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.

COMPRESSION: AN ATHLETE’S BEST FRIEND

Socks, sleeves, tights, shorts–you name it, it’s compression these days. Though it’s not for everyone, compression isn’t just used for medical reasons anymore. Athletes are using it after hard workouts to recover, during long runs to improve circulation, and to move more efficiently.

Runners, read on because we are on our feet for long periods of time and compression might be the answer. It’s not completely understood exactly how soreness can be alleviated, but many runners and athletes swear by their compression gear. Here’s a few reasons why:

  • Increases blood flow
  • Limits swelling and inflammation
  • Speeds recovery
  • Reduces vibration
  • Warms up skin
  • Improves efficiency through muscle support

“Keeping oxygenated blood flowing to the muscles is important for performance,” Paragon Running Specialist and avid runner Brian McGregor says. “The more oxygen the cells have, the better they will function.”

During exercise, lactic acid is produced as a waste product, and if it’s not removed it can contribute to soreness and decreased ability to perform, Brian explains.

When is it best to use compression? It really depends on the type of workout. During a long run (I’m looking at you marathoners and ultra marathoners) compression can improve circulation. This keeps the blood from pooling at your feet, and can even help prevent lightheadedness related to blood flow. If you’re taking on the track for a speed workout, you might want to grab your compression gear, too. The tight hold of the compression helps reduce muscle vibration, which improves efficiency and can reduce delayed soreness.

“As a runner, I have so much shock and vibration going through my leg muscles as I pound the pavement with 3-5 times my body weight while running,” says Brian.

At one point, compression was seen as white granny socks that went up to the knee. Now, it’s even in your running shorts. Your quads and hamstrings are large muscle groups that get used every step of your run. If you take about 2,000 steps in a mile, a 7 mile run uses these muscles about 14,000 times! Over time, this use and many vibrations add up and fatigue muscles. 2-in-1 shorts allow you to still wear your favorite running shorts with the benefits of compression on these key muscle groups.

Though compression shorts or tights are common, graduated compression is another option. Compared to constant compression, graduated features the strongest compression near the ankle and decreases up the leg. The idea behind it is to aid in pushing the blood back up the legs and to the heart.

For more detailed accounts of how compression affects performance and recovery, check out this AIS (Australian Institute of Sport) research using 2XU lower body compression.

“I’ve been wearing compression for more than 5 years now,” says Brian. “I’m afraid to know how my body would feel if I didn’t have it.”

If all this compression talk made you curious, try it out yourself with these styles:

Athleisure: Athletics and Leisure Unite

Maybe you’ve heard the word Athleisure being tossed around at the gym lately. What is it? The latest term for multi-use athletic apparel, athleisure means it’s easy to meet friends after CrossFit and wear the same basic outfit, especially tights. It means paddle-boarding in the same sports bra as the run to the beach. Add in the latest colors, technical fabrics and patterns, and you have a rockin’ multi-use wardrobe.

We’re here to share what’s in this spring and how to get the best tech and fashion in your workout wardrobe, so when you hear “Athleisure Row” at your next Union Square-area row class, you’ll be in the know. Our own expert weighs in on upcoming trends you can find right here at Paragon!

Buyer Sara Williams in Candida Maria tights

Buyer Sara Williams in Candida Maria tights

For the spring and summer seasons, it’s all about sea foam mints, bright blues and teals with purple pops, says Sara Williams, Paragon’s Swim & Women’s Fitness Buyer.

Prints have been trending, but now prints and mints will be color-blocked for a bold look. “Hi-vis” colors like Nike’s Volt yellow and Maaji Swimwear’s bright pinks keep you visible during a workout and give a pop of color on the streets. We all know it’s still going to be dark for a few more weeks at 6:30 p.m. run club!

What makes the latest tights truly athleisure is not just the fun patterns and colors, but the technical fabrics and features, as well. Mesh is coming in a big way. Incorporated into paneling of tights, mesh makes for a cool look and a cooled down workout. Fabrics themselves are wicking sweat faster, drying faster, or both. Maaji Swimwear features suits for a swim and athletic clothing suitable for water.

“Swim is being incorporated into lines and silhouettes,” says Sara. “Fabrics in athletics can be used in water.”

This is just one reason 2015 spring tights are more than a running piece or yoga apparel. With their flashy looks and comfortable wear, you’ll have a hard time not wearing them for every run, yoga session or cycling class.

Speaking of cycling, those of you into SoulCycle are probably thankful for the bent-over coverage from the current high-rise tights trend. CrossFit and Kettlebell workouts aren’t going away either, and they both involve squats and bending–opportunities to show more derriere than you intend. Spring and summer shapes have molded, unique waistbands and overall fit to keep you covered while moving comfortably.

Though temps are frigid today, think and wear spring knowing your new tights and workout gear are part of the athleisure movement of 2015. Show them off at Paragon’s next Tuesday night run club and you might get featured on our newest Instagram handle!

WHAT’S IN YOUR BAG with Devang Petal

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Are you running in the NYC Half Marathon or Boston Marathon? Well, our runners are training for some big races and we decided to link up with them to share some of their pre-race preparations. This week, we met up with our Running Specialist, DEVANG PATEL, for a sneak peek into his bag of RUNNING ESSENTIALS. Currently, Devang is doing a lot of cold weather runs in preparation for the NYC Half on March 16th. GOOD LUCK DEVANG!! Here’s a look at what he is into these days…

whatsinyourbag_devang_inside_wp

A. The ADAPT GLOVE II by Brooks converts from glove to mitten and has built in LED lights for high visibility on night runs.

B.  The FORTREZ BEANIE by Arc’teryx is a lightweight, low profile, insulated beanie.

C.  The IRONMAN THUNDER PRO by Wigwam is a lightly cushioned sock with a durable design.

D. The ESSENTIAL WINDSTOPPER  by GORE is an ideal softshell for runners with a tight fitting hood, front pockets and elastic cuffs with thumb holes.

E. The AMBIT 2S from SUUNTO is one of the most popular and reliable GPS watches on the market.

F. THE STICK is an essential recovery tool for deep tissue massage, especially after cold weather runs.

G. The JUREK GRIP from ULTIMATE DIRECTION water bottle’s simple design with built-in handle, makes it easy to stay hydrated.

H. GEL BLAST CHEWS by POWERBAR can provide that extra burst of energy you need before or during your run.

I. The ENERGY BOOST by ADIDAS is Devang’s go-to running shoe because of its good support, lightweight design and durability.

J. These REFLECTIVE RUNNING TIGHTS from NIKE take both style and safety into consideration.

What’s your favorite race-day essentials? Share with us what’s in your bag in the comments below for a chance to get spotlighted on our blog.