Inside the Mind of an Ultrarunner – With Jared Hazen and Mayra Garcia

Inside the Mind of an Ultrarunner – With Jared Hazen and Mayra Garcia

The term “long-distance running” is pretty arbitrary when you think about it. For some of us, long-distance running means going on a five-mile jog. For others, it’s competing in a 26.2-mile marathon. And for ultrarunners like Jared Hazen and Mayra Garcia, it’s waking up before the crack of dawn to run 50 or 100 kilometers over the span of a full day. 

That last group of people are outliers, of course, but over the past decade, there has been an increase in distance runners gravitating towards ultrarunning. We got to talk to Jared and Mayra about why they choose this extreme sport, what their workout regimen is like, and what HOKA products they use to train in.

Why did you get into ultrarunning?

Jared: I started running through competing in cross country and track. Once I was in high school, I was introduced to the trails through one of my high school coaches. I grew up in a pretty small town but we happen to have an ultramarathon that was pretty popular in the area, so I started running those trails more. Once I started learning more about ultrarunning, I was pretty fascinated by how somebody could run like 100 miles when I was only going out on the weekends and running 20 miles and getting destroyed on the trails. So it really was that fascination that led me to ultrarunning.

Mayra: I had a great coach and motivator. When I was running cross country, I didn’t know that there were races more than 3.1 miles. And my coach said that I could do more, do a marathon, and I just fell in love with it after that. My coach also told me that I would get stronger in road races if I started running trails too. So that’s really how I found ultrarunning and trail running.

How do you train for such a rigorous event like an ultramarathon?

Jared: I train year-round and there’s a certain focus on fitness that I really apply across a lot of different distance races. But when it comes to my specific training for ultras, once it gets closer to those races I ramp up the intensity of my training and focus on the long runs. I live in Flagstaff, so the Grand Canyon is only an hour and a half away, so that’s one of my favorite training spots. I’ll just go there and do 20 or 30 mile runs. When I’m getting ready for a long race, I usually get in three or more 20+ mile runs a week.

Mayra: I like to just put in miles. I also think recovery is a big part of getting my body ready for these longer races too. Every two weeks I get massages to make sure that I don’t get injured. But really it’s all about running A LOT. During the week, I like to stay on roads so I don’t lose my speed. I see my coach on Mondays and Wednesdays, so on a typical Monday we do the track. I do 400s and build myself up to 1600s. And on Wednesdays, we do tempo runs and hill repeats. When I’m on my own on Tuesdays, I do long, easy runs, and then on the weekends I run through the mountains. If I can, I’ll run the actual race trail itself to see where I can pick up and gain some time so I’m ready for race day. But usually I’m running like 10 to 20 miles on those days.

What has been the highlight of your running career so far?

Jared: I would say the runner-up finish at Western States (a 100-mile endurance run in Northern California). I have a fairly long history with Western States. I ran it in 2014 and 2015 and then didn’t run it for a few years. I got back into it last year and had a great race. I’ve really seen a nice progression there too. The first year I ran it, it took me about 17 ½ hours, and five years later it only took me 14 ½. It’s nice to see that type of progression and know that the work I’m putting in year after year is paying off.

Mayra: I think just running the 50ks around my area. Running is a small world – everyone knows everyone in the running community and that’s been a highlight for me. A lot of people got to see where I started, running 3:40 or 3:50 marathons and then got to see me drop down to 3:20 and win some of our local races. It’s awesome to see them smile or come congratulate me on the work I’ve done over the years. That’s what makes me truly happy.

What HOKA products do you use for your training?

Jared: My go-to training and racing shoe has been the Speedgoat, which is convenient. It’s a shoe that I can train in all the time, and it’s also a high-performance shoe that I can take and race in. It’s nice because on race day, it’s nothing new. It’s a shoe I’ve run hundreds of miles in. It’s lightweight, it’s got protection, it’s got grip. I pretty much take it anywhere, even the Grand Canyon.

Mayra: I use all their stuff. Seriously, all of it. For marathons or road, I like to use the Clifton or the Carbon. But on the trails I use the Speedgoat or the Mafate, and sometimes the Torrent too. I love trying out all their shoes. The HOKA shorts have deep pockets for storage, too, and their sport bras are amazing and supportive. I truly am a fan of all their stuff.

Shop all the gear Jared and Mayra use to elevate their runs and maximize their distance at eastbay.com

Check out Jared on Instagram @jared_hazen

Check out Mayra on Instagram @born2run87

Breaking in Your Cross-Country Shoes for Competition

Breaking in Your Cross-Country Shoes for Competition

 

Whether you’re new to the sport of cross country or just have new shoes to break in, this blog post can help you prepare for your best season yet.

When it comes to cross-country shoes, the first thing to understand is that not everyone in the sport wears spikes. Many assume that spikes are always the better choice since they provide greater traction on tough courses and allow you to dig into the terrain. But choosing between spikes and flats (sometimes called spikeless or waffle) isn’t as simple as you think. If you’re not sure which is best for you, check out our flow chart.

When you start counting how many miles you run while training for cross country, you can be looking at 30 to 40 miles a week! Most of these miles will be done in your long-distance running shoes, but when it gets closer to race time, you’ll want to make sure you’re not a stranger to your competition shoes. If you don’t allow your body time to adjust from cushioned training shoes to thin, lightweight spikes or flats, you could be at risk of injury.

Buying your spikes or flats 5 weeks before your first competition allows you to properly break them in so that come race day, you and your shoes are a well-oiled machine.


5 Week Plan to Break in Your XC Shoes

Week 1-2: For the first two weeks, insert blank pins into your spikes (if you’re wearing flats, you don’t have to worry about this). Week one, perform your regular training routine in your running shoes, but put on your spikes or flats for the last 10% of the workout (the final mile or two). During week two, you’ll repeat week one but add another mile to the final run in your new cross-country shoes. Anytime you put on your spikes or flats, make sure you run on a soft, grass surface. This provides an extra element of cushioning to protect your feet during the transition.

Week 3-4: Now that you’ve built up muscle, you can start incorporating your new shoes into your speed training. (If you have spikes, switch out the blank pins for 3/8” pyramid spike pins.) Twice a week after your regular training, put on your new spikes or flats and do some strides on a soft grass surface. Strides are a good way to start adjusting to higher speed in your new shoes. If you’ve never done strides before, they’re basically repeated 100m accelerations. Each stride should only take about 30 seconds.

Stride Right:
Step 1:
start jogging
Step 2:
increase to 95% max speed for 2-3 seconds
Step 3:
decrease to jog
Step 4:
stand or walk for a minute
REPEAT 5x

Week 5: After adjusting to your new cross-country shoes over the last month, it’s now time for a full workout. Now, don’t go crazy wearing them every day, but try one or two interval or fartlek workouts during the week. One option is the 43 workout below.

Continuous 4³ Workout
RUN HARD:
4 minutes

JOG: 4 minutes
REPEAT 4x without stopping

     

Now that you’ve got the process, you’re ready to break in your new cross-country shoes. If you don’t have a pair yet, check out our list of top picks or shop our full selection of spikes and flats online, so you can get ahead of the pack and start training for your best season yet!

 


 

DID YOU KNOW?
You can confidently order new track spikes with our Test Run Program. It allows you to buy the shoes, break them in, and see how they perform ahead of race day. Then, if they don’t run like you thought they would, you can return them within 30 days and get fully refunded.

Best Long-Distance Running Shoes

Best Long-Distance Running Shoes

   

Whether you’re gearing up to run your first 5K or you’re an experienced marathoner, it’s important to keep on top of the shoe trends of the year. That way when you start noticing signs of wear, or you reach the recommended 300-mile replacement mark, you’ll know exactly what the best long-distance running shoes are and where you can find them. (Hint: it’s eastbay.com)

If you’re not sure what type of shoes to buy, you may want to find out what type of arch you have in order to help you find the perfect fit.

   

Nike React Infinity Run Flyknit

Men's Nike React Infinity Run Flyknit shoe in the True White/Photo Blue/White colorway.
  • Shoe Type: Neutral
  • Arch Type: Medium
  • Weight: 10.2 oz. M / 8.09 oz. W

No doubt you’ve heard the hype around these shoes, and trust us, it’s real. The Nike React Infinity Run Flyknit shoes are designed (and proven) to reduce the chance of injury. As soon as you lace up these shoes and hit the road, you’ll feel the potential.

The upper is created with the newest version of Flyknit technology. It’s made with three distinct layers of Flyknit material, so it maintains the lightweight flexibility but is even more durable than previous versions. The midsole features React foam stacked both high and wide to provide extra cushion with each step without compromising stability. And finally, the increased rubber on the outsole provides ultimate traction.

With a pair of these on, you can confidently hit the road and run forever.

   

ASICS GEL-Nimbus 22

Men's ASICS GEL-Nimbus 22 in the Tuna Blue/Pure Silver colorway.
  • Shoe Type: Neutral
  • Arch Type: Medium or High
  • Weight: 10.9 oz. M / 9 oz. W

Storm past the competition in the ASICS GEL-Nimbus 22 designed to enhance your natural stride and provide responsive cushioning.

The upper is made from engineered jacquard mesh to increase breathability while still providing a supportive fit. Then there’s the midsole decked out with three unique features. First is lightweight FLYTEFOAM® cushioning that delivers an energetic bounce to your stride. Second, there’s GEL® cushioning in both the rear and forefoot to provide shock absorption during impact and toe-off. Third, concealed under the arch of the shoe is the Trusstic System® which provides stability without adding a lot of bulk. And to finish off these shoes, the outsole features sections of high-abrasion rubber to provide extra durable traction.

If you’re a high-mileage runner looking for lasting comfort, the sky’s the limit with these shoes.

   

Brooks Ghost 12

Men's Brooks Ghost 12 in the White/Grey/Black colorway.
  • Shoe Type: Neutral
  • Arch Type: Medium or High
  • Weight: 10.4 oz. M / 9.3 oz. W

Run spooky fast and set supernatural times with the Brooks Ghost 12.

From top to bottom, this is the shoe you need. The engineered mesh upper features 3D Fit Print technology to ensure a soft and secure fit with extra stretch and structure where you need it most. The midsole features two types of cushioning to provide a balanced softness underfoot without losing energy or durability. And finally, the outsole features a segmented crash pad. No matter how your foot lands, these integrated shock absorbers will cushion each step and provide a smooth heel-to-toe transition.

It’s just you, the road, and the ghost of your PR – today’s the day to beat your previous best.

   

Nike Air Zoom Pegasus 37

Men's Nike Air Zoom Pegasus 37 in the Black/Ghost Green/Valerian Blue colorway.
  • Shoe Type: Neutral
  • Arch Type: High
  • Weight: 9 oz. M / 8.28 oz. W

Meet your everyday workhorse. As you pound out the miles, you’ll want a pair of shoes you can count on, and the Nike Air Zoom Pegasus 37 is exactly that. The Pegasus is one of the most popular and dependable running shoe models, and even after 37 versions, it’s still being upgraded with the latest technologies.

This version features a translucent upper that screams speed and is complemented by mesh details that enhance ventilation. But the most important tech is underfoot. The React foam in the midsole adds a spring in your step, and the doubled size of the Air Zoom unit in the forefoot provides maximum comfort and responsiveness.

With these shoes on, you’ll be flying to the finish line!

   

ASICS GEL-Kayano 26

Women's ASICS GEL Kayano 26 in the Birch/Champagne colorway.
  • Shoe Type: Stability
  • Arch Type: Flat or Medium
  • Weight: 10.8 oz. M / 9.3 oz. W

Twenty-six miles? No problem! The ASICS GEL-KAYANO® 26 is designed to go the distance providing you with support and comfort the whole way.

The upper is made of a jacquard mesh for a light and airy fit to keep your feet cool, but that’s not what makes these shoes really stand out. It starts with a dual density midsole which features a firmer foam on the inside and a softer foam on the outside to minimize overpronation while still returning energy. Next, there’s GEL® cushioning in the front and back to reduce shock during impact, and under the arch, the Trusstic System® helps controls torsion. To finish off the shoe, high-abrasion rubber is strategically placed along the outsole to provide durability and traction for the road.

Whether you naturally overpronate or you just prefer the extra stability for long distance runs, these shoes provide support for your joints and comfort for your feet!

   

HOKA ONE ONE Clifton Edge

  • Shoe Type: Neutral
  • Arch Type: Medium or High
  • Weight: 8.9 oz. M / 7.25 oz. W

If you’re looking for shoes to help you take charge of the road and own your race, these are the cushioned shoes you need. The new Clifton Edge pushes the boundaries and drives innovation forward with new technology in the midsole and outsole.

First up is the midsole made of a brand-new foam that provides resilient cushioning. Next up, the unique extended heel creates a soft landing and smoother transition to make you feel like you’re gliding down the road. The final new feature is the rubberized EVA outsole which overlaps the midsole to cradle your foot and provide lightweight, wrap-around support.

So go ahead, take a stride towards the future and learn to love running on the edge.

The Differences Between the Nike Zoom Running Shoes

The Differences Between the Nike Zoom Running Shoes

      

Over the years Nike has continued creating innovative technology to help athletes perform at their best. One of the best examples is the ever-evolving line of Nike Zoom running shoes. But with so many  options to choose from, it can be difficult to spot the differences between them. So we’ve created a chart showing which tech features each shoe has along with descriptions of those tech features, so you can figure out which Zoom running shoe is best for you. No matter which pair you end up buying, you’re sure to stand out from the pack with Nike Zoom running shoes.

[sp_wpcarousel id=”74051″]

Nike Zoom Running Shoes Pictured Above
(from left to right)

Air Zoom Pegasus Turbo 2, Air Zoom Pegasus 37
Zoom Fly 3, Zoom Streak LT 4, ZoomX Vaporfly NEXT%
Zoom Gravity, Zoom Winflo, Air Zoom Vomero 14
Air Zoom Pegasus 36 Trail, Air Zoom Terra Kiger 6

 

Chart showing which tech features each Nike Zoom running shoe has.

* Shoes feature a full-length Zoom Air unit. ** Shoes are designed for off-road trail running.

      
Technology of Nike Zoom Running Shoes

   
Engineered Mesh

Engineered mesh is more flexible and more durable compared to regular mesh. It’s often used as the upper for many of Nike’s performance running shoes to provide breathability while remaining snug on your feet.

VaporWeave

This unique upper first debuted on Nike’s ZoomX Vaporfly NEXT%. It’s super strong and lightweight, but more importantly it’s water resistant. So even in the worst rainy weather, the shoes won’t soak up water.

Flywire Cables

The exposed Flywire cables on some of the Zoom shoes provide a secure feel by allowing for a tight, but flexible fit. These cables stretch all the way to the sole, though you only see a bit on the top. So even though they may look insignificant, they provide substantial support without adding much extra weight.

Carbon Plate

Encased in the React cushioning, this full-length plate adds a layer of firmness to the shoes, adding a snappy response that propels you forward during your run.

ZoomX Foam

Originally designed to assist runners trying to break the two-hour marathon time, ZoomX Foam is the lightest, softest, and most responsive midsole cushioning from Nike. It gives you comfortable cushion without adding weight and bulk to your shoe.

React Foam

Originally, this foam cushioning debuted in Nike’s basketball shoes in 2017. Less than a year later, Nike figured out how to best incorporate it into running shoes. With this new technology, runners no longer need to decide between either a soft cushion to absorb energy or a firm cushion to provide energy return. They can have it all. React cushioning is lightweight and has significant energy return and durability to last long distances.

Cushlon Foam

This foam midsole is softer and more responsive than traditional Phylon. Cushlon absorbs impact and feels soft underfoot to provide cushioned comfort.

Zoom Air

Zoom Air debuted with Nike more than 20 years ago. Nike Zoom Air units come in different sizes, but in running shoes, the Zoom Air units are most commonly seen as either a full-length unit that goes along the entirety of the sole or two smaller units placed beneath the heel and beneath the toes. These units are filled with air and stretched fibers that contract when pressure is applied and bounce back when pressure is removed. So with every stride you take, you experience dynamic energy return.


To shop all Nike running gear, head on over to eastbay.com.

How To Choose The Right Pair of Running Shoes

How To Choose The Right Pair of Running Shoes

To get the most out of your run, you need a pair of shoes to help your body operate as efficiently as possible (while remaining comfortable). The first step to choosing the right pair of running shoes is understanding how your feet work.

Female runner running on asphalt in Nike gear with lush green of trees and grass in the background.


The Science Of Your Stride

With every step, you generate force that must be absorbed and distributed across your foot and through your entire body. To safely do this, your foot becomes flexible upon impact, expanding and rolling slightly inward (this action is also referred to as pronation). As you move through your stride towards toe-off, your foot then becomes more rigid as the muscles and ligaments in your legs prepare to launch you forward into your next step. This entire process (known as your gait cycle) happens in less than a second.

With so many moving parts, it’s no surprise that achieving a smooth, natural stride is easier said than done. The mechanics of running are unique to every person, but it’s important to remember that everybody pronates. It’s the foot’s natural motion. So when deciding on the best type of shoe for your feet, it’s best not to ask, “Do my feet pronate?” but rather, “How much do my feet pronate?” Some feet roll in too far (overpronation) while others don’t become flexible enough (supination). And without the right shoes, both can cause discomfort or leave you vulnerable to injury.

So, what’s the best way to find out how your foot operates? That’s easy. All you need is a piece of paper and a little water.


The Footprint Test

  1. Wet the bottom of your foot.
  2. Step onto the piece of paper.

Just like that, you have all the information you need to choose the right pair of running shoes. Let’s look at your footprint:

Choose The Right Running Shoe 3


Arch Types

Flat
Can you see the full outline of your foot? Then that means you have low arches (commonly known as flat feet). Flat feet tend to flex more than other arch types and are more likely to overpronate. Since your feet don’t have as much natural arch support, you’ll need to find shoes to provide that support for you during the gait cycle. Look for stability shoes with tech features to help stabilize your feet and prevent injury.

Medium
If your footprint shows the ball and heel of your foot connected by a wide band, you have medium arches and plenty of options for shoes that will work with your foot type. Try neutral shoes or, for a little extra support, stability shoes.

High
If your footprint shows a very narrow band (or perhaps no band) between the heel and ball of your foot, you have high arches. Feet with high arches pronate less than other arch types and can tend towards supination (the outward rolling of the heel upon impact). This makes it difficult for your body to safely absorb the force you create with each step. The best shoe type for you is a neutral running shoe with plenty of cushioning.

Closeup of female athlete's running shoes -- Nike React Infinity Run Flyknit (the sunrise collection).


The Shoe Types

Stability
Stability running shoes are key if you have flat or medium arches.

Flat feet have the tendency to overpronate (roll too far inward). Without the right pair of shoes to help stabilize your feet, overpronation can put extra stress on your joints and muscles. Some stability shoes are made specifically for flat feet and are described as “motion control.” These usually feature posts or wedges in the midsole to support flat arches and reduce excessive rolling.

But even if you’re in the pronation “sweet spot” with medium arches, a little extra support never hurts, especially since feet are more likely to overpronate as your body tires. So, if you’re a long-distance runner with medium arches, a stability shoe is a great choice for fighting fatigue.

Stability shoes pair light, responsive foams with firmer midsole materials, combining cushioning and support to keep you running strong and injury free.

Neutral
If you’re a high-arched runner with a tendency to supinate, it’s best to find a shoe to enhance your natural running mechanics.

Neutral running shoes are lightweight and comfortably cushioned. They’re all about a smooth ride and allowing your foot to move naturally, so they feature soft, responsive midsoles that return energy with every step.



For specific shoe recommendations, check out Eastbay’s best running shoes of the year.

And if you’re looking for specialty running shoes like racing flats or trail shoes, head on over to eastbay.com.

Top Kids’ Track Spikes

Top Kids’ Track Spikes

Spring is practically here, which means outdoor track season. It’s almost time to get out there and set some new PRs, but first check your gear. Last year’s spikes probably don’t fit anymore, so check out our top three recommendations below and then hit the track to begin training.

Whether you’re shopping for yourself or you’re shopping for a kid, the first thing you need to know is the basics of track spikes and how they should fit. If you’re already familiar with buying spikes, you can keep scrolling, but if you’re new to the sport, take a quick look at our fit guide before you start shopping.

Nike Zoom Rival S 9

A Nike Zoom Rival S 9 track spike in the laser crimson/white/black/university red colorway lying on the track.

First up is the Nike Zoom Rival S 9, designed for events from the 60m to 400m, including hurdles and long jump. With an aggressive traction pattern on the outsole and an updated eight-spike plate that digs into the track, these sprint spikes will propel you to victory.

adidas Sprintstar

An adidas Sprintstar track spike in the glory blue/signal green/core black colorway lying on the track.

Explode out of the blocks with the adidas Sprintstar, designed for technical athletes racing in events up to 400m. The upper features Celermesh, a super thin mesh with an inner grid for a lightweight lockdown feel. A Pebax® plate in the outsole provides optimal energy return to launch you across the finish line.

New Balance MD500 V7

A New Balance MD500 V7 track spike in the white/black colorway lying on the track.

A new season means another chance to set records, and with the New Balance MD500 V7 those chances just got a little better. The lightweight mesh upper keeps your feet dry and fresh, and the six removable spikes lets you customize your run for the course.


Now that you’re set with new spikes, what about the rest of your track gear? Eastbay.com offers elite apparel and equipment from the best brands, so you can have your fastest season yet!

And did you know Eastbay has a Test Run Program? You can try out your new spikes to make sure they work for you. And if they don’t perform as you’d hoped, return them free of charge within 30 days of purchase. For more details, click this link.