Valentine’s Day ideas for your favorite runner



Minute 1: Is CBD now a viable option for sports nutrition?


Back in the ‘80s, Jeff Spicoli smoked pot as a way to prep for his trip to Australia for the Hawaiian Internationals surf competition. His iconic TV interview in Fast Times at Ridgemont High revealed an athlete who was combining waves and weed. The stoner association is one reason why CBD products have not really taken off among endurance athletes, despite lots of evidence that hemp and cannabis-based products relieve pain and stress, and help with sleep and relaxation. The World Anti-Doping Agency took CBD off its list of banned substances back in 2018, but Outside magazine explained last year why “Endurance Elites Don’t Endorse CBD (Yet).” It’s still on the fringes for now, with people like former Tour de France athlete Floyd Landis -- who had his share of run-ins with WADA -- launching his own Floyd’s of Leadville CBD line for athletes. The pendulum is likely to swing toward more CBD use among endurance as more people understand the answer to this question posed by a recent article: “What's the Difference Between CBD, THC, Cannabis, Marijuana, and Hemp? CBD does not have the same psychoactive effects as THC, but it has been proven to help with anxiety, depression, seizures, and migraines, with very few side effects. A 2018 study on “Cannabis and the Health and Performance of Elite Athletes” concluded that CBD was an effective medication for reducing inflammation and relieving pain. That’s why many sports leagues, including the NFL and MLB now allow CBD use. Endosport.com explained last year why different athletes use CBD in “11 Famous Athletes Who Publicly Advocate CBD.” On Medium.com, there’s a story about NFL players and UFC fighters who use CBD in “5 Professional Athletes Who Use CBD.” Before giving it a try, you may want to check out Healthline’s in-depth post on “CBD vs. THC: What’s the Difference.” #WhatWouldSpicoliDo?


Minute 2: Smarter running with smart insoles


For better or worse, our phones and GPS watches have become an essential part of our running kit. Smartwatches and fitness trackers monitor just about everything we do, from how fast and how far we run to when we eat and take a nap. We can measure our running pace, splits, elevation, heart rate and calories burned. But the latest technology takes it a step farther. The NURVV Run Insoles, one of the first smart insoles on the market, fit inside your running shoes and use motion sensors to track even more data about the way you run, including measuring your running technique. With GPS trackers that sit on the side of your shoe, the insoles measure cadence, step length, footstrike, pronation and balance to provide a health running score. Read the generally positive review from Runner’s World here. Another running writer summed up here experience in this piece: “I tried smart insoles and they changed the way I run.” She explains how the insoles helped improve her pacing and footstrike and modify her training routine to get more rest and prevent over-training. Under Armour has a similar offering with their UA HOVR, a smart shoe that feeds data to MapMyRun. Road Runner Sports says the UA smart shoes “Connect Runners to Absolutely Everything They’ve Ever Wanted to Know About Their Run.” #SoleSystem


Minute 3: Valentine’s Day ideas for your favorite runner


Sunday is Valentine’s Day, so the finish line is nearing to find a special treat for your spouse, partner or kids. Although Covid may put a damper on romantic dinner plans, the National Retail Foundation says consumers will still spend $21.8 billion, or an average of $165 per person, on Valentine’s Day. That’s a lot of chocolate and flowers. But if your loved one is an athlete, loading them up with the most popular Valentine’s Day candy might not be the best idea. Instead, how about one of those water bottles that light up when it’s time to hydrate? Or the hottest new ear buds? Or even a race entry? Active.com highlights these suggestions and more in “The Perfect Valentine’s Day Gifts For Runners.” Our friends at GoneForARun.com also have some fun and colorful ideas, like this RUNBOX Gift Set. MarathonFoto is offering a steep discount (with code LOVE21) for people in love who also love running. It’s not humble-bragging when you post a race photo and the caption says: “My husband gave me this picture for Valentine’s Day!” And for the absolute perfect gift for your running partner, how about a sporty Six Minute Mile t-shirt? #LoveRun


Minute 4: Yes, even you can run a 100-miler, and here’s how


We have always looked at ultra runners as a Serena Williams or LeBron James of our sport. Strong, hard-working and goal-oriented. We know we will never dunk a basketball and we could never finish an ultra in style and baggy shorts the way that Courtney Dauwalter does. (BTW, she may be our favorite SMM Podcast guest of all time.) Even traveling 100 miles in a car requires planning, GPS, snacks and bathroom breaks. And sometimes our legs are cramping by the end of the trip. So running 100 miles? Not gonna happen. At least that’s what we thought before reading a new story in Trail Runner magazine. The authors boldly declare that mere mortals can finish an ultra in this story: “A Training Plan To Run 100 Miles.” The 12-week program, which focuses on pacing, fatigue management and proper fueling, is “not fundamentally different from long-distance running.” It is designed for runners who already have a good training base and launches week 1 with as few as 18 miles total. Peak mileage occurs in week 9 when the plan calls for 50-110 miles. It also allows substituting hikes for runs, as most ultras involve long stretches of walking or hiking through hilly terrain. Cross-training is also encouraged. Still a little skeptical, we looked for confirmation on the respected ultra site iRunFar. Sure enough, their take is consistent: “Can someone finish an ultramarathon on very little training? You bet! And that’s even more so the case the longer a runner’s general running history as well as the greater her or his ultramarathon experience. That said, there’s a strong positive correlation between training volume and ultramarathon success, whether that’s measured in finishing, enjoyment, time, place or something else.” Here’s their full story on the subject: “Ultramarathon Training: A Guide to Everything.” For more guidance and inspiration, check out RedBull’s “Everything you need to know about running your first 100-mile race” or Outside’s “How to Survive Your First 100-Miler.” #100isthenew26.2


Minute 5: Quick Intervals

  • Most folks we know don’t go for a drive, run or bathroom break without their phones. Even with a GPS watch, we may still want our phones for safety, listening to music, or the occasional selfie. The challenge is finding a place to carry it. Runner Click has some helpful tips with “The Best and Worst Places To Keep A Phone When Running.” If you’re looking for a phone belt, clip, armband or other carrying or storage accessory, check out these phone carriers from our friends at Fleet Feet.

  • In the heat of summer, most runners plan their hydration carefully, but in the middle of winter, we often forget about sipping water on a cold day. Runner and dietician Megan Kuikman recommends a bowl of soup or a cup of hot tea following a February run in: “How to properly refuel after a winter long run.” For hikers, the Washington Trails Association offers these “Tips for Staying Hydrated While Hiking in the Winter.”

  • When you’re hiking on a steep trail or across rough terrain, there is nothing more important than balance and stability. That’s why many hikers and backpackers are switching to zero-drop hiking shoes. As explained by SectionHiker.com, zero-drop shoes have no difference between the height of the heel and toe, sitting level on the ground and providing a more stable and natural footstrike. Though most zero-drop shoes have plenty of cushioning and support, many believe they simulate barefoot running, producing a more efficient stride. For more on the concept, check out “What Exactly Are Zero-Drop Shoes And Should You Try Them?”

Minute 6: Daily Inspiration


COVID-19 and the global pandemic have sapped the motivation out of many athletes and runners, leaving them searching for extra incentive. Like Norwegian runner Jonas Felde Sevaldrud, who says he was “really lacking inspiration, I couldn’t find it anywhere.” Then he discovered Christopher McDougall’s famous book “Born To Run” about minimalist running. Sevaldrud was so inspired he decided to try running barefoot in the midst of a frigid Norwegian winter. He wound up setting a world record for a barefoot half marathon in the snow. It was a painful and bloody experience, but Sevadrud says it was worth it. Although he’s not quite as funny as Will Farrell’s Norway-related Super Bowl ad, Sevadrud is pretty darned amusing in his own kooky way.