Tips for choosing a running costume.

Costume races are nothing new. Folks have been dressing their best for races like Bay to Breakers for years, but the frequency of wearing a costume while racing has certainly skyrocketed in recent years. Being a lover of both racing and costuming I LOVE IT, but with the wrong costume, your race could go wrong. Here are 5 tips to ensure you can win best dressed even if you can't win the race.

1. Don't cover your breathing hole.

Sure, masks complete the look, but masks are also incredibly hot, and if they cover your nose and mouth, it will soon become apparent why this is such a bad idea...Masks make breathing very difficult, a very bad idea anytime, but especially while racing.

2. Avoid cumbersome costumes.


If you show up at the starting line in a huge dinosaur costume you will get all sorts of positive attention, and you will love it until it is time to actually run. 

Giant dinosaur costume = Awesome Running in Giant Dinosaur Costume = Not Awesome

3. Keep it cool. 

Your body heats up while you run. If you are covered head to toe in a full body gorilla suit, the heat has know where to go. If you don't allow a way for your body to cool, you will end up a hot sweaty mess stewing in your own juices. Ewww.


4. Think Tights or short shorts.

What do superheroes, Christmas elves, and runners all have in common? They all look fantastic in tights! Tights are fantastic for running, so if you are able to choose an outfit that incorporates tights you may not only win best dressed, but you may get a PR also.


5. Try awesome costumes made for running.

Athletic brands like Run Graphics sell tech shirts as well as racing singlets with attitude. I love this brand for everyday training, but it is a must for race day. I love wearing my Run Graphics Pizza singlet to easily answer that question of "what do you think about while running?"


6. Synthetic Material is Best.

This is true for running apparel in general, but on race day we want to not only look our best, but also perform our best. Cotton outfits have a tendency to retain sweat and become soggy and heavy. Online retailers such as EDM Clothing Company can outfit you with mind blowing  sublimation printed synthetic shirts that make easy, put it on and get out the door costumes that add color to your run while letting your primary focus stay on racing.


Do you have to follow all these tips to have a good time? No of course not. Wear something awesome, just make sure you make it to the finish line also.

Victory Sportdesign Grizzly Bag Kickstarter


Victor Ballesteros designer of the popular Victory Gear Bag, the ultimate gear bag for ultra runners, is back with a great new addition to his lineup. The Grizzly from Victory Sportdesign is designed with adventure sports and travel in mind. This bag is currently being crowdfunded on Kickstarter. Check out the video. 

Check out the Kickstarter campaign below to get yours here.


What I Learned about Coaching, Running, and Life in 2014

In 2014, I set out to run an ultra-marathon, become a dad, and climb Mt. Shasta. I am glad to say, it is only October, all of those things have been checked off my list, so here how it went down, and what I learned about coaching, running, and life.

Becoming a Dad

Becoming a dad is by far the hugest adventure I have embarked upon. Coming into 2014, my wife was already quite pregnant, so we were pretty confident this dad thing was going to happen. Sure enough, April 30, my son Bodhi was born. This was with two weeks still remaining of high school track post season championships.

What did I learn about coaching? Coaching is a very large time commitment. Coaching at the high school level is rewarding. Challenging young athletes to perform at their best, and rise to the occasion is inspiring because of the consistency with which they often do both, sometimes surprising me, and almost always surprising themselves, but the Coach that wants committed athletes must be even more committed than the athletes themselves, and this takes time. This takes a lot of time. So to the high schooler out there that thinks that their coaches are coaching for the money should recognize that if this is true, given the number of hours their coaches put in, their coach is very very bad at math.


What did I learn about life? Being a dad is a huge commitment, and like I would coach my athletes, half commitment will never yield the results you are looking for. If I am going to be a dad, I am going all in.

The season finished out great with nearly half the team advancing to the post season, multiple great finishes at the meet of champions, and three very talented seniors, Jessie Colin, Devron Martin, and James Kinney, graduating and moving on to compete at the college level.

Though I did complete the season, after the season was over I opted to retire my position as Head Coach of Marin Academy Track and Field to my capable Assistant Coach Taylor Tan as to spend more time with the newest member of my family.

Running an Ultra-Marathon

In August I competed in the Tamalpa Headlands 50k here in Marin County, California. I should preface by mentioning that this is my first ultra marathon. In fact, I ran the Tamalpa Headlands 50k in 2013, but this year was different.

What did I learn about running? Salt is very important. Headlands 50k is a grueling course, I believe with over 6500ft of elevation change over its 31.2 miles of mostly single track trail. This is not your average community 5k. In 2013, I began with much gusto and was on pace to break 4:30 at mile 17. By mile 19, I was limping down the trail, afraid that running might cause my hamstrings or calves to seize due to lack of salt. The next 3 miles to the aid station were miserable. After getting some salt at the aid station I was able to finish the race in roughly 28th place in a time of 5 hours 28 minutes.

In 2014 a new story. I carried salt with me taking at least one salt tab about every 7 miles. This time I felt great. I finished 2014 in 11th place in a time of 4 hours 32 minute, nearly an hour faster than the previous year.

Climbing Mount Shasta

I first intended to climb Mount Shasta in early spring, and climb via the Avalanche Gulch route, but the week I had set aside to climb, California miraculously ended its drought, just long enough to make my spring ascent impossible with dangerous snow and wind conditions on the mountain. A few month later while on a group run with another group of fantastic ultra runners, I met some runners that were talking about running mount shasta. Thats right, running as fast as they could up a 14,000 ft mountain. Sounds crazy right? It is, so naturally, I wanted in on it. By the time plans were set it was down to just Jack Finn and myself. This video will show what followed.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=neFaSCOTasQ What did I learn about running? I love it. This climb was to challenge myself and enjoy the outdoors. This was not a race, there was no t-shirt and goodie bag at the end. This was just for the pure pleasure of running. To be outdoors ... Awesome!

What did I learn about life? Going all in as a dad does not mean the fun stops. I ran mount shasta when Bodhi was just a few month old. Bodhi and Mom did just fine without me for a couple of days, and more than being tiring and stressfull, it was relaxing to get back into the mountains for a few days.

What else did I learn? When mountain running, choose a shoe with a solid single piece outsole. I wore Montrail Fluid Flex, which are great shoes for regular trails, but the soft foam, multi peice outsole was completely shredded after this run. I had to retire them after this run with only 50 miles on them. R.I.P.

What am I working on now?

Now as I have adjusted my schedule to stay at home with my infant son while my wife continues to work, I have seized the opportunity to work from home, and I have embark on another great adventure. I have begun work on a website and mobile app that I have been conceptualizing for quite some time. Kindhat is an online community for sharing real goods and services within local communities. With Kindhat I hope to create a model for an economic system that better aligns our money with our values. Change the economic system we have been living with for decades, that is a monumental task. True, it is a monumental task, but then again so is becoming a dad, and running up Mount Shasta.


Find out more about the kindhat app for sharing at kindhat.com

I am a lover of new adventures, what adventure should I pursue next. Let me know in the comments.

Merrell Trail Glove Review

The Shoe to replace the Vibram Five Fingers

As a minimalist runner I must admit I have been awaiting the Merrell Trail Glove release for quite some time. Not being one to buy shoes without trying them on first, I went to REI the only retailer I could find that I was sure would be carrying the Trail Glove. Apparently size 10 is very popular in the bay area. I was there the day after the release and REI was sold out of size ten. So I tried on the 9 1/2 and the 10 1/2, after about 20 laps around the store and a 15 minutes in the buyers dilemma as to whether or not I should just settle for the 10 1/2, I eventually opted to return home and order size ten directly from Merrell.com. This was a postponed my excitement for another week as I anxiously awaited the arrival of my shiny new Merrell Trail Gloves. This was ultimately the right decision, when I tried on the size ten they fit like a glove, pun intended.

I immediately began to compare the trail glove to the minimalist shoe checklist to ensure I had made the best decision.

  1. No raised heel
  2. Wide Toe Box
  3. Thin Flexible out sole
  4. No unnecessary support features
  5. Lightweight
  6. Stylish
  7. Affordable

No Raised Heel

The Merrell Trail Glove performs excellently in this area. It is truly a Zero-drop shoe. This means that the heal to toe differential is 0mm, as opposed to the traditional 12 mm offered by most traditional running shoes. this is number one because I feel this is the most important quality to look for in a minimalist shoe. Grade A+

Wide Toe box

I don't have an unusually wide foot, so this toe box was very generously sized. this is important as a wide toe box will allow the toes to naturally splay upon striking the ground. The toe box was easily as wide as my old school traditional running shoes, and much wider than most racing flats I have encountered on the market. Grade A+

Thin Flexible sole

According to Merrell the sole is made from 4 mm Vibram material. With the exception a 1mm forefoot plate to more evenly distribute weight, there is really nothing else separating the foot from the ground. In my opinion this is exactly the right amout of protection. Now that I have had the oportunity to try them out on some trails, the trail glove makes it easy to travel over sharp rocks and sticks and acorns and poop, protecting the foot without actually altering running stride. Grade A+

No unnecessary support features

Upon trying on the Merrel Trail Glove for the first time I did notice that they hug the arch of my foot. this concerned me at first, however, the material hugging the arch is quite flexible providing protection from debris more so than unnecessary arch support. The upper is cut well below the ankle allowing the ankle full range of motion with no interference. Grade A


The men's Merrell Trail Glove weighs in at about 6.2 ounces. this is about half the weight of my last pair of traditional trainers, but about twice the weight of my Huaraches. I have seen many shoes that are much more lightweight, however, while examining the shoe, I couldn't devise any ways of making the shoe lighter, while maintaining full functionality. Grade B+


Very, I have only had these shoe for a week and the complements keep coming in. I did of course buy the Amazon colored Trail Glove directly from the Merrell website, (a color not available at REI.) Grade A


At 110 dollars the Merrell Trail Glove is the second most expensive pair of shoes I have ever purchased. I must admit the price mad me quite hesitant, however, I have never not gotten my money worth out of a running shoe. I hope as more truely minimalist shoes become available the price will come down to a more reasonable price, still at $110 they are only $20 more than Vibram FiveFingers, and come in $50 less than Terra Plana Evo, and in my opinion the Merrell Trail Glove is a much better shoe than either of those brands. Grade B-

First Impressions

Upon receiving my Merrell Trail Gloves in the mail I canceled my 25 mile tempo run and opted for a hilly muddy 12 mile trail run, ( I never like to try to go to far in my first run in new shoes lest I end up 15 miles out and hobbling home covered in blisters.) Instantly these shoes where amazing, they truly had a barefoot feel. One thing that I instantly noticed is the traction. The traction of the Merrell trail glove is far better than any other minimalist shoe I have ever worn. Along with the shoe not sliding around on the muddy trails, even when wet, my foot didn't slide around in the shoe, a common problem with my huaraches.

These shoes are designed to be worn with no socks. This fact combined with all synthetic materials makes a shoe that does not hold water. In other words, no heavy shoes from running through a puddle.


The only drawback that I have found is that somewhere in the inside of the upper lining of the my left shoe there was a seam that rubbed on my big toe. I didn't notice this until about mile 6, but by mile 10 it was very evident that something was amiss. When I finally removed my shoe, the rubbing had worn through the skin leaving a small hole on the top of my foot.

My poor big toe after first twelve mile run

This is an easy fix with a little tape, of some scissors to give the offender a trim, however, I am in the class that believe you should not have to fix brand new $110 dollar shoes.


So far I only have 100 miles on these shoes, and so far they are holding together excellently, but before I declare these shoes durable they will need to see at least another 400 miles. I will try to follow up when they reach that point.


All in all this is the best shoe I have ever worn. It has all the features needed to make it a great minimalist shoe. But this greatness comes at a price, $110 if you want to put a price tag on it. The only problem is the rubbing on my left toe, I took care of this easily, but hopefully this is something that Merrell will take care of before releasing the Merrell Trail Glove 2.0. Hopefully this is the only thing the change on the Merrel Trail Glove 2.0, unless they can find a magical more light weight material.

Have you tried the Merrell Trail Glove? What did you think? Leave your comments below.

Have you reviewed another minimalist shoe and want it featured on runnaturally.org? Email me and be published.

Barefoot Running Training Technique Videos from Merrell

See the Training Videos released by Merrell to accompany the release of the Merrel Barefoot Trail Glove.  These video will not tell you all you need to know, but they should get you started so you can hit the ground running, so to say. Ground Work[youtube=http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=DND6uZ_RZLE?width=853&height=510&rel=0]

Good Form[youtube=http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=787hU5R79JY?width=853&height=510&rel=0]



Merrell Trail Glove Release Sets Standard for Shoe Makers

With its February 1st 2011 release of its Merrell Trail Glove, Merrell has become the first major shoe brand to release a zero drop running shoe that looks like a running shoe. I applaud merrell for their bravery in actually following through with a true Zero-Drop barefoot running shoe, and I reward them by buying a pair today. I have been anticipating these shoe for months I am so excited they are finally here. Also check out the barefoot training section Merrell has added to their site. Barefoot Connection.

Read an in depth review of the Merrell Trail Glove from Jason Robillard Author of The Barefoot Running Book. Read the Full Review

Update: Our Merrel Trail Glove Review is now ready.

Why I Choose no Shoes

I first started running when I was in high school. I decided to join the track team because I had a crush on a girl that ran track. What can I say, girls that run track are hot. I only ran my senior year before getting recruited at the college level. All through out college I was plagued every season with injury after injury. Plantar fasciitis, stress fractures, tendinitis, my joints creaked and popped with every step. In those days I never considered form. I thought injury was just a natural part of running, and I was running 70 to 90 miles per week. Despite injury I managed to perform well enough to make it on the national team 4 times and eventually become All-American my senior year. It wasn't until after college that I began to discover the cause of my injuries. It was 2001 while I was attempting to run through a sever case of plantar fasciitis while training for my first full marathon. In college I always just went to the trainer and he would say "Well, ice it and stay off it for a while." This always managed to deal with the immediate problem, but it never confronted the cause.

With no trainer to turn to, and myself studying to become a personal trainer, I did the research on my own. come to find out I, like 75% of shod runners was a heel striker, (a common flaw in shod running populations.) Come to find out, landing on your heels with each stride creates an enormous impact with each stride, (estimated about 3x body weight.) The answer then is to decrease the impact. to decrease the impact I needed to change to a forefoot stride. The process I used to do this is simply running barefoot.

I don't know why I had never considered this before, after all this is how humans ran for about 6 million years. Come to find out, nearly all shod runners that transition to barefoot, not just myself, will naturally transition to a forefoot stride, because when barefoot it is uncomfortable to run on your heels.

Barefoot runners have also noticed it is uncomfortable to run on your heels. Shoe companies have noticed this also and have attempted to fix this by padding the heel. this did make it more comfortable, but it is not the appropriate solution. If it is uncomfortable to run on your heels, don't run on your heels. After I discovered this it just seemed like common sense. If it hurts every time you punch yourself in the face, is it better to put on a boxing glove, or simply to not punch yourself in the face. Perhaps not the best analogy, but I think you get the point.

Transitioning to barefoot was not easy. I started out just a mile at a time, and after each run my calves were sore like I had never used them before, (really I hadn't.) It took months to condition my calves to barefoot running, in the mean time I put in most my miles shod, but focusing on the fore foot strike.

After allowing my body to learn to run barefoot, I then transitioned into minimalist shoes. Running barefoot is an excellent training technique to find natural running form, but running barefoot does admittedly become uncomfortable after a certain number of miles dependent on the terrain. For this reason, I now do most of my running in minimalist running shoes, but on occasion will still run barefoot to ensure I am not altering my natural running form.