I had arrived home from the race spent and crusty. I lost and, although that part wasn’t unexpected at all, I had run probably the most miserable marathon out of my total of 15 finishes. The Columbus Marathon, not to mention a few hundred other runners, had beaten me thoroughly. Read more >>
I'm a 20-year veteran of competitive running, USATF certified coach, mom of a toddler -- and still trying to set PRs. I write about training from 5k to marathon, motherhood and competitive running, and the elite side of the sport. The 5k is my favorite race (16:56 PR) but I've got a score to settle with the marathon.
This review is in partnership with Running Warehouse, which provided products for testing. Salty Running receives a commission on sales made via our Running Warehouse affiliate link, used throughout this post.
The Tracer is the Hoka One One version of a lightweight performance trainer, retailing at $130. The Hoka brand is famous for their “maximalist” design, meaning thick, pillowy midsoles that somehow deliver a light weight. The Tracer, however, is slightly lower-slung and boasts a shoe weight in line with many racing flats. As one of the last minimalists standing, this is not really my typical shoe!
I have spent the last 10 years almost exclusively training in racing flats. My favorites include the Nike Streak LT and the Adidas Adios for distances all the way up through the marathon. However, I love to try new brands and have been pleasantly surprised before by some trainers, like the Sketchers Go Run (won at a race) and the Adidas Boston (suggested by a friend at the local running store), so I was open-minded when the Tracer arrived on my stoop.
I immediately slipped the Tracer on for my first run but had to pause the Garmin to deal with fit issues almost immediately. The right shoe particularly was slipping quite a bit in the heel area. I tightened the lacing system but the slipping persisted and it wasn’t until I had over 75 miles on the shoes that I finally got the right combination of lacing modification and tightness to eliminate the sloppy feel. The Tracer does seem to run a little long as well so perhaps going a half size smaller would solve this problem. I typically wear a 6.5, occasionally a 7, and would get a 6 next time!
I typically do a set of strides a few times a week whenever I get outside for a run but I was a bit hesitant to go faster in these shoes. They just didn’t feel fast despite the light weight (advertised as 6.9 oz in standard size 8). Maybe it was the chunkiness? But I was surprised later to read that the midsole height is really not too much different than the Adidas Boston, although the heel-toe drop is less. What it seems to be is that the midsole cushioning in the Tracer is much firmer and that, combined with being a touch too big, reduced my foot’s ability to flex and find my natural speedy stride, up on my forefoot.
I’ve now put 120 miles on the Tracer and overall it is a good shoe. I’m particularly pleased that they seem to be quite durable. My weak link is typically the outsole but it’s holding up well. The cushioning feels the same as it did day one and the upper shows no signs of wear – not even any visible dirt. This is great considering the price tag is slightly higher than many comparable shoes.
I will continue to lace up the Tracer on medium and short distance easy run days; I’m still not loving the lack of flexibility and ground-feel for speed and it takes some precise tightening for a firm fit for speed or long runs when everything needs to be perfect.
Bottom line: The Tracer is for you if you are looking for a featherweight shoe with significant cushioning. It would be better for the midfoot or heel-striking runner. Consider purchasing a half size smaller than your typical shoe for a better fit.
Have you tried the Hoka One One Tracer or a similar shoe?
After quitting the track team in high school due to what she thought were asthma attacks, Laura Hurd started running again as an adult, but soon the attacks came back. Now a speech-language pathologist, she recognized that the symptoms she was experiencing way back when were not asthma but something else — vocal cord dysfunction.
Our vocal cords are designed to block our airways when we swallow to keep food and drink out from going down the wrong pipe and into our lungs. When operating normally, vocal cords only block our airways for that purpose. Paradoxical vocal cord dysfunction, also known as vocal cord or vocal fold dysfunction (we’ll call it VCD), occurs when the vocal cords close when breathing, and thus block the airway. It’s obviously a problem when breathing causes us not to be able to breathe! Read more >>
Do you run in fear this time of year as the flocks of transient visitors hiss menacingly and refuse to budge despite your attempts to play nice? Do you skip your mid-run gel because they’re begging threateningly and you accidentally made eye contact with their black, soul-less gaze? Have you resorted to changing your routes or carrying repellent on your runs to avoid an actual physical confrontation?
It’s time to take back our parks.
We are excited to announce the first annual SaltyValu™ Canada Goose 5k. The Goose is a virtual, bibless race that will take place Saturday, June 31. Main participation will be in Columbus, Ohio, with simultaneous sister races popping up all over the g*d* country, wherever Canada Geese have staked their spring-time claim. This is no wild goose chase, our mission is clear: We will reclaim our bike paths and pond-side trails from this non-native, alien species!
“I decided I was going to do this race a month ago and I decided I was going to win.”
Natosha Rogers, 2017 USATF Half Marathon Champion.
For the second year in a row, some of the top distance runners in the U.S. gathered in Columbus, Ohio to race for a ring, one of the prizes for the country’s new national half marathon champion — along with a nice chunk of change and a pretty sweet title.
This year’s field of women was decidedly young, with only five runners over the age of thirty. As for the conditions, they were definitely a factor. The roads were slick from intermittent showers and the temperatures were hot and humid, particularly for Ohio in April. Nevertheless, Natosha Rogers of Littleton, Colorado and Santa Fe’s Aliphine Tuliamuk dominated early, running side-by-side at a formidable sub-1:09 pace through the first half of the race in identical New Balance kits.
Strung out about a minute behind them were, in order: Neely Spence-Gracey; Stephanie Bruce with Belainesh Gebre on her heels; last year’s champ, Tara Welling shortly behind them; and then Katie Kellner and Bethany Sachtleben (Spearmint) running a few seconds behind Tara. Susanna Sullivan and Anna Weber rounded out the top 10.
Right behind the top-10 included a pack of five: Mara Olson; Joanna Thompson; Lauren Jimison Totten; Sarah Rapp; and Emma Kertesz (Paprika).
Around seven miles, with Aliphine still matching Natosha stride for stride, Bethany noticed Tara ahead and encouragingly told Katie they’d soon add a third runner to their little pack. Bethany upped the effort making a goal to catch Tara by mile nine, but Katie couldn’t match. Sure enough, by mile nine Bethany, who was 11th place in last year’s race, was passing last year’s champion.
As the leading three runners, Aliphine, Natosha and Neely, approached the ten mile mark, the heat and humidity began to take its toll. Aliphine began to struggle a bit and Natosha took off to a commanding lead. Meanwhile, Neely made progress in her strong chase of the two runners in front of her. Her conservative start paid off as she ran down Aliphine and almost managed to chase down Natosha too, but came up nine seconds short. In the end, Natosha’s gutsy racing paid off.
Meanwhile, Belainesh and Steph were fourth and fifth at 10 miles, separated by a few seconds. Bethany, having just passed Tara, now set her sights on one of U.S. women’s distance running’s living legends, Steph Bruce. Within a mile she had surreally passed one of her idols just before overtaking Belainesh and earned a fourth place finish in 1:13:28, a huge personal best.
Behind Bethany, the rest of the top-fifteen finishers in order:
5. Belainesh Gebre, from Ethiopia, but trains in Flagstaff, Arizona
6. Stephanie Bruce, also lives and trains in Flagstaff, Arizona
7. Mara Olson of Boulder, Colorado
8. Tara Welling, last year’s champ from Portland, Oregon
9. Sarah Rapp of Raleigh, North Carolina
10. Lauren Jimison Totten of El Dorado Hills, California
11. Anna Weber of Indianapolis, Indiana
12. Emma Kertesz of Denver, Colorado
13. Susanna Sullivan of Reston, Virginia
14. Joanna Thompson of Lenoir, North Carolina
15. Kimi Reed of Springfield, Missouri
From left, Natosha, Neely, Aliphine, Bethany, Belainesh, Steph, Tara, and Lauren
After the race, Natosha revealed that she was in it to win and that during the entire race she said “win, win, win” to herself. She was focused and knew that being able to hold-off the other runners in this deep field would be no small feat. But she gave it her all, as evidenced by her post-finish line puke. Nice work!
As for Neely, she likes to go out a little more conservatively and press the back half of a race, which is exactly what she did at Cap City. She seemed to take second in stride:
I ran the best race that I could today. I started pressing from mile 3. I didn’t get lazy out there.
The good sport award goes to third-place, Aliphine, who praised her competitors:
It was very tough out there today. I am very proud of these two ladies. The resilience from this is what matters.
Bethany, coming off an excellent 10k performance on the track at Stanford a few weeks ago, knew the race was going to go well for her by mile four. She said:
I heard a lot of people saying the humidity was rough but I didn’t notice that at all. Could be because it’s like, 90% humidity every day in Northern VA and I love it.
Even so, it was surreal for her to pass some of her running idols along the way. After positioning herself in fourth place, Bethany said, “I just hauled as fast as I could to the finish before anybody woke up and came back after me.” And they didn’t!
You can find the full 2017 USATF Half Marathon Championship Results here.
And don’t forget to join us tonight and every Monday at 8:00 p.m. Eastern, 5:00 p.m on Twitter for the saltiest chat about running around, #SaltyChat!
My home treadmill has been host to over 50% of my total miles and the vast majority of my speedy miles over the past three years. But the feeling after a good workout is tempered by uncertainty about its accuracy, and it has damaged my confidence as a runner.
If you’ve also spent a lot of time on the treadmill this winter you also might have wondered how accurate the display on your treadmill is. Many people complain about a discrepancy in effort between running on the road compared to the ‘mill. I decided enough was enough! So before I decided on my marathon pace goal, I was going to find out exactly what the marathon goal pace I’ve been running on the treadmill actually is!
Today I will teach you how to calibrate your treadmill! And before you run away thinking it’s going to be some crazy complicated thing, I assure you it’s surprisingly easy and quick!
Oh, I need to sleep nine hours a night for optimal performance? Whatever, dude. I f*ing hate sleep. I love not having enough time in my day for self-care and when my alarm blares in the middle of the one REM cycle I get a night.
I scoff at the reports that women need more sleep than men. What a joke. Ick! I’m practically breaking out in hives thinking about letting my muscles recover underneath my cozy blankets. I’d rather use my more complex brain to scrub the kitchen floor, duh. After my run, of course.
Quit telling me I need more sleep, because, really? Why would I do something I hate this much just to run a little faster?
When it comes to yoga, I’m a streaker. Wait, that didn’t come out right. What I mean to say is that I tend to attend a bunch of yoga classes all at once, usually during a break from running, and then attend sporadically when my training ramps back up. Balance, you know.
I love yoga (yes, not all of us here at Salty Running hate it). I love it for the yogi’s high (is that a thing?), but also because it makes me a tougher runner. It makes me tougher physically: the exercises help me to build upper body and core strength and activate all the leg muscles that high mileage tends to make out of whack. However, the biggest benefit for me is that yoga improves my mental toughness! Yoga teachers may catch some flak for sounding kooky at times, but many are full of wisdom. Some of their advice might even remind you of Ginger’s tips for being more mindful when you run.
So even if you’re a yoga hater (*cough* Salty *cough*), here is why you should consider mixing in some yoga to your training.
10000, 5000, 1500, oh my! U.S.A. Track Trials are coming up and Rio is right around the corner. Sure there’s a little doping going on, but it’s time to put the jadedness aside and get pumped!
Before we get our spectating on later this week as Americans hit the track for a chance at gold in Rio, we thought we’d take a look at what runners need to do to be eligible to compete in the 2016 Olympics. As we detailed last week, Canadian runner Lanni Marchant is super fast, but Canada, which does not stage a Trials competition as we do here in the states, has yet to decide if she’ll compete. And even here in the U.S. with our Trials, the standards for making it to the Olympics are far from easily understood.
So, let’s change that and explain how athletes make it to the track in the Olympics.
Read more >>
First, a PSA: I learned this week that my multivitamin, like many prenatals, contains a laxative. Polyethylene glycol is the active ingredient in Miralax, etc., in fact! It’s added to many prenatals to counteract possible constipation from the high iron content, but I’m surprised and a little angry that there’s no advisement on the label about it. Obviously I’ve quit taking them since I found out and (surprise) had significant reduction in mid-run bathroom stops.
Back to the running: After Sunday’s Columbus 10k, I felt pretty motivated to get back into shape. My goal race will probably be the Columbus Marathon which is still many weeks away so for now my main goal is to build miles (ideally to the 70-80/wk range consistently) and enjoy it. An unexpected day off left my total a bit low, but given that I’m just starting to build, I’ll consider the goal accomplished this week.
Monday: 1.5 in the morning before JB woke up. 6.5 @ 8:19 pace in the evening before bed.
Tuesday: 7.5 @ 8:14 pace. Last two clients canceled so I had time for an outdoor run!
Wednesday: Off work for 5 stroller miles @ 8:36 pace, then another 5 in the evening on the treadmill.
Thursday: No run. So tired after work. Went to bed right after JB.
Friday: 3.3 @ 8:07 in the morning, then 7.7 @ 8:11 in the evening
Saturday: Longest run in quite a while! 14.5 @ 8:09 average. Felt good, then ran out of energy hard in the last 5 minutes.
Sunday: 9.5 @ 8:18. Thought I’d feel rough after yesterday’s miles, but didn’t.
total = 60.5 miles
It’s amazing to me that I was knocking out 70+ mile weeks so recently yet I barely topped 40 this week – and I’m tired. I finished off the week with a disappointing 10k with a couple miles only slightly faster than marathon pace. Ugh! It’s time to get organized, bump up the miles, and schedule some fun races for motivation.
Monday: Memorial Day meant a day off work. Considered a 5k and took JB over to run the kids race and he had so much fun running around the track I decided we’d just keep playing for a while. At one point he ran a full 800 straight, smiling the whole time! Once he got tired, I threw him in the stroller for 3.3 miles @ 8:24 average. Ran another 4.3 @ 8:27 in the afternoon followed by super hot yoga.
Tuesday: 6.5 miles @ 8:00 average with 6x strides.
Wednesday: On the treadmill for 7 miles @ 6:49 average including 35 minutes tempo (two short bathroom breaks) averaging 6:23 pace.
Thursday: 7.5 miles @ 8:20
Friday: 4 miles @ 8:21 average. Barely squeezed this one in – wanted another 7ish mile day but went to bed early instead.
Saturday: 4 miles with a friend!
Sunday: 9.2 miles including Columbus 10k in 39:20. OUCH! I’ve run significantly faster at this race when I was pregnant and then 4 months postpartum. This result is a combination of poor pacing, lack of mental toughness, and just not being very fit night now. However, it’s funny to look back how excited I was to run pretty much the same time in 2009. I’m okay with being dissatisfied as a symptom of progress.
total = 45.8 miles
back to training? Kind of. After 10 days off after the Glass City Marathon, I started back with weeks of 21, 32, and 31.6 miles. Unfortunately, it seems like I lost quite a bit of endurance and speed, logging tempo runs 20+ seconds slower than pre-marathon and struggling with any runs longer than 5 miles. Ugh! I’d had some 5ks in mind but ended up skipping them since I wasn’t feeling great – and a nasty virus didn’t help. By the end of this week I was feeling much better and, although it will be far from a PR or even my personal best on the course, I’m looking forward to the Columbus 10k!
Monday: After a week of a sore throat, congestion, and poor sleep I don’t know why I thought it was a good idea to attempt a fartlek. Made it through 2.5 x 1 minute hard before backing down to just easy pace for 6.5 miles.
Tuesday: 5 miles @ 8:10 average
Wednesday: Feeling better. On the treadmill for 20 minutes tempo at 6:17 average. 5 miles total.
Thursday: 6.2 @ 8:00 average
Friday: 5.3 @ 8:32 average
Saturday: 8 @ 8:22 average
Sunday: 5.3 @ 8:14 pace with 4x strides, then an hour of hot yoga.
total = 41.3 miles
Even though I saw hardly sore after the Glass City Marathon, I knew my muscles were probably still pretty beaten up. And I was also very ready for a mental break from training so it was very easy to kick back and not run for a while. That doesn’t mean I stepped completely away from the running world — the highlight of the week was attending the USATF Half Marathon Champs at the Cap City Half with my fellow Saltines!
I usually take a two week break after a season of racing. However, I felt a bit unsatisfied after Glass City and was itching to get myself ready for some 5k and 10ks so I ended up taking only 10 days off. If I could do it over, I’d take the full two weeks because I have yet to race again and it was barely enough time to feel recovered. Live and learn!
Week ending 5/1/16: No running! One hour hot yoga.
Week ending 5.8.16:
Monday: Wanted to run, but didn’t have time. I did manage to re-start my diastasis recti rehab exercises after a 9+ month hiatus.
Tuesday: No run, but DR rehab exercises.
Wednesday: Finally a run. 3.5 @ 8:39 average pace. And DR rehab!
Thursday: 3.6 @ 8:31 + DR rehab
Friday: Walked 2 miles carrying JB in the morning. Ran 3.5 @ 8:35 pace and did DR rehab. Great streak going there.
Saturday: 6 mi with my friend Liz! Feeling really out of shape! Then an hour of hot yoga.
Sunday: 4.4 @ 8:18 average including strides and some awkward drills. I think the neighbors saw me.
total = 21 miles
Spring marathon season is coming to an end and many of us are already signing up for fall races and laying out our training plans! I don’t know about you, but I get excited when my coach’s training plan arrives loaded with solid chunks of mileage and challenging workouts. But I also like to look ahead to see when I might get a little break from the effort, the little break known as a cutback week that I look to as an oasis nestled in the weeks of tough training.
Sometimes called “down” or recovery weeks, cutbacks are weeks during which you reduce your training load. The intention of the down week is to allow some physical recovery while still continuing to train. Some coaches suggest cross-training to replace less running, but that defeats the purpose of taking rest time. During a cutback week, you can decrease your mileage, intensity or both. An extra day off running is another possibility.
Confused about how or when to incorporate cutback weeks into your training plan, particularly if you don’t have a coach to do it for you? I’ve got some tips and instructions for making sure you can train strong, plan rest weeks, and not burn out before race day!
Seems like I always struggle once I hit taper. I know most runners struggle with cutting back mileage , but I’m sort of the opposite: I cut planned mileage wildly and skip runs for crappy reasons. I even dropped the ball on two weeks of training logs! I do think this lax approach probably negatively affected my marathon and in the future I’d like to experiment with a shorter taper and more consistency.
Week ending 4.17.16:
Monday: 3 miles @ 8:44 average after waking up at 1 am and staying awake the rest of the night. Got into the shower with my socks still on. Came back with a solid 20 minute tempo averaging 6:03 in the evening (5 mi with warmup and cooldown).
Tuesday: Off. Friend in town!
Wednesday: Could have squeezed in a run, but didn’t. Ugh.
Thursday: 4.5 @ 7:21 average including 10x 1 min hard/1 min jog. Paces progressed from 10.3 – 11.2 mph. I was scared to run that fast on the treadmill but I stayed on.
Friday: 3.8 @ 8:26 pretty late in the evening. Cut significantly from scheduled 7. Stressful day and that was the only time to get any miles.
Saturday: 9 mi @ 8:12 average. Came down with some serious congestion.
Sunday: 7 mi @ 7:56 including 4x 1 min hard. Still congested, but running helps clear it up.
Week ending 4.24.16:
Monday: 3.7 @ 8:29 in the evening. Still congested. Also, my office was so hot I sweat through a t-shirt. Overall, felt pretty rough today! The only good thing was getting my period – glad to have it come before the marathon (and maybe explain some of last week’s sluggishness).
Tuesday: 5 mi @ 8:27
Wednesday: planned off
Thursday: 4.1 miles, no pace noted.
Friday: 3 miles in Toledo.
Saturday: 1 mile out and back on the last part of the Glass City course. Excited!
Sunday: 26.2 @ 6:59. 3:03:07, 3rd place.
- Healthy Running
- Running + Life
- Training & Racing
- Training Logs
- February 2018
- January 2018
- December 2017
- November 2017
- October 2017
- September 2017
- August 2017
- July 2017
- June 2017
- May 2017
- April 2017
- March 2017
- February 2017
- January 2017
- December 2016
- November 2016
- October 2016
- September 2016
- August 2016
- July 2016
- June 2016
- May 2016
- April 2016
- March 2016
- February 2016
- January 2016
- December 2015
- November 2015
- October 2015
- September 2015
- August 2015
- July 2015
- June 2015
- May 2015
- April 2015
- March 2015
- February 2015
- January 2015
- December 2014
- November 2014
- October 2014
- September 2014
- August 2014
- July 2014
- June 2014
- May 2014
- April 2014
- March 2014
- February 2014
- January 2014
- December 2013
- November 2013
- October 2013
- September 2013
- August 2013
- July 2013
- June 2013
- May 2013
- April 2013
- March 2013
- February 2013
- January 2013
- December 2012
- November 2012
- October 2012
- September 2012
- August 2012
- July 2012
- June 2012
- May 2012
- April 2012
- March 2012
- February 2012