Altra Running IQ & Impulse shoes

Wholistic Running is at Outdoor Retailer in Salt Lake City, Utah this week helping with the unveiling of the new Altra Running IQ and Impulse shoes. To follow us and learn more, check out our Facebook page which we will be updating all week.

What is Wholistic Running and our mission? We are dedicated to helping runners of all levels achieve their goals. Find out more about us HERE.

Shoes and running technique

Some shoes are better at promoting an efficient running technique thus reducing impact and injuries. When it comes to running easier and injury-free, we here at Wholistic Running believe learning proper running form is essential and the correct shoes can help promote efficient technique.

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To help you get started, here are some tips for choosing shoes that promote a healthier way of moving.  Most shoes have an elevated heel which promotes a heel strike (think high impact).  We recommend shoes with ‘zero-drop’.  A zero-drop shoe encourages a full foot landing.  A full foot landing has been proven to reduce impact in several studies (2010, 2011). Zero-drop shoes also promote correct posture and alignment as well as engagement of the core when we stand, walk and run.

Altra shoes are zero-drop and have another benefit, a wide toe box:

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Remember, to most effectively reduce and recover from injuries as well as run easier, learning efficient running technique is essential and the right shoes can help. I teach efficient technique because it is the easiest and the most effective way to run efficiently (farther, faster, injury-free).

-Damian Stoy is a professional ultra marathon runner, founder of Wholistic Running, biomechanics specialist, running coach and has been injury-free for over 10 years.

To receive more tips from Damian, sign up for our free emails HERE.

Altra Superior 2.0 Review

Damian Stoy is a coach, biomechanics specialist, Altra athlete and coaches runners from all around the world.

The new Altra Superior 2.0 is a significant upgrade from last year’s model. This new version has several changes that most runners are really going to enjoy.

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Shoe stats:

  • Weight: 8.7 oz.
  • Drop: 0 mm
  • Stack Height: 21 mm
  • Outsole: Sticky Rubber TrailClaw™
  • Insole: 5 mm Contour Footbed with Removable StoneGuard™ Rock Protection

I always appreciate Altra’s zero drop and wide toe box which help promote efficient running biomechanics. Last year’s version of this model, the Superior 1.5, was a good shoe. However, it was on the heavy side, a little clunky and had minimal traction.A1552_GrayGreen_xl1

Pros:  Fortunately, the Superior 2.0 has several upgrades from the previous version that make it a much, much better shoe. The 2.0 has more cushion which is slightly softer and feels really comfortable on both roads and trails. There is an increase in stack height of 3mm which gives the shoe less of a minimalist feel but increases protection on technical terrain. The traction is much more aggressive this year. I’ve taken the new Superior on dirt trails, snow and ice and the traction is greatly improved. The shoe is also lighter which is a HUGE plus for me. At 8.7 oz, this shoe is really lightweight for a trail shoe. Yes there are others that are lighter, but few that offer as much protection or a comfortable toe box. The upper looks sleeker and probably dries faster than the previous version as well.IMG_3388

Cons: Even though the fit for me is more comfortable, it is slightly more snug than the previous version. I usually wear an 8.5 or 9 in Altra’s. The size 9 Superior 2.0 is a good fit for me but if anything, a bit tight (which I persoanally prefer). Some runners may have to size up a 1/2 size.

Overall, I highly recommend the Altra Superior 2.0. If you are looking for a comfortable, light-weight trail running that offers ample protection, the Superior 2.0 may be the shoe for you. For me, this will be my go to shoe for trails and at ultra races I’ll be competing at this year across the country.Sign up

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“Run smarter” – Antelope Island 100K recap

People often tell me that I make running look easy.  And for most of the Antelope Island 100K I was relaxed, comfortable and having fun. I train and run smarter, not harder and rely on an efficient technique to get the results I desire which is to run injury-free, perform well and do what I love.  And it really paid off with a win and the 2nd fastest time ever.

I made the decision to do the race just the week before.  That week was spent doing hard, manual labor for my brother’s landscaping business including moving over 2.5 tons of rock in one day.  It wasn’t ideal right before a race and I went into Antelope a little fatigued and beat up.  No worries, I just had to focus on efficiency even more.

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The start of the race was glorious.  We ran underneath a huge full moon and the stars all overlooking the Great Salt Lake.  For nearly 1.5 hours we ran in the dark with the moonlight shimmering on the lake.  The sunrise and brilliant alpenglow on the Wasatch mountain range was also spectacular.  There were lots of bison and antelope out there as well.

The first 50K I ran with friends and was pretty conservative.  I was trailing behind Zac Marion who was in 1st and caught him at the halfway aid station. We took off together comfortably chatting and discussing the day so far.  We had a pretty fast first half and I decided that if I pushed it I might have a chance to go under 9 hours. So, I took off.  I ran miles 32-52 pretty fast.  I was all alone and was reminding myself to run smarter, not harder.  The course was fairly technical and hilly with some long, gradual climbs including one of over 1000 ft.  When my hamstrings were tired I focused on pelvic and spinal rotation.  When my quads were fatiguing I focused on engaging my core. Around mile 52 my left quad starting seizing up from a deep bruise I got when I pinched my leg between a large rock and wheel barrow a few days before.  This threw my technique off a bit but I was determined to keep moving.

I never carry a watch when I run so I actually had no idea how much time I had to break 9 hours.  I just decided to keep pushing it.  I repeated a mantra, “I am light, I am strong” thousands of times.  I finished fairly strong with a 1st place finish and the 2nd fastest time ever of 9:06:40.

I was happy about my race because I had fun, enjoyed being out with friends and took in the spectacular scenery.  My consistent work of practicing technique sure paid off.  The amazing thing is that I never really got sore after the race.  Even 4 days after, I literally feel like I didn’t do a race.  I attribute this to my efficient running technique, smarter way of training and plant-based diet.  Now it’s time to look into doing another ultra in a few weeks…

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I wanted to thank my friends and family for all their wonderful support.  Also, a thanks to my sponsors, Altra shoes, Hammer Nutition and Macrolife Naturals.  I am grateful to be able to do what I love, thank you!

Photos: Courtesy of Lori Burlison

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2013 Wasatch 100 – “Never Give Up”

Running 100 miles is a challenge.  Running 100 miles in the mountains with over 26,000 ft. of uphill and over 26,500 ft. of downhill in one day is crazy . Yet, I decided to run Wasatch again this year even after last year I swore I would never do it again (read on to see if I’ll ever do Wasatch again).

My preparation for Wasatch this year was somewhat better than last year (check out my past race results).  I put in about the same amount of mileage as last year but with less racing in 2013.  Instead,this year I focused on playing in spectacular places such as Glacier and Grand Teton National Parks and the Beartooth Wilderness area. As I saw it, the one advantage I had this year over last year is that for the 4 months prior to the 2013 Wasatch, I ate fruitarian.  That’s right, I ate 99% just fruits and vegetables.  I was curious…and nervous, to see if going fruitarian would contribute to my success or possibly my failure.

The night before Wasatch, Lindsey and I slept under the stars at the start of the race.  It was spectacular and we got a good 3 hours of sleep.  The start of the race approached and like always, I saw lots of friends and wished them a great day.

And just like that, me and a couple hundred other runners were off into the darkness at 5 am.  The first 20 miles I enjoyed chatting with other runners and I quickly fell into my groove.  It was refreshing  to have company before the long day ahead.

I felt great for the first 30 miles.  However, during one long descent, I started feeling my quads more than usual so early in the race.  I knew this would be a very rough day for me! So I did what I normally do which is focus on my running technique.  In this case, it meant focusing on engaging my core to help absorb the impact of the very long downhills. Temperatures were pushing 95 degrees and I did everything I could to stay cool including put ice under my hat, stay wet, drink sufficient fluids and maintain adequate electrolyte balance.  However, I reached the Big Mountain aid station incredibly hot and more fatigued than I wanted.  My excellent crew was there to greet me and take care of me.  They included my wonderful dad, amazing girlfriend Lindsey, and super helpful brother Alex.  A few minutes of care and off I went.

The next section was the hottest part of the day.  It was hard to consume enough calories, drink enough fluids and stay cool.  I was ready to puke, quit and pass out all at the same time.  “Just get to Lambs aid station”, I kept telling myself.  Miles 45-52 were some of the most challenging of my life.  It was fairly flat but the heat was unbearable.  I decided I would get to Lambs and quit.

Seeing my crew and family after running 52 miles is just heaven.  I ran in, knowing I would quit but not wanting to tell them just yet.  They cooled me off, gave me food and provided the support I desperately needed.  I whispered to Lindsey that I was “cooked”, “done” and ready to “quit”.  She didn’t say much, but I knew she supported me no matter what…as long as that meant keep going. Luckily for me, my brother Alex decided to jump in and pace me.  He’d run with me to Brighton.  To have a brother physically fit enough to jump in to help at any time is pretty cool.  I take him for granted and can’t thank him enough.  I finally decided to get going and we took off from Lamb’s with me thinking, “I’ll just quit at the next aid station” which was about 8 miles up.

I spent the next hour trying to refuel, cool off and rehydrate which I slowly did.  Alex and I reached the next aid station and I felt somewhat better.  I decided, “I’ll just make it to Brighton” which is at mile 75.  Then I’ll quit.  We continued to run together and had a blast. Darkness fell and we put on our headlamps.  I serenaded Alex with hits of the 80’s and 90’s.  I know he enjoyed it because my singing is pretty good.  We finally reached Brighton where I again was ready to give up.  But, luckily for me, Lindsey found a willing fool to pace me to the finish.  This was just what I needed since I was adamant about quitting (at least to myself) and especially not wanting to head into the darkness alone knowing and afraid my legs wouldn’t carry me the rest of the way.

The spontaneous fool that joined me was Nate Blouin and I cannot thank him enough for joining me on my adventure.  He was positive, funny and very helpful.  Slow and steady we kept ticking off the miles.  I was tired, grumpy and ready to be done but still had to do some tremendous work to reach my final goal.  Miles 82-92 were the longest of my life and Nate did the best he could to keep me going.  Ultra races are crazy (and addictive) because of the extreme highs and lows both mentally and physically.  One minute I felt on top of the world and the next I felt ready to give up and melt into the ground.

Fortunately, I got into mile 92 feeling pretty good.  From here, the race was mostly on a dirt road which allowed me to pick up the pace quite a bit.  So off we ran.  I am very proud to say that for the last 6 miles, I ran almost every step of the way.  Finally, we could see the finish and like always, I started getting very emotional.  I couldn’t get to the finish line fast enough for I was excited to see my family, hug Lindsey and be done.  I sprinted (probably running 6 mph) into the finish where I embraced them and couldn’t have been more happy. After wanting to give up so badly and so often, I finally reached my goal in a time of 24:15:51 in 13th place.  It was a tremendous feeling of accomplishment and joy.

I couldn’t have achieved my goal without the support of so many people.  I want to thank my family, especially my dad and Alex for supporting me.  Without Lindsey’s encouragement and positive energy, I could not have reached the finish.  I also want to thank Nate for helping me get to the finish.  And finally, I’d like to thank all the volunteers and race directors for helping myself and hundreds of others achieve something they will never forget.

It is now a week after the race.  I am amazed at how quickly I have recovered.  I have already gone for a few runs and feel wonderful.  I attribute my quick recovery and ability to run such long distances completely injury-free while performing well to several things. First, to my dedicated practice of an efficient running technique which I also teach. Eating vegan greatly contributes to my performance and health.  I greatly appreciate the support of my sponsors.  For shoes, I wore the Altra Superior’s which were awesome, check them out HERE. I used mostly Hammer Nutrition to fuel me during the race. Macrolife Naturals also contributed to my performance, quick recovery time and overall health.

So will I do Wasatch next year?  Maybe.  Right now I’m focused on doing another 100 miler sometime in October.  I said it was addicting right…

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