NYC Runner’s :TRAIL GUIDE

NYCtrailguide_headerJust because we live in a cement jungle, doesn’t mean green stuff doesn’t exist–we promise. There are plenty of trails to explore an hour or more from NYC, but if you’re looking for a closer-to-home adventure, we’ve got you covered. Check out our map below with 6 of our recommended spots to put in some nature miles.

The trails from easiest to most difficult:

Forest Park, Queens: 30-45 minutes from Midtown. Embrace the rolling hills in this nature-filled oasis between Queens and Brooklyn. Three main trails range from 1-3 miles long on the Eastern side of the park.

Central Park, Manhattan: In Midtown. Conquer the hills of our city on the 1.5 mile Reservoir Path or one of two Bridle Path loops at 1.66 and 2.5 miles around. These are great to tack onto a run close to home for a taste of greenery.

Old Croton Aqueduct Trail, New York: 60 minutes from Midtown. The entire trail runs 26 miles (from Yonkers to Croton Dam), and you’ll run through towns with plenty of places to stop for snacks or park a car. Not super technical, it follows a rail and lets you cover a lot of ground without pounding pavement.

Inwood Hills Park, Bronx: 35-40 minutes from Midtown. For a true in-city trail, this 2 mile loop starts out on paved paths near ball fields. After a few stairs, you’re in a leafy wonderland. Easily add onto your run by exploring the Riverside Path along the Hudson.

Van Cortlandt, Bronx: 60 minutes from Midtown. NYC’s third largest park, it dedicates a 1.25 mile and a 3 mile path to runners, along with hiking trails to journey.

Palisades Interstate Park, New Jersey: 90 minutes from Midtown. Put in a long run starting in the city, running the bridge and entering the trails or start near the Englewood Cliffs boat basin to park and run. There are multiple trails, including an 11-miler, that are accessible from here and they include hills, stairs, a boulder field and some challenging ascents.

If you want a group to run trails with, join the Paragon Trail Run 5k or 10k featuring Salomon at 9 a.m. on Saturday, April 18 in Van Cortlandt Park! We will have two vans for up to 25 people to get a round-trip ride from Paragon Sports in Union Square at 8:15 a.m. RSVP to ocheng@paragonsports.com. You’re welcome to meet us there to run the workout, as well. **Bag check, post-run coffee and sweets will be available.

runclub_footer

Meet Amanda From ALO Yoga, the Brand Everyone is Talking About

FullSizeRender

Only a few weeks away from Yoga Journal Live! in New York, we wanted to share a chat we had with a yoga brand called ALO. Marketing Manager Amanda Porter gives us an inside look to the brand, why they practice and what they do for you–the yogi’s wearing the clothes both on the mat and on the street. Part of the athleisure movement, ALO makes clothing for function and fashion that you won’t want to take off!

How ALO Got Started

“ALO Yoga was created to align with the owners’ healthy lifestyle, and to be equal parts performance and fashion so that yogis could also wear it to and from practice and beyond into everyday life,” says Amanda. On top of satisfying real yogi needs, ALO’s owners also care about their environmental impact, and strive for green-conscious yoga products.

ALO’S Mission

Speaking of green-minded, ALO stands for Air Land and Ocean to represent their environmentally conscious goals. At their location in California, you’ll find a solar-powered design studio, a paper-free warehouse and electric car charging station in the parking lot. Like the environment, workers are also treated well with a 100% no sweat shop policy. Since the beginning, ALO Yoga has been making clothing in the U.S. and internationally in a no-sweatshop, humane, sustainable way. “We treat our people the way we want to be treated,” Amanda says. “Doing things the right way has never been up for debate.”

Behind the Product

All ALO products are tested by yogis and are fit multiple times before reaching production. “That means no downward-dog peep show, no camel toe, no peek-a-boob bras. Ever,” says Amanda. They will tell you they literally sweat the small stuff so you can focus solely on your yoga practice.

Top Products

So, what are these products? A popular ALO product currently is the Airbrush Legging, a classic yoga legging with ultimate performance fabric to sculpt inner and outer thighs while lifting the booty. Zero outer seams slim the thighs and a new waistband is engineered to flatter your stomach. “It’s like wearing real-life retouching,” Amanda says. “Who doesn’t want an airbrushed version of themselves?” Next up is the patent-pending Goddess Ribbed Legging, which is both the favorite in the office and with ALO yogis. It features similar booty-lifting, thigh-sculpting qualities and extended legs to fit over your feet if you need a little extra grip or coverage in class. It’s similar to leg warmers, but built in!

What’s New?

Two new versions of the classic patent-pending Goddess Ribbed Legging are launching.

  • Mesh Goddess Legging:  ribbed leg warmer effect is replaced with forward, airy mesh legs that still tuck over the heels
  • Goddess Ribbed Legging 2: sexy, edgy, leg-lengthening leg seaming. “We seriously upped our to-and-from game,” Amanda says, “We are dying over the ballet-inspired pieces and contemporary minimalist styles that keep you cozy and looking great when you aren’t at the yoga studio.”

Inside ALO

As we mentioned, ALO employees practice what they believe and sell–and they practice right in their own office together. “You’d think it’s Game Over for the day’s productivity after a good flow and savasana, but we all get back to work with clearer, chiller heads,” Amanda says. The group yoga lets employees get to know each other in a more real, human way. Partnering up for handstands on each other’s side-by-side, sweaty mats gets them laughing with each other quickly. And ALO hosts some of the best L.A. yoga instructors to teach employees multiple times a week, so everyone gets a chance to stretch and strengthen at the on-site studio. Besides at-work yoga, Amanda says her the best part of ALO is the people. “They care about yoga, making sure our yogis look and feel great and on-trend, and the environment, and are all-around inspiring humans outside of work as well,” she says. “We’re all excited to see each other every day, which is pretty special.”

Yogi Tip for Runners

Amanda was kind enough to share a tip for us runners! Here’s her trick for tight hammies: Forward fold to really work into hamstrings. If you tighten your quad muscles, you’ll be able to draw your hips forward, creating length and a deeper hamstring stretch.

Embrace the Rain: All About Rain Shells

Another Tuesday rolls around and, lately, it seems the rain, sleet or snow arrives just for us. Run clubbers have toughed it out through this winter admiringly well. So, for some of us, rain isn’t an issue on a run. Some of us actually love rain runs!

For the rest of us, we have a few suggestions before Spring really dumps rain on us. And, there’s a few things you should know about rain shells before making the investment. Paragon Running Specialist Shameth, aka Shay, Diaz has the details.

There’s a time and place for waterproof jackets. Shay says longer runs and slower runs under a moderate to heavy rain require a waterproof shell. Keeping the rain out for the duration of the run is what matters, though he warns not to over-layer. This leads to sweating a lot, dehydrating and eventually getting cold.

If you’re the speedy type or are just out for a quick jaunt, water resistant shells are the way to go. These are light enough not to weigh you down and more breathable for the higher intensity of your run.

What do you look for in a quality rain shell?

Great question. Shay says to look for breathable materials or vents, sealed or taped seams and zippers, lightweight design, visibility like 3M reflectivity or bright colors, and a cinched hood. Your water resistant shell should last about an hour in light rain, while waterproof jackets can keep you dry on longer runs or a heavy rain.

What’s on the market?

There are so many great brands making quality rain shells, so you have fashionable options, as well as functional. Thank the Athleisure movement happening in the sporting goods industry now. Check out some of Shay’s suggestions for running-specific rain shells below!

TNF_stormytrailSHOP The North Face Stormy Trail Jacket: http://bit.ly/1LZrzE5 

NIKE_rainrunner

SHOP Nike Rain Runner Jacket: http://bit.ly/1Cbfy6E GORE_x

SHOP Gore X-Running 2.0 Jacket: http://bit.ly/1N9haTp GORE_air

SHOP Gore Air Gore-tex Jacket: http://bit.ly/19QL7d2 CRAFT_focus

SHOP Craft Focus Jacket: http://bit.ly/1LZsvZc NIKE_trailkiger

SHOP Nike Trail Kiger Jacket: http://bit.ly/1GVL1Lg BROOKS_infinity

SHOP Brooks Infinity Jacket: http://bit.ly/1BMDcD9 

If you’re still scratching your head about which jacket is right for you, stop in and say ‘Hi’ to our women associates in the running and performance department on the first floor and Shay and other associates on the lower level where men’s running clothing lives.

The Best from Paragon’s Running Shop: Top Ten Shoes This Season

It’s officially spring, and we’re all itching to get into the latest and greatest running shoes. Our specialists put together a list of both fashionable and functional new running shoes on the market. Check them out below and let us know what you think!

top10_1Nike Zoom Elite 7

  • Lower offset than most neutral Nike running shoes
  • Lightweight
  • Zoom Air unit in forefoot

What we love…

A lower offset promotes a mid/forefoot gait and the forefoot Zoom Air unit is plush and responsive.


top10_2adidas Supernova Glide Boost 7

  • Continental Rubber Outsole
  • Boost midsole
  • Engineered mesh upper
  • Neutral

What we love…

The Continental Rubber outsole is super durable and provides great grip on the roads, even when it gets slick.



top10_3

Nike Free Flyknit 4.0

  • Super lightweight
  • Minimal with 6 mm drop
  • Flyknit upper
  • Neutral

What we love…

The sock-like fit of the upper lets you run free of distraction and weight.


top10_4


Nike Flyknit Air Max

  • Extra comfortable cushioning
  • Flexible Air Unit
  • Flyknit upper
  • Neutral

What we love…

The comfort of Flyknit paired with such a large pocket of Zoom Air takes it over the top.



top10_5

adidas Ultra Boost

  • Responsive cushioning
  • Grippy rubber outsole
  • Bootie-like fitted upper
  • Neutral

What we love…

Boost is a new take on cushioning by providing more energy return than other foams on the market. It combines soft comfort and responsive energy.

top10_6Asics GEL-Nimbus 17

  • Weight reduction from previous version
  • Forefoot GEL
  • FluidFit upper
  • Stability

What we love…

GEL in the forefoot adds to this shoe’s already loved plush ride, and just in time for the runners switching focus to forefoot-strides.

top10_7Brooks Launch 2 

  • Roomy toebox
  • DNA Gel
  • Road racer
  • Neutral

What we love…

Transitioning from soft to hard upon impact, the DNA Gel provides cushion and a good return for a quick road race.


top10_8

New Balance Fresh Foam Boracay

  • 4 mm drop
  • Continual cushion
  • No-Sew application
  • Neutral

What we love…

Let the low offset and continual cushion take you far while you fly through your run.



top10_9

Asics GEL-Kayano 21

  • Updated Ortholite sock liner
  • Updated FluidRide
  • Less seams
  • Stability

What we love…

The latest FluidRide guidance system has less seams so there’s nothing in the way of your run.


top10_10


Saucony Zealot ISO

  • Lightweight
  • Max cushion
  • Road or track shoe
  • Neutral

What we love…

With this shoe, you can get maximum cushioning without the weight, which isn’t a common pairing, but we love it.

Newton Run Recap: The Shoes, The Run, The Fun

IMG_0372

Paragoners,

Last night’s Newton Sponsored Run was amazing–am I right? About 40 runners took the sunny streets in flashy Newton running shoes, renewed by the warmer weather. Once we hit the West Side Highway, the wind started to cool us off and provided a great training tool as we kept pace for our recovery run.

The highlight of the night, of course, was getting to try some new kicks for free! Comments on the run included how stylish and bright the shoes were, how different they felt and the bouncy, cushioned effect the midsole had.

“Everyone that tried them last night loved the shoes and was happy about the comfort they provided,” says Newton Tech Rep Tori Simons about getting runners’ reactions.

Before the run, Tori schooled us on what makes a Newton shoe different from other running shoes. Headquartered in Boulder, Colorado, Newton recognizes and boasts about the unusual feeling of the shoes, and it’s like no other.

“Newton running shoes have extra cushion in all the right places to help you run more comfortably,” Tori says.

The most noticeable difference is the midfoot area, where lugs and extra cushioning are present. Most of us might be used to a heel-heavy cushioned shoe, or even a more minimal shoe, so let’s review some of the innovative qualities of the various styles we wore last night:

  • Midsole cushion absorbs impact and adds responsiveness
  • POP sensation is from a dynamic movement system
  • Midfoot lugs engage to activate a trampoline membrane for energy return
  • You get enhanced ground feel, efficiency, comfort!
  • New broader P.O.P 1 platform accommodates natural foot function
  • An extended medial bridge supports without over-correcting for flatter arches and overpronation

“The event last night was great! We love doing a Paragon sponsored run for the public,” says Tori. “It’s great that the staff runs as well and has the opportunity to experience the shoes.”

We definitely are thankful for the opportunity to experience new and different running products. It helps expand our knowledge to share with our run club, helping us all become better runners!

Thank you all for joining us at Paragon last night and for coming out for some St. Patty’s Day celebrations post-run. See you next time!

-Your Paragon Pacers

run_groupshot-1

run_3-1

NYC Half Marathon: Before the Race with Paragon Runners

Let’s say HI to Jose Velez and Nirvana Macdonald, NYC Half Marathoners and Paragon Runners. Jose started running as part of a bigger goal to change his life, while Nirvana has 8 years of running under her belt and brought her knowledge to Paragon Sports as a Running Specialist in November. Both have a passion for running, and both you’ll find at our Tuesday night runs with huge smiles as they run.

Meet Jose Velez

Jose Velez Running

“In 2010, I decided to change my life,” he says.

As part of his plan for better overall well-being, Jose made fitness fun with obstacle course challenges, mud runs, powerlifting and running. The NYRR 4-Mile Run As One was his first race, and first time running 4 miles. Since then, he’s run half marathons, 10k’s, 5k’s and his first 26.2 miles for the Chicago Marathon 2014. Basically, he’s a running rockstar.

“Running gives me balance,” he says. It pushes him in ways lifting weights can’t. Exposing himself to the heat, cold, wind and rain is something he can’t recreate in the gym.

Running gives him balance mentally, as well. By tuning into his breathing and foot cadence, he blocks out the NYC noise and finds relaxation.

Jose began running with Paragon Run Club during his Chicago Marathon training in March 2014, and hasn’t stopped since.

“The variety of the workouts coupled with the knowledge from the pacers has been an integral part of my training program,” he says, and don’t forget to mention the fun, supportive group of runners at the workouts too. That means you, Paragoners!

His NYC Half training has included Tuesday night runs, of course, and runs through Central Park and the Bronx, where the hills are beast and you have to be even more beast to climb them.

“I’ve put in the miles with an emphasis on working with negative splits,” he says.

Getting progressively faster on a run helps him manage hilly terrain like Central Park, which is where a good portion of the NYC Half takes place. It will also help him speed up on the back end of the race, where the course flattens out.

Most excited to run through Times Square, Jose can already imagine the adrenaline rush of running through the crowds cheering on the racers.

“I’ll definitely soak in all the energy and use that to my advantage,” he says.

Sunday’s race is just another stepping stone to his bigger goal of running the NYC Marathon later this year. Help him hit his 2:15-2:30 goal by getting out and cheering him on at the NYC Half this weekend!

Meet Nirvana Macdonald

IMG_7240

Nirvana has ran many races, and this isn’t her first NYC Half Marathon, so we asked her a few questions about the upcoming race.

Q: What do you want runners to know about this race?

A: The NYC Half Marathon is an amazing race. I did it last year for the first time and was taken aback at how many people come out to cheer. You almost feel like a rock star!

Q: Tell us some insider information for this race course.

A: The course is a little hilly in Central Park, but once you’re out it’s pretty flat. Watch out for the West Side wind. The best part is running through Times Square and finishing up downtown.

Having the Freedom Towers to look down on as you cross the finish line–the rush and pure runner’s high is amazing.

Q: What’s your mindset going into this race?

A: I’m always nervous before a race, and I think that is pretty normal. The fear in me brings out my strength on the course.

Q: Do you have a goal time?

A: I’m hoping for 1:50, but I haven’t been as consistent with my training this winter, so this is going to be a “take what the clock says and improve on that” type of race.

At the end of the day, for me, really, it’s all about the run and running my city.

Q: Tell us more about your training.

A: I usually do three runs during the week, either speed or hills, with a long run on the Sundays. I incorporate spinning, swimming, weight lifting and hot yoga into my training. A balance of cross training truly helps with my overall well-being and helps with my running.

Q: Do you have race-day must-haves?

A: My 2XU Thermal compression tights, UA Compression Cold Gear mock, Garmin Forerunner 620 and SmartWool socks, Mizuno Inspire sneakers. All of these are products work best for me, and I love them!

Q: How did you start running?

A: I started running 8 years ago and only wanted to do a 5k. Here I am with several 5ks, 10ks, half marathons, marathons, triathlons and duathlons under my belt. It all starts.

Q: What’s your part at Paragon Sports?

A: I started in November 2014 as a Running Specialist, thanks to my friend Vivian for her recommendation. I started participating in Tuesday night runs and have found a new home among some great people who share the same passion for running as I do.

NYC_Half_Banner

#WINTERWARRIOR Winners Announced!

Freezing temperatures and MORE snow made for a great #winterwarrior contest week, and you all really came through! If you don’t already know, Paragon hosted a week-long contest encouraging you to get out into the elements and share your fitness activities with us via a social media hashtag, #winterwarrior

Thank you to ALL participants for your terrific and game-on submissions proving that you are all #winterwarriors. Though it wasn’t the easiest to pick the best, the results based on “favorites” are in!

Now presenting Paragon’s Winter Warriors of 2015…

1st Place

IMG_0388

2nd Place

Runner Up

IMG_0386

Stay tuned for future sweepstakes and thanks again for sharing your #winterwarrior posts. Stay warm out there!

#paragonruns

Don’t Miss Paragon’s adidas Ultra Boost Sponsored Run Tuesday, Feb. 24!

The newest adidas Ultra Boost is officially here. Demo it at our next run club for free! What is the adidas Ultra Boost? Weighing in at about 10.6 oz, the Ultra Boost provides just the right amount of “soft-feel” in a lightweight, breathable package. The shoe has a Primeknit mesh upper that fits like a bootie. And, Boost technology in the midsole returns energy so you can have a more efficient stride. If that’s not enough to please you, the grippy rubber outsole is durable enough to last for many miles. The best part is, you can test drive it at Tuesday night’s run club and tell us what you think! adidas Ultra Boost The Details

  • Run club starts at 6:30 p.m.
  • Demos are provided first-come, first-serve
  • Post run celebration: Trivia night at Duke’s on 19th Street

The Workout

  • Warm-up to the West Side Highway [Roughly 1-mile]
  • 14 x 30-sec [60-90-sec Faster pace OR Half-Marathon Race Pace] w/2:30 Recovery
  • Cool Down back to the store [Roughly 1-mile]

Alright #WinterWarriors – see you on Tuesday night at 6:30 at the lower level of Paragon!

#WINTERWARRIOR Contest

winterwarrior_grouprun_pp

It’s bitter cold this frosty February. If you’re facing the elements running, cycling, enjoying fresh pow or continuing your planned workout through the snow, share your new photo with us on Twitter and Instagram using #winterwarrior tagging @paragonsports

Top submissions earn a chance to be featured on Paragon Sports Facebook, Instagram and Twitter. Enter by 2/28 for a chance win a $50 Paragon Sports gift card, 2XU jacket, or a yoga mat.

winterwarrior_vivian_insta

#winterwarrior

Sweat Together, Eat Together, Stay Together

Who: Athletes in love

Where: NYC

When: Valentine’s Day

What: The Ultimate Date

We all know runners are a little quirky. We’d rather run 5 miles than do basic household chores. So, what if ‘date night” could be cross-training for our next race? In NYC, anything is possible.

CityRow, at Fifth Ave and 14th Street, February is ROWMANCE month. They are challenging clients to attend class 12 times in the month and reward them with a free “Rowmance” tank top.

“It’s all about love for our clients and encouraging them to commit to fitness,” says Ashley Davis, COO at CityRow.

Part of the month-long promotion is a whole day of Rowmance on Valentine’s Day, including signature morning classes, a partner 11 a.m. class and DJ Huggy Bear spinning live at 12:30 and 3 p.m. classes. Partner classes aren’t offered frequently, so this weekend is the perfect day to take the plunge.

Rowing isn’t your thing? Tap it back by spinning – Peloton Cycle in Manhattan offers two Valentine’s Day classes in the a.m. Robin Arzon, an NYC cycling instructor and ultramarathoner, coaches the Saturday 9:30 a.m. class “45 min Cupid Shuffle Ride,” focusing on cadence, music and defined resistance.

Following your couple’s workout, pick up a quick, healthy snack at Liquiteria to refresh and keep hunger at bay. Located all over the city, you’ll get your nutrients in a convenient bottle.

Once you’ve worked up a sweat together, hit the massage table together with one of the 6 Romantic Couples Massages at Allure Day Spa in Midtown. Couples massages are affordable and they offer deep tissue massages–perfect for sore athletes.

“It’s all about love for our clients and encouraging them to commit to fitness,” says CityRow COO Ashley Davis.

By now, you’re both starving. Hop on a Citi Bike across town (maybe even take a few detours through Central Park or to enjoy the city views) to Gotham West Market, a day & night market and dining destination in Hell’s Kitchen. Open until 11 p.m. weekends, satisfy your hunger at one of six foodie spots, and grab a cup of Blue Bottle Coffee for an evening pick-me-up.

With that, we’ll leave the rest of the evening to you. Happy Valentine’s Day Paragoners!

Courtesy of CityRow

Courtesy of CityRow