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


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.

Could the Next Generation of Gore-Tex Pro Be Even Better than FutureLight?

Outdoor enthusiasts know Gore-Tex has long been the leader in foul-weather protection — and Gore-Tex Pro is the brand’s highest-performing fabric. Targeted at the extreme end user and the outdoor professional, garments with this ingredient offer unparalleled protection, durability and breathability. And next year the material is going to be even better. We journeyed to Banff, Alberta, Canada for Gore-Tex’s global announcement of the next generation of Gore-Tex Pro fabric. Three new advancements

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

La Sportiva TX Guide Review: The Most Runnable Approach Shoe

The La Sportiva TX Guide is at home on both flat terrain and near-vertical crags. It’s a great choice for fast-and-light hikers on technical terrain. As the horizontal world of running and the vertical world of climbing start to blend, there is a gap in technical footwear suitable for these hybrid adventures. You either lean toward a trail-running shoe that runs better but lags in climbing ability, or you go with an approach shoe that climbs well but offers a less-than-desirable ride while runn

The Best Rock Climbing Shoes of 2019

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. With your feet making 50 percent of your contact with the cliff or wall, and bearing 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 58 varieties of climb

The Best Running Shoes of 2020

Let the carbon-fiber running-shoe craze begin. Not long after Nike successfully incorporated the superlight material into its trainers, Hoka and New Balance jumped into the ring, too. Round one went to the 2018 Gear of the Year–winning Nike Zoom Fly. Round two belongs to Hoka’s Carbon X. Whereas the Zoom Fly is better suited to forefoot-striking elite athletes, the Carbon X is the everyday runner’s superhero cape. Hoka’s rocking-chair-like outsole propels heel and midfoot strikers onto their toe

Garmin 45: Dollar-For-Dollar This Is the Best Garmin GPS Watch For Runners

I’m not a tech geek, I’m a runner. I like technology and recognize it can make certain tasks easier, but when it comes to running, distraction-free simplicity rules all for me. I want a GPS watch that gets a reliable signal, is easy to read while running and is intuitive to navigate through the settings. Over the past 10 years, my trusty Garmin 235 has filled that job perfectly, so when Garmin recently announced a new line of Forerunner GPS watches, I was intrigued- could the new, $50 cheaper Ga

The Best Men’s Race Day Running Kits of 2019

Come race day, the right mindset will make or break your race. Like the famous proverb says, “Running is 90% mental and 10% physical.” One of the easiest ways to get into a positive mindset on race morning is having a dedicated race day kit. One that looks good and will elevate your confidence once you put it on – like your finest suit you only reserve for special occasions. I still very clearly remember the day I first received my college race day kit – a simple white jersey tank top that read
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