Wednesday, November 2, 2011

Holiday Gear Review 2011

Great Holiday Gift Ideas from Fleet Feet

If you are looking for some great gift ideas, check out some these things to make your running more enjoyable!

"Better than Naked" Running Jacket by North Face
Reviewed by Colin Cass
In my opinion, this is by far the best lightweight jacket on the market. It has a stretchy lightweight mesh material that is soft and does not stick to your skin like other running jackets do. The idea behind the soft mesh material is that you can run and sweat without getting that clammy feeling. It has two mesh panels under the armpits that extend back to the shoulder blades to enhance the jacket's breathability.

Not only is the jacket breathable, but it is water-resistant and has a DWR coating that keeps water from getting in. Yes, over time, the washing machine will get the best of the DWR coating, but it can be easily avoided with a DWR sport wash. In a light rain, the jacket will keep you completely dry.

Now that the days are getting shorter, more and more, I find myself running in the dark. The jacket has reflective tape in several locations to ensure you can be seen at night from all angles.

"Run Happy" with Brooks GTX series
Reviewed by Shellie Helgenberger

Keeping your feet dry is the best way to ensure you continue to "run happy" during the Central Oregon winter months. That is why Brooks has introduced two of their best-selling shoes with a  Gore-Tex option. Both the Ghost GTX and Adrenaline GTX uppers are built using the Gore-Tex membrane technology. Each square inch of material includes 9 billion microscopic pores. These posers are 20,000 times smaller than a droplet of water, but 700 times larger than a water vapor molecule. This allows perspiration to escape from the inside out, while preventing water from entering the shoe.

Night Running Accessories
Reviewed by Carolyn Courtwright

Amphipod Xinglet reflective harness: Ultra-minimalist, ultra-brilliant and ultra-light with 360 degrees of visibility - get visible without the coverage of a vest. The design features pockets for essentials and more. Front access quick-clip release allows for fast on-an-off and easy size adjustment for height/waist - wear over a t-shirt or parker and fully size adjustable.

Black Diamond Spot Headlight: Incredibly adaptable and super bright with 75 lumens at max setting, this compact powerhouse has a mode customizable to any fast-paced activity, from distance to dimming to strobe. Red SinglePower LEDs provide proximity lighting without cycling through the white mode, so you won't accidentally compromise night vision. A lock mode prevents accidental battery drain in your pack or while stored and a 3-level power meter means you'll never be caught with a dead headlamp hours from camp.

Wednesday, June 29, 2011

Handheld hydration on the run.

It's always important to hydrate, but even more so when the sun is beating down and the temperature is ramping up. Every cell in your body needs water to function, to maintain body temperature, to transport nutrients and oxygen, and lubricate your joints. You are always fighting a losing battle and consistently losing water from your system as you sweat and breathe out water vapor.

A couple more hydration hints:
- for every 1000 kcalories you burn, drink 1 liter of water.
- drink 1 to 2 cups of water an hour before exercise.
- drink another 8 oz 20 minutes before exercise.
- drink another 4 to 8 oz every 15 minutes during exercise.
- drink 2 more cups of water for every pound lost after exercise.
- compensate for the diuretic effects of caffeine and alcohol with more water.

The best way to stay hydrated? Keep water available and always keep sipping.
Here is the rundown on some of the handheld bottles we carry in the shop to keep you hydrated and running smooth:

AMPHIPOD - Lite & Thermal Hydraform Bottles
Size: 12 oz, 20 oz
Weight: 2 oz, 4 oz
Hard-plastic, pull spout with leak-free lid

- BPA free
low profile, 50% smaller cross section than average bottle.
- Hard-plastic, high-flow spout
- Low-Profile, thin & lightly padded strap
- Pocket with full-length z
ip for easy access
- Wide mouth to easily fill & clean
- Angled spout for easy pour
- Thermalite keeps contents cool/warm

"The shape and light weight of the Amphipod bottle is the biggest draw. They fit into your hand so that you don't feel like you have to grip onto the bottle while you are running. You really feel like the bottle is strapped snug on your hand. I also like how the zip on the pocket runs the full length so it is easy to get items in and out of the pocket. Also wider objects fit into the pocket easier."

NATHAN - QuickDraw & QuickDraw Plus
Size: 22 oz
Weight: 4 oz
One-way, high flow, soft silicone spout

- BPA free
- Made of soft, squeezable polyethlene

- Freeze-free silicone cap
- Wide-mouth to easily fill with ice and water & easily clean
- Internal channels eliminate need to turn upside-down
- Moisture-wicking, quick-dry mesh strap with lots of padding for comfort over the long haul
- zip-pocket on reverse side to carry keys, nutrition, etc.

"The strap on this bottle is a thick, quick-drying mesh with lots of padding for a comfy feel on longer runs. The spout is a soft silicone that you can easily pull out to take a sip and push back to seal it up. The U-shaped zip takes a little work to pull around with one hand and creates a lip that may catch items, but your keys and nutrition are very secure in this bottle."

Size: 12 oz, 20 oz
Weight: 4.25 oz
Single piece, "kicker-valve" spout

- BPA free
- Highly breathable & quick drying thin, air-mesh strap
- Wide mouth to easily fill with ice and water & easily clean
- Off centered spout to eliminate need to turn up-side down
-"Kicker valve" to easily open, sip & store water on the run.

"The most noticeable feature on the Ultimate Direction bottles is the kicker-valve. With a strong tug you will extend the valve to open it. To take a sip just bit down lightly on the valve. When you are done, kick the valve to the side and it will slide back to a locked and closed. The off centered position of the spout also enables you to enjoy every last drop of water without tweaking your neck in the effort."

Friday, June 10, 2011

Adventure Race at Home: The Oyster Off Road

Adventure Racing Defined:
A combination of two or more endurance disciplines, as well as orienteering to cover an unmarked, undetermined course through water, mountain pass, hill and dale. Traditionally a multiple day ordeal and potentially life threatening, the Oyster Off Road takes all the benefits of an adventure race and combines it with the conveniences of your typical fun run to create a high caliber Urban Adventure Race.

The course is secret and so are the challenges, but this much you do know:

  • One day event with four to six "passports" or legs;
  • "Passports" are presented the day of the event with directions to each checkpoint where a task will be awaiting you;
  • You will participate in at least two endurance disciplines: running & biking (any additional equipment will be provided). Other possible challenges include trivia, zip line, eating, rafting, creeking, climbing and navigating;
  • You may get wet;
  • Recover with good eats, drinks and lawn space at the Deschutes Brewery!

For more hints, check out the Oyster Off Road video montage here and the event website to register or learn more.

The Oyster Off Road is Saturday, June 25th
benefiting the Deschutes River Conservancy

The Oyster Off Road is also in need of 65 volunteers.
If you are able to donate your time to support the Deschutes River Conservancy, come on out and cheer on the racers (and enjoy a cold beer and good food at Deschutes Brewery afterwards). Please contact Marisa Hossick at

Tuesday, May 24, 2011

Fun and's like a sun dress for runners.

If you were anywhere near Bend a few weeks ago during the Happy Girls Half Marathon you would have seen a flash of pink as a flock of women flew by clad in SweatyBands and Running Skirts.

Women have certainly claimed their place on the running scene as the biggest demographic. Companies like Asics offer shoes specifically designed for a womens foot, Brooks has running caps with a place for a women's ponytail and Amphipod offers water bottles shaped for a women's hand. However, nothing says "I run strong and fast like a women" like a running skirt flying past on the trails. Wear your skirt on the run or around town for a feminine and sporty, not to mention unbelievably comfortable look! There are all sorts of brands and styles of running skirts and dresses are offered in a variety of floral patterns and bright, fun colors and Fleet Feet Bend is glad to offer our own selection for the ladies of Bend.

"PR Mesh" Skort II
by Brooks Running - $46.00

With a splendidly simple design the PR Mesh Skort is easy to mix and match with your favorite tops. A flattering fit for this 14" outseam on the skirt and a 4.5 " inseam on the inner boy short provides a enough length for comfortable coverage. The skort has several options to pack Gels or other essentials in either a back yoke pocket that zips across the waist band or a single internal pocket down the right side of the liner shorts. These hassle-free synthetic liner shorts are moisture wicking, quick drying and a equipped with a strip of elastic and gel along the cuff to keep these boy-shorts from hiking up.

"My favorite thing about this skort is just how comfortable it is. It's really simple. No crazy designs. Not a ton of secret pockets or fancy stitching. Just a really flattering fit. I would happily team this skort up with a cute T or tank and wear it around town or take it out for a run."

My Dust" Skirt
by The North Face - $45.00

This sassy skirt features lots of discreet storage space with a zipper pocket across the back of the outer skirt in addition to dual side pockets on each side of the boy-short liners. So many perfect spaces for keeping Gu-packs or your keys while on the run. The interior boy-shorts are made of breezy mesh as well as the waistband and pleated side panels.

"This skirt is so light weight. With tons of mesh paneling along the sides and waist. It feels really light and breaths really well. The fast drying synthetic material has plenty of stretch and hangs really nice. This skirt also gives you some extra length and coverage but maintains a cute fit."

"Multi-Use" Skirt

by Patagonia - $55.00

This fitted skirt is cut with a 14" outseam on the skirt and a 3.5" inseam on the liner shorts for plenty of coverage. Hemmed side splits and a blend of recycled polyester and spandex provide a forgiving and comfy 4-way stretch. The liner shorts also have a tacky, elastic strip along the cuff of the shorts to save you from readjusting them as you run. An envelope pocket with a hook closure to securely and discreetly pack your running goodies.

"The Multi-Use skirt is more fitted than the PR Mesh Skort or Eat My Dush Skirt. I love the bright colors and the elastic, tacky strip at the cuff of the shorts. It's so nice to not be constantly readjusting the skirt while on the move."

Saturday, May 21, 2011

Support in a sandal? A summer time miracle for your feet!

You live for that comfortable feel of your running shoes... All that support! All that cushioning! They keep your feet and your shins and your back all feeling great, but they also prevent your feet from ever enjoying the warmth and tan of the sun or the cool, fresh feeling of a warm breeze. Could there possibly be a way to combine the support of your running shoes with the light, easy feel of your flip flops?

Montrail has done it! Thermo-moldable sandals made of cushy low density foam that feel light, airy, and look great!

The sandals provide a wide footbed, great arch and metatarsal support, and a negative heel cup for a fit that really cradles your foot and prevents pressure points. Montrail sandals feature technologies such as:

(1.) Biomechanically Designed Support - for functional comfort;
(2.) Footbed Geometry - consideration of the contours, shape, and arches;
(3.) PRFRM thermo-moldable foam - heat it up, step on it and enjoy a sandal with a personal fit.

Wide straps with a rubber backing prevent rubbing, chafing and irritation on the top of the foot and also prevents pain from occurring between your first and second toe.

These sandals wash up great, so don't be afraid to take them with you camping. Just use a wet cloth to wipe them clean and you will be looking sharp once again. A waffle tread pattern on the bottom of the shoes prevents you from slipping while you wear them around the pool or on any other wet surface.

The Original Montrail Sandal: Molokini (ladies) & Molokai (gentlemen)

The Molokini and Molokai feature the original Montrail support sandal design. These sandals are extra thick and extra cushioned. The straps hug through the bulk of your midfoot and really wrap well so that you don't have to flex your feet and snap those sandals with every step to keep them on your feet.

The footbed is wide enough for your toes to really spread out and the heel cup is deep enough with ridges all the way around the foot. This keeps your foot in place and snug so that it can be supported through the full range of motion.

"I have often turned away from sandals because of the pain that occurs between the first and second toe when you are forced to d
rag a heavy flip flop around. These sandals do such a great job of being supportive without being heavy and being functional without being unattractive."

The Montrail Recovery Sandal: Lithia Loop (for both ladies & gentlemen)

The Lithia Loop Sandal has been dubbed the "before-and-after" recovery sandal and has been created to relieve tired or aggravated feet and speed recovery. The arch and metatarsal lift in the sandal are slightly firmer and more aggressive than the original Molokai and Molokini sandal.

The design and construction of the sandal is intended to reduce, prevent and avoid plantar
fasciitis. Plantar fasciitis plagues a large number of runners. It is incredibly common and can cause a lot of pain through the arch and heel. Plantar Fasciitis can also be incredibly frustrating since it can stick around for years! A major key in the healing process is to continuously support the foot. Wearing a Strassburg sock while you sleep and good footwear any time you are on your feet will provide a lot of relief. Keep a pair of Montrail sandals by your bed, wear them around the house and in the shower, wear them any and all the time to get that Plantar Fasciitis under control and healing up.

"I like the firm and comfortable feel of these sandals. I like that I can FEEL the support through the arch and metatarsals of my foot. I know the sandals are doing work on my feet. The fit is great on the sandals. They stay on my feet and are a little more low profile than the Molokini or the Molokai sandals. Plus, I must admit they are a sandal I want to wear with my skirts and shorts around town this summer."

Wednesday, May 18, 2011

Ready for race day? Tips on how to be totally prepared.

With our current round of New Balance No Boundaries programs getting close to race day at the Happy Girls Half on May 29th, and with 5k's at the Three Sisters Marathon on June 4th or at Heaven Can Wait on June 5th, it is time to start talking about preparing and performing on race day! Whether you are a little anxious or simply ecstatic about race day, here are some tips to help calm your nerves and get you on the mark, fully primed and ready to run your best.

The week before...
- Sleep -
Be sure you are getting plenty of sleep the entire week before your big day. Eight hours a night is the general rule to help your body recover fully, rebuild muscle, and be alert. Sleeping and running certainly go hand in hand, as studies have shown that not only does sleep help you run better, but running helps you sleep better. It has been shown that runners fall asleep faster, stay asleep longer and sleep more effectively than non-runners.
An often overlooked factor: if the start time for your race is especially early or in a different time zone, you will want to adjust your alarm clock to match your race day wake-up time, so that the early morning isn't such a shock. If you always wake up at 8:00 a.m., but the gun goes off Saturday morning at 7:00 a.m., I would suggest setting your alarm for 5:30 a.m. or 6:00 a.m. that week so you can get in the routine of getting up, eating your meal earlier, and feeling fully awake by 7:00 a.m. (or whatever your start time may be). But, remember to go to bed a little earlier too, so that you can maintain your 8 hours of sleep.

- Taper -
One of the best things about the week(s) leading into your event is the taper. All the "hay-is-in-the-barn" hard work, big miles, and endurance are already stock piled up. The main purpose of your training leading into a race is to maintain the fitness you already have and to sharpen up and feel fresh. After all your weeks of building, a down week might leave you feeling antsy and brimming with energy... this is a good sign! You will be feeling great and chomping at the bit on the day of the race.

You may want to do some sharp strides one or two days during the week leading into your race. Run three or four "strides" of a distance of 50 to 100 meters, at or slightly faster than your race pace. You can run them in a lightweight racing shoe or in a barefoot running shoe, on a surface that is similar to the race course so that you can practice good, quick running form. Focus on a quick, short cadence and midfoot strike.

The day before...
- Hydrate -
Be sure you get plenty of water in your system the day before the race. If you feel thirsty, it is too late - you are already dehydrated. So, if you are feeling thirsty when you wake up, you only have a few hours to get hydrated before the gun goes off. Additionally, if you attempt to down three bottles of Gatorade the morning of your race, you are going to feel all that liquid sloshing around in your stomach. This will have you feeling mighty lethargic and down right uncomfortable during your race. By drinking at least 64 ounces of water during the day before your race, you won't be forced to flood your system right before take off.

An easy way to be sure that you are hydrated is to carry a water bottle with you all the time. This makes it easy to track how many ounces of water you have consumed and also keeps water handy at all times. Fleet Feet carries a large variety of handheld and waist-pack water bottles by Nathan, Ultimate Direction, and Amphipod.

- Eat Hearty -
It may be wise for you to eat a little extra dinner than normal the night before the race. This way you won't be as hungry the morning of your race and will be able to eat a little less for breakfast, so you won't be digesting right up until or during your race. A little extra is enough, though. Don't overeat to an uncomfortable point.

Keep dinner simple. Avoid overly spicy, heavy, or acidic foods that will still be sitting in your stomach in the morning. Be sure to get plenty of complex carbohydrates to load your energy stores like whole wheat pastas, grains or bread. Pasta with marinara meat sauce has always been a favorite dinner entree amongst distance runners. You might want to give that a try, or a simple rice pilaf with chicken and veggies may be another good option for you.

The morning of...
- Wake-up call/Breakfast -
If you are wanting to eat much of anything the morning of your race, you may want to set the alarm clock a little earlier. Be up early enough to eat your breakfast no less than 2 hours (ideally 3 hours) before you will race. Stick with foods that are easy to digest, like raw fruits that are not acidic (think bananas or melon rather than apples, oranges or pineapple). Some other good sources of carbohydrates include oatmeal or rice cakes. If none of the above sound too tempting, or you are nervous about eating solid food consider getting your carbohydrates and calories using one of the many products offered by Hammer Nutrition, Gu Energy, or Powerbar. The staff at Fleet Feet is happy to help you choose between all of the options available.

Another thing to consider: Some studies show that one to three cups of coffee (more specifically, the caffeine in that coffee) produces big mental and physical benefits for runners, inc
luding improved alertness, increased sprint speed and decreased recovery times. Just be sure you don't replace all your water with coffee - you need to hydrate, too.

Protocol -
If you have never done a race before, a delightful mix of pre-race nerves and adrenaline may make the experience a little intimidating. How do I get my race bib? What is the proper placement of my race bib? Where should I line up?

First thing's first, don't leave the house without any of the necessities: shoes, top, bottoms and any liquids or gels you will need during the race. To warm up, dress warmer than you think with pants and a long sleeve top even if the weather is fair. While racing, dress lighter than expected (you will heat up a ton once you are moving). You will most likely want to stick with a tank or t-shirt and shorts or capris if the weather is 50 degrees or warmer. If you are going to carry your own liquids or nutrition items, consider a handheld water bottle, waist-pack or backpack hydration system with pockets to carry all your essentials!

Once you arrive at the race venue check-in, usually a last name is all that you will need to retrieve your assigned race number. Race bibs are pinned front and center on or just below your chest. Read directions carefully before attaching any timing chips to your shoes or ankles. Apply any BodyGlide you may need to prevent chafing and take any last sips of Heed
or slurp up a Gu.

Larger races usually have participants line up by anticipated pace per mile or finish times, but smaller events are more low key so just jump in the crowd with the crew that looks around your pace. If you are hoping to win then get on the front line; if you are looking to relax and run some/walk some with friends then head further back in the mob.

- Warm-up -
Before you line up to race either walk briskly or run easily for 10 minutes or until your breathing quickens and you just start to sweat. Then your muscles are warm and you can safely and effectively do some easy stretching. If are you planning on racing aggressively you may also consider doing 3 or 4 brisk strides of 50 to 100 meters that are either at or a little faster than race pace or some other drills. Other dynamic drills that mimic running and get your muscles loose in a running specific manner include skipping and bounding each for 50 to 100 meters.

During the race...

- Have fun/relax -
Avoid being overly nervous before you run. Too much stress and anxiety will only waste your energy in other ways than running well and will also prevent you from enjoying this event that you have trained so hard for. You put in the work and are ready to achieve your goals. Be confident in your preparation and enjoy the payoff of all that hard work.

- Pace -
If you are very excited or nervous about the race you may be at risk of taking off too fast. Your adrenaline and nerves are going to be pumping and your body is ready to perform so the tendency is to take off like a rocket... but then the adrenaline rush simmers down from a flood to a flow and you may start digging into the bottom of your energy tank before you reach the finish chute. Try to maintain a pace so that you are feeling pretty good at least through the first half of the race and then little by little build up your effort as you near the finish.

You can also use a Polar Heart Rate Monitor or a Garmin GPS Watch to monitor pace, heart rate and distance so you know your stats, how far you have gone, how far you have to go and what percent of your maximal effort you are working at.

- Fueling -
For 10ks or shorter you will most likely not have to fuel during your event. On warm days you may want to hydrate with water or an electrolyte replacement like Heed or Gu. However, you will most likely not be so depleted of energy that any sort of Perpetum or other source of calories are necessary. For races farther than 10k like 15ks, 10 milers, half marathons or beyond it may be necessary to take a Gu, Hammer Gel or other carbohydrate source every 45 minutes you are moving and definitely be sure to take Heed or Gatorade or some other electrolyte replacement an aid stations early and through out the race.

After the finish line...

- Rehydrate & refuel -
Be sure to get lots of water back into your system and a good balance of protein and carbs. One really complete and really easy way of recharging your body with whey protein to rebuild muscle, carbohydrates to replenish depleted energy stores, glucosamine to aid in the recovery of connective tissue and your joints and 12 to 16 ounces of pure water is by using Recoverite by Hammer Nutrition in either strawberry, chocolate or citrus flavors. Also consider using compression socks or tights by Recofit, Zoot or Balega to accelerate recovery by helping to move blood back to the heart to replace the depleted oxygen stores and also to flush out toxins like lactic acid . Read more about the benefits of compression and the brands and products available with our Fleet Feet Bend Compression Blog Post.

- Cool down -
After you catch your breath try to walk or run easily for 10 minutes to smooth out the transition from working hard to the race to relaxing and sitting after the race. By continuing to move after an hard effort this will keep your fluids flowing long enough to pump blood back to the heart and lungs to be restocked with oxygen and also move lactic acid out to be filtered from your system to decrease late onset muscle soreness. This will also allow your heart rate and breathing to lower over a longer amount of time which is a more gentle and safe transition that going from a very high heart rate to sitting still.

- Celebrate -
Enjoy your accomplishment and the pay off of all your hardwork. Appreciate your friends, family, coach and supportors and thank them for their help. Appreciate the capacity of your body to carry you through your race. Be proud of the strength you have mentally and physically shown... Relax and enjoy your success!

Wednesday, May 4, 2011

Trying to be a better shop

One of the things that we always try to do as a small business is to get better. How do we do this? Well we try to survey customers and truly listen to their feedback. We also have lots of store meetings where we toss around ideas. Lately, I have felt one of our "weaknesses" is our group runs. We have a great group of folks who come out and run with us but generally it seems like folks who are a little bit quicker are the ones who show up. And, when we have had folks who run at a slower pace, it is easy for them to get left behind. Therefore, we seem to get some new folks that will come once or twice but weren't really getting a "group run" and we then wouldn't see them again on Wednesday evenings.
So, I couldn't have been more thrilled when Laura Kantor, who has always been one of our strongest store ambassadors, stepped up and wanted to lead a "mellower" group run for folks that can't/don't want to run a 8:00 pace. This group will more likely be at a pace more like 10:00-12:00 minute miles. Also, if you don't know Laura's story, let me give you a quick recap. Over the last few years, Laura went from not being able to run a minute or two at a time to now, being an accomplished ultrarunner, who has finished races of 31 and 50 miles! Along the way, she has lost well over 100 pounds. However, the part of Laura's story that is the most impressive is how she has inspired so many others to become runners and to believe in themselves. I think what attracts many people to Laura is that (I think) she would admit that becoming both a runner and losing a great deal of weight has not always been a smooth or easy endeavor. She has had tremendous "highs" but has also had much personal doubt and a few setbacks along the way. I think for that reason alone, many folks can really relate to her and that is how she inspires others. If you want to read more about her successes and struggles, she does a great job of writing about them on her blog.
Anyway, so those of you who have been intimidated of a "group run" from a running shop because you're worried you'll be left behind, that is now something you don't need to worry about! We'll have 2 groups for you to run with.
Now is where we ask a favor of you! Come out and run with us! I hope to give Laura lots of folks to run with. So, come join us on Wednesday evenings at 6PM! And, stick around for yoga at 7PM! The run is free and yoga is just $5.00
Hopefully, this is another step to becoming a better neighborhood running store.
Rod B.

Thursday, April 28, 2011

The North Face 2-in-1 Short = Compression Shorts + Running Shorts

As runners we are consistently torn in a love-hate relationship with our short shorts.

Based on function alone you just can't beat a light-weight, split-short. You can really stride out in those things! Nothing to hindering your stride or weigh you down... but not a whole lot covering you either.

We all try to remedy this problem in different ways; by keeping an extra pair of baller Basketball shorts or black sweat bottoms on top until the last moment, or maybe by doubling up a full length pair of spandex underneath. We try different combinations of polyster and spandex layers with hopes of finding something comfortable and potentially something that won't create any embarrassing or painful wardrobe malfunctions.

The Northface Mens Voracious 2 in 1 running short, is an extremely lightweight long distance running short. It has a breathable mesh material on both sides of the short, but the best part of all; built in compression shorts for optimal performance.

Simplify your selection with an garment that does the mixing and matching for you. The whole is certainly greater than the sum of it's parts when you experience in the comfort and functionality of this great looking piece.

It has an elastic waistband and drawstring as well as a rear pocket with zipper, and offers ultraviolet protection factor of UPF 30.

As one of our own Fleet Feet team members, Colin, has put it,

"Personally this is one of the most comfortable pair of running shorts I have tried. The material is very lightweight and extremely soft. The built in compression keeps everything in check (for lack of a better explanation) and also allows for circulation to keep the upper legs warm. I love the pocket in the back for its size (big enough for several GU’s or even a cell phone). Plus, it has a zipper, so there is no chance of possessions falling out when running. However, I have found that on longer runs the compression can lead to chafing, so you may need to consider using some Body Glide if you are susceptible to chaffing."

With summer coming there is no better investment that a great pair of running shorts that will keep you comfortable and running smooth through the warmer months. Come on in and check out our full selection of brands, lengths and materials, including The North Face Mens Voracious 2 in 1 running short featuring a compression short lining.

Tuesday, April 26, 2011

Compression: More Than a Fancy Tube Sock.

You are out on your favorite trail run, climbing hard up hill and flying fast down the other side. You can feel your heart pumping, lungs working and legs burning and you are loving every minute of it. This burn is caused by the lactic acid building up and the your muscles fibers tearing while you are breaking your systems down. Strengthening and improvement only starts once damage is rebuilt and the mess has been cleared.

In order for your system to get stronger it must first be broken down. This provides muscle the opportunity to rebuild, and rebuild stronger than before the damage. So only after you rebuild and recover are you able to run farther and faster, but first your muscles pay the price.

Vibrations are carried from the impact of the pavement through your body with each foot strike which causes tearing in your muscles. Muscles pull at connective tissue attachments to forcibly pull bones around pivot-point joints like your ankles, knees, hips and back. All this force, torque and impact damages your muscles, bones and connective tissue, BUT this damage heals stronger than before the break down and you grow stronger and your endurance improves over time.

By challenging the current capacity of your body and breaking it down by working at your current limit you provide your body the opportunity to recover to a point beyond its current capacity, and therefore improve.

In an ideal world you go into each workout fully rested, free of muscles tears and stocked with blood full of oxygen so you can really push yourself. However, as you work and break down your system your muscles become excessively inflamed from the many small tears. This causes fluids to pool in your limbs which prevents lactic acid from clearing and blood from flowing back to the heart for oxygen.

This is why compression is so wonderful! Not only does it minimize damage but it also speeds recovery; the benefits are double fold! Stabilizing your muscles decreases vibrations, tearing, soreness and fatigue; so less pain and more gain.

Working muscles squeeze vessels and forces blood upwards against gravity through channels to the heart. Compression provides the same pumping action as working muscles and assists in moving blood back to the heart and lungs to load up on oxygen. This is helpful not only for recovery after workouts, but also during a workout!

This same squeeze from compression also moves lactic acid up against gravity to be filtered and removed from the system; further minimizing the effects of delayed onset muscle fatigue.

The variety and diversity of the benefits of compression is almost as great as the products on the market that fall into that category. Fleet Feet Bend offers several compression specific products that I have covered in detail below to make them easier to compare. Please drop by the shop to test any of the listed products out or if you have questions that have not been answered. I am certain that we can find the right compression for your activity and recovery.

Zoot Compression
Zoot Compression Website

Products Reviewed:
CompressRx Ultra Active Calf Sleeve ($60.00)
CompressRx Ultra Active Sock ($60.00)

Benefits Claimed:
- Stabilize muscles.
- Accelerate removal of lactic acid.
- Improve circulation back to the heart to oxygenate blood more quickly.
- Reduced muscle fatigue and post exercise soreness when used during exercise.

Listed Features
- ZoneRx: muscle specific zones of compression with differing amounts on compression on muscle belly of calf compared to front of shin.
- CRx: Graduated compression from more compression low at ankle to less compression at top of calf to aid in pushing against gravity and moving lactic acid and blood through the legs back towards the heart.
-SynchroRx: Functional moisture management, temperature regulation & odor protection because no one wants a soggy, stinky sock.
- Circumference Sizing: Products are sized according to the circumference of your muscle and your body for the best fit rather than group sizes according to shoe size like other companies.
- Knit not Sewn: Zoot products are knitted as one unit rather than cut out into smaller pieces and then sewn back together. This means there are no weak spots or chance for irratation from seams.
- Compression above 40 mmHg: Compression is measured in millimeters of mercury and Zoot offers the greatest amount of compression available without a prescription.

If you are looking for some serious compression then this is the product for you. Although many customers are very comfortable working out and doing intense exercise,
even competing while wearing Zoot products I personally found them to be a little too intense of compression for use while being active. I may just be sensitive to compression but that degree of pressure on my calf muscles and arches while working hard periodically left me with the sensation that I might crap or my toes my curl under. However for recovery, travel and casual wear around these socks can't be beat. They really get the job done and left me feeling much more prepared for my next workout and I didn't feel overwhelmed by the level of compression what so ever in a less demanding environment.

RecoFit Compression
RecoFit Compression Website

Product Reviewed:
RecoFit Calf Sleeve ($45.00)

Benefits Claimed:
- Accounts for both of the body's circulatory systems; lymphatic or immune system and the circulatory system of the heart pumping blood.
- Aids squeeze of muscles to reduce pooling and accelerate blood's movement back to the heart and lungs.
- Improve circulation to decrease inflammation and the effects of Delayed Onset Muscle Fatigue

Listed Features
-GreatFiT (Gradient Recovery Exercise & Activity Technology): Differing amounts of compression which corresponds to the needs of specific areas of the leg. This results in more compression on the shins and less compression on the muscle belly of the calf.
-Resistex (Negative-ion circulation assistance): Carbon yarns have been added to the technical fabric for a ribbed fit which increases breathability, adds compression and provides massage effects. In addition to moisture management. Again, no body likes soggy, stinky apparel.
-Flatlock seams, fine fabrics & cross grain cuts: for added compression and comfort.
-Circumference based sizing: Sizing is determined by measuring the calf rather than group sizing according to foot size for an ideal fit.

The Recofit Calf Sleeves are great because they give you the compression you desire to support your shins and calves but still allow you to wear your favorite Balega or Drymax technical socks on your feet. The Recofit are a happy medium between the intense, medical grade compression of Zoot Ultra-Actice Sock and the familiar, cotton-like feel of the Balega Performance Enhancing Compression Sock. Recofit products are cut and sewn together and don't offer quite as much compression as Zoot products. Recofit still sports quite enough compression to make it a great product for recovery and travel, as well as high-intensity work-outs. I find that is the niche that the Recofit sleeves fit for me. They are enough compression to really minimize shin-soreness if I wear them for speed work on the roads without the threat of being so tight I feel like my calves are having to work to push and shove against them. I can then leave them on for recovery while I stretch out and make dinner after my workout at home. However, they certainly can't compare to the Zoots for pure recovery and the Balegas for pure comfort.

Balega Compression
Balega Running Socks Website

Product Reviewed:
Balega Performance Enhancing Compression ($40.00)

Benefits Claimed & Listed Features:
- Quicken the reabsorb lactic acid.
- Reduce muscle strain.
- Improve circulation.
- Keep muscles compact to reduce fatigue and shorten recovery time.
- Sizing is based on foot size

Not nearly as technical as Zoot or Recofit, also not as expensive. The Balega Performance Enhancing Compression socks do offer more compression than it appears. When you first put them on and take a look in the mirror you feel that you are in a knee-high, tube sock and should be headed out to shoot some hoops instead of headed to hit the trails. However, you do feel the compression from the socks and I even found this level of compression much more comfortable than the Zoot or Recofit on longer runs. I like the familar, soft feel of Balega socks on my feet and toes while I am running. The Balega compression also has more warmth to offer than Recofit or Zoot which was nice keeping my muscles warm during excercise throughout the winter. Although the Balega compression is far from medical grade it is very well suited to long runs where a little extra compression and warmth is appreciated and the familar feel of high quality Balega socks is also desired. If you are looking for comfortable compression for the long run Balega is a great product. If you looking for a more intense compression Zoot or Recofit may be a better fit.

Tuesday, April 5, 2011

Some Suggestions for your Summer Race Schedule.

As the weather slowly but surely comes around and the sun stays out longer it has got us all thinking about (and wishing for) summer. The brand new RaceCenter NW has made it's appearance in the shop and it's time to start making some race plans for the upcoming months. Here is a little summary of what's coming up...

Local 5ks & 10ks All Summer Long...

We are lucky to have such an abundance of local fun runs and fundraiser 5ks and 10ks. These events are great community builders and support an array of local causes and groups. Events are scheduled all summer long, especially once the weather gets warm. Take a look at this summers ever growing list of local events:

Saturday, May 7th - SolAire Salmon Run 5k & 10k: Run from Riverbend Park to support The Environmental Center and raise awareness and education about local sustainability.

Friday, May 8th - Lapine High School Congrats Grads 5k: Support Lapine HS Grad Night with this 5k run/walk that starts and ends at the Lapine HS track. Call Jenifer @ 541-610-6355 with any questions.

Saturday, June 4th - Three Sisters Marathon, Marathon Relay & 5k: Join in on the first annual Three Sisters Marathon with a loop around Eagle Crest Resort in the mild early summer sun. Proceeds benefit the Run for Eva Trust Fund and the Opportunity Foundation of Central Oregon.

Sunday, June 5th - Heaven Can Wait 5k: Help raise funds for Sara's Project and raise awareness about the importance of early detection of breast cancer with this run/walk through Drake Park.

Saturday, June 18th - Redmond Dry Canyon 5k/10k: Funds from this run go back to support our local youth and inspire future runners through the Redmond High School Track & Field Program.

Sunday, June 26th - Pacific Crest 5k & 10k: Join in among the 4,000+ athletes for the racing, expo and live entertainment during Pac-Crest Endurance Weekend at Sunriver.

Monday, July 4th - Spark Your Heart 5k: Before you head to the parade downtown start your Independence Day off right with this run that raises awareness about cardiac health in our community.

Saturday, July 9th - Smith Rock Summer Classic 5k, 10k & Half Marathon: Smith Rock isn't just for world class climbers, it's also a trail runner's paradise. Make the drive out to Terrebonne for this Summer time classic.

Saturday & Sunday, July 16th & 17th - Deschutes Dash 5k & 10k: Join the swimmers, bikers and runners as part of the Deschutes Dash Sports Weekend held in the Old Mill District for the 10k on Saturday and the 5k on Sunday.

Saturday, August 13th - Running is for the Birds 5k & 10k: Support the Sunriver Nature Center & Conservancy with this event run along the shaded paths in Sunriver.

Wednesday, August 17th - Deschutes Brewery Twilight 5k: Break up your work week with this evening race from the Deschutes Brewery and enjoy a Twilight Ale on your cool down.

Something a little different, but just as local...

If you are looking for something that is a little longer or has an extra twist on the average fun run. Try these great events scheduled for this summer.

Thursday, May 5th, 12th & 26th - May Race Series presented by COCC: This three week series will keep you on your toes and coming back for more with a different challenge each time.

  1. 6 Mile Relay Create a 2, 3 or 4 person team to alternate every 400m and cover 6 miles on the track as quickly as possible.

  2. Jungle Run A challenging four or two mile trail run that is full of mud bogs, steep ascents and log crossings. Catch a snake along the way and get a prize.

  3. 16th Annual Storm the Stairs Climb 300 stairs over 2 miles and then enjoy a post race BBQ lunch.

Saturday, May 28th - Happy Girls Half Marathon: Ladies, prepare to be pampered at this great new event. The turnout will be huge, the pacers will be handsome and the race medals are sterling silver and as cute as can be. You don't want to miss out on this one!

Saturday, June 4th - Three Sisters Marathon: Take a loop around Eagle Crest Resort and beyond as you enjoy the snow capped skyline in this early summer marathon.

Sunday, June 12th - The Dirty Half Marathon: This summer time classic is turning ten and gets a route-change to celebrate. Confirmed as the USATF Trail Running National Championships. This race is sure to fill up fast since it is capped at 800 participants... so get your entry in today.

Friday & Saturday, August 5th & 6th - Cascade Lakes Relay: Call in 11 of your running buddies to create a running teams or 5 of your ultra-running buddies for an ultra-running team and cover the 216 beautiful miles from the Cascade Lakes to Bend over two days.

Sunday, August 7th - Haulin' Aspen Marathon, Half Marathon and 7 miler: Race through the summer heat and dust in this summer time favorite at Shevlin Park.

Take a trip outside Central Oregon...

A road or trail race can be the perfect inspiration you need to head out of town to try a new adventure. Check out these trip worthy events:

Sunday, May 1st - Lilac Bloomsday Road 12k: Road trip up to Spokane for the 35th running of the Bloomsday 12k and enjoy the on course performers that line the entire course.

Saturday, June 11th - Helvetia Half Marathon & Drop Top 10k: This homegrown event features a surprisingly hilly and challenging course that dips and rolls through the pretty country fields outside Portland.

Monday, July 4th - Foot Traffic Flat Half Marathon & Full Marathon: Get yourself a nice PR on this flat and smoking fast course. Plus fresh strawberry shortcake at the finish line.

Saturday, July 9th - Siskiyou Out Back (SOB) 15k & 50k: If you are looking for a challenging mountain top trail run make the drive down to Southern Oregon and up 6,500 feet to the top of Mt Ashland for this sky high treat full of dust, rocks and warm, thin air.

Sunday, July 10th - Fueled by Fine Wine Half Marathon: Nothing complements 13.1 miles like a fine Pinot Noir from the great Northwest and the scenic views from the Dundee Hills.