Tuesday, July 31, 2007

New Styles of the NB Zip - Feel the Positive Energy!

New styles and colors of the NB Zip are coming August 7. If you've visited newbalance.com lately, you can "Feel the positive energy" and catch JD the porcupine in his latest adventures. Be sure to check out the "Especially Deliveries" and "The Sweet Song of JD", they can be pretty fun breaks in your day.

And while you're on the site, you can enter in the 'Positive Energy Sweepstakes' to win a new Jeep, cash or other New Balance prizes.

These features are definitely a bright and fun look for newbalance.com!


Thursday, July 26, 2007

What are those 'bumpy' laces?

There is nothing worse than laces coming undone during a race. There are many types of laces out there that can help your shoes stayed tied tight.

New Balance has a remedy for those annoying 'lace' mishaps, it's called Sure Lace™. If any runners/readers out there own the New Balance 825s, you already own shoes with Sure Lace™. Best characterized with noticeable 'bumps' , Sure Lace™ laces are designed to keep your laces tied tight and secure no matter the distance or stride. Sure Lace™ is also perfect for variable lacing and fit techniques. So, these could be a good idea if you're trying out new options for lacing or new midfoot support ideas.

I would recommend these laces for marathons or any long distance event; any race were lacing pit stops are not welcome!


Wednesday, July 25, 2007

To Run With Music or Not to Run with Music?

When I run, I have to have music. I can feel the difference between running with music and running without. When I have my music on, I feel like nothing can stop me, like I am invincible. It's also a great way for me to 'tune' out the day and just relax to some good music. What did people do before the days of portable music?! Some may argue that running with music defeats the whole purpose of running: to take in the world around you, focus on your stride, to experience nature... but I think if music makes your workout more enjoyable, then why not plug in for some good tunes?

I came across this article today that talks about the pros and cons of running with music, and it discusses the heated debate between running with tunes and running without. There is a lot of talk out there about the correlation of music and running.


Tuesday, July 24, 2007

Sleep-away Camp for Marathoners: The Dick Beardsley Marathon Running Camp

There comes a time in every runner’s training where the running becomes monotonous, the routes become boring, and the workouts become predictable. Now, try to imagine: a sleep-away camp for marathoners, training advice from one of the best marathoners in history, one-on-one coaching from the pros, and the chance to bond with other runners. Recently, I spoke with Jan Seeley, Publisher of Marathon & Beyond magazine and Director of the Dick Beardsley Marathon Running Camp. I asked her some questions about the focus of the camp: goals, staff, and so on.

The camp began in 2003 and Jan says it was the result of the right forces coming together: the mix of Dick Beardsley—“Arguably long-distance running’s most inspirational ambassador”— the fantastic location of the camp (the 500-acre Rainbow Resort, four hours north of the Twin Cities in Minnesota), and Jan, a highly experienced event coordinator and Publisher of a marathon training magazine. This combination of talent, expertise, and passion was a win-win all around for the camp. Some things have changed for the camp over the years including the involvement of New Balance as a sponsor. “New Balance is now our major sponsor for the camp, and has been since 2004,” says Jan.

When it comes to runners who will benefit most from Dick’s camp, Jan says really any dedicated marathon runner: “Dick’s camp is best for ‘committed’ marathoners, with a pun on committed, because long distance runners are a nutty bunch!” Most runners at the camp are experienced, and each participant has run at least one marathon.

The camp has only 30 to 35 participants so each camper gets a lot of one-on-one time with the coaches. “We want to keep it cozy so we can really focus on each runner’s goals.” In speaking of coaches, Jan says, “Our coaching staff is second to NONE; each coach is a personal friend of Dick Beardsley from the running community.” The staff includes health and nutrition experts, legendary marathoners, Ironman tri-athletes, ultrarunners, and marathon club founders/ running club presidents.

Each day of the week focuses on a different aspect of marathon training. Along with long runs, speed and pace work, expert instruction/discussion plays a big role as well. Jan adds, “We have eight seminars and about six round table discussions, which take place at some of the meals.” Campers even undergo a running gait analysis. “Everyone is videotaped running and Coach Bill (Wenmark) analyzes each runner’s form.” Runners will also participate in the Dick Beardsley Half-Marathon in Detroit Lakes, Minnesota, on that Saturday of the week. Unfortunately, all good things must come to an end. “Camp wraps up on Sunday morning after a final run, brunch, and goodbyes.” This marathon camp is a solid week of training, information, and expert guidance all wrapped into one package.

When it comes to the inspiration for the camp, according to Jan, “It’s the chance to be with other like-minded runners, the chance to go to sleep-away camp like they did when they were kids, the chance to really focus on their running, the chance to rub shoulders with the GIANT coaches we have…Dick, Joe Henderson, Rich Benyo, and the others.” Jan’s favorite event at the camp is not always planned out, it’s “the unpredictable magic that happens each year as a group of coaches and campers from all walks of life come together on the peaceful grounds of the Rainbow Resort for six days. We laugh, we share, we cry, we bond.”

I had to ask Jan how she knew the camp was a success; and it’s not just the PRs, performance highs, and better skills. She knew it was a success from “the instant feedback we got at the first camp, the tears of joy at the end, and the number of first-year campers vowing to come back next year.”

This year, the camp is completely booked up, but they are exploring the possibility of having two sessions in 2008 in two different locations. The whole idea of the marathon camp is of course to focus your running, but also to take you out of your normal running routine. But, if you can’t attend Dick’s marathon camp, pick up and get out of the grind: go on a running vacation, start your own “mini” running camp with friends, run with new people, or simply pick a new route in your home town. If you can explore new places, and meet new people to share your running experiences, you could become a better runner. Try to think outside the running box, and see what you find. It might be a better mile time, or it could be a new inspiration.

For more information about Dick Beardsley’s Marathon Running Camp visit their site at:

Thursday, July 19, 2007

How to Find the Perfect Sports Bra

For our lady runners out there, how important is the perfect fitting sports bra? Women come in all shapes and sizes, but can all agree that the right sports bra can be the differece between a great workout and a terrible one.

This week on Runner's World, I stumbled upon their Sports Bra Size Finder. This is a pretty handy tool if you're searching for your perfect sports bra for training.


Wednesday, July 18, 2007

Your Running Gear Questions Answered

Tonight from 9-10:00 PM ET New Balance Connections is hosting a live web chat with Shane Downey, a New Balance footwear and apparel expert. He has worked with New Balance for over seven years and is the National Product Training Supervisor. Shane will be answering your questions about proper running gear, finding the right shoe, and maintaining your running gear for the best performance.

Even if you don't have any questions, hear about other runner's experiences and how you can relate Shane's tips to your everyday training.

To participate in the chat, log on tonight at 9:00 PM ET to http://newbalanceconnections.com/ and click on the Web Chat button on the “Gear” page.

Keep in mind you must create an account with New Balance Connections to participate in the chat. It's free and only takes a minute.


Tuesday, July 17, 2007

Half Marathon in my Backyard - an Interview with our Tri-Athlete

This past week I met with Kevin, our resident tri-athlete at NBwebexpress.com to hear all about his half marathon experience over the weekend. July may seem like a ‘not-so-ideal’ time for a half marathon in St Louis, but he decided to go for it despite the heat. Hoping for a temperately mild morning, Kevin conceded “July in St Louis can be a bit extreme and is definitely not too inviting, but with a 7:00am start time, I was hoping for the best.”

The Joker’s Wild Half Marathon consisted of two laps around the six and a half mile loop in Creve Coeur Park, a suburb of St. Louis, Missouri. Each lap had about 1/3 shade and 2/3 of direct sun…very important to a half marathoner the weekend after the 4th of July.

“Last weekend, I walked from my backyard to the start line,” he said. Kevin actually lives within a few miles of the park and puts in most of his training miles there, so it was a no brainer when he heard about the event. Kevin is also no stranger to multiple events and many miles. This year he has already completed the St Louis Half Marathon, a Rec-Plex Quarter Max Triathlon and is ‘in-training’ for the Lake St Louis Triathlon as well as the LaSalle Bank Chicago Marathon. He thought a mid-summer half would be the perfect addition in his training schedule. “After I did the Spirit of St. Louis Half, I thought July would be an appropriate time to do another.”

Once Kevin arrived, he took stock of the runners and began to search for a starting spot. After a bathroom pit-stop, he happened upon the bright colored wigs of the 1:45 pace team. “My St. Louis Half time was 1:46, so I knew that 1:45 would be an aggressive goal considering the heat, but I felt it was right for this race.” At the start, Kevin was accompanied by about 30-40 runners with the 1:45 pace team.

Kevin started out feeling relatively well. The first couple of miles were primarily in the shade and runners in his pace group were chatting away, even having entire conversations as they ran. He was a little taken back by how social the group was, “I was surprised how much people were carrying on during the race.” He answered the typical “Where are you from? What do you do?” questions, but other than a few words here and there, Kevin mainly kept to himself and concentrated on his breathing and gait cadence.

At the halfway point and after a solid 5 miles in direct sun, the original pack of 40 had dropped to 7 or 8 runners. Kevin started to think that he, like the other runners that had pulled back, may have been a bit too ambitious in the 90 degree heat, “halfway through the race I started to think a goal of 1:45 was aggressive... and finally at mile nine, I guess you could say I hit the wall.” The lack of shade and heat got to be overwhelming, and with the 1:45er’s way ahead, Kevin was now running by himself in the sizzling sun. “Each mile felt like 2 or 3 miles worth of effort.” His wife Donna had put together an inspirational song list for his i-Pod, perfectly timed for 90 minutes into the race. But to Kevin’s dismay, no i-Pods were allowed on the course, “Since it was a public park, and bikers would be on the same route, no i-Pods allowed. I could have really used that inspiration about then.”

As he gutted out the final few miles, he thought of his wife and kids cheering him over the finish line. “The last few were killer (hard), and my legs were toast.” His family did not disappoint… as he came down the last stretch he could see his son and daughter holding signs with his wife cheering him on. It was over and he was glad. Now it was time to cool off and relax. He had finished the Joker’s Wild Half Marathon in 1:51, not too bad considering the morning heat and sun. The winning time of the race was 1:15.

Kevin had some tips for runners training for a half marathon; he encourages trying new hydration strategies out before race day, “Whatever you do in your training, feel confident to do on race day! If you are used to eating the goo (energy gel) then eat the goo. You may need more than just water. But only try the gel if you know what to expect from it. Otherwise, I saw more than a few runners drop out with upset stomachs.” He also mentioned that although there were plenty of water stations, with the hot temperature, he needed more to finish, “a lot of the people on the course were having hydration issues.” Always keep hydrated, especially when racing in the hot summer months.

While running in the heat of July might not have been the most desirable experience, Kevin doesn’t regret racing that day. On racing next year? “I’m going to have to say ‘no’ as of today, unless they alter the course (to offer more shade)” But he will keep pressing on for the LaSalle Bank Chicago Marathon on October 7, 2007. His goal is 4:00.

Kevin is an avid tri-athlete with aspirations to complete a half Ironman competition next year, and a full Ironman within the next three years. Kevin resides in Creve Coeur, Missouri, with his wife, Donna, of seven years and two children, Felina (6 yrs) and True (3 yrs).

Thursday, July 12, 2007

Wear Tested - New Balance Tempo Tee and Bonita Run Skirt

Tempo Tee: Over the past few months, I've added the women's New Balance Tempo Tee to my running wardrobe and I can safely say I will never go back to the typical cotton t-shirt.

The Tempo Tee is a great basic piece that really moves with you when you run. It doesn't stick to you as you work up a sweat. The Lightning Dry fabrication does exactly what the name says it will do, keep you dry...fast.

The only downside to the Tempo Tee: if you purchase the white color (which I own) it tends to dull slightly in your typical sweat/heat zones. If you wash it frequently though, you shouldn't have too much trouble keeping it gleaming white.

Has anyone else gone from wearing cotton t-shirts to performance fabrics recently? Quite a difference!

Bonita Run Skirt: I've also added the Bonita Run Skirt to my weekly rotation of running clothes, and this skirt is a cute alternative to typical running shorts. It actually has compression shorts underneath, so it really feels more like shorts than a skirt, but a more casual look for running. It is very comfortable, and the skirt doesn't irritate your middle thigh area like running shorts. The material is quick-drying and very lightweight. The shorts underneath make it very comfortable, even for long distances.

The downside of the Run Skirt: If you have solely worn running shorts, you may have to get used to idea of running in a skirt. It actually looks more like a tennis skirt. After a run one evening, I ran into the grocery store on my way home from the park and someone asked me where I play tennis...it really does look similar to a tennis skirt. But this skirt is definitely made for running with the front pleats for forward motion, than the side pleats on a tennis skirt.

Have any other ladies tried running in a run skirt? Do you like running skirts more than running shorts? I wear both, but the Bonita Run Skirt could be a cute and fun addition to your typical running clothes.


Wednesday, July 11, 2007

A Perfect Time for Training

What time of day is best for running? Really, anytime you can fit it in. Sometimes it's hard to carve out time in a hectic schedule for training, especially for long runs which can take over two hours. A few weeks ago I participated in an online chat about marathon training on NewBalanceConnections.com. Kathy Butler (team New Balance marathoner) hosted the chat and basically said anytime is a good time for running, as long as you do it.

For those runners who get up before sunrise, I commend you! I could never get up, while it's still dark, and run even a few miles. I would rather run in the afternoon in 90 degree heat then get up before 5AM. Typically, I get home from the day, cook dinner, put the little one to bed, then head out for my evening miles. It's really just the cherry on the top of a good day. But in the winter, I'd have to say it's running at night in the gym for me.

Gotta love hearing about other runner's crazy schedules...what is your running regime? Are you a morning or an evening runner? And why?


Tuesday, July 10, 2007

Find Your Arch Type

Before I started working for NBwebexpress.com I had no idea what type of arch I had...well I knew I had one, but I was sure I had a very high arch and could wear any type of shoe on the market; from lightweight cushioning to a stability shoe...I was wrong! It turns out I have a neutral arch and need a supportive cushioning shoe. For years I had been wearing the wrong type of shoes. It explained so much to me; the bad knees, weak ankles, maybe even that not-so-great mile time last year.

Now on NBwebexpress.com we have a new Foot Guide that can help you find your arch type and a shoe to fit your specific needs. So, if you have some free time and are looking for help in finding a shoe that fits right, check it out.


Friday, July 6, 2007

Running Tip - Water Water Everywhere!

Drink water and drink often. For our runners out there I'm sure you have heard this time and time again. But really, how much water should you drink?

Renowned nutritionist Jenna Bell-Wilson advices runners to "drink water every 15-20 minutes during exercise." But she also points out the importance of determining your individual needs before grabbing that water bottle. First you should determine your sweat rate; you can do this by weighing yourself before you run, then weighing yourself again after an hour of running. For every pound you lose in this hour, you need to drink 16 oz of water to replenish.

So, if you weigh 140 pounds before you run and afterwards you weigh 138, you need to drink 32 ounces of water to replenish the loss.

There is more to it than just drinking water when you're thirsty. So keep healthy and drink up!

Jenna Bell-Wilson also just led a nutrition chat forum on NewBalanceConnections.com . Check back frequently to see who will be holding a forum next. Note: You must create an account to have access to the live chats.


Tuesday, July 3, 2007

New Balance 817 - Runner's World Summer Shoe Guide

Don't weigh your feet down this summer with heavy materials and stiff soles, try on something more suitable for those hot summer runs. Runner's World presents their Summer Shoe Guide and among the picks is the New Balance 817.

Although the 817 is a great stability running shoe, Runner's World does tell us that it is not a shoe for everyone, their wear testers explain this shoe is "recommended for heavier runners with flat arches looking for maximum motion control."

One really 'cool' thing about the New Balance 817: the updated sock liner is constructed with memory foam cushioning for a more customized fit; sounds pretty comfortable for those long runs.

So, anyone wearing the 817 for the summer? Runner's World says it is a great motion control shoe but how does it perform on the road?

Monday, July 2, 2007

Western States Endurance Run

June 28-29, 2007 380 runners signed up for 100 miles of grueling terrain at the 32nd Western States Endurance Run. The race began at 5AM in Squaw Valley, California, and ended in Auburn. Nearly 100 miles of uneven and challenging terrain make this race one of the most difficult in the world. If you can believe it, the runners compete for a belt buckle! Those who finished within 24 hours won a bronze!

The winner of this year's race, Hal Koerner of Ashland, Oregon, ran 100 miles in 16:12:16.

It's truly amazing to finish the Western States Endurance Run. Runners not only have to battle the distance but changing climates, challenging mountains, and unpredictable trails.

Congratulations to all of the participants!