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  • Holiday Gift Guide

    This holiday season, we've got gifts for all the movers and shakers in your life. Check out our gift guides below and get gifting!

    Left to right, top to bottom: Saucony Women's Vitarun Jacket ($125) - Wind and waterproof FlexShell laminate is whisper quiet, super lightweight, and features exceptional stretch.Thermal, stretch fabric across the back and under arms keeps you dry and moving with ease. Soft, ultra-breathable fleece lining wicks sweat and feels great. Front and back reflectivity keeps you visible. Zipper garage for chafe-free comfort. Envelope thumbholes keep sleeves in place and hands warm. Also includes zippered front hand pockets and hidden front zippered chest pocket. New Balance Men's Windblocker Jacket ($160) - The Windblocker Jacket is designed to help you run comfortably all season long. It’s made from lightweight woven fabric with windblocker panels that helps make running through blustery conditions feel like a breeze. Plus, a zip chest pocket and hand pockets safely stash essentials, while 360° reflective details shine under city lights. Brooks Men's Threshold Tight ($100) - Warm running tight, Fleece interior: DriLayer thermal fabric retains warmth, wicks moisture and moves with you. Sweat-resistant pocket. Ankle zippers all the tights to be taken on/off over shoes. New Balance Women's 860v8 Running Shoe - Lace up the new 860v8 for women and you get responsive cushioning and reliable support when you hit the road for your run. Sneaker features TruFuse midsole that delivers sustained cushioning, while a dual-density post helps ensure stability mile after mile, so you can go the distance. (In-store only). Brooks Women's Threshold Tight ($95) - Warm running tight, Fleece interior: DriLayer thermal fabric retains warmth, wicks moisture and moves with you. Wide flat power waistband, 1 sweat-resistant pocket. Garmin Forerunner 935 ($500) - Who needs rich data like running dynamics, wrist-based heart rate, training status and VO2 max that Forerunner 935 offers? A dedicated athlete like you who’s ready to beat yesterday. This premium GPS running/triathlon watch helps you fine-tune your training and recovery to be a better athlete. Kahtoola NANOspikes ($49.95) - Ultralight, low-profile flexible winter traction that lets you run across iced-over and snow-packed trails and streets—as well as on pavement—with confidence, and without affecting foot strike. Brooks Men's Ghost 10 ($120) - The smoothest ride possible, for runners who want a plush, adaptable fit. SHOP THESE AND OTHER GREAT GIFTS FOR THE RUNNER IN YOUR LIFE HERE >>

    PrintLeft to right, top to bottom: Patagonia Men's Nano Puff Jacket ($199) - Windproof and water-resistant, the Nano Puff® Jacket is made with warm, incredibly lightweight, highly compressible 60-g PrimaLoft® Gold Insulation; ideal as outerwear, or as an insulating layer in colder climates. Merrell Moab 2 Vent ($100) - With a performance suede leather and mesh upper, the Merrell Moab 2 Vent feels great and performs even better. This ventilated hiker uses a breathable mesh lining and M Select Fresh technology to keep your feet dry and odor-free, even as you work up a sweat. A molded nylon arch shank and a rubber toe cap grants stability and protection in rough terrain. Patagonia Women's Nano Puff Jacket ($199) - Windproof and water-resistant, the Nano Puff® Jacket is made with warm, incredibly lightweight, highly compressible 60-g PrimaLoft® Gold Insulation; ideal as outerwear, or as an insulating layer in colder climates. Garmin fenix 5X ($600 now thru Dec. 24) - This GPS sports watch is packed with features, including built-in maps that can direct adventurers to nearby sites and attractions. Prana Men's Brion Pant ($75) - The Brion Pant is cut from Prana's Stretch Zion Fabric, designed with performance 4-way stretch, quick-dry technology and a water-repellent finish. These slim-fit active pants are abrasion resistant and feature mesh pockets, 5-pocket styling, reinforced rivets and UPF 50+ sun protection. Keen Women's Terradora Waterproof ($130) - Major comfort and a secure fit, with style to spare. This waterproof hiker goes from off-grid trails to treks around the city, propelling you on the uphill climb and cushioning you on the way back down. Prana Women's Meme Pant ($85) - The Meme Pant is cut from Prana's Stretch Zion Fabric, designed with performance 4-way stretch, quick-dry technology and a water-repellent finish. This cargo pant is cut for a fitted silhouette with a mid-rise and skinny leg. SHOP THESE AND OTHER GREAT GIFTS FOR THE ADVENTURER IN YOUR LIFE HERE >>


    Left to right, top to bottom: Lole Faith Jacket ($330)Facing winter is a piece of cake in this two-tone Lolë jacket. The shaped-fit and adjustable hood keep you warm and protect you from the elements on long hikes. Spiritual Gangster The Universe is on My Side Tank ($72) - In GR and Birmingham stores only. Prana Briann Pant ($79) - The Briann Pant is made from Prana's original Stretch Zion performance fabric and woven with a durable water repellent finish. These mid-rise fitted pants feature quick drying technology, UPF 50+ sun protection, traditional 5-pocket styling, and a skinny leg in multiple inseams. Lole Bellamy Sweater ($125) - On cold days, slip on this Lolë sweater made of alpaca wool. In this warm and soft knit, you’ll stay wrapped up in warmth and comfort all winter long. Smartwool Popcorn Cable Socks ($22.95) - Wearing the Popcorn Cable is like wearing your favorite comfy sweater on your feet. Bursting with varying texture zones and patterns, this cushioned style is one of our most comfortable socks ever. Adidas Ultraboost LTD ($180) - Combining sport-proven performance with sleek style, the Ultraboost recaptures the feeling of your best-ever run. Built for the dedicated runner, these women's shoes deliver superior long-distance support. They feature a sock-like adidas Primeknit upper that adapts to your foot's changing shape as you run. In store only. SHOP THESE AND OTHER GREAT GIFTS FOR YOUR FAVORITE SUPERMOM HERE >>


    Left to right, top to bottom: Alo Yoga Glimpse Long Sleeve Top ($68) - For days with a bit of chill, spring for the Glimpse Long Sleeve Top. The high-low hem with extreme side slits will keep things stylish. In GR and Birmingham stores only. Hydro Flask 24oz Standard Mouth Flex Cap Bottle ($34.95) - From office to trail, this tall drink of water will go anywhere you go – and will provide 24 ounces of pure refreshment along the way. Alo Yoga Moto Legging ($114) - From the mat to what’s before and after, Alo's patented Moto Legging fits into your lifestyle. On-trend moto-inspired quilted stitching and mixed matte shine fabric with mesh detail. In GR and Birmingham stores only. Picky Bars ($2.75) - These bars feature all natural ingredients pulled straight from the “Feel Good” pantry. The result? Energy bars ready to go all-in on your next adventure. AfterShokz Trekz Titanium ($100) - The lightweight and comfortable Trekz Titanium wireless stereo headphones are the safest alternative to traditional sport headphones and earbuds. Bone conduction technology, an open ear design and a suite of convenient features deliver premium music play and crystal clear calling without compromise. Patagonia Atom Sling ($59) - The take-everywhere classic sling design with just the right amount of organization and close-fitting comfort. A staff favorite for good reason. SHOP THESE AND OTHER GREAT GIFTS FOR THE STUDIO LOVER IN YOUR LIFE HERE >>


    Left to right, top to bottom: Toad&Co. Merino Merritt Hoodie ($199) - Here’s a heartfelt recommendation: Add the Merino Merritt Hoodie to your wardrobe this fall. It’s light but ultra-warm, has a draped hood, wrap styling, and handwarmer pockets. Trust us, you won't regret it. Hydro Flask 16oz. Wide Mouth Flip Lid ($24.95) - Caffeinate and Go. A perfect companion for your grande coffee or tea, our 16-oz Wide Mouth is the perfect size for carrying your warming beverage of choice. Kula Women's Mitten ($45) - This super warm mitten from Kula will keep your hands toasty all winter long. Little Hotties Hand Warmer ($1) - Little Hotties Hand Warmers are an odorless, environmentally safe heat source that provide warmth and comfort in all cold conditions for 8 hours. Sorel Cozy Joan ($140) - The sporty aesthetic of a sneaker with the warmth of a winter boot, so you can adventure without being weighed down. The Cozy Joan is crafted with supple waterproof leather and suede and 100g insulation to seal out the elements, while plush faux-fur collar trim keeps things super cozy. Smartwool Trekking Heavy Crew Socks ($20.95) - Our thickest Smartwool sock, heavy full-cushioning provides shock absorption, offers insulation against the elements, and supports under weighty loads. An arch brace holds the sock in place and adds additional support. SHOP THESE AND OTHER GREAT GIFTS FOR THE FRIEND WHO IS ALWAYS COLD IN YOUR LIFE HERE >>


    Left to right, top to bottom: The North Face Thermoball Jacket ($199) - Ace your next multiday backpacking trip in a lightweight jacket with synthetic ThermoBall™ insulation that retains loft to keep you warm in wet conditions. Packs down into its own hand pocket. Prana Payne Beanie ($35) - The Payne Beanie from prAna is a men's beanie with medium gauge textured beanie with twisted yarns and a ribbed edge with Fair Isle pattern. Garmin Fenix 5 ($500 now thru Dec. 24) - This multisport GPS watch is packed with features and fit for adventures with a rugged design that has a stainless steel bezel, buttons and rear case. Nikwax Specialty Gear Fabric Detergents - Keep all your gear in top shape with these specialty gear washes designed for specific materials and needs. Smartwool PhD Outdoor Mountaineer Socks ($34.95) - The right gear can make or break any expedition. That's why Smartwool created the new PhD® Outdoor Mountaineer socks, our most technical mountaineering socks ever. There's some serious sock science to work in these all-mountain socks, including revolutionary Indestructawool™ technology for ultimate durability and the 4 Degree® elite fit system for a dialed fit. Kombi Sanctum Gloves ($100) - Warm and dry as long as you need it to be, the Sanctum glove features a heater pack pocket with waterproof YKK zipper. Glove friendly ladder-lock wrist cinch with easy-grab bead. Soft nose wipe on thumb. Fingertip wrap-cap construction. Soft-Stretch fleece inner cuff. The North Face ThermoBall Lifty Boot ($160) - Burly and super warm, this execution of the modern and lightweight. ThermoBall™ Versa is built for long, hard days in below-freezing temperatures.  SHOP THESE AND OTHER GREAT GIFTS FOR THE SNOWBOUND IN YOUR LIFE HERE >>

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  • Give locally this Giving Tuesday

    We believe in giving back to the communities that we call home. This Giving Tuesday, we encourage you to join us in giving back to the local organizations that make a difference in our own communities. Need some suggestions? Here are a few of our favorite organizations:

    • Kids' Food Basket - Kids' Food Basket is attacking childhood hunger by providing sack suppers to thousands of kids in West Michigan experiencing food insecurity. A healthy dinner is the first step in building healthy bodies and healthy minds.
    • Boys and Girls Clubs of Greater Kalamazoo - Boys and Girls Clubs of Greater Kalamazoo serves over 2000 youth each year. By providing programming related to character education, recreation, homework support, the clubs provide a safe, nurturing environment for youth in Kalamazoo.
    • Helen Devos Children's Hospital - Helen DeVos Children's Hospital supports child-focused care for families and children from all over Michigan. From play-rooms and programming to volunteer mentors for parents, the children's hospital is a resource for the entire family.
    • Kalamazoo Loaves and Fishes - Kalamazoo Loaves and Fishes provides groceries for an average of 700 individuals each day. Grown from a collection of compassionate people, the organization has become one of Kalamazoo's most valued resources for those in need.
    • Big Brothers Big Sisters - Big Brothers Big Sisters is a mentorship organization that makes meaningful and mindful matches between adults and children in our communities. By fostering these relationships, Bigs helps to encourage confidence and inspire greatness in local youth.
    • Girls on the Run - Girls on the Run is more than a running club: it's a character-building, confidence boosting program for girls in many of our Michigan communities. By training for a 5k, the girls learn to work together, support each other and grow in self esteem.
    • No Surrender Running Club - No Surrender Running Club hosts at-risk youth from the Grand Rapids area in a training program culminating in a 10 mile run. Participants are challenged to persevere and discover a sense of accomplishment by completing the physical challenge of a long distance race.
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  • Finish line tears and the importance of cross-training

    By Chea Jackson, Gazelle Sports Public Relations

    In 2011, I ran my first half marathon. Tears were streaming down my face as I crossed the finish line. Not because I was overwhelmed with a sense of accomplishment, not even because I was so happy it was over. But because I was in an incredible amount of pain.

    Let’s back up. I started running regularly in spring 2010. I did a 5k with a group of friends and was immediately hooked. I stuck to short distances—three to five miles—and started my collection of bibs and event t-shirts. When my brother-in-law asked if I wanted to train for the Detroit Free Press Half Marathon, I dove in without thought. Ultimately, the “without thought” part is what hurt me—literally.

    I followed my training schedule religiously: three shorter runs and one long run each week, going up in mileage as the weeks went on. Mid-training, I started getting some aches in my left knee. So I iced. Stocked up on ibuprofen. Carried on with my life. In the final weeks leading up to the race, the pain was becoming intense. So I rested and hoped that if I took it easy, I’d be able to finish on race day.

    Fast forward to the face full of tears. Turns out I strained my IT band and ended up in physical therapy for several weeks. Why? Because I didn’t cross-train. It took all that pain and PT for me to learn that you should add other types of exercise, strength training and stretching into your routine to prevent injury. Cross-training can increase your stamina, prevent muscle imbalances, and work your muscles in different ways so they don’t continuously get worn down or overused by the same repetitive activity. Failing to incorporate cross-training into my routine was a critical mistake on my part, especially since I had no experience with long distance runs.

    I learned my lesson. When I did my second half marathon three years later, I did it right. I dedicated time to stretching and I worked different types of training into my routine. I found that two shorter runs during the week and my long run on Sundays was enough running to get my mileage where it needed to be. I gave myself one hard core rest day, and filled the remaining evenings with hot yoga classes or body weight circuits. If you don’t want to pay for classes or a gym membership, I highly recommend mobile applications that walk you through super effective circuit workouts that you can do at home. I’ve personally had great experiences with Nike Training Club and Aaptiv.

    I felt strong and prepared for my second half marathon. I didn’t need to take painkillers as part of my preparation and I left all knee and ankle braces at home.  At the end, there were tears again—but these were tears of excitement and happiness as I saw my mom and my husband with our sweet golden retriever pup cheering me on at the finish line.

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  • Marathon Memories and Motivation

    By Rod Wortley, Gazelle Sports Grand Rapids

    Approaching the 16-mile mark of her first marathon, Erin Laplander found herself struggling. Her coach asked how she was doing. “Terrible,” she replied. The event was the Collegiate National Championship. Erin began the race with three teammates, who all had pulled away after 25k.

    “I agreed to stay in for another two miles and moped along. I figured I’d go to 20 then drop out,” Erin said.  “At 20, I got to the aid station and thought, ‘Oh my gosh, I’ve run 20 miles. I only have 10k to go. I can’t stop now.’ My coach asked me how I was doing and I said, ‘I’m finishing this!’”

    Erin not only finished, her 3:29:26 qualified her for the Boston Marathon. However, Boston would have to wait two years as she still had her senior season of track.

    Tri Volunteer

    Since then, Erin has run eight marathons and a 50 mile trail ultra, plus hiked rim-to-rim-to-rim in the Grand Canyon in one day. Of all her running adventures, she still considers a half marathon on a track to be the craziest experience.

    “The 2013 Q-Elite Spring Half Marathon was going to be my qualifying race for Nationals,” Erin recalls. “I got in the van the morning of the race and found out the course was flooded so it had been moved to the track at Forest Hills Northern High School. We turned left for 52 ¾ laps, but it was also great to have teammates cheering for me the entire time.”

    After high school, Erin spent the next year working before heading to college and walking onto the cross country and track teams. “Nothing was expected of me. I stayed because I fell in love with my teammates. I wound up redshirting my first outdoor season. It was hard to watch everyone else when I wasn’t running,” she said. “After that I started setting goals.”

    She ran her first half marathon the next summer because her training plan called for a 13 mile long run and she wanted to get credit for going that far.

    After college, Erin made it to Boston, twice. In 2015 she ran a PR 3:26:43. “That was my favorite marathon experience,” she says. “I never had a mental slump. So many people cheering the whole time.”  She considers Boston 2016 her most humiliating marathon. It was hot. Her goal at the beginning was to re-qualify, but by halfway through she was simply hoping to finish. “I did a lot of walking in the final miles and spectators would say, ‘It’s okay to walk. The important thing is you made it here,’ but I thought, no, it’s not okay, I didn’t come to Boston to walk.” She finished in 3:46.43.

    Finishing is not negotiable. “I can’t quit,” Erin says firmly. “Just because it’s painful or not going well, I have to get to the end. Usually, the hardest part for me is between 15 and 19 miles. Mentally, I just have to get through that and I can make it the rest of the way. I don’t want a DNF on my record.”

    Without her college teammates, Erin has discovered similar value in training and racing with other like-minded folks. “It doesn’t matter if you run a 5 minute pace or 10 minute pace, if you’re out there trying to be the best you can, you’re an athlete,” she says. “I’ve joined RunGR and I’m recognizing more people at races, and being recognized myself! Some people can’t understand why anyone would get up at 7 a.m. on a Saturday to go run 20 miles, but that’s my social time. I get to spend three hours with my friends.”

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  • The Lydiard Method and Gazelle Sports Training Programs

    By Allison Land

    When it comes to training, there are a lot of different methods out there. You could follow the Galloway Method, the Daniels’ Method, the Hanson’s Method or any other training plans that are built off the aforementioned models. Every year, many runners pick a plan (or an amalgamation of plans), follow it as best they are able, and then go out and run their race. For some, it is enough to simply finish upright and uninjured. Others seek to push themselves – to chase that PR or time goal. This season, in training for the Detroit Free Press Marathon and the Metro Health Grand Rapids Marathon, all five Gazelle Sports locations tried something different. Not a new concept, but one that has helped to build many different training programs over the years. The program used? That of the legendary Arthur Lydiard – a New Zealand coach whose training method revolutionized running as we know it today.

    Both Jane Clark and Annie Dandavati, two of our Run Camp participants in Holland, completed their first Lydiard training followed by their seventh and second marathons, respectively. Despite tough weather conditions on race day and some initial reservations about training, both women found success with Lydiard.

    Lydiard is a pyramid style training. You start with an aerobic base-building phase and work your way up through hill training, anaerobic training, integration (putting it all together) and finally race day. The program is individualized to each runner’s level and physiology.

    Annie Dandavati

    “I did the most running I’ve ever done,” Annie said. “But I never felt like my body took a beating.” One of the key elements of training is proper recovery – something many runners seem to neglect. “I’m almost 55 years old,” Jane said. “This plan was so much easier on my body. I ran last year’s marathon with plantar fasciitis, and then had to visit the orthopedic doctor afterward to be sure I didn’t have a stress fracture. I didn't set out to PR this year – I just wanted to finish happy – and if this training method could get me to the finish line without tearing my body apart, that would be enough. It did.”

    Jane Clark

    Annie ran in Chicago. “It was very hot and crowded,” she said of the race. This year was the Chicago Marathon’s 40th anniversary which drew extra runners and spectators onto the course. There was a lot of anxiety surrounding her race. “People were like, ‘How are you going to do this?’” Annie’s training had not had her run any 20 mile training runs. But she felt comfortable. “I told myself not to start too fast. The first 12 miles were at an even pace, and then I sped up,” Annie said. The fruit of all of her hard work? A PR of about 13 minutes under her 2016 Chicago Marathon time.

    Jane ran in Grand Rapids, where this year it poured rain nearly the entire race and the wind howled. “I was a nervous wreck, checking the weather forecast the 48 hours before the race. I was so scared it would be black-flagged because of thunder. I went so far as to see if there was another marathon scheduled that same day that I could drive to with a better weather forecast,” Jane said. Despite the weather, the race went on. Following a 4:29 pace group deemed the “Oprah Group,” Jane stuck with them all the way until mile 20. “Then it got hard. Really hard,” she said. “But at that point I was doing a lot of math in my head and knew that even if I slowed down, I would still PR.” And she did, by about 10 minutes under her previous time. “It rained the whole way and there were big wind gusts, but that was all part of the shared experience we all were having that day.” And, of course, the fear of the unknown also followed her. Jane’s training also did not take her to – or past – that ever-exalted 20 mile training run. “I think we were all waiting for that first running friend to have their first race and we were all rooting for them to ‘prove’ that the plan worked,” said Jane.

    With any training plan, it takes trust and hard work to get to the finish line. It is no different with Lydiard training. In Arthur Lydiard’s own words, “It’s just a matter of understanding what’s necessary and discipline yourself to do it.” Jane and Annie are just two examples of runners who benefitted from Lydiard training with Gazelle Sports this season. There were far fewer injuries and many more successes out there this season. Be it crossing your first finish line, setting a new PR or finishing a race upright and smiling, Gazelle Sports is here to help!

    Click here to learn more or sign up for our training programs.

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  • Home again - the therapeutic power of trail running

    By Marc Lehman, Gazelle Sports Grand Rapids

    Another long day. Work was hectic, there’s never enough coffee, and the dog is still sick. A little red car pulls into a small, unmarked dirt parking lot. It’s empty this morning, at least that’s nice. Keys are pulled out of the ignition and stashed away. The door opens and two weary legs swing out. Two beat, dusty shoes sink into the loose gravel and take their first tentative steps into the forest. The world seems silent, heavy and slow like the dying days of winter refusing to give up. But my mind is racing. Bills. Deadlines. Unfulfilled expectations. A sick dog. Debt. Relapses. Friendships wasted away, and the promise of more to come. Feet crunch, gravel shifts, miles go by, and slowly the worries drift away as everything fades to black.

    Edge of the parking lot

    The darkness fades as I begin to notice the trees dancing in the breeze. I fly down a hill, remembering the hundreds of times I’ve run down it before, and some of the weight falls off my shoulders. Two squirrels chase each other up a tree and out of sight, and I think of the time Matt and I fartleked until we were so loopy we couldn’t even laugh right.

    I run on, memories of faster and more motivated past selves urging me on, faster and faster. Breathing is getting hard, my head is getting foggy. Thankfully my feet know these trails better than I do- they dance across rocks and roots as if they’ve rehearsed it.

    But then, a sound off to my right. My heart jumps out of my chest. There’s a bear hidden in the brush, and I didn’t even notice it and now I’m next to it and I can’t remember what you’re supposed to do when you see a bear and what if it has cubs and it’s going to eat me and I’m going to die but at least I died running but what will my mother think.

    Oh, no. It’s just a chipmunk. But now my instincts are screaming and my heart is pounding, and I feel like I just won a big race, all because I didn’t get eaten by a bear/chipmunk. It’s too much for my tired body to handle, so I slow to a walk.

    Gradually, the rushing in my ears slows. I start to notice the subtle sounds of the forest. Wind rustling in the trees, ducks smacking as they eat duckweed in the pond, a bee buzzing in the wildflowers. Even though it stormed yesterday, the forest is calm. And despite everything that happened today, I am too. After a time I start to run again, slowly. One foot goes in front of the other, and on and on. I fall back into a well-worn rhythm, and the rest of the run goes by quickly.

    The pair of well-loved shoes spring into the little gravel parking lot. Birds aren’t singing, but the clouds have parted and the sun is bright and warm. The car door opens, two strong legs climb in, and the little red car rolls out of the little cozy parking lot, back into the real world

    What is it about your home trail? In some sports, people talk about home court advantages, but things are a little different when your home court is an entire forest. Where you can run with your eyes closed because your legs know where you are better than your brain ever could. Where you’ve left more sweat, blood, and tears than you have in your own house. But every drop is an investment in memories and in the future. And so we put one foot in front of the other, and life moves forward- even when we feel like we aren’t. Because our home is always there to ground us when we get too arrogant, and to help us up when we’re down. And so through the sunrises, the storms, the laughter, the black flies, the sunsets, and the monstrous chipmunks, our trails take us as we are. And we run.

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  • Why all runners should also be trail runners

    By Trevor Wood, Assistant Merchandise Manager

    As a runner, I want to do the best that I can whenever I race. How do I do that? Not only would I advise joining a training group or social running group, but I would suggest cross training, as it can only benefit you. People have this stigma that if you do other activities you may injure yourself along the way and ruin your running plan for that season. There is a slight chance, but if you’re smart about it you’ll only make yourself stronger. Plus, it’s a change of scenery (literally) and it works different muscles throughout your whole body!

    So what am I talking about? Well, I can go into the swimming, bicycling or crossfit/bootcamps of the world, but today I want to discuss running through the woods. Yup. Trees, fields, dirt, mud pits, bogs, gravel roads, all of the above. Trail running is not only a great workout, it can be a great stress reliever as you’re putting yourself into a different mindset. You have to pay attention to where you are placing your foot, but you’re also allowing your mind to be in tune with the environment around you. You can start to feel the breeze on your skin or the sunshine hitting your face. Heck, if it’s raining and there’s enough tree cover, you might just find a dry path to run on!


    I know, running trails might take some getting used to but once you do, you realize you can achieve anything. The constant climbs and descents with a flat path in between keeps your legs guessing at how they’re going to get worked out that day. You might decide to walk up the hills, and that’s okay. Either way, your legs are now having to utilize energy differently than they would on the asphalt. Which brings me to another point, the force your body experiences is lessened when running on softer ground! Guess what joints? You might like your runner’s body more after a few miles on dirt than you would after running on asphalt.

    Plus, here in Michigan in the fall and winter we have some pretty inclimate weather so it might be cold and wet, so what’s a good solution for those situations? GORE-TEX®! Here’s a brief blurb about this amazing product: GORE-TEX® products are durably waterproof and windproof combined with optimized breathability. So you can muster up the courage to run through puddles, and if it’s raining your feet will stay dry. This is perfect for trail running since the ground may be wet.

    If you are working up the courage to do a trail run, I encourage you to attend one of Gazelle Sports’ Dirty Herd runs which typically meet on the weekends. They are helpful to beginner trail runners and can offer some challenges to more advanced trail runners. Who knows, maybe you’ll love trails so much you’ll turn into one of those people who run races farther than a marathon… an ultra marathoner! Anyone want to do a 100 miler with me?

    Learn more here >>

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  • Learn to be your own cheerleader

    The Gazelle Sports Activator Blog Series is written by a group of passionate individuals, willing and eager to share their personal stories of trial and triumph. Maintaining a healthy, active lifestyle is filled with ups and downs, lessons learned, successes and failures. Get to know them as they share their journeys—you might learn something new!

    By Eva Reiter

    In today’s post, I’d like to talk a little about the impact of using positive language during a run.

    When I began my distance running journey in 2012, and even now as I continue to grow in my training, I’ve learned something that can benefit many of us: when it comes to running, positive self-talk is crucial for success! I recently ran the annual LMFCU Bridge Run 10mile race in Grand Rapids with a long-time friend and running buddy, Amanda. Around the seven-mile mark, we started to feel the impact of the warm weather and our quicker pace during the last few miles.

    Screen Shot 2017-10-04 at 3.57.16 PM

    So, we did something that shows just how useful of a tool positive self-talk can be during a rough run: we began to concentrate on positives in order to make the run more tolerable. We started by talking about all the people we run for (i.e., in their honor, because of the positive impact they’ve had in our lives, etc.) and ended up transitioning into all the times we had survived three-mile runs even when the cards were stacked against us. Some examples included when we had run in single-digit temperatures and when we completed a run after long shifts at work. I’m sure everyone around us thought we were totally nuts, but all this goodness worked! The last three miles of the race were not a PR for either of us, but we did survive it.

    The moral of this story is that positive self-talk is a free and easy way of enhancing your running adventures. We all have tough runs, but when it comes down to it, the way we cope with the rough moments are a true testament to our emotional and physical endurance. Keep in mind, as well, that positive talk isn’t just something you should do for yourself. If you run with a partner or group, encouraging others during the race and celebrating their participation is huge.

    So what’s my challenge to you? Start bringing intention to your self-talk practice and think about how your language can impact not only your performance, but the performance of those around you as well. What can you do to pump yourself, and those around you, up? Positive energy is infectious, so spread the love and enjoy the results!

    My name is Eva and I will be one of your friendly neighborhood Gazelle Sports Activators for roughly the next year. When I’m not marauding through the streets of Grand Rapids in obnoxiously bright high-vis gear that could melt the retinas of Medusa herself, I’m a just a “normal” young professional and a profoundly proud mom of a goofy dog named Howard. I’m excited to share some of my experiences with you over the next few months and hopefully provide some form of inspiration. If nothing else, I hope to at least leave you with a laugh or two. Because who doesn’t need a laugh?!


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  • A Parents Guide to Fitting in Fitness

    By Katherine Gutwald, RD

    As a mom of three, I understand how challenging it can be to maintain an exercise routine. Finding time for a shower can seem tough, let alone finding an hour or more for your favorite physical activity or class. Whether you’re working or full-time parenting, “me time” is rarely on the top of your to-do list.

    However, finding ways to get active even in the busiest of times is important for your physical and mental health. Many parents agree that regular physical activity improves their mood and causes them to be more patient with their families.

    Here are a few tips for all of you busy parents looking to incorporate exercise into your daily life:

    Make it family fun: Too often we think that exercise needs to be done at a gym away from our families, but it might not be realistic to carve out the time (or budget!) for regular visits to a fitness club. Instead, try including your children in your workouts. Pop in a Pilates, boot camp or Zumba video and do it together as a family. This prevents you from having to choose between spending time with your kids and getting your workout in. Plus, you reinforce the importance of physical activity early on, implementing healthy habits that your kids can carry with them throughout their lives.

    Walk it out: Family walks are a great way to get moving and spend quality time together. If any of your usual destinations (school, daycare, the store, a family member’s house) are close by, choose to hoof it instead of hopping in the car. Bring the stroller or let your kids ride their bikes alongside you. Adding weighted wristbands or anklebands can be a great way to increase the challenge.

    Be efficient: Between house chores, dance classes, soccer practice and meals, going for an hour-long run might be out of the question. But what about 15 minutes? There are plenty of super short, yet highly effective, calorie-torching workouts available online. Squeezing in one, maybe even two a day can make all the difference.

    Make a gym: You don’t need a home gym or expensive equipment to get a dynamic work out—you can make a gym anywhere out of ordinary objects and spaces. Use a sturdy household chair for step-ups or leg extensions, or bring your kids to the park and do jungle gym pullups or triceps dips on a bench.  There are endless possibilities!

    Most importantly, don’t be too hard on yourself! Some days it might be easy to fit in some physical activity, other days it might be completely impossible. But getting in the habit of incorporating movement into your routine will pay off—for you and your family!

    Katie is a registered dietitian with experience educating people about nutrition throughout the life cycle, including childhood, pregnancy and adulthood. She has a passion for healthy eating, active living and creating a good balance. She and her husband are busy parents to three kids.

    K Gutwald (1)

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  • The Transformative Power of Running

    by Elle Cheung

    The only thing I did in preparation for running the Detroit Women’s Half Marathon was sign up, and that was because I didn’t want to miss out on the MarathonHER “double bling.” The week of the race, I wasn’t even sure if I was going to Detroit. I figured out where I was sleeping two days before the weekend. I picked out my race day outfit the day before and ran in it once. (Yes, the shoes were new!) I’m not a running newbie, but boy, I was sure acting like one. It was almost as if I didn’t want to run the race!

    While in the start/finish chute, I started feeling apprehensive - not because I was nervous about the distance, but because as I looked around, I saw so much camaraderie. I’ve always been a “lone wolf” type of runner, mostly because I use my runs as a time to decompress. Just as I was thinking about how great it would be to talk to someone, I was lucky enough to find a friend, and we chatted about (of course) running. This eased my nerves, and before I knew it, it was time to race. It was 8 am, and temperatures were already inching towards 80 degrees. I found out later that the humidity was over 80 percent, which may have explained why I was sweating before the race even started. Once I crossed the start line, I knew there was no turning back. The first eight miles were bearable, and the rest were a blur as I pounded out the remaining distance with a toe blister that kept causing my foot and calf to seize up into a cramp.

    However, it’s not so much the race I remember as it is the finish - not my finish, but the finish of others. My finish was pretty anti-climatic. I tried my best to speed up as I crossed the final timing mat and a volunteer placed a medal around my neck. What I will remember most about this race is joining some of our Gazelle Sports Team Leaders in cheering on their run campers. Watching them cross the finish line was simply amazing. There were hugs, laughs, and yes, some tears.

    It reminded me of how awesome running is, and how it truly is a transformative activity, not just physically, but emotionally. I’ve let running become this thing to do, another item to check off my list. I tick off the miles in my training program each week while forgetting that it truly is an honor to be able to run. I may not always be happy with my pace or how I look, but I have big, strong legs that can carry me miles upon miles. I’ve met some swell people through running, many of whom have become close friends. I even started working at a run speciality store years ago because of my journey into the running world. And, to top it off, I first realized that I loved my (now) husband while we were running in an adventure race together.

    Today, as I add two new medals to my medal rack, I smile because they truly are very beautiful medals. But I also smile because I remember that running has changed my life. I can’t help but think of Dr. Seuss – “Oh, the places you’ll go!”


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  • The art of juggling (a.k.a. being a mom)

    By Allison Land

    The start of the school year usually means some added down time for busy moms with school-aged children. It allows moms a bit of time to sneak in that extra workout or focus a little more on their own health and training. However, when you’re a teacher with school-aged children of your own, like Erin Rylaarsdam, the advent of the school year means finding the time to balance your own training with school and life.

    Erin has been teaching for 18 years. She threw running into the mix a decade into her career after having her second baby. “I didn’t like how I felt or looked,” Erin said. “Someone invited me to be on their 5k team and I thought, ‘Okay. Here goes.’” Despite all of the challenges that come with balancing a family, as well as a teaching job, Erin has continued to run and train since that first 5k. She has completed a few marathons, plus numerous half marathons and 5ks.


    A member of Gazelle Sports Holland Run Camp, Erin finds time to fit it all in. “I try not to waste any time because I don’t want to have to come back to a task. I try to make a plan. Running group is great for me because those days are always on the calendar,” Erin said. Often times making that plan requires some forethought... bringing athletic clothing to school so she can run after school or getting up at 4 a.m. - a time many cringe at the thought of awakening - to get a run in before her kids wake up. In spite of the early hour, Erin has come to enjoy the time. “Those quiet hours, once you get out of bed, those are the most beautiful times of the day,” Erin said.

    The hardest part of making it all work is the mom-guilt sometimes associated with being so busy. When you juggle so much, at times something’s got to fall. Sometimes, despite a carefully balanced plan, things do fall by the wayside. “Usually, it’s the cleanliness of my house or the fullness of my pantry,” Erin said. But she has come to recognize running as a necessary part of her life. “It makes me a better person when I can have my time, too.”

    Overall, Erin finds that her children have embraced her running. “My kids know it’s important. They don’t throw a fuss when I go. When I have a race, they always ask to see the medal and want to know how it went. Sometimes I tell them even if they don’t want to hear!” she said, laughing. Her youngest has even gotten into the sport with her - running Girls on the Run and a couple of 5k races with her mother.

    Erin’s best advice for busy moms, runners and teachers alike? Be where you are. “Whatever I’m doing at that moment - whatever the task in front to me - I’ll do my best right there.” That means staying focused and being present - be it with her children, while running or teaching. “I just try to do everything 100 percent when it’s in front of me.”

    Erin has set her sights on the Detroit Free Press Marathon on October 15. She will continue to run and train, balancing her life, job and family one race - and day - at a time.


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  • Starting Out - What we can learn from new runners

    By Katie Weiler, Gazelle Sports Grand Rapids

    Think back to when you first started running. Was it in middle school? Maybe high school? Or with a friend to stay in shape? It could be yesterday that you started, but regardless of how long ago it was, it is important to look back at why. Why did you fall in love with this crazy sport in the first place? The answer to this can help to drive you through the challenges you may face during training.

    I have had the opportunity to spend a lot of time with middle school cross country runners this summer and have learned a few things from them. Many are new to running. There are a handful that competed last year, but most have never run on a team before. My favorite part about spending time with them was their excitement. They would show up voluntarily on nights that were 80 degrees and muggy, and still be excited to be out there with their friends. Below I have made a list of my observations in my time with these new runners:

    • Running is a social sport: Most of the kids are joining the team because they have friends that are doing it, too. Running brings people together and allows you to make new friends, as well as have a workout partner to push you or pull you along when you begin to struggle. The social benefits of running are endless when you are able to have fun and be healthy in the company of others.


    • Overthinking is overrated: Pace, distance, mileage, etc. are not a concern for those who are just starting out. By not getting too focused on how fast they are running on every run, they are able to enjoy the company of others and save the fast stuff for workout days. Most of the kids did not have a watch. They simply ran on feeling. At times, leaving the watch at home and listening to your body on a run can be more rewarding than clocking splits for every mile.


    • Back to the basics: The most important part of every run happened before they started running. A short warm up, followed by dynamic drills set the stage early for injury prevention in these young athletes. Following the run, they would walk as a cool down and rehydrate, as well as stretch lightly. Building a routine of good habits early can help to prevent injuries or feeling tight later on. Evaluating how we warm up and cool down from a run or workout can help us see where improvements need to be made or added.


    Being in the presence of the young runners helped me to look at my own training and some of the stresses that come with running in a different way. I hope all runners, new or seasoned, can have a take away from looking back at the start and focusing on how simple this sport can be.

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