5 Reasons I Buy My Gear From Running Warehouse

If you know me at all, I have really high expectations of the businesses that I buy from.  I have worked my entire post-college career in ecommerce and work hard every day brainstorming ways to make my customers day.  When you combine these high expectations with my favorite hobby, running, it takes things to another level.  I usually try to support local businesses, however in this case my local businesses don’t carry the shoes I like and tell me it takes 7-10 business days for them to get them in if they order them for me.  So I looked for better solution and am thankful that @milestrasier told me about Running Warehouse. Here’s my list of the top 5 reasons I buy from Running Warehouse:

1) Customer Service

Customer service is huge for me and if a company puts it at the top of their list like Running Warehouse does it shows and makes each purchase one of the easiest tasks of your day.  In the event that you have a problem with your order (very unlikely) they have reps standing by waiting to help you whether it’s by chat, email, or phone. The reps are there to answer your questions about their products as well, so if you are just researching options they can help you. Also, they include a return shipping label so if you happened to order a wrong size or you changed your mind, you can just attach the label and drop it off at a UPS store with no hassle.  No matter the question, no matter the situation, they are there for you.

2) Order Processing/Shipping

Our society wants things faster and faster and when you order online that is usually one downfall versus being able to go to the store and get it right away.  A few years ago when you purchased something online it might have taken 2-5 days for the order to process and then another 2-5 days for the standard (slow) delivery. Those numbers probably make Running Warehouse cringe. Orders that are placed by 10 am PST are shipped the same day and every offer qualifies for FREE 2 day shipping.  It’s like a VIP program that every customer is automatically enrolled in.

3) Selection

My local running shops carry probably 30 different shoes and usually half neutral and half stability from two to three, maybe four different brands.  Running Warehouse carries 19 brands of shoes and each brand usually has several shoes to choose from.  They also carry many different styles so you can find a pair of race flats to track spikes to high mileage trainers and everything in between.

4) Shoefitr

The biggest complaint I hear of people when they are shopping online is that they don’t have the ability to try it on, causing hesitation that they won’t like it.  As we all know with shoes sizes very as the last used in making the shoes varies from style to style.  This 3D simulation can show how the shoe you are looking to buy compares to the style that you are currently wearing.  It shows via color code which areas will fit more tight, more loose, or about the same between styles.  Best part of all it will give you a suggestion on what size will fit most like your current size of the shoe you wear.  Shoefitr takes all the hesitation out of not knowing how it’ll fit plus remember Running Warehouse offers free shipping and free returns so worries are a thing of the past.

5) Prices

As runners there are plenty of things we want to spend money on: shoes, clothes, race entries, clothes, more shoes, you get the point.  Unless you won the lottery, you need to choose wisely on how you are going to spend each dollar to maximize your wallet.  Running Warehouse’s prices are some of the best that I have come across.  Each pair of shoes is usually $10-15 off the retail price you’d pay when comparing to my local running company.  This savings goes for all the products on their website as well including clothing, accessories, and more.  Running Warehouse helps ensure your dollar goes further and doesn’t make you search around for the best deal.

Wrapping it up…I hope if you are in the market for a place to buy running shoes or apparel you give the Running Warehouse a shot.  Combine these five reasons with the free goodies and/or heavily discounted goodies at checkout and you can really save some money…or have more money for that other race you want to do.  Running shoes, apparel, race fees can really add up but with the Running Warehouse you can ensure you are getting a great deal from people that want you to achieve your goals as bad you do.

My New Favorite Running Partner!

While running cross-country in high school I thoroughly enjoyed the camaraderie of running with others and found myself running in a group as often as I could. Since then however I have found it difficult to find someone that runs a similar pace let alone is following a similar plan with workouts that have the same intensity and/or distance.  My new running partner isn’t an actual person, but a GPS watch.

I had been looking at the Garmin Forerunner’s since I was doing triathlons and preparing for my first marathon.  The size of the previous versions of the Forerunners was what caused hesitation in not purchasing one.  Since Garmin released the 610 the size has decreased and become more in line with what you’d expect from a normal sports watch.  From the moment I opened the box I have very pleased with the watch.  From it’s sleek design to endless features this watch can be used in a very basic manner to the perfect training partner/coach.

As I continue to use more and more settings and features I will write future blog posts detailing the features that I find to enjoy most. So far the features of just knowing my distance, pace, and heart rate instantly with a quick glance to my wrist has allowed me to follow my workout plan better, not over doing it.  I encourage you to check out the Garmin 620 Forerunner if you are looking for a GPS watch to take your training to the next level.

2014 isn’t about change…

2014 isn’t about change, it’s all about continued commitment. In early 2013, among the crazy changes happening in our life (selling our CO home, starting a new job, moving to ND, & having our first child), I got the running bug again. I have always had a mental bucket list of things I want to do/accomplish and a few are running related.  At the top of my running bucket list is the Boston Marathon. It’s one of the most historic marathons, it’s in Boston (a town I want to visit someday) and you have to qualify for the race.  I had the goal to accomplish this achievement in 2013 but it didn’t happen in my only attempt of qualifying.

Rather than changing my goals, I’m determined to accomplish this goal and be able to cross it off my bucket list.  I’ve made a few changes this fall to my running routine and I’m looking forward to seeing how they pay off when my toes meet the starting line in May.  The first change was continuing my running through the fall rather than taking the fall off.  Secondly I added strength training two days a week to get stronger as I felt this one of my weaknesses.  My new company (www.swansonvitamins.com) has a gym onsite and with a trainer that we can schedule appointments with, there is no reason to neglect this crucial part of a runner’s training.

I have my eye’s set on four marathons this spring starting with the Fargo Marathon in May, along with the Sioux Falls Marathon in September and finishing with the Twin Cities Marathon in October.  I’d like to run a marathon in June, but still deciding between a few options.  I hope and plan to accomplish my goal of qualifying for Boston this upcoming year, however the marathon is a beast that is not easy for many people to finish let alone run a time fast enough to qualify for Boston. I invite you to check up on this blog regularly as I update on my training, new equipment I come across and use, along with nutritional results that I test in order get everything in line for race day.

Thanks for reading and happy and healthy running to you in 2014!

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I love Nuun & I want you to too!

I had been on the search for a hydration product that doesn’t contain the sugars, high fructose corn syrups, or other things that seem to upset my stomach and I found one.  If you are not familiar yet with the running community, whether you’re next to them on the starting line or you’ve never met them but talk regularly on #RunChat on Sunday nights with them and thousands others, they are happy to share their experiences and advice.  They want to you do your best, accomplish your goals, and succeed.  This advice is free and might not work for you but the more information you have I believe the better the outcome will be.  Whether the product is $5 or $500 it’s nice to get someone else’s opinion that has used the product in the same application that you will.  How I came across Nuun hydration wasn’t even through someone talking about their experience with the product however rather through an experience with the brand. So how did I discover Nuun?

One of the Runner World editors that I follow on Twitter (@megrunnergirl) had talked about her trip to run the Hood to Coast relay as part of Team Nuun. From her tweets leading up to the relay to the race recap on her blog you could tell that they were treated to an awesome experience.  How often do you find brands going above and beyond like this?  After doing some research on the Nuun website and reading a few other reviews on the product, I needed to find a place to try it out.  As an employee of Swanson Health Products (& having over 18,000 products) I was curious if we carried the Nuun products and I found out we do!  Since then I have been trying the Nuun Tri-Berry and have been very pleased.  I have my full review here but the exciting part is that I want to give a bottle away to someone so they can try these awesome products too. So how do you register?  Just comment below with “I want to WIN & try Nuun products” and I’ll randomly pick one winner on Monday (11/4/13). If you share this on Twitter or Google+ and tag me in it, I’ll give you an extra entry.

Electrolyte Enhanced Drink Tablets Tri-Berry

Training Update – 10/23/13

Snow has been in our forecast over the last week or so however we have been lucky enough to not see anything on the ground yet.  For many people in my area of the country we find extra excuses this time of the year to put off training with the thought that we’ll continue it when spring comes.  If you’ve ever visited the Midwest in the spring, you’d know that spring can come any time between March and June depending on the year.  With my race plans for 2014 beginning to take shape, I’m making the committment to staying in great shape throughout the winter to ensure I’m fully ready when I find the starting line for the first time in 2014.

I have still not developed much of a training plan for the “off-season” months other than I’m going to do long runs of 10 miles, 12 miles, 14 miles, 16 miles and then start back over at 10 again.  My current training has had me running 5.25 Monday, Wednesday, and Friday, then lifting on Tuesday and Thursday, and getting my long run on either Saturday or Sunday (weather pending) and the other day being my rest day.  So far I’m pleased with where it has taken me, however I do not like mundane plans and am looking to change it up.  Before I write on here again, I plan to map out the next few months knowing it may change due to different circumstances but having it written down.  My current lifting routine for the next three weeks is as follows:

Day 1:
Superset 1: Barbell Lunges (8 reps), Dumbbell Flys (8 reps), Bicycle Crunches (30 reps)Superset 2: Slide Board Leg Curls (8 reps), Single Arm Bent Over Rows (8 reps), Toe Touches (30 reps)
Superset 3: Alternating Hammer Curls (10 reps), Overhead Triceps Extensions (10 reps), Supermen (20 reps)

Day 2:Superset 1: Squats (8 reps), Alternating Extension Bench Press (8 reps), Diagonal Crunches (30 reps)
Superset 2: Single Leg Press Machine (8 reps), Seated Rows (8 reps), Leg Raises (25 reps)
Superset 3: Dumbbell Pullovers (10 reps), Front Raises (15 reps), Scissor Kicks (30 reps)

Time to put my head down and figure out this training plan for the off-season.  Please feel free to share your thoughts and suggestions on what you would suggest.  Either way I feel like by continuing my weekly mileage I will be in a much better spot come time for the marathon training to ramp up.  Until next time…Happy Running!

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Nuun Hydration Review

Although running is an individual sport (except for a few relays in track and the team aspect in cross country) there is nothing simple about it.  Some could argue that the 100 meter dash is so short, you just line up run for about 9-13 seconds depending how fast you are and you’re done.  However for anyone who looks to continually better their personal record or chase the world record, if you are Usain Bolt, you realize that more goes into achieving that PR other than just lining up at the start line.  It takes practice, dedication and a few lessons learned along the way.

During my recent Sioux Falls Marathon I was thrilled for race day.  My training had gone very well with no injury downtime and I was ready to give my best shot at qualifying for the Boston Marathon.  You can read my full report here, but in short my nutrition failed me. Actually I failed my nutrition.  In my training runs leading up to the marathon I ran my long runs with none to little water, sports drink, or food during them.  I had felt good during each of them and still struggle to not be uneasy about carrying extra things.  I had planned to the aid stations as my water/sports drink fueling spots and had planned to have my wife at designated miles with an array of fueling options.  When I went to take food from her around mile 8/9, my stomach rejected it.  I have now had the opportunity to hone my nutritional strategy and realize that it was most likely the sugary sports drink my stomach didn’t like, so I’ve been on a quest.

I needed something with electrolytes, a little bit of sodium, but no sugars or high fructose corn syrup.  My stomach isn’t too fussy, however when I’m hard at it during a race I’ve learned it doesn’t like sugars.  Luckily through a few friend’s posts on Twitter, I came across Nuun Hydration. Lucky for me we carry these at the company I work at (Swanson Health Products) so I placed an employee order for the Tri-Berry flavor.  The directions for them are simple, add one tablet to 16 oz of water, wait two minutes and like magic before your eyes you have an electrolyte enhanced drink.  My first step was to drink one during an afternoon of work and make sure it didn’t cause any unpleasant situations when my body was not working out.  From the first sip, it reminded me of sugary sports drink but without the super sugary flavor and more thirst quenching.  It has a very enjoyable flavor so it doesn’t come off as bad water, but definitely not as sugary tasting as pop or soda.  Of course there was no problems and so I took it on the road with me.  Through about a dozen trials now during my training I have not had any stomach issues to speak of.

If you are struggling with sports drinks during your workouts I encourage you to give Nuun a try.  Of course I’d suggest you get it at Swanson and you can get a $5 coupon by signing up here, but more importantly as a fellow runner I hope you try it in an effort to get better to achieve that lesson learned that’ll take your running to the next level.  As new runners often tell me, the running community wants each and everyone to get better.  We compete against ourselves with the encourage of others all around us.  Thanks for taking time to read this and I hope it helps you.

Electrolyte Enhanced Drink Tablets Tri-Berry

Getting Back On The Horse..

As fall has arrived and the tree’s colors are beginning to change quickly, most runners are probably taking time off or finishing up their last fall race before the snow begins to fly. I’ve decided to use these weeks to continue laying down a solid base and hopefully continue it through the winter months in order to be more ready when marathon training begins in early 2014.  My two mains concerns after my 2013 racing schedule were: figuring out my race day nutrition and getting stronger.  I will tackle the nutrition piece in another blog post, so today’s post is more about my upcoming training schedule that will allow me to get stronger.

I am lucky enough to have a gym on-site at my work with a personal trainer that is available to train me as long as I schedule in advance the training the session.  I have not taken advantage of this up until a few weeks ago. I had a brief discussion with the trainer on what my goals were for the “off-season” and if he thought we could put a plan together that would help me achieve those goals.  He agreed we could make that happen and a couple days later he presented me with a plan to do so. My goal is to get stronger, not more bulkier or be able to push a car, but to get physically and mentally stronger so during my races I feel like I have more to give over the last 1/3 of the race vs. feeling completely wiped.  I know nutrition will aid in accomplishing the above thought but I think being both mentally and physically stronger will aid in that goal.

The plan is for me to lift two days a week and follow a three week plan before switching up the activities.  Each lifting day consists of three supersets of three activities each.  Within each superset there is an activity to focus on upper body, lower body, and then core.  Again my goal is not to bulk up but to strengthen what I already have.  Day 1 activities include: squats, dumbbell bench press, crunches, swiss ball leg curls, bent over rows, deadbugs, bicep curls, tricep pushdowns, and planks. Day 2 activities include: split leg squats, incline pushups, V-ups, side lunges, pullups, sharks, shoulder press, lateral raises, and oblique twists.