When I recently asked which type of runner you were on Facebook, most identified with the gear junkie:

Gear Junkie

But running gear isn’t something I discuss much at Strength Running because I think you can train effectively without any fancy gadgets.

Learning to run by feel or by “performance-based paces” is superior to relying on a heart rate monitor.

You don’t need  to buy the $180 pair of niche running shoes or upgrade your Garmin every six months with the latest model.

But… new running toys are fun. Runners LOVE to indulge their passion by playing with the latest technology.

Even though I consider myself a gear minimalist, there are some new toys that I’ve been playing with recently that I think you would love.

So with the holidays quickly approaching, I want to share some of my favorite running gifts: gadgets, services, products, and even Strength Running’s first t-shirt.

Running Gift #1: Strength Running T-Shirts

I’ve never before offered t-shirts before, and for good reason: buying in bulk and shipping them myself is exorbitantly expensive, time-consuming, and not what I want to spend my time doing.

More importantly, I want to spend my time creating articles, videos, and training resources that actually help you become a better runner.

But I know t-shirts are fun! And during a recent survey, a huge number of you wanted SR gear – so I’m making it happen. Teespring is doing the heavy lifting, a company that lets small businesses like Strength Running offer shirts with no upfront costs.Strength Running T-shirt

Here’s how it works:

  • Reserve your shirt here by choosing your size (men’s and women’s fits are both available!)
  • If the minimum number of shirts is reserved, Teespring will fulfill the order and ship them

For my first attempt at shirts, I’m keeping it simple: a Strength Running branded t-shirt on the highest quality American Apparel shirt that’s available.

Unfortunately, technical fabric wasn’t an option for this round – but stay tuned. If this experiment is successful, I’ll set up more!

If you’ve ever wanted to show your SR pride, now’s your chance with this year’s hottest running gift (I’m being optimistic).

If we can’t get the minimum number of shirts reserved, you won’t be charged and you won’t get a shirt (sorry). So if you want one, it’s also a good idea to share the t-shirt page with your running friends.

Check out the fit, style, and sizes on the Strength Running Teespring page.

This is a big experiment, so if you have any questions or feedback, please leave a comment on this post or email me.

Gift Idea #2: Improve Your Technique with a Running Form Analysis

This gift is a double whammy: an interactive video course on proper running form plus a personalized analysis of your running form.

The Running Form Course explains the science of sound technique and helps you identify flaws in your own form. With a simple series of strength exercises, cues, and  drills you’ll improve your efficiency, reduce your injury risk, and get a helluva lot faster.

The program was created by Olympic Trials qualifier and RunnersConnect head coach Jeff Gaudette. Here’s how it works:

We start by conducting an in-depth video analysis of your current running technique while also teaching you the basics of running biomechanics.

We’ll educate you by using an easy-to-follow, step-by-step process that breaks down each aspect of the gait cycle into easy to understand sections.

Once you’ve had your video analysis and understand the elements of proper form, we’ll assign you very specific drills, strength exercises, and dynamic stretches designed to help your body develop the strength, flexibility and awareness to move through the gait cycle as it was designed.

This structure and progression will address your strengths and weaknesses to develop a biomechanically sound running style adapted to your biological uniqueness.

There’s too much conflicting advice about running form out there. And there are countless articles on foot strike (it’s not that important!), cadence, and arm carriage to make any runner confused.

The Running Form Course is a 6-week, proven solution to help you finally improve your technique and make those positive changes permanent. No BS and no gimmicky “branded” styles of running.

How much faster could you be with more efficient form? Check out the course here.

Running Gift #3: The FitBit Charge

For my birthday this year, my wife bought me a FitBit Charge – a piece of wearable technology that tracks a host of activity metrics:FitBit Charge

  • Daily steps
  • Total number of calories burned (based on activity tracked, plus height, weight, and age)
  • Distance covered (walking)
  • Flights of stairs climbed

It also displays the time, a caller ID, and syncs with a free mobile and web app.

What got me interested in tracking my daily activity is the latest research in exercise habits, activity levels, and sedentary behavior that affect health. As we’re learning, unfortunately running isn’t enough to be as healthy as you can be.

Even if you run 10 miles a day, sitting down for most of the day is likely just as unhealthy as smoking cigarettes! The running doesn’t “cancel” the sitting, just like it wouldn’t cancel the smoking.

So I’m starting to measure and track my daily activity so that I can take steps (I live for puns!) to improve it over the next several months. And of course, what gets measured gets managed.

Soon I’ll be publishing a more comprehensive case study on how I’m using my FitBit Charge to increase my steps, floors climbed, and ultimately lead a more active lifestyle.

Until then, you can join me (I’ll be sharing updates on Twitter) and improve your health even during the holiday season. See all the details on the FitBit Charge here.

What Gifts Are On Your List?

For Christmas this year, out family gift may be a treadmill (we’re nerdy like that) to help get us through the Denver winter when it’s simply too cold, icy, or snowy. So if you want to send me an Alter-G, just let me know :)

But I want to know what YOU are coveting this holiday season.

What’s on your shopping list?

What makes the perfect running gift?

Let us know in the comments and we’ll put together an awesome holiday gift list for runners.

And have a very happy Thanksgiving this week too!

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In 2004, my wife Meaghan was having a terrible cross country season. No matter what she tried, her running performances kept getting worse.

Running Fatigue

Workout splits got slower. She felt exhausted, stressed, and couldn’t sleep. The muscle aches she thought were from training kept her up at night.

After talking with her coach, seeing the Athletic Trainer, and finally discussing her symptoms with a doctor she found out she likely had adrenal fatigue. 

Adrenal fatigue is different from classic over-training (which is typically caused by running too hard, too often and not allowing enough recovery) as it’s a collection of non-specific issues. While it’s not a proven medical condition, Web MD defines it as:

Fatigue and other symptoms are caused by a poorly working adrenal gland in people who are under mental, emotional, or physical stress.

Your adrenal glands make hormones. One of these is cortisol, which helps your body deal with stress. According to the adrenal fatigue theory, if your life is too stressful, your adrenal glands may not pump out enough hormones, leading to a wide variety of symptoms.

Those symptoms can include:

  • chronic fatigue, making it difficult to get out of bed in the morning (but sudden alertness in the evening)
  • trouble concentrating, poor motivation, and a feeling of overwhelm
  • higher susceptibility to colds and infections
  • cravings for salty and sweet foods

Adrenal fatigue is often compared to fibromyalgia because there’s no proven cause or cure. Frustrating, isn’t it?

But for runners, it’s imperative to examine lesser known causes of chronic fatigue if your running has stagnated and for some reason, you’re slowing down.

As long as you don’t have a history of depression, are trying to get better sleep, and eating a healthy diet, you may consider adrenal fatigue as a possibility.

For more action steps on how to treat this issue, I’ve partnered with the folks at Adrenal Support to give SR readers a special sale on their Overcoming Adrenal Fatigue Guide.

Created by Factor Publishing and journalist Willow Anderson, this step-by-step guide shows you exactly how to identify and respond to Adrenal Fatigue.

How Do I Know if I Have Adrenal Fatigue?

First, it’s important to rule out other options first:

  • Are you sleeping enough? (under-rested)
  • Are you running too fast, too often? (over-trained)
  • Are you eating enough? (under-fueling)

Many runners who are experiencing fatigue or symptoms of over-training simply need to rest. Studies indicate that excessive exercise (like running a marathon), can suppress the immune system, making infections more common.

My college coach liked to say that you “can’t burn the candle at both ends,” meaning that you can’t stay up late chasing girls and then get up in the morning for a tough workout (hey, we were in college!).

In this case, it’s important that runners prioritize recovery, a healthy lifestyle, and a high-quality diet. If not, Adrenal Fatigue becomes a likely ailment.

If you’re not training vigorously but still experience fatigue, a lack of motivation, and seem to get sick easily – you may have Adrenal Fatigue, which affects up to 60% of the US population.

Adrenal Fatigue is a condition largely related to stress. The more stresses you experience – and if you don’t allow yourself proper recovery – the more likely you are to suffer from the disease. These include:

  • Long-term stressful situations like a poor relationship
  • Poor diet
  • Substance abuse
  • Stressful work environment (too many pressures or responsibilities, long hours, terrible commute, etc.)
  • Chronic illness

Runners who have experienced one or more of these stressors, while training seriously, are at a higher risk of Adrenal Fatigue and should take immediate action steps to recover.

And unfortunately, rest alone rarely cures the problem, so taking time off from running is only part of the solution.

The Dangers of Not Treating Adrenal Fatigue

Adrenal Fatigue doesn’t just cause fatigue, poor motivation, and sub-par running performances. If left untreated, it can manifest into a wide variety of other health concerns that can negatively impact your training.

Common health problems among those with untreated Adrenal Fatigue include:

  • Low HDL cholesterol (the “good” cholesterol)
  • Obesity
  • Hypertension (high blood pressure)
  • Insulin resistance (possibly leading to Type 2 Diabetes)

Yowzers. Not something I want to experience!

In runners, the continued, repeated stress of running combined with outside pressures like illness, a bad relationship, work challenges, and personal issues (like the death of a loved one) combine to have a cumulative effect that exacerbates Adrenal Fatigue.

What is the Best Adrenal Fatigue Treatment?

Adrenal Fatigue is a common contributor to over-training in runners. It’s the result of chronic stress from running, work, family life, and lifestyle. Everything is connected.

Treating Adrenal Fatigue therefore takes a multi-pronged, comprehensive approach that focuses on diet, recovery, lifestyle, and exercise.

A complete, step-by-step treatment is included in the Overcoming Adrenal Fatigue Guide, but let’s talk about two important actions you can take today to begin treating this condition.

Reduce stress levels! This is the most critical lifestyle change to make that will not only help you effectively treat Adrenal Fatigue, but improve your running.

The body can only handle so much stress. With too much, it can’t properly adapt to the stress of training (meaning you won’t get faster!).

Eliminating stressors from your life can help reduce the demand on your adrenal glands, making recovery happen more quickly.

Eat clean! A healthy diet that nourishes the body, provides the building blocks necessary for tissue repair, and fuels your body will help restore adrenal function.

Poor dietary choices – like excess sugar, processed foods, and not enough nutrients – exacerbate Adrenal Fatigue and lead to chronic inflammation (both lead to sub-par recovery from running).

Long-term recovery requires a well-rounded treatment – one that I’m not qualified to provide – which is why I’m making the Adrenal Fatigue Guide available to you.

In the guide, you’ll learn:Adrenal Fatigue Guide

  • How to self-diagnose Adrenal Fatigue and understand each stage of the condition
  • Hidden food sensitivities and allergies that contribute to Adrenal Fatigue
  • What foods help – and what foods are working against you
  • Day to day factors that affect the adrenal glands

More importantly, you’ll have a step-by-step recovery program that will help you reclaim your health and energy.

Free Training Analysis!

If you think you have Adrenal Fatigue, I want to help.

For a limited time, I’m offering a free training analysis to discover what you’re doing right, what can be improved, and training mistakes that contribute to over-training syndrome.

Interested? Here’s what to do:

I’ll randomly pick one person and analyze your recent training, determine what you can do better next time, and optimize your running to feel more energized and run faster.

Rest up, recover well, and run healthy!

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Why We Love Running (in pictures)

November 17, 2014

Tweet Runners enjoy certain perks that non-runners will never experience. In an hour, we can explore a national park or city that would take days to see if we weren’t running. The process of exploration is much faster; it’s even helped me discover glaciers, hidden trails, and volcanos that I never would have seen. But our love […]

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The Reverse Taper: How to Return to Running After a Marathon

November 12, 2014

Tweet As a coach, I’m most nervous during the two weeks after a marathon. Aerobic fitness remains high but the body is still reeling from the aftermath of racing 26.2 miles. The injury risk is significantly higher post-marathon, when the heart and lungs are in great shape but your “structural fitness” is weak. If you’re coming off […]

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Q&A with Coach Episode 3: The Art of the Race Warm-up

November 6, 2014

Tweet Have you ever done a piss poor warm-up before a race… and then felt terrible a few minutes after the gun fired? I’m not surprised. Without a proper warm-up, your heart rate will be too low when you start and your muscles will be tight – right when you need them to work their […]

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Happy Birthday to Me! A Gift for You (and a quick question)

November 4, 2014

Tweet Last weekend I turned 31 years old. Or as my sister commented: “Jason!!! I can’t believe how old you are. It’s gross.” Thanks, sis. It was a fun weekend of running (18 mile long run at altitude!), eating (I can’t quit you, Voodoo Doughnuts), and stealing Halloween candy from my daughter. She’s too young! […]

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The Complete Philadelphia Marathon Course Guide (#RunPhilly!)

October 29, 2014

Tweet Since 1994, the Philadelphia Marathon has become one of the best marathons in the United States. Philly puts on a great show with all the amenities, world-class timing and organization, and a nearly perfect marathon venue to run a fast finishing time. And for good reason: The weather is mild, with an average temperature in the […]

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Mountains, Trails & Obstacles: 28 Minutes with Max King, the World’s Fastest Warrior Dash Athlete

October 24, 2014

Tweet In a world hyper focused on specialization, it’s rare to meet a modern Renaissance Man. But today, prepare yourself for an exclusive interview with Max King. Max King has been dominating the running world for years. Listing his accomplishments would take thousands of words, so here’s a summary: 6th place, 2012 Olympic Trials 3,000m […]

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Q&A with Coach: Running Surfaces, Sunglasses, and Seasonal Running

October 20, 2014

Tweet Welcome to the second episode of Q&A with Coach! I’m absolutely loving this show – and I hope you’re finding value in getting your questions answered and hearing other runner’s questions as well. Learning from others (just like in school) can be a helpful experience. In today’s episode, I answer four questions about sunglasses, […]

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How to Stock Your Home Gym for $102 or Less (Video)

October 15, 2014

Tweet My ideal home gym will have a top of the line stationary bike and an Alter-G treadmill. The cost? A cool $100,000. But until I hit the lottery, I don’t have an extra hundred thousand dollars lying around to spend on a few fancy pieces of gym equipment. Thankfully, I don’t NEED the fancy stuff – and neither […]

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