I have pretty much winged it in terms of running gear, and through trial and error have found certain things that I have come to love. Have a product you’d like me to review? I will give an honest appraisal on this site. Just send an e-mail to me at firstname.lastname@example.org and I will be happy to discuss our options!
Product Review: Addaday Pro Massage RollerMarch 8, 2019 6:00 pm
Disclaimer: I received the Addaday Pro Massage Roller to review as part of being a BibRave Pro. Learn more about becoming a BibRave Pro (ambassador), and check out BibRave.com to review, find, and write race reviews.
I first learned about foam rolling when my kids were running cross country and track during their high school years. I’d play around with their rollers here and there, but I was never too religious about it. A few years later, due to poor mechanics and far too many hours sitting at a computer, I developed some numbness and tingling in my arms because of tight muscles and pinched nerves. I wound up in physical therapy and again incorporated foam rolling into my routine to help my muscles relax and to relieve the pressure on my nerves. As often is the case, once I felt relief and the symptoms went away, I pretty much stopped using the foam roller unless I was having a particularly rough time.
Fast-forward to the past year or two, where I have been running more and stretching less, and of course getting older by the day. I had been trying to schedule deep tissue massage at least once a month to help relieve some of the tightness in my muscles, but of course that can be very costly and with my work and travel schedule being so hectic, it’s hard to schedule the time. I again started using the foam roller sporadically, but it always felt clumsy and I was often rolling off of it instead of rolling with it!
When the opportunity to try the Addaday Pro Massage Roller came up, I jumped at the chance. To be clear, the Addaday Pro Massage Roller is not a foam roller, but rather a self-massage stick that can be used to target multiple areas, some of which often are hard to reach.
The first thing I noticed about the Addaday Pro Massage Roller was how lightweight it is. It is 21 inches long and has three different colored rollers. According to the website, the two softer blue rollers are “designed for kneading can help with scar tissue”. The two gray rollers are medium and “help flush out lactic acid and muscle fatigue”. The small red pin point muscle roller is “for shin splints, Achilles and other hard to reach areas”.
I’ve been using the Addaday Pro Massage Roller for about a month now, and I have to say – I love it! It took a few times to get the hang of it, but now that I have been using it for a while, I know how to hold and it and how much pressure to apply where. At first I used it after running or working out, but in the past two weeks I have been using it when I wake up in the morning to help stretch my achy muscles. I use it most often on my lower legs, but I have also used it to get a good massage of my lower back. At this point I can say for sure that the roller is a great tool for kneading and relaxing my muscles, and I frequently use the red roller to help relieve the shin splints I occasionally get when running on my treadmill. With continued use I hope to appreciate the benefits of flushing out built up lactic acid and relieving muscle fatigue.
Another thing I really like about the Addaday Pro Massage Roller is that it fits in my carry-on suitcase. As I mentioned, I travel quite a bit, and after a long plane ride it’s nice to massage my stiff muscles when I arrive at my destination.
Overall I think the Addaday Pro Massage Roller is a great tool for home use to supplement professional deep tissue massage.
I will be running the London Marathon on April 28th, raising funds for Whizz-Kidz, an organization that provides wheelchairs and mobility devices for children and young adults. If you’d like to contribute to my fundraising efforts, you can do so by clicking on the link below. Any donation, big or small, will help and is greatly appreciated!
Product Review: Zwift RunPodJanuary 2, 2019 12:00 pm
Disclaimer: I received the Zwift RunPod to review as part of being a BibRave Pro. Learn more about becoming a BibRave Pro (ambassador), and check out BibRave.com to review, find, and write race reviews.
For reasons many of you will remember, despite the frozen tundra that was winter in Chicago last year, I took my runs outside as part of a challenge to run either 40K (about 25 miles) or 80K (about 50 miles) over a 14-day period, from January 2nd to January 15th. Me being me, of course I went for the bigger distance. The photo on the right is me about to go for my first run of the challenge. Needless to say, these runs weren’t fast, they didn’t last long, and they probably weren’t very productive. But I met the 80K challenge (in fact exceeded it) only to receive…please don’t get me started.
Anywho, fool me once. This winter I am keeping most of my runs indoors. The older I get, the less I like the cold, and at any age, I’ve never particularly liked freezing my buns off! 40° or higher and you will likely find me outdoors. But temperatures below freezing? No thanks. Luckily, I don’t hate the treadmill. In fact I kind of like it (I know that’s blasphemy to many runners)! Until a few years ago, I never ran outside, so I have a pretty good relationship with Old Milly. In fact we’ve been together for almost 20 years! So when the opportunity to try the Zwift RunPod presented itself, I was more than happy to give it a try.
So what is Zwift, and what is a run pod? I’m glad you asked! Zwift is a platform for both cyclists and runners where athletes of all levels can sync up a pod (attached to their shoe) and participate in virtual rides or runs, either on their own, in specific groups, or with random participants around the globe. The Zwift platform is downloaded to a computer or tablet device, and for the best experience, the Zwift Companion app is downloaded to a phone (either IOS or Android). The Zwift Companion app allows users to communicate with other runners. Once the platform is downloaded, an account is set up and allows you to custom-create an Avatar that you (and others) can watch virtually running on the screen in sync with what you are actually doing on the treadmill. You can create groups, participate in scheduled events, or just run at your own pace in the comfort and convenience of your own home (or gym if you prefer). Since I tested the running platform with my Zwift RunPod, I will focus on that for my review.
The Zwift RunPod is a small device that fits in the palm of your hand. It easily clips to your shoelaces and with motion will ‘wake up’ and sync up to the platform on your device. I received mine in late November and couldn’t wait to test it out. The first thing I did was download the Zwift platform to my laptop. I downloaded it to my MacBook Air and it worked like a charm. The first time. The next time I tried to use it, I couldn’t get it to sync up, no matter how hard I tried. I ran on my treadmill for 30 minutes, but my Avatar just stood there bending and stretching the entire time. She did get a pretty good stretch in! I was, however, able to track my run on the Zwift Companion app on my phone. I decided to try a different device, so I downloaded the platform to my Microsoft Surface. I had some trouble getting it to work, but eventually got everything to sync up. I took a nice 3.3 mile virtual run through the streets of London, and enjoyed having something to focus on during my run.
Next on the agenda was a virtual 30 minute run with a number of other BibRave Pros. I was excited to participate in this run and see exactly how the platform works for running virtually with a group. I was especially excited because my neighbor and I have been running together for the past few months, and I was hoping we could get some virtual buddy runs in on our respective treadmills during the cold winter months. I headed down to my basement about 15 minutes before the scheduled event to make sure I could get things up and running in time. But alas, try as I may, I could not get it to work. I was able to watch my group’s Avatars run the course, but I couldn’t get my phone or my laptop to recognize the device.
The following day I decided to start from scratch. I changed the battery in the shoe pod and deleted and then reinstalled the platform from my laptop and the companion app from my phone. And…Wollah! I was back in business! Since then, I’ve completed a few more virtual runs and have not had any issues at all. I’m not sure if I had a weak battery, if it was operator error, or if my Wi-Fi signal in my basement was being sketchy. Probably a combination of things.
Now that I have had a number of runs using Zwift Run with my pod, I can safely say I would definitely recommend it. It’s a nice way to keep motivated on your indoor runs, especially for those of you who like to call it the DREADmill. With several spring races coming up this year, I am very much looking forward to my indoor training runs over the cold and snowy winter months.
Do you already have a Zwift RunPod? Add your Zwift user name in the comments below or send me an e-mail (link above) and we can go for a virtual run together sometime! If you are interested in purchasing one, click on this link and use code BibRave15 to receive 15% off of your purchase!
Check out more reviews by my fellow BibRave Pros:
Holiday Gift Guide for Runners and AthletesDecember 6, 2018 12:00 pm
This post contains affiliate links
Today is Saint Nicholas Day, and for me that generally serves as a reminder that it’s time to start Christmas shopping! While I do pick up a few special gifts here and there in the months leading up to Christmas, I generally don’t go into full shopping mode until mid-December. I find that’s when I get the best deals, and under pressure, I know I will get done!
If you are looking for just the right gift for the runner/athlete in your life, you have come to the right place! Maybe you are the runner/athlete who is looking for some ideas to give to your family and friends. Or maybe you’re just looking for ideas for gifting yourself! And I say why not? After all, you worked hard this year, didn’t you? You deserve it! Here are some of my top picks for this year. I am happy to be able to share a few discount codes for some of them with you!
If you are looking for a nice stocking stuffer, how about a book about running? One of my favorites is Running Past Fifty: Advice and Inspiration for Senior Runners. I hate to think of myself as a ‘senior’, but I guess I fall into that category. I didn’t start running until I was in my 50s, with my first race ever being the 2013 Chicago Marathon. I had no idea what I was doing. The day before the race I met my friend Tom (‘Pacer Tom’, as he is known), and he assured me he would get me through the full 26.2. I believed him! He paced at 5:25 and brought me in at 5:24:58! The guy knows what he’s doing, and if it weren’t for him, I might never have run a race again! Tom just finished his 470th marathon, and is just 12 states away from finishing a marathon in all 50 states for the fifth time! You will find inspirational stories of runners like Tom in the book, with lots of anecdotes and inspiration and advice from some of the true experts in the field.
And speaking of stocking stuffers, how about a fun pair of socks? You know I love my Balegas (check out this fun pair), but I am also loving the Swiftwick brand lately. Check out their fun winter holiday patterns on their website, available for both men and women. There are so many fun patterns out there, why not buy a pair or two for yourself? After all, you can never have enough socks (says the person with three drawers full of socks)!
SPIbeams LED Hat As soon as we moved the clocks back this year, my early morning runs became pitch-dark runs. I even skipped a few of them because I did not feel safe running in the dark. I received a SPIbeams LED Hat as part of being a SPIBelt Ambassador and boom! Problem solved! The LED lights in the front of the hat nicely light up the path in front of you, and there are two red lights on the back of the hat that can either flash or stay illuminated so motorists or other walkers/runners can see you from behind. They come in black, neon yellow, or my favorite (pictured here), pink. The hat breathes nicely and the batteries are replaceable, though I have not needed to change mine after months of use. There is an easy on/off switch, so you can wear this hat day or night. There are also LED Visors in the same color options if that’s your jam. Use code SPIAMBASSADOR for 15% off of your purchase!
And while we’re on the topic of SPIBelts, though I previously included them in my Holiday Gift Guide last year (click here to see the full post – these items remain among my list of favorites!), at the risk of being redundant, I will include them again this year. They make an awesome gift for runners and non-runners alike! They can be used not just during physical exercise, but also during travel, while shopping, or any time you want to carry small personal items (the SPI in SPIBelt!) and want to remain hands-free. They even make belts for carrying small medical devices such as insulin pumps or epi pens. Again, use code SPIAMBASSADOR for 15% off of your purchase!
And hot off the presses, check out the 2018 SPIBelt Holiday Gift Guide! They’ve made shopping as easy as 1-2-3!
And by the way, if you love SPIBelt products as much as I do (and why wouldn’t you?), head on over to their Facebook page using this link to learn about the program and how to apply. You will meet an amazing group of people and will have lots of fun along the way! Applications are due December 21, 2018, so don’t delay!
My kids have been using Jaybird Wireless Headphones for years, and when I finally got my own pair, I quickly realized why they love them so much. The TARAH, TARAH PRO, and X4 are wireless in that they connect via Bluetooth to your phone, and the the RUNs are truly wireless, with no wires whatsoever! The RUNs are sweat proof and water resistant, while the other three models are both sweat and water proof. The Jaybird App allows you to customize your sound, save it to your buds, and share your preset sound with friends. The App can integrate with Spotify to allow for sharing playlists with other people. Prices range from $99.99 to $179.99. Being the highest-priced option, I thought my kids would want the RUNs. As it turns out, they like the other three options better, because they like to occasionally take the buds out while they are working out in a gym and just hang them around their necks while they are moving between equipment. I had the opportunity to try the TARAH, and I absolutely love them for both their comfort and their sound.
Did you read my review of the ActivMotion Bar? Well why the heck not?! That’s okay, I forgive you (this time). You can read my full review using this link. Here’s the CliffsNotes version: The ActivMotion Bar is a tool that allows the user to train using dynamic variable resistance. Generally when we train using weights, the resistance is fixed, meaning that it doesn’t change. The ActivMotion Bar employees variable (changing) resistance through its rolling steel weights within the bar itself. The ActivMotion Bar is filled with steel balls that roll back and forth within the bar when it is moved or tilted. These moves engage the core and really force you to concentrate on balance and stability. I’ve been using the ActivMotion Bar for about a month now, and it has changed the way I approach my core strength training. Through January 7, 2019 you can get 25% off of your purchase using code fitappraoch25. And right now the over-stocked 10-pound bar is on sale for $89.99 (regularly $139.99), so after the 25% discount, you can get it for almost half price! Here is the specific link to that option.
Silly rabbit! Did you think I would post a gift guide for runners without my favorite running gear? I am obsessed with rabbit, and I think you will be, too! Crafted in California by runners, for runners, rabbit is my absolute favorite when it comes to outfitting my runs. Check out their products using this link to save 10% off of your first purchase!
Finally, if all of your workouts have your muscles feeling tight and sore, I would HIGHLY recommend the MyoBuddy Massager! It comes in two versions: Either the MyoBuddy Massager Pro, or the MyoBuddy Massager Pro Plus. These products are admittedly not inexpensive, though the MyoBuddy Massager Pro is currently on sale for $329.99; regularly priced $399.99. The MyoBuddyMassager Pro Plus sells for $399.99. In either case, this is an amazing product that is well worth the cost. Use code ACCIDENTAL and receive $100.00 off of your purchase!
Think about how much is spent on a professional massage every week, every other week, or even once a month. Over time the MyoBuddy Massager pays for itself. These massagers provide professional-grade deep tissue, warming, trigger point, and vibrational massage, which can give instant relief to muscle soreness and myofascial pain.
But wait! There’s more! If you’re still at a loss as to what to buy for the runner in your life, how about a race entry? I know I would appreciate this awesome gift (hint, hint)! It’s a nice way to support your runner’s
obsession with love of running. Don’t know where to start? Why not check out The BibRave 100, listing the 100 best races in America? Voted for by runners, you are sure to find a race entry your gift recipient will love. Or just search the BibRave website where you can search thousands of races and read reviews written by runners, for runners.
I hope some of these items will help you as you weed through the commercials, catalogs, and online ads trying to find the perfect gift for the runner or fitness enthusiast in your life. What other gift ideas do you have? I’d love to hear from you! Happy shopping!
Product Review: ActivMotion BarDecember 5, 2018 12:00 pm
I received an ActivMotion Bar through my affiliation with FitApproach in exchange for my honest review. All opinions are my own and should not be taken as health care advice. Always consult your health care provider with questions or concerns about your health and any new fitness program you may participate in.
Although it is not technically winter according to the date on the calendar, believe me – winter already has made its way into the Midwest with a vengeance. While I try to get outside as much as possible, sometimes that is not an option. So with ‘official’ winter quickly approaching, I’ve been looking for new ways to keep me moving throughout the cold weather season. I’m also looking to up my cross-training game so I’m not just running in preparation for my upcoming 2019 race season.
I was excited for the opportunity to test out the ActivMotion Bar because quite frankly, I have become a little bored with my usual routine. I’m lucky to have a pretty decent home gym, but I am always looking to mix things up a little. Because when I get bored with my workouts, I simply stop working out. And that’s not good.
So what is the ActivMotion Bar? Hand-built in Detroit, Michigan, it is a tool that allows the user to train using dynamic variable resistance. Generally when we train using weights, the resistance is fixed, meaning that it doesn’t change. The ActivMotion Bar employees variable (changing) resistance through its rolling steel weights within the bar itself. The ActivMotion Bar is filled with steel balls that roll back and forth within the bar when it is moved or tilted. Think of the game labyrinth, where you use slow, controlled movements to keep the steel ball from falling into a hole. The idea is to control the movement of the balls, which engages the core and really forces you to concentrate on balance and stability.
But what about the science? According to this University of Michigan School of Kinesiology study posted on the ActivMotion Bar website, the “ActivMotion bar resulted in greater muscle activation in seven of the nine muscles analyzed, relative to the standard bar and the medicine ball…Significant differences were found in the deltoid, latissimus dorsi, oblique, pectoralis major, rectus abdominus, trapezius, and vastus medialis muscles…Additionally, ActivMotion bar tended to result in greater activation in the erector spinae muscles, relative to the standard bar and the medicine ball…When controlled for range of motion, static weight, and speed of movement, the ActivMotion bar elicited greater muscle activation, relative to a standard fitness bar or medicine ball. Ostensibly, the increase in muscle activation was the result of the internal passive weights, which generated a dynamic moment of inertia, thereby enhancing the stabilizing demands on the muscles”.
The ActivMotion Bar is available in seven different weights ranging from three pounds to 18 pounds. Depending on your level of fitness and your overall training goals, there is a level of weight that will meet most anyone’s needs. The website is very nice in that when you go to choose your weight on the shopping page, each individual weight selected gives a little drop-down description of the level of difficulty that particular bar might present. For example, I often go for the biggest challenges with a ‘bigger is better’ type of weight training philosophy, so I naturally thought I would choose the heaviest bar. However, when I clicked on the 18 pound option, a message dropped down saying “the 18-pounder is the least most popular seller. The reason? 18 pounds of shifting mass is very, very challenging to control”. I looked through the descriptions for all of the choices and ultimately I chose the 10-pound weight based on the drop-down description that “the 10-pounder is the top choice for those who have a high level of fitness”.
Now that I have been using my ActivMotion Bar for about a month, I am sure this was the best option for me. It definitely challenges me, and I do feel I am getting a great workout without being too easy on myself by using too light of a bar and that I am not risking injury by using one that is too heavy for me. There are a wide variety of workouts that can be done using the ActivMotion Bar. The company itself sells training DVDs on the website, and there are numerous ideas and workout videos available on YouTube.
Interested in trying one out? Head on over to the ActivMotion Bar website and use fitapproach25 for 25% off of your purchase. And right now the over-stocked 10-pound bar is on sale for $89.99 (regularly $139.99), so after the 25% discount, you can get it for almost half price! But don’t delay…this discount code is only available through January 7, 2019!
Have you tried the ActivMotion Bar? What other dynamic resistance exercises have you used to work on balance and stability?
My Gift to You for Valentine's DayFebruary 14, 2018 12:00 pm
This post contains affiliate links
Happy Valentine’s Day everyone! I hope you are having a day filled with love and happiness! To help you celebrate, I thought I would share some discounts on some products I absolutely love!
Momentum Jewelry Who doesn’t need (and love!) a little motivation every now and then? These motivational wraps and other products can help you stay on track and remember what an amazing person you are! You can check out their products using this link, and be sure to use the promo code sharetheSPARK2018 for 15% off of your order through March 31st!
SPIBelt I have used a SpiBelt to carry my necessities (and some things that aren’t so necessary) since I started running almost five years ago. I love this product so much, I recently became an ambassador! They have all kinds of products, including medical waist belts for diabetic supplies, insulin pumps, etc. They even have smaller sizes with fun patterns on them for kids. How cool is that? I will have a discount code (and some fun giveaways) to share soon, but in the mean time, check out their Instagram post from today for a chance to win a free SPIbelt! But hurry on over–the first person to guess correctly wins the prize! You can check out all of their products by going to their website here.
Lily Trotters Compression Socks Who doesn’t love fun socks? Add compression into the mix, and ooh la la! I don’t have a discount code to share, but these limited-edition Course-It Valentine’s Red compression socks are 50% off, with no shipping charge! I’ve been spying them for over a week and only just ordered mine today. I’m glad I got in when I did, because the L/XL size is sold out! If you wear a S/M, you are in luck because they are still available. But hurry on over to their site, because once these are gone, they’re gone! Here is the link to their website.
Legend Compression Wear You say the red color and criss-cross stitch pattern don’t fit your style? Then Legend Compression Wear may be up your alley! Plus, they have products for men, too! If you would like to check out their products, head to the website using this specific link and you will receive a coupon code for $15 off of your first order!
Zelus Insoles If you have followed me here or on Instagram, you know two things about me: 1) I’m as slow as molasses, and 2) I’ve been running with these insoles for a number of months and my feet and legs have never felt so good! The first 20 people to head on over to their website and use my promo code AM25EXTRA will receive 25% off of their purchase!
MyoBuddy Massager Pro And if you really want to splurge (and of course you do!), check out this uh-mazing massager by MyoBuddy! Use it to make your entire body feel good! If you click on this specific link and then at checkout use my discount code ACCIDENTAL, you will receive $100 off of your purchase, plus no tax and free shipping! Now who doesn’t love all that??!!
I hope you are able to enjoy some of these products that I love so much! Do you have any fun plans for today? Happy Valentine’s Day!
- Product Review: Addaday Pro Massage Roller
- Product Review: Zwift RunPod
- Holiday Gift Guide for Runners and Athletes
- Product Review: ActivMotion Bar
- My Gift to You for Valentine’s Day
- Holiday Gift Ideas for Runners
- Cookbook Review! Fresh Tastes from a Well-Seasoned Kitchen
- Product Review: Zelus Olympus Insoles
- The Original SPIbelt