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10 Must Follow Blogs and Websites for Runners

Monday, January 16, 2012

As runners, we are very lucky. Not only is our sport (relatively) inexpensive, easy to access, and amazing for maintaining lifelong fitness; it also has a plentiful supply of free, accessible, and helpful resources! Virtually any question about running can be found online via websites and blogs. Don’t stumble the next time you have a question about running. Here are 10 of some of the best websites and blogs to obtain the best news, advice, and stories related to running.

1. Active.com: Can’t figure out which races to do this year? Active is the best website for finding and signing up for the perfect races near you. As if that wasn’t enough, the site also features an extensive list of training plans, nutrition tips, and healthy living tips.
2. Athlinks: This is like a Facebook for runners. If you’ve participated in a race of any kind, chances are your results are on this website. All you have to do it “claim” your results, set up an account, and Wa-Bam! You’re ready to become part of a network of 216,000 runners nationwide.
3. Complete Running Network: It’s called “Complete” Running Network for a reason. This comprehensive blog offers a plethora of tips involving: training, gear, reviews, injury assessment, and beginner runners. As a newbie, check out their article
100 Beginner Running Tips.
4. Cool Running: This is a must-follow blog for beginners and seasoned runners alike. It has a ton of great articles,
nutrition tips, and training plans for all levels and distances. My favorite feature is the pace calculator that eliminates the math and guessing from knowing your paces.
5. Flotrack: Flotrack is basically a YouTube for runners. It contains
videos of workouts, interviews, race reviews, articles, pictures, and athlete blogs. If you’re keeping up with the 2012 Olympic Trials Marathon, check out these videos. Runner beware: this site is highly addictive and motivating!
6. Running and Rambling: In addition to top-notch product and gear reviews, this blog features race reports,
photo tours, general training discussions, and “occasional assorted nonsense”. Authored by a recreational athlete, father, and barefoot aficionado, this blog will undoubtedly pique your interest.
7. RunnerSpace: Runner’s Space is a stellar site to find the best running news: from 
high school to elites; this site will fill you in on everything happening in the running world!
8. Running Times: Running Times has a great supply of training resources for all types of runners. It also contains a list of high-profile marathon bloggers that share life stories, experiences,
training secrets, and personal insights. Recent marathon sensation and Olympic Team Qualifier Desiree Davila has a few posts to get you started!
9.Runner’s World: Runner’s World is America’s mecca for running information. It provides an array of interesting articles about virtually every element about running including: 5k and 10k
training plans, pace workouts and charts, half-marathon training plans , marathon training plans, strength training/cross training, and so much more. If you have any minor or major questions about running, this is your website!
10. Scott’s Blog: On and Off the Trails: If you haven’t heard of ultra-marathoner Scott Jurek, you’re missing out! Dubbed” Hero of Running” by Runner’s World Magazine, Jurek is a true competitor, ambassador, and inspiration in the sport. His blog features a plentiful variety of stories, tips, and insights. Definitely a great blog if you’re looking for motivation or interesting read!

Some others to check out:

-BRC/Adidas Blog: For great insights and stories from some of Colorado’s speediest elites.
-
Colorado Runner Magazine: For the scoop on race results and reviews in Colorado.
-LetsRun.com: A great source for the top news in running—ranging from high school to the masters level.
-Kids Running: a great website for the little runners! Features some great information about how to train safely and properly as a youngen!

What are some of your favorite websites and blogs to read? Let us know!

 

The 411 on Post-Workout Recovery Nutrition

Tuesday, December 06, 2011
Ah mercy! We all know the feeling after a hard workout: heavy legs, stiff arms, sore feet, salty face. If you are like most runners, you'll plop onto the couch for a lil' nap or journey home from the trailhead without eating anything until 2-3 hours later.

One of the biggest mistakes runners make is not eating a post-recovery snack. When you skimp out on post-recovery fuel, you not only sabotage tomorrows workout, you set yourself up for over-consumption later in the day and increase your risk of injury. No matter how tired or vomitous you feel, shovel down a little snack. After all that hard work, your body needs a treat!

There is a ton of information about post-recovery fueling, but here are the most important things you ought keep in mind:

4:1 Carb to Protein Ratio: Consume a snack that is roughly 25% protein, 75% carbohydrate. Carbohydrates help restore depleted muscle glycogen and protein repairs muscle fibers. You don't have to be perfect when determining the ratio of carbs to protein--just make sure you are including both of them in your snack!

Try This:

-Whey protein shake with banana and soymilk

-Brown rice and lean chicken

-Greek yogurt mixed with honey and granola

-Banana and peanut butter

-Protein bar or nutritional bar with low sugar

-Naked juice

-Tuna and crackers

-Turkey sandwich with whole grain bread and veggies

-Veggies and legumes

-Oats made with milk, nuts, raisins, banana, and a scoop of protein powder

30 Minute Fuel Window: Your muscles absorb the most nutrients and carbohydrates within the first 30 minutes after a workout. They also take the protein you eat and put it to good use by repairing muscle fibers and tissues. When you plan on driving somewhere to run and/or being on a time crunch, prepare a post recovery snack to eat immediately after the workout. If you are forgetful or live on a permanent time crunch, keep a readily available supply of non-degradable foods such as raisins, nuts, dried fruits, and peanut butter in your bag.

Drink 2 Cups of Water: Weigh yourself before and after a long and/or hard workout. For every pound that you lose, drink 2 cups of water to keep yourself hydrated and speed up the recovery process.

Replace lost electrolytes: Made of potassium and sodium, electrolytes are conductors that transmit electrical impulses throughout your body. Because we lose electrolytes through sweat, it is important to replace them after a hard workout. Try eating fruits or drinking an electrolyte enhanced beverage such as Powerade Zero.

Should I have a recovery snack if I only ran a slow recovery run? Yes, you should. On the easy days, you can consume a lower volume snack, but make sure you're eating something light with carbs and protein within the 30-minute window. It will prepare your body for the harder, longer workouts to come.

Try This:

-Clif Bar

-Glass of chocolate milk

-Berries and greek yogurt

-Veggies and tofu/chicken/fish 

Recover like a pro. Make a habit of treating your body with the love it deserves after it helps you accomplish awesome runs!

Kara Goucher: Likes protien shakes because they help settle her stomach and get her body into recovery mode faster.

Ryan Hall: Ryan's recovery meal is much like the meal he has the morning of the race: either a Muscle Milk or a nut butter sandwich (peanut butter & bread). He likes to add fruit to the mix, too. Most often it's a banana. He also welcomes a good ice bath after a hard workout to reduce inflammation.

Lauren Fleshman: Packs a drink in the car to begin refueling immediately. Ideally, she consumes a drink that contains a 4-to-1 ratio of carbohydrate to protein. She recommends a drink with sodium, calcium, 250 mg of magnesium, 50 mg of zinc, 100 mg of potassium and branch chain amino acids.

Shalane Flanagan: Changes into something warm and dry until she has a few moments to stretch. It prevents muscles from getting cold immediately after a hard workout. 

Deena Kastor: Deena drinks Muscle milk. The flavor she like is cake batter. "It’s simply delicious. It tastes like a cold milkshake to me. A lot of people have trouble eating right after a run but that’s actually the most important time to eat something".

image source: http://iwillinspireyou.com/?p=157, http://www.cvcoffee.com/pd-powerade-zero-20-oz-bottle.cfm

The Green Running Machine: A Glimpse in the Life of Dietary-Vegan Runner, Jerry Armstrong

Wednesday, November 16, 2011

Jerry Armstrong

Years Running: 6

PR’s:

*100 mile: 21:30

*50 mile: 8:15

*50k: 4:15

Miles per week: 80-100

Goals: To be more competitive in the 100 mile and 100k

Favorite song on the Ipod: One Day, by Matisyahu

Place to run: Mesa Trail, Boulder CO

Hero: Michael Wardian, because he is a family man, works a full time job, and has an incredible training ethic.

Interesting Fact: His 5 year old son Jalen has already completed a half-marathon.

                          Profile:

Like many of us, Jerry Armstrong faced a slough of challenges on his personal journey to health, fitness, and happiness. Prior to his current lifestyle, he compulsively gambled, ate unhealthy, and struggled to achieve a balanced way of life. At the bottom of his downward spiral, he knew that changes needed happen to ensure the survival of his marriage, health, and well-being.

For Jerry, “change” came in the form of a four year (2001-2005) odyssey: the goal of completing of an Ironman.  After setting the monumental challenge, he diligently trained, year after year. As race day drew nearer, his wife became pregnant with their first child. Ironically, the baby’s due date was close to the date of his race. As a concerned father-to-be, Jerry fought a fierce temptation to quit training. His family, with the exception of his wife and mother, approved of the temptation. Jerry listened to his mother and wife and kept moving.

His first son, Jalen, was born three weeks before the race. Wife Jenifer and son Jalen crossed the finish line with Jerry; marking the true beginning of a new life. Since those fateful years, Jerry has run over 25 organized ultra-marathons. Nowadays he gracefully balances the demands of career (as a police officer), marriage, fatherhood, and running.

Later in Jerry's running career, he made some drastic changes to his diet. After chatting with friends and hearing stories of vast success, he dipped his toes in the realm of dietary veganism. Over several years, he made a full transition to a vegan diet. As a busy man, he testifies to the mental, physical, and athletic benefits of a plant-based diet/dietary veganism.

What is veganism?

Technically the word “vegan” means “no harm to animals”. Ethical vegans reject the commodity status of animals and avoid the use of any animal products. Although I avoid all animal products in my diet, I don’t necessarily avoid the use of all animal products in my life. For that reason, I refer to my diet as “plant-based” or “dietary vegan” rather than vegan.

Why did you embrace a plant-based diet?

I chose to change my diet for performance purposes. Many renowned ultra-marathoners eat a plant-based diet and my curiosity stemmed purely from the desire to maximize my physical abilities. I wasn’t sure whether or not it would make a difference, but I knew it was worth a shot.

What does a “day in the life” of a dietary vegan look like?

As a vegan, I avoid all animal products. Here is an example of what I normally consume:

Breakfast:

Herbal Tea/ Water

40 oz of vegetable juice: carrot, celery, kale, spinach, cucumber, pineapple

Snack:

Coach’s Oats with fruit, agave, udos oil, dates, chia seed, and strawberries

 Lunch:

  • Clif Mojo Bar/ Larabar
  • Banana
  • 5 Hour Energy (for the B12 vitamin)

Snack:

  • Jamba Juice and/or a vegan dish at Noodles and Company

Dinner:

  • Vegan Spanikopita, Stuffed Pepper w/Couscous & spinach (homemade)

Snack:

  • Herbal Tea
  • Vegetable Juice

For specific recipes, check out his awesome blog: http://vegchefjer.blogspot.com/ 

How has your diet change helped you? How can it benefit other people?

After transitioning to a plant-based diet (which took several years), I noticed dramatic changes in the following areas:

  • My recovery boosted. As an ultra-marathoner, I often do back-to-back long runs. Before, it was very challenging to complete back-to-backs. Nowadays, it is still challenging but a lot more manageable. My muscles recover much faster and feel better for those 6-7 hour workouts.
  • I slept deeper. I used to struggle with getting quality sleep. After my diet changed, I started sleeping much deeper and feeling more rested when I was awake.
  • My skin cleared up.
  • I lost 10 lbs of body fat. I've always been a thin guy, but after changing my diet I lost pure body fat and improved my lean body mass. In a sense, I lost that uncomfortable awareness of my gut. 
  • My digestion improved. Because a plant-based diet improves digestion, I eat a lot more throughout the day and I don't get that heavy "full" feeling after gorging down a big meal.
  • My mood improved. I generally feel more positive now that I'm eating a plant-based diet.
  • I have better clarity of thought: I am mentally sharper and have improved memory function. This not only helps my mood, it also improves my productivity at work and home.
  • Lower cholesterol. By not eating animal products, I never face the risk of having high cholesterol.

What advice do you give to people who want to lose weight, improve performance, and feel the best they can?

There is a lot of misinformation out there about diet and weight loss. Many people want a quick-fix that requires little to no effort. I can assure that these quick fixes set people up for disappointment. I have my own philosophy about staying on track, which consists of movement, nutrition, sleep, and self-awareness.

If you can imagine a pyramid, exercise and physical training would be at the bottom. When I feel unmotivated, tired, or depressed, I force myself to get moving, which is the focal point of a healthy lifestyle. By moving, we naturally create a need for nutrition, sleep, and self-awareness. When we put healthy, nutritious foods into our body, exercise, sleep, and self-awareness improve. When sleep improves, our self-awareness sharpens. When we are self-aware, the cycle of health continues. All of these elements synergize and feed off each other for a better way of living.

In my opinion, some other keys to success are open-mindedness, eliminating distractions (tv, computer, cell phone, ect.), signing up and training for specific events (that way you are committed), and practicing what you preach to others.

Runners' 7 Most Common Weight Gain Traps (And How to Avoid Them)

Monday, November 14, 2011

In Matt Fitzgerald's Racing Weight, he breaks down the 7 most common occasions when athletes gain weight and several solutions to avoid the traps. By developing a keen awareness of the weight gain traps (ahem, the holidays), we can mentally prepare to dodge them whenever they approach.

(1) Weekends: "Studies have shown that American's typically eat more and are less active on the weekends, and that consequentially we gain more weight on the weekends than during the week" (Racette et al., 2008).

(2) Holidays: On average, we gain 5 pounds during the six-week period from Thanksgiving week to New Years Day. According to a study in the New England Journal of Medicine, "we never lose the last pound".

(3) Periods of Stress: When we experience stress, a hormone called cortisol promotes fat storage--especially in the abdomen region. Under stress, we also crave fat and sugar. Such foods temporarily increase the brain's concentration of good-feeling neurotransmitters.

(4) The Freshman 15: Contrary to popular belief, the college freshman only gains about 5 pounds. This weight gain can be attributed to the transition from structured eating at home, buffet style cafeterias,  and reduced activity.

(5) Pregnancy: Weight gain is perfectly normal, natural, and necessary during pregnancy. However, there is evidence that women gain significantly more weight during pregnancy today than in the past (Rasmussen and Yaktine, 2009).

(6) Menstruation and Menopause: About 80% of women experience symptoms of premenstrual syndrome (PMS). One of the most common symptoms of PMS is increased appetite and food cravings.

(7) Post-Diet Rebound: Weight gain in men and women tends to occur after weight loss through diet and/or exercise. After losing weight, it's common to return to old habits --often referred as the yo-yo effect.

Solutions:

Set a weight gain limit: Allow yourself to only gain 5-8 lbs by weighing yourself several times per week. Once you set a limit, track any movement towards it and make changes as necessary.

Be consistent: Make time for exercise, no matter how long or short the sessions are. Do whatever you can to get off the coach.

Keep Counting: While you don't have to monitor every detail of your diet, it is beneficial to audit calories in-calories out from time to time to make sure that everything is within acceptable, healthy parameters. It will also heighten your awareness and steer you away from the worst excesses.

Shift from carbohydrate to protein: Instead of consuming carbs at holiday parties, shift towards the proteins. Protein can be used structurally in the body whereas carbs are an energy source for high intensity muscle work.

Source: Fitzgerald, Matt. (2009). Racing Weight.

How do you stay on track with your weight? Let us know! 

Eat Clean: The Diet Regimen of Olympian Suzy Favor Hamilton

Monday, November 07, 2011
Suzy Favor Hamilton is one of America's most successful female middle-distance runners. She is a six-time U.S. national champion in middle distance events and former U.S. record holder in the 1,000 meters. Not to mention a four-time Olympian.

In her book Fast Track she offers some wonderful insight and clarity in the realm of nutrition. She illustrates an alternative to the USDA Food Pyramid for optimum health, performance, and weight.

She sums up her philosophy in two words: Eat Clean. Eating Clean involves choosing lean sources of protein, unprocessed carbohydrate foods, healthy fats, and a variety of fruits and vegetables.

Even if you aren’t a female or a world-class distance runner, you will definitely wreak the benefits of adopting Favor Hamilton's plan. Check it out. If you get a chance, print and laminate the table below for refrigerator art or to keep in your glove compartment for grocery shopping.

She divides her diet into two simple categories: foods you should eat most of the time (85% of your diet) and foods your should limit most of the time (15% or less of your diet). To learn more about Eating Clean, check out Favor Hamilton's book Fast Track or visit http://www.eatcleandiet.com.

 

Foods you should eat most of the time (85%+) 

Protein

*fish (salmon, tuna, sashimi or any raw fish)

*eggs (mostly egg whites but 3-4 whole eggs per week is fine)

*skinless chicken breast

*canned tuna

*milk protein (whey or soy; seen mainly in protein powders and ready to drink shakes like Muscle Milk

Carbohydrate

*Vegetables

*dry beans

*whole oatmeal or museli

*brown rice

*yams, sweet potatoes

*high-fiber, low glycemic fruits

*whole grain bread 

Fat

*Fat from cold water fish

*olives and olive oil

*peanuts, peanut butter, peanut oil

*nuts

*flax oil

*DHA/EPA supplements

 

 

Foods you should limit most of the time (15%-)

Protein

*fatty meats

*lunch meats

*whole milk

*hot dogs

Carbohydrate

*white bread

*white pasta

*white rice

*most cereals

*fruit juice

*bagels

*sodas with sugar

*pastries/cookies/cake

*candy

*crackers

*pizza

*high-calorie drinks

*anything with a lot of sugar

Fat

*butter

*margerine

*fat from fatty meats

*fried foods

*hydrogenated oils and trans fats

*ice cream

Source: Favor Hamilton, Suzy; Anotino, Jose. (2004). Fast Track: Training and Nutrition Secrets from America's Top Female Distance Runner

Photo:womenrunningtogether.com

Keep the Ocean by the Beach!

Friday, August 19, 2011

Last week my wife and I celebrated our 12th wedding anniversary. The one thing that I have learned for sure about our marriage is that I definitely married up.  I am so lucky to have Kristin by my side not only as my wife, but as my business partner and my best friend. So "officially," I am the CEO of Redline Running Company, but she likes to remind me every so often that she not only runs the house, but the CEO of RRC also reports to her when she so desires.  Hence, this is why I am writing this blog post...she came to me last week and let me know that it would be a good idea for the CEO to allow his personality to show through via a weekly blog post addressing what is going through my mind as I try to keep up with the many facets of the company.

My thoughts for this initial post swirl around the inspiration that led me to start the company, I love everything about the sport of running. I love how I feel after I complete a hard workout prior to the sun waking up. I love the camaraderie that I share with other runners and all of the fun and crazy things I learn about my running mates on long runs together. I love the inspiration that I constantly receive from other runners as I hear and watch obstacles that they overcome and help me put my own “supposed” struggles in the proper light.  I have loved to compete from the time that I had my first official running competition when I was 2 years old. On that day it was a 100m dash in Crane, Oregon. When the gun fired I stood still and promptly waited for the other runners to cross the finish line, then as all eyes were on me.  I started my race but I didn’t stop at the 100m finish line.   Whether I stopped on my own at 400 meters or if I was compelled to do so by the race directors, who consequently were my embarrassed parents, is still under dispute due to the lack of available video replay technology in 1977 in Central Oregon.  Nevertheless, I have loved the joys of competition ever since.

I have reflected on my last 2 races recently and am reminded about another reason that I love this sport;  finding diamonds in the rough. I am often asked by the runners that I train whether I think that the particular distance they want to train for is too hard or too long for their current fitness level. While I may suggest certain paces that they should attempt, I have a hard time saying “no” to someone’s excitement that stems from a self-imposed challenge. Experience in this sport has taught me that even in a running competition where it is a miserable experience and doesn't result as any kind of “personal best” in the official results, there is still a chance for that individual to find out where their current limits exist and more times than not they walk away excited and committed to prepare for another assault on their “personal best” on a different day.  In fact, despite the irony, I think the furnace of affliction is a tremendous medium of inspiration for a lot of great events that humanity has accomplished through the annals of recorded and unrecorded history.  With that being said, my last 2 races that I have competed in were the worst I have ever performed.   The first, the Bolder Boulder, I finished exactly 100 places lower than my previous “worst,” and the second was a trail ½ marathon in Seattle where I managed to set a “personal worst“ in the distance by 23 minutes. 

 

Evergreen Trail Run - Grand Ridge

Yet, even after these experiences, where one would think that I would be ready to finally take up golf (the sport that I have sworn off vehemently until I am prepared to be done with trying to stay in any kind of respectable shape and come to the grips of the fact that my tee time is the equivalent of my current daily run), I can’t wait for my 13 mile run tomorrow morning at 4:30 am because it is part of my “comeback plan” that was hatched in the crowds of Boulder and the relentless hills of Washington.  I felt like such crap in both races and my times were of such treachery I was forced to ask myself “what have I done” that would allow myself to get to this point.  I refuse to believe that aging has anything to do with my results and will never consider it a viable explanation of my lack of performance.  So there has got to be something else.

Well, the thought that has been spinning in the back of my mind about this lack of performance is my nutrition, because it's not good.  The side stitch that I could not kick in Boulder and my expanded waistline that I could not haul any faster up the hills in Washington drove me to a strong resolve to be better at my diet upon the return from my Washington vacation. The day I returned from Seattle, I was at one of the many “all natural” stores in the greater Boulder area combing the aisles for the right ingredients to the “new” me (rock salt, lemons, cayenne pepper and a natural laxative).

 

That’s right, I was going to start the most recent attempt at re-creating this scary running monster with a “master cleanse” of the body.  I had looked up this crazy concoction of a plan to clean out my system, which what I was told could include up to 10 lbs of undigested food due to the typical unhealthy diet of most North Americans (that I have no problem admitting I adhere to). I woke up the first day back and went for a 60 minute run, which was not too refreshing after a lengthy 24 hrs in the car and being back up at 1 mile above the sea level elevation of Seattle.  The first thing I had to do was drink a 32 ounces of a mixture of rock salt and purified water.  No problem I thought, I don’t know why I need to do it, but I supposed it would help get my system cleared out when I popped the “natural laxative” that evening.  Well, within 10 minutes (no joke) of consuming this miniscule 16 ounces of mystery water, I felt the urge to “pass some gas” (or so I thought).  Let’s just say it wasn’t gas my system was trying to get rid of!  Oh my gosh, an hour later while I am still strapped to the “jon,” I ask my wife to bring me in my laptop so I can use my wireless connection to jump online and see if this is a normal bodily reaction to drinking 2 cups of the ocean or if I just ate too much McDonalds on the way back from vacation in my sworn last “fast food” splurge of my life.   Well, I find out that rock saltwater is one of the “best laxatives” on the planet as it is all natural and won’t leave you any nasty side effects of some of the chemically laden options to be found on the pharmacy shelf.  An hour later while I am still sitting in the same spot doing the same thing I had been doing for 2 hours, I came to the conclusion while I may not have any chemical side effects from my laxative of choice, a laxative is a laxative and I not only had a sore “kiester” that negatively impacted my ability to walk the rest of the day but I was also robbed of the pleasure, in fact, left terribly gun shy of even attempting to “pass gas” the remainder of the day as well, much to the happiness of my wife. 

After being convinced that I was done with the after effects of the saltwater, I had to get out and get to work to ease my wife’s worry of the “master cleanse” making me terribly unproductive as far as catching up on the work that I failed to do while on vacation. I hit the bike for a couple hours to work on the designs of some upcoming race courses. The plan called for me to be on a diet of saltwater and a lemon/cayenne pepper/natural maple syrup drink for 7-10 days.  At the end of the bike ride I was famished and terribly dehydrated and at the end of day 1 of being a strict disciple I came to the conclusion that if I were going to complete the master cleanse in a profession that requires me to burn several thousand calories per day, either I would develop an eating disorder or die.  Neither of those sounded like viable options so I resorted to the next best thing, a daily focus on only putting the best foods in my body.  While it may take longer to cleanse my body of all of its impurities, I’m okay with this option as long as it increases the speed of me arriving at the finish line faster.  My current approach, may not be as “natural” as drinking ocean water, but that's okay because the closest ocean waves are 1500 miles away!  I'll stick with stuff closer to home.


Contact

Contact: Redline Running Co.
  • P.O. Box 1047, Erie, CO 80516
  • (303) 834-7717

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