Running Shoes – What I Am Wearing These Days – ACSM Running Shoes Guidelines

I am often asked about running shoes so let me start out by saying there is no right shoes for everyone, maybe even most people. What works for you, works for you, and that might take a lot of trial and error. But, looking at what your friends are wearing, considering if you are using your shoes for training, racing or trail running, will help narrow down your choices. And, you have more choices than ever.

Below are the new ACSM American College of Sports Medicine running shoe selection guidelines. When I first read them, I thought wow, pretty much the way I think about selecting running shoes. So, I am not going to rewrite the work they already did. I did post the video above to show you what I have been running in the last 9 months.

I average around 40 miles a week. I run in lots of different shoes so I can have real experience with lots of different brands. Sometimes I do receive some free shoes to try and give feedback on, but if I don’t like them I don’t use them.

Check out the pdf below and remember, running shoes are a very personal choice. Take your time when trying on new shoes. Don’t be afraid to return them if you don’t like them after a couple of runs. If you love them buy a second pair. Don’t be afraid to try different brands and keep working on your running form.

Leave a comment or email if you have any shoe questions.

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Download this pdf

Train Focused, Steve Mackel – Master ChiRunning® Instructor

Sole Runners LA Marathon Carbo-Loading and Spring / Summer Kick-off Party this Wednesday, March 5, 6 PM at Buono’s Pizza in Downtown Long Beach

Sole Runners LA Marathon Carbo-Loading and Spring / Summer Kick-off Party this Wednesday, March 5, 6 PM at Buono’s Pizza in Downtown Long Beach. That’s right, two parties in one, a carbo-loading for the LA Marathon and the Sole Runners Spring/Summer kick-off. This Wednesday, March 5, 6 PM at Buono’s Pizza in downtown Long Beach at 250 W. Ocean Blvd., Long Beach, CA 90802 (562) 432-2211. All you can eat Italian buffet only $10.
buffalo wings
This is not a Carbo-Loading Except for Maybe the Beer

Wednesday and Thursday before my races are days my carbo-loading days. There are a lot of information out there on carbo-loading and how to do it, and it is not just done the night before the event. Yes, I still eat a carbohydrate meal the night before a race but I start carbo-loading days before my race. The idea is that we top off our our glycogen stores through carbo-loading before the race. Of course, all your meals should have protein and fat in them too. This is not meant to be a detailed explanation of carbo-loading because true cabo-loading requires glycogen depletion and is a process.  This is a party / tradition before a big race.
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We are also having the Spring / Summer Sole Runners Kick-off Party that night. Come find out about the Sole Runners ChiRunning and Yoga Marathon / Half Marathon Training Programs. Ask questions and meet the coach, mentors and other Sole Runners.

We are having a Special LA Marathon Carbo-loading Lowest Sole Runners Spring/Summer Registration Price

Register between 2/28 and 3/9 and get the lowest Sole Runners Full and Half Marathon Training Programs lowest price of the year.

* New Participant $165 normally $195
* Alumni (have been a Sole Runner or Beach Runner in the past)
$120 normally $145

There are 3 ways to register:

1. Send a check made out to: Tri This Coaching, 1600 Fremont Ave.,
South Pasadena, CA 91030
2. Come to our Carbo-load/Kick-off Party Wednesday, March 5, 6 PM
at Buono’s and pay in person
3. Pay through our secure web site ($5 credit card processing fee)

New Sole Runner On-line Registration $170 Click Here to Register

Alumni Sole Runner On-line Registration $125 Click Here to Register

Register for the Spring/Summer Season at the reduced price. If you have any questions call Coach Steve at (818) 414-9181.

Eat Focused, Steve Mackel

Catalina Marathon – A Must Do Trail Marathon – Video and Recap from 2008

The Catalina Marathon is a Must Do Trail Marathon. It is always rated as one of the best trail marathons in the US by Runners World magazine.  This marathon boasts has almost 4,000 feet of elevation gain and loss. The view are spectacular. But, my favorite part is the participants. There are old-timers, first-timers, trail veterans and trail newbies. Most of us are there for the same reasons. The first is, “Because it’s there.” The second, to see a Buffalo . Third, you know it’s hard but so worth it. Almost everyone I have met, no matter where they are from, trained on hills because this is a hilly marathon. People from Florida do hill repeats on highway overpasses to train for this race. And, I forget to mention the after-party.

This video is Part 2 of my 2008 Video from the race. I can’t find Part 1, but Part 2 is better. It starts out at the top of Pump House Hill and goes from there to the post race party, hosted by the Race Director. I interviewed some of the runners. I even met a couple from London, England that saw my 2007 video and decided to come out because it looked so cool, for their first marathon.

There is still plenty of time to sign up. Email me: Steve@MarathonTraining.TV for a discount code. I hope to see you on the island. If you see me, please come over and say hello.

Training for Catalina, Steve Mackel – 5 Time Past Catalina Marathon Participant

Training With Team Parkinson – An Awesome Journey


This is my 5th year coaching Team Parkinson Pasadena for the LA Marathon 5k. When I started out I knew very little about Parkinson’s Disease. I’ve learned a lot over the past 5 years.

The obvious: Parkinson’s makes it a lot more difficult to go 3.1 miles let alone longer which some of our team members do. The dedication everyone who trains with us on Thursdays has, with or without Parkinson. The commitment these people have to helping find a cure.

The not-so-obvious: Exercise slows the onset of Parkinson’s Disease symptoms. The medications or lack of medications can have a major influence on each day’s performance. Parkinson’s doesn’t slow these people down. In some cases it seems like it gets them more involved. And, they make the same commitment everyone training for race makes.

We use some of the ChiRunning and ChiWalking techniques to help us but with Parkinson’s you want to exaggerate your movements. It takes a lot of focus. Think Big and Loud.

Our race is Saturday, March 9. We have 3 more training session and 23 days left until the big day. This year most of our training days have been exceptional; big crowds, great weather, fantastic camaraderie exceptional food (thanks Sarah). Today was not exception.

With three weeks left you can still join us for our FREE Thursday. Check Out This Post for the Details. If you want to make a donation or join our team at the LA Marathon 5k email Coach Steve Mackel

There are a lot of races on the calendar and I am really looking forward to the LA Marathon 5k Saturday, March 9.

Train Focused, Steve Mackel – Team Parkinson’s Member

Countdown to the LA Marathon – 29 Day and Counting – Suggestions for Success

The So Cal community is getting ready for the LA Marathon. Many training programs like the Sole Runners have been training for months getting ready for this race. Many clubs and programs did or are doing their longest training runs last Saturday or this Saturday. This week the Sole Runners are doing our 5 hour run to get ready. Then it’s Taper Time (but that’s another post and video).

With a month left what can you do to be the in the best shape on race day? Here’s a quick list of suggestions and a video so you can check out the course from my POV:

LA Marathon Success Tips

  • Get some good sleep in. Remember, muscles repair when you sleep. Sleep over the next 29 days is super important!
  • Don’t try to make up for lost training days. Sorry there’s not enough time to make real fitness gains to support you over 26.2 miles of LA streets in the next 29 days.
  • Know the course – The Stadium to Sea course can be a little tricky with downhills, uphills, rolling hills and weather. The race starts out downhill, flattens, goes uphill at mile 4, rolls through Sunset Junction, flattens with slight uphills to Hollywood, goes downhill then uphill to the Sunset Strip, steep downhill to West Hollywood, flattens through Beverly Hills, a little up at Century City, then down to the VA Hospital, then uphill to Brentwood, then downhill to Santa Monica. It can be windy in Santa Monica
  • Eat a little healthier for the next 29 days.
  • Drink responsibility. I know that will be difficult for some of us. TIP – Drink water in between adult beverages.
  • Visualize your successful LA Marathon. Before you go to sleep take just a few minutes and see yourself at the starting line, on the course and most of all see yourself crossing the finish line, with your hands in the air and a smile on your face. Get in touch with that feeling of accomplishment. Then picture the finisher’s medal hanging around your neck.
  • Don’t sweat what you can’t control. Stay on your plan, Live your life because what is going to happen is going to happen. We are going to line up right next to you with the same goal, finishing the LA Marathon.

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Train Focused, Steve Mackel – Certified Hypnotherapist

Data Check – Coach Steve’s Easy Surf City Half Marathon

I like to share my data. I like to practice what I preach and a lot of it has to do with heart rate training. This was my first time doing the Surf City Half Marathon. I had done the full marathon the past two years.

Why do the half marathon? Half marathons are fun. Half marathons require less training. I am recovering from a back issue. There are lots of races to go this year. You get to sleep in a little and you get to the beer tent faster.

January was probably one of my lowest running mileage months in years. I have some low back issue, not do to running but running is an impact exercise and I want to be careful. At least I practice ChiRunning. I try to run smarter and lighter, going easier on my body. I want to be running for the rest of my life.

So, I had a fun, easy Surf City Half. You may notice that my mileage is a 14 miles not 13.1 or just a little longer. Well, I ran off the course to deliver donuts to my friends that were going to cheer us on when we crossed 17th St. on the way back toward the finish line.

Quickly analyzing the data. This is a flat, fast course. I wanted this to be an aerobic training race. 140 BPM (beats per minute) is my AT (Anaerobic Threshold). My heart rate always starts out high, maybe I could warm-up a little better. But after the first few minutes it comes down and stayed down. I ran the rest of the race in an easy zone 2, and some zone 3, just like I wanted. Sometimes races can just be fun and used for training instead of racing.

Around mile 10 (really mile 9 cuz I ran an extra mile early in the race) this lady next to me picks up the pace so I stayed with her for two miles. Then I ran with with Sole Runner Jim and Patty. Jim PR’d that day.

I accomplished what I wanted, a fun time, good training, hanging out with friends, shot a video and getting it the beer garden.

Train Focused, Steve Mackel Head Coach Sole Runners Full and Half Marathon Training Programs

Getting Our Socks Dirty – Trail Running by Dr. Bryan Ales

trail running

I have worked with all the wellness professionals you see on the right hand column of this blog. They are all fantastic. In fact, I drive down from Pasadena to Long Beach for their services.

Below is an article written by Dr Bryan Ales. He has taken ChiRunning Workshops with me and Gary Smith. This article is especially important to me because I believe so strongly in taking some of your running off road. Really, the more the better since it takes away much of the repetitiveness of running, forcing your body to engage muscles differently each step in context to the uneven terrain. Plus the dirt is softer and softens some of the impact.

That’s why the Sole Runners train in San Pedro and Palos Verdes half the year. It will make you stronger runner while reducing potential repetitive stress injuries. Just take it slow and allow your body strengthen on the trails.

See you on the trails in training, at the Catalina races and the Cheseboro Half at the Great Race of Agoura -Coach Steve

Getting Our Socks Dirty

by Dr. Bryan Ales, OPR Chiropractic

Why we should be spending 50% of our running mileage off the pavement.

The reason you should get those socks dirty is for a few very important facts relating to balance, proprioception, injury and aging. The first reason for trail running, is to challenge your ability to know where you are in space. Conscience and unconscious signals – “using the cotton around your needle” in the words of Danny Dreyer — are responding to the terrain. As you triplet your way through the coastal mountains in your latest and greatest minimalist running shoes, receptors in the muscles, joints, tendons, ligaments and fascia fire off messages to your brain. This process is critical for improving your balance and ability to react to an unexpected event that can lead to injury.

The truth about getting to that paleolithic level of minimalistic running form, is only validated for the long term, if you limit running time on the cement and spend at least 50% of your mileage on the trails. In short, the cement is damaging to our anatomy even if you’re the wisest 4th degree Tai Chi Black Belt. Lastly and coming full circle, running on the pavement does very little to improve proprioception as compared to the benefits of a random and obstacle laden river trail.

To finish, let us focus on the long term importance of challenging our proprioception — not using these receptors is a sure way to lose them. As we age, it becomes imperative to maintain and continually improve our abilities so we don’t have to scream the dreaded “I’ve fallen and I can’t get up!”

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Dr. Ales using laser therapy on an athlete

Train Focused, Steve Mackel – Trail Runner

Catalina Marathon – A Weekly Retrospective – 2010 by Coach Steve Mackel

This video is pretty comprehensive. It starts on the boat over to the island and goes from there. Let’s hope the weather is that good again. I can’t wait. See you over there.

Train Focused, Steve Mackel – Head Coach Sole Runners Full and Half Marathon Training Programs

Long Beach Marathon Registration Prices Increase Friday, Jan 31, at 11:59 PM & Cheseboro Half Marathon is Almost Sold Out

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The Long Beach International City Bank Marathon is in it’s 30th year. ChiRunning and Marathon coach, Steve Mackel’s group the Sole Runners have been running this race since 2005. This is our race. We have the best post race party area. We stay until our last person crosses the finish line. We have our own massage area and we have have two on-course Sole Runners Aid Station. Registration prices increase tomorrow Friday, January 31, at 11:59 PM. You can maximize your saving by registering anytime before 11:59 PM tomorrow night. Please remember to CHOOSE “Sole Runners” under running club affiliation. It doesn’t get any cheaper and you know you are going to do it, so register now.
great race
The Cheseboro Half Marathon is mostly on trails and there are only a few spots left. Don’t miss this race and register today. If you miss the Cheseboro, register for the Pacific Half Marathon, another great race on the same day. The Pacific is on roads. This is an official race. It is right in the Newbury Park Sole Runners backyard. Please remember to CHOOSE “Sole Runners” under running club affiliation.

I’ll be at both races.

Train Focused, Steve Mackel – Master ChiRunning Instructor

Surf City Marathon and Half Marathon – The Longest Beer Tent Lines of Any Marathon

Super Bowl Sunday is an annual event. So are the Surf City Marathon, Half Marathon and the ridiculous beer tent lines after the races. Put the three together and you get  20,000 people taking over the coast in Huntington Beach.

We have had fantastic weather the last two years and this year looks to be more of the same. A bonus from running this race is that you get to burn off some of the calories you are going to eat watching the big game.

I’ve never run this half so I decided to run it this year. I know the course because it shares most of same mile marathon does. The half starts a little later so I can sleep in an extra hour. But, the half is crowded. Sunday, I’m going out to have a fun race without a time expectation and I am looking forward to it.

The marathon is a fast course. They limit the size so it never feels crowded. I’ve run some of my fastest times on this flat course but the it can get a little mundane. You run back and forth on PCH and the bike path. At least you get to do it with an ocean front view. The crowds are on the small side but enthusiastic.

These races sell out every year because they are well organized. Get there early, parking can take some time and may not be that close. Or, do what I do, spend the night in Huntington Beach and ride a bike to the starting line. Unless you are really a fast runner, forget about the beer tent. The post party, beer tent line get longer than the porta-potties lines before the start of the race. Because of this, I like to go run a fun, fast course, see a bunch of friends, make some new friends, burn some calories, then get ready for a great Super Bowl party.

I hope to see you there.

Race Focused, Steve Mackel – Head Coach Sole Runners Full and Half Marathon Training Programs

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