Tuesday, May 24, 2011

Fun and flirty...it'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.