Posts Tagged ‘Nike+’

Nike LunarEpic Flyknit Running Shoes Review

Nike LunarEpic Flyknit First Impressions

Nike LunarEpic Flyknit

Updated 3/10/16

The Nike LunarEpic Flyknit will certainly turn heads. With its high-top bootie design, the running world hasn’t seen anything like these neutral, cushioned running shoes. Check out the full review on shoe hero.

The newest entry to Nike’s “Run Easy” category, the LunarEpic Flyknit shoes are meant for going long, running easy, or kicking it up with a progression run. In other words, this is a cushioned trainer designed with comfort in mind. The men’s size 10 weighs 8.3 oz and the women’s size 8 weighs 6.55 oz. Both have an 8.5 mm drop from heel to toe, with a retail price of $175.

I first tried the Nike LunarEpic Flyknit shoes, courtesy of Nike, during an interval workout with Nike trainers. I’ve since taken them on the road and trail. Here are my initial thoughts.

Nike LunarEpic Flyknit First Impressions

Testing the shoes, far left (Nike)

Nike LunarEpic Flyknit Design

If the Nike LunarEpic Flyknit embodies one buzzword, it’s “sensation.” Inspired by Nike soccer boots that earned great feedback from players, Nike Running’s design team set out to create a shoe the evoked a similar sensation. Namely, a sense of seamlessness from toe to ankle. Where does your body end and your shoe begin? The Nike LunarEpic Flyknit wants to erase that transition. Nike calls it a “virtually vanishing fit.” Is it? Yes and no.

Nike LunarEpic Flyknit First Impressions

Shoe or bootie?

Upper

The shoe’s upper is a single-piece of Nike Flyknit, featuring the material’s signature support, with a closer fit at the forefoot, arch, and heel, plus FlyWire cables to cinch the fit midfoot. The ankle collar, sewn more elastic than the boot, exists to anchor the shoe to your leg. The cuff might also eliminate some pressure points around the heel.

The laces? They may seem redundant, but actually help to perfect the fit, a Nike designer said at the shoe’s New York City launch I attended.

Nike LunarEpic Flyknit First Impressions

Rear view

Midsole

This is a glue-free shoe. Instead, Nike used heat to fuse the Lunarlon foam to the platform, thereby eliminating some weight and hardness. The platform itself is contoured, not flat, with laser-cut grooves on the side for flexibility. They collapse when you land, cushioning each foot strike.

Nike LunarEpic Flyknit First Impressions

Outsole

Outsole

The Lunarlon foam outsole is completely rubber-free, with laser-cut pads placed at high-pressure points. Each pad moves independently, depending on how your foot falls. How precisely? You can actually feather the grooves with your fingertips. Combined with the foam of the midsole, the outsole pads help make the ride smooth and soft.

Nike LunarEpic Flyknit First Impressions

Liking them so far (Nike)

Nike LunarEpic Flyknit Feel

I’ll start with this. I’m a huge fan of Nike Flyknit. I wore my Nike Flyknit Lunar 2 shoes ragged and Nike Free 4.0 are one of my go-to pairs.

At first look, these might be my favorite Nike shoes I’ve tried in the last two years, and I’ve worn the Nike Air Zoom Pegasus 32, Nike LunarTempo, Nike Flyknit Lunar 2, and two iterations each of Nike Free 3.0 Flyknit and Nike Free 4.0 Flyknit.

Nike LunarEpic Flyknit Review

Post-workout debrief (Nike)

Fit

This is a shoe you really need to try for yourself, simply because it is so different from anything you’ve put on your feet before. Certainly, some runners will hate the high ankle collar. Like the first iteration of the Nike Free 3.0 Flyknit, some folks will find it too tight or too constricting. Thankfully, Nike.com offers a 30-day trial period, during which you can return worn shoes, “dirt and all.”

I actually like the fit and the feel and the ankle bootie. If you surf or do triathlons, the ankle collar is more comfortable than the ankle strap of surf board leash, a triathlon timing chip band, or even a wetsuit cuff. When you first slip the shoes on your feet, the collar feels a little strange. But it’s incredibly stretchy and elastic. Once I got moving, I didn’t notice it all. I was too focused on the workout. Read the rest of this entry →

04

03 2016

Running Tights & Capris For The Long Run

Running in Hawaii

Hawai’i Volcanoes National Park (RunKarlaRun.com)

Keeps your legs rockin’ in style with these 10 running tights, capris, and warm-ups from seven different brands. They range from $20 to $120, so there’s something for every price point.

If it’s on this list, I officially own it and love it. Companies send loads of samples my way, many unsolicited. I try them all so you don’t have to. And I only keep, wear, and post about the ones I love. For each pair of running tights you see here, there’s another pair (or two) that didn’t make the cut.

Many of the products I highlighted in the days of yore are still available and among my go-to faves. (Gore Running Wear Mythos 2.0 Windstopper Soft Shell Tights, I’m talking to you.) So here are my gift guides from 2014 and 2013, which also have some of my perennial favorite running tights and capris. You’ll find affiliate links in this post to help keep RunKarlaRun.com running.

Happy Shopping!

Running Tights & Capris

Nike Epic Lux Tights, $79-$120

Epic and lux is right. I’ve long been a Nike running tights evangelist and these are the best of the best. Yes, you’ll pay a pretty penny, but the quality is top of the line. Silky, second skin fabric, a wide flattering waistband, mesh panels behind your knees, these are the tights I wear again and again and again. Plus, I get compliments every time I wear them. Solid or print, you can find them in both in a range of colors and prints. I can’t say enough good things about these tights—and most Nike tights in general.

Running Tights & Capris For The Long Run

Nike Epic Lux Tight

Running Tights & Capris For The Long Run

In action in Oslo

2XU Elite MCS Compression Tights, $120

If you want to werk it, these compression tights are uh-may-zing! I wear them on long runs and tough workouts all the time to help reduce soreness the next day. Targeted compression reduces muscle vibration where you most need it. The waistband is a touch tight, but oh so worth it! These are the next level of compression from the 2XU Women’s Compression Tights I wrote about last year. You can’t go wrong with either pair. I wear both of them just about every single week. Plus, they come in tall sizes too. Cue angels singing. Read the rest of this entry →

09

02 2016

Race Report: Gore-Tex Philadelphia Half Marathon 2015

Race Report: GORE-TEX Philadelphia Half Marathon 2015

They colored my green shirt purple for this green screen pic! (Island Photos)

I ran the GORE-TEX Philadelphia Half Marathon 2015 with race sponsor GORE-TEX, returning to the City of Brotherly Love for the third time as a runner. I’d scored a personal best at the Philadelphia Marathon in 2012, ran my third fastest 13.1-miler at the GORE-TEX Philadelphia Half Marathon in 2014, and I was back to give the half-marathon another go on Sunday, November 22.

Nearly 22,000 runners finished races at the GORE-TEX Philadelphia Marathon Weekend, with 10,899 finishers in the half-marathon, another 9,159 in the marathon, and 1,910 in the 8K. And approximately 60,000 spectators lined the course to cheer us on. My husband, Phil, joined me, along with a bunch of our running teammates.

Race Report: GORE-TEX Philadelphia Half Marathon 2015

We are the champions! (RunKarlaRun.com)

The event is a big city race with a small town feel. Unlike more crowded marathons in New York and Chicago, runners wander into corrals just 15 minutes or so before the race’s 7 a.m. start. The vibe is relaxed and unhurried. It feels like the city simply wants you to relax and have a good time. Philadelphia Mayor Michael Nutter is at the start and the finish passing out high-fives to runners, setting the tone for a friendly race experience.

Race Report: GORE-TEX Philadelphia Half Marathon 2015

Expo fun! (RunKarlaRun.com)

The Expo

The Comcast Health & Fitness Expo at the Pennsylvania Convention Center has a great selection of vendors. Last year, I bought some last minute race items. This year, I picked up some Clif Shots and a Christmas present for Phil. Plus, it’s fun to try some GORE-TEX shoes and splash around in the water pools at the GORE-TEX booth.

Race Report: GORE-TEX Philadelphia Half Marathon 2015

Comcast Health & Fitness Expo (RunKarlaRun.com)

Seriously you guys, if you run in the rain or snow, you need a pair of these shoes. They’ve been a game-changer for me. New Balance, Brooks, Asics, Saucony, The North Face, Salomon, and La Sportiva all make running shoes with GORE-TEX lining. Just look for models with GTX in the name.

How does it work? The GORE-TEX lining has more than 9 billion pores per square inch. Each pore is 20,000 times smaller than a drop of water. That means rain, puddle water, snow, and the like can’t get into your shoes (unless they spill over the top). At the same time, those pores are 700 times larger than a water vapor molecule, so sweat can get out.

Your feet stay dry, your shoes stay breathable. It’s a win-win. If you’re among the 75% of runners who head outdoors in cold and wet weather, have ever run in soggy shoes and waited days for them them to dry out, check out some GORE-TEX kicks. I’ve genuinely become an evangelist for this brand. I love it.

Race Report: GORE-TEX Philadelphia Half Marathon 2015

We’re ready to run! (RunKarlaRun.com)

The Start

Phil and I left our hotel—1.5 miles to the start—at 5:45 a.m. and found a cab within 5 minutes. We were on site by 6 a.m. How’s that for no muss, no fuss? That’s what I mean about Philly being a low-key race. You could never do that in New York. Don’t get me wrong: the New York City Marathon is my favorite race ever, but it’s refreshing to run a big-city race where getting to the start isn’t an ordeal.

Despite heightened security at all of the start area entry points, we waited less than 5 minutes to get into the staging ground.

We found a bank of port-a-potties close to the entrance that no one seemed to be using. So we didn’t have to wait in line at all. Love that! The bathrooms near the corrals closer to the start time are much more crowded.

Baggage was easy to find, and by the time we’d used the bathroom and dropped off our bag, we still had 35 minutes to kill before the start. Read the rest of this entry →

27

11 2015

Nike+ Run Club Offers Personal Pacers Via Uber

Nike+ Run Club Offers Personal Pacers Via Uber (Nike)

Running with my pacers (Nike)

In New York City for the world’s largest marathon on Sunday, November 1? Want to run like a pro with your own personal pacer? Now you can thanks to Nike+ Run Club and on-demand car-service Uber.

Instead of finding a ride with the Uber app, users can request a Nike+ Run Club pace team to lead them through a personalized on-demand jaunt around New York City for one day only: Saturday, October 31 from 8 a.m. to 1 p.m. Best of all, it’s free!

Nike+ Run Club Offers Personal Pacers Via Uber (Nike)

Up a hill (Nike)

Nike+ Run Club sessions are 2-3 miles and tailored to your request. Pacers will also lead you through running-specific dynamic stretching, and gift you with some gear at the end of the run. Runs begin and end at your location, which must be between 72nd Street and 14th Street in Manhattan.

Nike+ Run Club Offers Personal Pacers Via Uber (Nike)

Running Midtown Manhattan (Nike)

Requesting a Nike+ Run Club pacer is exactly like requesting a car. I know, I had a chance to test out the service before it launches to the public. But instead of a car, two Nike+ Run Club pacers greet your on foot, with a race bib that looks like a license plate.

Nike+ Run Club Offers Personal Pacers Via Uber

My pacers! (Nike)

Once you open the Uber app and enter the promo code RUNNYC, you’ll see “NRC PACER” alongside your usual Uber choices like “uberT” and “uberX.” You’ll also see where NRC pacers are located near you with the Nike+ swoosh on the map. Read the rest of this entry →

30

10 2015

Race Report: Nike Women’s Half Marathon San Fran

Race Report: Nike Women's Half Marathon San Francisco

Runners in Golden Gate Park (Photo: Nike)

Want to take part in the Nike Women San Francisco Race Weekend from October 16-18, 2015, including the Nike Women’s Half Marathon? Registration for the random draw is open until Monday June 29, 2015 at 11:59 a.m. PDT. The random draw will take place July 8, 2015.

Registration is $200, and only runners picked through the draw will be charged. You can enter the lottery as an individual or as a group, and men are welcome too.

If you’re one of the lucky runners to get a half-marathon entry, you’ll also be able to register for other Nike Women San Francisco Race weekend events at no additional cost, until events have reached capacity. For more information or to register, visit nike.com/sf.

Race Report: Nike Women's Half Marathon San Francisco

Running San Francisco!

I ran the 2014 Nike Women’s Half Marathon San Francisco courtesy of Nike as part of a media group. I went in with high expectations and, somehow, the race managed to exceed them. I love, love, love this race. I’d never run a Nike event before, and I’d never run in San Francisco before. From start to finish, I was thoroughly impressed.

From the start at Union Square and on-course signage that let you know the next bathrooms were 1.4-miles away to the red carpet finish and free race photos after the fact, it was a superbly executed race and incredibly fun, too. Not to mention, instead of a finisher medal, I got a Tiffany & Co. finisher necklace. Yep, I’ve been wearing mine all the time. And Tiffany will be back for 2015.

The course’s natural beauty was among the most scenic of the 90 races I’ve run—behind the Kauai Half Marathon and Bermuda Half Marathon. Even through San Francisco’s famous fog I was able to appreciate the beauty of the city’s architecture, Golden Gate Park and the beach. No, we weren’t able to see the Golden Gate Bridge on race day because the fog was so thick. Thankfully, I got a shot in front of it the day before at a shakeout run.

If you’re thinking of registering for the random draw, here’s what you can expect come race weekend! Read the rest of this entry →

27

06 2015

Obstacle Race, Nike Athlete + 5K Training Plan

5K Training Plan, Obstacle Race Training Plan, & Nike Training Plan

Training! (Photo: RunKarlaRun.com)

A friend of mine, who’s not a runner, recently asked me for a training plan. Her husband—a chronic marathoner—signed her up for a Spartan Race. She’s run two 5Ks and a 2-miler in the past, but not recently. So she wanted something that would help her start from scratch. I’m guessing most of you have a similar friend, who sooner or later is going to sign up for that 5K or obstacle race and not know where to begin.

Thankfully, I’ve curated a few training plans for SHAPE.com with the help of top coaches, including a 5K training plan for total beginners, an obstacle race training plan, and Nike “all-around” training plan that mixes running, strength training, and yoga.

Nike+ NYC Training Plan to Become a Better Athlete

5K Training Plan, Obstacle Race Training Plan, & Nike Training Plan

Training at Niketown in NYC (Photo: Nike)

Every day, Nike+ NYC coaches lead runs and workouts for all skill levels on the streets of the Big Apple, using the city as a gym—no equipment needed.

But you don’t have to live in NYC to “Just Do It” with Nike+ NYC Run Club Head Coach Chris Bennett and Nike+ NYC Master Trainer Traci Copeland, who teamed up to design this exclusive plan for Shape.

With three days of training, two days of running, and two flex days per week, the plan integrates Nike+ Training Club and Nike+ Running to make you a stronger, faster, and fitter athlete, whether you’re simply looking to stay in shape or getting ready for a race.

Follow the plan at SHAPE.com.

Diva Dash Obstacle Race Training Plan

5K Training Plan, Obstacle Race Training Plan, & Nike Training Plan

Monkeying around at SHAPE Diva Dash (Photo: RunKarlaRun.com)

The annual Shape Diva Dash is dotted with fun obstacles sure to challenge your balance, strength, and speed. To help you dominate any 5K adventure run, this obstacle race training plan blends running, strength, balance, and agility training to help you finish strong.

No equipment required—just a pair of running shoes, a watch, and a nearby park or playground where you can play like a kids again. Read the rest of this entry →

10

06 2015

RnR San Diego Half Marathon Training Plan Weeks 3 + 4

Half Marathon Training Plan Weeks 3 + 4

Spring comes to Central Park (Photo: Phil Hospod)

Four weeks down, eight weeks to go on my half marathon training plan for the Rock ‘n’ Roll San Diego Half Marathon. My tune-up race at The North Face Endurance Challenge 10K is less than four weeks away. How’d my last two weeks of training go? Comme ci comme ça.

I’m aiming to run four times a week, following a half marathon training plan from Greg McMillan’s book You (Only Faster). I’m also slowly building my mileage from my winter base of 20 miles per week to 30 miles a week and beyond. Last week I said: “I want to get off the road and onto dirt once a week during my runs. I also want to up my strength training from once to twice a week.” Um, not so much. I had some great workouts, but did zero trail running, minimal strength training, and missed a long run. Thus the comme ci comme ça.

Half Marathon Training Plan Weeks 3 + 4

Announcing at the Scotland Run (Photo: Phil Hospod)

But I also announced at the Scotland Run 10K with 8,000 runners, some in kilts, storming Central Park. Announcing is always a highlight of my week. If I can’t run a race, the next best thing is announcing at one!

So here’s the run down on my last two weeks of training.

Goal Half Marathon Time—1:59:59
Current Half Marathon PR—2:00:30
Goal Race: Rock ‘n’ Roll San Diego Half Marathon, May 31
Tune-Up Race: The North Face Endurance Challenge NY 10K, May 3
Half Marathon Training Plan Weeks 1 + 2

WEEK 3
Half Marathon Training Plan Weeks 3 + 4

The U.N.

Fartlek: 3.65 miles outside. After a warm-up, I ran 1 minute on, 1 minute off fartleks. It was a solid workout and I was pushing really hard by the end. I ran past the United Nations, which is a beautiful complex.

Hills: 4 miles on the treadmill. I ran 10 x 1-minute hill repeats at a 5% incline, roughly the incline I’ll face at Bear Mountain. Got a great sweat going on this one. Big bonus: Positive K’s “I Got A Man” came up in my running mix. I usually run with all my music on one giant shuffle, so I don’t actually repeat songs all that often. Yeah, I was super pumped! Pretty sure I got some stares as I rapped and gestured along. “But how you talking? Pshaw, whatever!”

Easy: 5.4 miles on the treadmill. I’ve been doing all my easy runs as progression runs, but still felt great the whole time on this one. Watching A League of Their Own didn’t hurt either!

Strength: Tacked this onto the easy run above. Did some planks, push-ups, and what not, followed by foam rolling, just so I could watch more of A League of Their Own.

Long: 0 miles! Ahhhhhh! Totally skipped what was supposed to be a 9-miler. Why? No good reason whatsoever. I had a bad bout of cramps, and I just wasn’t in the mood. Told myself I’d do it the next day. But I slept oddly and cranked my neck, so the next day and the day after that were a wash. I didn’t run for 3 days in a row. Instead of trying to make up the long run, I decided to just plow ahead with my half marathon training plan. Read the rest of this entry →

08

04 2015

Testing Nike LunarTempo Shoes at Mile High Run Club

Testing Nike LunarTempo at Mile High Run Club

The Nike LunarTempo Shoes (Photo: Nike)

I’m a runner who loves ultra lightweight running shoes and ultra soft cushioning. I want to feel like I’m running on clouds and I want my shoe to weigh something in the range of clouds. So I was excited to try the new Nike LunarTempo shoes at a media workout at Mile High Run Club, a treadmill studio in New York City. Nike has billed the Nike LunarTempo as a shoe with “ultralight cushioning for high-speed miles.” The workout at Mile High Run Club would put that tagline to the test.

Nike LunarTempo Shoes

Testing Nike LunarTempo at Mile High Run Club

Nike LunarTempo in action. (Photo: Nike)

When I arrived at Mile High Run Club, a locker with my name on it was waiting for me, filled with complimentary running gear, including the new Nike LunarTempo shoes.

How did they fare in one treadmill run? The neutral shoe is a bit like running on clouds.

Nike used their Lunarlon foam midsole, which is indeed one of the cushiest rides in town. I currently wear the Nike Flyknit Lunar2 with Lunarlon. That oh-so-soft landing under the heel is one of my favorite things about that shoe, and the Nike LunarTempo didn’t disappoint.

But this time around, Nike has re-engineered the Lunarlon foam to make it even lighter at 6.2 oz for a women’s size 8, more responsive and just as supportive. After a few short wears, I can confirm that this shoes feels fantastic underfoot if you love a soft ride like I do. Read the rest of this entry →

27

02 2015

New Run Nike Women’s Series 15K Comes To Toronto

New Run Nike Women's Series 15K Comes To Toronto

Nike Women’s Half Marathon San Francisco (Photo: Nike)

UPDATE 3/9/15: Registration for the Nike Women’s 15K in Toronto is now open at Nike.com.

Big news in women’s running: Nike announced Tuesday that they’re expanding their Run Nike Women’s Series, which previously included half-marathons in San Francisco and Washington, D.C., to a 20 city tour around the world.

The new Nike Women’s Event Series will include the Nike Women’s Race Series and N+TC Tour with more than 200,000 participants. The series starts March 8, 2015 with the Nagoya Women’s Marathon and N+TC Tour Shanghai and culminates with the series signature event, the Nike Women’s Half Marathon San Francisco. New to North America will be the Nike Women’s 15K Toronto on June 14, 2015, in place of the Washington, D.C. half-marathon.

New Run Nike Women's Series Comes To Toronto

Shalane Flanagan, Joan Benoit Samuelson and Jordan Hasay at Nike Women’s Half Marathon San Francisco (Photo: Nike)

“We started over a decade ago with the inaugural Nike Women’s Marathon in San Francisco, and now the Nike Women’s Event Series is expanding that vision to bring the inspiration and camaraderie we find at local races and gyms to women all over the world,” said running legend and Olympic gold medalist Joan Benoit Samuelson in a statement.

“The Nike Women’s Race Series motivates women to achieve personal running goals, and N+TC Tour offers challenge, variety and reward for athletes at any level. The choices and access for women who love sport and fitness are better than ever with the announcement of the Nike Women’s Event Series.”

Nike Women’s Race Series

The expansion of the series will make it the world’s largest for women and will include distances ranging from 10K to half-marathon. Each event will be tailor made for its host city right down to a custom finisher necklace designed for each town. Cities in the tour will include: Read the rest of this entry →

22

01 2015

Best Running Gear Of The Year: Karla’s Favorites

Favorite Gear of the Year

Running in some of my favorite gear of the year. (Phil Hospod)

Christmas is right around the corner and New Year’s isn’t far behind. Putting together a wish list for your running resolutions? Still need a gift? Here is my favorite running gear of 2014.

The products on this list are the best clothes, gadgets and running gear that I’ve tried this year. There are more than 50 items from more than 25 brands. For every item here, I’ve sampled another two or three things that didn’t make the cut, including products in every category. Companies send me loads of samples, many unsolicited, and I often receive products in swag bags at races and events. So I didn’t buy anything you see here. I also don’t keep most of what I receive.

But if it’s on this list, I officially own it and love it—I don’t list anything I haven’t used myself. In clothing, I’ve tried the women’s versions, but many come in men’s options too. And I’ve included the list prices, though you’ll find many items for less than that.

Also, if it’s been in a past gift or gear guide of mine, I didn’t include it here. But many of the products I highlighted in the days of yore are still available. So here are my gift guides from 2013, 2012, 2011, and 2009.

Looking for running shoes? The Best Running Shoes? A Guide To 10 Neutral Pairs.

Looking for triathlon gear? Triathlon Gear List For Runners, Beginners and Beyond.

Without further ado, here is all of my favorite running gear of the year.

Favorite Running Gear of 2014

Digital Gadgets

Favorite Running Gear of the year

Bia Multi-Sport GPS Watch

Bia GPS Sports Watch, $279

Bia is a new two-piece device consisting of an ultra-light, slim wrist piece paired with a GPS “Go Stick” that clips onto your top, waist-band, visor or anywhere else you want to wear it. The Go Stick is the brains of the operation with an SOS safety alert, fast-connecting GPS, automatic uploads to your training log, and multi-sport functionality.

Run, swim, bike or do all three in one workout. And with live tracking, your friends and family can follow you on race-day or when you’re along in a remote area. I tested it while I ran the Nike Women’s Half Marathon in San Francisco, and it worked wonderfully. Best of all, Bia comes in six fun colors. I have it in purple. Stay tuned for my full review.

Favorite Running Gear of the Year

Timex Ironman Run x20

Timex Ironman Run x20 GPS, $100

Are you looking for a small, simple, and streamlined GPS watch? Look no further than Timex Run x20. In three bright colors plus basic black, this watch is the antidote to the big, bulky, expensive GPS watch with features you never use.

Instead, you get the features you really need: reliable GPS workout timing with speed, pace, and distance; run/walk timer; interval timer; stopwatch; automated pace alerts; night-light; alarm; and water resistance up to 50 meters. The interface and menus are supremely easy to use. Plus, it’s really easy on the eyes.

Best Gifts For Runners 2014

Nike Fuelband

Nike+ Fuelband SE, $99

The Nike+ Fuelband SE is the first fitness tracker that I’ve tried, so I have no basis for comparison. That said, I love it (and I’ve tried a few other watches and gadgets this year that I can’t say the same about).

I work from home, so I don’t take nearly as many steps in my daily “commute” as most folks. In other words, if I’m not running, I barely move from my desk chair. Wearing the Nike+ Fuelband has shown me just how little activity I really have in a day unless I make a conscious effort to get up and move more. Thankfully, the Fuelband reminds me when to move, tracking my steps, Fuelband “points,” calories, and more. It’s motivated me to make my days more active outside of my workouts. That’s a win!

Favorite Running Gear of the Year

Koss FitClips

Koss FitClips and FitBuds, $30

Headphones made for women, by women in five fun colors and two styles—clips or buds. With three different ear cushion sizes to choose from, Koss FitClips fit my ears perfectly and stay put during sweaty runs. The FitBuds do too. Plus, they’re comfortable. I barely notice they’re there, even the around-the-ear clips. And they’re super light too. Once I got these, I handed my old black and red headphones to my husband with a, “Here. You can have these.” FitClips are it for me now! Read the rest of this entry →

22

12 2014

On Track w/Nike Women’s Half Marathon San Francisco

On Track With Nike Women's Half Marathon San Francisco

Training with Nike at Icahn Stadium (Nike)

Today is my five-year blogiversary! And I’m celebrating the best way I know how: going for a run. On Sunday, October 19 I’m running the Nike Women’s Half Marathon San Francisco as part of a Nike media group. When I cross the finish line and earn my Tiffany & Co. necklace, it will be a reminder of just how far I’ve come since I launched “Run, Karla, Run!” back in 2009. And how far we’ve all come together.

Before the 2009 Chicago Marathon from On Track With The Nike Women's Marathon

Before the 2009 Chicago Marathon. (RunKarlaRun.com)

It’s appropriate that my five-year anniversary is occurring around a race. My very first post was about running the 2009 Bank of Chicago Marathon on the anniversary of my father’s death. I’m from Chicago and the course runs right past my dad’s old office, a place I spent many weekends growing up. Running that race on that day in that city was bittersweet for me. You can read that first post, and its follow-up if you’re curious.

Chicago's Merchandise Mart from On Track With Nike Women's Half Marathon San Francisco

Chicago’s Merchandise Mart, where my dad worked. (Phil Hospod)

But opening my blog with a post about the town where I got my start as a writer—on my high school newspaper, where I eventually served as editor-in-chief— was a fitting beginning to my career as a running reporter, which has taken me from Chicago and my home in New York City to places I never would have dreamed of five years ago: to far-flung locales like Israel, Peru and the Winter Olympics in Vancouver, to new career frontiers like hosting a web and TV show for New York Road Runners on ABC in New York, to seeing my byline in publications like SHAPE and Canadian Running, RunnersWorld.com and Active.com, and right here on RunKarlaRun.com.

Now, I’m off to my first race in San Francisco. Rather than try to PR on the city’s fierce hills, I’m going to use the Nike Women’s Half Marathon San Francisco as a litmus test. This time, it’s all about my marathon pace for the upcoming GORE-TEX Philadelphia Marathon in November. Can I run 13.1 miles at my goal marathon pace? If I can, will it feel easy enough? It’s time to find out.

On Track With The Nike Women's Half Marathon San Francisco

Stretching (Nike)

Lessons From The Track

Last month, I hit the track with a Nike+ NYC training group, including some of the ladies who are joining me in San Francisco. We ventured to Icahn Stadium on Randall’s Island in New York City where we ran a workout led by Nike+ Head Coach Chris Bennett. It consisted of a warm-up, dynamic stretches and drills, strides across the infield, a speed workout on the track, cool down and foam rolling. Read the rest of this entry →

The Best Running Shoes? A Guide To 10 Neutral Pairs

The Best Running Shoes? A Rundown

New Balance Fresh Foam Trail shoes in action at Machu Picchu in Peru. (Phil Hospod)

One of the most common questions people ask me is: “What are the best running shoes?” Variations include: “What running shoes do you wear?” “What’s your favorite brand of running shoes?” and “Who makes the best running shoes?”

My answer is always the same. There is no one best kind, or pair, or brand of running shoes. What works for one runner might not work for someone else. And what worked for one runner a year ago may no longer work for them now. We all have different foot shapes, sizes, gaits, body weights, stride lengths, form, muscle weakness, imbalances, strengths, injuries and all the other things that affect how we run. And even then, it’s good to rotate your shoes and wear different types of shoes for different types of workouts. Brian Metzler at Competitor wrote a great column about it: Why You Should Have A Quiver Of Running Shoes.

And yet, we’re all on the quest for the perfect shoe. I’m no exception. I was once fiercely loyal to Mizuno’s Wave Rider, until they dramatically changed the shoe and it was no longer my personal glass slipper. Since then I’ve worn other pairs of Mizuno, ASICS, Nike, New Balance, K-Swiss and Saucony searching for that perfect pair. Here’s what I’ve found in 2014.

The Best Running Shoes? A Rundown of 10 Pairs: New Balance runDisney Shoe

New Balance 890v4 runDisney Cinderella shoes

Karla’s Best Running Shoes of 2014

I’ve tried 30 pairs of running shoes in the last year. What can I say? I really like shoes. I am a Cinderella runner after all. Athletic companies sent complimentary pairs of some for me to try. Others I purchased myself. Some I took for a treadmill run or two only to return them because they didn’t work for me. Others, I kept to test on the road. Among those, I give some away once I decide they’re not for me. But I keep the best of the rest.

These are the 10 best running shoes of the bunch for me. Keep in mind that these are all neutral shoes and I am a neutral runner with high arches. If you have low arches, wear a stability or motion-control shoes, these may or may not work for you. (Need to learn more? Read: Gait Analysis For The Nike Women’s Half Marathon SF)

All the shoe vitals are for the women’s version as provided by each respective manufacturer. I tried each pair in a women’s size 9 and I’ve listed them by brand. Happy shoe shopping!

The Best Running Shoes? A Rundown

ASICS Gel-Kinsei 5

ASICS Gel-Kinsei 5

MSP: $200
Weight: 9.4 oz
Drop (from heel to forefoot): 10mm
Colorways: 8

I bought the Gel-Kinsei looking for a sturdy trainer for marathon and half-marathon training. I got more than I bargained for. Read the rest of this entry →

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10 2014

Nike Women’s Half Marathon SF Course + Training

Nike Women's Half SF Course Map is Here!

San Francisco’s Golden Gate Park. (Nike)

A few weeks ago, I announced that I’m running the Nike Women’s Half Marathon San Francisco on October 19 as part of a Nike media group. I was waiting for Nike to release the course map before I decide if the race will be the scene of my sub-2 hour half marathon attempt.

Well, the course map is finally here! For the 11th edition of the race, Nike has drawn a completely new route through San Francisco.

Nike Women's Half SF Course Map is Here!

Course Map

Like years of yore, the Nike Women’s Half Marathon starts in San Francisco’s Union Square.

But instead of heading north to the Marina and Presidio, the first three miles take runners through the city streets, including the iconic Alamo Square neighborhood with its rows of Victorian houses.

Nike Women's Half SF Course Map is Here!

San Francisco’s Alamo Square neighborhood. (Nike)

Miles 4 through 8 tour the bucolic 1,017-acre Golden Gate Park before another mile through the often-foggy Richmond District. Read the rest of this entry →

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08 2014

Triathlon Gear List For Runners, Beginners and Beyond

Triathlon Gear List For Beginners. At the Wild Dog Triathlon

Coming out of the water at the Wild Dog Triathlon. (Phil Hospod)

As I stare down my sixth triathlon— Triathlon Valleyfield in Salaberry-de-Valleyfield, Quebec on Sunday, August 24—I realize that I have fully fallen down the multi-sport rabbit hole. In that hole is an assortment of athletic equipment that I’ve accumulated to help me swim, bike and run my heart out. Before every race, I write out a triathlon gear list to be sure to pack for race day.

Triathlon Gear List For Beginners

Biking my second triathlon. (Capstone Photography)

Unlike running, triathlon is incredibly gear intensive. All that “stuff” is the main barrier to entry for runners who are interested in dabbling their toes in the open waters of the sport. Buying everything at once can be intimidating and expensive. I’ve staggered my purchases over the course of three years, reached out to sponsors, and still don’t have all the gear a truly competitive triathlete calls their own, like a tri-specific bike, areobars and the like. But that hasn’t stopped me from getting into the sport and it shouldn’t stop you either.

So here is my triathlon gear list. Some of these items are essential, some merely nice to have. But once you know that the sport of triathlon will be part of your regular racing routine, you’ll want each of these items in your gear bag.

I’ve listed the full price for each item, but in many cases I found them on sale or got them for free, and have indicated where that was the case. Where gender specificity is a factor, I’ve listed the women’s gear. But most items are available in men’s options too.

Triathlon Gear For The Entire Race

Tri Kit

Your tri kit is the outfit that takes you through all three events. Ideally, you can swim, bike and run in it. You don’t have to buy a fancy tri kit. I certainly didn’t. Here’s what I use to race and train. Both of my kits have two things in common: 1) They’re designed and tested by female triathletes for female triathletes, and 2) They’re from American companies that manufacture the majority of their products in the U.S. Read the rest of this entry →

Gait Analysis For The Nike Women’s Half Marathon SF

Gait Analysis For Nike Women's Half Marathon San Francisco

(Courtesy of Nike)

Have you ever had a running gait analysis? I now have video of mine thanks to Nike Running.

On Sunday, October 19, I’ll be running the Nike Women’s Half Marathon in San Francisco! I’ll be attending the race courtesy of Nike as part of a media group. Along with the race, they’re helping me train and gear up for the event. Excited? You bet!

Gait Analysis

To help me gear up for the race, I got fit for shoes at the Nike Running store in New York City’s Flatiron district. I’ve had my gait analyzed four times before at various running stores and in physical therapy. I have it checked periodically in case my form has changed dramatically since I’ve gotten faster, been diagnosed with arthritis, injured my hip in a horseback riding fall, and all the other things that affect how I run.

But year after year, gait analysis shows I’m a steadfast neutral shoe runner. This time I have video proof.

But what does it mean to be a neutral shoe runner? Read the rest of this entry →

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08 2014

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