 103mile Ultra Trail du Mont Blanc in France.



WHEN AND HOW: Laney recommends doing this workout five to six weeks out from a goal marathon or ultra. Start the workout with 3 miles of easy running to warm up. Then run 5 miles at 10 seconds per mile slower than your marathon race pace. After completing the 5 miles, “recover” with a cruise mile that’s roughly 45 seconds per mile slower than your marathon race pace. After the cruise mile, run 4 miles at your marathon race pace, followed by another cruise mile. The workout finishes with 3 miles at 10 seconds per mile faster than your marathon race pace. Cool down with 3 miles of easy running. “The paces and distances can be easily modified to runners of all abilities,” explains Laney. “For newer runners, simply doing 3-2-1 mile progression or 4-3-2 is a great workout.”




2 O Y E AR S

With the Chicago skyline as its backdrop, this iconic, flat and fast course is rooted in history. Athletes depart from Jackson Park, run past the Museum of Science & Industry and onto the expansive Lake Shore Drive before earning a finisher medal worthy of Chicago’s big shoulders. Don’t miss this tradition.



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elite insights Training


Stephanie Bruce on building back strength

“Supplementary training has been the biggest key to my success coming back from childbirth. I think as distance runners we are ingrained to run, run and run some more. Having a baby completely breaks down your body and it is a tough road to rebuild all the strength you have lost. I devoted about an hour to 90 minutes a day to core work in the first few months postpartum. The lengthy time is attributed to doing the exercises correctly and with extreme precision. Once I felt the strength and foundation return, I was able to Photo:

increase my miles and bring in harder workouts.” —Stephanie Bruce, 32, pro runner for Oiselle and HOKA Northern Arizona Elite, who trained to race in the 10,000-meter run at the the U.S. Olympic Trials on July 2 less than 10 months after giving birth to her second child

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COACH CULPEPPER Click here to read more coaching wisdom from Olympian Alan Culpepper.




Injury prevention and added power—which translates to better speed and additional muscular endurance—are two of the key benefits of strength training. Here are two things to think about when making strength training a part of your overall routine.

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Like many athletes, I failed at integrating strength training

The most important thing to remember with any sort of cross-train-

into an overall routine. I was unwilling to compromise my

ing is to supplement and benefit your running—not take away

running in any way and simply tried to add strength work

from it. The great thing about strength work is that a little goes a

on top of everything I was already doing. This only brought

long way. Strength work isn’t a replacement for running but rather

frustration, not to mention added fatigue.

an addition to the training already being done ( just in a slightly modified way). Don’t just add more on top of what you are doing;

The most effective way to integrate strength training is by

rather, make slight adjustments and fold the strength training into

slightly altering your running routine. Two or three days

your weekly routine.

a week—on either off days or recovery days—is the best approach even if this means cutting back some of your

It will take some time for your body to adapt both physically and

running. Substituting 10–15 minutes of running with a

mentally to the new stimulus, but you will be surprised at how much

25–35-minute strength routine is a good approach. Build

better you begin to feel even after a few weeks. Be mindful of intensity:

the strength workout into your training plan from the

Remember, the key word is “supplement.” Strength workouts should

onset and make slight adjustments to your running so

be done with moderate intensity, or just enough to get the desired

that you can effectively integrate this important element.

adaptation. They should not hinder your next running session.

Two-time U.S. Olympian Alan Culpepper won national titles from the 5K to the marathon. His first book, “Run Like a Champion,” is available at


I feel fortunate to have very few regrets when looking back at my competitive running career. One area of regret, though, is supplemental strength training. I was swept up in the mentality that any extra time and energy should go toward more mileage and I lost sight of being a wellrounded athlete.

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C R O S S -T R A I N I N G Click here for a video demonstrating the pigeon pose.




YOGA FOR RUNNERS: UNLOCK YOUR HIPS Here’s the thing: Your hips are capable of a dynamic range of motion, but your typical forward-oriented movement neglects most of it. When you walk, run or cycle, you only flex and extend your hips. Meanwhile, movement like rotation (turning out and in) and abduction and adduction (moving out to the side and back in) are rarely used, and as a result the hip muscles responsible for driving those movements become sleepy and tight. Weakness in the hips can make you more likely to experience knee, hip and back pain. Ultimately, it’s a balance of hip flexibility and strength—mobility and stability—that will help you prevent an array of injuries. Unlock tightness in the hips with the following yoga exercises made for runners. —ERIN TAYLOR

Keep your butt heavy on the ground, spine as neutral as possible.



the sides at shoulder height, palms up.

arms along your sides, palms up.

2. Bring your feet wider than hip-width apart and

2. Bring the soles of your feet together

drop your thighs to one side.

and drop your thighs toward the floor.

3. Put your foot on top of the other thigh, using the

3. Feel the stretch along the inseam of

weight of that leg to encourage the thigh to rotate farther in the hip joint and drop toward the floor.

your upper legs and into your hips—if it’s too intense, move your feet farther away from your body.

3. Turn the soles of your feet so they point

4. If your knees are uncomfortable,

floor, spine as neutral as possible.

1. Lie on your back and extend your arms open to

4. If it’s too difficult to keep your foot on the other leg or if either of your knees is uncomfortable, just rest your foot on the floor instead.

5. Keep both feet flexed.

1. Lie on your back and extend your

insert blocks or pillows underneath your legs so that your knees have more support.



1. Hug your knees into your chest. 2. Separate your thighs wide apart and grab your calves, ankles or inner arches of your feet—whatever you can reach while keeping your feet flexed.

toward the ceiling.

4. Keep your butt heavy and touching the Adapted with permission from Hit Reset: Revolutionary Yoga for Athletes (VeloPress, 2016) RECLINED BUTTERFLY

Reach forward with the thigh.

Lie on your back, butterfly your legs and keep the soles of your feet together.

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Derek Mitchell’s inspiring journey to improve his health and lose more than 200 pounds started with a personal pledge. His passion picked up steam when Team Red, White and Blue members encouraged him to finish his first 5K strong by running across the finish line. Having several veteran family members, Derek found Team Red White and Blue’s mission to enrich the lives of American veterans to be the perfect motivation. Through

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Charity Miles, a health partner of Humana, Derek is able to contribute to their cause with each and every step he takes. Since completing that first race just over a year ago, Derek has completed more than 40 5Ks—which is a lot of steps! Charity Miles logs users’ distance, and members earn money for the charity of their choice whenever they walk, run or otherwise get moving. There are more than 35 impactful nonprofit organizations featured on the app. Members can choose to support Stand Up To Cancer, ASPCA and the Wounded Warrior Project, to name a few. The more miles you cover, the more money is donated to your cause. Download the Charity Miles app today, and join Derek in supporting a cause that motivates you to #StartWithHealthy.

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Click here to watch a highlight video from Rock ‘n’ Roll Las Vegas Half Marathon.



Where and When to Race The heat of summer is here, and that means the race calendar is filled with challenging warm-weather races, shady trail runs and plenty of opportunities to build up on mileage for a fall marathon. It’s also a time to take advantage of cooler evening races due to long summer days. From a 5K to the marathon, we’ve selected some of the season’s favorites. B y J eff B a n ow etz

For a complete race calendar, go to

M a r at h o n s / H a l f M a r at h o n s Bristol Half Marathon and Relay Aug. 14; Bristol, Conn.

Rock ‘n’ Roll Philadelphia Half Sept. 17-18; Philadelphia

Bellingham Bay Marathon Sept. 25; Bellingham Bay, Wash.

This race features a scenic and challenging course with a mostly downhill first half followed by a big climb between miles 7 and 11. You’ll find bands along the course for entertainment and enjoy a firefighter pancake breakfast after the race. The event benefits the Fisher House Project, which supports military families.

The Rock ’n’ Roll series returns to the City of Brotherly Love for a half marathon featuring live music throughout the course and a fun 5K. Take a tour of the historic city, starting and finishing in the shadow of the Philadelphia Museum of Art, while much of the race takes place in scenic Fairmount Park.

This 10th annual race includes a full marathon, half, 10K and 5K that provides incredible views of Bellingham Bay, the San Juan Islands and the North Cascade Mountains. It’s considered by many to be the most scenic race in the Pacific Northwest. Celebrate your finish in the Boundary Bay beer garden.

Photo: Courtesy of the Rock ‘n’ roll Marathon Series

Rock ‘n’ Roll Philadelphia Half Marathon

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Click here to see the sights and sounds of a Ragnar Trail Relay.


5K to 15K BTN Big Ten 10K Aug. 6; Chicago

Plymouth Beach Run Aug. 19; Plymouth, Mass.

Conquer the Bridge 5.3-Mile Run Sept. 7; San Pedro, Calif.

Celebrate the start of the Big Ten Football season with this 10K race and 5K run/walk that starts and finishes in Chicago’s Grant Park. You’ll receive technical T-shirts supporting your favorite Big Ten team, and there’s a post-race fan festival complete with mascots, cheerleaders, food, music, beer and Big Ten Network personalities.

Are you fast enough to beat the tide? This 5-mile or 5K run starts at low tide at 6:45 p.m. and runners must be fast if they’re able to finish the race before the tide comes back in. Expect to get wet on the challenging rocky and sandy course, but dry off to live music and a clambake at the post-race party. It’s a true New England experience.

More than 3,000 runners are expected to run across the Vincent Thomas Bridge that spans the Los Angeles Harbor. It’s the fourth largest suspension bridge in California, so get ready for one of the bigger climbs in the area. Show your race bib after the finish to get 50 percent off a tour of the battleship U.S.S. Iowa.

tr a i l Run the Rockies Trail Race Aug. 13; Frisco, Colo.

XTERRA Rock Dallas Trail Run Aug. 13; Flower Mound, Texas

Bulldog 50K and 25K Trail Run Aug. 27; Calabasas, Calif.

Head to the mountains for this half marathon and 10K trail race through the Frisco Peninsula with spectacular views of Lake Dillon and the Tenmile Range. You’ll be running on mostly singletrack and dirt road trails, with a start and finish at the Frisco Day Lodge. Enjoy a post-race party with pizza and beer from Backcountry Brewery.

Runners can choose from a 5K, 10K or 25K trail run on the Northshore Trail in Murrell Park, one of the most popular hiking trails in northern Texas. The moderately challenging terrain will require some tree-ducking, creek-crossing and hill-climbing, but you’ll get to enjoy excellent views of Grapevine Lake and the surrounding cliffs.

This year marks the 25th anniversary of this popular trail run at Malibu Creek State Park. But this is no easy Saturday stroll in the park. You’ll explore the Santa Monica Mountains on a single-loop course (double it for the 50K) that also includes fire roads, singletrack trails and a strenuous climb up Bulldog Mountain, which is 2,528 feet in elevation.

Photo: Todd Powell

Run the Rockies Trail Race

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invites you to join us at the Rock ‘n’ Roll Los Angeles Halloween Half Marathon on October 30, 2016

Earn Some Swag


©2016 ASPCA . All Rights Reserved.

• Receive an official Team ASPCA race day shirt to show off your pride while you walk or run your way to the finish! • Attend an in-person information meeting and receive a complimentary Fundraiser Starter Pack with wristbands, stickers and more! • Complete your registration on the spot and take home a free Team ASPCA Training Starter Bag with reflective running band, sport towel and more! • All participants who complete this half marathon with Team ASPCA will receive a limited edition ASPCA 150 race medal to commemorate the ASPCA’s 150th anniversary!

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*The Divas® Half Marathon & 5K Series is not associated or affiliated with Running Divas®

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Maverick Medalist Nick Symmonds, 32, Seattle

Click here to read an interview with urban run crew leader Knox Robinson.

Whether it’s about doping, the hypocrisy of amateurism in sports, Nike’s outsized influence, or human rights, six-time American 800-meter champion, two-time Olympian and serial entrepreneur Nick Symmonds never holds back. Ahead of his bid to make his third Olympics on July 4 at the U.S. Olympic Trials in Eugene, Ore., Symmonds shares his thoughts about the state of the sport, how elites party, and the difference between running and training.

If you could be czar of track and field, what would you do? I would do everything possible to separate track and field from the Olympic movement. The Olympics are a great entity but they are so steeped in amateurism that we just can’t have a full-fledged professional sport as long as the Super Bowl for us is the Olympics every four years. I’m really impressed with what tennis did back in the ’70s and ’80s, the way the athletes came together and fought for their rights—and having a Grand Slam model, three to four events each year that paid millions of dollars and everybody in the world would stop and take note. I gotta be honest, nobody cares what happens at a Diamond League event. No one’s gonna remember these races in six months, let alone years from now. I’d even argue the IAAF World Championships is kind of a watered-down competition.

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Why should casual runners care about track and field? Right now I don’t think that they should care. The average person probably believes or has heard how filthy our sport is. These are things that make me not wanna follow the sport. And I’m in the sport! How hard do elites party overall compared to the general populace? I think they party equally as hard, just not as frequently. Elite athletes might only go out once a month but when they do they go out harder than anybody. They need to blow off that steam. Do elite runners enjoy running more than everyone else, or do they sometimes dread going for a run just like the rest of us? I know for a fact that a lot of elite runners dread going for a run. I love running. I love everything about it. But I always say I hate training. Running is waking up, putting your shoes on and just spending some time alone in nature or with some friends, connecting with the world around you, and it’s beautiful. Training is about doing whatever’s on the paper whether you feel like it or not. Training is sacrifice, it’s time away from family, it’s time away from friends. It’s a 24/7 job.

For the complete interview, go to

Click here to read about 36 celebrities who run.

photo: brooks running. interview by adam elder

How is an Olympic year different for you? It doesn’t change a lot for me as a competitor. It changes a lot as a businessman. Because people wake up and start caring about what I’m doing. Most of the world doesn’t really care what I do for three years, but during an Olympic year everyone wants an interview and sponsors want to be a part of what you’re doing. It’s an exciting year in that you get to work harder off the track.

6/15/16 11:57 AM

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6/13/16 1:20 PM

ENJOY RESPONSIBLY © 2015 Anheuser-Busch, Michelob Ultra® Light Beer, St. Louis, MO 95 calories, 2.6g carbs, 0.6g protein and 0.0g fat, per 12 oz.

Lower carbs. Fewer calories.

Exceptional taste.

Brewed for those who

go the extra mile.

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6/10/16 11:10 AM

Competitor July 2016  

The Body Issue: 4 easy strength exercises. How to treat & avoid common running injuries. Essential yoga moves.

Competitor July 2016  

The Body Issue: 4 easy strength exercises. How to treat & avoid common running injuries. Essential yoga moves.