Tips for Running in the Winter

The alarm goes off. Your spouse is warm. Your sheets smell like fresh linen and summer breeze. You’re sinking into the abyss of heavenly tempurpedic clouds. Are you in Hawaii ? No. It’s 33 degrees and raining outside and right now you have two choices: 1. Peel yourself out of bed, suit up, and get at that 8 miler your Coach prescribed  2. Start the endless snooze cycle until you have to shuffle into the office sans run.

If you’re the highly motivated type, like my friend Joe who is a new dad, works 40+ hours a week, is a part time professor, directs races, volunteers at Ultras, AND trains for 100 milers, then this is no problem, but for the rest if us, the winter struggle is real. So, what can we do?

Sleep more. While getting up before the sun can feel like a chore to some people no matter what they do, others can fair well enough simply by going to bed 30 minutes earlier. Just 30 minutes of extra sleep per night can increase recovery speed, increase response time, and elevate overall mood. Try going to bed 30 minutes earlier each night and the battle with your alarm is less likely to feel like a scene from Braveheart and more like a scene from the Sound of Music.

Make it a habit. It doesn’t take long to form a small a habit (good or bad) such as snoozing your alarm or getting a donut with your morning coffee, but it takes a bit of time and commitment to form habits that require more thought. Contrary to popular belief it doesn’t take 21 days to make or break a habit. Like most myths, the 21 day myth comes from an outdated piece of literature – a book published back in 1960. A more recent European study found that it can take up to two months before you reach an automaticity plateau while forming a habit. TWO MONTHS of repetition. That requires determination and a bit of patience, much like running. The good news is that once you form a positive habit, it doesn’t take an excessive amount of energy or thought to do it every day. The point? Make it a habit to start getting out of bed in the morning when your alarm goes off instead of hitting the snooze button.

The way you think matters. If you dread running, then you shouldn’t be doing it. Be thankful and grateful for movement and be happy to do it! You are blessed to be able to get up and run every day. Seize it and strive to be the best version of yourself regardless of weather. Get up in the morning and say to yourself “What a blessing it is to be alive and moving! I love to run!” If you don’t love it, why do it?

The three tips above will help you on your journey to winter greatness, however, that doesn’t address the bitter cold and darkness you have to battle. Below are some gear recommendations to make your predawn winter run as first worldy as possible:

  1. A good headlamp. 90 Lumens will do, but nowadays you can get a 300 lumen lamp for under $40.00, so why not? Light up the world! Just make sure it’s waterproof.
  2. A Buff. This essential piece of gear can be worn 12+ different ways to keep your head warm and comfortable. I almost never leave home without one.
  3. A good Baselayer that is form fitting and moisture wicking to insulate your upper body and core.
  4. A weather resistant, collapsible shell for when the rain is coming down and the wind is blowing sideways.
  5. Gloves. Nobody I know likes cold fingers. Some of us (me) loathe cold sausages.
  6. Weather resistant pants or tights.
  7. A moisture wicking sock that fits right and minimizes the chance of blisters in wet conditions. Consider Merino for extra insulation.
  8. Shoes. Consider a shoe with sticky rubber for wet conditions and/or a water repellent uppers for those soggy winter mornings.
  9. Yaktraks or Screws if you live in an especially cold and icey area.

At the end of the day you get the same 24 hours as everyone else (Joe always says this) and you get to choose how you spend your 24 hours. Just like you’ve chosen the lifestyle of a runner, you must choose to get up in the morning and get it done. It’s as simple as that. Wake up. Smile. Be thankful. And choose to run.

New Balance RC1400 v5 Review

I hadn’t run in any of the RC1400 predecessors, but I had seen and heard great reviews and had even seen them on the trails at various 50K’s, 50 Milers and 100 Mile races. Well, spoiler alert: They look so sick, I think they need a vaccine, and I loved the v5 ride so much that I purchased purchased the v4 for comparison.

Available in April, the New Balance RC1400v5 is a Nuetral, 7.2oz racer (daily trainer for some) with a 10mm drop (25/15) and an MSRP of $100.

IMG_0163

Built on NB’s popular 1400 Last, the upper features engineered “Phantom Fit” mesh. The synthetic overlays found on previous iterations are replaced with 3D printed overlays to create light, targeted support. This makes the upper much more flexible than previous models, which is why the interior of the upper features a “support bar” on the later side of the shoe; a denser strip of mesh fastened to the midsole intended to keep the foot from sliding off the platform at top speed.

IMG_0141

IMG_0151

The v5 has the same midsole material as it’s predecessor: REVlite. The ride remains snappy and responsive, however the update features a cored out heel to add a little more compression underfoot which gives the runner a bouncier feel, especially for heel strikers.

IMG_0143

IMG_0149

Inspired by the Hanzo S racing flat and athlete data, the outsole on the RC1400 v5 has been improved with more lateral rubber coverage and different lugging in the forefoot. You’ll find some exposed EVA to reduce weight, but that doesn’t seem to impact wear. The rubber compound gripped well in wet Washington conditions, which is a must for me, especially during the winters.

IMG_0146

IMG_0165

How did I test them? I put 150 miles on these kicks so far, including a few speed work sessions and a single 50 Mile run around a track to raise money for a friend. During that run I didn’t have one single blister or hot spot (even when wet) and the midsole kept feeling fresh mile after mile. You can see some wear on the outsole on lateral side of the heel, but that’s to be expected at 150 miles on any shoe. The upper really shines on the 1400v5; the Phantom Fit coupled with the 3D printed overlays really gives the runner a custom, natural fit. That, coupled with the REVlite ride and cored out heel, makes this ride damn near perfect in my opinion.

byDavidDetrick1
The Author at mile 40 of his 50 Mile run PC: David Detrick

Follow us on Twitter and Instagram at @upperleftdt

If you’re looking for a coach, check us out!

Update: I’ve since put a total of 450 miles on these shoes and they’ve held up great! No tearing in the upper and only expected wear on the outsole. The midsole doesn’t feel as sprngy anymore, but still feels nice and fluid. I’ll be retiring them (soon) as a precaution, but damn! They still feel so good. If you’re on the fence about these kicks, they’re 100% worth the $100. 

Adidas Adizero Boston 6 Review

I hadn’t tried Adidas until last year when I won a pair of Boston Boost 5 at a local 5K. Since then I put over 600 miles on them and they became my favorite shoe. I vacillated for months about buying another pair or the Adizero 6 and recently pulled trigger at backcountry.com.

The Adidas Adizero Boost 6 weighs 8.6 ounces for a Men’s size 9 with a 10mm drop (16/26).

file_006

 

The biggest complaint I’ve heard about Adidas from runners is their out-of-date uppers. I was one of those people, at least talking about the previous iteration of this shoe, but that problem seems to be resolved in this update. The upper is mesh knit, seamless and breatheable, like most shoes on the market today. I wouldn’t say that the upper is anything special, but compared to the Boston Boost 5, it’s strides in the right direction and at least matches other shoes in it’s category. The fit is snug and narrow, but the stretch mesh lets your foot move just enough and doesn’t cause any pressure points. They run true to size, just expect a locked down, performance oriented fit.

 

file_001

 

The midsole is what really shines here. I have never run in a road shoe that feels this good. When you’re running slow, it feels soft, when you pick of the speed, it feels responsive. It almost seems to adapt to the specific work you’re doing. I wanted to know why and I really geeked out when I was reading about the development of Boost Foam.

file_004

Boost was developed by BASF, one of the largest chemical engineering companies out there, who has had a 30+ year relationship with Adidas. The idea for boost, actually called infinergy, came up during a coffee break. A chemist at BASF, Frank Prissok,  had the idea to “foam”  traditional TPU. He expanded it and increased its volume to make it lighter, softer and more resilient. What resulted was Infinergy, or “Boost” Foam. Each midsole is comprised of 2,500+ individual Infinergy beads which are then heated and steam molded together. This creates a bouncy, resilient and responsive ride. Immediately after impact the midsole springs back to it’s original shape; this rebound experience is noticeable underfoot and feels like it propels you forward. Here is a little video from BASF.

file_000-1

 

In labs tests of resilience and elasticity, Boost Foam has a rebound of 55%, compared to traditional EVA with a rebound of 37%. And unlike EVA, Boost Foam has shown not to lose resiliency under continuous loading. Boost Foam has also shown not to be adversely effected by high (104 degrees F) or low (- 4 degrees F)  temperatures, so it won’t lose it’s elasticity and cushioning properties in adverse weather conditions. [Infinergy Profile].

img_0089

 

All of this translates into an innovative midsole material with a phenomenal ride. Techno babble aside, the ride in the Boston Boost 6 is unmatched. It’s that blend of softness and responsiveness that every runner wishes they had in a shoe. The longevity of the material is also far superior to other shoes on the market. I got over 600 miles out of my Boston Boost 5 (I usually get 300 – 400 out of traditional EVA based midsoles) and the only reason I retired them is because the rubber had worn off in the right heel due to my heavy right heel strike.

 

This is a neutral shoe, but the midsole also features thermoplastic midfoot torsion system unit for added support at the midfoot while allowing the forefoot and rearfoot to move freely. I’m not sure if this adds anything to the ride or integrity of the shoe or if it’s beneficial for foot health; I’m one to think that these types of things are marketing gimmicks, but it’s there.

file_005

 

The outsole contains the same award winning, performance rubber compound that keeps you safe when driving your sports car on slick roads: Continental Rubber. Continental has perfected the rubber compound for optimal braking in sports cars, so it only makes sense that the same company would make a comparable compound that would perform well in running shoes. And I have to say:  It’s pretty ridiculous (in a good way). You can feel the shoes sticking to the road underneath your feet. It really allows you to dig in and toe off without slipping, even in wet conditions. I never really took much notice of the outsole of a road shoe until I ran in these. You will immediately feel a noticeable improvement in grip on your runs. Here is a little video about the relationship between Coninental and Adidas.

file_007

 

I think there should, and most likely will be, some improvements made to the uppers of Adidas shoes in general, but this package is pretty spot on, albeit a little snug. I can’t think of a road shoe that rides better than the Adidas Adizero Boston 6 right now and I encourage you to give them a try if you haven’t. I took them from box to 26.2 and found myself thinking about how great my feet felt at my 24 for the first time ever. That’s saying something.

img_0191

The price of these shoes, especially the Boost Ultra, are a little higher compared to other shoes in their category, but this is one of those instances where you get what you pay for. With an MSRP of $120, you’re paying for proven materials from reputable companies and a life expectancy of 600-1000 miles in a performance oriented design. I’ll pay a little extra for that.

Thanks for reading! Please follow us on Twitter and Instagram at @ upperleftDT and let us know what you think. As always, if we can be of any assistance with your running or racing goals, let us know via our contact page.

-Coach Korey