Unlike most sports, there is no formal "running season". Track, cross country, marathons, obstacle course races, 5ks, ultras... they happen all the time, every weekend, all year long the world over.
Beyond that if you were to ask runners from around the world what their favorite season to run in was you'd get a myriad of different answers (some determined by their home's climate no doubt).
Some people love the New Year. That time in January and February where you capitalize on the cliche "New Year Resolution" and carry (or begin) the momentum of New. New start, new plan, new life, new year, new beginning.
For others the perfect running season is spring. The sun is out, the snow is melting, and there's the glory of that perfect light misting rain (running in the rain automatically increases your hardcoreness 10x... in case you didn't know).
Droves come out to run in the summer. The sun is out, the showers have mostly dried up, and (for many) the heat invigorates. Shorts get shorter, shirts come off, and the primal sweat that gives instant feedback to your hard work, sacrifice, and dedication is... abundant.
All of those seasons have their merits. They're also all wrong. You see, there is no weather to run in quite like fall. Additionally, if you are so blessed to live in God's country (East Tennessee), than Fall is even more wonderful.
The humidity retreats, the air is light and crisp, the breeze is magical, and the temperature is... perfect.
It's impossible to walk outside on a crisp fall morning in Tennessee and not be overcome with the _need_ to take off and run. Run from your problems, sprint away your stress, leave your haters behind, and just run from it all.
Nike spent years of denying the existence of the minimalist market. This was even after they had created one of the earliest _more_ minimalist shoes in 2005 with the Free. Granted, that's an AWFUL minimalist shoe, but for the time, it was about as minimalist as any mainstream shoe out.
Nike has continued to stay out of the discussion mostly, save a few feeble attempts at comparing Free 5.0/6.0/7.0 to "free movement" running shoes.
But, try as they might to ignore the Crossfit movement and the minimalist movements and write them off as fads (after Reebok had the Crossfit contract), both fitness revolutions are still alive and kicking.
As such, Nike finally decided to get in on the action! Earlier this year they released their first Crossfit shoe in the Metcon1.
Now... It's the minimalist's turn! Nike is Finally entering the field with the Free 1.0
Here's your chance! Use Spartan Race discount code: "MEMORIAL"
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What are you made of? Why do YOU race?
Today's athletes are told, from age 5, that they are The lion in a field of sheep.
That they're special. The best. Gifted.
Problem is, if you think you're the only lion, then you actually believe you're the best, and that you're the best because you deserve it, because you're so superior, and so you're never hungry.
then when the sheep actually beats the lion (and they will), the lion whines and complains about the shocking impossibility and unfairness of it. That lion isn't just beaten, it's destroyed. At that moment, that "special Lion" shows their true form: just another sheep.
You're not a lion in a field of sheep, you're a lion in a field full of lions... and 1 sheep.
You win and you eat or you lose and you starve.
Your motivated because you're one of Many and failure is ever present (and always possible) and so you're Hungry.
You work. You push. You grind. When another lion beats you, well, you didn't eat. But see this lion among lions doesn't sit and complain about how much they deserved it because they're too hungry to make excuses!
They get back to work! They model their work ethic after the lion that beat them, their greatness, their superiority motivates them to get better!
In this time of Everyone Gets a Trophy, we aren't creating winners, we're creating people who don't know they can lose - and without the understanding of defeat and just How possible it is,
not only are you not motivated to Prevent it, you are Not equipped to handle it when it inevitably happens.
In the Nine2Five
review I mentioned reviewing this company’s first ever shoe (under their “Stem”
name) which was called the Primal Origins and now I get to review the 3rd
gen model which, I’m pleased to say, has indeed stuck with its “origins”.
Four years ago (almost to the day) the first gen shoe was hitting
preorders and now this 3rd gen shoe is available to the masses. While the company has grown and evolved,
their roots are the same, they’re still helmed by the same guy who dreamt it
all up, and they’re making constant improvements without losing touch of who
they started off to be.
This Primal 2 shoe combines an incredibly light and super soft combination of
microfiber and extremely breathable open-weave air-mesh (100% vegan) upper, their
proprietary LemsRubber outsole (8.0mm), and a 100% MoistureWick mesh liner to
create one of the lightest and most flexible shoes you will ever encounter.
Honestly… I struggle with using the word “flexible” because it just
doesn’t quite do it justice. Here’s what
you need to know. There is nothing to
this shoe. It weighs nothing (~6oz), has
zero support, zero stability features, zero reinforcement, zero drop, zero (for
all practical purposes) cushioning, zero, zero, zero. Now, for some people, that will scare the
heck out you – this shoe is not for you.
For those looking for true minimalism, no greater… less, can be
found. Honestly, without actually being
barefoot, this is as close as you can get.
It’s like walking around in a house shoe designed to be used for
anything you want. Here’s what I
mean: yes, it’s ultraminimalist, yes it’s
as close to 100% ground feel as you can get while wearing a shoe, yes it’s like
a house shoe, BUT, due to the design and Lems sole, I have worn this shoe
running, hiking, bouldering, working out, camping, on an Olympic lifting
platform, to the grocery store, and everywhere else you can think of.
The only limiting factor with this particular model is that the Crimson
color is so dang cool that I want to baby the shoes so as to not mess them
up! Definitely the first “minimalist”
shoe I’ve felt that way about – it reminds me of my old traditional shoe
obsession where it was All about looks….
Seriously though, the red really does pop and makes a great fashion
One of my favorite details about this shoe is the soft and smooth (and reinforced) heel slide (as seen here in grey):
If you’re a technical trail runner and spend your time on jagged rocks
and navigating through sharp gravel hidden underneath the leaves of your
favorite blackdiamond mountain trail, these shoes probably aren’t for that
purpose. Think of it like this, because
we’ve all conditioned our feet differently so, therefore, our barefeet can
handle different things: if you would do
it completely barefoot, then these shoes will be Perfect for it!
I’ll conclude with this:
After testing shoes from over 2 dozen different brands over the years (and
dozens more models) I’ve come to a place where I can honestly say that Andrew
and the crew at Lems would definitely make my top 3 shoe brands.
Ah, Lems. Since I reviewed their
first shoe 4 years ago (which was actually a prototype – they hadn’t had a single shoe on
the market yet) under the “Stem” brand I have loved these guys. This past month I’ve had the opportunity to
try out 2 pair and I’ll be bringing you reviews of both. Today’s review will focus on their Nine2Five
As you are probably well aware, minimalist dress shoes (or even
dress-casual) shoes are about as hard to find as an honest politician. For people like me who wear nothing but zero
drop for everything, this is a problem.
Well, the guys and gals at Lems have finally put this issue to rest and declared
The aptly named Nine2Five is positioned to be the go to work shoe for
khakis or dress pants in the office, on a nice night out, at church, or
anywhere else where those “toe shoes” would be… frowned upon ;)
The shoes look fantastic. I mean, they
actually look the part and if laid on a rack in Johnston & Murphy would fit
right in. The Nine2Five, apart from being truly
beautiful, is crafted very well with lots of attention to detail (Lems is a
company that is making it because they recognize where they are and continue to
grow, each time raising their quality, their attention to detail, and finding
the niche that all of us are looking for but the globocompanies can’t/won’t
Before you write this off as a misplaced love fest, listen to some of
the stats and see for yourself why this Will be your next shoe:
·Wide, foot shaped last
·The upper is 100% genuine full-grain leather
·The lining is 100% genuine leather (!!)
·The sole is 9mm injection rubber (LemsRubber)
·Removable MoistureWick insole (3mm)
·A ZERO drop (of course)
·And a total weight of ~1/2 a pound (mine were
Also, they can do this....:
I have these in the mocha color
and would love to add the other 2 colors.
I have a friend in law enforcement who fell in love with them and wants
to try the black ones for a duty shoe. I
wear these with jeans, I wear them taking my beautiful wife to dinner, I wear
them to work, I wear these to preach in, these are my go to exclusive brown dress shoe and, as you can
imagine, I have quite a lot to choose from…
I wasn’t familiar with (fairly) new–comer Topo Athletic until I did I
got my hands on their first gen “Gym” shoe, but while the brand may sound new,
Topo’s staff is anything but: See, Topo
athletic’s founder and CEO is Tony Post (TOny POst = ToPo) and Tony was the
president and CEO of Vibram USA for 11 years – specifically the 11 years of the
After Vibram, Tony set up his own dream company of Topo and continued
his passion for healthy, minimalist shoes built for athletes.
The Halsa is Topo’s newest shoe in their “Gym” category that is
specifically tailored for the functional fitness/Crossfit community. It’s
Zero drop, wide profile, low to the ground (16mm total stack height),
and weighs less than 7 ½ oz.
I’ll abandon my usual “wait to the end for final thoughts” model and
just go ahead and tell you… I love this shoe.
I started testing this shoe over a month ago at the gym and my workout
routines consist of heavy barbell training (Olympic and power lifts), agility
training, kettlebells, tires, dumbbells, the works.
Additionally, every day will have a run aspect and the running will
consist of straight line, lateral work, cuts, sudden stops, turns, etc. and it all
happens on a myriad of different surfaces, including pavement, rubber gym
floors, tile, gravel, grass, wooden lifting platforms, and turf. I have yet to encounter a surface or a
movement where these shoes didn’t shine.
Heck, one day our running portion was done on the turf soccer field
which still had a soccer ball laying around (which I couldn’t help but snag)
and I dribbled it through my running portion and fired off a couple shots as I
approached each end of the pitch and they even did great with that!
They stuck with their midfoot strap, which I was excited to see as this
is a staple for a platform shoe and a feature that is unique to Topo. Currently, outside of Topo you have to choose
either a lifting shoe Or a functional shoe and Topo has the best answer to a
true double duty platform.
The Halsa is solid, flat, light, wide, flexible, and low, while
maintaining excellent anchor points and lateral stability. As such, the Halsa provides a solid platform
in the bottom of heavy lifts with no rollover at all, flexible for box jumps,
poses, and sprints, and light and wide enough for running – Topo truly nailed
this one as a great all around training shoe.
I’ll put it to you like this:
as you can imagine, I have a _lot_ of shoes.
Since I received the Halsa in the mail I have not worn another shoe to the gym.
It happens to all of us. Sometimes we're aware of it and sometimes we're not (suppress). At some point, we all fell victim to Athletic Atrophy and begin just going through the motions.
If we're honest, sometimes it rears its ugly head in unlikely places.
For instance, right now I'm getting up at 4:55am, just enough time to throw on clothes, grab my shoes, and be at the gym by 5:30am. So... I'm working out at 5:30am. AND being lazy.
5:30am anything, let alone a workout, doesn't usually coincide with laziness, BUT IT CAN.
See, I've been getting up, pushing myself to not "accidentally" turn the alarm off, getting up, and getting my butt to the gym, even with a spouse, 2 kids, and a full-time job that sometimes keeps late hours... but once I would get there, I was just... there.
I did my reps, sure, but this form of laziness wasn't about reps, no,
This form of laziness was about pacing instead of pushing
I was focused on doing what was required, at best, and doing what "I could" (at worst) in order to complete the day. I didn't want to burn out so I'd pace myself, I didn't want to not be able to finish my reps so I'd drop weight, I didn't want to have to break sets so I'd walk between stations, I didn't want to "be caught" off my game so I'd start a second or 2 late and
This morning was the breaking point.
We had a workout outside in the gorgeous East Tennessee weather and it was a dozen station circuit, 60 seconds on the station, 12 seconds to get to the next station and be ready to go. I didn't know how many circuits we were going to do, I didn't know how I'd fatigue at each different movement, and my legs were already destroyed from 2 heavy leg days in a row, so I paced myself. Understand, if you haven't figured this out already, that when I say "pace" I just mean "went stupid slow at 50% exertion like a punk".
As we lined back up at our first stations to hit the circuit again it hit me.
My own voice.
But Not the voice of "Levi" that I'd been using in my self-talk, not me in a class, me having someone be my trainer for the first time since my last coach 15 years ago, not me who was doing someone else's workout that I didn't have to program.... but I (finally) heard the voice of "Coach Dodd"
I heard me, my coach voice, my trainer voice, my "hell week" voice, yelling at dozens and dozens and dozens of athletes over the last 10 years.
I saw my Coach self looking at me on those previous circuit stations I had just completed with disgust and pity.
I could hear my coach self yelling at this shell I had allowed myself to become this morning:
"Make it worth it!"
"You got up this morning and showed up and this is what you're going to give me?!"
"You aren't cheating me, you're only cheating yourself, and if you're just going to cheat yourself quit now and go take up something more your speed, like checkers"
"Suck it up buttercup!"
"Why are you hear? You better have a reason other than me - you better have a reason for YOU or you're just wasting out time"
"Use Every second, work Every rep, run Through every line"
"Who are you going to be Today?"
"Come on, let's go, grind!"
"One. More. Rep."
Take back your workouts, take back your runs, take back that squat rack, take back your time. Let us all stop wasting away while we're lying to ourselves about putting in work. Just because we get up earlier, or do more work, and sweat more than the other person, or even if we workout more than 80% of the "friends" on all our social media lists - hear me now - Who Cares.
That's not a question.
It's a statement that you know the answer to. Being better than that guy/girl, doing more than your coworkers, putting in more effort than your instagram followers who don't workout... So what. Your competing against yourself. You're racing yourself. You're fighting yourself.
So even if I outpace someone next to me, even if someone else caught a glimpse of something that they thought was impressive, if it's not my best effort, if it's not my max ability, if it doesn't bring about failure from exhaustion, than...
Take the world's fittest, most adventure seeking people, put them on a gorgeous all inclusive cruise ship, and send them to a private Spartan course in the Bahamas... It's bound to be unbelievable!
So if you missed out on it this year, head on over to vote.spartan.com scroll through all the amazing pictures (Spartan athletes on an enormous cruise ship in international waters quickly turns into a Spider-Man stunt show!) and vote for your favorite ones!
Not only do the top 3 photos with the most votes win a free race entry, if you're #1 favorite pic is the same one that I chose then YOU win a free 2015 Spartan Race entry to any race in the continental USA! Simply click on your favorite picture, copy the tinyURL, and email it to me (or post to comments)!
Then head on over to www.spartan.com and start finding a race!
This is where the rubber meets the road, both figuratively and literally in this case. It's 5 weeks past that day where everyone decides, with 20 minutes left before the ball drops, that they are going to eat better, spend less time on social media, stop drinking sodas, workout 4 days a week, read the entire Bible in a year, and run 1,000 miles in 2015.
Statistically speaking, if you've made it this far, you have decent chances at continuing.
Statistically speaking if you make it to April 1st you have a better than decent chance at continuing.
Statistically speaking, you've already quit. 4 weeks ago.
So, what do we do? How do we avoid this:
First: You Have to have a support system. If you're trying to eat right and your spouse is eating a box of Hot Light KrispyKreme donuts, you're going to fail (seriously - just ask my wife ;)
My brother likes to work out. I like to workout. At the box gym at my church I would go "fairly regular". At the gym that he went to on his own, he would go "fairly regular". I recently moved about 20 minutes closer to him and for the first time in our lives we are able to workout together. So now, guess what? We don't miss. Okay, "hardly ever miss". We both have 2 kids and we meet at the gym at 5:30am so occasionally we do still have
But it's considerably less often than if we were trying to do this on our own.
Second: Set goals. And "yeah, you're right, I should totally increase my squat some this year" doesn't work. Pretty much ever. write your goals down. Than make your goals measurable ("To increase my backsquat 15% by December 31"), and if you can, share your goals with someone else. Or, a lot of someone else's.
Third: Make your goals difficult while still being attainable. If your current squat is 110# (bruh) than setting a goal of 450 isn't "difficult but attainable". Everyone is different. Everyone will experience gains differently. Gains will come at different paces based on how long you've been lifting and how good your form already is (ie if you're brand new to lifting and your form sucks, than working out 4 days a week while getting good form down will yield huge increases where as someone who has been lifting steadily for 3 years and already has optimal form will experience much more incremental gains). Think 15%-33% to start off. "Know thyself"
Fourth: Make yourself accountable to your goals. Back when I turned 30 (I have an early year birthday) I wrote down 30 goals. Called them my "30 for 30" goals and then I shared them, at the beginning of the year, on facebook.
So, at that point I had written goals, I had measurable goals, I had attainable goals, and I had broadcast them so people would expect to hear how I did (good or bad).
If you've already quit, start again today! Put these 4 steps in motion and let's do this! AROO!
Alright folks, I hope everyone had a great Christmas and an excellent New Year!
Unlike a lot of people, I recommend people take some time off at the holidays (or another time you choose) to relax, spend time with family and friends, enjoy food and drink and late nights that you might not normally, and take a refresher. Then, when you come back after the break, you're reinvigorated, your love for the sport is rekindled, and you're ready to go! Well, now is that time - so, let's start it off right: Spartan Up!
Spartan race has been my favorite series and one that I want to continue. I usually go through what I call the typical Rule of 3's after completing a Spartan Beast:
3 Seconds after finishing: OMG! I did it! Yeah! I'm a BEAST! AROO!
3 Minutes after finishing: That's the worst thing Ive ever done, why don't I have better friends who would have told me what a stupid idea this was!
3 Hours after finishing: I am NEVER doing this again. Ever.
3 Days after finishing: Zomg... DOMS!
3 Weeks after Finishing: meh, that wasn't so bad... Matter of fact, I'd say that was the Best. Race. Ever. I just signed up for the next race - who's with me!?"
Now, what's exciting about this next year about Spartan is that they're doing All new medals (don't lie... you know you're a medal whore), Lots of new locations, and (FINALLY) doing new race distance specific t-shirts! I'm sorry, but the jerk side of me was always bothered by the fact that the guy who did the 3 1/2 mile sprint in the nice 80 degree weather had the exact same finisher shirt as the guys who did a 15 mile Beast in 32 degrees! Oh, new medals, new locations, new T-Shirts, AND over half a million bucks in prize money. You know... if you're into that sort of thing... ;)
Additionally, they've added some really cool new things recently that you should check out:
1. Spartan Race has rolled out their Annual Pass which allows you to attend Unlimited Spartan Races in the USA (all 50 states), VIP access to all races, annual Global Rescue Membership, Free bag checks for your flights, and lots of travel discounts (including Enterprise, Uber, Restaurant.com, Wyndom Hotel Group)
2. I'm really excited about Joe's new Spartan Up Podcast. While there are a ton of Podcasts out there, what's sets this one apart is not only do we get Joe, but the interviews are truly awesome (Richard Branson, Ran, Fiennes, and Mimi Anderson just to name a few)