Disclaimer: I participated in the FitnessBank Des Linden Spring Step Challenge as part of being a BibRave Pro. Learn more about becoming a BibRave Pro (ambassador), and check out BibRave.com to review, find, and write race reviews!
Have you ever wondered how many steps a two-time Olympian, AND Boston Marathon winner takes in a day? I have.
Thanks to FitnessBank partnering with Des Linden, I can actually find this out.
By joining the FitnessBank Des Linden Spring Step challenge, you not only getting to step along with Des, but have many opportunities to win great prizes, including Brooks running shoes, and free race entries for a year, etc.
You do not need a FitnessBank Bank account to participate to use the Step counter or participate in the challenges.The group on the FitnessBank app is called Des’ Running Group.
I’m a bit of stats freak and track daily steps with my Garmin watch. I was happy to find out that my Garmin account is automatically synced with my FitnessBank account. This means all I need to do is pull up the app and see how I’m doing against the competition!
What a crazy time we’re living in! The gyms are closed, fitness classes are canceled, and cabin fever is rearing its ugly head. A lot of people are looking for alternative ways to keep fit. Walking and running (while practicing social distancing) are some of the activities people are exploring more, and counting steps is a great way to stay motivated.
The actual challenge runs until the end of May, so jump right in now for a chance to win. The FitnessBank step is free, and can be downloaded from the Android and Apple stores.
Disclaimer: I received a Body Helix Elbow Compression Sleeve to review as part of being a BibRave Pro. Learn more about becoming a BibRave Pro (ambassador), and check out BibRave.com to review, find, and write race reviews!
Let me tell you a story.
For Christmas I received a gorgeous new GPS watch. My wife had totally surprised me. She had spent way more than I would have, if I’d have been shopping for myself, and she also played me.
You see, leading up to Christmas, my friend PRETENDED he was looking for a new Garmin watch and was fishing for recommendations. Well, it wasn’t my money, so I recommended the Garmin Fenix series, or the Forerunner 935/945.
Turns out he wasn’t looking a new watch at all! My wife was orchestrating the whole thing behind my back to try and find out what watch I’d like.
The day after Christmas I headed to the track with my shiny new Fenix 5X Plus — the watch of my dreams….
About a mile or so into my workout, I started to get a pain in my left side. I just knew it was the watch, since I used to get similar issues when running with a water bottle in my hand. The Fenix weighed more than twice the weight of my previous Forerunner 230, but it was still only 96g. Good grief! I just needed some time to get used to it, I thought.
I continued to train with the watch, and I continued to end up with more aches and pains. A few weeks in and now I was experiencing pain in my elbow and wrist. This wasn’t getting better.
In the end, after much deliberation, I returned the Fenix 5X Plus and ordered a Forerunner 945 instead. Best decision ever! I still had some pain but I knew the Forerunner wasn’t contributing to that. I just had to let my arm recover now.
As if by divine appointment, an opportunity to test Body Helix compression sleeves came along at exactly the right time. I opted for an elbow sleeve and as instructed online, measured my arm to ensure correct sizing. When the sleeve arrived it fitted perfectly.
I have ran multiple track workouts, long runs, interval sessions, all while wearing the Body Helix elbow compression sleeve. You can feel the extra support as soon as you slide it on.
It was the support my elbow needed. I started to wear it for all my runs and it has been helping tremendously. In only a few short weeks my arm is almost back to normal.
I have been through a ton of compression gear over the last year for different injuries and pains, at times even sending products back because they didn’t fit properly. I have not had that kind of experience with Body Helix. They have definitely helped me, as their tag line states, “move through it”.
Here are some things I really like about Body Helix and their wraps/sleeves:
You can choose from a large range of sleeves for upper and lower body.
Body Helix take fit very seriously! Recently they noticed one customer on Instagram whose sleeves were bunching up. They sent him new sleeves in a better size. That’s amazing customer service!
You can put these sleeves through the washer and dryer with no issues.
The material and build of these sleeves are of very high quality.
The material seems to be fairly breathable and is very comfortable to wear.
Body Helix products are recommended by doctors and rehab specialists.
They are based in North Carolina!
And last, but not least, you can take 15% off your order on BodyHelix.com by using code BH15BR
If you’re still not convinced, or you’re looking for a review on one of the other Body Helix products, check out the following:
Who runs 2.5 miles, eats one dozen Krispy Kreme doughnuts, and then runs another 2.5 miles to the finish — all within an hour? Not this guy…
You see, I already learnt my lesson. I just can’t eat that many doughnuts. I tried the challenge a few years ago and could only manage nine doughnuts before I’d had enough.
So this year I grabbed my box, ate two, then pushed through the crowds and ran on. In the same period, my daughter consumed five doughnuts. I’m saying nothing.
I run this race for the buzzing atmosphere, for the people in ridiculous costumes, and for the puddles-of-puke obstacle course. It’s also for a great cause, with the proceeds going to North Carolina Children’s hospital.
There was one guy, back on the course after the doughnut stop, still trying to swallow multiple doughnuts that he’d crammed in his mouth. He was running with a group of friends. I heard his friend encourage him, “Think about the kids!”, as he continued to gag.
There was two lads in a horse costume, the guy at the back running completely in the dark. I heard someone shout, “any chance of a ride?”. I bet they’d heard this a dozen times throughout the race, but they replied in good humor, “Sure, hop on! It can’t get any worse!”
One other memory is of a poor guy in a Care Bear suit. I was actually worried about him. His face was pained, red faced and he was breathing real loud and heavy. I had doubts he’d make it, but he survived. I saw him at the end.
Disclaimer: I received a pair of Turtle Gloves Lightweight Running Mittens to review as part of being a BibRave Pro. Learn more about becoming a BibRave Pro (ambassador), and check out BibRave.com to review, find, and write race reviews!
While mittens can look like sleeping bags for my hands, don’t be fooled, Turtle Gloves convertible mittens are more functional than they first appear!
If you don’t know already, mittens are generally considered warmer than gloves. This is because our fingers can generate quite a bit of heat when they are together rather than separated by fabric.
If you don’t know already, mittens are generally considered warmer than gloves. This is because our fingers can generate quite a bit of heat when they are together rather than separated by fabric.
The drawback with mittens, is that you don’t have full use of your fingers. Well, Turtle Gloves has solved this by introducing mittens that can convert quickly to expose your fingers.
This is an easy procedure that can be done on the run without the need to stop. I had to do this on practically every run, not because I needed my fingers, but because they were too warm!
I have tested the gloves in temperatures ranging from the mid-twenties to late forties, so the fact my fingers got too warm is amazing because these gloves are so thin.
The particular model I was testing is not available for purchase yet, we were fortunate to try out the prototype. They are made from Polartec Power Dry fabric, which means they are lightweight, moisture wicking, fast drying and water repellent.
And bonus – you can safely machine wash and tumble dry them!
The gloves go up the arm, covering my watch, so I ended up wearing my watch on top of the gloves. This wasn’t an issue at all, since the material is very thin.
I definitely plan to continue using these gloves for the remainder of my winter training. I run outside a lot, and the flexibility of these mittens avoid me having to interrupt an interval session to remove gloves and store them in my pockets. With Turtle Gloves, I can just flip them over and roll them back as needed.
I have a discount code that will take 15% off at turtlegloves.com. Just use code TURTLEGLOVESBR when checking out.
Disclaimer: I received a Road iD Sidekick ID to review as part of being a BibRave Pro. Learn more about becoming a BibRave Pro (ambassador), and check out BibRave.com to review, find, and write race reviews!
What is Road iD?
Road iD is an engraved tag that you wear when you go out for a run (or any other outdoor activity). It contains your emergency contact details and any important medical information, should anything bad happen to you.
I know it’s not nice to think about such scenarios, but when you can bring peace of mind to yourself and those that love you so easily, Road iD makes perfect sense.
I’ve known about Road iD for quite a few years, and have always meant to pick one up. My friend had one she would wear on her ankle. I always thought it was a great idea, but that if I had to strap it on every time I left the house for a run I would eventually forget it.
Fortunately I would never (ever) leave the house without my Garmin. I mean, does it really count if I can’t post it to Strava and the socials?
So when the chance came to test a Road iD Sidekick ID, I jumped at it. The Sidekick ID slides on to my Garmin strap. It has my name, my wife’s number and son’s number on there, should anyone need to make a call on my behalf.
You can also add medical information if applicable, so that first responders can react more efficiently.
Now my Road iD goes with me everywhere. I may forget every other piece of safety gear from time to time, but at least I’ll have my ID on my wrist.
If you’re reading this post on Black Friday (Nov 29th), then you can get a Sidekick ID for only $15.99 with Black Friday savings!
It’s #blackfriday! Get up to 60% off sitewide during the Black Friday sales on RoadId.com! #deals #roadidbr #bibchat
It literally takes minutes to fully customize and order your Road iD, and shipping is so fast. When I ordered mine it was done with the engraving process within the hour and shipped a couple of hours later. Amazing service.
Please Stop My Garmin
I wrote a little poem that I’m going to share with you.
If you hit me with your car because you swerved too close before you think to turn and bolt do please stop my garmin
If you find me off the trail my face down in the ditch don’t you dare just pass on by please first stop my garmin
If you find me in the snow blue and fully frozen please defrost my arm out first so you can stop my garmin
I hope we never meet like this but if we ever do my name is on my road-id my contact details too
So if you have some extra time please call the ones I love but I am thankful most of all that you stopped my garmin
Just to be clear, while I do put grave importance (no pun intended) on stopping my Garmin when I’m not running, in any of the above scenarios, please seek medical assistance first! Thank you! 🤣
First off, Race Across Durham is one of my favorite races of the year, and it’s right here in Durham, minutes from where I work everyday.
This was my third year running RAD, and was a much better race for me than 2018 — mainly because I felt ill on race day and struggled to enjoy the experience as I knew I would have otherwise.
2019 made it all better. Zach and I hadn’t done much trail running to get ready for this race, and were thankful to the course preview runs set-up by Bull City Running and Life Skills Foundation. I believe the second preview run may have been the first time on the Eno in 2019 for us.
Still, we’d decided our number one priority was to enjoy this race, so once the race had started we settled into a conversational pace and did just that.
You never remember the hills until you hit the bottom of it and then exclaim, “yeah I remember this hill now”. That happened multiple times along the course.
The route meanders through the trees, alongside the Eno River, gradually increasing in elevation as we head toward the Eno Rock Quarry.
Around mile 4 we hit the first aid station and stopped for a snack, a drink and a photo. I’m not sure we’ve ever ran a race this relaxed before, and it felt good.
Even though it had rained the day before, the trail was in good shape, not really any muddy areas that I noticed.
At mile 5 a surprise awaited us. There was an unofficial aid station set up with a box of beer sitting on a table. Everyone was just running past. Crazy, I know. Not us — nope. We stopped for some “trail magic”. Thank you very much to whoever left those out.
So we were half way there. The next aid station was not until mile 8.
In 2018 we were missing a bridge or two due to some flooding. This year the bridges were restored, although I kind of enjoyed running through the stream last year.
The last hill up toward the quarry is probably the toughest hill on the course, but it leads up to one of my favorite sections of the course — running over the stepping stones and then along a ridge between the quarry lake and the river.
We stopped and posed for the photographer before crossing the river, and were promised we’d “make the cover” — not even kidding. Maybe even modeling careers might be launched from this. Who knows?
However, it looks like the photo didn’t make the cut to the website, never mind the cover of anything! 🤣
The out-and-back section from 2017 was added back into the route this year, and while the section is not very technical we were beat by that stage and were glad to reach the turning point and run that last leg back to the finish.
We ran through the finish line together, my belly giving me a 1 millisecond advantage over Zach’s time. Lots of snacks and drinks available there while we waited for the shuttle bus back to the after-party. The oranges were amazing!
We didn’t have to wait long to get on a bus. I felt really bad for the driver though as she had to smell multiple bus loads of smelly trail runners all morning.
Disclaimer: I received a Zwift RunPod (to assist me in my review of Zwift Run) as part of being a BibRave Pro. Learn more about becoming a BibRave Pro (ambassador), and check out BibRave.com to review, find, and write race reviews!
I tested the Zwift platform back in December of last year. I declared it was the greatest thing to happen to treadmills, and I still stand by that statement.
This time I have jumped deeper into the Zwift virtual world and have come away with even more appreciation for this form of training. In fact, I am considering buying a treadmill just so I have easy access to Zwift at home.
When testing last year, we had arranged some vitual 5Ks together, and that was fun, but it was only when we started running intervals and progression runs this time around, did I fully realize how effective this training platform could be.
We have been taking part in weekly training sessions on Zwift, called “Turn It Up Tuesdays” (Tuesdays at 7am EST), and these have been amazing.
Instead of just a steady treadmill run, these are interval runs (short intervals were you run faster, sandwiched by recovery periods) or progression runs (starting off slow and ending fast).
Within the virtual world, your route has “check-points” that you run through to complete each part of the training. It will then instruct you what speed to change your treadmill to for the next section. It could not be more straight-forward.
The last Turn It Up Tuesday workout we did was called “6×800 Hill Repeats”. I didn’t think anything of it until the first interval started and I was prompted to adjust treadmill to 2% incline, then 3%, then 4%, and so on.
I saw where this was going and was hoping the gym treadmill would not incline more than 5%. Unfortunately it did, and the final interval was at 7%. It nearly killed me.
I always have that “WHAT a great work-out” feeling after we’ve finished and I’m totally energized and ready for work! I’ve never really had the motivation to work that hard on a treadmill before. It feels more like an interval work-out that I’d have outdoors.
Zwift (@gozwiftrun) really is an effective training platform. I have no doubt about that.
Instead of struggling to view my iPhone screen, I’m using an iPad this time. The bigger screen definitely improves the experience. If I ever get a treadmill at home I plan to run Zwift on an Apple TV and put it up on a big screen in front of me.
The treadmill speed at the gym seemed to align very well with the speeds reported by the Zwift RunPod ($29.99 on the Zwift store) attached to my shoe. So much so, it made sense to use Zwift exclusively to update Garmin and Strava and not use my watch at all (you can connect apps to sync with using the Zwift Companion app).
This approach uploads a map of the virtual area in which you ran. I was able to fool many of my friends into believing I was in New York, running in Central Park. You can check out how the run looks on my Strava profile by clicking the map below.
Zwift will not control your treadmill. Instead, directions appear on the screen, “Increase treadmill speed to 6.2mph”, “Increase incline to 5%”, etc. You have plenty of time to make the adjustments for each part of the workout.
Free To Run
Zwift is still free for runners, so the RunPod (or some alternative footpod) will be your only cost — provided you have access to a treadmill already. If you have a bluetooth enabled treadmill, you may not need a footpod at all.
It does appear at some stage Zwift will introduce a subscription service for running, similar to the model used for cycling. There is no pricing or time-frame information at the moment that I can find.
There are two apps (both available on iOS and Android) that you need to run on Zwift. One is “Zwift Companion”, and the other is “Zwift”. Search for the on your app store of choice. They are free to download.
The companion app is for account/device management and also for signing up to available events — like “Turn It Up Tuesdays!”. You can also give “Ride On”‘s to other Zwifters (the platform’s phrase for passing on encouragement).
The Zwift app is the actual “game” itself. It pairs with Zwift companion when apps share the same network/wifi connection.
Wouldn’t it be cool if…
While there are ample options for customizing your avatar, I wish there were more options to make you more unique and easily identifiable to your friends online.
Or what about allowing users to take their photo and super-impose it on the avatar’s face — see first photo above. 😉
Instead of “Ride On” — something more specific for runners would be very cool.
I was trying to follow along with someone and they took a different path and I lost them. So what about a way of indicating which direction someone else is going so you can follow!
What would you add here?
I think the Zwift (@gozwiftrun) platform is amazing, but wouldn’t it be cool if <insert your idea here>!
I think I’m just about dried out now from running Bull City Race Fest back on October 20th, 2019.
This was easily the wettest race I have ever participated in. The rain was coming so hard at the beginning of the race, that the road at the start line was a literal river, soaking everyone’s socks and shoes.
I’d ran Bull City Race Fest a couple of times before and have always had fantastic weather. Not this time.
There was a poncho in our race packs, which I picked up the day before. This was very thoughtful, thank you! I did wear it while we waited for the race to start, and then threw it away when it was time to run.
I hadn’t run 13 miles since running a marathon back in March. The most I’d ran was 11 miles a couple of weeks prior to the race. So there was a little apprehension as to how I would perform.
Would I be able to run the distance? Would my injury come back? Could I finish it within 2 hours? Why did I not stay in bed? All these questions were running through my head.
You can see from the photo above, I did not manage to finish in under 2 hours. In fact, I was 15 mins slower than the previous year’s race, and 20 minutes slower than my half marathon PR.
In saying that, I was still OK(ish) with the 2:10 finish, and feel that without RunCanvas’ help, it would have been a lot worse. Janell’s coaching prepared me well for this race and I found it very beneficial.
The rain pretty much washed out the usually great after party as well. All I wanted to do was go home. So I grabbed my beer and off home I went.
The rain was not the only disappointing part of this event. I did not like changes to the course this year. There were several turnarounds added deep within a Durham neighborhood. It felt like I was on a training run trying to fit in a couple of extra miles while staying close to my house.
I used to love this race because the route was mainly through the city streets, and it kind of lost that feel this year. I can’t see myself signing up to run it next year, which is a pity. Time to try some other races.
You’ve probably heard the phrase, “practice makes perfect”. Well I’ve found that this is not entirely true, especially if you’re doing it wrong to begin with.
But it’s just running, right? Put one leg in front of the other and keep going. You’ll get better and faster very soon, you’ll often hear.
Nope. The reality is, you’ll see improvement for sure, but after a while you’ll most likely plateau after, or end up injured like me.
Where I Went Wrong
There I was, an amateur runner, training for a marathon with a plan I found on the internet. It seemed to work well initially, but my body started to show signs of fatigue. I stared to skip sessions to recover but then pushed myself on the weekend long runs.
I believe this was my downfall. I did not have enough miles in my legs to be running the scheduled weekend distances. Seven weeks before the marathon my peroneal tendon really inflamed to the point I could not comfortably run over 4 miles.
To make it worse, no-one was able to convince me to hold back, readjust the plan or delay my marathon attempt. Heck, I’d put in all this work already, I was going to run it anyway.
If only I had used a coach to guide me through my first marathon. Someone who could provide a range of strength and core exercises to support my running. Someone who could adjust my plan based on my feedback (good and bad).
It was a few weeks after the marathon that Janell from RunCanvas Coaching reached out to me. Janell is a VDOTO2 certified coach (and also a fellow BibRave Pro), and offers coaching plans via the VDOT platform.
At the time, I had still some penance to endure in the boot, but I was convinced that this was the perfect opportunity to get me back on my feet. In exchange for some online publicity, Janell offered to coach me for an upcoming race. We decided to focus on a half marathon that I’m running on October 20th (Bull City Race Fest).
I filled out Janell’s questionnaire and was sure to provide all the details of my injury, expected recovery and what races I had in my calendar. Janell crafted the first couple of weeks of my training schedule, with full consideration of the injury included.
My biggest fear was pushing myself too hard and ending back in the boot, and to be honest, initially the plan felt like it was pushing me above my comfort levels. I just had to trust my new coach and run with the plan.
It’s safe to say that Janell knew what she was doing. With nearly two months of training complete, I can say my injury is healing very nicely. It’s not 100% yet, and I’m not back where I was fitness or speed-wise, but I still have 6-7 weeks before the race.
Aside from the running aspect of the training plan, I love how Janell incorporates strength training, with exercises specifically aimed at strengthening my peroneal tendon. You don’t get that level of detail in a standard plan you download from the internet!
Janell was also a very flexible with my many “life happens” moments. She was able to rearrange my training schedule as needed, to work around those unforeseen events that can get in the way of training.
I’m in no way a pro runner — not even close — but I want to get better at it. I used to think this could be achieved on my own, by simply running more and more. After this experience, I am now a firm believer in getting some help from a certified coach. I’ve seen it drastically improve the running abilities of friends, and as I’ve mentioned above, it has helped me get back on my feet with renewed confidence.
So without reservation, I have been recommending Janell from RunCanvas to all my running club friends. If you are looking for coach, look no further — speak to Janell today.