Where has the year gone? We here at Sneaker Factory have been so busy providing New Jersey with all their running needs and running ourselves, that we have neglected to update you on all the latest and greatest! We hope you haven’t missed us in blog land too much.
The question for today is “Are you taking advantage of this day?” It is beautiful here in Long Branch and from what I’m hearing the rest of New Jersey too. Just look at our view here on the boardwalk.
How can you not get out on the roads or the trails today?
So lace up those shoes as soon as you can today. This sunny weather wont last long. I hear another storm is headed our way.
We want to know what gets you out the door?
What motivates you?
Is it an ongoing thing or do you need little motivations everyday?
For me it is warm sunny days like today, new shoes, and crossing another day off on the training schedule… and of course getting to indulge in a cheeseburger every once in a while guilt free!
March is here and the spring half marathons and marathons are fast approaching. As the long runs are getting longer and the weather is warming up, I ask you, are you hydrating?
With all the cool new gear out there luckily we don’t have to do things like this:
Yes, he is getting his water straight from a mountain stream. I don’t recommend that in New Jersey folks. What I do recommend is one of two things… or three things if you have really patient and willing to help family members/friends. But I will get to that.
This first thing you can consider doing to stay hydrated while you are out on your usual routes, is get yourself one of the ever-growing list of water bottles and holders that have become available to us.
I’ll start with the Nathan Quickdraw Plus. This little handheld has everything you need .
It holds 22 oz. of the refreshment of your choice.
The zippered pocket is big enough to slide in your id, credit card, some cash or keys, whatever you will be needing.
It also comes with a waterproof I.D. and medical emergency card.
The detailing around the outside of the bottle is reflective! Always a bonus!
And for those of you that need to know the weight of everything, it is only 4 oz.
This is a good choice for any distance under 20 miles. If you are going longer, need more fluids, or just need to balance it out, have one in both hands!
But are you horrified by the thought of having to carry anything in your hands? Want them completely free and available to gobble copious amounts of GU or Clif BLOKS?
Some of us do like to have at least one hand free to wave in the kindest of ways to rude motorists. Well if this is the case with you, I have a solution for that too.
Multiple solutions in fact.
Let’s start with FuelBelt:
You can go two bottle or four. There is a great side pocket (shown above) that will hold basically anything you might need on your run. If you cut the crust off your pb&j sandwich it might hold that too. The range of colors is almost as crazy as the shoes on our wall. Each bottle holds 7 oz. of your choice of fluids. Use one for water and one for Gatorade, or go a little crazy and throw some Coca Cola (or Pepsi if that’s your thing) in one of them. This may be a little much for you marathoners out there, but for you ultrarunners, we know you do this… along with having friends meet you with a pizza out on your 50 mile training run. Don’t forget to wash these bottles out after your run. Yeah, they can get sticky, and the smell… really undefinable.
There is also Nathan’s Speed Series, again available in two bottles or four bottles. This is another great choice. Each bottle is 8 oz. and they slide in and out of their streamlined, molded holsters with ease. The waist belt has a pill pocket that is conveniently waterproof and the mesh pocket will hold your stuff of choice. Like its little sister the quickdraw plus, it has reflective detail and incorporated waterproof I.D. and medical emergency card. Jot down on that little guy any allergies or conditions you might have, or if you are afraid of anything crazy like needles, bees or a zombie Apocalypse. Just to make sure they know everything they need to know about you. Heck, if you have room write your PR on there. Just so they know WHO they are dealing with. But hopefully none of us will ever be in that situation, or ever have to face a zombie Apocalypse for that matter.
Joining these two great companies, adding a brand new flare to Sneaker Factory’s hydration options, is Amphipod!
The moveable pouch expands to hold sunglasses, keys, ID, and other essentials to your run. As a bonus there are up to 4 slots for your gels and an extra pocket for cards, keys and cash.
The bottles are 10.5 oz., go with 4 for the long haul and 2 for the out and backs that don’t require as much fluids.
There are a lot of other options too. Hydration packs can be great run companions. I have multiple Nathan packs and have used them on hikes, long runs and long trail runs. They don’t bounce around like you would think, and they wrap around you like a vest with easy access pockets in front. These are great for hydration, and when you are hiking or running out in the woods they are great for storing an extra layer in case of emergency.
There is a wide variety of packs from Nathan that will accommodate any adventure, with a range of bladder sizes.
If you are dreaming about crossing that ultra marathon off your bucket list, this could be a great choice for you. Imagine wearing this guy and arming yourself with two quickdraw plus in each hand as you traverse the mountains from aid station to aid station. Awesome.
If carrying anything on your person isn’t for you, option #2 is to stash water bottles along your route. This works, most times. Drive along your route morning of, or the night before and find a few convenient spots to stash a water bottle. It will be like your own personal aid station. Another way to do it would be to find a nice loop course, like the Manasquan reservoir, where you can leave a bottle or two at the beginning and know it will be waiting for you there after each loop. Unless there is a water/Gatorade bandit lurking around. Don’t laugh. I had some kid steal my GU once, it can happen to you. A curious animal might take a liking to your stash as well. I have seen a porcupine drag off some poor kids boot before, foot not attached. But you wont have boots at your aid station, and last time I checked there wasn’t much of a porcupine issue in New Jersey. Yet.
Now as promised, option #3… we will call this your mobile aid station. Some folks are lucky to have someone foolish enough to agree to this option. Whether it be your mother or father, brother, sister, wife, husband or naive best friend, ask them, they might comply. Have them meet you at designated areas with whatever goodies you feel you might need. This is also good for a little extra motivation in the middle of a hard long run. You can look forward to seeing their smiling (hopefully) face greeting you with a cold beverage and a yummy treat. If they really love you, and you are really sick of running the same old routes, you can pull what I used to request of my dear dad. You run your long run from point to point and then have them pick you up. This way you avoid a loop or an out and back that can get quite boring. Run twenty miles from home and have that smiling face (again, hopefully) waiting for you at the end. Make sure they have your recovery shake of choice in hand for optimal timing!
So many great options, it is good to be training for long distance isn’t? It’s good to be a runner. If you have any questions about staying hydrated or about the methods shown above, come on by one of our stores. At least one staff member at each store is gearing up for a spring marathon or half marathon themselves!!
This seemingly innocent role of tape is some very powerful stuff. You have probably seen it on some of the best Olympic Athletes such as Kerri Walsh the volleyball player who rocks it on her shoulder for every game. Or you may have seen it on this guy, who always seems to have his shirt off.
(The pink stuff on his left side is KT Tape, not another crazy tattoo.)
Ok, you say, so Olympic volleyball players and super hot soccer players wear this stuff, but what can it do for the average runner? A lot, is what I say to you.
The best part about this tape is that it comes in pre cut strips, and the most common injuries only require applying two strips. You can get up to 60 days of usage out of a box of 20 strips, and each application can last you up to 5 days. That is 5 days of whatever you throw at it, swimming with dolphins, super technical crazy opstical course mud runs, cage fighting, marathons, 100 mile runs through the mountains of Colorado, you name it this tape can handle it. The medical adhesive is built to stay on but pull off easily, no band-aid like cringing and pull it off quick so the pain is less. It comes off smooth and pain-free. We can’t guarantee you wont have a wacky tan line from it though. Don’t worry you will look hard-core. People will ask, “Where the heck did you get that wacky tan line from?” And you will respond casually, “Oh it was from my weekend swimming with the sharks in the coral reefs off Australia, I needed my KT tape so my shoulder wouldn’t hurt.” They will look at you stunned and say, “It stayed on even in the water?” And you will look at them as if that is the silliest question you have every heard. “Of course it did.” Yeah that tan line will be your badge of honor for whatever you conquered with your KT Tape on. But I digress, back to the technical points of why it is good for runners.
Unlike the old way of taping up an injury, where you lose all mobility due to the wrap, KT tape is built to have a greater range of motion. It is designed for durability and strength, yet it provides unidirectional elasticity, which allows the tape to stretch but not give way on you. So whether you have it on your foot, your knee or anywhere else, you will be able to run freely and forget that the tape is there. The pain will be unnoticeable as well because the tape provides the support your muscles need to work properly.
For example: The three main pains we runners face. Runners Knee, Shin splints, and the dreaded Plantar Fasciitis.
Our own Pat Jacobs demonstrates for us how KT tape will be placed for each of these common injuries. In the past people were forced to wear bulky wraps for Runners knee, now as you see above, just two strips of KT tape will lift and support the knee cap, holding it in place while you run.
Plantar Fasciitis can be one of the most painful and annoying of all injuries. But with KT Tape you can support the sagging muscles in the arch of the foot, which will relieve some of the strain of Plantar Faciitis.
And the most common running injury of all, shin splints. I don’t think a day goes by that I don’t have someone come in with shin splints.
Notice on each of these pictures Pat only uses two pieces of tape for each injury. When you only have to apply two pieces, the process is quick and easy, and you are out on your run, or swimming with sharks before you know it.
Each box comes with easy step-by-step instructions for most injuries, including pictures!! And you get a pretty good variety of colors to choose from, black, blue, pink, beige, red and green.
Come by any of our stores to check it out, and if you are planning any big adventures make sure to pack it!! We want to see the tan lines!! Check it out online at www.kttape.com for a more professional explanation of it. Or type it in to Google images for awesome pictures of all the athletes that wear it!
And because we always like to provide you with a chance to learn more about the products we love. Tomorrow night at our Millburn location:
KT Taping Demonstration on Thursday, 2/23
Learn to use KinesioTape from the NY Jets team Chiropractor!
Dr. Jason Levy, the New Jersey 2011 Sports Chiropractor of the Year, also team chiropractor to the Jets and the NY Red Bulls MLS franchise, and his associate Dr. Courtney Centrelli will be conducting a clinic to teach methods of taping. KinesioTape can be a valuable tool to help support joints and alleviate injuries, but knowing how to use it confidently can be a challenge. Dr. Levy and Dr. Centrelli will demystify KT taping methods and show you how to apply it to help with achilles tendonitis, runner’s knee, and plantar fasciitis, the three most common running injuries. This clinic will be held at the Millburn store on Thursday, February 23rd at 7 pm.
Dr. Levy and Dr. Centrelli are part of the team at Advanced Performance and Rehabilitation Center, one of the finest facilities for sports medicine in the NY/NJ area.
There you go. I hope I have provided you with plenty of avenues you can go down to learn more about the wonders of this little product! Don’t miss out on crossing things off the bucket list because your knee hurts, or your shoulder is on fire. Get some tape and get to it! Marathon. Check. Gator wrestling. Got it. Sky diving? No problem! It will hold! Go. Do. Be.
We have a special Valentine’s treat for you today. Our own Sherry Dineen, Basking Ridge employee and much better writer than me, has put together a wonderful little love story for us.
A running love story of course. Enjoy.
The instant he saw her, he was speechless. His tongue fell out of his mouth and he was completely undone. His mind told him it could never work. Not a pair of regular “Joes”, they were from different sides of the track. But his heart. Oh, his heart spoke of another story. One look at her shiny blue eyelets and he was a goner.
She was built for speed and knowing she would tread on his heart, he took the first step anyway.
“You are a prettier sight than any dessert Mirage I’ve ever seen.”
“Why, thank you. You’re quite a looker yourself. Right now I feel like I am walking on clouds.”
Both passionate by nature, their love could not be stopped. The only remaining detail, “your box or mine?” answered in a tangle of tissue paper and laces, clearly was, “his.”
Their first date ended in spooning and talk of miles to come.
By the second date she knew it was over. They clashed ate every turn. His colors were all wrong. Whenever she tried to go faster he was unsupportive and became a real heel when things didn’t go his way. She didn’t want to walk out on him.
In her heart, she knew it couldn’t last.
Their love affair glowed bright, but brief.
Back on the track she realized it was really over when another low profiled hunk of rubber and laces from the other team sauntered by. Suddenly she was under his spell.
They fit together like foot and sock. It was love at first Trance.
Happy Valentine’s Day!
Now get out there and run so you can truly enjoy all the chocolate you will be eating later!
Here at Sneaker Factory we are beyond excited to announce that our first Hot Chocolate Winter Series was a huge success!! Mother Nature lent us a huge hand in the making of a great day. We would like to thank everyone who came out and raced or supported. It was a great turn out and a wonderful day! We cannot wait for this Saturday! Here is the picture of group runner and eventual winner of the 5k, “Boston” Mike Metlitz. As you can see by the blue skies behind him, it was truly a beautiful February day. As the festivities died down and I was going through the pictures of the day posting a few here and there to friends on Facebook, I thought… this is why we run. It is the little bit of everything that running brings to our lives. It is the getting up early on a Saturday, no matter how cold it is outside. It’s meeting other runners with eager smiles waiting to register for the day’s race. It’s pinning your number to your favorite race shirt while others pace nervously around you trying to keep their limbs loose. It is knowing that everyone is going through the same eager anticipation for the start of the race. It’s the race itself, the starting line, the finish line, the in-between, wondering ‘how many more miles is this thing going to go on for’. It is the after party, in our case the hot chocolate and bagels, and waiting for the race results. We run for the congratulations, and the pat on the back and stories of your favorite parts. It is the section we thought we might not make it and the moment we knew we would. It is the blood, the sweat, the tears and the burgers and beer. Yeah, that is why we run.
But racing isn’t the only reason we run. There are millions of reasons. For your entertainment, I will list a few:
Awesome running shoes…
Training partners, that will be by your side even when it is 10 degrees outside with wind speeds of 30 mph…
(Or 50 degrees and sunny.)
Rewarding yourself after a long run with that junk food you so diligently avoid the rest of the week…
Being able to brag about enduring bad weather days…
Cute running outfits…
And the best reason of all… Feeling good about yourself.
There are too many reasons to list why each and every one of us run. Some are very personal and some are to take the place of something else. I first started running after College. I had quit smoking my senior year and I was ready to get back into the shape I had once been in. Now I run to do all the things listed above, and to feed the kid inside of me that loves getting dirty… Yeah I run through the mud on purpose. Whatever.
So… Why do YOU run?
If you are wondering what’s going on these days in your local running community and at Sneaker Factory I have the run down for you.
We are happy to announce that the newly established group run on Saturday mornings at 9AM is BOOMING! This past Saturday we had 15 runners and expect the numbers to climb through the winter and into spring as Marathon and Half Marathon training rev up.
Also at the Millburn store this Saturday come see Dr. Levy to have your footstrike analyzed by one of the top podiatrists in the area. Dr. Jessica Levy from Advanced Performance and Rehabilitation Center will give us information about your feet that will help us find you the perfect fitting pair of running shoes!
Don’t miss this great opportunity to get a free opinion from one of the area’s top medical professionals!
Next up is our Basking Ridge location. If you need help with what to wear on the run, this is the place to go! Fashionista and awesome runner Kim Turlip is there to guide you through the do’s and don’ts of your running outfit. She will not only make sure you have the right gear to face any weather conditions, but that you look darn good doing it!
Also new to Basking Ridge, the Wednesday night group run! 6PM every Wednesday night, meet up with Joe the store Manager and run anywhere from 3 to 6 miles. All paces welcome!! No matter the weather Joe is ready to get out there and tackle the miles with anyone who is willing to join. If you are training for a spring race here is a great excuse to get out there and brave the dark and the elements. Don’t go it alone!!
Our newest location in Long Branch – Pier Village!
There is a lot going on down in Long Branch. Lets start with the next 3 Saturdays…
And the last Sunday in February:
Also going on in Pier Village Feb 11th at Paws N Pose right across from Sneaker Factory: 400 $25 gift cards will be given out (First come first serve). They are good anywhere in Pier Village including your favorite local running shop from Feb 17th through March 16th. Any day! So come out and get yourself a gift card so you can get $25 off your next purchase with us! For more information go to the Pier Village website: www.piervillage.com.
And as usual group runs from our Long Branch store: Wednesday nights at 6:30 and Thursday nights at 6:00. 4-6 Miles and all paces welcome!! Even the cast of the Jersey Shore is welcome to stop by! Our own Vinnie Petracco and his beautiful wife Jill will do their best to make them feel welcome.
Snooki poof is optional for all group runs!!
See you out there!!
It brings me great pleasure to announce to you all that this fine flavor is now on the shelves at your local Sneaker Factory. And yes…it is a little vacation in your pocket. Whenever you want to take a mini trip to a tropical island, whip this baby out and well, ( I’m not really sure how you describe eating a Gu) slurp it down? That works.
For those of you from the Monmouth County, NJ area let me tell you what the taste reminds me of… Do you remember this guy? If you do… you are awesome! And, hopefully, you will remember the rainbow flavor? If that’s a yes, then you know what this brand new ROCTANE from GU tastes like. It’s Rainbow Italian Ice that is going to boost your run to a new level!
The first time I tried this little slice of tropical heaven, I was out on a 10 Mile run. Before leaving I could feel that I was on the verge of a blood sugar collapse. I was too stubborn to eat anything before hand, so I stuffed the roctane in my shorts pocket just in case. And it was a good thing I did. At about mile 4 the blood sugar dropped and that wonderful shaky dizzy feeling came on like a title wave. So I went straight to the GU. The flavor alone woke me out of my coma. The pineapple, coconut and some other mysterious island like flavors, shot straight to my senses. It only took a few minutes and I was cruising along once again. A few more minutes go by and I could feel the caffeine kick in. Suddenly I was buzzing and my run had taken on a brand new life. Like they say, Red Bull gives you wings… well Island Nectars gives you rockets.
Here’s the break down for those of you who need the stats:
I know many of you are training for a spring marathon or half marathon, so get in here and grab one of these little packets. I promise it will be worth the trip!! You can stick with your usual suspects of vanilla and chocolate for the majority of the time, but everyone needs a little vacation sometimes!
Did you know that the average temperature in Long Branch, NJ during the month of February is at it’s best 42 degrees and at it’s worst 24 degrees? Now 42 degrees isn’t too bad, but how about 24 degrees? When you are out there, running on the boardwalk, and it is 24 degress, it usually feels more like 14 degrees.
Now more than likely you will warm up by the time you are a mile or two into your run, but when you are finished and covered in sweat… you are going to be cold! Your usual recovery drink isn’t going to cut it. No protein shakes, gatorade or bottle of water is going to help stave off the shivers. What are we recommending then? Hot Chocolate!
You would be surprised at the recovery benefits of Hot Chocolate. You don’t usually think of such a treat as an aid to your muscles. But this sweet treat is just that, a perfect recovery drink, it has a little bit of everything you need to refuel.
Now that everyone is truly pumped about our new winter option, I’ll give you the details. When you take a packet of hot chocolate mix and combine it with your favorite Milk or Soy Milk you get a instant delivery of protein, calcium, potassium and vitamin D which will replenish electrolytes and help build new muscle cells. It doesn’t end there, the sugar in Hot Chocolate will also top off glycogen levels. To ensure an extra boost of antioxidents make your recovery hot chocolate with pure powdered cocoa. According to a 2003 study published in the Journal of Agricultural and Food Chemistry hot cocoa boasts more antioxidants than red wine, tea and even cold chocolate milk, because heating cocoa releases more disease-fighting agents.
So lets put this all together. February on the Jersey Shore, we know, can be brutal for us runners who brave the outdoors. But we have new motivation to get us through our February work outs! This is why at Sneaker Factory we have decided to start the Hot Chocolate Winter Series. The first 3 Saturdays in February, at 10AM, we have come up with some motivation for everyone to get out and brave the cold! There is no better motivation than Racing and Hot Chocolate!
February 4th, February 11th, and February 18th: Join us at Sneaker Factory in Pier Village for 3.1 Miles on the Boardwalk followed by Bagels and Hot Chocolate at the store.
You already knew bagels were a great recovery food right? Thought so.
Check out www.raceforum.com/chocolate for more info! Or call 732-222-7849.
How time does fly.
However rapidly it may be falling upon us, the New Year is a great time. For most of us it is a time to start over, to try new things, and to reinvent ourselves.
For must runners, it is also a time to reevaluate our goals and the things that ail us. We have to look at what problems are hindering us from getting where we want to be. There are too many injuries in the running world. At Sneaker Factory we see it everyday. Shin splints, ITB issues, bad knees, tight hips, stress fractures, you name it we have heard it or had it ourselves. We can blame the shoes on our feet, the road, the sidewalk, the boardwalk or even the trails. But what if all it really came down to was the way we trained and our form?
Maybe we need a new approach?
Enter Rich Airey.
Rich Airey is a running and strength coach originally from Point Pleasant, NJ. As a CrossFit Endurance seminar instructor based in San Diego, CA, Rich travels the United States educating on running mechanics, strength and mobility as well as injury prevention and nutrition. As a private coach, his clients range from those seeking improved fitness to USA Olympic Trials Qualifiers. Rich was a Special Education teacher and has coached Shore area high school runners for 10 years, 24 of them earning All-American status under his guidance. While racing for Monmouth University, Rich was the Northeast Conference steeplechase champion and held the 10,000m school record. He continues to race extensively, competing in 5ks, marathons, ultras and 24 hour races.
The focus here is on the three terms you read above, running mechanics, strength and mobility. This is what Rich preaches. Correct form, less mileage and correct strength training could lead to you being a healthier runner. If you have been injured in the past year, Rich wants to help fix it. His seminars include a lot of running mechanics mixed in with CrossFit Endurance. What is CrossFit? The definition on wikipedia says it best: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/CrossFit. What is CrossFit Endurance then? “CrossFit Endurance gives a unique opportunity for endurance athletes to learn another significant way to effectively train for any event they wish to compete in. It also provides a unique opportunity for them to have a life outside of training. Something most endurance programs will not allow for with the sheer volume demand of these programs.” Quote borrowed from http://www.crossfitendurance.com/what-is-crossfit-endurance/.
Could this lead to a new you? A better more efficient runner? You will have to check it out for yourself. You can learn a lot more from Rich’s own blog http://runningwod.wordpress.com/. His daily entries provides great entertainment as well as solid running and CrossFit education.
And as a bonus you can see Rich himself at Sneaker Factory Long Branch on January 10th at 7PM for his Fundamentals of Running seminar. Rich will be focusing on the three key things mentioned already, running mechanics, strength and mobility, plus how to set up goal paces and training for your upcoming races. I’m sure we will also all be able to pick his brain about anything from training, racing, and nutrition to his life traveling from California to New Jersey and back again.
Come prepared to learn a lot, have fun, and maybe have a different outlook on your training when it is all said and done.
We all need to open our stubborn running minds to something new for 2012.
Hope to see you there!
Guess what? It’s December, next Saturday is Christmas and once the New Year hits it will only be a matter of time before the Spring Triathlon season is upon us! Here at Sneaker Factory we feel it is always important to be ahead of the game. A few of us already have our race plans nailed down, as I’m sure many of you do. So we thought we would share our anticipation for the season combined with a little holiday spirit and mark all the Tri apparel in our stores 50% off until 2012 is upon us.
Get your gear early, so you are more than ready to go for your first sprint, olympic, Half Ironman or Full Ironman of the year. It is always best to have your race day outfit broken in before the big event. You don’t want any surprises on the day you have worked tirelessly to get to. We have ZOOT, Pearl Izumi, Saucony and Sugoi tops and shorts, something for everyone.
The benefits of Tri apparel are limitless, but the biggest bonus of having them is you can swim, bike and run in the same outfit. This saves you precious time in transition. They fit snug to your body so there is no drag in the water, or on the bike, and dry quickly so that you are comfortable on the run.
Our very own Vinnie Petracco demonstrates how well his Zoot Tri top and shorts worked for him this past summer at the Long Branch Tri Series #3.
Finally the sprint to the finish! Hope that little slide show helped you daydream your way through the work day and into your next photo finish!
Don’t forget to stop by and see us this Holiday season, whether just to shoot the breeze or check out what we have in stock for Tri Gear, 50% off from now until the New Year!! See you soon!