Friday, March 28, 2014

Under Armour Running Shoes by Shauna Harrison

Shauna's shoes (most of them)

Hi, my name is Shauna and I’m an Under Armour® trainer and yoga instructor. Thanks to childhood memories of not even being able to run a whole mile in PE, I often grapple with identifying myself as a “runner.” But I do run! I run hills, stairs, sand dunes, trails and streets (sometimes all in one training session). According to MapMyFitness, I run a total of 20 miles/week. And I love it. So, ok…I’m a runner, too.
I just happen to be a runner with not-your-average-shoe needs. Thanks to Under Armour, I’m also a runner with a not-your-average-shoe closet.

Wait UA makes running shoes? YES! And great ones! Below are a few of my favorites.
First, my feet – that way, you can see if my needs might be similar to yours. I have low arches and hypermobile feet (surprise, surprise, yogi). I’ve been wearing medical orthotics since I was about 8 years old. I need stability, structure and cushion. The minimalist trend is not for me. Here are some of my UA favorites:
UA Speedform Apollo, Micro G Spine Evo & Monza
·      Design/Technology: UA’s latest running shoe with sweet technology. The Speedform was actually manufactured in a clothing factory, which gives them a performance apparel type fit!
·      Fit and Feel: These bad boys are super light, flexible and comfortable. Generally for my needs, “flexible” isn’t all that appealing. However, I had no problems with the Speedform right out of the box (I don’t usually recommend that, but couldn’t help myself!)
·      Wear: I’ve worn the Speedform for conditioning runs (hills, stairs, some trail, minimal flats) and one flat, short (4-ish miles), speed run. I was happy with them for both types of runs, but I could really feel the benefit of the lightness in the shorter, faster run. They earn their Speedform name.
·      Design/Technology:  Very durable. Good traction. The “spine” provides a ton of stability. The Micro G foam midsole supplies cushioning. Sometimes rocks get stuck in the spaces on the soles.
·      Fit and Feel: The UA Spines have been my favorite UA running shoes since the first version emerged. For my needs, these shoes are perfection. I love their stability and support.
·      Wear: I use the Spines for almost any kind of run. Bonus: I use them for other training as well. They work well for jump rope, circuit training and even some minimal lateral training. This is essentially unheard of for running shoes, which makes me love them even more.
·      Design/Technology: Lighter than the Spines, not quite as light at the Speedform. The suede mid-foot overlay gives these shoes some extra support. The outsole is made to stay in contact with the road.
·      Fit and Feel: These do give a smooth run. The stability is a close second to the Spines. The Micro G® makes them feel cushiony.
·      Wear: The Monzas work well for most of my running workouts. I mix these in with my Spines for a go-to shoe. I will use them for other workouts as well, but they are not quite as stable, laterally.
The rest of the guys in my shoe collection have also done their time on the streets, trails and sand. Many of them are great but hopefully focusing on these three gives you a starting point and helps you find what works for you. Remember, take your time, work with someone with can dissect your stride and identify your needs, and get out there and sweat every day!
Shauna drops a forearm stand in the UA Micro G Spine Evo

Thanks to our guest blogger, Shauna Harrison. Get more Shauna in your life on Instagram (@shauna_harrison), where she is well known as the inventor of and inspiration behind #SweatADay. She also is the creator of Hip Hop Cycle® and Muscle & Flow fitness classes. This blog was not reimbursed in anyway in exchange for this post. Just giving a different perspective from a recognized athlete. Happy running!

Tuesday, March 18, 2014

Runner's Tan: Why I Wear Sunblock

I've been running and cycling for 25 years. Before that, I was a kid in Minnesota and Colorado, so I was running the streets and swimming in the summer and building snow forts and skiing in the winter. I've gotten a lot of tans during my many trips around the sun.

My mom has freckles so she was okay about making us wear sunblock when we were kids. Back then, that meant she made us put it on if she was with us and remembered before leaving the house and she knew we were going to be out all. It does not mean it happened every day, repeat applications or +15 SPF.

After taking up marathoning in my 20s, I was a little better but not much. Higher SPF, but often forgetting to apply. A hat when running. That's about it. I took pride in my runner's tan. I thought it said a lot of good things about me - active, healthy, radiant, hardcore runner. Sadly, it also said, "I don't really get how aging and skin cancer work."

Today, I don't have any tan lines. I'm just as active (slower but still out there), I'm just a lot more covered up. The other day, I went out with SPF 60 sunblock on my hands, legs and face. But I hadn't done my arms because I was wearing a light jacket. Unfortunately, it was warmer than I thought. I was sweating like crazy but I kept on that jacket because there is NO WAY, at this point in my life, that I'm getting burnt.

Friends tease me. I don't care. I've never been that big on peer pressure. Plus, I know the damage I've done already. It's subtle on my body - small freckles fill in my old runner's tan while the parts that have always been covered remain clear and smooth. On my face, the miles show more. Melasma - freckle patches on my forehead, cheeks and upper lip - makes it a lot easier to guess my age, despite very few wrinkles.

My mom still has freckles, too, of course. But since some of them started turning into little blobs of skin cancer, she is has become a skin care booster. When she gardens, she wears a long-sleeve shirt with built in SPF. She wears floppy, wide-brimmed hats. When running (yes, my 65-year-old mom does about 4 miles every day!), she slathers on the sunblock. She's pale, and that's beautiful because it's healthy.

I'm lucky to have her as a skin role model - for the bad and the good. Hopefully, what I've learned from her as an adult will help balance what we did to our skin 30 years ago. I'm taking it so seriously that, this April, the shirt I'll wear for the Nashville Half Marathon is long sleeved.

Apply and reapply sunblock. Cover up. Be healthy. Look great.

Thursday, March 6, 2014

Change & Refreshing Your Workout

This year, to refresh my fitness routine, I decide to return to something old and add something new. My goal, as always, was to have fun, stay healthy and stay motivated.

Staying motivated to "work out" isn't usually my problem but even my body at rest stays at rest unless I do something to get myself out the door.

Adding an old workout, refreshed: training for another half marathon. I'm keeping this year's training fresh by doing it with my brother, who lives two time zones away. We're linked on an app that lets us train/compete together. It's been great to literally see him putting in the miles and to urge him on by nipping at his heels.

First climb. Photo by Dana Underwood
Trying a new workout: In January, a friend posted a note on Facebook, asking if anyone wanted to go rock climbing. I never had but suddenly wanted to very badly. Rock climbing is completely out of my fitness sweet spot - a lot of upper body, vertical movement, partner-based activity. But, I love it so much, I quit my old gym and joined a much smaller gym that is mostly based on climbing. My hands hurt all of the time, but it's satisfying and has secretly added strength training to my cardio-centric routine.

I'm sharing this today, deliberately. By now, many of us have given up our new year's resolutions. Motivation met its match in habit and inertia. But there was a reason you made that resolution. Maybe you know you're not as healthy as you should be for your age. Maybe you feel older than are. Maybe some pounds have snuck up on you and now you can't shake them. Whatever it was, it's still there.

So, if you're hating the fitness routine you tried to start in January, shake it up! Try something so completely different, you almost can't think of it yourself (whoa, my head just threatened to explode!). Rock climbing, mall walking, Lemon Twist®, something! It might not be easy and you SHOULD ache tomorrow, but it will get better and could even