8 Money Saving Tips for Trail Runners

Man practicing trail running and leaping in a path in the coast

Trail running is about as basic as a sport can get. But that doesn’t mean it’s free of expenses.

Constant need for new gear. Increasing race prices. Travel to trails and races.

That’s just a few of the expenses trail runners have to budget for each year.

When my wife and I moved from a regular, well paying 9-5 jobs in Washington, DC, to peruse our dream jobs in Asheville, NC, we both knew it might be awhile before we felt as comfortable financially as we used to.

And that we might have to make cuts and sacrifices while we figured everything out.

So the past 6 months have been one giant experiment in how to run and race like I want to, while doing it on a budget.

It hasn’t always been easy. I pulled my name from a race I hoped to run with some buddies, and I’ve missed out on a few other cool opportunities to run new trails, but I’ve learned a lot about how to cheat the system.

And be the trail runner I want to be all while saving money.

Today I want to share a few of the tricks I’ve implemented over the past several months that have saved me money on everything from races to gear.

How Trail Runners Can Save Money

1) Find the Hidden Gem Races

There are more big  name trail races and ultramarathons with big name sponsors and hosts than ever before, and for the most part, this is great for the sport. Top notch races means easier access for runners.

But it’s not always great for the wallet, as many of those top notch races come at a premium.

Fortunately trail runners still have access to numerous small, local races, hosted by trail running clubs or ultrarunners in the community.

These races are typically no frills, with basic aid stations, and pizza and a cooler full of beer as the post race meal, but they’re also a ton of fun and incredibly welcoming. Often times, they’re also some of the best managed and most scenic races around (a perfect example is my most recent race, the Cumberland Trail 50k).

And they’re always cheap.

Search UltraSignup or ask around your local trail community for races in your area.

2) Sign Up Early

While small, hidden gem, races are fun and inexpensive, sometimes you just want to run one of the larger events.

The appeal of big crowds, loaded goodie bags, and overstocked aid stations, is nothing to be ashamed of.
Unless they sell out immediately, races like this will often have discounts for runners who sign up early.

To best utilize this strategy, plan out your race calendar well ahead of time, and set reminders on your calendar to sing up as soon as registration opens.

3) Get Your Shoes at a Discount

Shoes are the most important and often expensive piece of gear a trail runner has to purchase. Most experts agree that shoes should be swapped out every 300-400 miles, which means that if you’re running high mileage weeks frequently, you’ll run through several pairs of shoes throughout the year.

To save on shoe costs, I always check discount online retailers first. The Clymb is one of the best, with a nice selection of trail running shoes at a discount. (Full disclosure, The Clymb is a Rock Creek Runner sponsor)

When I find a shoe I like at a good price, especially if it’s a sale price, I’ll go ahead and purchase multiple pairs. Even if I don’t touch one of the pairs for a few months, I’ll have them ready when I need them.

4) Cut Back on Food Costs

The workout nutrition industry is massive, and your go-to bars and gels can add up quickly. Here are my favorite tips to cutting back on training food costs:

  • Make your own energy gels and bars
  • Find cheaper alternatives to gels or bars that offer many of the same benefits
  • Buy in bulk instead of one gel at a time, either through your local running store, directly from the company (Greenbelly bars are one of my favorites), or through discount sites
  • Avoid post workout smoothie/juice bar trips and make them at home

5) Camp at the Start/Finish

I have camped, or had the option to camp, at just about every non-local trail race I’ve run. That’s in sharp contrast to road races, where I’ve never even considered the option.

Many races offer camping at the start/finish line, or at a nearby campground. It’s cheap, usually has showers or a creek to clean off in after the race, and almost always makes race morning logistics easier than traveling from a hotel. Camping is also a lot of fun when the sites are overrun with runners.

6) Carpool to Races with Fellow Runners

When I told a friend I couldn’t make a trip to a non-local race because my wife needed the car, he suggested I find another runner in the area and carpool together. For some reason, this had never crossed my mind.

If a race doesn’t publish the entrants ahead of time, email the Race Director to see if anyone from your area is also signed up for the race. Chances are they’d be willing to carpool with you, so you both can save on gas money, and have someone to debrief the race with.

Plus you’ll get bonus points for being a good steward of the Earth!

7) Hunt for Discounted Gear

Just like shoes, clothing, hydration equipment, and other accessories get worn out quickly on the trails.

Take a similar approach with gear as you do shoes, and hunt down great deals online. When something you like goes one sale, like trail running shorts or tops, jump on it and purchase more than you need. You’ll be glad later down the road.

I also like to follow the stores and brands that I like on social media and subscribe to their newsletters (again, The Clymb is a go-to here). As a perk, they often post discounts codes and announce sales through those outlets only.

With gear, it’s important to buy quality, not cheap. I used to get all my running shorts at Target, but they would fall apart after season. Now I hunt down the brands I know fit me well and hold up mile after mile.

8) Join Your Local Running Club

Running clubs are not only a great training tool and good way to meet people, but they are also a good way to save money. Even if they do have a fee.

Larger clubs often hold their own races and events, have race specific training groups for members, and offer demo days on different gear. All of which will save you money.

Being more connected with your local community also gives you more people to share rides with, like I mentioned above.

Putting These Tips Into Action

The beauty of saving money is that you don’t have to do everything at once. Making the choice to camp here or shop there can make small differences that add up.

Now it’s your turn. How do you save money on gear and races?


A Weekend At the Runner’s World Half and Festival


I love the running community.

And after a long weekend in Bethlehem, PA, I’m feeling more connected than ever.

A few months ago I received an invitation from Runner’s World to take part in a special weekend at the Runner’s World Half and Festival with several other bloggers. We would get a sneak peak in Runner’s World HQ, hear directly from brand sponsors of the event, hang out with each other, and participate in as many of the three races as we wanted.

I, along with most of the other bloggers, signed up for the “hat trick,” which consisted of back-to-back 5 and 10ks on Saturday, and a half marathon on Sunday.

After last weekend’s draining 50k, I wasn’t feeling as jazzed on the running part as I would have liked. It’s been nearly two years since I ran a road half marathon, and I knew I wasn’t recovered enough mentally or physically to really push for a new PR. Even on Friday, I wasn’t sure if I’d run all the races.

But after the days leading up to Sunday’s main event, everything began to shift.

A Tour of Runner’s World HQ


We kicked off the weekend with one of my favorite events: Dinner with many of the Runner’s World editors at their headquarters.

The food was good, but the tour and chatting that followed was even better.

Even if you aren’t a Runner’s World reader, you have to admit that they’ve played a major role in the growth of running’s popularity over the past few decades. From Dr. George Sheehan to the hilarious Mark Remy, over the years, an incredible line-up of running influencers have covered the magazine’s pages.

The one and only Mayor of Running himself, Bart Yasso, along with David Willy, RW’s Editor-in-Chief, showed us around the offices just outside Bethlehem. We heard stories from Yasso and saw the passion from Willy. We also got a behind-the-scenes look at how an issue of Runner’s World comes together each month.

For a running dork like myself, it was like hitting the jackpot, and their down-to-Earth welcome reminded me just how open this community is.

A Closer Look at Altra, Time with Budd Coates, and Lots of Fun (and Karaoke)

rw-coverFriday was the special “blogger” day, as I liked to call it.

We kicked it off with a town-wide scavenger hunt (yes that’s me in a skirt at 0:24), before spending the day at the expo center speaking with some of the event’s sponsors.

One of the more interesting parts for me was hearing from Budd Coates about his book Running on Air. His breathing technique and philosophy makes a lot of sense, and I look forward to diving into the book more over the next few days. A full review will be coming soon.

I also loved hearing from the founders of Altra running shoes. I’ve been running off and on in Altras over the past few months, even using them during last weekend’s 50k. They impressed me right away, and the foot shaped toe box has done wonders for my blister prone toes.

Altra’s philosophy and story is unique and powerful enough that I want to save it for a full post and review of the two shoes I’ve been wearing, but if you’re interested in learning more now, check out their videos here.

The rest of the afternoon was filled with yoga, a talk from Team RWB, and more time with Bart and other Runner’s World staff.

After the official biz was over, Matt of No Meat Athlete, Dani of Weight Off My Shoulders, and Presley of Run Pretty decided we’d prep for the weekend of racing with a little fun.

I’ll spare you of the details, but it might have involved a few hours of Black Jack at the Sands Casino and duets with Matt at our hotel’s karaoke night. Yes, our Comfort Suites had a karaoke night. And yes, the running bloggers might have closed it down.

It was a blast drinking beers and getting to know so many of the bloggers in person. As my wife put it as we chatted on the phone, “It’s like summer camp for running bloggers. Where you can all geek out and tweet about it.”

Having Fun During A Race (x3)

Like I mentioned before, leading up to the weekend, the racing part had me least excited. Getting lost made me mentally drained, and the thought of running three road races in a row just wasn’t making my shoes dance.

So on Friday night, when some of the bloggers I was hanging with decided we’d all run the 5k together, I was relieved. No pressure to push hard, and no solo suffering.

The 8 am start came early, but jokes were flowing from the very beginning. It was the most casual I had ever run a race, and it was a lot of fun.

That first race set the tone for the next two.

An hour after finishing the 5k, we were back in the starting corral ready to do it again.

Someone in the group need to stop for a potty break? No problem, we’ll all wait.

Opportunity to run with David Willy? Sounds great, let’s all slow down and soak in the moment (he was running slow in order to chat with other runners, not because we were faster).

Spot “funny lady” Liz Miele (who performed a hilarious routine for the entire expo Saturday evening) a mile from the 10k finish? She’ll keep us laughing down the chute.

Sunday’s half marathon was no different. I may have finished over 30 minutes slower than a PR, but I had a blast. And that was the best case scenario.

Multiple stops and handfuls of candy from strangers later, the races were over. And my times didn’t mater.

These races were about fun.

I’m thankful to Matt, Dani, Presley, and the entire community we were running with that reminded me running isn’t just about pushing hard and testing your limits, it’s also about laughing, having fun, and sharing support.

I hope to keep that spirit alive through every race I participate in moving forward. Does that mean I’m not going to push or go after a PR? Of course not.

But at the core, running should come down to having fun. Because in the end, when our legs can’t handle new PRs or distances, that’s all we’ll have left. 

Big thanks to Runner’s World, you put on a great event in Bethlehem. And major congrats to all of the runners that I met and didn’t meet (especially Arun and his GF. Sorry we missed each other!).

P.S. If you’re curious, here’s the full list of bloggers that were a part of the event:

With one of Altra's founders, Brian Beckstead
With one of Altra’s founders, Brian Beckstead


Photo Credit: Dani Holmes-Kirk
Photo Credit: Dani Holmes-Kirk


The Time I Got Lost During an Ultramarathon


Last Saturday, with one mile left in a 50k ultramarathon, I made a 4-mile mistake.

To tell this story properly, I think I should start from the beginning.

About three months ago I was hanging out on UltraSignup, looking for an October race, when I stumbled upon the Cumberland Trail 50k.


Not only was this a solid mountain race, with over 8,000 feet of gain, but it was a point to point, traveling (almost, I would soon learn) the entire length of the Cumberland Trail, with beautiful and technical singletrack. Just the kind of race that feeds my inspiration.

On top of that, it was tiny, with only about 20 racers on race day.

My ideal race.

Deciding to Race An Ultramarathon

Since my very first, I’ve approached ultramarthons more as a challenge than a race.

The point was always to see what I could do on that particular day, and not worry about what others are doing around me. I guess that’s in part because I haven’t been competitive enough to try to win a race, but also because that’s never been the motivator.

But after a great summer of training in the mountains of Western North Carolina, and with a small field running a course that fits my particular strengths (slow, technical trail, with lots of climbing and descending), I caught the competitive bug.

How could I place if I really set out to race? I knew I wasn’t a contender for the win (UltraSignup ranks you against other entrants ahead of time based off previous ultramarathon finishes), but I did want to see what I could really do if I fought for it.

So I created a plan:

  • I would focus my last few weeks of training on appropriate workouts and follow through with a structured taper
  • On race day, I’d use this new competitive spirit to push harder up hills and let myself go on the downhills
  • I would be strategic with nutrition throughout the race
  • I’d try to stick with and go after other runners, using that as motivation to fight through low points

If I was going to blow up, I was going to blow up big.

And on race day, after a night of channeling my inner dirtbagger and camping in the back of the car, I was jazzed and ready to race.

Miles 1-29

Normally in a race report, the author might break up their race into 10 mile increments, or let the course dictate the separations. But for me, there are only two distinctions: the miles before I miss a turn, and the miles after.

The first 29 miles go pretty much as planned. I run smart, push hard, and use a group of 3 other runners to keep me on pace and where I wanted to be.

As for the course, it is spectacular. Vibrant yellow and orange leaves and remote singletrack keep our minds off the rain and fog and inspired to cover miles.

Because the course follows a single trail (aside from a quick detour early in the race) from start to finish, the race director had no need to mark much of the course. For nearly the entire race we are to follow the white blazes that identify the Cumberland Trail. All day long I focus on those white strips of paint.

White paint means I’m moving the right direction.

With about 8 miles to go, I reach the last major climb before descending nearly 6 miles to the finish. During this climb that I hit my only real low point, losing some ground, but quickly regrouping in time to charge the downhill that should ultimately lead me to the finish.

I’m descending very well all day, and I know that if I just put my head down and grunt it out, I can make up any lost ground and then some coming into the final miles. Hopefully placing right where I predicted.

So that’s exactly what I do. I put my head down and take off.

I’m moving so quickly that I slipped on the juicy mud three times during that final decent. But I don’t care. Each time I hop up and continued forward.

Following the white trail markers.

When Stubbornness Gets in the Way of Reality

As I start that final descent, I know I’m making up ground. Even if I’m not able to pass anyone else (which I really believe I can), this was to be my strongest ever ultramarathon finish. I’m start feeling a sense of pride.

I even start thinking about what this post will look like after a race where just about everything went right.

I push on, following those white makers.

After awhile, however, things started feeling off.

I’m running along a highway, which doesn’t makes sense.

And I hit another climb when deep down I know I shouldn’t.

But I charge on, looking over my shoulder to see if anyone is coming and focusing up the trail to see who I can catch.

Finally I glance down at my watch in frustration. It reads 32 miles. More than a mile longer than it should, and I can tell I’m still nowhere near the finish.

Damn it. Where did I go wrong? I’m following the trail! 1000 curse words and questions run through my head.

Stubborn and still afraid of getting passed if I am in fact on the right path (stupid, I know), I keep going.

Until I run into some campers.

“Hey! Do you know how to get to Cove Lake State Park?” I yell from the trail about 30 feet up the hill.

They turn to see who is calling out, and look somewhere between confused and frightened as I catch their eyes.

I’m a mess. Mud splattered throughout my white shirt, caked on my legs, and smeared all over the back of my shorts from sliding.

I’m also soaking wet, tired, and hungry. I’m ready for the this race to be over.

“Yeah sure, it’s that’s way…” one of the campers points in the direction up the trail I just covered. “Where are you coming from?”

It was a question I have no interest in answering, knowing that if I say 32 miles up the trail, it will require a much longer explanation. And I’m pissed.

Instead, I ignore their question and respond with another.

“Are you sure it isn’t that way?” I point in the direction I was going, hoping for a different answer.

“Yeah, you definitely don’t want to go that way.”

“So have you seen any other runners pass through?” I look for something, anything that doesn’t make me feel so defeated.

“Look,” he says, realizing how hopeless I am, “If you go down this side trail, it takes you to a road, which will get you back to the park quicker than the trail.”

At least it’s something. I slowly jog, completely defeated, down the side trail to the road, where I flag down a car for further directions. I contemplate hitching a ride, but knew that even if I want to, no one will give me a ride looking like this.

Coming to Terms With Disappointment

Over the course of the 30 minutes it takes me to walk/jog the two miles back to the finish after turning around, my emotions go from anger to disappointment.

I put so much into those last miles, only to realize I was literally going the wrong way.

I’m out here to prove what I can do, and botched the whole damn thing.

Finally I arrive at the finish line, coming from the opposite direction as everyone else.

No joke, I actually cross the line from the other side.

But by the time I make it to the picnic area where the other runners I had been chasing down were already showered and eating pizza, I find that the disappointment has faded.

I had to let it go.

The small crowd cheers me in, and laugh with me at the story, and the race director sighs with relief. He’s just glad to see me.

I don’t run ultramarathons for the perfect race. No one does. Ultras are just too unpredictable and would leave you too disappointed.

Something I had forgotten when caught up in the excitement of competition.

Instead, I run them for the challenge. Missing a turn and getting lost is just a new challenge.

Once I’m able to let go of the disappointment and laugh at the situation, I’m able to accept that.

In a way, it’s a relief. I still ran well. I still covered nearly 35 miles. And I still learned a little better what I am capable of. And of course, I still exposed my weaknesses.

Overcoming obstacles, digging deep, dealing with disappointment, and achieving something great. That’s the storyline of all successful ultramarathons. That’s what ultrarunning is all about.

This might not be the post I dreamed of writing at mile 28. But that’s OK.

Side Note: It turns out that turn off was marked properly and I just simply missed it. This was a beautiful race I hope to come back to next year, and figure out exactly where I went wrong.

Has Ultra-Endurance Running Become A Joke?

A few nights ago I was checking my Twitter feed one last time before bed, when an article caught my eye. “Man Floating in Bubble Rescued By Coastguard” “This’ll be a funny,” I thought, and clicked on the link. But as I read the article and watched the video, I didn’t find it very funny.Continue Reading

How to Be a Good Running Partner (And How Not To)

So you think you’re a good running partner? We’ll see about that… Lots of runners, including myself, run alone more frequently than they run with others. But a running partner or group can be one of the most effective training tools to keep you on track and pushing hard, and a great way to keepContinue Reading

In Defense of Burning Out

This post was written as part of Trail Runner Magazine’s Blog Symposium. This month’s topic is, “How can trail runners avoid burnout?”. It happens every year. Most often, this time of year, as the leaves start to fall and the days grow shorter. The excitement of summer training and races has now faded, and manyContinue Reading

The Cheat Sheet All Trail Runners Need

Over the past few years I’ve been paying attention (and no, not just to which company has the coolest trail shoes or best tasting beer). I’ve been paying attention to the questions and frustrations runners share with me every day via email, and on Twitter and Facebook. And as I work through those questions eachContinue Reading

31 Ways to Know You’re Ready for an Ultramarathon

A lot of runners find the ultramarathon distance appealing. Especially if they are already running trails or are marathon finishers now itching for a new challenge. But ultras can be tough. And committing to your first is scary. After all, how do you even know if you’re ready to tackle such a distance and challenge?Continue Reading

Running in Sunglasses: Julbo Dust Review

I’ve never been much of a sunglasses guy while running. In fact, I always found them quite irritating and distracting, as they would either slip down my nose and threaten to fall off, or the lenses would steam up. And let’s face it, when I’m thinking about essential running gear (shoes, clothes, water), sunglasses don’tContinue Reading

4 Lessons From Running in the Mountains of Colorado

Last week I set out with two friends, Skylar and David, for an epic weekend of running in the mountains of Colorado. This was to be the second annual running weekend with these two, after last year we ran/fastpacked the 102 mile length of Shenandoah National Park in 3 days. We were looking for aContinue Reading

Why I Like Feeling Vulnerable

Back in March of this year, I wrote a post called The Benefits of Facing Your Vulnerabilities. It was in that post, that I shared a few personal stories of when I’ve felt the most vulnerable, and how it was fighting through that vulnerability that spawned some major life growth. But I also acknowledged thatContinue Reading

Beginner Ultramarathon Advice: An Interview with Sage Canaday

Sage Canaday hasn’t always been an ultra runner. In fact, for many years while running for the Hansons-Brooks Distance Projects Team, his specialty was half and full marathons. Speedy half and full marathons. But even with two Olympic Trials qualifications and a blistering fast 2:16:52 marathon PR, he doesn’t label himself a marathoner anymore. NowContinue Reading

How You Can Run A Marathon (And Why You Should)

This might not be popular, but I’m going to go ahead and say it. Running a marathon is not that hard. I said it. Don’t get mad. That’s not to say that running a marathon will not hurt. And sure, you’ll want to quit… Quit during training. Quit after a bad long run. Quit theContinue Reading

How to Avoid (Post-Race) Couch Potato Syndrome

The Washington Post recently published an opinion article titled Couch potato athletes: Why it’s hard to stay active after competition ends. According to a study by researcher Shawn Sorenson, who examined the exercise habits of 500 students and alumni from the University of Southern California, some of whom are current or former student-athletes, former eliteContinue Reading

3 Must-Do Drills for Trail Runners

Do you remember your first trail run? I do. I came home exhausted, with dirty shoes, sore ankles, and a stubbed big toe. Immediately I knew I wanted more, but unfortunately I had no idea what I was doing. So what I decided to do was to keep going back, pushing a little too hard,Continue Reading

Friday Footnotes: Unplugged

Ed Note: This week’s Friday Footnotes was written by DC based running blogger Jamie Corey iPhone, check. Headphones, check. GPS watch, check. I don’t even put on my running shoes until all these items are accounted for. Once I make the mile-run to the closest trailhead, I find every tree trunk, log or rock onContinue Reading

5 Lessons an Ultrarunner Can Learn From A 5k Race

After getting home from a local Black Mountain, NC 4th of July 5k race on Friday, I looked up previous race results to see my most recent 5k time. Turns out it was back in 2009. That’s five years ago. I couldn’t believe it had been that long, but the more I thought about it,Continue Reading

What 3 Weeks in Italy Taught Me About Running

You may have noticed I’ve been a little scarce around here the past few weeks. That wasn’t the intention. I intended to take advantage of extra free time to write, read, post, and have a very productive few weeks on the blog. But that didn’t happen. And now I’m thankful for that. I spent theContinue Reading

6 Tips for Successful Summer Training

Note from Doug: While I’m enjoying a few weeks of little running and lots of wine relaxation on my belated honeymoon in Italy, most of you are gearing up for some of the most difficult months a runner faces each year: The dreaded summer months. Today my friend Jamie Corey of the D.C. based runningContinue Reading

13 Must-Knows For All Beginner Trail Runners

For the past several months, I’ve been on a mission to get non-trail runners to give the trail a shot. I even released a free eBook outlining all the best reasons why you should, and a complete 101 guide on trail running basics (posted to the Art of Manliness blog). But what I haven’t done aContinue Reading

Friday Footnotes: Why Running is a Team Sport

Ed Note: This week’s Friday Footnotes is part of a submission to TrailRunnerMag.com’s Blog Symposium. Runners love to brag about the simplicity of running. As the saying goes, All you need is a pair of shoes and a path to run down. Just you and the trail. It’s a beautiful concept. At it’s core, theContinue Reading

Pre-Race Pressures: 3 Simple Coping Techniques

The days leading up to any big race can be tough. Not only are you feeling antsy from running less due to the taper and nervous about your goal, you’re also dealing with a lot of pre-race pressure. Pressures from a number of sources. A few that affect me the most are: Pressure from myselfContinue Reading

Friday Footnotes: Inspiration Comes in Many Forms

Note from Doug: This is the first installment of a new series I’m calling Friday Footnotes. A few times each month we’ll be releasing an additional post, sometimes from me, sometimes from guest writers, but always on a Friday. The goal of these posts will not be another how to or information driven post, butContinue Reading

How I’m Preparing for a 100 Mile Ultramarathon

With the taper period for the upcoming Massanutten Mountain Trail 100 underway, I think it’s fair to say that sh*t’s getting real. As well it should, being just 10 days away. And as the reality that in less than two weeks I’ll set out to run 103.7 miles in one push sets in, nerves, doubts,Continue Reading

Reflections from the Bel Monte Endurance 50 Miler

In just 22 days, I’ll be running somewhere in the Massanutten Mountain range, attempting my first 100 mile ultramarathon. Just 22 days. It seems like a lifetime ago that I first set this goal and announced it on the blog. But here we are, 22 days out, and everything is starting to come together. ThisContinue Reading

The Perfect Pre-Race (or Long Run) Meal

Knowing what to eat and when to eat it before, during, and after a race or long workout is one of the biggest question marks new runners have. Throughout training we have access to endless information on our different workouts, training techniques, and pacing strategies, but it’s hard to find good advice when it comesContinue Reading

An Ode to Rock Creek Park

A few weeks ago Andy Jones-Wilkins wrote a piece on iRunFar titled That One Hill. In it he talks about how we as runners are often inspired by the epic mountain adventures of elites and top athletes, but it’s our daily routes and runs that really give us the most strength: The vast majority ofContinue Reading

Running and Thinking: Why We Do Our Best Thinking During Exercise

Someone recently shared with me a video call The Runners.  In the video, the filmmakers spontaneously interview runners mid-run about life, relationships, why they run, and a number of other tough, personal topics. The answers are profound, meaningful, and an incredibly open look into that person’s life. It would have probably made for an interestingContinue Reading

What an Average Runner Can Learn From the Winter Olympics

I’m not a huge sports guy.  I can hold my own when I find myself in the middle of a sports-related conversation, but unless we’re talking about the Nationals, it’s rare to find me watching sports on TV. But for some reason I absolutely love watching the Olympics.  It’s something about having top athletes fromContinue Reading

How to Reenter After Taking A Break From Running

This post was written by Jennifer Heidmann One of my favorite races of the year is coming up this weekend. And I won’t be there. In truth, I could be there, but I cannot bring myself to toe the line when absolutely nothing has gone as planned in the last several weeks. Including my vagueContinue Reading

What Runners Really Think: Secrets Revealed

We all have them.  Those little secrets, or thoughts, or maybe even judgments that we don’t like to share with our non-runner friends. Not because we are mean, but because we know that to some degree, they’ll just never understand our drive and need to log miles. Running is more than a hobby, it’s aContinue Reading

If You Want to Run an Ultra, Don’t Do What I Did

Several months ago I was sitting around having a beer with a friend, and we got on the topic of our first 50k ultramarathons. Turns out we had pretty similar stories: We both signed up on a whim with no training plan or real knowledge (unless you count Born to Run) of ultrarunning. We bothContinue Reading

Scared Sh*tless

I’m incredibly excited about 2014. Want to know why? Because I’ll be taking some major risks. And I’m scared shitless. But shaking in my boots is all part of the excitement. If all goes as planned, and even if it doesn’t, I’ll be putting myself out there more in 2014 than I ever have before.Continue Reading

32 Rules Runners Should Live By in 2014

It’s that time of the year again.  The time when we start reflecting on our biggest achievements and our worst setbacks from the past year, all to help us prepare for the next. Some people say that we put too much emphasis on setting goals and resolutions for the new year, but I think theContinue Reading

Fuel Your Run With This Ultimate Fueling Giveaway!

Ed Note: It’s Holiday Spirit Week here at Rock Creek Runner, and we’re celebrating with two awesome giveaways to help you kick-start your training in the new year. You can still enter to win the first awesome giveaway here.   Originally I was going to split this giveaway up into separate nutrition and hydration prizes,Continue Reading

Injinji Compression Sock Review + Giveaway!

Ed Note:  It’s Holiday Spirit Week here at Rock Creek Runner, and we’re celebrating with two awesome giveaways to help you kick-start your training in the new year.  Today we’re giving away 5 pairs of Injinji Compression Socks and Thursday we’ll post details on a nutrition giveaway, featuring hydration gear, Nuun products, and Bearded BrothersContinue Reading

A Thankful Runner

I am a thankful runner. I’m thankful for my two feet, which propel me forward, stride after stride.  And for my legs which continue to build in strength to carry me up hills and through miles of trail. I’m thankful for my head, and my heart.  Combined they get me off the couch or outContinue Reading

11 Books Every Runner Should Have on Their Shelf

If you’re like me, sometimes you just need more than a “How to” list, or a 1000 word post could ever offer.  You want to dive deeper. You want science, back story, and page after page of useful information or good stories that will make you a better runner.  In other words, you want aContinue Reading

Why I’m Setting A 100 Mile Goal

On Saturday, May 17th, 2014, I will run 100 miles. Or at least that is the goal. Only it’s more than just a goal, because I’m certain it will be a reality. On Setting Goals I spent the last week accompanying Matt Frazier and Matt Ruscigno on the No Meat Athlete book tour. We stoppedContinue Reading

The 24 Dos and Don’ts of Running a Marathon

Last weekend’s Marine Corps Marathon was my fourth marathon finish, but in a way, you could say it was a first. It was the first time I didn’t study the course map for days before the race.  I didn’t plan out when to take each gel, how much water to drink at each station, orContinue Reading

How to Improve Your Running Form [Infographic]

Websites, including this one, love to share articles about how to run faster, get stronger, and avoid injury. They talk about hills, trails, and training plans, and while those can have major impacts on your running, they pale in comparison to one key ingredient: Your running form. Making slight adjustments to your running form isContinue Reading

TomTom Runner GPS Watch Review

There comes a time in every runner’s life when they have to learn about the GPS. The runner has to decide if and when it is right for them to take that step, and what they are most attracted to once they’re ready. If they rush it, the runner might make an impulse decision whichContinue Reading

What Jim Carrey Taught Me About Running

You may remember a film released back in 2008 called Yes Man.  If you’ve seen it, you probably remember it as that mediocre film where Jim Carrey runs around saying “yes” to everything. The premise of the film is simple: A lonely, sad man named Carl is down on life until he goes to aContinue Reading

Stop Running Like An Idiot

You’re an idiot.  There, I said it. Go ahead and curse me if you want, but I’m calling you out for what you are. An idiot. Alright fine, it’s possible you aren’t as dumb as I think you are, but there’s a high probability that if you aren’t acting like an idiot now, you haveContinue Reading

Why I Ran 442 Consecutive Days (And Why I Quit)

I took the elevator down to the hotel lobby around 9:30am.  I had told people to meet me there if they wanted to join for my final run of a 442 day run streak. To my surprise, over 30 people in running shorts and sneakers were waiting by the door ready to go out forContinue Reading

An Ode to Cross Country

This post is written by Jennifer Heidmann No matter where you live, there is something magical about fall running. Perhaps it is the slight coolness that pushes away summer, as a prelude to the crisp days of true autumn. Perhaps it is that first day you can wear a pair of tights or a lightContinue Reading

3 Surprising Reasons Trail Running Prevents Injuries

This is a guest post from Jason Fitzgerald of Strength Running. Ask most runners about what prevents injuries and they’ll list the crowd favorites: strength exercises, good running form, and increasing mileage at a responsible rate. And it’s true – any smart runner should work on these aspects of their running to stay healthy. But mentionContinue Reading

Fighting the Running Demons With a Mantra

Ask any runner and they’ll tell you, sometimes you have to dig deep. Whether you’re 3 hours into a marathon or 15 minutes into a 5k, running can hurt.  And pain can make you want to quit. If you don’t know what I’m talking about, then you just aren’t running hard enough. When the goingContinue Reading

Embracing Inspiration: In The High Country Movie Review

Runner’s aren’t all alike. We don’t look alike. We don’t eat alike.  We don’t always dress alike.  But we all do have at least one thing in common. Inspiration. Without it, there would be no PRs, no first marathons, and no run streaks.  We wouldn’t get up and run in the heat.  Or the cold. Continue Reading

Beat the Post-Race Blues

This post is written by Jennifer Heidmann Running without a Garmin is peculiar. How far did I go in that 1 hour and 3 minutes? How fast did I go in that 63 minutes? If nothing is recorded, did it actually happen? I just race a marathon.  Months of training.  Hours of workouts.  All for theContinue Reading

How to Properly Stay Hydrated During a Long Run

During my first 50 mile ultramarathon, I only pee’d once.  And it was within the first hour of the race. And I ran for almost 10 hours. But before we get too deep into my bladder issues, let’s first take a step back. I’m the type of runner who will schedule a whole shopping tripContinue Reading

The 7-Minute Workout: Does it Work for Runners?

A few weeks ago I was sitting around the bar with a few friends when someone mentioned that they had just done the 7-Minute Workout, made famous in a recent New York Times Magazine article. If you aren’t familiar (and none of us were), the 7-Minute Workout is basically this:  A high-intensity interval circuit, featuringContinue Reading

Wear Dirty Shorts: Running Practical, Not Hip

This may come as a shock to you:  I’m not very hip. And I’m totally fine with that. Because when it comes to running, a sport filled with new trends on a near daily basis, we often need to take a step back and take a more practical approach. We need to do what worksContinue Reading

8 Reflections on the Joy of Running

This post is written by Jennifer Heidmann Many of us grew up with Irma Rombauer’s book on our family’s cookbook shelf. I never knew that this book, which is almost iconically kitschy, and in retrospect fairly bold for the times, was born from grief. It was the depression era, and Rombauer’s husband had committed suicide.Continue Reading

Rock Creek Round-Up: May 2013

May has been a great month.  The weather in DC was fabulous, the trails are surrounded by budding trees, and the big cicada scare of 2013, causing terror up and down the East Coast, doesn’t seem to be as big a deal as people thought. It was also a great month on the interwebs, andContinue Reading

Learn to Love Running…Again

It is difficult to equate fun with pain. Tempo runs.  Hills.  Long hours up and down the trails. Running can be painful.  And pain usually isn’t fun. But as any runner knows, running can be one of the most enjoyable activities out there!  After all, why would we spend so much time doing it ifContinue Reading

4 Ways to Rethink Your Everyday Run

Unless you are deep into a training schedule or getting yelled at by a coach, chances are you have an “Everyday Run.” Tell me if this scenario sounds familiar: You’re short on time and only have about 30 minutes to squeeze in a run, so you quickly slap on your shoes and head out theContinue Reading

Rock Creek Round-Up: April 2013

Last month I decided to start a new RCR feature highlighting some of the best articles and videos I’ve enjoyed over the past month. With so much exciting and fun information out there, limiting this list to just a few is harder than you might expect!  But here they are, some of my favorite thingsContinue Reading

Finding A Diet That Works For Your Running

It’s not difficult to spend too much time thinking about running when we have access to countless blogs, articles, and coaches, all cranking out free info.  We spend all this time pouring over running advice because we want to run faster or further, and improve. But it is easy to forget that one of theContinue Reading

How to Beat Your Fears of Running Trails

This post is written by Jennifer Heidmann I originally wrote this post before the Boston Marathon took place. The attack is a reminder of what the feeling of fear is based on: vulnerability. On April 16, the day after the bombings, I took a 20 mile run and without even thinking had thrown on myContinue Reading

5 Benefits of Hill Workouts (infographic)

I couldn’t tell you how many times I’ve altered a route because of an approaching hill.  They are just one of those things we runners tend to avoid as much as possible. But skipping a hill is a big mistake.  Like it or not, hills make us better runners. This week I’ve decided to doContinue Reading

Moving Forward (Broken Ego and All)

It was only mile 16, but it felt more like a tired 40.  I had already climbed around 5000 feet, descending about half that, and here I was fighting my way up another climb. I first started to notice my body screaming while standing at an aid station waiting on a friend just a fewContinue Reading

Rock Creek Round-Up: March 2013

Sometimes I have plenty to say, but other times it is best to let the others do the talking. Every day I read something inspiring, informative, or just plain fun, and it seems selfish not to help spread the word about these great articles, videos, and podcasts. I’ve decided to try something a little different. Continue Reading

OGIO Endurance 8.0 Pack Review (Video)

Sometimes you buy a product and think to yourself, “eh, it’ll do.” But other times you pick up a product and know after first use that it is really going to make your life easier. I didn’t actually buy the OGIO Endurance 8.0 Pack, it was given to me for Christmas by my mother, butContinue Reading

The ABCs of Healthy Running

This post is written by Jennifer Heidmann First, a disclaimer. Though I am a doctor, I am not your doctor. I do not herein offer official medical advice. Read at your own risk. If you are new to running, or planning a great big new running feat, check in with your doctor first. I haveContinue Reading

One Word Changed My Training Forever

I discovered a new word this year. Well, I guess I’ve known the word for a long time, but this year brought it new meaning. Consistency.  Yeah, I’m sure you know the word as well. Over the past several months, I’ve really begun to adopt this word as my main focal word for running.  I’veContinue Reading

New Free eBook: The Power of a Running Mantra

There is just no way around it. Running is tough. I recently experienced this firsthand, several hours into the Mount Mitchell Challenge, when my legs were on fire and my mind was starting to doubt a finish. Had it not been for the 7 word phrase I repeated dozens of times, I might still beContinue Reading


Get every new post delivered to your Inbox

Join other followers: