ASICS Gel Kayano 21 Shoe Review

ASICS Gel Kayano 21 Shoe Review

The ASICS Gel Kayano is one of the most popular running shoes ever made. The Gel Kayano is a favorite among marathoners, half marathoners, and endurance athletes who log high mileage and want to stay healthy. I did the bulk of my training in the Gel Kayano 21 leading up to the 2014 New York City Marathon, and decided to race in them as well. No blisters, no foot pain, and a shiny new PR with a BQ on top.

ASICS GEL KAYANO REVIEW

ASICS GEL KAYANO 21 – Men’s Styles

The 21st edition of this iconic shoe introduces the latest Fluidride™ technology and features the new ComforDry X-40 sockliner. That means that you’ll be running on shoes that deliver great rebound, cushion your feet on impact, and provide excellent breathability. The Gel Kayano 21 is a comfortable, lightweight shoe with a stable ride.

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The Gel Kayano offers generous space in the toebox, and a secure heel thanks to the Exoskeletal heel counter. The gel cushioning provides much-needed protection to runners like me that log most of their miles on pavement or asphalt. The ASICS Guidance systems help to keep the foot properly aligned to increase running efficiency.

ASICS GEL KAYANO WOMEN

ASICS Gel Kayano 21 – Women’s Styles

The Gel Kayano 21 is a very comfortable shoe designed to help you run longer. I own many pairs of running shoes, but my ASICS Gel Kayano 21s sit on the top shelf of the shoe rack just begging to go for a run. These shoes are a bit pricey compared to others on the market, but you get what you pay for.

NH Seacoast

Searching for the Runner’s High

I began my Sunday morning long run with cold fingers, sore quads, and a lack of conviction in my heart. In truth, it took some serious convincing for me to leave my wife and kids, nestled together on the couch in their pajamas watching TV by the warmth of the wood stove. I bent my knee and pulled my foot back behind me, grasping the basketball goal post lest I fall into the frost covered leaves.

I waited in purgatory for my watch to sync. A cold westerly wind was blowing in from the Atlantic making the already chilly 33º F feel much colder. I debated putting on another layer and switching my thin gloves for a pair of wool mittens.

I ran the first few miles on legs that had forgotten how to run. My fingers ached from the cold and my eyes welled up. I saw another runner ahead. I picked up the pace to see if I could make contact, if for no other reason than to let them know I was out there too.

They turned left and disappeared at the intersection where I turned right. But, good news. My fingers no longer hurt and my legs had warmed up. I was in a nice groove by the time I reached 4 miles. The first beads of perspiration rolled down and tickled my ears. Ahead of me, the Atlantic ocean sparkled under the early morning sun.

Somewhere along the coastline I forgot I was running. My mind muted the clamor of signals from my muscles and joints and wandered to other, more interesting places. The experience is not unlike being pleasantly drunk and realizing you’ve suffered a 30-second memory lapse.

Much like the Bermuda Triangle, the runner’s high is an elusive place that can’t be found intentionally. Sometimes it doesn’t appear at all. But when it does, I relish it. My most creative and inspiring ideas occur when I reach this point in a run. I see meaning in the most insignificant details.

Minutes later, the spell breaks and my thoughts come back to the present. How much distance had I covered? A mile or two perhaps? Once again, I could feel the fatigue in my legs as I started climbing the hills back home.

Every run has the potential to be a great experience. There’s no way to know unless you begin. The most difficult part is getting yourself out the door.

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Holiday Gifts For Runners All Under $20

Want to buy a great gift for the runner on your list without breaking the bank? Here are ten gifts that any runner would love to receive this holiday season.

Gore Running Wear Mythos Hat

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The Gore Running Wear Mythos Hat is designed for winter running. This windproof hat is made of wonderfully soft material to guarantee optimal warmth with little heat accumulation. Reflective details make sure you stay visible while running.

$18.84

 NipEaze

NipEaze

NipEaze is a great gift for runners to help avoid nipple chafing when running. Rain, snow, and severe heat can intensify this painful form of chafing. The discreet protection offered by NipEaze is a gift for any runner.

$4.95 (15 pair)

CLIF Bar

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Clif Bar makes popular energy bars in a variety of flavors. They have just released three delicious new seasonal flavors: Pecan Pie, Iced Gingerbread, and Spiced Pumpkin Pie.

$16.90 (12 count)

Rocket Pure

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Rocket Pure makes foot deodorant sprays and balms from all natural ingredients. The Peppermint foot deodorant spray will mitigate even the stinkiest of running shoes, and the hand & foot balm is ideal for dry, damaged, cracked, and blistered hands and feet.

$15.95

KT Tape

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KT Tape (Kinesiology Therapeutic Tape) is a strong, elastic athletic tape that reduces muscle pain, increases mobility, and enhances athletic performance. KT Tape provides relief and support for muscles and joints and is often used to treat running injuries.

$14.99 (20 pre-cut strips)

ASICS Arm Warmers

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ASICS Arm Warmers are a must-have winter racing accessory. These soft knit sleeves help runners easily regulate body temperature without shedding additional layers.

$10.00

Feetures Elite Merino+ Quarter Sock

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The Feetures Elite Merino+ Quarter Sock is made to keep your feet warm and comfortable during those cold winter runs. The Merino+ fibers wick moisture to keep feet dry and odor-free. These socks will insulate your feet even when wet.

$15.99

 Vaseline

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Vaseline is a runner’s best friend. You can buy other, more expensive stuff for blisters, friction, and chafing, but this is the old-school standby. It can be used for everything from treating chapped lips, to keeping your hamstrings warm during a race.

$10.90 (pack of 6)

Emergen-C

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Emergen-C is like a bullet-proof shield that protects runners from the cold and flu. It comes in many different flavors and will take some of the paranoia out of the taper period before a big race. Keep your runner healthy in 2015.

$10.73 (30 packets)

Ace Knitted Cold/Hot Compress Wrap

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Every runner will need hot or cold therapy at some point. The Ace Knitted Cold/Hot Compress Wrap allows for hands-free treatment. The soft, insulated wrap will make icing a bit more comfortable.

$14.88

RUNPRO

RUNPRO Insoles Help You Run Longer

The average runner takes more than 50,000 steps to complete a marathon. When running, a vertical force equaling 2.5 times your body-weight passes through your body with every footstrike. Imagine the stress that puts on your feet. It’s no wonder that distance runners are plagued by stress fractures and overuse injuries.

So what can we do to prevent injury and keep our feet comfortable? First, we should train smart and increase our mileage gradually. Second, we need to stretch, roll, and massage our muscles. And, third, we need to wear the proper footwear: socks, shoes, and insoles.

RUNPRO

I’m running with RUNPRO insoles made by currexSole, the most awarded insole brand in Europe. RUNPRO insoles feature a dynamic and personal fit utilizing the most current footwear science and technology. The thin insole has a zero mm drop and won’t interfere with the construction of your running shoe. Instead, it compliments the design, by offering comfort and support specifically tailored to you.

The first step in choosing your RUNPRO insole is to visit the profile page where you can determine your individual biomechanics and choose the best insole for your feet. When your insoles arrive, you simply cut along the perforated edge of the insole to further customize your fit. Then, slip them inside your running shoe. The thin sock liner that came with your running shoe can be completely removed.

RUNPRO

I have a favorite pair of training shoes with just over 400 miles on them. The shoes are still functional and the outsole is in good shape, but they’ve lost some of the support and bounce they had when they were new. After slipping my new RUNPRO insoles in, they felt like new again.

The RUNPRO insoles don’t interfere with my stride or my footstrike. They become an invisible part of the shoe as soon as I lace up. RUNPRO insoles reduce the stress on my feet and calf muscles and allow me to run longer with less fatigue.

You can read more about the currexSole RUNPRO insoles here.

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Arc’teryx Endorphin Line Keeps You Running This Winter

Product Review

The cold winter winds are blowing again here in New England, and I couldn’t be happier. As most runners know, winter runners are spring winners. The weather will be nasty, but you don’t have to suffer. The Arc’teryx Endorphin line will make even the coldest days feel like good running weather.

Men’s Argus Jacket

Men's Argus Blue Jacket

The Argus jacket is a lightweight, wind and weather-resistant jacket, designed to insulate runners from the cold during high-output aerobic activity. A layer of breathable Polartec® Alpha® insulation across the chest and shoulders will offset direct exposure to the wind and cold. The outer shell of the Argus jacket sheds wind and light precipitation, while the Torrent™ back panel provides ventilation.

This jacket will protect you on messy winter days. Runners, snowshoers, and Nordic skiers will find the Argus comfortable for warm-ups, long runs, and just hanging out. This versatile jacket is a favorite of mine on the soccer pitch, going grocery shopping, or just hanging around the house on cold mornings.

Argus Jacket

Arc’teryx cares about quality. Every detail is purposeful and designed to make the garment functional. There are two zippered pockets in the front of the jacket, and two generously sized pockets in the back panel. This provides a secure place for your ID and phone, and plenty of room to store gels and small water bottle.

The trim-fitting Argus jacket also has internal media ports for runners that like to wear headphones, and an adjustable hem cord to keep out the drafts. Thumb loops help runners keep their sleeves in place and offer some extra warmth around the wrist and the back of the hand.

Women’s Gaea Jacket

Gaea Jacket
The Gaea Jacket is for running, nordic skiing, or snowshoeing. It uses the same technology as the Argus jacket, but is made specifically for women. The cut is flattering and the fabric makes this jacket both cozy and attractive.

Reflective blades on the forearms and back make this a safe jacket for low-light conditions. The Gaea jacket is available in Pink Tulip, Calypso Blue, and Carbon Copy Black.

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What Those Obnoxious Running Stickers Say About You

There are a lot of haters out there picking on runners. (See Chad Stafko’s Wall Street Journal article here. And Mark Remy’s response at Runner’s World here.) They say the running stickers on our vehicles represent a smug and elitist attitude. Hmm… Sounds like someone is a little defensive. But, there is a valid point buried under that mountain of misguided anger.

The sticker itself is a boring and benign set of numerals. The growing discord between runners and non-runners is not over what the stickers say, but what they symbolize. Is the 13.1 sticker a race memento? Is it a brag for others to envy? Or is it simply a reminder that you discovered something meaningful and wonderful in your quest to complete a half marathon?

Is it wrong to promote a healthy life choice in numeric form? Should we feel bad about feeling good? Absolutely not. We might even inspire others to strive for a goal they thought was unattainable.

But, let’s face it, as a society we share too much. I don’t need to see a decal indicating the ages and names of your kids, dogs, cats, and current relationship status. It doesn’t bother me, but it should bother you. What’s next? A decal that shows your net worth? When will we see a golden 1M decal set on a black background?

If that 1M decal seems offensive, you now understand people’s anger over running stickers. It quantifies your accomplishment in a way that makes others feel worse about their situation, or just angry with the fact that you seem so happy about yours. It’s runner envy really.

Should we downplay our accomplishments and be more politically correct? Runners with stickers often say it’s about them, and nobody else. Maybe it should go on the refrigerator instead.

I don’t have a running sticker on my vehicle. For me, it minimizes my accomplishments. My races were rich, vibrant, life-changing experiences that cannot be reflected in a cold, numeric, one-size-fits-all decal. Or, maybe it’s just my reticent personality.

Running stickers are a call for attention. They scream “look at me!” and invite public opinion and comment. As Cat Stevens said, “If you want to sing out, sing out.” Just know that not everybody will love your song.

But, hey, it’s just a sticker.

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A 3-week Plan to Beat the Post-Race Blues

You did great! You just completed a bucket list goal by finishing your first marathon. So, why do you feel so depressed and anxious? That unsettling feeling of emptiness and aimlessness after competing in a big race is common among athletes. But, don’t worry! It’s completely normal.

Sports psychologist Dr. Kate F. Hays says “Completing a major feat, into which you’ve poured a lot of time, energy, intention, and identity —maybe money, inconvenience, and sacrifice, as well —means that among other things, you’ll probably feel some degree of let-down when it’s ended.” And, the one thing that many runners do to deal with stress and anxiety is run, something you’re not supposed to do in the days following a marathon.

How to Beat the Marathon Blues

Week 1

  1. Eat. Refuel and reload with plenty of proteins and healthy vegetables.
  2. Sleep. Sleeping is the most effective way to relieve stress and take care of your body.
  3. Find a new hobby. Take a cooking class, plan a trip, or build a model airplane.
  4. Walk. You can’t run, but you can enjoy a nice leisurely walk in the park.
  5. Share. Talking about the race experience with others is cathartic.

Week 2

  1. Dream big. Research and register for your next big event. Triathlon? Marathon? Relay?
  2. Develop a plan. Consult with your coach, or begin drafting a new training plan.
  3. Return slowly. Run or walk (as you feel) with no more than an hour on your feet. Easy does it.

Week 3

  1. Reverse-Taper. Slowly build your mileage and intensity.
  2. Listen to your body. Any signs of injury or discomfort should sound alarms.
  3. Let your spirit guide you. Return to normal training at the end of the month if you’re physically, mentally, and emotionally ready.
2014 New York City Marathon

Taylor Swift & 2M Fans Helped Me Crush the NYC Marathon

Traveling to the start of the NYC Marathon last Sunday morning, I cringed at the thought of what was to come. The blustery winds roared and the temperatures were just above 40º F. As the long caravan of busses slowly made its forward way over the Verrazano–Narrows Bridge, the mood was somber and the runners fidgeted nervously.

After four months of dedicated training under the tutelage of ASICS running coach Andrew Kastor, I was laser-focused on qualifying for the 2016 Boston Marathon. But, this was not a day for personal records, fast times, or dreams. The weather conditions were daunting.

I joined 50,000 other runners in the corrals and began to mentally prepare for my race. As the wind howled and sound of helicopters thumped all around me, I covered my ears with my misshapen hand-knit mittens and thought about my training. Weather be damned, I was sticking to my plan.

The cannons boomed and sent the first wave of runners hurdling forward over the bridge. The cross-wind was so severe that I found myself taking one step forward and two steps to the right to regain my balance in several spots. But, I felt like I was on top of the world. If I didn’t already have goosebumps from the frigid temperatures, the stunning view of Manhattan would have done it.

As we entered Brooklyn, the crowds greeted us with a concussive wave of sound and positive energy. I printed my first name in bold letters across the front of my shirt, and the fervent spectators screamed “Go Jason!” as I ran past them. I felt like a rock star and I was running effortlessly. This is the 26.2 miles of race magic that you can only find in New York City.

You realize how loud and passionate the race fans are once you begin your climb over the Queensboro Bridge. The music, clapping, and screams fade as the measured sounds of footsteps and breathing take center stage. The pace slows and runners come to terms with the full measure of the race.

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After crossing the bridge, the reception on First Avenue is sensational. The momentum carries runners through Queens and all the way to the Bronx where ‘the wall’ awaits. At mile 20, many runners have run out of fuel. The carbs from the spaghetti dinners are spent, and the wheels fall off. This is the point in the race that truly tests the will of every NYC Marathon participant.

As the father of a teenage girl, I’m familiar with the music of Taylor Swift. I never thought her music would help me qualify for Boston, but it did. As I turned left off the Willis Avenue Bridge determined to run strong, the lyrics of Shake It Off connected with me. I felt a rush of energy and pumped my fist in the air as I surged toward Harlem and Manhattan.

The last few miles through Central Park were a struggle. The legs were done, but the spirit prevailed. What was literally “a walk in the park” just days before, had turned into a very challenging climb to the finish. Moments later, I crossed the line with arms raised in victory. And, as Dr. George Sheehan would say, I had collected another rocking chair memory.

2014 NYCM Jason Saltmarsh

I ran a personal best and qualified for Boston on a cold and windy day thanks to the support and enthusiasm of two million New Yorkers. Thank you all. And thank you to the New York Road Runners, the race sponsors, and the thousands of volunteers for a glorious experience.

ASICS NYC Marathon 2014

How to Run the NYC Marathon Like a Pro

Have you ever wondered what it might be like to be a sponsored athlete at the world’s largest marathon? I am running the New York City Marathon this year as part of the ASICS Editor’s Challenge Team, and it has been a spectacular experience. Today, I ran through Central Park with some of America’s top runners to uncover the secrets to their success.

Physical

We all know that it takes some serious training to prepare your body for the rigors of a 26.2 mile race, but did you know your breakfast can make or break your race? I spoke with Andy Potts, 4th place finisher in this year’s Ironman World Championship, about what it takes to make it through a grueling endurance race. His advice was simple and straight-forward, eat what agrees with you a couple of hours before the race.

For some it’s eggs and bacon, for others it’s a bowl of oatmeal. The essential takeaway is to eat something that you know won’t cause you any stomach issues. The last thing you want to do before a race is eat something new, or grab race fuel that you’ve never tried before. Be predictable.

When it comes to race strategy, Gwen Jorgensen, the 2014 World Triathlon Series World Champion says stick to your plan. Go over your goals, determine your splits and fueling strategy and visualize the race. On race day, don’t get carried away early in the race. Instead, remember your plan and follow it all the way to the finish line.

Mental

What do you think about to stay focused and race efficiently even when it feels like the wheels are about to come off? Surprisingly, you might want to think about your elbows. When everything hurts and your thighs or your calves are screaming for attention, divert your attention by focusing on a body part that doesn’t hurt.

Another mental trick is to focus on the what got you to the starting line. Deena Kastor, American record holder in the marathon and half-marathon and Olympic bronze medalist, says that you can find confidence in your hard work. She reviews her training log before race day and finds conviction and credence in her earlier workouts.

Spiritual

To get through the marathon you need to call upon a higher power. For each of us, that means something different. Coach Andrew Kastor says that an event like the New York City Marathon offers inspiration everywhere you look. The girl who hands you water along the course might be inspired by you to come back as a runner one day.

Every runner has a story. Each one of the 50,000 competitors serves as an inspiration to someone in their community. This event is more than just a foot race, it’s a testament to the human spirit.

Ryan Hall, American record holder in the half marathon, says that we should give thanks every time we run. Even bad workouts are a gift. The act of running alone is something to be cherished.

Andy Potts suggests finding inspiration and keeping it close when times are tough. He thinks of his children and strives to make them proud when self-doubt begins to creep in. His advice is simple and effective: “Smile through the sticky moments.”

Every runner who navigates the cold and windy marathon course through the five boroughs of New York City this Sunday has a chance to do something inspirational. With the right training, the right attitude, and a dose of inspiration, you too can run the race of a lifetime.