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, Gear Patrol, Muscle & Fitness, Gear Junkie, Footwear News, TripSavvy, Podium Runner, Trail Runner and Gear Institute. He loves working with new outlets and can be reached at cory@runyourpersonalbest.com. If you're interested in getting coached by Cory visit www.runyourpersonalbest.com

My Work

The Best Trail Running Gear of 2021

Our editors independently research, test, and recommend the best products; you can learn more about our review process here. We may receive commissions on purchases made from our chosen links. Nothing beats a good run through the woods. The smell of pine trees. Majestic mountain views. Flowing freshwater streams. It’s as much therapy as it is exercise. Whether you run short or long, East Coast or West Coast, a pleasant day out on the trails starts with the right trail running gear. “The right t

The 11 Best Nike Running Shoes of 2021, According to Experts

To say Nike shoes have shaped the sport of running would be a gross understatement. The two are as intertwined as peanut butter and jelly. Watch any race, and you’re most certainly going to find the notorious “Swoosh” logo littered on the feet of professional and amateur runners alike. Nike’s strong presence in today’s running market is a direct result of its origin in the sport. It was a relationship between University of Oregon’s track coach Bill Bowerman and one of his athletes that kindled

The Best Percussion Massage Guns of 2021

You know the feeling: the all-too-familiar post-workout aching muscle hobble. The kind of uncomfortable feeling that could leave you sidelined with soreness for days. Yet, day after day, we all bear the sometimes-debilitating pain like a badge of honor. It’s considered a sign your hard work and sweat paid off and that toned body you desire is just a few more workouts away. This painful, yet oddly rewarding, feeling in your muscles is something called delayed onset muscle syndrome, or DOMS, an

How to Stay on Pace in the New York City Marathon (Even When Your GPS Doesn't) –

Your GPS watch will lose its signal during the New York City Marathon. Here’s how to bypass it and know your true pace. Picture this: It’s race day in New York, and you’re just coming off the Verrazzano Bridge. As you pass the second mile marker you hear the beep of your GPS watch and glance down to find you’re right on pace. Perfect. You’re feeling good. As you start to approach the third mile marker, beep, your GPS notifies you just hit three miles, still pacing perfectly. Five seconds later

Scarpa Surprises With 'Ribelle Run' Record-Setting Trail Shoe: Review

Scarpa may not be at the top of the list for many when it comes to trail/mountain running shoes, but with the release of the Ribelle Run, it absolutely should be. I’ve always been a huge Scarpa fan. For over a decade, they’ve made some of the best mountaineering, skiing, climbing, and hiking shoes. But in terms of tried-and-true trail running shoes, the brand just hasn’t had the same popularity. Fellow European brands like Salomon and La Sportiva have largely taken the limelight. But that’s al

The Best Adjustable Kettlebells of 2021

One the most rudimentary yet versatile pieces of fitness equipment is the kettlebell. With origins dating back to 18th-century Russia, the heavy ring-and-ball combo can be employed in a plethora of ways beyond to increase strength, power, endurance, coordination and flexibility. “The kettlebell is the most effective tool I’ve ever come across,” attests , elite kettlebell coach and founder of the . “It teaches all the different qualities we want to improve upon in terms of developing well-rounde

The 10 Best Adidas Running Shoes, According to Footwear Experts

Three angled stripes — so simple, yet so iconic in the world of sports. This is the Adidas logo, a logo seen on the feet of Olympic champions, world record holders and some of the best athletes the world has ever seen. Adidas’ role in the sport of running began well before Nike was even a thought. As the second largest sports shoe company in the world today (Nike is first), adidas makes some of the best sneakers you can buy. How it all started is an interesting story. Most sibling rivalries in

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
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