LOLZLetter Edition 30 |Taper "Crazies"

Plus you could win a pair of shoes

Welcome.

I can’t believe we've reached 1000 subscribers and this is the 30th edition of the newsletter! I want to quickly talk about my motivation and purpose behind writing the newsletter. Because ultimately, it’s all about you.

Every 10 newsletters, I like to reintroduce the newsletter incase you have subscribed in between.

So Why a Newsletter? Don’t you Have Enough Social Media?
The newsletter is a different direction than blogging. My personal blog is my training, race recaps, shoes, and diners. The newsletter is running and running industry content that benefits the reader.

Over the last year, I’ve felt stale in the social media world. Maybe it’s because I’ve blogged for over eight years now, and sometimes it feels less interactive than I’d like it to be. I’ve blogged before dating my husband. I blogged when I entered the military world. And I’m still blogging in my current in run specialty (which I love!). Heck, I blogged before Instagram and Twitter were “cool.” To be honest, blogs probably hit its peak a few years ago.

I like the newsletter format because it’s delivered directly to your inbox. I can provide content I have come across in the running industry. Don’t get me wrong – I’m not giving up blogging and social media anytime soon! But I hope the newsletter has a more authentic tone that is easier to connect with than a lot of the other stuff you can find online.

How will the Newsletter Benefit Me (the subscriber)?
I enjoy writing about what I’m passionate about, and I enjoy writing about what you’re passionate about (spoiler alert: they’re often the same things!).

The goal of the newsletter is to share things I’m loving, offer tips to help you improve your performance or just have more fun, highlight exciting news in the running world, and touch upon whatever other miscellaneous items that will benefit you.

As someone who works in the running industry, I have a big knowledge base of current running shoe trends and just industry trends in general. I'm not trying to be an “influencer” by promoting products that I get for free. But will I tell you if I've fit dozens of runners in a particular shoe and seen successful outcomes time and time again? You bet!

While the goal is to find sponsors that share my values, I will always keep this newsletter free for my readers. One of the most significant ways to help keep the newsletter free is to share it. Sharing gets the word out to people that usually wouldn’t see the newsletter and helps it grow. I value and appreciate every single share, even if it’s to your parents.


Each week, I ask people what they would like to read about, and I've gotten a few requests to write a newsletter about “taper crazies” as well as “post-race blues.”  It’s actually the perfect topic at the moment because this is exactly where I’m at with my training.  I’m running the Big Cottonwood Marathon this week which means I’m tapering. I feel like my “big race” is before most people, so this information should be useful to you in the coming weeks.

What is Taper?

Taper is the period leading up to your race when you limit physical activity and allow your body to absorb the training you've done all season. Taper is the time when your body rests and gets ready for your race. Similar to rest, this period is one of the most critical components for training. If you don’t taper, you might find yourself stale, burned out, or even injured during your goal race. More is not better, and in fact, more can sabotage your race.

What to Expect During Taper

Week 1: Your body feels good. As Chris Chavez says: “legs feel good.”

Week 2: The body systems that are usually active during peak training begin to shut down. Why? You aren’t using them. This is the part of taper when you typically feel “slow.” You might feel tired more often, and it might seem like you’ve lost all of your hard-earned work (I promise you haven’t!). Week 2 is not the time to think about testing your fitness or running fast. You don’t gain fitness in a day, and you won’t lose it that quickly either.

Week 3: You begin to feel good again and well-rested, ready to take on the race. Some reach this point in the middle of week 2, and others get there sometime in week 3.

 The Truth: Why Does Taper Usually Make You Feel Like Garbage?

When you begin to rest and recover during taper, the part of your body that deals with workout stress begins to shut down. It is the part of your body that helps you stay alert and active, and it’s suddenly put on the back burner. You don’t need it at the moment, so it shuts down. When that component of your body go into hibernation, most people feel like they are out of energy or sluggish. That’s normal during the taper (and that’s still where I’m at now!).

During taper, a lot of recovery will happen in the time you are usually working out. Instead of running high mileage, you are resting, and your body is recovering. Give yourself the luxury of allowing your body to take a breather!

There is no need to “test your legs” to see how they feel with hard effort. You are only sabotaging yourself.

So How Can I do a Perfect Taper “For Me”?

First, give yourself time. You want to give yourself about 2-3 weeks after your peak week to adjust. Schedule your training cycle so that your most intense training is approximately 2-3 weeks before your goal race.

If you are doing speed work, then you want to give yourself more rest between intervals. If you usually do 12X400s with 2 minutes of rest, give yourself 3 minutes of rest. You also want to decrease the total number of intervals. The extra rest will actually increase the intensity of your intervals (in theory, you should be able to run faster).

The More Rest, the Better!

I cannot stress the importance of rest. Avoid the temptation to move your body unnecessarily. While yes, it might be a good time to do a deep cleaning of your house, spend as little time on your feet as possible.

Allow yourself time to be lazy. Play with your cats. Write more newsletters and blogs! This downtime – this “lazy” time – is a critical time.  People feel like they need to be accomplishing something every moment of the day, but you don’t have to be doing things all of the time. You can avoid fitness activities during your taper and still sabotage your race if you do too much.

Week 1:

  • Begin to reduce mileage 10-15%. Reducing mileage by 10-15% isn't too tricky. It's removing a short easy run or double or just adding an extra rest day.

  • Maintain intensity: A common question is “Should I run my easy runs, easier?” No. You should maintain the same intensity, but begin to lighten your mileage.

  • Cut out 10-15% of strength and cross-training as well. This can be more difficult, but if you are doing cardio, reduce the time. If you are doing strength, reduce the sessions.

Week 2:

  • Reduce mileage another 10-20%. What does this look like? You will be running between 65-75% of your peak mileage. Your long run should be roughly 50% of your previous peak long run. For instance, last week my long run was 10 miles.

  • Reduce strength training to 50%.

Week of the Race: 

  • This is the period you see people go "taper crazy." OMG, have I lost all of my fitness!? No. Again, this isn't the time to test yourself. You must trust your training. You won't build fitness, but you can sabotage yourself by running too much.

  • Cut out strength training.

Like everything (and the common theme of the newsletter), every runner is different. What works for some, won’t work for all. It takes a while to adjust and figure out what is best for you.


What Is Keeping Me Entertained? 

What happens when you taper – and why you should do it more often

DON’T TAPER. PEAK!

How Does the Whereabouts System Work for a Professional Athlete? We Asked Jenny Simpson to Explain It

Military Giants Cats: While not running, giant cats photoshopped into military photos has kept me entertained all week. 

Shoe Review of the Week: New Balance 880v9


Giveaway Time:

Last week’s winner of the fuel variety pack is: Laura L who shared via instagram (just respond back here). Thank you to everyone who shared! 

For reaching 1000 subscribers, I've partnered with HOKA ONE ONE. Yes, the shoe company Hoka One One. As you can see from my closet, I like Hokas.

You can win a pair of Hokas for yourself.  All you have to do is share the newsletter, follow Hoka, and share what Hoka model you want to try.

You can share and follow Hoka on whatever platform you choose. If you choose to share by forwarding the email to someone, just CC me (just let me know you did!).You can enter as many times as you want. 

This is my most exciting giveaway yet because yay shoes and we did it: 1000 subscribers!

Finally, any feedback, good or bad, is always helpful. Is there a specific topic you want to see more about? Don’t be a stranger, and let me know! This newsletter came about because people wanted to know more about tapering.

You can email me at FueledbyLOLZ@gmail.com. All feedback is helpful, good or bad.

You Can Follow me on

LOLZLetter 29| Fueling Part 2

Welcome.

Last week, I discussed the importance of taking fuel during longer races.Over the weekend, I ran an 18.12-mile race. I planned to use a combination of Gu (mile 5), Maurten (mile 10), and Maurten (mile 15). Ironically (since this week is about fueling), 2 out of 3 of my gels fell out of my pocket around mile 1, so I was forced to use the on course aid.

At the NYCM last year, I alternated between Maurten/Gu every 5 miles. I'm lucky that I can use pretty much any gel. I like that GU has caffeine and I feel trendy taking Maurten.

But enough about me, this newsletter is about different fueling methods from gels to powders to gummies. Please know there are far more fuel options available than this newsletter can cover. What works best for you during longer races is a trial and error process.

There are five preferred means of fueling: gels, chews, bars, hydration, and real food.

Gels:

What are they?

Gels are the most common fuel for training and racing. Gels are a single-use pack of carbohydrates. They are usually thicker and need to be washed down with water.

Why take a gel?

  • Energy Dense:Easier to take more carbohydrates during an event.

  • Portable: Of any fueling source, gels are the easiest to carry.

  • Gels come in more flavors than any other fueling option.

Options:

  • Gu: This is what most people think of when they think "gel." It’s available in many different flavors from caffeine (like their Gu Roctane) to gluten-free and vegan.

  • Clif Energy Shot: Clif is 90% organic with 8 flavors, has thin consistency, and is the official sponsor of the Boston Marathon.

  • Honey Stinger: Uses honey as a sweetener and has many organic, dairy-free, soy-free, gluten-free, and kosher options. Did you know honey has the same glucose to fructose ratio as fruit? (I did not know until looking into it!). In theory, if you can eat fruit without getting an upset stomach, then Honey Stinger should work too.

  • Huma: Made from real food, including chia seeds, fruit cane sugar, and brown rice syrup. With real food/fiber, Huma sometimes gives people more stomachaches than other brands.

  • Gatorade Endurance: At 80 calories per package, it's thinner and easier to consume. 

  • Maurten: It was created for the Sub 2 Hour Project. Uses a unique type of fuel called "hydrogel." Hydrogel achieves smoother transportation of carbohydrates with fewer stomach issues. Plus, Maurten has twice the carbs as other fuels.

Chews

What are they?

It’s essentially a gel but in a chewable form. Do you hate the consistency of goop? Maybe a chew is more your style.

Why take a chew?

  • Easier to digest

  • Less messy: Have you ever had a gel explode on your face in front of a race photographer? Just me? Ok. :)

  • More than one serving: If you don’t want to take all of the chews at once, you can store them for later.

Options:

  • Clif BLOKS: It's easy to track energy intake because they come in 33 calorie cubes. 

  • Honey Stinger: Comes from natural energy sources. It is organic and sweetened with honey and tapioca syrup.

Bars:

What are they?

A solid and dense caloric source. They’re often used more for ultra races or biking events. Bars usually taste “the best” but are a lot harder to consume while running fast.

Why use bars?

  • Taste the best: There are more bar flavors than any other type of fuel.

  • Better for sensitive stomachs before or after a race.

Options:

  • Honey Stinger Energy Bars: Made with 30% honey and has 23 different vitamins and minerals.

  • Generation UCAN: The only bar to use SuperStarch (a naturally cooked non-GMO food starch that delivers a slow-release of complex carbs). Keeps blood sugars more stable for longer periods of time.

Portable Hydration:

Why Use Portable Liquid Hydration?

Every runner needs hydration to run their best race, but not all hydration is created equally. Water is better than nothing, but hydration with electrolytes is the best. The downside is carrying your own hydration is cumbersome and heavy.

Why Bring Liquid Hydration:

  • Rely on yourself: If you have a specific formula of hydration that works, then you can bring it and know what to expect.

  • Hydration formulas absorb carbohydrates the fastest of any fueling method.

  • Usually comes in powder or tablet form so you can make it as strong or as dilute as needed.

Options:

Nuun: The first company to separate electrolyte replacement from carbohydrates, resulting in zero-calorie tablets.

Gatorade Endurance: Offers a multi-carbohydrate blend to help lower the risk of stomach discomfort. It’s the most commonly found endurance formula at races, including RnR, Boston, Chicago, and New York Marathons.

Skratch Labs: Verified as non-GMO, gluten-free, dairy-free, vegan, kosher, and provides a full serving of fruit.

Generation UCAN: Zero calories and no added sugar. Generation UCAN: has 5 essential electrolytes to prevent cramping and dehydration.

Tailwind: Complete calories, electrolytes, and hydration. It dissolves on contact with water. 

Real Food:

Some runners opt to eat real food like a sandwich or even candy while running. Remember, it's very individualized per runner. Like any fuel, you should always test during training. 

Here are the basics of consuming real food: 

For 1-3 hours of running: Consume 25-60 grams of carbohydrates per hour. 
For more than 3 hours of running (marathons, ultra marathons): Consume 30+ grams of carbohydrates per hour. 

Sandwiches/Fruits vs. Candy: 

Remember, when running long distance, you need sugar and carbohydrates. It's not the time to eat high fiber foods. Your body will not thank you. When I ran the Copper Mountain Trail 25k last summer, they had sandwiches and Swedish Fish at the top of the mountain. At 12,000 feet, Swedish Fish never tasted so good. 

Here are a few popular options:

  • Banana

  • Applesauce

  • Sweet potatoes

  • Peanut butter and jelly sandwich on white bread

  • Low fiber cereal

  • Candy like gummy worms, Swedish Fish, jelly beans

Like anything with running, it's a trial and error system. Only you can figure out what works for you. 


Giveaway Time:

This week, I'll be giving away a fuel variety pack of several of the fuel brands. If you want to try and stock pile a bunch of fuel, this giveaway is for you.

All you need to do is share the newsletter and share your favorite fuel. Don’t forget to tag me on social media or email me so I know. A winner will be announced next week in the 30th LOLZletter.


Thank you to everyone who has shared!

Sharing to one person or 10,000 only takes a second, and it’s the best thing you can do to help the newsletter grow! My goal is to reach 1,000 subscribers by the end of the summer. Currently, the newsletter has 968. Can we reach 1,000 before the edition 30? I think so!

Finally, any feedback, good or bad, is always helpful. Is there a specific topic you want to see more about? Don’t be a stranger and let me know! This newsletter came about because people wanted to know more about fueling.

Fueling is like anything with running. Only you figure out and experiment what works for you.


What is Keeping Me Entertained this Week:

Brad Lindeberg: Running on Dad Jokes: While I don't have a Strava (and don't plan to), I can say Brad is supportive to all runners.

Ali on the Run Show Episode 166: Rachel Wyman, Owner of Montclair Bread Company & Founder of Fueled by Doughnuts Run Club. If you are NJ/NY local, you know how good Montclair Bread Company is. If you ever come to the garden state, besides a diner, you should stop here.

Justin Grunewald is Honoring His Late Wife in a Big Way on Sunday

How Brittany Ran Her ‘Marathon’ With 50,000 Extras: I'm still in shock they did this at NYCM. 


Giveaway Time:

This week, I'll be giving away a fuel variety pack of several of the flavors and methods to fueling. All you need to do is share the newsletter as well as share your favorite fuel, tag (or email me, so I know). You can share and tag me anywhere: 

Twitter,

Instagram

Facebook

Winner will be announced next week on the 30th LOLZletter.


Thank you to everyone who has shared!

Sharing to one person or 10,000 only takes a second, and it’s the best thing you can do to help the newsletter grow! My goal is to reach 1000 subscribers by the end of the summer. Currently, the newsletter has 956. Can we reach 1000 before edition 30? 

Any feedback, good or bad, is always helpful. Is there a specific topic you want to see more about? Don’t be a stranger and let me know! This newsletter came about because people wanted to know more about fueling.

You can email me at FueledbyLOLZ@gmail.com. All feedback is helpful, good or bad.

You Can Follow me on

LOLZletter Edition 28| Fueling While Running

Welcome!

Today is the 28th edition of the newsletter. When I asked Instagram what they would like to read about this week, many people suggested fuel.

Keep in mind, I’m not a nutritionist or dietitian. I do have a public health degree, but that doesn’t make me an expert. Finally, every person is different. Just because X can run a marathon on two gels doesn’t mean Y doesn’t need four.

As for me: I have a full breakfast (coffee, waffle, and peanut butter) before and four gels during a marathon. I also hate running on an empty stomach.


What’s the deal with gels and “fuel” anyway?

When you run fast, you use carbohydrates. Once you run out of a carbohydrate source, you’ll be forced to slow down. This is often what people refer to as “hitting the wall” or “bonking.” It doesn’t have to be during a marathon; you can hit the wall during any distance.

Instead of linking to what is keeping me entertained this week, here are a few great, science-based reads about fueling, particularly about taking in carbohydrates:

High-Quality Carbohydrates and Physical Performance

Carbohydrates – The Master Fuel

Three things runners need to know about carbs

After about 60 minutes of exercise, your body starts needing carbohydrates.  

During 60+ minutes of running (whether it’s a 10K or marathon), carbohydrates are your primary source of fuel. The body cannot physically store enough carbs to last an entire marathon (we are not camels).

First, it’s vital to start a distance event “with a full tank." Then during the race, the energy sources, whether you prefer gels, Gatorade, or a peanut butter sandwich, act to "top off."

When you continue to top off your tank with high-energy fuel, you can maintain the pace and speed you are running. If you do not top off your tank, you may be able to continue running, but it will be slower. Both fat and protein can eventually be broken down into energy, but it won’t be high energy like what you get from carbohydrates.

Carbs are stored in the liver and muscles, but your race performance actually relies more on the carbs (and glycogen) stored in the muscle. For carbs to be transformed into glycogen and be absorbed through the muscle is a lengthy process.

Once consumed, carbs are broken down into smaller sugars (glucose) that are used for immediate activity. The unused glucose is converted into glycogen. Glycogen is then stored in the muscles for later use. Since glycogen is stored in the muscle, it's immediately accessible to the body. The more glycogen you have (to an extent), the more energy you'll have during a race. For a marathon, it's nearly impossible to have enough glycogen for the entire race (which is where the gels come in hand).

When you are running or racing, your body might divert the blood away from your digestive tract. This gives your legs more oxygen, but also inhibits digestion which is why some people get an upset stomach or puke up a gel during a race (and also why you want to start taking gels early and before you need them).

How often should you take Carbohydrates?

Like everything with running and nutrition, each person is different.

For runs over 60 minutes, the average runner should consume 25 grams of carbs about every 45 minutes. Most gels contain 25 grams of carbohydrates, or about 100 calories.

(My PR in the marathon is 3:07, and I’ve found roughly every 45 minutes/5ish miles works for me.)

Since most energy gels come from simple sugars, they will be absorbed into your bloodstream as glucose, and will then be absorbed into the muscles.

Why are Gels the Most Popular?

It’s important to note, while gels are the most common energy source, they aren’t the only energy source. Other sources include gummies, to bars, and drink mixes, there are several ways to consume calories.

Many athletes prefer gels because they are easiest to carry, portable, light, easy to open, squeeze, and consume while running. Since gels are premade, you also don’t have to worry about replicating the same formula like mixing a powder.

How to take a Gel:

Gels are different from other energy sources. Since they are a concentrated carbohydrate and sugar source, you must take them with water. Taking them alone or with an Electrolyte drink can result in stomach issues later down the road.

Why?

Without water, gels take longer to consume. If you take a gel with another energy source (like Gatorade), you could take too much simple sugar. Too much simple sugar will likely leave you with an upset stomach or a sugar spike followed by a crash.

Which type of fuel is best?

We all know by now, every brand of anything claims to be the best ever. But there isn’t much scientific proof about the actual best. It’s all personal. The fuel you choose comes down to trial and error and finding out what works for you.

Check out these popular picks

Clif Energy Shot: Inspired by the chews, thicker gel
Gatorade Endurance: known for a thinner consistency
Honey Stinger: Gluten Free
Huma: Double the Electrolytes
Generation UCan: Mixed with water and gentle on your stomach.
Gu: The original “gel” with several different flavors.
Gu Roctane: Designed for longer-lasting energy like ultras
Maurten: Designed for the breaking two project, uses hydrogel.
Skratch Labs: Makes bars, gels, and hydration mixes.
Ultima Replenisher: Mixed with water, no fructose syrup
Untapped: Uses maple syrup

Next week, we will dive into different brands of gels and energy sources. Why take one over the other? What are the benefits of each? Are there disadvantages?

Plus a giveaway including some of the brands.


Discount Codes:

Runners Love Yoga: Use LOLZVACAY for 20% Off (Ann has some cute items out)

Speedo: Use SFHollieS to get 25% off, including the suit I've used for most of the summer.


Finally, thank you to everyone who has shared!

Sharing to one person or 10,000 only takes a second, and it’s the best thing you can do to help the newsletter grow! My goal is to reach 1000 subscribers by the end of the summer. Currently, the newsletter has 940.

Any feedback, good or bad, is always helpful. Is there a specific topic you want to see more about? Don’t be a stranger and let me know! This newsletter came about because people wanted to know more about fueling.

You can email me at FueledbyLOLZ@gmail.com.

I appreciate every single email and try to respond to each message.

You Can Follow me on

LOLZLetter Edition 27| How to Extend the Life of your Running Shoes

Welcome or Welcome Back.

This week I’m typing to you from Colorado! My husband and I decided to go on a short trio out west. It’s been a nice break from the hustle and bustle of New Jersey. In fact, I haven’t had cell service for the majority of the last few days. I also ran my first road half marathon at altitude which was fun, and I’ll have a full recap on the blog soon.


This week a few people asked about how they can extend the life of their running shoes. It’s no secret that running shoes are the most expensive aspect of the sport. They are the only thing you really can’t “get away with skimping out on.”

Let’s first take a look at why running shoes break down and lose their cushion.

So How Do Running Shoes Lose their Cushion?

By using them…but what happens?

Most of the cushion in a running shoe is located in the midsole. In this type of shoe, the midsole is above the outsole and below the upper. (i.e., the middle). The midsole is usually made up of foam, most commonly “EVA” foam. Over time and mileage, this cushion compresses and breaks down.

A few things to keep in mind:

  • There is no exact mileage for any particular running shoe. It varies from person to person, but most running shoes get between 300-500 miles.

  • Racing flats and shoes like the Nike Next% get between 50-100 miles.

  • Models older than two years will deteriorate faster. Foam naturally breaks down over time,  and you won’t get the entire lifespan out of an older shoe. That’s why a shoe that is two years old is drastically cheaper (don’t pay more than half price because that is about the mileage you’ll get).

  • Insoles (like Dr. Scholls) don’t make the shoe last longer. An insole might add a layer of soft cushion, but the running shoe cushion is located in the midsole – not the sock liner. Once the midsole breaks down, it breaks down.

How Can You Make Your Trainers Last Longer?

Use Your Running Shoes for Running:

Well, duh! But remember, when you walk, stand, or kick around in your shoes that does add miles to them. You might only walk a mile during a typical workday, but that is still deteriorating the cushion.

Once you retire your running shoes from running, use them for other things like walking, mowing the grass, or living life.

Alternate Shoes:

I actually wrote a post about alternating shoes in 2017. If you have two pairs of shoes, they’ll last longer, right?

Think of your running shoes like sponges. If you place a brick on a sponge, it compresses. When you take the brick off, it bounces back.

If you never take the brick off, it keeps compressing. If you alternate the brick between two different sponges, each sponge bounces back.

That is similar to alternating running shoes. Giving your running shoes a “rest day” can help the cushion bounce back and give the shoe a longer life. Your shoes can thank me later. :)

Don’t Put Your Shoes in the Dryer:

The dryer will break down the shoe cushion technology. You will ruin them.

If you must clean your shoes, rinse them off and use a toothbrush or a small paintbrush to remove the dirt. Then let them air dry. Take your sock liners out and stuff your shoes with newspaper to absorb moisture faster.

Bring Your Shoes Inside:

Leaving your shoes outside in extreme elements can break them down. Have you ever left your shoes in your car overnight on a frigid evening only to find them frozen the next day? Or left them in your car all day in 100+ degrees (I hope it didn’t smell). Heat can do severe damage to your running shoes (hence don’t put them in the dryer).

Shop Locally:

Why does that matter?

I could write 12 newsletters on why you should shop locally for running shoes but I’ll still to why you should shop locally to extend the life of your running shoes. Local running stores have the “freshest shoes.” They haven’t been sitting in warehouses endlessly waiting for an online order, and the cushion hasn’t been decompressing.

Old models linger in large warehouses for months or even years and have been breaking down. Plus, many local running stores have exchange policies that allow you to try new shoes before being stuck with a pair you dislike.

If you ever need a recommendation for a local running store, you can always reply to the newsletter and I’ll look around for you. In the greater NJ/Philadelphia/De area any of the following will help you out: RunningCo. of Haddonfield, Philly Runner, North Wales, Bryn Mawr, Delaware Running Company, Runners High.

You’ll never get extra years out of your running shoes, but taking a few precautions can get you some extra miles.


What is Keeping Me Entertained:

Ali on the Run Show Episode 162: Allie Ostrander, Professional Runner for Brooks Running

4 Key Pieces of Marathon Training Advice from Jordan Hasay: “Identify your Bigger Picture”

OUR BODIES, OUR RESPONSIBILITY, AND THE MEDIA: I appreciate Amelia Boone's honesty and openness while overcoming her eating disorder.


Finally, thank you to everyone who has shared!

Sharing to one person or 10,000 only takes a second, and it’s the best thing you can do to help the newsletter grow!

I appreciate every single email and try to respond to each message.

Any feedback, good or bad, is always helpful. Is there a specific topic you want to see more about? Don’t be a stranger and let me know! This newsletter came about because people wanted to know more about specific recovery tools.

You can email me at FueledbyLOLZ@gmail.com. All feedback is helpful, good or bad. 

You Can Follow me on

LOLZLetter Edition 26| Carbon Plated Shoes Revisited

Welcome back or Welcome to the 26th Edition of the Newsletter.

This week marks 6 months since beginning the newsletter. This also might be the longest newsletter yet!

On a separate note, two newsletters ago I wrote about the issues Brooks was having with their shipping and why it’s taking over 2 weeks to get a shoe.

I mentioned their “warehouse” had changed from Seattle to the Indianapolis area and what I should have said was their “distribution center” changed.

All shoes are still made in Southeast Asia but are (now) sent to Indianapolis before being distributed to run specialty, shoe stores, or shipped to your house. I just wrote a review about the Brooks Ghost 12, so if you’re looking for a new everyday trainer it could be a candidate.


Anyway, several months ago in the third newsletter I wrote about the Nike Fly, Vaporfly (now Next%), and Pegasus Turbo. That was 23 weeks ago, and each shoe has been recently updated – plus there are some newcomers to the carbon plate world. We’re going to dive into all these shoes this week! I’ll highlight their differences and tell you which ones are worth the money.

One of the most requested topics for the newsletter is if the Nike Vaporfly (now Next%) is “worth it.”

Here is the Short Answer:

There is research to prove you’ll run faster in the Next% but it won’t substitute training. Is a few seconds worth $250 to you?

Here are the differences between the Next%, Zoom Fly 3, and Nike Turbo 2:

The Next%: Carbon Plate + ZoomX Foam

The Zoom Fly: Carbon Plate

The Nike Turbo 2: ZoomX Foam

Since Don’t Come to the Newsletter for Short:

Zoom Fly 3:

The Fly is the cheapest of the three shoes I’m discussing, retailing at $160. The Fly uses an entirely different foam and doesn’t offer the energy return of the Next% (that’s why it’s $90 cheaper).

The updated Fly does have brand new cushioning and ride. If you ran in previous versions, it will feel similar but not exactly the same.

Nike moved from ZoomX cushioning to React foam. The Fly is soft in the heel but firm in the front to propel you forward. The update also brings enough foam in the forefront that you won't feel the carbon plate. You do feel as though you're being propelled forward.

As Nike says, the Fly is the trainer version of the Next%. It is durable and going to last 300-400 miles.

In summary, the only thing the Fly and Next% share in common are being released around the same time. It’s a good training shoe, but it's night and day from the Next%.

It’s genius marketing really because not everyone wants to pay $250 for a shoe, and more people are likely to pay for a shoe that looks similar and is cheaper.

Why Buy the Fly?

  • It’s the most durable and cheapest of the three. You should get between 300-400 miles in the shoe.

  • It’s a solid long run, fast workout shoe.

The Nike Turbo 2:

Along with aesthetic updates, the Turbo 2 has gone through a name change. The first version was called the Nike Pegasus 35 Turbo. Now it’s just the Nike Turbo 2.

The Turbo contains the same foam as the Next%. The significant difference is the Turbo’s lack of a carbon plate.

It’s considered the trainer of the Next% because you’ll get more mileage out of the shoe. It’s not just $70 cheaper – it’s $70 cheaper and you’ll get 2-3 times more life than the Next%. I have a full review coming on the blog soon.

So why buy the Nike Turbo 2?

  • You’ll get more mileage. It won’t last 400 miles, but you’re more likely to get 250-300.

  • It’s $70 cheaper than the Next%.

The Next%:

The Nike 4% is now updated to the “Next%”.

Why does the shoe help you run faster?

Is it mental?

Is it because you’ve trained your butt off and now are tapered?

Is it the shoe?

All are good questions. If you’re anything like me, you want to know how and why a carbon plate could help you run faster.

Here is the short answer: Most runners expend energy bending toe joints during impact. When you bend other areas such as your arch and ankles, they spring back into position ready for the next stride.

Your toes don’t do that, and energy is wasted. The carbon plate found in the Next% keeps your toes straighter which in turn saves energy. It moves with your foot. The curvature in the carbon plate almost functions as a spring. Combined with the ZoomX foam, the midsole creates the “energy savings.”

What is ZoomX?

Nike ZoomX foam is lighter, softer, and more responsive than any other Nike foam to date. ZoomX is created from a foam traditionally used in aerospace.

So in short, yes, the Next% has been proven to “work.” Here is a good article about it.

I ran in the previous version, the Nike Vaporfly, for the NYCM. I liked them; I didn’t love them. I PRed in the NYCM, but there were a lot of factors that led me to a PR, including the fact that I hadn’t run a marathon in 3.5 years. I don’t believe it was the shoes alone. I’ve run several races in the Vaporfly since then, and it’s not my favorite shoe. I've run both fast and slow times in the shoe.

Studies have shown the 4% technology results in improvements of up to 4%, but that doesn’t mean every person will get 4% faster from a shoe. The shoe was initially designed for proficient elites. Not every shoe works for every person.

How is the Next% Different from the 4%

First, the upper of the Next% absorbs far less water. If you ran Boston (or any race) in a torrential downpour, you know the 4% upper absorbed a lot of water. Nike claims the new upper material “Vaporweave” absorbs 93% less water.

A few more small updates:

  • A wider toe box

  • Asymmetrical laces (something I don’t think is necessary with any shoe)

  • Better fit in the heel

  • Traction at the bottom! Now if you run in the rain, you won’t be likely to slide halfway down the course.

I’ll have a full Next% review after I run the Big Cottonwood Marathon. I plan to run in the Next% since I don’t have a marathon shoe I love, and I stayed healthy during NYCM in the 4%.

The Question Will Now Become: Will Curved Carbon Plates be Banned?

As a swimmer in a previous life, I can remember when LZR swimsuits caused world record after world record to be broken. The swimsuits made you slightly more buoyant, which gave you a considerable advantage. Ultimately, the full-body LZR suits were banned from competition.

Will these carbon plates be the same way? Only time will tell. I’m leaning towards no because most shoe companies are projected to come out with a similar carbon plate design. Many elites from most companies are already racing in a prototype.

Here are a few situations where the Next% is not the ideal shoe:

  • Shorter distance races: Do you see many milers or 5kers using this shoe? No. It’s more of a 13.1mi and beyond shoe. If you’re looking for a fast 5k shoe along the same lines as the 4%, I recommend the Reebok Run Fast Pro.

  • On the trails: There is minimal traction, so there isn’t a good reason to race on trails in the shoe.

Finally…I don’t know why this isn’t talked about more: the shoe only lasts about 100-150 miles.

It’s designed to race two marathons optimally. That’s it. No more. If you want to pay $250 for two marathons, that is fine – just know you aren’t going to get 400 miles on it. That’s why I typically advise people only to use them for racing.

I know RunningCo. of Haddonfield has some in stock if you’re still looking (they ship too).


What’s Keeping Me Entertained:

NYCM Elite Field is Out! I love NYCM. I wasn’t sure which pros would race since it’s so close to trials, but this year looks like it will be great. I have to give a personal shout out to my good friend, Jen B, who will be racing in the pro field this year.

For the Long Run Pod: Dorothy Beal: Marathons and Mileposts: “Running doesn’t owe me anything”.

Sara Hall's Road to the Olympic Trials Includes the Berlin and NYC Marathon

Amelia Boone Is Human

Running With My Mom What We Talk About When We Talk About Running


Giveaway Winners:

Thank you, everyone, who shared! There were over 60 entries for the giveaway last week! Each share helps me reach my goal of 1000 subscribers by the end of summer!

The winner of the pair of CEP compression socks is: @RunInRedSox who shared on instagram (which made me laugh because you won socks Danielle).

The Winner of the Trigger Point MB5® Massage Ball is: @cooktraineatrace who shared on Instagram.


Finally, I appreciate every single email and try to respond to each message. 

Any feedback good or bad is always helpful. Is there a specific topic you want to see more about? Don’t be a stranger and let me know! This newsletter came about because people wanted to know more about specific recovery tools. 

You can email me at FueledbyLOLZ@gmail.com. All feedback is helpful, good or bad. 

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