Stories by Cory

Cory Smith is a Santa Barbara, CA based athlete, online running coach and freelance journalist specializing in running, climbing and fitness 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 cory@runyourpersonalbest.com. If you're interested in getting coached by Cory visit www.runyourpersonalbest.com

Stories

The 65 Special Running Workout: A Test of Speed and Endurance

As a runner, it’s important to test your fitness. While races serve as the best way to measure your fitness and the effectiveness of your training, a fun and less stressful way can be a staple test of fitness workout like the 65 Special. Every running coach I’ve worked with has had one iconic test of fitness workout. One that’s so hard, just completing it as prescribed is a rite of passage. Typically, these workouts followed a long period of hard training without races and were repeated year a

The Best Rock Climbing Shoes of 2021

In a sport where gravity is your foe and friction is your friend, no single piece of gear aids you more than a pair of quality rock climbing shoes. As your feet represent 50 percent of your contact with the cliff or wall and bear the majority of your weight, finding the right pair for your ability level and type of climbing can mean the difference between getting to that next hold and falling off. However, zeroing in on your perfect pair is no easy task. REI alone sells . Nuances such as a st

The 11 Best Camping Air Mattresses of 2021

Ah, the great outdoors — the fresh smell of pine trees, majestic mountain views, flowing rivers and meandering dirt paths through lush forests. Endless adventure awaits at every turn. Once darkness rolls in though, a fitful toss-and-turn kinda night can really kill the vibe. If you love camping, but dread camp sleeping, having the proper high-quality camp mattress can make a world of difference. Camping mattresses fall into three categories: foam pads, air-inflate pads and self-inflate pads. Fo

'Modular' Trail Shoe: Meet the Customizable Speedland SL:PDX

Running shoes have always been rather formulaic — all very similar in nature and mass-produced for pennies on the dollar. Until now. Historically, aside from a few concept ideas such as today’s carbon fiber super shoes, the big brands start with a consumer price in mind and assure the sourced materials and manufacturing costs stay within their desired profit margins. The problem with this approach, according to Dave Dombrow, co-founder of Speedland and former Under Armour and Puma design execu

The 10 Best Camping Cots of 2021

Tossing and turning in your tent? Get off the ground and upgrade your camp bedding, figuratively and literally, with a quality camping cot. A camping cot supports you more like an actual bed, which can make a huge difference in sleep quality. It’s also a heck of a lot easier to get in and out of than something close to the ground – a welcome feature for older or stiff-muscled campers. Cots also help to regulate body temperature. In chilly weather, a cot keeps you off the cold ground. In the

The Best Ab Machines of 2021

Remember the famous ? The classic mid-nineties VHS workout tape featured three spandex-wearing fitness pros on the grass, sculpting their six-packs in just eight minutes a day. Believe it or not, the concept was highly successful, to the tune of $20 million in less than two years. While you’ll still need a healthy diet to reveal a ripped midsection and toned obliques, don’t dismiss what eight minutes of hard work done regularly can do for your core. If consistent, you’ll notice a tighter, stron

Improve My Training: Reduce the Density, Double the Chance of a PR –

We’re offering Outside+ members and PodiumRunner subscribers the chance for a personal coaching consultation. Submit two weeks of your training and answer a few questions about your running history and goals, and we’ll publish selected logs along with suggestions from an expert coach for improving your training. To be eligible to submit your training, sign up for Outside+ or Podium Runner. If you’re already a member and would like your training evaluated by an expert running coach you can submit

Burrito-Style Hiking Pack: Patagonia Altvia Backpack Review

Patagonia quietly released a new line of four eco-friendly day and light overnight hiking packs. We hit the trails in the largest-capacity pack, the Altvia 36L, to put this lightweight pack through the wringer. If you did a quick browse of Patagonia’s technical pack selection before spring 2021, you’d be hard-pressed to find any technical hiking-specific pack over 30L. A search would have yielded only four packs over 30L capacity: the Cragsmith 32L and 45L and Ascensionist 35L and 55L, all pack

Most Famous 5K Run Workout: Prefontaine’s 30-40

In the world of elite 5K runners, very few workouts are as famous as Prefontaine’s 30-40 workout. With one adjustment, anyone can tailor this famous 5K workout to improve their running. For those who are unfamiliar, Steve Prefontaine is somewhat of a god with track nerds. Regarded as one of the best American distance runners ever, Pre (short for “Prefontaine”) set American records in every distance from 2,000 to 10,000 m before his life was cut short at the age of 24 in a car accident. Despite

The Best Home Gym Machines of 2021

Home gym equipment used to be consigned to the dark, unused corners of basements. Spaces that required uncommon motivation simply to get there to actually attempt a workout. But in 2021, accelerated by the pandemic, home gym equipment is anything but dingy and boring. These days, it falls into two categories: traditional and connected/smart fitness machines. Traditional includes the good old-fashioned, suns-out-guns-out, iron pumping machines like dumbbells, squat racks and cable machines. Thes

Improve My Training: Add Doubles, Don’t Go As Long, Schedule a Break –

We’re offering PodiumRunner and Active Pass members the chance for a personal coaching consultation. Submit two weeks of your training and answer a few questions about your running history and goals, and we’ll publish selected logs along with three suggestions from an expert coach for improving your training. To be eligible to submit your training, sign up for Active Pass or Podium Runner Pass. If you’re already a member and would like your training evaluated by an expert running coach you can s

Improve My Training: Optimize Timing of Strength Work, Tune-up Races and High Load Days –

We’re offering PodiumRunner and Active Pass members the chance for a personal coaching consultation. Submit two weeks of your training and answer a few questions about your running history and goals, and we’ll publish selected logs along with three suggestions from an expert coach for improving your training. To be eligible to submit your training, sign up for Active Pass or Podium Runner Pass. If you’re already a member and would like your training evaluated by an expert running coach you can s

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
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