Feetures! Graduated Compression Socks Review

compression sock.jpg


If you’ve been listening to our podcast for any length of time you know we both run in Feetures! socks. We don’t just run in them, we hike, bike, travel with them. We had tried their compression socks a few year back and recently had the opportunity to try their updated graduated compression socks. I typically don’t use compression socks or sleeves while running but I do wear them after long runs as part of my recovery. I used these in the same way and it felt like they helped to reduce my leg fatigue. They have 15-20 mmHg of compression at the ankle and the compression in the arch helps keep my plantar fasciitis from flaring. Just as in most of their socks, Feetures! makes their graduated compression socks with a right/left foot anatomical design. This allows the sock to fit the designated foot much better and makes them quite comfortable. I did wear them for some short runs to see how they would feel and they were quite comfortable. They didn’t roll down from the top or bunch up in the toes. My legs did feel a little warm while I was wearing them but that is probably because I’m not use to having something covering my lower legs while running. They are made of material that wicks away moisture well and helps reduce odor.  The graduated compression socks are available in four different sizes and three different colors. My only suggestion is to have them available in more sizes, not just taking shoe size into account but also calf size. Some individuals have larger feet but thinner calves and a large size might not provide as much compression on their ankles/calves as they would like. Other than that I like the product and will continue to use the compression socks post long runs for recovery. 

Feetures! Website 

Purchase on Amazon


Disclosure: I was not compensated for this post, however I did receive a pair to review. All opinions are my own and not influenced in any way.

Elevated Legs

Runners recovery routines are just as varied as the running shoes they wear. From ice baths to stretching, rolling to compression, and many more. I’ve recently had the opportunity to try a new (to me) recovery technique via Elevated Legs. Elevated Legs is a compression pump system that provides muscle compression to aid recovery. The pump has tubing that attaches to leg sleeves that have four different chambers and fit over your legs to provide muscle compression. The compression can be sequential (circulation mode) during which one chamber fills at a time (starting at the feet and moving toward the thighs/hamstrings) and after all are filled they release at the same time. The compression can also occur peristaltially during which one chamber fills and releases at a time before the next chamber does the same, starting at your feet and moving towards your upper legs. I prefer the massage mode, and it is easy to select the mode you prefer. It also has various pressure levels to fit your needs and this can be changed during the compression process. I tend to start with lighter pressure and move onto much more compression as the session goes on. Despite its name, Elevated Legs can also be used for other parts of the body. For example it can attach to arm sleeves or shorts-which target the upper legs, abs and lower back. I have been using the leg sleeves after long runs and have noticed a significant decrease in muscle soreness. I have also used Elevated Legs if I have two big effort days back to back and feel better recovered before and after the second run.  I also used it after a marathon recently and had absolutely no leg soreness the following days, that’s probably the first time I’ve ever had that happen. It provided a benefit during a recent trail relay. I used it in between runs and felt like my legs were better recovered and felt better during the subsequent runs. The separate compartments can be de-selected and I really took advantage of this when I fell during my first leg of the recent trail relay, causing some bruising and abrasions on me left shin. By selecting that compartment I was still able to use the leg sleeves to help in my muscle recovery. The only thing I could have used during that time is the option to de-select a chamber for only one leg, so that the uninjured leg could have benefited from the compression of all four chambers. I’m excited to see how the next few months go marathon and ultramarathon training. Looking forward to feeling better recovered during training and post races. I recommend you all look into having Elevated Legs be part of your recovery routine. We have a discount code to share with all of you for the Platinum Series which comes with a 2 year warranty. The discount code is Elena10 for 10% off the Platinum Series.

Elevated Legs Website









Disclosure: I was not compensated for this post. I paid for my own Elevated Legs at a discount. All opinions are my own and not influenced in any way.


Jabra Sport Pulse Giveaway

The Jabra Sport Pulse wireless earbuds are perfect for runners of all levels. They have in-ear accurate heart rate monitoring. They are built to withstand any conditions. They come with several earpiece sizes so that you can customize the perfect fit. Easily connect to your iphone or android phones. Works with all running apps and also has its own integrated running app available. 
We’re giving away a free pair of Jabra Sport Pulse wireless earbuds. Simply sign up for the Jabra News letter, which gets you exclusive offers and discounts, and you’ll be entered. At the end of January one person will be selected at random to win a free pair. 

Sign up here to win


Disclosure: Jabra is sponsoring this giveaway. Jabra is also a sponsor of the Embrace Running Podcast. Giveaway open to U.S and Canada residents only.


Wish List for Runners

Every year we compile a gift list for runners. This year we wanted to do something a little different and share some items on our running wish list that we know many of you will relate to. You might even have them on your own wish list.

1. Running related book
There are many running related books out there that would be enjoyed by runners, some of which we have talked about on the podcast in the past. But there is a particular book on our wish list. That book is Running Your First Ultra: Customizable Training Plans for Your First 50K to 100-mile Race by Krissy Moehl. We’ve taken a peek at the book and really like that aside from many tips for running ultras, it has customizable training plans for ultras (from 50k-100 mile distances). These training plans are difficult to come by. There are other books available with tips for running ultras but most don’t offer training plans. If you are wondering who Krissy Moehl is, she is an accomplished ultrarunner: in 2005, she became the youngest woman to complete the Grand Slam of Ultrarunning, (Western States 100, Vermont 100, Wasatch 100, Leadville 100 in the same year) which included a gold medal at the Vermont 100 Mile Endurance Run. She set the women’s record for Hardrock in 2007. She’s won several ultramarathons, including UTMB (twice), Wasatch in 2004, and Ultra Trail Mount Fuji in 2013. 

2. Running related movie
Just like the last item on our wish list, we want to say that there are a lot of movies out there that would be a great gift for a runner, many of which we have talked about before (Spirit of the Marathon, Spirit of the Marathon II, Unbreakable: The Western States 100, McFarland, etc.) But the one on our wish list is The Barkley Marathons: The Race That Eats Its Young. It was just recently released on December 8, 2015. It is a documentary about the Barkley Marathons in Tennessee, a race with ~1% finisher rate-enough said. Watching this movie is the closest we will ever get to Barkley, and we’re okay with that.

3. Petite Running tights (that don’t cost an arm and a leg)
We know this one is very specific to us shorter girls (Elena), but now that winter is here it would be great to go out on a cold run in running tights that actually fit. It’s easy to find running capris to wear, since the length is more forgiving for them than running tights. Running tights/pants are not difficult to find in general but finding them in petite sizes is very difficult and if you do find them, they are quite expensive. Many running pants have zippers on the bottom of the legs which is great but doesn’t allow for easy alterations if you are short.

4. Annual park pass for trail runners
Most of the trails we access for trail running are part of a greater park system. Many of which has parking or day use fees. So an annual park pass is the next item on our wish list. The specific pass will vary depending on where you reside, but at least here in Northern California we have various park passes that can be purchased on an annual basis. This applies to state parks, county parks, parks within a particular region or even a national parks.

5. The Zero Runner
If we’re compiling a wish list we might was well include one really expensive item. The Zero Runner from Octane Fitness. The Zero Runner allows you to replicate your natural running motion without all the impact. There are two separate models to choose from the cheaper ZR7 model starts at $3299.


New GU flavors in 2015

GU Energy recently announced that all of its energy gel flavors are now certified vegan. This does not include their roctane energy gels. Their newest “regular” gel flavors are Big Apple and Maple Bacon. Always excited to try their new flavors I tried Big Apple first and was pleasantly surprised. It tastes like a sweet apple but not too sweet. It took me back to when I was a kid eating Jolly Rancher candies. (Okay maybe it only took me back a few months).  But I really do think that it tastes just like an apple Jolly Rancher with just a little less sugar-perfect! Similar to some of their other fruity flavors, I like that it isn’t too sweet. It doesn’t contain caffeine which is always a plus for those of us with a sensitive stomach. 
Then it was on to try Maple Bacon. I was pretty excited for this one.  I could taste the maple flavor right away but kept waiting for the bacon flavor to kick in. Except it never did. Instead I tasted a smoky flavor. Unfortunately I was disappointed with it. I think it was misnamed for sure. Maybe my high expectations contributed to my disappointment, or maybe they didn’t have a supertaster try this one out during testing. (I’m available by the way GU Energy Labs if you are reading this). Because taste and preferences do vary from person to persoon, I recommend you try it for yourself. I think people who enjoy maple taste will like this gel, just don’t expect too much from the bacon flavor. Unlike the Big Apple flavor, Mable Bacon does contain 20mg caffeine, which is less than an 8 oz. serving of coffee or caffeinated tea. 
Both of these flavors contain 100 calories per gel packet as well as sodium and potassium which are much needed during training. They also contain branched-chained amino acids which could help reduce mental fatigue and muscle damage.

Big Apple GU on Amazon
Maple Bacon GU on Amazon


You Can Run Pain Free! A Physio's 5 Step Guide to Enjoying Injury-free and Faster Running – Book Review

Who doesn’t want to run pain free? The title of this book definitely caught my attention. I had the opportunity to read You Can Run Pain Free!: A Physio’s 5 Step Guide to Enjoying Injury-free and Faster Running by Brad Beer and I wanted to share my thoughts with all of you. I’ve had my share of pain while running during the last several years and any tips to help prevent that pain from returning are more than welcomed. Unfortunately I think that the general thought among the running community is that running in pain is just part of running, it’s inevitable at some point. This book however gives readers a five step approach to running pain and injury free. The author Brad Beer is a Physiotherapist in Australia. For us Americans, a Physiotherapist is similar to what we would call a Physical Therapist but with some distinct differences. A runner himself, Brad knows the importance running has in runners’ lives and how not being able to run due to an injury (or running in pain) can negatively affect your life and your overall well being. I will not be giving away the five steps that this book covers, for that you will have to read the book yourself. But I will say that I find that the steps Brad recommends are very reasonsable and realistic for a “recreational” (“non-elite”) runner such as myself. I could tell early on in the book that he really does care about all of us running pain free. He even provides a link to a running screening you can do to get this whole process started. At the end of each chapter there are case studies that help to reinforce the content that is covered. The case scenarios are very helpful in understanding how the steps are put into action in the real world, making it easier for us to apply them to our own running. One particular section early in the book that I found interesting was the review of the most common running injuries and their causes. Not surprisingly there are a few causes such as tight muscles or a sudden increase in training load, that seem to be listed under most of the injuries. This may seem obvious but clearly not obvious enough if they continue to contribute to many running related injuries. There are many practical tips in the book and one that Brad gives is in terms of deciding when to replace running shoes. Aside from those that are discussed most often, such as overall mileage or duration of time spent running in that shoe, Brad recommends purchasing two shoes and rotating between them. That way when one starts to wear down and needs replacing it may be more obvious since we have another shoe we are consistently comparing it to. Other pearls of wisdom that Brad shares include tips on running hills (both up and down), some of which I found I was already doing unintentionally and others which I think I can do a better job at incorporating into my trail running such as fighting the urge to lean back when running downhill. The book is for anyone who runs, regardless of weekly mileage, speed or your perceived ability. Brad shares helpful information for all of us, whether you have dealt with pain or injury in the past or are currently going through something like that or even if you have not and are wanting to prevent that from being something you experience.

Purchase You Can Run Pain Free on Amazon

Brad Beer’s Website


Disclosure: I was not compensated for this post, however I did receive a copy of the book to review. All opinions are my own and not influenced in any way.


Honey Stinger Caramel Waffle

Another flavor of the Honey Stinger Waffle, and it’s Caramel? Yes please! Everyone knows I love caramel products-remember my infatuation with Salted Caramel GU? I eat Honey Stinger waffles before long runs and races and although I alternate between their honey, vanilla and gingersnap flavors I was excited about the prospect of adding a new flavor into the rotation. Honey Stinger waffles are two thin waffles sandwiched together with honey and in this case, with caramel as well. Biting into the waffle I could taste the caramel flavor right away but it didn’t overpower the overall taste of the product. It tasted like I took one of the honey waffles and drizzled just a little bit of caramel syrup on it. Yum! It’s 160 calories per waffle and as with all of their products it’s organic. The only downside I can think of is if someone wants a waffle that has the strong taste of a soft caramel candy, this product might not have enough caramel taste for them. For me, however, it’s a welcomed addition to my Honey Stinger Waffle line-up.

Honeystinger on Amazon
Honeystinger Website


Brooks Adrenaline GTS-15 Review

Brooks Adrenaline GTS have been my go to shoe (pun intended) since their 8th edition. As a stability shoe they have the cushioning  that is right for me while running out on the road. As my running has evolved over the years, this shoe has too. I have liked running in the GTS-14 but have noticed and appreciate the changes they have made to the shoe in the GTS-15 version.
First, the crash pad now runs the full length of the shoe and is segmented, allowing for a more natural movement of the foot. Previously the crash pad was just in the heel. With this change I’ve noticed a smoother transition from heel-strike to toe-off.
Next is the cushioning under the midsole, it has a different blend that makes it more cushioned than the 14. Honestly I haven’t noticed much of a difference with this but it hasn’t bothered me either.

Finally is the improved upper. It has less stitching making them less likely to cause chaffing or rubbing issues. And although I’ve never had a problem with the stitches in the prior versions I could feel a difference running in the GTS-15, they did feel better.
Other things worth mentioning, although the forefoot feels just as spacious as the GTS-14, it does feel a bit stiffer in the GTS-15. Also many who run in Adrenaline GTS shoes have noticed that the 15’s run a bit smaller than the 14’s (and previous versions) and the Brooks website recommends using a 1/2 size larger if you tend to be in between sizes. Interestingly enough, I didn’t order a 1/2 size up and have noticed a good fit.
And for those wanting to know the numbers, the weight of the womens shoe is stated to be 9.2oz and the mens shoe is 11oz. The drop from heel to forefoot is 11.3mm.
With the cost running from $120-$130, I continue to think that it’s a great deal. With eight colors to currently choose from for the mens’ or womens’ version I think there is enough variety to fit your color preference.



Brooks Website


Ogio 8.0 Athletic Bag Review

If you’re like me you probably have some type of running bag. Using it to carry your running gear to races, the gym, trail runs or wherever you are going to run. I for the longest time used an old Adidas duffel bag. It worked fine I suppose. My issues with it were that it wasn’t really large enough, no dedicated place for shoes and no organization. So my search for a new bag led me to purchasing the Ogio 8.0 Athletic Bag. Now this bag is actually intended for triathletes, which I am not. But that doesn’t mean it’s not a great bag for runners.

The Ogio 8.0 has a capacity of 3000 Cubic inches and dimension of 12 H x 26 W x 11.5 D. The first feature that attracted me to the bag is that it has adjustable backpack style shoulder straps that when held together make a nice carry handle. It works great wearing it as a backpack especially when you need to be carrying other items in your hands. Although on your back it definitely feels like a very large backpack. The next feature is the crush resistant lockable armored pocket that sits on one side of the bag. Ogio cites it as a great place for your sunglasses. For me it’s where my car keys, wallet, headphones and sunglasses go. No more digging around the bottom of a bag to find my keys. One end of the bag has a dedicated shoe compartment, it keeps your dirty shoes separate from everything else. The opposite end has a small storage section and an external retractable bungee cord section great for a bike helmet. For me it’s usually a sweatshirt that goes under the bungees. On one of the long sides of the bag there is the nutrition storage. It zippers open and flops down providing an organized area for me to keep my gels, bars, pretzels or whatever snacks I want with me. The opposite side has a pocket for a water bottle. This pocket admittedly is kind of awkward. Only works well if you are carrying the bag on your back. The bottom of the bag if you flip it around has a wet/dry storage compartment with ventilation. Intended for a wetsuit, works great for any smelly post run clothing. Then of course you still have the large main compartment where you will throw the bulk of your items such as clothing.

I have used the bag for relays like Ragnar and overnights to out of town races and it has worked out great. Anything beyond 1 or 2 nights and you’ll need a bigger bag though. I have thrown it in overhead compartments on a plane without issue. The bag is a bit large for that but since it’s a soft duffel you can easily shove it in there. It the size of this bag isn’t quite right but you like the features Ogio does make a larger 9.0 and a smaller 4.0 version.

Now the one and only downside to the bag is its price. It usually retails for about $100. Now you get what you pay for in that the bag materials and zippers are all top quality. For some that is going to be too high a price when you can buy a cheap duffel for around $20-35. For me it works in keeping my stuff organized in a bag that can take a beating. So if you can accept the price then I recommend it as a great bag.

Ogio 8.0 on Amazon
Ogio Website


Hoka Challenger ATR Review

It’s no secret that I am a fan of Hoka’s. So it’s not surprise I picked up a pair of the Hoka Challenger ATR trail shoes when they first came out. Some describe the shoe as the trail version of the Hoka Clifton, which is a fair comparison.  The shoe features the usual Hoka rocker geometry and a no sew upper. It has a 5mm drop, 29mm heel and 24mm forefoot.  Weighs in at 8.6 oz and has 4mm lugs on the bottom. It has the same EVA midsole as the Clifton however this shoe is stiffer. The shoe is true to size for me and feels slightly more comfortable in the heel then the Clifton. This is a shoe that is light and responsive for the amount of cushioning that you get.  They feel agile enough for me and still feel connected to the trail.  They are a smooth fun ride. Traction has been surprisingly good even on some especially muddy days. But probably not the best option on very technical terrain. So far I have had no issues with the durability although some other wearers have had some concerns. I even really like the look of these, and there are more colors coming next month. These have actually been my favorite trail shoes ever, so much better then the last trail shoes from Hoka that I had – the Rapa Nui. The Challenger began as an exclusive for REI stores, but come March you should begin to see them everywhere including Hoka’s own website. The shoe retails for $130.

Hoka Challenger at REI