Stories by Cory

Cory Smith is a Santa Barbara, CA based athlete, online running coach and freelance journalist specializing in running and climbing related content and gear review. He draws from over 25 years as an elite runner and rock climber for ideas, inspiration and expertise. His work has been featured in Outside Magazine, Trail Runner, Gear Patrol, Philadelphia Magazine, Gear Junkie, Gear Institute and Podium Runner. He can be reached at If you're interested in getting coached by Cory visit


ASICS Challenges Nike Super Shoe With 'MetaSpeed Sky': Review

With ASICS’s latest running shoe, Nike can no longer claim dominance as the fastest shoe on the market. We put the MetaSpeed Sky to the test to see how it stacks up to the vaunted Vaporfly. I’ve tested every carbon fiber running shoe on the market. The Nike ZoomX Vaporfly NEXT% is hands down the best carbon fiber running shoe for competitive runners. It was the super shoe that helped break the 2-hour marathon barrier, and lab tests confirmed it markedly improved running efficiency. It’s the un

The Best Pull-Up Bars of 2021

Despite its simplicity, a horizontal bar is probably the single best piece of strength equipment you can have. Dollar for dollar, you can squeeze out more exercises and hit more muscle groups than with any other piece of home fitness equipment. Want a V-shaped back? No problem – do wide and short grip pull-ups. Bulging biceps? – bust out some chin-ups. Six-pack abs? – leg raises and windshield wipers are your ticket to that coveted chiseled torso. I’ve spent my fair share of time on a pull-up

The Best Fitness Watches of 2021

A good fitness watch assures your workout is tracked and logged in addition to providing data to get you in better shape. We tested the leading fitness trackers and GPS watches to find the best. Fitness encompasses a host of activities from walking to running to golfing, all with different metrics to track. The best fitness watch or fitness tracker is one that fits your workout regime, tracks the data, and fits with your lifestyle. Beyond my own testing, I reached out to the clients I coach an

'Float' Workouts: How to Become a Mentally Stronger Runner

If you want to improve your running, you must add a healthy dose of interval training. This is an undisputed fact. However, as a running coach, there’s one thing I don’t like about interval training: the rest. I’m not saying you shouldn’t include rests, and I don’t discount the value of traditional interval training. But I suggest including a different form of speed work, one where the recovery is not so much an actual rest, but rather a continuation of the speed interval. Most interval workou

Spice Up the Your Run Workout: Tempo With a Twist

Of all running workouts, perhaps the most popular is the tempo run. It also happens to be one of the most boring workouts. We can fix that. Holding a steady pace that is often described as “comfortably uncomfortable” for 20 to 60 minutes can feel like a monotonous chore. However, there’s no denying that if done properly, tempo runs can help you run faster. They make you better because you maintain a pace where your lactic acid levels remain steady, so your body’s ability to deal with lactic aci

No Vert, No Prob: Try This Hill Repeat Workout for Faster Mountain Runs

Adding a tempo run before these ascending hill repeats turns any run-of-the-mill incline into a true mountain workout. Unless you’re fortunate enough to live in a mountain town, it can be hard finding consistent elevation gain to properly train for mountain races. If you don’t have easy access to tons of vert, this workout is for you. The workout has two parts: a short tempo run, followed by hill repeats that get longer with each rep. Most of the mountain races like the Cirque Series or Skyrun

How to Boost V02 Max: Billat 30-30 Interval Workout

Increase your V02 max — the maximum amount of oxygen your body is capable of utilizing — with this short, fun fartlek workout. I’ll be perfectly blunt: As a running coach, I’m not a fan of high-intensity interval training (HIIT) for most runners. I don’t dispute its effectiveness in improving fitness. It’s just that short workouts at maximum effort, followed by short recovery, can be a recipe for injury or over-training if not properly structured and monitored. Mindlessly throwing yourself int

The Evolution of Modern Running Shoes

Steve Jobs once said, “You can’t connect the dots looking forward; you can only connect them looking backward.” So, in 2009 when Christopher McDougall published his New York Times best-selling book, Born to Run, in which he told the story of an ancient running tribe called the Tarahumara and suggested that running shoes were the root cause of many running-related injuries, it was impossible to foresee the ripple effect he would have on redefining modern footwear. In the book, McDougall referenc

Workout of the Week: Yo-Yo Fartlek –

One of the first things I teach my runners is the importance of learning to manage their energy throughout a run or speed workout. The ability to accurately pace yourself to avoid slowing or hitting the wall during the later miles in a workout or during a race is an invaluable skill for runners of all abilities. The biggest culprit of mismanagement of energy throughout a race or workout is delayed fatigue. The first few reps or miles feel the easiest because you’re fresh, and the inevitable fat

These 9 Technical Shoes Are Secretly Perfect for Day Hikes

Most people fall into one of two camps when it comes to hiking footwear. You either prefer the support and protection of a full-on hiking boot or the comfort and flexibility of a trail runner. However, somewhere in the middle sits a class of technical mountain shoes only a few people outside the climbing world appreciate – the approach shoe. Perhaps the most versatile class of mountain footwear, the approach shoe is a tough-as-nails, below-the-ankle blend of hiking boot, trail runner and climbi

Like the Adidas Ultraboost? Here Are 3 Other Sneakers to Try

First introduced in 2013, the Adidas’s Boost foam marked a groundbreaking shift in how running shoe midsoles were made. Prior to Boost, ethylene-vinyl acetate (EVA) was the industry standard foam. Adidas broke the mold when its innovation team collaborated with chemists at German chemical company BASF to explore how they could give running shoes a softer, more comfortable underfoot feeling while maintaining a high level of responsiveness. The result? A material called expanded thermoplastic pol

Science Says Carbon Fiber Running Shoes Make You Faster — Here’s How to Choose the Right One

What do a car, boat and plane have in common? If you’re thinking an engine, you’re right. However, despite having a common denominator, you wouldn’t use a car to fly or a boat on the roads; their use cases are very specifically built. Carbon fiber plated running shoes are similar. While not as obvious as the preceding example, each carbon fiber shoe is designed for a certain type of runner. Believe it or not, the first carbon fiber running shoe debuted over 15 years ago when Adidas experimented

The Best Treadmill of 2020: A Complete Buyer's Guide

Our expert advice and complete buyer’s guide will help you find the best treadmill for home. Whether looking for a budget pick or an interactive powerhouse, we’ve got you covered. Buying a treadmill is not an easy task. For starters, all treadmills look virtually the same — dark-colored, oversized, mechanical conveyor belts. Trying to decipher between makes and models is all but impossible for most. Digging into some of the specs requires nothing short of a degree in mechanical engineering. To

The 7 Best Winter Running Shoes of 2020

Winter poses enough challenges for runners. Between the frigid temps, variable weather and short days, just mustering up the will to step foot outdoors can cause even the most motivated runner to think twice — or retreat to the hamster wheel know as the treadmill. At the same time there’s also a refreshing lively feeling one gets when forgoing climate control in favor of braving the elements. The sense of pride and knowing nod from each runner you pass solidifies the notion: I’m a real runner.
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