Stories by Cory

Cory Smith is a Santa Barbara, CA-based athlete, online running coach, and freelance writer 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, Runner's World, 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 If you're interested in getting coached by Cory visit

His Work

The Best Track Spikes of 2022, Reviewed

Get full access to Outside Learn, our online education hub featuring in-depth fitness, nutrition, and adventure courses and more than 2,000 instructional videos when you sign up for Outside+ . Whether you’re getting ready for a race or a hard workout, the process of spiking up stirs a familiar excitement and anxiety for what’s to come: your body instinctively knows it’s time to perform. If you want to compete at your best in track and field, spikes are essential—and today’s are better than eve

Ready to Move on From the Marathon? We've Got Your Next Challenge Lined Up

Training for a marathon is as emotionally exhausting as it is physically demanding. Your mind and body are simultaneously consumed with adrenaline and anxiety for months. Your weekends revolve around your long run. Your legs are constantly sore and tired. While all this is self-inflicted in the name of a fun, challenging, and rewarding experience (at least I hope so), it does take a toll on you. So if the thought of doing another marathon sounds daunting, or if you recently PR’d your dream mara

The 10 Best Running Shoes of 2022, According to Experts

I’ve been a runner for over 25 years, running coach for ten years and running shoe reviewer since 2014. Each year I get the opportunity to test between 40 and 70 pairs of shoes from every major brand. In all my shoe testing experience, I’ve come to understand one undeniable fact about running shoes: There’s no such thing as lousy running shoes. If someone dislikes a shoe, it’s because it isn’t a good fit for them. After all, there’ll always be another runner who loves that same shoe. Finding the

The Best Running Shoes of 2022

After countless miles pounding the pavement, our running fanatics found the best running shoes of 2022. I used to say that running was a pretty simple sport. All you need are a pair of running shoes and clothes, and off you go. However, these days I’m second-guessing that concept. Somehow over the past 25 years, complexity crept in. GPS watch data, Strava segments, hydration vests, and the obligatory social media post-run selfie are as standard as striped tube running socks were in the ’70s an

Ready to Race in 2022? Here's How to Plan Your Year So You Score a Few PRs

The start of a new year is an inspiring time for runners. It presents a clean slate full of opportunity—a time to celebrate your good races throughout the past year and move beyond your bad ones. The simple process of researching races can be incredibly empowering—after all, a limitless year full of PRs lies ahead. But before you frantically sign up for every race that sounds even a little exciting, ask yourself a question: How do these races fit into my greater goals? When it comes to plannin

The 10 Best Bouldering Shoes, Tested and Approved

Bouldering is the purest form of rock climbing. And the most accessible. You’re not burdened with ropes, harnesses, or quickdraws. Routes are short, intense, and powerful. And all you need is a pair of shoes and a chalk bag (a working understanding of key climbing lingo helps, too). But bouldering at your limit means no room for error. Each foot placement, toe smear, and heel hook must be perfectly placed. The tiniest release of tension or foot misplacement could mean the difference between send

The Best Men’s Workout Clothes

I’m going to date myself, but when I first started working out, cotton was considered a performance fabric. It soaked up sweat like a sponge. Sopping wet shirts drenched in sweat were worn as a badge of honor. The wetter your workout clothes, the better the workout. The sweatiest guy in the gym was unofficially crowned the hardest working. Since then, a lot has changed with workout apparel. Fabric technology has evolved. Synthetic fabrics such as polyester, nylon, and synthetic blends have d

You Don’t Need to Negative Split Every Race

The idea of running negative splits has been so ingrained in us, it’s as rudimentary of a skill for runners as tying your shoes. At some point, every runner needs to learn how to run negative splits or figuratively die trying. By definition, a negative split is when the second half of your run or race is faster than your first half. The ability to run negative splits teaches you how to manage your energy and pace yourself properly throughout a race or training run. This is ideal because you lea

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

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

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
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