Virtual Race Platforms: Best of 2021!

Virtual Race Platforms: Best of 2021!

The past year has made it clear that virtual races are an essential, and often extremely effective way to engage runners while staying safe and healthy. The problem is that there are not many particularly good virtual race platforms out there. Few can simulate the true race experience for runners. Many common virtual race platforms do little more than create a virtual flyer and sign up page for your race/organization. To give your loyal group of runners/racers the experience they deserve, you need to find the right virtual race platform. One that’s easy, engaging, and effective at drumming up participation and engagement. 

Forget those uninspired, generic virtual race platforms with “mail in” results and limited personalization. It’s time to roll out your next virtual race with a platform that gives you AND your racers a fully immersive and positive race experience! Before your next virtual race, check out there 5 virtual race platforms for 2021, ranked from worst to best! 

Virtual Race Platforms: Best of 2021 Ranked!

5. Racery

Racery is a relatively unknown virtual race platform and certainly has its faults. While quite simple to use, it controls per racer fees. This does not allow for as much flexibility in fundraising options or goals for your organization. Racery is certainly more engaging than simply a “mail in” results system. However, the platform still leaves you wanting in terms of runner participation and engagement. Runners are only able to run on their own, on a set route, during a set period of time. They use the Racery app in order to have results recorded. Additionally, something to consider when looking at cost, Racery on average takes 40% of all entry fees from each participant.   

4. RunSignup

RunSignup has built an effective platform specifically for race sign ups and participant tracking. Like Eventbrite, but specifically for running/races, they have an easy to use and effective process for setting up race registration. As virtual races have begun to expand in popularity, RunSignup developed a virtual race platform to pair with their registration. Very adept at race promotion, registration, and donation tracking, RunSignup misses the mark with the race day experience. Currently they still rely on a variety of third party platforms for the “live experience.” Including FB Live, social media, and RaceJoy. The lack of centralization can make the process on race day less efficient for race directors/organizations and ultimately less engaging for runners. 

3. RaceRunner/JustMove

Where RunSignup lacks in race day engagement, RaceRunner by JustMove aims to excel. RaceRunner isn’t as intuitive and effective at race setup, marketing, and registration as some of the other platforms out there. They do however have a more racer-friendly app as a virtual race platform. RaceRunner uses a GPS system to track each individual racers stats when they choose to complete a respective race. The stats and live data is certainly a plus for the racer. However, race directors and organizations are not as supported in the process. Furthermore, the open-ended race dates and times can make it difficult for races to coordinate a pointed, effective marketing campaign. This cuts into the effectiveness of a rollout/celebration in tandem with a true race-day experience for all participants.

The right virtual race platform is key for runner engagement!

2. Haku

Haku is really a full service business and event management company with a strong focus on road races versus a true virtual race platform. They provide a partnership and “all-in-one” platform with the goal of simplifying your life as a race director/organizer. They cover the event from conception through post-race statistics and results. Virtual goodie bags for participants are a nice added piece of the Haku experience. Features like this separate them from the previous platforms on the list. As easy as Haku makes the race organization process, it still doesn’t provide an engaging race day experience for participants. Beyond compiling live race results, participants are still generally left to run alone. This limits any sense of positive competition or encouragement that is so key to a community road race!  

1. Charge Running

Who says you can’t have it all? The Charge Running virtual race platform gives race directors and organizations the ultimate virtual race experience. Races of any distance work one-on-one with the Charge Virtual Race team to set goals, develop a strategy, and set up all necessary pre-race steps. Charge offers virtual race features that aren’t available with any other platform. Including a professional coach working as MC (with a race-specific playlist) to keep all participants engaged and motivated from start to finish, in real time. Charge offers a truly social experience with a live in-race chat room for all. All Charge virtual races are hosted in real time via the Charge Running app. This means that all of your participants can truly compete against one another from anywhere in the world, outdoors OR inside on a treadmill. These are LIVE virtual races with real-time feedback like nothing else!

Check out the truly engaging and personalized Charge experience by signing up today! Don’t miss out on your chance to host your next virtual race with Charge Running!

How to Host a Virtual Race: 5 Steps!

Now more than ever virtual road races are a necessity for runners and organizations alike. Road races have been a key part of many organization’s annual fundraising efforts for decades. Now those efforts have shifted virtual. Knowing how to host a virtual race on a virtual platform effectively is key. If you’re a non-profit, a charitable organization, or simply a community association looking for a fun, engaging way to raise awareness and support of your mission, virtual running races are exactly what you need! From virtual 5k races to full, multi-hour marathon races you’ll want the same high level runner/racer experience.  

Virtual races have no participant limits and no geographic limits. They provide the perfect opportunity to vastly increase your organization’s reach and bring in fundraising dollars and added awareness.

Charge Running not only provides the perfect, most engaging, and only real-time virtual race platform, but we also have the experience and knowledge! Check out our 5 easy tips for hosting your next virtual race!

5 Easy Tips for Hosting a Virtual Race

Virtual races can be fun and engaging for all participants!

1. Decide on Virtual Race Details and Goals

Start simple. What distance do you want your virtual race to be? Is it a virtual 5k race? Or a longer half marathon? From there you can denote the amount of time needed for the race. You’ll also want to look at specific dates and times that are either connected with an element of you organization/cause or simply maximize runner participation. Once the race details are determined you’ll want to decide what exactly the race is raising funds for an how best to communicate that. You’ll also make a quick decision about how best to raise those funds. Entry fees or donations, or both? With your race details decided, it’s time for goal setting. Decide what your goal participation numbers and fundraising amounts are and then get ready to smash them! 

2. Set Up Registration and Race Platform

Your next easy step will be setting up your registration system for runners and payment platform. There are a variety of easy online tools out there, including Eventbrite and RunSignup. Tracking your registrations and collecting fees or donations is easy. The trick is getting the right running/racing platform to host your virtual running races. Charge Running has you covered there. You’ll be able to provide your registrants unique virtual race entry links designed specifically for your event. Additionally, your participants will get the most engaging, real-time, race experience available with music and live coaching curated for your organization. Once the race details are set, registrations have started coming in, you’ll want an experienced, professional platform like Charge to take over!

3. Design Your Race Day Swag

This is more important than you may think. Runners are inherently suckers for swag and anything that flaunts their race accomplishments. Design a great finishers medal. Coordinate with Charge Running for unique printable race bibs for every participant. Most importantly, design an eye-catching piece of swag (hat, shirt, tank top) that every participant can wear proudly. A shirt flaunting the “Pie-rate Virtual 5k Race” with Captain Jack Sparrow eating a slice of strawberry-rhubarb pie will certainly catch the eye!

The right piece of swag not only pulls in additional participants simply to get their hands on the gear, put also, for years to come serves as further promotion of your organization and race.    

4. Promote Your Virtual Race and Mission

Now the real fun begins. Get the word out! Kick off your marketing and promotion on social media. Send out email blasts to your contact lists. Use organic word-of-mouth marketing to get more and more people to explore your organization and sign up for the virtual race. Don’t just promote the race, also promote the mission. You may be surprised how many people may simply want to donate to a mission they believe in when given the chance, whether they’re interested in a 5k virtual race, for example, or not. Add deadline and race detail reminders to your website while also reaching out to contacts in other communities to spread the word. Be sure to feature the previously designed finishers medal and swag heavily. As stated, we runners are suckers for a good piece of gear!

5. Execute and Enjoy!

Race day has arrived and now it’s time to execute and enjoy your virtual race! Actively participate, stay engaged in the real-time action of the race and watch as the positivity and support for your organization and mission continues to flow in!

Get started with your next virtual race with Charge Running! As an organization, race director, or runner, simply reach out and let us help you!

Setting Race and Pace Goals for 2021

As we roll into 2021 with high hopes of better things to come, it’s time to start planning for what we all anticipate to be an epic return to road racing! With our fingers crossed and our tentative plans set, we can start thinking ahead. Now is a great time to begin setting some preliminary race, pace, and running goals for 2021. Goals for racing and pacing need to be accurate, attainable, and trackable. As you begin to set your race and pace goals for 2021, use the following tips to be sure you’re executing your training properly to reach those goals, and you’ve determined the right goals to set yourself up for success!

Tips for Race and Pace Goals for 2021!  

Setting the proper pace and race goals for 2021 is key!

Training Tips:

Do a vVO2max field test

Lots of mumbo jumbo language here, but it’s actually quite simple. You need to do some type of fitness/speed test to determine your different training paces and get an accurate estimate of your potential race paces. Doing a vVO2max (velocity at VO2max) test can give you all that information easily. The best way to do a field test version of this, without going to a physiology lab, is to run a 2 mile race to exhaustion. Find a flat, even course and run it to the maximum of your ability. Your per mile average from that test will serve as your 100% vVO2max at that given training time.

Choose your workout and race paces

Use the information and paces determined from your vVO2max field test to dictate your paces for training and racing within that given training cycle:

5k pace = 97% of vVO2max

10k pace = 92% of vVO2max

1/2 Marathon pace = 88%-90% of vVO2max

Marathon pace = 82% of vVO2max

Threshold pace = 85%-90% of vVO2max

Base Run pace = 75%-80% of vVO2max

Long Run pace = 70% of vVO2max

Goal Setting Tips:

Start with a race distance you know

Most of us have not had the opportunity to race in quite a while. This is especially true of races within a traditional racing environment. Unpredictable courses, shoulder-to-shoulder competition, adverse weather conditions, race tactics. Ease yourself back into racing in 2021 by starting with a race distance you know well and are comfortable with. Be sure to get your feet wet before you dive in. Start with a 5k or 10k before tackling your very first 1/2 marathon or full marathon.

Don’t use ranges – Set specific goal splits

Use your training data to set specific goal paces/splits, not ranges. Instead of setting a goal of running 7:30-7:40 per mile for your race, set a specific goal of 7:35 per mile. Not only does this allow for strong mental focus, but you avoid being disappointed if you run on the slower end of your range knowing that you could’ve shaved 5-10sec off each mile.

Plan for a pace, not a finishing time

Set your race goals based on the specific pace you want to run for different distances within the race. What’s your goal per mile split? How fast do you want to run each kilometer? By setting pace goals versus finish time goals you provide a detailed tracking system for during the race with a series of small victories set in place. Every mile that you hit your goal pace is something to celebrate. Ultimately those mini victories will add up to the big one!

Focus on a few key workouts and prep races

Don’t get bent out of shape if every training run or workout doesn’t go exactly to plan based on your race and pace goals. Set a series of key workouts spread throughout your training cycle that you really want to nail! Furthermore, schedule a few key prep races to practice executing your goal pace and strategy. Running a full marathon in 4 months? Run 1-2 half marathons ahead of time to practice your exact pace and fueling/hydration tactics. Not every day of training needs to be perfect. Just be sure to get in a few key confidence-building sessions!

Improve one step at a time

Especially coming off of extended time off racing, don’t swing for the fences on your very first race of 2021. Your goals for 2021 should be incremental improvements. Negative splitting a race. Improving your pace by 2-5 seconds per mile. Finishing a race with a final 800 meter surge. These are all successful and reasonable improvements that over time will add up to big personal bests and race successes. Be patient with yourself and your success as you move back into more consistent and competitive racing.

Don’t stress on a bad day

Sh*% happens! Not every race will be perfect no matter how well prepared you are or how reasonable your race and pace goals. Bad days of competition happen to even the best of us! Just watch the documentary The 41st Day and you’ll see what I mean. Don’t stress or linger on a bad day. Set aside 24 hours to feel bad for yourself and then move on, learn from it, and get ready for your next shot! 

Start 2021 off right by setting your pace and race goals with Charge Running! Sign up now for unlimited access to live, professional coaching and all the tips and tricks you need to be successful this year!

Mindfulness in Running: 5 Tips for Being Mindful

Running, one of the most popular activities in the world, is often done in solitude. There are immense benefits to occasionally allowing yourself to be alone with your thoughts as you physically exert yourself. However, over time, more and more research has been done on the positive effects of “mindfulness” especially when paired with physical activity. Being mindful is defined by being acutely aware of how you’re feeling mentally and physically and being tuned in to your thoughts and emotions. While allowing for a “wandering mind” while running has traditionally been viewed as harmless, studies have begun to show links between mind-wandering, an utter lack of mindfulness, and negative thoughts and emotions that can be especially destructive while your body is enduring physical stress. 

Not convinced with the negative mental and emotional side of not being mindful while running? How about the negative physical effects? Allowing your mind to wander often gives it the opportunity to latch on to stressful, anxious, and negative thoughts. Obsessing over these thoughts (your upcoming work project, finances, your lumpy mattress) directly affects your physical performance. Your heart rate quickens as you become wound up. Your muscles tighten in stressful anticipation. All of these physical responses limit the fluidity of your running mechanics and increase your perceived effort astronomically, affecting your run or workout negatively.

Charge Running is here to help as always! Not only do our live, professionally-coached runs and workouts keep your mind focused and occupied, but we’ve got 5 quick and easy tips to practice and master mindfulness while running!

5 Tips for Mindfulness in Running

Find mindfulness in running with these 5 tips!

1. “Cool Down” Before Warming Up

Runners are busy people. Oftentimes fitting in a run or training session during the day means hustling straight to or from work to the gym or to the road. There’s limited time to fully transition from the mental context of work and responsibilities to that of running. That’s where the pre-warm up cool down comes in. Confused yet? This is actually quite simple. Cool your mind and emotions down before you start your physical warm up. Take 3-5 minutes before getting into your run to assume a formal breathing position (standing tall, back against a wall or lying down on the ground), close your eyes, and focus on a steady, tracked set of breaths. Inhale through the nose and mouth deeply and slowly 20 times, shake it out and do it again. Get to that full sense of calm and you’ll be ready for your warm up.

2. Get Rid of Your “Real World” Anchors

Nowadays technology rarely allows us an escape from all of the “real world” problems we experience or have to deal with. Emails, phone calls, and text messages can seemingly reach us anywhere. Separating oneself from those anchors in order to maximize focus on mindfulness can be hard. It’s best to cut all ties…for the duration of your run that is. Leave your GPS watch at home along with your phone (or for safety keep it on silent in your pocket/running belt). No music or podcasts. No problems. Disconnecting for even just 30 minutes will allow you to be fully aware of your movements, breathing, emotions, and your mindfulness. 

3. Focus on the Fundamentals (Breathing and Posture/Eye Line)

There is plenty of time when running and training to nit pick about every mechanical movement in order to maximize your running efficiency or economy. When trying to practice mindfulness in running though, you should limit your focus to just two things: breathing and posture/eye line. Breathing seems obvious, especially in the context of mindfulness. Focus on a relaxed breathing pattern that is not solely mouth breathing, which is a stress response. Find a melody or rhythm to your breathing that you can easily hear, feel, and adjust throughout your run. Posture and eye line is also important. You want to maintain the tall, stacked posture that’s key to running (shoulder over hips, hips over ankles). Also aim to keep, what Charles Oxley a mindfulness and performance coach for ASICS refers to as, a “soft and wide” gaze. Don’t be laser focused on just one spot ahead of you but ease your gaze towards your peripheries. These steps will keep you in an all-important “chillaxed” mode mile after mile.

4. Flush Out Your Mind Post-Run

Short and sweet here. 

Don’t just use the breathing exercises and tactics mentioned in the above “Cool Down” Before Warming Up section before your run. Use them afterwards as well. After transitioning out of your run and before fully engaging in your post-run recovery routine, continue your mindful state with some relaxing and engaged breathing exercises.

5. Positive, Engaging Mantras

Mantras have been an element of distance running and athletics generally for a long time. However, that doesn’t necessarily mean that you use them. Choosing an easily repeatable, meaningful, and rhythmic phrase to repeat in your head as you run can be a great addition to your practiced mindfulness in running. The mantra should inspire/empower you while also providing a sense of calm and focus to your running. Nothing too long. Something uniquely YOU. You shouldn’t feel the need to repeat your mantra constantly throughout a run, but it can serve as your “mindfulness reset button” when you feel any stress, anxiety, or negativity seeping in. If you want to know what mine is…all you have to do in join one of my live Charge classes and ask!

Continue to practice mindful running while getting engaged, professional, real-time coaching with Charge Running. Sign up today to access our 100+ live runs/workouts per week and our massive On Demand library!

Holiday Gift Guide 2020: Gifts for Runners that Give Back!

The holiday season and spirit is upon us! This means giving back more than receiving. Part of that giving, beyond good cheer and well wishes, is gifts! This year, more than before, it’s important to spend your money in a way that will make an impact. You want your money spent to matter. Therefore, Charge Running has, for this year’s holiday gift guide, selected 5 perfect items for runners in 2020. Each one supports great causes and our greater global community through charitable initiatives and non-profit organizations. 

Give back this holiday season with any (or all!) of these great, functional items!

2020 Holiday Gift Guide for Runners:

Get the perfect gift for runners this holiday season!

1. Headbands of Hope

Headbands have become a more and more essential part of any runner’s closet. Therefore, many great options are now available to keep your hair back and/or keep your head warm. This holiday season get your hands on a few that work AND come from a mission-driven company. Headbands for Hope donates a beautiful headband to a child battling a serious illness for every headband purchased. Additionally, they donate 10% of their sales to children’s charities during their headBAND Together initiative.

2. Bombas Socks

They’re not just socks anymore! Bombas has expanded their line of functional, comfortable, and socially-conscious items to include shirts now as well. As a result, they’ve also expanded their mission as well. With every pair of socks OR shirt that’s purchased Bomba donates that item to those in need. Working with homeless shelters and support organizations (over 3,000 of them) across the USA. That accounts for over 43 million items donated at last count! You’ll get an exceptional pair of running socks this season while also providing a much-needed donation to someone in need.

3. Janji (anything!)

Janji produces exceptionally functional running gear for all levels. Additionally, they style their products on local artists and cultures from numerous diverse countries. Their promise as a mission-driven athletic apparel company is to constantly give back. 2% of every purchase goes directly to local clean-water initiatives and projects in the countries that inspire their seasonal collections. Thus far, Janji has proudly supported initiatives in Kenya, Peru, Nepal, Uganda, Bolivia, Cambodia, Mexico, and the Philippines.

4. memobottle Water Bottle

The name of the game with memobottle is convenience. Runners are busy people. Places to go. People to see. Miles to cover. The memobottle is safe, reusable, and designed to fit anywhere. Moreover, as a truly mission-driven company, they’re B Corp. Certified and provide 2 months of clean water for those in need for every one water bottle sold. Partnering with the international non-profit Water.org, they’ve donated over 7 million days of safe drinking water already!   

5. Cotopaxi Backpack

Cotopaxi makes GREAT outdoor gear for your next adventure. Get a backpack to meet your hiking or biking needs or grab one that’s perfect for commute-running. No matter what you can be confident that you’re getting a great product from a company that gives back. 1% of Cotopaxi’s annual revenue each year goes directly to their Cotopaxi Foundation, backing a number of recognized non-profits. Poverty alleviation, refugee assistance, malaria eradication, and global education initiatives. The Cotopaxi Foundation does A LOT of good around the world.   

Give back throughout the holiday season with your gifts AND your actions! Learn more about all the great organizations and causes that Charge Running partners with for virtual races and events. Sign up for a Charge membership today!

Best Masks for Running: The 7 Best Buys of 2021!

Wondering what are the best masks for running?

One of the great things about running is that you really only need a few simple pieces of gear to be successful. Get dialed into some good gear by getting a good pair of shoes, some shorts, a shirt, maybe a watch, and you’re all set! Nowadays though there’s one more integral piece of gear that you should have…one, or many, face masks for running. Not only for your own health and safety but for that of those around you, it’s important that we as runners set the example and “cover-up.” No need to have the face mask up over your mouth 100% of the time if you’re mainly running in open, empty areas. However, keep one on you to quickly throw on as needed when passing or approaching other fellow outdoor enthusiasts. what are the best masks for running?

Here at Charge Running we always note the fine balance between fashion and function when it comes to running gear. We’re ALL passionate runners and we’re all running fashionista (to very largely varying degrees). So, with every recommendation of a functional piece of gear comes an element of fashion. With those goals and parameters, we’ve come up with a list of the best face masks for running in 2020! Read on and add one, or all, of these great choices to your holiday wishlist!

*For the latest scientific information on mask wearing and slowing the spread of COVID-19 please visit the CDC website.

7 Best Face Masks for Running in 2021! 

Training with the proper face mask for running is key!

Under Armour SportsMask

Designed specifically for athletic performance from one of the world’s top athletic brands, you’d expect nothing but greatness from the UA mask. It’s pretty close. Comfortable, breathable, and easy to take on an off. Add to that a variety of sizes for the perfect fit, and colors for the perfect matching accessory, and you’re good to go. The one con is price. Coming in at $29.99 it’s not cheap, however it will last, and should only be worn during your runs.

Adidas Face Covers

Not an Under Armour person? Looking to rep your own favorite athletic apparel brand? Adidas has a great alternative face mask option. While not as ergonomically and athletically designed as the UA masks, the Adidas face covers are very comfortable and functional. Plus, they come in at only $20 for a 3-pack!

BOCO Gear Performance X Mask

Simple, straight forward, and made for activity. The BOCO masks are relatively “no frills” and fit securely to your face. While not as breathable as the higher-performance options from the likes of UA and Adidas, they work well for less strenuous runs/activity. The big plus is that they comes in a variety of designs and patterns which make them a bit more unique and fun, plus they’re only $14!  

Bloch Soft Stretch Face Mask w/ Lanyard

Soft and stretchy! One of the top picks across the rankings for runner specifically. This mask goes the extra mile with a built-in lanyard so you can hang it around your neck when not in use. The structured nose also fits tight enough to go under your glasses and avoid any fogging of your lenses. The masks come in a pack of 3 for about $20. 

Get the best face mask for running that works for you!

Buff Original Face Covering

While not a traditional face mask, you can’t have a list of top face coverings for runners without mentioning Buff. A company that prides themselves on making great neck gaiters, the original Buff is great for the winter. It protects your neck and face from the conditions while also serving as a great face mask when needed.

Mission Cooling Face/Neck Gaiter

Similar explanation for the Mission Neck Gaiter as the Buff Original, it’s hard to beat the multi-functionality for runners. Breathable and durable, the Mission Cooling Face Masks is better suited for hot weather than cold, since it can stay very cool for up to 2 hours. However, it still is a great option across the board for a face covering to serve a variety of purposes while running.

WiseGuise 4-in-1 Mask

Speaking of multi-functionality, the WiseGuise 4-in-1 is just that, four different wearable options in one. When not being used in its primary purpose as a face mask, you can wear the mask around your neck, as a headband, or as a wristband. Each position is easy, comfortable and can quickly be converted back to the face mask position. This functionality and flexibility makes it great for runners who don’t need to have their faces covered at all times while out training.    

While your rocking your functional, fashionable, and societally conscious face mask while running, get the very best live, real-time training! Join Charge Running and get unlimited access to live runs and workouts coached in real-time from professional trainers!

Black Friday Fitness Deals: Best of 2020

Everyone wants to find the best deal on anything. For all you runners and fitness enthusiasts out there, Charge Running is here to help you this Black Friday! We’ve got you covered with a list of the 6 best Black Friday Fitness Deals around! From memberships to free weights, and even some retro sweaters, we’ve tracked down some of the best deals for our favorite running and fitness products. Make the most, with ease, of your 2020 Black Friday shopping spree!

All the best Black Friday Fitness Deals for 2020!

6 Best Black Friday Fitness Deals!

1. Charge Running Membership – Black Friday Sale!

NOW is absolutely the time to become a part of the Charge Running community. Join a global group of runners in real-time for live, professionally coached running classes, workouts, and races this Black Friday. The deal is unreal!!!!

From now through Cyber Monday subscribe to Charge Running and get your first month for just $1!!! Just $1 for unlimited live and on-demand classes coached by some of the most knowledgeable, experienced, and motivating run coaches in the country!

Sign up for Charge Running during this year's Black Friday sale!

2. Jabra Wireless Headphones – $40-$50 Off

A finalist for our annual Best Buys: Winter Gear 2020 list (bumped out by the Jaybird Vista for price), Jabra wireless headphones have been on the Charge radar for a while now. With a featured spot among Amazon’s Black Friday deals they’re now much more affordable, reliable, and come in a new, more rugged edition. Check out the Elite 75t and Elite Active 75t available on 11/21!

3. Rogue Fitness – Matte Black Friday Sale

This year, due to some COVID-related constraints and safety precautions for their employees, Rogue Fitness won’t quite be rolling out the same epic sales that they have previously, but there are still great prices to be found! Get all you need in terms of at-home strength training equipment from an excellent source. Pick up a pair of NOBULL cross-training shoes while you’re at it.

4. Garmin – $150 Off

A new Garmin watch might as well be a diamond tennis bracelet to most runners! Not only can they cost you quite a bit, but they are loved, and commonly shown off by all. Take advantage of their sale this Black Friday (called “The Holiday Sale”) and get up to $150 off the newest models of Garmin watches. I’m a sucker for the Forerunner, but take a look at the solar powered watch options too! 

Get a new Garmin watch during on of the best Black Friday fitness deals!

5. Adidas – 30-50% Off

Adidas continues to carve out their spot in the running gear game against the likes of Nike and others. Balancing fashion and function and repping some of the best young endurance athletes in the world (like Drew Hunter and the Tinman Elite Team), Adidas has quite a market. From retro gear to a new pair of speed trainers, pick up a few items while they’re discounted during the 2020 Black Friday Sale.

6. Apple Watch – $50 Off

Amazon, Target, and Walmart will all roll out their own respective deals on the newest Apple Watches. No matter what though, a deal is a deal! Get up to $50 an Apple Watch that can do just about everything under the sun. Track your sleep, phone calls/texts, blood oxygen levels (?!?!), and of course sync with the Charge App to get in your live, real-time run training without holding your phone!

Get even more bang for your buck with Charge Running! Sign up today (or on Black Friday) and get unlimited access to live and on-demand run classes led by certified, professional coaches!

Bad Running Habits to Break: Top 5!

Habits are about as hard to break as they are to form. For runners, there are plenty of healthy, positive habits that we are constantly working on. Stretching for a minimum of 15min every day after a run or workout. Completing your core and strength training routine 3 times per week. Balancing your diet! All of these things add to your running success. However, there are also plenty of bad running habits out there. We all have them. Breaking a few of these common, bad running habits can do just as much to contribute to your success and development as a runner as forming some new good running habits.

From the running and bad habit experts at Charge Running, here’s a list of 5 bad running habits to break this year!

Bad Running Habits to Break Right Away: Top 5

Start your day off right with a proper breakfast!

1. Don’t Eat (or Drink) Desserts for Breakfast

Breakfast may not be for everyone the most exciting meal of the day, but we all know that it’s important! Avoid consuming sugar-heavy, sweet treats for breakfast in place of heartier, macronutrient rich dishes. No more muffins, waffles/pancakes, donuts, or even those fancy, heavily-flavored “coffee” drinks! Set the day off properly with some oatmeal, eggs, and a simple cup o’joe. Getting enough calories into your system during breakfast is certainly important before your daily run/workout, but the RIGHT calories are key.

2. Don’t Be Your Own Doctor (Unless You’re a Doctor!)

Unless you are in fact a trained, certified medical professional, don’t go down the self-diagnosing rabbit hole. Practicing doctors, chiropractors, athletic trainers, and physical therapists exist for a reason! Not only is it detrimental to your psyche to look into all the things that COULD be wrong, but it also could be damaging to your actual recovery or performance. Let the experts do their job, schedule an appointment.

Rely on the advice of experts and doctors to diagnose an issue.

3. Don’t Play Catch-Up on Sleep or Recovery

If you end up losing 1-2 hours of sleep during a busy night, don’t worry, just don’t make it a habit. What you don’t want to do is tell yourself that you can sacrifice sleep or rest now, for sleep/rest later. Not sleeping enough during the weekdays and then trying to catch up by sleeping 14hrs each day on the weekends DOES NOT WORK. The same goes for recovery training days. Don’t skip a recovery day during your weekly training cycle with the idea that you’ll just take 2 recovery days the following week. Your body physiologically needs consistency in its rest and recovery cycles in order for you to see the positive adaptations in fitness and training that you’re looking for.  

4. Don’t Choose Quantity Over Quality

Forcing your body through a bad run just to hit a predetermined mileage goal does no one any good. The physiological difference between 47 and 50 miles in a week is marginal at best. This is especially true if those extra miles in a given run push your legs past the point of no-return. Allow yourself to choose a quality run over a mileage quantity when needed. If you’re body needs a bit of a break, cut your mileage down for that day and enjoy a higher-quality, lower-quantity run. Your body will thank you in time!

Run without relying on tech!

5. Don’t ONLY Rely on Tech

Kinesthetic awareness, or body awareness, is extremely important to develop as a runner. Not only does this help clue you in to when your mechanics may feel a bit off but also this will help you stay ahead of any potential oncoming injuries. This awareness comes from a certain amount of “unplugging.” Don’t obsess over your cadence, HR, or pace too much from the perspectives of your GPS watch or app. Spend some time during your weekly training runs listening to your breathing, the rhythm of your feet hitting the ground, and training yourself to be able to execute specific paces without having to check your splits. Technology is an incredibly useful tool for tracking, motivation, and accountability, however, you should work to avoid becoming solely reliant on it. 

Looking for the expert advice to help break bad running habits and form good ones? Join Charge Running and get unlimited access to the knowledge and expertise of every one of our professional, certified coaches!

Winter Running Gear: 2020 Best Buys

Every year, here at Charge Running, coaches have a respectful yet animated debate about the best time of year for running. Some coaches land firmly on the Summer side of things, while others fervently push their opinions on the benefits of Fall running. Either way, few, if any, are willing to die on the hill of Winter running and the necessity of Winter running gear. That is, until now.

I stand here, as a proud coach, runner, and winter running enthusiast. Don’t hate me. Don’t dismiss me. Just take a moment to hear me out. Winter running is a game of strength and resilience. It turns runners into RUNNERS. While others may cut back on their running and instead turn to hot cocoa and snuggling by the fire, Winter runners lace up, stack their 4+ layers and head out. You don’t have to be the fastest runner to have a good Winter of training. You don’t even have to be the most experience. All you need is consistency, perseverance, focus, and of course, the right Winter running gear!

From a current Winter runner to all of you future Winter runners, here is the best, affordable, Winter running gear for 2020. Time to join me on the hill!

Winter Running Gear: 11 Best Buys!

1. Buff Original – Multifunction Headgear/Face Cover

Multifunctional indeed! Cover your head and/or face to stay warm, fight the cold wind, and follow any local mask/face covering mandates. They come in all types of unique colors and designs to match your style and outfits.

Buff Original

2. Neutrogena Hydro Boost – Face and Hand Serum/Cream

Skin care maybe isn’t the most exciting or sexiest thing in terms of Winter running gear, but it’s very important. Protect your face, hands, and overall body from the Winter elements by using some of Neutrogena’s hydro boost line of products before heading out the door.

Neutrogena Hydro Boost Serum

3. Skida – Winter Hat/Headband

A mainstay on our Winter running gear lists for a while now, Skida is the perfect brand for running hats and headbands. Based in Vermont, where Winter is practically a religion, they’ve got lined and un-lined options in various patterns and prints for a reasonable price. They’re made for the outdoors!

Skida Winter Hat

4. FlipBelt – Reflective Running Belt

Visibility plus functionality. Not only can the FlipBelt store all necessary Winter running objects (hand warmers, phone, keys, energy gels, etc.), but the fully reflective fabric adds an extra level of safety and security to your runs.

FlipBelt Reflective Running Belt

5. Nite Ize SlapLit – LED Running Light 

When it gets dark before 5pm every day, having an LED running light is important. The SlapLit is simple and reliable. It snaps on to your arm or ankle and provides plenty of illumination to keep you safe mile after mile, no matter the darkness.

Nite Ize SlapLit LED Light

6. Smartwool PhD Pro Endurance – Running Socks

Warm and breathable, these merino wool socks can be used throughout the year for running. They will keep your feet dry and just the right temperature no matter the weather conditions. A beautiful pairing of Smartwool’s tech and ultra runner Rob Krar’s experience. Again, any product that’s functional and comes in a variety of prints and colors is worth having.

Smartwool PhD Pro Endurance Running Socks

7. Under Armour Convertible – Running Gloves

Don’t know if you’re more of a gloves or mittens type of runner? No problem! The Under Armour Convertible running gloves can be both. Plus they keep your hands perfectly warm and allow you to still play around with your phone without taking them off. Perfect!

Under Armour Convertible Running Gloves

8. Brooks Notch Thermal – Running Hoodie

While this won’t help you by itself in a blizzard, it’s a perfect extra layer and won’t break the bank either. Made by runners, for runners, it’s lightweight and warm while providing plenty of mobility.  

Brooks Notch Thermal Running Hoodie

9. ASICS Race – Running Tights

A good pair of running tights never goes out of style. The ASICS Race tight isn’t reinventing the way tights are done but is making a great, reliable product. They’re breathable, warm, and mobile in any Winter conditions.

10. Jaybird Vista – Wireless Waterproof Headphones

We all know that you’ll need some tunes to keep you company as you become a Winter runner. The Jaybird wireless headphones are fully waterproof meaning they’ll hold up to snow storms or rain. Plus, they’re the perfect size to fit comfortably under a Winter hat/headband.

Jaybird Vista True Wireless Headphones

11. Fancy Hot Chocolate!

Alright, alright. I know. I said that Winter runners would be out busting miles in the cold while others sit inside and drink hot chocolate, but after a strong, cold run you deserve that hot chocolate! Splurge a bit. Treat yo’ self. Whatever your fancy there are some great dark chocolate, Mexican hot chocolate, and ultra-fancy hot chocolate options out there. 

Hot chocolate

Whether you’re a true Winter Runner or not, join Charge Running today to get all the virtual training and coaching you need to succeed! Real-time coaching from certified, professional trainers along with a global running community!

Fall in Love with Running: 5 Tips!

Running is fun! It’s great aerobic exercise, it gets you moving, and it can relieve all types of stress and anxiety. However, a lot of people do NOT love running, or fall out of love with running. Running gets much harder when you don’t love it. Forcing yourself through the motions minute after minute or mile after mile is tough without love. Everything’s harder without love!

Instead of writing a personal, deep, emotional love letter to running, we’re here to share the love with all of you! In the wise words of John Mayer, “love is a verb.” It requires action, practice, and effort. So, knowing that, here are 5 things YOU can do to fall in love with running this year from the team of run-loving coaches at Charge Running!

Mix up your running routes.

5 Tips to Fall in Love with Running!

1. Reward yourself!

It’s a simple, age-old trick of the mind, but tie running directly to something you already love. Really want to watch another episode of Sabrina the Teenage Witch? Require a run first. Want to head out for a fancy cup of coffee? Earn it with a morning run. Really want that great pair of boots you don’t really need? Run before buying. Before you know it you’ll associate running with all those other things you love and will in turn fall in love with running!

2. Mix it up!

Part of what can make running hard to love for some people is the monotony of miles. Day after day, run after run on the same route in the same format. Mix it up! Don’t just vary your route but choose routes that are fun and visually engaging. Explore a new park. Do a normal route backwards. When you can, run at different times in the day. Try obstacle course runs/races or fun themes. Forge your own trail! With a break from the monotony and a little bit of the spice of life (variety), you’ll fall in love with running before you know it!

Try some exciting races

3. Make it about more than just running!

Running is about so much more than just the physical motion and exercise. Find that extra purpose. Maybe it’s the mental and emotional release that comes from running. Maybe it’s a way for you to explore your community and natural surroundings. Use running as an opportunity to try out some sweet new workout clothes and outfits. Run for a charity or cause that’s near and dear to your heart. Do a commuter run, using it as your mode of transportation from point A to point B. Keeping your focus on something else other than running makes it fun, and from a sense of fun you’ll eventually fall in love with running!

4. Find a community!

A community of like-minded runners and running partners (hound or human) can help you fall in love with running. Not only is running with others fun and social, but it keeps you accountable. With accountability comes consistency, and with consistency comes habit and progress. The big benefit is definitely the fun, social element though. Telling stories, catching-up, and laughing along with some fast friends (pun!) makes a run or workout fly by. Before you know it you’ll be head-over-heels in love with running and wishing for longer runs so you can have more time with your pals.   

Find a running community and partners

NOTE: Even is this socially-distanced age there are plenty of ways to run with running partners and find a community virtually. Check out Charge Running’s live, virtual run community of runners of all experience levels from all over the world! 

5. Games, music, and more!

Simple additions to your run can crank up the fun level and bring out the love! If you run with music, make sure the music is fire and that you mix up the playlist occasionally! Find a great, engaging podcast to keep you occupied. Make up some fun games to play while you run, whether alone or with a running partner. My personal favorite is “Name the Dog.” Spot a dog and come up with the perfect name, owner be damned. I land on “Jerome” more often than not. No matter what fun games you come up with, they’ll help you have a blast over many miles and fall in love with running!          

*BONUS:

6. Revel in your personal progress!

As soon as you start to see all that great running progress your love of the activity will start to grow. Paces will become quicker. Weekly and daily mileage will grow and so will your love. Revel in the personal progress you make, no matter how small. Did you run an extra 2 minutes than the day before? Celebrate! Did you make it all the way up your neighborhood hill without walking? Celebrate! Did you get in your first run in a fresh pair of running shoes? Of course, celebrate! 

Looking to share your running love with a global community? Join Charge Running today and become a part of a live, virtual running community. Get started with unlimited runs and workouts coached in real-time by certified, professional coaches who LOVE running too!