Choosing the Shoe for You

March 5th, 2014 - Posted by zoot

Finding the right running shoe can be a difficult task. (Of course, we think that once you have decided to buy a Zoot running shoe half the battle is done. – Ed.) With so many options out there it can feel overwhelming. Even once you pick a brand, the shoe selection can still be difficult with each shoe company offering a myriad of choices in their respective line-ups. Yet there is a reason for this overwhelming amount of choices. Zoot offers ten different shoes that cover everything from racing to training and provide different types of support for every running style. Our shoe finder can be found here: Zoot Shoe Finder.

However, picking a shoe doesn’t have to be hard. Follow our shoe selection guide and you will be out the door and running in no time.

The first step when buying a new shoe is to figure out what type of foot you have. Next you need to decide how you will be using the shoe. Do you want a racer, trainer or something in-between? When making this decision it is important to know that the more race orientated the shoe, the less support and cushioning it will have.  This is done to keep the shoe lightweight for race day.

Once you have these two things figured out it’s time to head over to our shoe finder  at zootsports.com. It will walk you through our men’s and women’s shoe lines and help you pick the right shoe for your needs.

Finally, share with us! We always like hearing from the Zoot Tribe about their experiences with our gear.

Happy running!

Ben Hoffman Shares His Training Essentials

February 20th, 2014 - Posted by zoot

Today we have a guest blog from Zoot Pro triathlete, Ben Hoffman. In 2013, Ben won Ironman Coeur d’Alene and set the course record with a time of 8:17:31 – now that’s fast! He followed that race up with a win at Branson Rev3 and a 15th place finish at the Ironman World Championships. Today, Ben shares what gets him through those other 360 days a year – his training days.

Zoot Training Essentials

Although Zoot may be known best for their race day equipment, I am outfitted in their training gear head to toe virtually every day in preparation for my events (Like we say, “Train as you race!” – Ed.). The hundreds of hours that go into preparing for an Ironman require equipment that is durable, comfortable and provides an extremely high level of performance for each of the three disciplines. An average training week, while building into a full-distance race, includes roughly 35 hours of training. Broken down that is approximately 18 hours on the bike, 8 to 9 hours running, 6 hours in the pool and 2 hours of strength training. Here is a rundown of some of the gear I use for my preparation.

On My Feet

Running is one of man’s most primal forms of exercise, but it’s not all about going barefoot and naked. My go-to training shorts, when the weather is nice, are the Ultra Run Icefil 8”. Not only does the spandex Icefil liner ventilate well, but it also provides a little extra support on long runs and completely eliminates chaffing. I seriously can’t believe how long I put up with the irritation that other liners create – these are a true epiphany. Finally, the Ultra short has side pockets, and for days when I need a little company in the form of music, I can slide the iPhone or iPod in the pocket for bounce-free carrying. They serve well for car keys or gels. too.

The most comfortable and versatile shoes I have worn for training purposes are the Ultra TT Trainer WR. They have additional cushioning, are still relatively lightweight, and are the perfect compliment to my Ironman race shoe, the Ultra TT 7.0,

For up top, I’m a fan of the Ultra Run Icefil Mesh Tee in warmer weather, and the Performance Run Microlite ½ zip when temps get colder. And when it’s really cold I wear the Ultra Run Biowrap Thermo Tights to keep my legs warm.

Finally, for race day, it’s all about the Zoot custom one-piece kit, visor and Ultra TT 7.0 shoe. I switch out the Ultra TT 7.0 for the Ultra Kiawe 2.0 for half-ironman races.

In the Saddle

My longest hours come in the saddle, and here it’s all about the custom Ultra Cycle bibs and jersey. When it gets cold, I throw on the thermo top, thermo leg warmers and Megaheat jacket.  Fortunately, there is ample pocket space for food, phone, etc., and the fabric wicks moisture like a sponge.

For racing, I rely on my custom Zoot kit for superior comfort and aerodynamic fit.

In the Water

It’s been a long haul learning how to swim with the front pack, but I couldn’t have done it without countless hours in the Ultra swim brief, chasing the black line and playing wall tag. When it comes time to hit the open water, I can be found in my Prophet 2.0 Wetzoot, or the Speedzoot for warmer days. The Prophet provides unmatched range of motion, incredible buoyancy, and is easy to peel off for quick transitions. Finally, it’s Zoot’s Swimfit cap that covers my dome.

The Rest of the Time

Not every hour of every day is spent training, but triathlon is definitely a lifestyle, and I have some other pieces of gear that fill in the gaps between workouts. Recovery is priority number one when I’ve finished my harder sessions, so I love to toss on the Recovery 2.0 CRx sock after long runs and rides, or during long travel days. As the Californians have taught us, a hoodie is one of the most versatile pieces of clothing made, and fortunately Zoot’s looks great, too. One last staple in my Zoot arsenal are the Recovery Slides, which are on my feet before and after every swim.

So there you have it! Zoot has me covered head to toe for my longest training days and the time between. No matter whether you live in a cold or warm climate, Zoot has your back with their comprehensive lineup of comfortable and high performance products.

#LoveYourRun Recipe: Chickpea and Cherry Frittata

February 18th, 2014 - Posted by zoot

One of our favorite things about Sunday morning workouts is the breakfast waiting for us on our return. With abundant carbs, protein and antioxidants, this amazing frittata recipe from Runner’s World is the perfect recovery meal.

Via Runner’s World (http://www.runnersworld.com/recipes/recipe-chickpea-and-cherry-frittata)

Ingredients
8 eggs, lightly whisked
1 can (15 ounces) chickpeas, rinsed and drained
1 cup chopped fresh cherries or 1/2 cup chopped dried cherries
4 ounces goat cheese, crumbled
1/4 cup unsweetened almond milk
1 tablespoon chopped fresh thyme leaves
2 tablespoons agave nectar or honey
1 teaspoon cream of tartar
1 tablespoon olive oil
1/4 cup loosely packed, torn fresh mint leaves for garnish

Instructions
Preheat the oven to 350°F. In a bowl, mix the eggs, chickpeas, cherries, goat cheese, almond milk, thyme, agave nectar and cream of tartar. In a medium ovenproof skillet, heat the oil over medium heat. Pour the egg mixture into the skillet and cook for 2 minutes without stirring. Transfer the skillet to the oven and bake till the eggs are puffed and set in the middle, about 20 minutes. Let the frittata cool for 5 to 10 minutes. With a rubber spatula, gently work the frittata out of the pan and transfer it to a cutting board. Cut the frittata into wedges and serve garnished with the mint. Serves four to six.

Nutrition Information

Calories Per Serving: 395
Carbs: 25 g
Fiber: 4 g
Protein: 22 g
Fat: 22 g

Introduction to Building your Training Base

February 12th, 2014 - Posted by zoot

It is hard to believe that we are already two weeks into February 2014. As we plan our training and races for the year we can’t forget to look at the fundamentals, especially building our preseason base.

Aptly titled, the goal of the base phase portion of a training plan is to create a strong foundation for us to build our harder workouts and races efforts off of. Why is this so important? Not only does a proper base phase help minimize the potential for injury, more importantly it builds the muscular, cardiovascular and bio-chemical processes that our bodies need to reach our full potential.

The principle component of a proper foundation is the LSD (Long Slow Day). The goal is to get out and put the miles in while keeping our efforts aerobic. Think conversational pace. In fact, this is the perfect time to do group runs and catch up with friends. If you can’t carry a conversation, you are going too fast!

As our foundation becomes stronger we can start throwing in limited efforts, such as a fartlek once a week, to spice things up and prepare the body for the higher intensity work down the road. However, these types of workouts should be saved for the latter portion of the base phase. For example, if we have planned our base phase to last a month (the minimum time period required to build a proper base) the first three weeks would be made entirely of LSDs, with the third week having a workout with an effort.

The secondary component of preseason training is to hit the weight room and work on muscular deficiencies that we might have, specifically our core and upper body strength. This is the perfect time to do this because as the season develops, and our training becomes sport specific, we won’t have the time to work on focused strength training. Again, here it is important to add weight slowly. The goal is not to build explosive power, but consistent strength.

These are just the basic fundamentals for developing your preseason base training. For additional information on how to plan your training cycle we recommend contacting a USA Triathlon Certified Coach.

Our Key Warm Up Tips

February 5th, 2014 - Posted by zoot

Like any machine, the human body needs to be warmed up before we use it. Not doing so increases our chance of injury while also limiting our potential out of the starting gate. It is hard to #LoveYourRun if our bodies are seizing up on us.

We all understand the idea of getting our blood flowing and loosening our muscles, but a proper warm-up also activates the bodies various systems so that we can perform at our best level. Here are our three favorite tips to get us ready for that big workout or race.

Static is Out, Dynamic is In
Traditionally stretching was static. It was based on the idea of holding various poses for 30 seconds to a minute to make us limber. However, while studies have shown that this is still useful to help you relax and calm the nervous system, it does not help us train.

Instead, prior to exercising we should be stretching dynamically. This has the benefit of improving power, strength and performance. When we dynamically stretch we move our muscles through their full range of motion in a repeated and smooth fashion. The goal is to activate the muscles that we’ll be using during the workout. It is important that we don’t overextend our muscles or be forceful, because this will lead to injuries.

Start Slowly
Because we all have limited time to get our training blocks in, we can be easily tempted to skip the warm up and jump right into the workout. We have to ignore that impulse and slowly ramp up our exercise. Our bodies need time to become aware of what we are about to ask of them. This is especially important if we are tired or sore. By not giving the body enough time to wake up, we are only asking for injury.

Listen to Your Body
We ask a lot from our bodies. We train continuously so that we can compete in three distinct sports. In return, it is important that we listen to what our bodies have to say. There will be days that a minimal warm up is all we need before we hit the trail. On other days, we might have to run several miles on the track before our bodies start to respond. By listening to this feedback we can keep our bodies healthy and strong and needlessly miss training days through easily avoidable injuries.

Energy Bar Alternative – Dr. Allen Lim’s Rice Cakes

January 28th, 2014 - Posted by zoot

We love our bars, gels and sport drinks here at Zoot, but sometimes on our longer training rides it’s nice to change things up. A favorite of ours is Dr. Allen Lim’s rice cakes. Not only do they have a great sweet and tangy taste, sometimes it’s just nice to eat real food when riding.

Here is a great video of Dr. Lim and Biju Thomas making them: http://youtu.be/QMgquxRH7dQ For more great recipes visit their site: http://feedzonecookbook.com

Now we want to know, what home recipes do you guys use as alternatives to bars, gels and sport drinks?

Rice Cakes

2 cups uncooked calrose or other medium-grain “sticky” rice

3 cups water

8 ounces bacon

4 eggs

2 tablespoons liquid amino acids or low-sodium soy sauce

brown sugar

salt and grated parmesan (optional)

Combine rice and water in a rice cooker.

While rice is cooking, chop up bacon before frying, and then fry in a medium sauté pan. When crispy, drain off fat and soak up excess fat with paper towels.

Beat the eggs in a small bowl and then scramble on high heat in the sauté pan. Don’t worry about overcooking the eggs as they’ll break up easily when mixed with the rice.

In a large bowl or in the rice cooker bowl, combine the cooked rice, bacon, and scrambled eggs. Add liquid amino acids or soy sauce and sugar to taste. After mixing, press into an 8- or 9-inch square baking pan to about 1½-inch thickness. Top with more brown sugar, salt to taste, and grated parmesan, if desired.

Tip: They always use calrose rice, a strain of medium-grain rice common in Asian cooking. This variety cooks fast (in 20 minutes or less), retains a nutty flavor, and is just sticky enough to hold our cakes together. If you can’t find it, use another medium-grain rice or any kind marked “sushi rice.”

Nutrition data per serving:

1 cake:
Energy 225 cal • Fat 8 g • Sodium 321 mg • Carbs 30 g • Fiber 1 g • Protein 9 g