Browsing Tag

Trail Running


Best Gifts for Ultrarunners and Trail or Road Runners under $25

November 30, 2014

Tis the gift giving season.  If you’re looking to buy an affordable gift for the runner in your life–or aspiring runner–here are 5 Picks under $25 that would make great gifts.


1. Yoga Mat. ($20)  Runners can benefit from integrating yoga into their weekly training regimens. Yoga can help prevent and alleviate running related injuries and pains, plus runners can benefit from yoga breathing techniques and meditation.  A yoga mat is the perfect gift for helping your favorite runner get his or her zen and flexibility on.

2. Yoga Strap.  ($10) Did someone say delicious post-run stretches?  A yoga strap is a great gift to facilitate post-run stretching and recovery.

3.  iTunes Gift Card. (varies)  Whether on the trail, path or treadmill, many runners love running to music. An iTunes gift card makes a great gift or stocking stuffer.

4. Reflective head band. ($10)  A bright, visible, reflective headband makes another great gift for a runner.  Sweaty Bands makes a comfortable head band that will help keep the runner in your life safe and noticed while logging miles in low light conditions.

5.  High Density Foam Roller.  ($15-20+)  At first blush, a foam roller might not seem like a gift that would be well appreciated, but it won’t take long for a novice or seasoned runner to conclude that it might just be the best gift received under the Christmas tree.  Foam rollers are good for recovery, help with sore muscles and can help ward off injury.

Have a great gift under $20 to share?  Leave a note in the comment section.


The Running Library: Hal Koerner’s Field Guide to UltraRunning

September 22, 2014

I’ve been waiting for a quiet afternoon to crack open the cover of Hal Koerner’s Field Guide to Ultrarunning: Training for an Ultramarathon From 50K to 100 Miles and Beyond.  Just moments into the book, I was a little disappointed to discover that the Writer’s Note at the beginning abruptly ended mid-sentence, but I chalked this up to a printing error–perhaps just a missing page, though, hmmm, I did notice two “xvi” pages following.  Bummer.  But putting that aside, Hal’s book is a clear and consise read for someone who is contemplating their first ultra–or for anyone thinking about getting more serious on trails.

The encouraging, how-to tone of Hal Koerner’s Field Guide to Ultrarunning, reminds me of Relentless Forward Progress.  It contains training advice, such as dealing with technical issues, gear, hydration, increasing mileage, including topics such as advice for runners who don’t live near trails and dealing with animals (and yikes! snakes) on trails.  Hal offers valuable “Expert Tips” and discussion questions in shaded text boxs, such as tips about recovery drinks and even an answer to the burning question:  Should I shave?  When it comes to running with dogs, on and off leash, Hal hits the main points that make for lively running forum discussion and Facebook posts, and advises: “be sensitive.”  He talks about using pacers and preparing a crew to help you achieve your goals, race “DNF” disappointment and important topics like dealing with injuries, such as when to bag a race because of one.  He dedicates many pages to race day, including preparation and day-of race advice.  In the last Chapter, he gives the lowdown on training workouts, and includes a 50K, 50Miles to 100K, and 100 Miles plan.

For someone who is super excited about getting into ultrarunning, who has little off-pavement experience or has yet to run longer distances, this books seems like an incredibly helpful addition to the ol’ running library.  However, for someone with a bit of trail running or racing under her/his belt, and who is comfortable off-road, Hal Koerner’s Field Guide to Ultrarunning may offer less in the way of fresh ideas–for example, topics like figuring out how to deal with chafing or going to the bathroom outside may be hardly new.

But regardless of whether you’re seasoned or newly minted, run roads or trails, there’s something pretty sweet about reading the advice and wisdom of one of the best ultrarunners (and one known for being the Happiest, too) packed into a book with a glossy and bright enticing cover.

Hal Koerner’s Field Guide to Ultrarunning is a definite plus for a runner’s book collection.

Hal Koerner’s Field Guide to Ultrarunning
Published August 1, 2014
224 Pages
ISBN-13: 978-1937715229

Happy Running!





Are Trails the New Family Dinner Table?

September 21, 2014

My family spends a lot of time at the kitchen table.  In fact, our family life seems to center around the table.  The homeschooling.  The gagging over having to try one itty bitty bite of lasagne.  The blogging. The countless projects and inventions dreamed up by four children. The silly and not-so-silly conversations about life.  But as central as the table is in our lives, rarely do we all sit down together–at one time at least–to eat a family dinner.

family jogging

Running is increasingly becoming a family affair. Will the trails replace the family dinner table?

Instead I’d prefer to think of trails–and getting active together as a family–as the modern dinner table.  The Family Dinner Project suggests that American families should spend more time around the table, eating dinner together often.  The idea is that, “Most American families are starved for time to spend together, and dinner may be the only time of the day when we can reconnect, leaving behind our individual pursuits like playing video games, emailing and doing homework. Dinner is a time to relax, recharge, laugh, tell stories and catch up on the day’s ups and downs, while developing a sense of who we are as a family.”

Quality, happy time together as a family is probably a good thing–for kids, parents. and society.  So is exercise.  Spending time together where the focus is on fitness, rather than food, seems like a positive thing too.

If shared time around a meal can statistically reduce substance abuse, teen pregnancy, depression and improve self-esteem and resilience, just think of what family time spent outside walking, jogging or running together on trails–or pavement–could do.

More families are making trail running and outdoor endurance sports a family affair.  That’s my family’s goal. That’s also what one Utah family is doing–three of their six children recently competed at the Xterra USA National Trail Championships. I know that runner blogger, VT Runner Mom, is also making getting out on the trails as a family a priority. And there are many other families doing the same.

Is running becoming a family affair for you?  Are trails your new family table?

Happy Running!