The New Brooks Ravenna 8
The Brooks Ravenna 8 now in at USOLE Lakeview! A new redesign making it more streamlined giving a light, smooth ride all while giving mild stability for those that need it! A great shoe for those needing some light stability but don't want a heavy shoe while putting in all those miles!
The New Brooks Launch 4
The Brooks Launch 4 has arrived at USOLE Lakeview! This light weight trainer is newly updated with an extra hit of rubber under the forefoot and a redesigned heel that lets your neutral stride shine. Great for folks looking for a light weight alternative for up tempo runs in training or longer distance races.
Check out the latest USOLE Newsletter! If you would like to receive the newsletter, you can sign up right here @ this website! Enjoy folks!
By Joel Feinberg - Universal Sole Running Store
*City Photo Credit (taken on the run) - Robert (Bob) Horwitz*
Well, it is finally here! Winter has reared it's ugly head already dropping sub-freezing temps on us! This creates a dilemma for many as to stay in-side on the dreaded treadmill "dreadmill" or head outside to collect those winter miles! Well, we are here to say you can run outside in the winter and on most days. Now, we will say that please use some discretion as well because sometimes, it is not the actual weather, but can be conditions such as ice & excessive wind that may keep you inside. Keep an eye on the weather reports and make that call that works best for you. We are going to tell you some tips about how to dress for your run in the winter in Chicago!
By Ben Davis, For Active.com
It's that time of year, everyone. The leaves are falling and the breeze is chilly. People are trading in their tank tops and shorts for blue jeans and long-sleeve tees. It's a great time to be a runner, but it can be a frustrating time if you've just started running and have never had to brave the elements. The number one question heading into the chilly months is, "As a new runner, what can I expect with cold-weather running?"
The short (and most exciting) answer, is faster times. Yes, we run a lot faster in the cold races than we do in the standard, hot-summer month 5Ks and 10Ks, but there are a few things to learn before heading into the snow. First, let me share my worst cold-running experience. On January 17, 2009, I ran my first 5K. When I woke up that morning, the thermometer said 22 degrees, with a wind chill of 19. Having never done anything in conditions like that (I trained on an indoor track), I panicked and put on all the winter clothing I could find. It was a big mistake.
My official getup consisted of the following:
In all likelihood, this won't be your experience, but it does bring me to what you should remember for cold-weather running:
1. You won't need as much as you think you will. My rule now is shorts with short sleeve tech shirt down to 45 degrees and shorts plus long sleeve tech from 45 to 32. Anything below freezing calls for long thermals, shorts, and jacket with gloves (awesome running beanie, optional). As I mentioned earlier, I found out rather quickly that running will heat the body up relatively quickly and more often than not, you'll regret that big puffy coat. Lower body stuff like leggings and tights aren't as suffocating, so feel free to experiment, but err on the side of minimalist up top.
2. That awful lung burn thing after your first few cold runs? Don't worry; it goes away. I can't tell you how many times I tried to "become a runner" in the winter months and got discouraged because of that awful burning sensation when I breathed; there is nothing worse than only being able to inhale half a breath out of fear of popping a lung. But don't worry; you'll get through it. It just takes a couple of runs to get your respiratory system adept to dealing with frosty air.
3. Nine of 10 scientists agree: runners look 50 percent cooler when wearing black gloves. OK, maybe not. But there's no doubt about it; running in the winter is so great because it brings out so many fashion choices. First off, the aforementioned gloves. There's just something about them. You feel faster when wearing them; you feel professional. Next there is the headgear. Women have the trendy headbands and earmuffs and guys have the wintertime beanies. But, again, be your own fashionista. Try new things and mix it up a little bit. Whatever you do, though, don't be the guy running with his shirt off when it's below freezing. People aren't staring because they think you're really awesome... Trust me.
4. Hydration is still important. Yes, you obviously need more water in the summer months when you are sweating up a storm, but don't think that just because it is cold you don't need to hydrate. Ice cold water might be the last thing you want when the temps are low, but just be sure not to skip the water completely. Be smart and be healthy.
Bonus: If you get snow where you are, you have all the water you need; just stop and eat some of the white stuff and go on your way.
Other than that, just get out there and do it. You're going to be faster, and you're going to learn to love it. It might be tough at first, but I guarantee people will envy your willpower when they see you braving the brutal conditions as they pass in their van with the heater at full blast. Anyone can run in the spring, summer, and fall; it takes a true champ to face mother nature in the dead of winter.
There’s a reason trail running is booming in popularity. A few reasons, actually.
By Lisa Jhung - Reposted from Runner's World Magazine
Heading out on a trail instead of pavement is appealing for so many reasons. Escaping into the woods or meadows gives you a nature experience that a road run often cannot, and a trail's softer surface gives your body a break, too.
The benefits of trail running span the physical, mental, emotional, and spiritual areas of your life. And doesn’t that cover pretty much all of it? Here are a few ways trail running is good for you and some tips on how to get started.
“With knee pain, especially, and ITB syndrome, shin splints, and any other condition that is worsened with increased impact," says Dr. Levin, "the lesser impact of running trails is going to feel better than pavement. Trail running may be more beneficial for preventing most forms of tendinitis; however, there is some evidence to suggest that running on a harder surface would be less aggravating for Achilles tendinitis."
Good for Your Brain
Trails provide an undeniable escape from what can be an otherwise hectic day. Eliminate the outside environment of cars and other city noises and import sounds of birds and trees rustling in the wind, and you’ve got an entirely difference experience.
“Spending time in nature can give a person a spiritual connection,” says Shoshona Bennett, a clinical psychologist who specializes in treating women with postpartum depression. “You feel like you’re connected to something bigger, and that’s Mother Earth. When a woman [or man] looks at the trees, the birds, the sun, it’s very grounding."
Proceed, With (Some) Caution
A trail doesn’t have to be steep, rocky, or riddled with roots to be called a “trail” or to give you any of the benefits of mind and body. Simply finding a non-paved surface, like a packed dirt road, wood-chip-covered path, or Rail Trail, will allow you to ease up on your joints and enjoy nature.
Dr. Levin recommends running a flat trail at first before graduating to a more challenging route with uneven surfaces or changing incline. Once you do start venturing onto technical trails, take heed.
“You have to be a little more on guard as far as to where you’re stepping,” Dr. Levin says. “There’s a higher risk of acute traumatic injury, like an ankle sprain.”
However, running on an uneven surface can make you stronger overall. “You’re going to be recruiting more of the smaller, more stabilizing muscles that we rely on for proprioception and balance, especially around the ankles,” Dr. Levin says.
And when making your foray into trail running, “Don’t push at the beginning,” he says. “Let yourself progress.”
But don’t let trails intimidate you. After all, it’s just dirt.
Tips On Running Safe By Todd Williams From RunSafer.com
BE AWARE OF YOUR SURROUNDINGS
No matter where you go to run, jog or walk please make sure you're always aware of your surroundings. It's so easy to get complacent and forget to be diligent about your safety....make sure it's a priority every time out!
When you head out the door to run, jog or walk please make sure you have personal ID attached to you. Hopefully nothing ever happens but having your information just in case of an emergency could possibly save your life! The Have The Drive Emergency ID is one of many great products on the market that you could utilize for your safety!
WALKING THE DOG
A simple but effective deterrent while out running, jogging or walking is your friendly dog : ). Potential assaults are less likely to happen when Fido is attached to your wrist barking as someone that shouldn't be there comes too close. Please make sure the dog is trained and doesn't drag you into harms way though. I have a German Shepherd mix and he will make sure I'm safe if he feels harm is approaching.
Many people drive to the location where they will walk or run. Please be aware of your surroundings when pulling into a parking lot. If you're the only one there or if someone is in the area that gives you a gut feeling that something isn't "right" then leave and go to another place to run that day. Never be complacent about your personal safety!
If anyone approaches, confronts or in worse case scenario they put their hands on you and you feel you may be in danger try to have a name in your head you can start yelling out! If you could possibly plant the seed of doubt in their head someone is near by they may leave you alone without having to physically fight them or use a weapon!
BE SMART LISTENING TO MUSIC
When I was training for the Olympic Games I never listened to music but now I listen to anything to get me through that run. I see many runners and walkers with their headphones on not paying attention with their music blasting which is a big mistake. Please try to keep your volume down to a level where you can hear everything around you or only use one ear bud. This way you are better aware of other individuals, bicycles or vehicles and can react much faster if they enter your personal space….TURN IT DOWN!
GO WITH YOUR GUT FEELING
When preparing for your run, jog or walk please try to remember to listen to your gut feeling. We've all been in situations where we need to pay attention to our surroundings and make smart choices about our personal safety. If it's choosing another training route because of lack of people in the area or picking a different parking spot because no one is around those are the smart choices to make to keep you out of potential trouble…. Go With Your Gut!
POWER IN NUMBERS
As we all know, running can be a very enjoyable experience, but it can also be a dangerous one.
When preparing for your run, always try your best to select a route that's going to be populated with many other runners, joggers and walkers. I know from experience that it's easy to find yourself completely alone and vulnerable when you're out there, but it's critical for you to do your research and exercise around others. If you enter a park or trail that you usually run, but no one is around, make the choice to find another location! A dangerous encounter is less likely to happen when you make this choice instead of being alone.
By Mile Posts (Women's Running Magazine) Published Sep. 5, 2014 Updated Mar. 2, 2016 (Guest Blogger)
Growing up my parents would always say to me – it’s not YOU we don’t trust – it’s other people.
I’ve often reflected on this statement as a mother and as a runner. When it comes to being safe out on the roads, I’m not worried about myself. I’m worried about what other people will or won’t do and how their decisions may affect my safety. I believe that as a runner, especially a female runner, I must not let my guard down when running at times of the day that are less safe than others. It’s when we get comfortable that we are most susceptible to being attacked. It’s when we are in a comfort zone that we are more likely to not pay attention to drivers or other such hazards.
I personally have had run ins with crazy people in cars. I’ve had people swerve towards me while I was pushing my kids in the running stroller, and sadly I saw a woman who died from being hit and dragged by a trash truck not 15 feet from the front door of my townhouse. These incidents have kept me on my toes while running, so to say. I know that keeping myself safe is my priority. I can’t rely on others to see me or for people to act in a manner that they should.
Here are some of my tips for staying safe on early morning runs – though many of these tips work for other times as well!
Let someone that you know when you are going for a run – In the early morning hours, it’s important for someone to know what time you left your house and around how many miles you plan on running. Heaven forbid, if you didn’t come back home, you want someone to be able to establish a timeline for when you went missing. Telling them how many miles you planned on running or about how long you plan on being out there keeps your loved one or friend from worrying about you too soon. If you don’t have anyone in your life you can text or tell, then leave a note at your house for someone to find later should you go missing.
Don’t be a predictable target – I don’t post on social media before I am about to go for a run. I leave for my runs at a different time each day and I never run the same route two days in a row if I am running when it’s dark and early. I don’t want to have a routine that someone else could memorize. I certainly don’t want to give anyone I don’t know a heads up when I am leaving for a run. In the past I would post on my blog my weekly training log. I do not do this anymore for safety reason.
Mix up your pace – This is along the same lines of don’t be a predictable target. Don’t run the same amount of mileage every day at the same pace. If someone is going to attack you and it’s a pre-meditated act, you don’t want them knowing that you do the same 6 miles at a 9 minute pace every day.
Do not carry mace – Some of you are going to argue with me on this one but I think it’s very dangerous to carry this type of item in an early morning hour. There is a strong likelihood that someone attacking you is either stronger than you or is possibly on something from the night before. I think the chances of this item being turned and used against you is high. If something were to happen to you, you need your eyesight and all your senses functioning as well as possible.Do not run with music – I wish I didn’t even have to say this one but sadly it needs to be said. I’ve been out running at 4:30 the in the morning and seen women totally tuned in to their music who didn’t even notice me until I was right in front of them. I’ve seen women listening to music this early but running with their dog, assuming that the dog will keep them safe. Assume nothing. You need your senses to be functioning fully in the morning. Since you may not be able to see as well as you would during the middle of the day, consider your ears a gift. You need to hear what’s going on around you or who might be coming up behind you.
Make a wise decision about reflective gear – As a runner and coach, I do not believe that you should wear reflective gear on every dark run. Based on where and when I run, I’ve made the decision to not wear this gear. I want to blend in as much as possible and not stick out for anyone who may be up to no good. There aren’t many cars out at the time I run, and I assume that every single one of them can’t see me. I get off of the road and hop on to a sidewalk if I see a car coming. I wait at cross walks till a car passes. I am proactive in my safety.
Wear ID – My ID of choice is a RoadID that I wear on my wrist. Make sure you have the numbers of people who can be reached when you are out running and make sure to include pertinent information. Quotes and such are cute but they aren’t going to help save your life.
Say HI to other runners – A runner is more likely to remember seeing you and where they were when they saw you if you say hi. If something terrible were to happen, you would want people to be able to come forward with details that might help authorities. In the early morning hours of 4 am, you will likely only pass a few people. This tactic doesn’t work as well when you are running during periods of time where they are tons of runners out.
Carry your phone – Once upon a time I thought this was ridiculous. I was proactive in my safety, I don’t typically stop on runs – so pictures were out, and I certainly wasn’t going to be talking on it or texting while running. So why would I need a phone? These days I carry it with me on most runs and I feel safer. I’ve gotten lost on a run before and fought back tears and tiredness as I ran 10+ more miles than planned. I have debated knocking on someone’s door and asking to use their phone to call my husband (I didn’t). If I had my cell phone with me, I would have been able to call and he wouldn’t have been at home worrying why it had been hours since he last saw me when I had told him I was only running 6/7 miles.
Don’t worry about being politically correct – I realize by even putting this as a bullet some of you are going to gasp. It’s the truth. If you get a funny feeling in your stomach for whatever reason, do not worry about offending the person who is giving you the feeling. Your safety is more important than not turning around and running the other direction because a stranger made you feel funny. I’d rather offend someone I don’t know in the moment and be safe than to make a really bad decision and have it cost me my life. It may sound dramatic but the world isn’t always the safest place. Your safety lies in your own hands as a runner.
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Staying hydrated is critical to your running performance and, more importantly, for preventing heat-related illnesses. Dehydration in athletes may lead to fatigue, decreased coordination, and muscle cramping. Other heat-related illnesses, such as heat exhaustion and heatstroke, have even more serious consequences. Runners need to pay attention to what and how much they’re drinking before, during and after exercise.
If you're doing a long run or race (more than 8 to 10 miles), it's important to make sure you're well-hydrated during the few days leading up to your long run. You know you're well-hydrated if you pass large volumes of pale urine at least six times a day. In the days leading up to your long run (or race), drink plenty of water and nonalcoholic fluids. Not only does alcohol dehydrate you, but it can also prevent you from getting a good night's sleep. It's not a good idea to run with a hangover because you'll most likely be dehydrated when you start running.
An hour before you start your run, try to drink 16 to 24 ounces of water or other non-caffeinated fluid. Stop drinking at that point, so that you can void extra fluids and prevent having to stop to go to the bathroom during your run. To make sure you're hydrated before you start running, you can drink another 4 to 8 ounces right before you start.
Drinking on the Run
Here's a general rule of thumb for fluid consumption during your runs: You should take in 4 to 6 ounces of fluid every 20 minutes during your runs. During longer workouts (90 minutes or more), some of your fluid intake should include a sports drink (like NUUN or Gatorade) to replace lost sodium and other minerals (electrolytes). If you don't have access to water on your running routes, you'll have to carry your own fluids with you such as the Amphipod Hydration Belts! When running in the race, water and sports drink should be on course, but never expect it as it is best to continue to have your hydration belt with you as well and full of your favorite fluids.
Don't forget to re-hydrate with water or a sports drink after your run. You should drink 20 to 24 fl oz. of water for every pound lost. Post run hydration should begin immediately after you run to start to replace those essential electrolytes and nutrients lost. Also, if you are able to get out of the sun & heat as well to begin the body cool down as well (if not doing a small run to cool down from a workout). Keep replenishment fluids going all day event when not working out or after workout.
By Jon Marcus Via, Runner's World - Wednesday, March 9, 2016, 2:36 pm
Locals wandering in from the Over Easy diner lately have been asking the employees of the Colorado Running Company what they’ve heard about the competition across town, 4.4 miles away. They mean the Boulder Running Company, which has been bought up by a company called RSG, or Running Specialty Group. Like the other 71 stores RSG has acquired in 16 states and the District of Columbia, it soon will change its name to JackRabbit.
And that’s been getting runners’ attention.
“They’re starting to realize it’s not the same store and not the same people,” said John O’Neill, co-owner of the Colorado Running Company, which is in Colorado Springs. And when customers do ask about this, O’Neill said, “My staff is instructed to say, ‘We’re local. We’re not owned by some chain out of New York City.’”
In fact, RSG is based in Denver. It, in turn, is owned by Finish Line, Inc., a publicly traded footwear, apparel, and accessories chain headquartered in Indianapolis with more than 600 stores.
Whatever the addresses of these big players in the $3.3 billion-a-year athletic shoe business, O’Neill is not the only independent running retailer keeping a wary eye on them.
A market levels off
Local running stores face this new threat from industry consolidation at the same time as they’re being squeezed by flattening sales. The number of specialty athletic footwear stores peaked at 1,343 in 2007, but declined to 1,254 by 2012—the last period for which the figure is available—according to the Census Bureau.
It was 2012 when RSG began to buy up individual stores and small chains across the country, ranging from Roncker’s Running Spot (four Ohio locations) and Garry Gribble’s Running Sports (five Kansas stores) to VA Runner in Fredericksburg, Virginia, and JackRabbit Sports in New York.
Other big companies have also gotten into the race. Fleet Feet, whose locations are mostly franchised, now has 162 locations, up from 138 in 2014. Dick’s Sporting Goods opened TrueRunner stores in Pittsburgh, St. Louis, and suburban Boston. The Sports Authority spun off S.A. Elite.
And with growing online competition—the proportion of running shoes now being sold online is 18 percent, up from 12 percent in 2010, the National Sporting Goods Association reports—this has pushed the share of total sales left for independent local retailers down even further, from 4.7 percent in 2010 to 3.9 percent today.
“We do have to work at it harder than we ever have, not just to remain relevant, but to stand out and maintain our uniqueness,” said Kris Hartner, owner of the Naperville Running Company in Illinois and a 30-year industry veteran.
It would seem at first look as if there’s business enough for everyone. The number of serious runners—those who have entered and finished an organized event—has nearly tripled, from 6.9 million in 1995 to nearly 19 million now, according to the industry association RunningUSA. But that huge increase has been flattening out in the face of new interest in such fitness options as stationary cycling, CrossFit, and yoga.
“The number of running participants has just skyrocketed over the last 10 years, but over the last two years that’s plateaued,” said Parker Karnan, a consultant to running retailers. “And now we’re seeing the market catching up with that.”
This has taken a particular toll on small shops owned by avid runners who almost consider them a hobby, Karnan and others said.
“You might lose a little of that store [with comparatively low annual sales] where the guy just came back from a run himself and you’ve got a bunch of guys sitting around and talking about running all the time—that may not continue,” Karnan said.
Can runners tell the difference?
Many runners may not notice. RSG’s stores try to provide “the same core brand experience with a unique community tie,” said Frank Pruitt, the company’s senior vice president of brand strategy and consumer experience.
That means customers get the feel of an independent running store with enough buying power to make sure they find a shoe they want, when they need it, in their size.
When a new shoe is launched, for instance, and there aren’t enough pairs to go around, it’s likely customers of the stores under the RSG umbrella still can get it through the parent company’s network—something they couldn’t do at an independent store.
“We see that as a distinct advantage for us,” Pruitt said.
Advocates of independent running stores countered that their strength is in actually being local—supporting local running clubs and road races, for example.
“Beyond the service that the locally owned specialty running stores provide, it’s their community outreach and investment in the community that sets them apart,” said Terry Schalow, executive director of the Independent Running Retailers Association.
“They’re investing right back into the local community,” Schalow said. “That might not be the case with a specialty store that’s owned by a chain that’s 1,000 miles away.”
But RSG’s stores do the same things, Pruitt said. Its JackRabbit locations in New York, for instance, in partnership with Nike, threw a 10-mile shakeout run before the New York City Marathon. And the company has been careful to continue many of the local running-club events and fun runs sponsored by the other retailers it has acquired.
Schalow conceded that some customers won’t care who owns the store. “There’s a certain number of consumers out there that, if it looks like, and sounds like, and smells like a specialty running store, it’s a specialty running store,” he said.
Suppliers, too, have been affected, said Sally Bergesen, CEO and founder of Oiselle, which has elected, for now, not to sell to RSG.
Doing business with just one buying department instead of 72, “theoretically would be a great advantage,” Bergesen said. “Better to hit one target instead of  separate ones.”
But big companies “basically use their size and their distribution and buying power to just get everything they can out of the vendor, which can mean everything from demanding discounts on orders to wanting really long payment terms. In general, it’s very difficult for smaller brands to operate that way,” she said.
Beside, she said, “People like their local running store. The local running store that I’ve been shopping at forever in Seattle, I’d be really sad if they were purchased and rebranded. There’s been this across-the-board disregard for the role of the independent running store.”
Pruitt said the RSG stores do make an effort to support small and local suppliers, notably in the offerings of their nutrition departments, and carry products from not just the best-known athletic shoe and apparel makers, but also from companies including Deckers Brands, which makes Hoka One One.
Widening their appeal
Differentiating from larger competitors is up to the independents themselves, O’Neill said.
“We had it so good for so long that you used to be able to just hang ‘Running’ above your door, and people would walk in,” he said. “We’ve had to become much better businesspeople.”
O’Neill said that stores like his must widen their appeal beyond obsessive runners.
“We have to be unintimidating and try to attract that person who runs 10 to 15 miles a week. That’s where our growth can come from,” he said. “That’s really the audience we need.”
He’s an optimist, said O’Neill, a former collegiate runner. “When you own a retail store, you have to be.”
So is Karnan. Strong independents, he said, will also start to pick up smaller ones. And “the impact on the consumer is that, in the long run, the stores that are left are going to be great, great stores.”
The independent shops are also adding employee benefits, raising pay—and doubling down on service. “You have to provide the customer experience, and that’s what I believe people who love and have a passion for running appreciate about us,” Hartner said.
As for that store 4.4 miles away from O’Neill’s that will soon change its name to JackRabbit? “I’ve always been of the impression that, if we all work together to grow running, we’re all going to win, and I view RSG buying up stores as a huge, huge opportunity to me and my independent store,” O’Neill said.
“Bring it,” he said. “I’m not afraid of them at all.”
* * *
For an in-depth look at specialty shoe stores, see Runner’s World May issue feature “Do You Have That in Joy?"
UNIVERSAL SOLE - a grass roots running events company (which had roots of close to 20 years as a running specialty retailer) offering information on running shoes, gear, accessories & overall fitness trends.