Protein and Running

As runners, it’s important to get enough protein while training.  Protein allows us to recover quicker and stay healthy.

As someone who doesn’t always run from home and is constantly on the go, I’m always looking for portable sources of protein.  It’s impossible to just bring a steak around in my pocket.

That’s why when I was contacted to work with two companies I purchase from frequently: Quest Protein and Vitamin Shoppe, I jumped at the opportunity.  I shop with both routinely and have for years.

Thinking out loud, finding a portable protein bar can be tough but finding one that actually tastes good can be tougher!  I’ve pretty much tried every protein bar on the market and some taste like glorified cardboard.

A couple of years ago when staying with good friends Danielle and Amelia, I had several Quest bars in my backpack.  We all went out for dinner.  While we were away, their cats got into my bag and ate several of them.  What can I say, who doesn’t like Quest bars?

Quest cereal bars are just as good as their regular protein bars. The Quest ‘Beyond Cereal’ Bar has all the sweet crunch of a junk food cereal bar, but with the incredible nutritional profile you know you can expect from Quest.  When I’m training, I like to make the most of calories.  While I don’t stress about it, I would rather have a more healthy protein bar versus one with empty calories.

Each bar contains the following:

  • 110 calories and 12g protein
  • 2-3g net carbs
  • 6-7g fiber
  • 8g of Allulose a new naturally occurring sweetener found in figs, raisins & dates.runners and protein

Why do Runners Need Protein?

Protein is made up of essential amino acids.  It does more than help repair muscles after a hard workout. Protein isn’t stored for later use which means unlike fat and carbohydrates, there is a limit your body can use at one time. That’s why it’s important to spread out the amount of protein you get daily, versus having it all in one sitting.

runners and protein

What Does Protein Do?

  • Plays a role in cell repair and production
  • blood clotting
  • fluid balance

How Much Protein Should You Have During Training?

While training, it’s important to have between .55 grams/pound-.75 grams/pound.  Will you hit that every single day?  No.  Should you stress about it? No.  It’s just a guideline.

For comparison, I’m 130 pounds try and get about 70-100 grams of protein daily but I don’t track it everyday.

Personally, I like Quest Cereal Bars because they are quick and taste good. The new cereal bars are chocolate, waffle, and cinnamon.  All three are delicious, but given a choice, my favorite bar is the waffle. I don’t have to worry about storage, and I can pull one out while at work as well.

Questions for you:
Where do you get your protein from?
Do you snack often or are you a three meal a day type of person?

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Brooks Launch 4 Shoe Review

The Brooks Launch 4 has quickly become a staple in my running rotation.  A month ago, my second pair of Launch 3 were getting beat up, so I needed a new pair of shoes.  I enjoyed the Launch a lot, so I decided to introduce the Launch 4 into my rotation.

Brooks is not paying me to review their shoes and I purchased the shoe myself.  All thoughts are my own!

Fit:
The fit of the Launch 4 has a few significant updates including fewer seams and it’s wider!  I barely wore a women’s size 10 in the Launch 3, and now a size 10 in the Launch 4 feels great.

Brooks Launch 4 Shoe Review

Feel:
The Launch 4 includes an entire extra strip of rubber at the bottom.  There are now 5 rows of rubber versus 4.  This means it’s more responsive to different forms of running. Brooks Launch 4 Shoe Review

The extra strip of rubber helps forefront cushioning as well as a smoother roll from the toe off.  What does this mean?

It feels like a smoother, less clunky shoe from the 3 (not that it ever felt clunky).

Weight: 9 ounces
Drop: 10 mm

Pros:

  • Cheaper: The Launch 3 was 110, and the Launch 4 is 100
  • More forefront cushion and deeper treads

Cons:

  • I have yet to find any

Current Shoe Rotation:
Saucony Freedom ISO (Long Runs, daily runs)
Brooks Ghost 9 (Long runs, daily runs)
Brooks Launch 4 (daily runs, tempos)
Saucony Type A (workouts)

Question for you:
What shoe are you currently running in?
What is your all time favorite shoe?

Should You Race in Racing Flats?

As requested, I’m continuing the series of questions and thoughts from working in the running store.  If you have any questions or topics you would like answered, feel free to ask below.

Week 1: Common Questions Asked
Week 2: Today: Should You Run in Racing Flats?

As most readers know, I train in heavier and more cushioned shoes. Right now my favorite trainers are the Brooks Ghost and Saucony Freedom ISO.

Thinking out loud, when I race and do speed work, I use a lighter shoe.  Since I run high mileage, during daily runs I like the extra cushion and weight to keep me healthy.  Personally, it makes me feel more comfortable while training.

This post, however, is about racing flats!

How did I get started in racing flats? In college, we raced in spikes.  A spike is just a very light weight shoe with spikes at the bottom. Since college was on cross country courses, the spikes served to grip dirt and grass better.  Athletes running on the track also use spikes.

Spikes are similar to a soccer cleat.  You can’t run on pavement in spikes, or it wears down the actual “pointed spike, ” and they’ll break.

During the offseason and after college, I also wanted to race in a light weight shoe. I feel faster when I run in flats, and typically I do run faster.

There is no point in training in a flat because the goal of an easy run is not to run fast.

For comparison purposes, the average weight of trainers are about 10 ounces versus the average weight of flats are 5.

The first flat I ever purchased was the Nike Waffle. It was the exact version of the spike I used to race in (but without the spike plate in).

I’ve run every distance from a 1-mile race to my first marathon (which was dumb). To be honest, I raced my marathon in that shoe because I didn’t know any better. While I didn’t get injured from it, I will never do that again.  Most people (myself included) need more cushion during a marathon.

After realizing I liked a little bit more cushion in my racing flat than the waffle, I graduated to the Nike Streak Streak (I’ve gone through several models of both 1 and 2). The shoe is much softer and only weighs an ounce more than the waffle flat.

Keep in mind, what works for me might not work for you and it’s important to find a shoe you are comfortable in.  Out of any racing flat, I’ve had the Nike Streak LT racer has been my favorite (and no, Nike is not paying me to say that).

Recently, I’ve been running more in the Saucony Type A.

So now that I’ve given my personal background why choose to race in flats?

With less weight on your feet, it’s easier to run and increase your turnover. Think about it, less weight (to an extent…) produces faster times.  Carrying an extra few ounces on your feet for thousands of strides really adds up.

Disadvantages of Flats:

  • You are more prone to injury: since there is little to no cushion in a flat, you are more susceptible to injury.  Think about those who train solely in Nike frees or minimalist shoes…that is why it’s not a good idea to train in flats. If you train all of your runs in flats, you will probably hurt yourself.
  • It also takes longer to recover because your feet are taking more of a pounding from the pavement. I’ve always found myself sorer after racing in flats.

How to Get Started in Flats:

As most people know, I work in a running store and tell people the same thing whether it’s kids going to their first XC race, customers at work, blog readers or whomever…you have to slowly work into them.  

Don’t go run a 5k, half or marathon in new shoes. 

I recommend first trying a few SHORT training runs and seeing how you like them.

First try a (fast) mile, then 2 miles…then race a 5k.

Once you have raced a few 5ks, try longer distances.

I can’t emphasize enough how important it is not to just jump into a race wearing flats. Not only are they a brand new shoe from your trainer, but flats are drastically different shoe than what most people train in!

If you go from never using a flat to racing a distance event, you run the risk of injury.

Personally, I love the feeling of racing in a different and lighter shoe.  I have no plans to change that!

If you have anymore questions feel free to ask away.  I really enjoy the benefits of racing in flats.  I do alway feel faster and stronger.

Questions for you:

Do you race in flats?

What advice would you give someone beginning to race in flats? 

Saucony Freedom ISO Shoe Review

While living in Alabama, I committed one a runner sin.  I was underprepared shoe wise for 6 weeks.  While I could have gotten a pair of shoes I’ve already run in, I decided to try the Saucony Freedom.  Before leaving, I had tried them on at work. They seemed like they would be a good shoe for me.

This is the first model so there is nothing to compare it too.  I have run in multiple other Saucony shoes including the Kinvara, Zealot ISO 1 and 2, Ride 9 and Triumph ISO 1 and 2.

The Freedom uses Saucony’s signature Everrun material.  It is the first of the line to use the Everrun at the forefront of the shoe.  What does this mean for me? As someone who strikes extremely far to the front, there is plenty of cushion up there too.  There are actually very few shoes with a full length cushioning in the forefront too (most shoes have a lot of cushioning in the heel and it tapers to the front).

Fit:

Just like the Saucony Triumph and Zealot, the Freedom uses the ISO fit.  It fits more like slipper than an actual shoe.  I find the ISO fits my foot better but the shoe does run short.  Typically I wear a size 10 but I found the 10.5 to be the best fit.  I even contemplated doing an 11 or a men’s size 9 because I could use more width.  I would recommend going up at least a half size if not more.

Ride:

This was definitely interesting.  I could feel the extra cushion in the forefront immediately.  My first run in the shoe was an easy 7 miler.  It felt comfortable the moment I put it in on.  It was soft, yet responsive and the extra cushion for my metatarsals was immediately noticed.

me running

Pros:

  • More cushion in the forefront
  • Light weight

Cons:

  • Sizing
  • Cost ($160 makes it one of the most costly neutral shoes on the market)

Similar options:

There aren’t a lot of options with extra cushion in the front.  Both the Saucony Kinvara and Zealot ISO 2 have a 4mm drop and are the closest by far.  The Asics Nimbus or adidas Energy Boost has a good amount of cushioning in the front as well.

Current Shoe Rotation: 
Saucony Freedom ISO (long runs, daily runs)
Brooks Ghost (any run)
Brooks Launch (shorter runs, speed work)
Saucony Type A (speed work)

Questions for you:
Where do you wear out a shoe first?
Which shoes are you currently running in?

 

adidas Supernova Shoe Review

The adidas Supernova is a brand new shoe from adidas.  It replaced the Adidas Glide.  I never ran in the Glide, but I have run in the Energy Boost which I liked.  Boost is the material that adidas chooses to construct their shoes out of.  It’s a much more “bouncy” shoe, and it reminds me a lot of Newtons (which for anyone who read my blog in 2010-2012, I almost exclusively ran in).

Fit:
Like with the energy boost and almost all of the adidas line, adidas fit narrow.  The shoe is seamless so if you have wider feet (like myself), then it will stretch to fix your foot.  However, it does run narrow.  In most models of shoes, I wear a 10 wide.  In the adidas Supernova, I wear a 10.  The 10.5 was too long, and the shoe does not exist in wide.  It fit pretty well, but if there were a wide, I would have gone that route.

adidas supernova shoe review

A huge plus is that the shoe is seamless.  You don’t have to worry about the shoe rubbing bunions, or if you have a high instep, it won’t rub there either.

Ride:
The boost material in adidas shoes makes them much more bouncy and responsive.  The heel is well cushioned where the forefront of the shoe has less boost and is more responsive.  With every step, I felt propelled off the ground as the boost material responded.

The Supernova Glide is a great option for those who want a lightweight but want to stay in the adidas line.  Especially for someone currently training in the Energy Boost and wanting a lighter shoe to race or do speed work in.

Another bonus about adidas is they use Continental tire rubber at the bottom of their shoes.  There is more traction than several other brands. It was my shoe of choice when running outside in any conditions with possible ice.

adidas supernova shoe review

Similar Shoes:

Brooks Launch, Asics Nimbus, ON Cloud Surfer, Saucony Ride

My Current Rotation:
Brooks Ghost 9 (easy runs, long runs)
Saucony Ride 9 (easy runs, long runs)
adidas Supernova
Saucony Type A (speed work)

I like the adidas Supernova a lot, I just wish it came in wide!

Questions for you:
Have you run in adidas before?
What is your favorite running shoe?

 

Brooks Ghost 9 Shoe Review

I haven’t had a shoe that impresses me during my first run like the Brooks Ghost 9 in a while.  I am shocked of how much I like the shoe.

The Brooks Ghost is one of the staple running shoes in the industry.  At our store, it’s one of the most popular neutral shoes. Brooks is also a great company to work with too. For no real reason, I haven’t run in a lot of their shoes.  I’ve tried on almost every model, but the only model of Brooks I’ve put significant mileage in, is the Brooks Launch 3 (for speed workouts).

The Brooks Ghost 9 came out in June.  Recently, I fell in love with the new Galaxy color and decided it was the perfect time to give Brooks another shot. I was due to rotate another high mileage trainer, so that worked out well.

brooks ghost 9 shoe review galaxy
Even the shoelaces are decorated

The Brooks Ghost 9 has enough cushion for high mileage but is also light enough for speed workouts and races.  It’s a little more cushion and softer than the Launch.

As mentioned, I haven’t run much in any previous model of Brooks Ghosts.  I had a pair of Brooks Ghosts 7 as well as 8s that I worked in but I never took them to the road.

Fit:

The update from the 8 to the 9 is significant.  They have widened the toebox.  I wore a size 10 in the Ghost 7s, 10 wide in the 8s and I’m back to a regular 10 in the 9s.  Wider feet or those with bunions can appreciate the upper is now seamless, so there is no rubbing or bleeding (something that happened to me personally a lot with the Asics Nimbus).

The wider toebox is something I’m personally thankful for.  Your feet need to spread out while running.  If there isn’t enough room, you are much more susceptible to foot issues.

In summary, the fit of the Brooks Ghost is one of my favorite of any shoe I’ve run in recently.  It has a wide, seamless upper which allows my foot comfort.

Ride:

The Brooks Ghost 9 is one of the softer shoes on the market. As a company, Brooks uses a material called “BioMoGo DNA” which essentially molds to your foot like memory foam.

The cushioning from the 8 to the 9 hasn’t changed much. If you like a soft and well-cushioned shoe, this could be a great option.  I was always a fan of working in the shoe and it feels just as great when running.

I’ve put just over 100 miles in the Ghost now including a few longer runs of 10+ miles.  I haven’t run into any issues.

brooks ghost 9 shoe review galaxy

Similar Shoes:
Asics Cumulus
Saucony Ride 9, Saucony Zealot ISO 2

My Current Shoe Rotation:
Brooks Ghost 9 (Easy runs, long runs…replaced the Saucony Zealot ISO 2)
Saucony Triumph ISO 2 (easy runs, long runs)
Nike LunarGlide 8 (Shorter runs)
Saucony Type A (speedwork)

Questions for you:
What is your favorite “long run shoe”?  

New Balance Fresh Foam Zante

Boy is that a long shoe name?

New Balance is one of the few brands I don’t have much experience with running.  I’ve walked around in both the 880 and the 1080 but never run in either. To be honest, the Fresh Foam Zante caught my eye when it came out in Rose Gold. I finally decided to give New Balance a fair shot in my rotation.

New Balance is not paying me, and I purchased these shoes.  Remember what works for me might not work for you.

Related Shoe Posts:
Why Running Shoe Reviews Are Mostly Worthless
Five Secrets to Buying Running Shoes
How to Find the Perfect Pair of Running Shoes
The Importance of Rotating Running Shoes

The Fit:  These days, I have been favoring a size ten wide.  Many people associate New Balance with wider shoes. However, many of their current styles are no wider than other brands.

img_1310

The New Balance Fresh Foam Zante fits more narrow than many current New Balance models.  I typically wear a size ten wide, and I found 10.5 to be the best fit.  

The Ride: The Fresh Foam Zante uses the newest material from New Balance…you guessed it, Fresh Foam…

The New Balance Fresh Foam is lightweight but soft.  It’s a softer brand and also a lot less cushion than I’m used too.   The technology in the foam makes this one of the softer shoes I’ve tried.

The sole of the shoe is flat.  This allows the shoe to be useful for speed or racing because you are lower to the ground. Even with more contact, your feet are supported.

New Balance Fresh Foam Zante Shoe Review

For me, I’m using the Zante for speed work and shorter runs.  It doesn’t have enough cushion that I would be comfortable doing a long run in.

Summary: I like the shoe, and it’s a great lightweight or racing option.  It’s not a shoe that I would train heavy miles in but it’s ideal for racing or speed work.

Similar Models: Brooks Launch, Saucony Kinvara, Nike Pegasus

My Current Rotation:
Saucony Zealot ISO 2
Saucony Triumph ISO 2
Nike LunarGlide 8
Brooks Launch

Questions for you:
What is your favorite running shoe?
Do you have different shoes for different runs? (You should)