Monthly Archives: June 2013

  • Weekend Long Read

    Hopefully you can find the time this weekend to enjoy these articles that we came across and enjoyed this week!

    Lose the Tension: Staying Relaxed While Running | Valerie Hunt at Tabata Times | "The more comfortable I can be with allowing gravity to move me while I just “do nothing,” the more relaxed and comfortable running will be."

    The Extraordinary Science of Addictive Junk Food | Michael Moss at The NY Times | "These would be promoted as more healthful versions, with “fresh fruit,” but their list of ingredients — containing upward of 70 items, with sucrose, corn syrup, high-fructose corn syrup and fruit concentrate all in the same tray — have been met with intense criticism from outside the industry."

    Why Do I Think Better after I Exercise? | Emily Lenneville at Scientific American | "So if you are having a mental block, go for a jog or hike. The exercise might help pull you out of your funk."

    A Popular Myth About Running Injuries | Gretchen Reynolds at The NY Times | "Contrary to received running wisdom, however, those who overpronated or underpronated were not significantly more likely to get hurt than runners with neutral foot motion."

  • Product Review: SKORA Form

    "After a month, the materials are holding up well; the sole appears to have less wear than I would have thought, too. The fit is true to size; I am officially a size 8, right on the line between EE and EEE for width, so I order an 8W from Amazon and receive an 8. After emailing Skora about how to tell the wide from the standard sizes I learned that they don’t make wide sizes, but some retailers carry them as both wide and standard widths because of the wider toe box. As it turns out, I didn’t have any problems with the fit. The asymmetrical lacing follows the natural curve of the foot instead of going straight up the middle, which helps you get the shoe snug without any bunching of the material."

    Read more at Rob's Surf Report

  • Triathlon Transitions

    We asked a couple Team SKORA members about their triathlon transition zones. Here's what they had to say!

    Swimming, cycling, running. Adam Sierakowski, Baltimore

    Those three disciplines take years of devotion to master, but we triathletes must remember that there is one additional discipline that can also make or break our race: the transitions.

    In races where every second counts and we work so hard to ensure that everything goes off without a hitch, we must not neglect the time we spend switching disciplines.

    Transitions are all about being quick. I want to maximize the amount of time spent moving forward on the course with two rules when it comes to transition zones:

    Here's how I plan and set up my transition zone for a race:

    Keep it simple I am admittedly a transition minimalist. I've seen some athletes set their transition zone up with everything but their kitchen sink (though I have a feeling if they could get running water piped out there, they'd bring the sink too). In order to minimize the amount of time I have to spend standing still, I strive to minimize the number of tasks that I must complete between legs.

    For T1, the transition from swim to bike, I attach my cycling shoes to my bike before racking it. This way I can jump on my bike and go as soon as I get out of the transition zone, riding on the course while tightening my shoes. Aside from that, my T1 is bare: my helmet sits on my handlebars with my sunglasses inside.

    For T2, the transition from bike to run, I loosen my cycling shoes while approaching the transition zone, swing my leg over, and come off the bike at a comfortable run pace. I leave my shoes attached to the bike and swap my helmet for my running shoes and race number.

    That's it! To recap, in T1 I have: Sunglasses Helmet Bike + shoes In T2: Running shoes Race number belt By keeping it simple, I make sure to spend as little time as possible standing still.

    Practice, practice, practice We practice swimming, cycling, and running all the time, but I believe many people neglect to practice their transitions. The perfect time for practicing transitions is when cutting back on mileage and intensity in the week before a race. I make sure to put in a workout that contains a handful of repetitions of both transitions before every race. I go to a park, set up my transition zone, walk away, and then run through the motions:

    Run to transition zone Drop swim cap & goggles Sunglasses on Helmet on Grab bike, run with it, then mount Tighten shoes while riding Then I ride a kilometer or two before simulating T2: Loosen shoes and put feet on top of them Slow down, swing leg over, dismount, and run to transition Rack bike Helmet off Shoes on Grab race number belt and buckle it while starting the run Then I run a few hundred meters. I never wear socks while running (even while training) because I want to avoid surprising my feet on race day and causing blisters. Of course, the insides of the SKORA Base and Form shoes in which I race and train, respectively, are so well designed that blisters are hardly a concern to begin with.

    I repeat this process about five times depending on what kind of distance I'm trying to accumulate, making sure to repeat the transitions exactly the same way every time.

    The goal is to leave nothing to think about during the race: you want it to be automatic. By keeping your transition zone set up simple, you minimize the amount of time spent standing still during the race. You also prevent yourself from forgetting anything because there's no extra gear that you intend to leave behind to clutter the area. By practicing the transitions over and over again, you know exactly what to do when you get there, further helping to ensure you remember everything you need. When you've practiced your transitions enough to be able to visualize exactly what you need to do without having the gear in front of you, you're well on your way to making your transitions as efficient as possible. To maximize your forward progress in a race, keep your transition zone simple and practice your transitions often.

    What I keep in my Transition area and why? Jared Fayer, New York

    When it comes to Triathlon transition and what to keep in your own area, my feeling is less is more.

    When you start to put too much in their transition area a few things happen. One is that everything you need gets too cluttered. You start having things in there that you aren’t going to use and this takes up space for the items that you actually do need. The second thing is that you piss off everyone around you who has to share this area. Unless you have your own designated area or bags to keep your transition gear in, the transition area is community property so if you are “that guy” taking up to much space, you are bound to get dirty looks from your fellow competitors and possibly your stuff moved “by accident” when you aren’t there.

    As for what I keep in my transition area, it’s pretty simple. I put everything is the same place for every race I do. You could take a picture of my transition area for every race I do and the only way you would know which race it is is by the race bib with my number on it. This allows you to get familiar with your set up and keep everything consistent.

    Here’s my list in order from the back to the front:

    2 white towels to put everything on, and an orange ShamWow for the front of the toweled area to put my feet on when I come back in the transition zone -Running shoes -Socks- optional depending on how far the run is -My race belt with number on top of my left shoe -A piece of Wrigley’s Spearmint gum on top of my right shoe -Extra Gel sitting towards the heel of my left shoe

    Those items are on the floor ready for me to pick up and roll coming off the bike.

    As for what’s on my bike set up when I come out of the water: -Aero Helmet sitting upside down on my aerobars on my bike -Sunglasses opened and upside down in my helmet ready to be put on -Stick of Wrigley’s Spearmint gum sitting in helmet half opened so I can put it in my mouth quickly. -Triathlon specific cycling shoes already attached to pedals so I can grab my bike and go without wasting time.

    Other miscellaneous items that I have depending on the distance of the race: -Body Glide -Different tinted sunglasses -Water bottle with only 4 ounces in and already mixed in Crystal Light Energy

    Some recommendations that I have for triathletes: -Practice, practice, practice your transition. This is the easiest way to shave some time off your race. I have a friend who during every race he does this out of the water…spends about a minute trying to get his wetsuit off, sits down on the ground to put his socks on then cycling shoes, takes a drink of water, gets up, grabs his helmet to put it on then his bike. His average transition time is just over 4 minutes. Even during a sprint race. He could easily shave time off his transition time by just spending an hour or so practicing what he needs to do. So practice your transition. Do a few dry runs leading up to your races and see what works best for you. If it becomes second nature to you during training, it will be just as fast during the race. -Don’t overcomplicate things. The less you have in your transition, the quicker you’ll be. If you have more than necessary you’ll be tempted to want to use what’s there. So only include what you absolutely need. -If you’re going to wear socks and have to put them on, set them up in your shoes already and have them rolled up so all you have to do is slide your foot in. Don’t leave the sock flat on the ground. So many things can happen to them this way, plus it’s a lot easier to put for your foot in an already rolled up sock than a flat one. -If you can do it on the move, then do it. For example, when you put your race belt on do it while you already started the run. Don’t sit in transition to put your race belt on wasting precious time. Anything you can do while moving will save you time, and ultimately that’s what we all want. -Learn how to do a flying mount. Have you ever seen a big crowd at the bike mount line where all athletes are standing over their bike trying to clip in and blocking the path? One way to overcome this is to already have your shoes clipped in your bike so you can grab your bike, run past the bike mount line and jump on your bike and strap your feet in while you’re already moving. This will save you at least 2 minutes over the course of the race and will get you in front of that big pile up near the bike mount line. Same thing for coming off the bike. Learn how to dismount while still moving, so you can jump off your bike, run to rack it and grab your shoes and go. You should practice this a lot. It takes a while to learn how to jump on and off your bike without falling, so if you haven’t tried it and perfected it, don’t do it.

    With all of that said think of the transition area as part of the race. If you view the area as a break between the swim to bike then bike to run, then you will sit there and relax in the transition area. But the transition area is part of the race. View it as that. Try to get in and out as fast as possible. It’s a race, and the fastest person wins. Let that be you.

    Run Real Everybody!

  • Earndit + Gympact

    Being paid to train is a dream of many amateur athletes.

    Money is a strong motivator. Imagine how much stronger it becomes if you can also be penalized with it.

    During a Mayo Clinic study, participants who were paid or penalized $20 for reaching or failing a weight loss goal were nearly 3 times more likely to even complete the 12 month program than those who had no financial incentives.

    Consider a professional athlete. For them, financial motivation can mean having food on the table or not. If they are consistent and smart with their training, hopefully the reward is good race results and prize or sponsorship money. However if they do not train or race well, there is less financial reward.

    Now, amateur athletes can have a small taste of one of the strongest motivators - Money.

    With Gympact, participants can choose how many days per week they wish to exercise and choose how much money they are penalized if they do not make this goal. Typically if you exercise six days per week your reward may be around $2.50 for that week. Missed days cost you $5 each, and this money is divided out among those that reach their pact!

    Earndit is another great motivator, but it uses credits instead of dollars. These are spent on gift cards from various brands, charitable donations, or entries into drawings for often very good prizes.

    The beauty is both of these can simultaneously use RunKeeper. Most of the Earndit giftcards require a purchase higher than the reward, such as a $100 gift card for a purchase of $175 or more. With enough patience, you can let the Gympact dollars accumulate into a high enough amount that you could use it to pay for the remaining balance on a purchase through Earndit!

    You can use RunKeeper to track distances while outside or use your phone's GPS to log in at a gym location. Either way, you may find a great motivator in these two programs!

    "Over the last 211 workouts I through Gympact I have earned nearly $70, which I have used to purchase a few rewards from Earndit. While not a lot of money, it's accumulating without me doing any extra work. In fact, Gympact has gotten me out for many 30 minute recovery runs that otherwise probably would have been skipped, and I'm glad I did them!" -Kyle Kranz, SKORA Ambassador

  • What to do if you're overtrained

    First we discussed an important method of not becoming overtrained.

    Next was a bit about how to determine if you are indeed experiencing this syndrome.

    Part 3 in our series on overtraining comes if you do indeed find yourself with a case of overtraining. What to do next?

    Stop training Most importantly, you should cease all training for at least a week! Training in an overtrained state is not doing your body, mind, or mood any favors. You must return to your set point before getting back into working out.

    Eat a lot of nutritious food Part of overtraining is that you were not allowing proper recovery. This could be from too much difficult training and not enough easy training, or it could be a result of not providing the body with proper amounts of nutrients and building blocks.

    Sleep It may be that with the temporary suspension of training you have more time to sleep. Human growth hormone is released in generous amounts during sleep. Lack of sleep also increases cortisol, increases inflammation, and decreases immunity.

    Avoid stress Too much stress coupled with inadequate recovery may be the reason you are reading this article in the first place. Manageable stress is good, it stimulates growth and adaptation (in relation to our job, strength, etc) but letting it get out of control is trouble.

    Most importantly, learn. This is where many athletes fail. Mistakes only become mistakes if they are not analized. If you take the time to look back upon a "mistake", it becomes a learning experience!

    You may also like: Chronic "No Pain No Gain" How to know if you're overtrained

  • Weekend Long Read

    While you have some extra time this weekend, we hope you enjoy these long reads!

    Insights into Great Running Posture | James Dunne at Kinetic Revolution | "So what constitutes good running posture? There are many elements from head to toe, in all three planes which on a segmental level interact to create a balanced posture."

    Hacking Plantar Fasciitis | Jason Fitzgerald at Strength Running | "Depending on the severity of the injury, you can usually treat it and be back running with 3-7 days. Within two weeks, you should be back to your normal training."

    13 Things You Didn't Know about Running Shoes | Brian Metzler at Competitor | "The notion that runners should be fit into one of three types of shoes — neutral, stability and motion control — based on how much they pronate was probably always a flawed mechanism."

    What Happens When You Eat 1000 Calories a Day | Matt Metzgar | "To me, this study shows that giving a 1,000 calorie a day diet to a sedentary person is a recipe for disaster."

    The Awful Truth About Jogging | Charlotte Druckman at | "Instinctively, I turned to Facebook, where there’re a solid three-dozen runners in my network (I know this because they won’t shut the fuck up about it)"

    What is Under-Recovery? | Ben Greenfield | "You roll out of bed, shake out the legs and they don’t feel too bad. The shoulders don’t feel tight and restricted. Your eyes aren’t overly droopy. So off to the workout you go. You’re recovered, right?"

  • SKORA Form Review

    "There's no way to describe the ride in this shoe except unbelievable. It's a perfect fit for my wide foot, with a comfortable upper that hugs my foot, but isn't nearly as tight as the PureConnect line, which has been referred to as a second skin by several runners I've talked to. The road feel is something that I really liked about this shoe. In fact, there is very little that I don't like about the Skora Forms. My one complaint is that the leather upper isn't as breathable as some of my other shoes, but in my opinion the sacrifice is worthwhile considering that the upper should have a longer life than a mesh upper. The asymmetric lacing performed as advertised, unlike Brooks' lacing, I had zero hot spots, even after a hasty transition in a triathlon, which involved not being very precise about my tying and such."

    Read more at TriLoveland

  • Why people slow down during marathons

    We all feel amazing at mile 6.

    Yet the all too common and seemingly inevitable occurs.

    The slowing of pace during the second half of a marathon.

    It is almost universally experienced by distance athletes. If you've covered 26.2 miles, you have likely dealt with this yourself. Luckily a single strategy can generally overcome this obstacle.

    But, what causes this slowing, and how can we deal with it? Read More

  • Lightweight

  • How to know if you're overtrained

    There is a very fine line between regular training fatigue and overtraining.

    We've talked about how to avoid overtraining, but what if you find yourself on the edge of falling into it?

    Part of the reason why this is such a difficult subject is because there really is no "edge". You don't wake up one morning and suddenly find yourself overtrained. It happens over weeks and even months.

    Here are some warning signs:

    Failing workouts or not progressing This is where not only having a training log comes in handy, but using this log. Not completing a workout once in a while is normal - it means you are pushing yourself. Even voluntarily ending a workout early is a good sign that you are listening to your body! It's when on a daily or weekly basis workouts are not being completed, an issue may be upon you.

    Working out hard too often & easy not enough Again, the training log comes in handy here, but so does an outside view of your schedule, such as from a coach. Fitness gains are a result of supercompensation, or the training model that the body becoming stronger after a stimulus, to better deal with it in the future. You get broken down but come back stronger than before. However, without enough recovery time between these stimulating workouts, the supercompensation cannot take place!

    You don't feel awesome Frankly, exercise should make us feel like we can fly. Exercise is one of the greatest antidepressants. If you are not feeling satisfaction, happiness, or even euphoria during or after working out, take a step back and re-evaluate what is going on.

    General fatigue Hard training should induce some fatigue post workout. But if you're still tired for many hours after a difficult run or becoming fatigued from workouts that should not leave you fatigued, you've gone past typical workout fatigue and it's now entering your daily life.

    Decreased performance, increased perceived effort Not being able to hit times or splits in workouts or races that you should be able to make, are often clear indicators that your fatigue level is high. You can also compare heart rate and perceived effort over the long term. Your heart rate being low for how difficult you feel you are working is often a warning sign.

    You may also like: Don't go hard or go home Secrets of the Uninjured

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