Winter Running Gear: YakTrax Run

What is it about Midwestern winter (and sadly sometimes spring) that can totally diminish your run game?  The chill in the air, the icy scaled sidewalks, that daunting first inch of snow…man we wanna grab our snuggie and hot chocolate just writing this!  We kept trying to figure out how we could keep running safely when the weather outside became frightful Snow solution?  A fluffy white magical Yak picks you up and you sashay through the shivery slush…or you could try YakTrax for a more realistic tool for winter running woes.

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What’s a YakTrax you ask?  The name sounds like a new Dr. Seuss character and just in time for his birthday!  But we digress.  We read a couple of “Best of Winter Running Gear” articles and YakTrax brand traction devices dominated many a list so we ski jumped for joy when we were given a pair from Implus, fitness accessory brand leader, to trek across the blustery terrain.

Inspired by a Himalayan Sherpa, the original Yaktrax model features a spikeless coil design that grips the ice and snow with each step.  Yaktrax Run’s combination of removable spikes and steel coils, providing 360° of unbeatable traction.  Continue your training during the winter with the same stability you are accustomed to on dry surfaces.  The Yaktrax Run can be worn in temperatures as low as ‑41° Fahrenheit.

Mittens Up (Yup, Thumbs Up)

Throw your mittens in the air if you just don’t care…about running in the cold.  Here’s the positives about YakTrax Run and winter running.

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  • Fit like a Glove – YakTrax Run snuggled around our sneakers and stayed put during our jogs.
  • No Directions Needed – You could dream of sugar plum fairies while putting your YakTrax on (aka daydream).  They are user intuitive and are marked to guide you (left and right/heel and toe)
  • Dashing Through the Snow – YakTrax did not have a drastic affect on our gait.  They kinda feel like you’re bouncing a bit on a cloud of snow.  We only put in a 5k distance so not sure how they’d fair on a longer jaunt.

Mittens Down (Thoughts for improvements and tips)

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  • The Weather Calls For Snowzilla – When reviewing other runners, YakTrax Run is made for a specific type of weather.  You probably shouldn’t run across an ice skating rink for prolonged amounts of time as they aren’t made for thick ice or feet of snow backwoods running.  Stick to mildly icy pavement and moderate snow for best results.
  • Slushy Slush (our new rap name) – Slushy snow can get trapped in the back of the heel so you may have to tap tap tap a tree once in awhile to get it out.

For you non-runners, YakTrax carries 6 other types of traction variations for any purpose from your ma’s walks in the afternoon, to your bestie who hits the ski slope every weekend.

Strap up your run shoes in some YakTrax Run coils for only $40 here, less than that Yak (about $2000) and besides Yaks weigh 700 pounds so where would you house them?

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For now, the weather has us chanting the mantra of the post office: Neither rain, nor moderate ice nor snow can stop us from running–now that we have YakTrax Run coils.  Maybe a tornado would stop us though…just sayin’.  What do you think about YakTrax or other run traction devices?  We would love to hear your thoughts.  Comment below and until next time, happy trails!

 

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Prepping for the North Face Endurance Challenge with Ultrarunner, Rob Krar

Are you ready to take your run to the next level? North Face’s free endurance workouts at Millennium Park and Lincoln Park continue on to prepare you for one big event: the North Face Endurance Challenge presented by Gortex on October 3rd and 4th.  Located in the beautiful Kettle Moraine Park nearby Madison, Wisconsin, athletes (and semi athletes like us) have the chance to try their hands and feet at anywhere between a 5K and a 50 (WHEW!!) mile run.  North Face is bringing in top athletes/North Face ambassadors for the next few months to guest star and prep you for the race of your choice.

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This free training series kicks off with ultrarunner and 2x Western States Champion, Rob Krar. *The Western States Endurance Run is a 100-mile (161 km) ultramarathon the California Sierra Nevada mountains.

This Thursday, July 30th, Rob Krar will host the semi-weekly Mountain Athletics workout at Millennium Monument at 6:30 PM. More info on the free event and sign up, hosted by The North Face, here.

Rob will also be leading a run in the gorgeous and nature filled Waterfall Glen this Saturday, August 1st at 7 am.  Details and sign up here.

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Interview with Rob Krar

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K & M: From the newbie perspective, how did you get started in ultrarunning and what do you love about it?
Rob: Like so much of my more recent past, my introduction to ultrarunning happened quickly and unexpectedly. After returning from an injury and surgery I was sure would never allow me to walk comfortably again — let alone train and race again — I was determined to approach the opportunity with a new philosophy in order not to lose, again, something that means so much to me. Respecting rest and recovery, mind and body, and finding my peace alone on the trails is what I love most about ultra running.
K & M: How do you plan to continue to challenge yourself?
Rob: A large focus and goal for the year has been stepping out of my comfort zone and challenging myself in new ways — two ski mountaineering races over the winter in Colorado that found me wondering if I’d gotten in over my head, speaking of my struggles with depression at a medical conference ahead of the Western States Endurance Run, and have an ambitious race schedule for the second half of the year including racing the six day TransRockies Run stage race, the 106-mile Ultra Trail du Mont-Blanc in France, and the 100-mile Ultra-Trail Mt Fuji in Japan. I feel it’s important to challenge myself in ways beyond running to allow for a better balance in life.
K & M: Any tips for brand new runners?
Rob: Ultrarunning is incredibly rewarding. Start with shorter trail races and learn your strengths and weaknesses. Take your time moving up through the distances, always focused on maintaining strengths and improving on weaknesses heading into each race. Keep it fun and soak up the amazing energy that surrounds the ultrarunning community.
K & M: How do you keep things fresh?
Rob: If things get stale, fall back on an old activity from yesteryears — like badminton!
Big thanks to North Face for connecting us and Rob Krar for sharing!  We appreciate Rob’s humility over such amazing achievements and encouragement for people just starting out.
Wanna learn more about Rob?  Check out this fast article from Runner’s World and come join him this week.
    WHAT!! This dude runs 100 miles? You have to have respect for that. We got the chance to interview Rob through email before his visit to Chicago to find out what draws a person into ultrarunning.