"Disclaimer: I received a SPIBelt Performance Series to try as part of being a BibRave Pro. Learn more about becoming a BibRave Pro (ambassador), and check out BibRave.com to review find and write race reviews!"
Have you ever gotten ready to head out for a long run, wearing your new favorite leggings, only to realize you have no pockets? Well, don’t panic I have found the perfect solution. Spibelt Performance Series.
This elastic, adjustable belt with an expandable pocket fits along your waist. It’s really a perfect option when you don’t have pockets and need to bring a few things along for a run, workout or even just a walk in the park.
I received this pocketed belt to test out and I will just say up front, I was pleasantly surprised. It was super comfortable and subtler than I expected. I found this version of the Spibelt to be very versatile, and not just a “running” product. I tested this product for a couple training runs, a trail race and even to go to yoga. I also wore it one day when running errands and didn’t want to drag along a purse with me.
This belt is definitely a value at $26. It seems to be durable, so you will definitely be able to use it for a few seasons without a lot of wear and tear.
Here is what I liked:
What I wished was a different:
If you are looking for a Secret Santa gift for your active friends this must be on your shopping list! If you purchase it before 11/18 you can use my discount: bibchat2016 for 20% off
Disclaimer: I received coaching services from Ekiden Coaching as part of being a BibRave Pro. Learn more about becoming a BibRave Pro (ambassador), and check out BibRave.com to review find and write race reviews!
If you follow my blog you should know that trail running is still fairly new to me. I ran many miles as a road racer, most without elevation. Coming to LA and trying out trail running with some serious elevation gains was literally like learning to run all over again. Yes I have a good endurance base, but all that goes out the window when you hit the mountains of Southern California.
Earlier this summer I made a commitment to run a fall trail race. I choose Whoos In El Moro, because it was very well reviewed, and offers a challenging course I could seriously train for. I hired a friend/coach to put together a training plan for me, and coach me on trail running 101. This was an amazing first step into my training and helped me develop a base level where I felt comfortable running on trails an conquering the hilly climbs.
Then I had an opportunity to test out a launch of a new coaching group, Ekiden Coaching. I was looking for an option to fine tune the end of my training and get feedback on how things were going. Ekiden Coaching fit perfectly into that plan.
Ekiden Coaching is a company founded by some very well-known reputable guys in the running world. Not only are they serious athletes themselves but both have both worked for many years within the running community. Peter Duyan has a web design background including products with Strava and Fitbit. Mario Fraioli the head coach, was most recently the senior editor at Competitor magazine. I was very familiar with Mario, and his weekly email blog, so I was pumped to have the opportunity to test out is newest project. (PS Mario also started the Instagram hashtag #saytwowords)
Ekiden Coaching is an on-line coaching service, but don’t let that fool you. The coaches are very hands on and personable. They offer a broad variety of coaches to cater to a wide audience. If you are just starting out, looking to win a marathon or even 100-mile trail race, there is a coaching option for you.
The starting process was very easy. Once you register, you are sent a survey which includes questions regarding your experience, goals and training styles. The questionnaire is pretty comprehensive and I found providing honest answers got me paired with a very compatible coach. I mentioned in my questionnaire that I was running a trail race, only wanted to run 4 days a week, and how important it was for me to include cross training into my weekly schedule. My coach was an absolute perfect match. Coach Jenny is a yoga instructor, a personal trainer and has run numerous trail races. She even knew the Southern California race I was running pretty well.
Once your coach has been selected you schedule a phone consult to discuss your plans, needs and concerns. I found my coach was very attentive to my conversation, which enabled her to set up a solid training plan for me.
When the training begins an athlete is provided a weekly training plan via their website. Their website links with Strava, so you need to log your training runs and workouts on Strava in order for the process to work. (PS, Strava has a free option and syncs with most running watches) When the Strava training log syncs into the Ekiden website, your coach can review your runs in an effort to tweek the plan or provide feedback. For those type A runners, the Ekdien plan gives you the ability to check off training from your list by showing a blue dot when a workout is complete and a red dot when it isn’t. (yes the goal is to get that blue dot).
One thing that sets this on-line coaching system out from others, is the communication between coach and athlete. There are various levels of coaching you can subscribe to, but the basic level offers weekly feedback and/or communication with the coach. From what I have heard, most Ekiden coaches download about two weeks of the training schedule at one time to the system. However one huge benefit in all options, is that the coaches text the next day’s training plan to your cell each night. I found this communication great, especially for speed work days. You don't need to write down your workout for that day, just refer to your daily text.
If you haven’t had a coach before, not having to think about what is next on your training plan is one of the best features to hiring a coach, but when you literally have your training plan on a text the night before, well it doesn’t get much easier than that. If you aren’t able to do a specific workout or need to modify a plan that week, you can just send a message back to your coach and they will make adjustments.
I have to say I really enjoyed the interactive process. My coach was able to review my training progress and plan my next week’s training accordingly. When I needed more running she pushed my workouts, and then followed it with active recovery such as yoga. This was exactly what I was looking for in a training plan and I appreciated that she took my needs into consideration. When a coach only wants to stick to the training type of their personal running style, I honestly don’t think that makes for a success training cycle for the athlete. It is so important that the coach listens to the needs and realistic progress of the runner and is willing to find a plan that works with their needs. Maybe I got lucky with my match, but Coach Jenny did just that. She heard my needs, knew my goal race, understood my desire to incorporate cross-training and yoga and used that to develop weekly plans. I was able to ask questions and once a week she would respond back with my answers or feedback.
I could go on and on about the benefits of a coach, but that only works if you have a coach that is right for you. Ekiden does just that. They have a variety of coaches from all different backgrounds, so there is something for everyone. I experienced a very welcoming coach and the training tools are so easy to use. **However, keep in mind an on-line coaching experience can't really provide you with feedback on your running form or efficiency. You will need to look elsewhere for those one-on-one personal critiques.
I ran my race this past Saturday, and it went really well. Even though I only utilized the coaching from Ekiden for the last 4 weeks, I think it really made a difference. I went into my race, strong, well-rested and very confident in my ability to reach goals. My coach even sent me a message the afternoon after my race to find out how I did. That meant a lot to me, it meant she actually cared, even though I was just an athlete reviewing her services. I am already plotting out my next trail run, and you better believe Ekiden coaching will be a part of my training plan.
Are you running a race in the next few months? If so you should try Ekiden Coaching. Monthly coaching options are pretty affordable, with pricing starting at $59 a month to $249 a month for high level plus program. There are also monthly packages that offer even lower rates. Bonus: if you buy a three-month pack, use code BibRave16 and get one month free!
"Disclaimer: I received Luvo frozen entrees as part of being a BibRave Pro. Learn more about becoming a BibRave Pro (ambassador), and check out BibRave.com to review find and write race reviews!"
If you have known me for a while you know I eat a fairly clean diet. This includes no milk products, and a weekly food ratio of about 90% real foods to 10% processed foods. We tend to cook a lot of fresh meals in my home with a large component of those meals being vegetables. So, when I was offered the chance to try a frozen meal option I needed to do a little research before I said yes. However, once I found out more about Luvo, I was excited to see if the product lived up to the reviews.
Luvo’s mission is to provide consumers with great tasting, nutritious, well balanced and sourced, easy to prepare healthy food. Their products are frozen and packed in a patented steam pouch which preserves the flavor while making super convenient. Simply pop this recycled paper “Steamazing” pouch in the microwave and you will get perfectly cooked meal with even balanced flavors.
I received two entrée flavors to sample; a vegetable bimpop and the Orange Mango Chicken. The Bimpop was so delicious. Now, I have a thing for rice bowls…I’m currently obsessed with them, so I honestly was skeptical of a frozen veggie dish. However this take on a rice bowl had perfectly cooked veggies and some serious flavor to the sauce. The Orange mango chicken was very tasty too. The ratio to meat, veggies and rice was very well balanced.
Not only are Luvo dishes well sourced but they take pride in making them truly healthy. My dishes had less than 500 calories a meal with each serving being a good portion size. The ingredients were definitely “real food” vs processed ingredients made to look like the real thing.
After trying these out for a few weeks here is why I they have won me over as a consumer:
The one downside to their packaging is that is comes in a cooking pouch. While this pouch technology allows the food to cook evenly, you lose a bit of the sauce when the food is taken out of the pouch. I am sure they include extra sauce for this reason, however the sauce is what holds the flavors to the meal.
Overall I was pleasantly surprised with how much I liked this product. The choices I sampled tasted great, were very convenient for those “on-the-go” days, with so many food choices to try. Great tasting food from a company with strong core values is why I'll be added Luvo meals to my weekly shopping list.
If you are a runner who listens to music you know the aggravation earphone cords can be. So when I had the opportunity to test out a wireless option, I jumped at the chance.
Disclaimer: I received Aftershokz Trekz Titanium wireless headphones to review as part of being a BibRave Pro. Learn more about becoming a BibRave Pro (ambassador), and check out BibRave.com to review find and write race reviews!"
Meet the Trekz Titanium Pink wireless headphone by Aftershokz. While they are wireless they are not earbuds, and have a very unique quality about them. With bone conduction technology the headphones rest outside the ear, rather than inside the eardrum, as an earpiece. Making it even better, I got to try out a special Pink set in honor of Breast Cancer Awareness month.
I have to admit I was a little skeptical of the sound quality, so I put them to the test for my weekly long runs. Most people wear the set down the backside of your head, closer to the neckline while resting the ear piece on the temple. I chose to wear the headset on top of my ponytail, as it seemed to fit my head a bit better for the run. I tried them out on numerous long runs and honestly fell in love with them.
When running the trails it is important that you are aware of your surroundings, and listen for obstacles such as animals and road bikes. The Trekz are not noise canceling as they rest on the outside of your eardrum, vs resting inside your ear like a typical ear bud so I had a feeling this would be a good option. As I headed out for my first run with them, it took me a few minutes to adjust the placement of the ear piece, and the volume. Once I hit the right spot on my temple, I was golden. The noise literally travels through your bone into your ear canal, and allows you to hear the music or podcast while keeping you aware of other noises near you. This bone conducting technology is truly quiet amazing. The sound quality is really good, but if that isn’t quite enough for you, just place earplug in your ears which cancels out any exterior noise. Now, yes I know what you’re saying..how can you use earplug while listening to earphones? It’s their amazing technology and it really does work.
While running, the headset did not jostle around and was quiet comfortable. I used them for a few runs over 3 hours and the battery life still had more available, (the company claims they have a 6 hour use battery life.) PS. They are also sweat resistant, and after 3 hours of trail running that is a major plus.
Since my test on trail runs, I have used my Aftershokz at the gym, commuting to work and even while lounging at the pool. I found them quiet versatile, flexible and lightweight. I have definitely become a convert.
One other thing I was really drawn to about the headphones, was the company Aftershokz. With October right around the corner, AfterShokz is joining the fight against breast and ovarian cancer by going (Bright) Pink!. For every unit sold on aftershokz.com from September 1st to October 31st, 2016, AfterShokz will donate 25% of proceeds to Bright Pink, a non-profit that focuses on breast and ovarian cancer awareness and action. Plus Every time #AwareWithPink is used on Facebook, Twitter or Instagram, AfterShokz will donate an additional 25 cents to Bright Pink to extend the awareness. Spreading the hashtag will fund Bright Pink’s ongoing efforts to educate and drive awareness about how being proactive can make all the difference.
I love this initiative and hope if you are considering purchasing a set that this initiative is the deciding factor. Plus if you Use discount code PINK for a FREE small portable storage case to go with your Trekz Titanium Pink headphones.
Add this item to your cart, and apply code “PINK” at checkout to get it free!