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Runners go through a lot of shoes. According to the National Sporting Goods Association, 4.6 million pairs of running shoes were sold in the United States in 2012. So what to do with all those shoes once they have outlived their useful running lives, beyond downgrading them to casual shoes? Reduce! Hahahaha, as if! In …
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As a part of training for my Run Across America FKT attempt summer 2021, I’m planning several mini-challenges for training and to attract some attention prior to my main attempt. For the first mini-challenge, starting on July 29, 2019, I’ll attempt to set a competitive women’s Fastest Known Time (FKT) of the Collegiate Trail Loop. …
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We all love the freedom of running outside — being in nature, covering entire cities on foot — but sometimes our outside runs don’t quite look like freedom. While I suspect none of us would choose running inside over a glorious park on a 50º day, sometimes the treadmill makes more sense. Maybe you have …
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featured image courtesy of Indy Women’s Half Marathon, ©2019. Look at that hotty, #12! It’s happened to all of us: you’re having a great run and about an hour in, there’s a bit of a stinging situation. You tug your shorts down, adjust the waistband, try to scoot a seam. But you know already: they’re …
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It was one of our more philosophical discussions: if a crotch sweats on some pricey running shorts but you weren’t there to see it, and then you buy those same shorts for a very low price on eBay, did the crotch sweat ever really happen? What if you wash the sweated-on shorts twice before you …
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featured image courtesy of Indy Women’s Half Marathon, ©2019. Look at that hotty, #12! It’s happened to all of us: you’re having a great run and about an hour in, there’s a bit of a stinging situation. You tug your shorts down, adjust the waistband, try to scoot a seam. But you know already: they’re …
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It was one of our more philosophical discussions: if a crotch sweats on some pricey running shorts but you weren’t there to see it, and then you buy those same shorts for a very low price on eBay, did the crotch sweat ever really happen? What if you wash the sweated-on shorts twice before you …
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This review is in partnership with Rockay, which provided products for testing.

Rockay is a new kid on the block in the running apparel world, and is using fabric made from recycled materials to create two products, the Accelerate socks and calf compression sleeves. Their accelerate socks retail for $14.95 and come in several colorways.

Like many runners, I can be picky when it comes to my socks. No squinching in my shoes or bunching up around my toes, please! They have to be thick enough, but not too thick, and they absolutely must fit over the collar of my shoes. I do like fun socks that look good, but comfort and performance are the queens of the sock department.

How does the Accelerate stack up?

I have a drawer full of socks, but of course have my favorites. I generally reach for the Darn Tough brand but I run in a wide range, from New Balance to Feetures! to Balega. I like a sock that is thin, but warm, which is especially important in winter here in New England. I don’t generally run in compression socks so I look for a sock that’s comfortable, keeps my feet toasty, and if possible, looks good.

Out of the Package

When I opened the Accelerates, I felt like I had entered the world of fancy running gear. I’ve certainly never purchased socks with a snazzier package. The stark black packaging is sharp, and I was impressed by the lack of tags puncturing the socks, which can pre-create the possibility of holes. I also noticed the “Guaranteed for Life” statement on the back – socks with a lifetime warrantee are the holy grail of the running world!

Notable about this company are their efforts use environmentally sustainable materials in their products. These socks are 66% polyamide (from ocean plastic), 30% organic merino wool, and 4% elastane. They are aiming to “produce the best running products the world has seen while helping to save our planet from the destructive and environmentally damaging path that it is currently on.” Noble and ambitious!

I don’t expect socks to change my life; they are socks, after all. But a well-documented struggle with plantar fasciitis means I am always on the lookout for socks with great arch support, and Rockay definitely features that, highlighting the sideways-ribbed arches (read: extra-huggy) of their socks in the contrast color, in my case, bright yellow. When I put them on, they felt really good. Not too snug, but you can notice that little extra support through the arch of the foot. That can’t be a bad thing! These Accelerate socks feel great on my feet!

I’ve worn the socks for runs of 4-6 miles and also to the gym. Once I put them on I really didn’t think about them, which is exactly what you want from athletic socks. They are cut low, below the ankle, which, combined with their snazzy colorways means they blend well with any outfit. Best of all, I’ve worn them in weather as cold as 25 degrees and my feet didn’t get cold. Because they have an anti-stink coating, Rockay says you can hang them up without washing them, but I wasn’t willing to test that feature out. So far they hold up great in the laundry and look brand new even after having been worn several times. One of the true tests of sock quality is how they hold up over time. There’s no way to find that out in just a few weeks, but that lifetime guarantee is promising!

Rockay is clearly pushing the envelope by using more sustainable materials and creating a product concept that appeals to customers’ needs on every level. Not only do I like these socks, I like the philosophy behind these socks. Sure, at $14.95 a pair they aren’t cheap, but the cost is comparable to other high-quality athletic socks, and when you combine the extra support, a lifetime guarantee, overall comfort, and the responsible sourcing of materials, the Accelerate running sock is worth it. If you’re looking for a last-minute gift for a runner or just want to treat your feet, go for some Rockay Accelerate socks. You’ll love them!

5 out of 5 snails for Rockay Accelerate socks!

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I am a picky-ass mofo when it comes to running shorts. Historically I have only run in compression shorts because everything else leads to the dreaded chub-rub. Even with compression shorts, I have been known to try on 15 pairs and still leave the store empty-handed because nothing fits right. I still run in an ancient pair that I keep patching because the company that made them went out of business.

So when I opened my surprise product review package from Salty Running and found shorts I thought, oh crap. My first chance to review something and I am going to have to write about how I don’t like the product! I received three pairs of Cabrillo Mariposa trail shorts – two size M and one size L – and when I tried them on, the size Ms fit and the L was too big.

I decided to try the Cabrillos at the gym first, figuring that was a lot safer than trying to run in them. They felt amazing. It was a hot day and it was great to get more ventilation than my usual compression gear. Furthermore, not five minutes into our training session, Tough Guy Trainer noticed I had new shorts. He loved them! We don’t talk a lot of fashion, but he thought the shorts looked great and he wanted to know if they made them for men (they do!). The shorts were great to lift in – nothing constricted and no extra fabric getting in the way.

It happened to be my daughter’s field day and it was so hot that I figured I’d just shower later. I had brought something to change into, but the Cabrillo’s were so comfortable that I just left them on. I helped six different grade levels manage a water relay event

and the shorts were super, even after getting a little damp. Snarky Girl also noticed the shorts right off the bat. Her comment was more direct: Those shorts make your ass look great!

After the big success at the gym and field day, it was time for the true test: running in the shorts. To be honest, I was still really skeptical because all previous attempts at running in non-compression gear had resulted in chub-rub disaster. I decided to them on an easy 4 miler, just in case. Knock me over with a feather: the shorts were great, zero chub-rub. I tried them on a somewhat longer outing: totally fine. Finally I was brave enough to try them on a long run: magnificent! Over the summer, these became my favorite shorts, the ones you wash first so they are clean when you want them, i.e. always.

In fact, I love these shorts so much that I ran my goal marathon in them. Here’s me getting a BQ in my Cabrillos. I remain a picky-ass mofo in the shorts department; these are just great shorts.

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As runners, maybe we just can’t help but be uncomfortable. After all, racing is an exercise is being uncomfortable.

So when my sports chiropractor came out with a new myofascial release tool … I was in.

I went by his office, Kentucky Sports Chiropractic, for a demonstration and explanation of this new torture device, which looks like a therapy band with four golf ball halves attached.

Launched about six months ago, Dr. Kyle Bowling created the CTM Band to improve on tools already on the market. It stands for “compression, tension, movement” — the three things required for actual myofascial release.

Backtracking a bit, self myofascial release is the technical term for when you’re using a foam roller, stick roller, lacrosse ball or compression band. Your fascia connects your muscles and tissues and can get “bunched up” if you will. These release techniques are designed to help relieve the pressure points and smooth things back out.

But, Kyle says, it’s a bit like Goldilocks.

“When I ask people what treatment they’ve been doing at home, they frequently say they’ve been using these tools but they just can’t quite get in the right spot,” he said.

And, research has shown that you need compression, tension and movement simultaneously to affect a response in the tissue. That combination is nearly impossible to achieve on your own with existing tools.

Kyle, a graduate of Palmer College of Chiropractic Florida and former collegiate runner, was inspired to bring several tools together.

“Floss bands are great, but there’s still that feeling of wishing you could get a little bit deeper,” he said. “I started first with stealing my kids’ little bouncy balls and gluing them to attach them to a band.”

In essence, the CTM Band combines flossing and lacrosse ball techniques into one device.

And then he assembles it in his basement.

Really.

“There’s that 11 p.m. to 2 a.m. window after the kids have gone to bed where I go downstairs and assemble them,” he said. In February, he and his wife welcomed their third child. Basically, the man does not sleep.

“There will come a point where I can’t keep up with assembling them at home,” Kyle said.

That time may come sooner rather than later. The CTM Band has already shipped to 37 states and 12 countries, with the likes of Boston Marathon champion Wesley Korir using it. Several other elite runners use it, as well as three DI running programs. Oh, and a few NFL teams and some professional motocross riders too.

“Our current model is best for extremities,” Kyle said. “Plantar fasciitis, foot pain, runners knee, calves, quads, hamstrings, shin splints …”

But in addition to all the common running problem areas, the CTM Band also works well on the arms — shoulders and elbows in particular.

Each band comes with four removable attachments. How many you use depends on the body part, although I’d recommend two as a good starting point (one if using on your feet). Situate the attachments so they apply pressure where you feel like you need it, then wrap the band tightly around the attachments and around your leg or arm. Tight!

“We’re using it as a very short-term tourniquet so your body will send a rush of blood to the area when it’s removed,” Kyle said. A good reminder to not exceed the two-minute mark with the CTM Band on one area!

Of course, the band requires an educational component, so Kyle has created online videos to provide instruction.

And, while many of us think of myofascial release as something to do after we run, Kyle advocates using the CTM Band to warm up.

“Many of the injuries we get are from not warming up properly — doing too much too soon,” he said. “We can prepare these areas for the repetitive motion of running by using the CTM Band first.”

And before you say you don’t have time …

“Two minutes is the target time per body part,” Kyle said. “Stimulating blood flow, loosening up connective tissues, and taking them through a range of motion is a really good pre-run routine.”

When I told Kyle my idea of warming up was walking down the stairs and out the door, he suggested I simply put the CTM Band on before walking down the stairs. Genius!

I have been using the band mostly on my calves and it really helps loosen them up before I run. I’ve also used it on my hamstrings and quads, which I find a little trickier to position but also very effective. I ran a trail half marathon that beat my quads up and using the CTM Band before running the next day made a huge difference — I only used it on the worse of the two legs and regretted not using it on both because I could tell such a difference.

“Compression, tension, movement — if we have those three things simultaneously, we can truly cause a release in the tissue,” Kyle says.

Would you try it? What’s your favorite torture tool for post-run recovery?

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