Activity Bands, GPS Watches, and Super Watches: Which One is Right for You?

Garmin Vivoactive Flint MI

Not too long ago one of the only options runners had for watches was a $20 Timex that tracked your time along with a few laps, and if you were lucky it was the Indiglo model that featured a light to see the time in the dark.

The rise of the internet and technology has now put the power of a computer on our wrists with the recent launch of the Apple Watch, but has also given runners many more choices than ever.  On the other end of the spectrum are activity bands, and somewhere in the middle of super watches and activity bands are GPS watches.  More choices are good but also can make it more confusing to know what watch is best for you. So, which one is right for you?

Activity Bands

If you are only looking to track your general daily activity such as steps and sleeping patterns an activity band may be all you need.  These are the least expensive and simplest form of tracking devices that will give you basic information about your fitness levels, and typically connect to the computer.

GPS Running Watches

Coming a long way from the original Timex, current GPS running watches are very sophisticated tracking just about anything  you need, and also sending the information to your computer and possibly your phone via an app.  These devices are now sometimes referred to a personal running coach as some functionality even goes as far as encouraging you to reach the goals you set.

Super Watches

If you want it all, super watches typically combine the best of activity bands and GPS watches, as well as pair to your phone for added connectivity.  The Apple Watch and Garmin Vivoactive are such watches that aren’t only good for runners but for other general fitness activities as well.

Still not sure what device is best for you?  Don’t worry, we can help.  Come into Complete Runner and let us know what you want to accomplish and we will help to point you in the right direction.

4 Tips for Running with Music

music motivates runners

Some people enjoy running for the peace and quiet, while others would go insane without their iPod during their workout or race.  If you fall into the pro-music side, you will most likely argue that music gives you the opportunity for a more entertaining and motivational run, depending on your taste of music.  If you enjoy running with music or want to give it a try, here are a few tips to make for a better experience:

What You Listen to Matters

Classical music may not be the best music selection when running, unless this type of music really gets you excited and motivated.  Most runners like more upbeat music, and there is even music produced specifically for running that holds a cadence which can help you to pace.  What works for you may not work for someone else, so make sure to find the right music to inspire you.

Use an Arm Pod to Carry Your Music Player

Many people just carry their iPod while running, which is not only inconvenient but also unsafe as your device could easily slip from your hands and fall to its destruction.  Arm Pod’s are inexpensive and will conveniently hold your iPod or phone in place on your arm so you don’t have to worry about it while running.

Use Earphones Made for Runners

Nothing is more annoying than your earphones falling out during a race as it takes your focus away from your goal.  It is best to look at earphones made specifically for running so they help you to perform your best.  Some running headphones are even cordless and connect to your music player via Bluetooth, freeing you up from annoying cords.

Be Safe and Respectful of Others

Nobody wants to hear your music as you are running by during a race, so make sure not to have it cranked up full blast.  This is also important since you still want to be able to hear ambient noises while running outside, as well as paying close attention to your surroundings, to ensure you are safe.

Complete Runner is the place in Flint for everything running, including the latest and greatest in running specific earphones and Arm Pods.  Stop by the store to learn more!

photo credit: RunOnBeat -keep-running via photopin (license)

Spring Tune-up for Runners [Checklist]

checklistAs the days are getting longer and we are getting over one of the coldest winters in history, everyone is itching for the weather to finally break.  We’ve been cramped up inside for way to long.

In the same way that we tune-up our lawnmowers to get them ready before the first grass cutting we should also consider a tune-up for our spring running to make sure we have everything in line for a safe and successful season.  Whether you’ve been running inside all winter, toughed it out through the harsh winter months outside, or haven’t ran since the Crim, here is a checklist of five things to be aware of for our running tune-up this spring.

1. Schedule Races

Start working towards a goal from the start by planning your races out for several months in advance.  Not only will you be able to get the early pricing for the races but having a set schedule in place will keep these races a priority that other events will need to work around, as well as keep you motivated and on your training plan throughout the season.

2. Interval Training

If you haven’t ran since last year you can’t pick up where you left off.  Even if you have been running on a treadmill for the last few months, unless you worked out on a significant incline you will not be running as fast as outside as you were on the treadmill.  Whichever camp you fall in, interval training is a good way to get back into running outside safely, running for a minute followed by a minute walk, and increasing the running time as your training progresses.

3. Recover Properly

Your rest and recovery after training is key to your success and health.  Compression gear will help to increase the blood flow to speed recovery, as well as a good intake of protein to help repair muscles.  Lack of attention to recovery can cost you down the road, so don’t overlook this important step.

4. Shoes

The majority of injuries and foot and leg pain in caused by wearing old shoes, so it is best to do a spring cleaning of your old shoes.  They may look good on the outside but the midsoles of shoes will harden over time making them uncomfortable for your feet.  Before your feet feel the pain get a good pair of running shoes that are fit to your feet to perform at your peak level.

5. Race Bag, Gear, and Tech Wear

Pull out your race bag and make sure you have everything that you need for training and races such as deodorant, anti-chafe cream, extra shoe laces, and nutrition supplements.  Make sure your GPS running watch is working fine and that you also have the proper tech wear to keep you dry and comfortable during training and races.

Spending a little time on this checklist will ensure you are getting a good tune-up for spring running and increase the likelihood of a fun, successful, and injury free season!

The Difference Between Fashion Apparel and Tech Wear

nike girl running

A few years ago you only wore yoga pants when doing yoga.  Then, something happened.

We’re not sure what happened, but one day it was okay to wear yoga pants when going to the store, dropping the kids off at school, and most other non-yoga activities.

With the interest in fashion apparel increasing in the recent years, many companies have sprung up overnight offering the latest looks in athletic wear.  Many stars even have their own athletic clothing lines; think Kate Hudson.

A lot of fashion apparel can be purchased rather cheaply from big box stores and is advertised to be worn during fitness and running activities.  However, the main differences between fashion apparel and running tech wear (that is made specifically for running) is performance.

Do you just want to look good, or look good and perform your best?

You wouldn’t take your Buick out to the drag strip because it wasn’t made for racing.  In the same way, you shouldn’t wear cheap fashion apparel that was only made to look good for your training or races as it won’t offer the performance that is required to be successful.  That is what tech wear was made for.

Most fashion apparel is made of a basic stretch material.  However, this material is old news in the running world as top running brands like New Balance, Tasc, and SmartWool have their own sophisticated wicking technologies that not only keep you dry (some even at the molecular level) but also odor free.  They are flat seamed to reduce chaffing and also protect you from harmful UV rays, and the wind.

Before you are tempted to buy that clearance fashioned apparel at Kohl’s remember that you are getting what you are paying for, and consider the benefits that true quality running tech wear gives.  You will be amazed at the extreme levels of comfort, performance, and quality offered by running tech wear even after one race or workout!

Don’t just look good, look good and perform your best!  Complete Runners offers the most innovative tech wear in the Flint area, so stop by if you want to experience the comfort, performance, and quality for yourself.

Don’t Miss Out on Downtown Flint’s Favorite St. Patrick’s Day Tradition

St. Patrick’s Day is always a day filled with rich traditions.  For the last 35 years downtown Flint has hosted a major St. Patrick’s Day tradition, the Pot O’ Gold four mile run and walk!

St Patrick's Day Flint MI

This years After Party will feature another Irish traditional, a live music session, known in Irish as a seisiún.

The Pot O’ Gold starts at the Masonic Temple downtown Flint on Tuesday, March 17.  The kids’ race starts at 5:30 pm and the run starts at 6:00 pm, with the walk starting one minute after.

Register online here.

Not only will every finisher receive a medal, but the first 500 to register will receive a free leprechaun hat.  Proceeds also benefit the Crim Foundation.

There will be a great after race party with great eats and entertainment.  After the race party, if you are looking to continue your St. Patrick’s Day celebration it will be easy to walk down the street to popular establishments like Blackstone’s, 501 Bar and Grill, Table and Tap, and of course The Torch, all close by in downtown Flint.

Packet pick up will take place at Complete Runner on March 16th from 10:00 am until 7:00 pm, and race day pickup at the Masonic Temple starting at 4:00 pm.  Participants who attend the March 16th packet pickup will be able to register for the Crim’s Adult Training Program for a $10 discount!

Grab your green and your friends and join one of downtown Flint’s longstanding St. Patrick’s Day traditions this year at the Pot O’ Gold.  Register online today, mail in an entry form, or register at Complete Runner!

5 Hot Trends in 2015 Spring Running Apparel Tech Wear

Wm Salomon jacketSpring is an exciting time for runners and walkers as the temperatures typically start improving and the snow starts melting, providing more favorable weather conditions for outdoor training.  In addition to the weather change it is also a fun time as all the new fashions and technical wear comes out and ready to help you feel and look good in 2015.

Here are a few hot trends to look out for with running apparel and tech wear in 2015:

Lightweight Waterproof Jackets

We’re talking seams, zipper, hood and all.  Not many manufactures will put this in writing!  It is said that “April showers bring May flowers” so having a good waterproof jacket is essential to stay dry and lightweight aids in comfort.

Bright Colors

Brands have realized in recent years that runners and walkers don’t only want apparel that is functional, but that is fashionable also.  Each year the colors get brighter and the designs more interesting, and this is no exception in 2015.

Practical Base Layers

Want arm coverage but don’t want to get too hot?  What about a long sleeve that cools when you sweat?  This year includes base layers they help you stay cool, comfortable, and offer UV protection.


Most women love their capris as the weather gets better, and brands are taking note and offering fashionable capris that also function as tights or compression.  Capris are also super practical in late spring when the temperatures aren’t yet warm enough to wear shorts.


Increasing your blood flow and oxygen to your muscles for faster recovery are major reasons to be interested in compression, which come in all forms such as sleeves, socks, tights, and even half tights.

To see these hot trends for yourself stop by Complete Runner today!

5 Tips to Improving Your Training in 2015

Training for Running

As the unofficial start to the running season is coming up around the corner, are you itching to get started in your 2015 training?  Here are a few tips to get your training off to a great start.

Be Smart About Increasing Mileage

As many people ramp up their running in the spring it can be tempting to hit the roads with guns-a-blazing.  However, increasing mileage too quickly can be an invitation to injury.  Follow a training program that takes moderation into consideration to increase your chances of being healthy for the whole year.

Add Variety

Instead of running the same thing day after day, mix it up with some easy long distance days, cross training, and short distance speed days.  A well-rounded training program reduces the risk of injury as the added variety allows more time for your muscles to recover.

Attend a Good Form Running Class

Complete Runner hosts monthly Good Form Running classes that help runners analyze their posture, cadence, and lean in order to run more efficiently, faster, and injury free. This class can make a lasting impact on your running this year.  Learn how this class improved Ben’s running immensely.

Train Your Lungs

We lift weights, cross train, and have a running schedule to train our bodies but do you have any exercises that focus on your lungs?  This could be the missing exercise in your training program, as respiratory training will reduce the effects of hills, heat, and altitude by increasing your endurance, power, and speed.  We can do respiratory training with certain breathing exercises or with tools like the PowerLung that specifically targets the twelve sets of breathing muscles.

Treat Your Feet to New Shoes

Your shoes from last year may still look nice but they won’t feel nice.  It is not worth aching feet, blisters, or a more serious injury to get a few more miles on an old pair of shoes, so the spring is the perfect time to get a proper fitting with a great pair of new shoes.

Now that are you off in the right direction with your training, take a look at upcoming races to see what ones you would like to participate in.  This will help you keep focus and accountability in your training.  You still have time to get ready for the  Pot O’ Gold run and walk in Flint on March 17, so that may be a great local race to schedule for your 2015 debut.  Learn more about the Pot O’ Gold race today!

Monitor Your Heart Rate to Optimize Training Benefits

Heart Rate Monitoring

How do you feel when you get behind the slow person driving ten miles per hour under the speed limit?  Or, when that car speeds past you in town going way to fast?

Speed limits in place for our protection, and the speedometer in our vehicle helps us stay within a safe speed when driving.  In the same way, a heart rate monitor is like a speedometer for your heart.

It is important to know your heart rate when working out to optimize your training, making sure you are keeping within your target heart rate to gain the maximum strength and calorie burning benefits.  Just like driving too slow or fast isn’t safe, having a lower heart rate isn’t doing much for your body and being over your max rate isn’t healthy.  Optimum is 220 less your age and moderate is 200 less your age.

You can measure your heart rate manually, which isn’t exactly the most accurate but is better than nothing.  If you want to increase accuracy and take advantage of technology, a heart rate monitor, most GPS running watches or an activity band can be used.  It is also quite simple to monitor your heart rate when using a treadmill, elliptical, or exercise bike as this software is built into the machines to maximize your training.

Understanding your heart rate is important for your success and health.  To learn more how to measure and utilize your heart rate in your training stop by Complete Runner and ask one of our friendly staff.

Reach Your Goals in 2015 with the Crim Training Program: Signup Day Slated January 10 at Complete Runner

Crim Training ProgramAs 2014 draws to an end and the New Year begins, many people take time to reflect and look forward to what they can accomplish in the next twelve months.

What are your specific health, fitness, and running goals for 2015?

Are you looking to drop your 5K time by two minutes?  Drop twenty pounds?  Participate in a marathon?  Run your first Crim?

After you have defined your goal, the next question to ask is what steps do you need to take to reach your goal?

For seasoned and new runners alike in the Flint area, the CrimFit Adult Trianing Program is part of their yearly ritual for accomplishing their goals.  It can be part of your plan in 2015, too!

The CrimFit Adult Training Program is a top-notch 15-week training program for runners and walkers of all fitness levels. From beginner to advanced, the program is used to give participants the tools and confidence to meet their goals of finishing the Crim race of their liking or improving their race times.

Complete Runner is excited to host a CrimFit Adult Training Program registration event on Saturday, January 10 from 10:00 am to 4:00 pm.  Receive free Crim memorabilia when you sign up for the program at $10 off the regular rate, and enjoy special store discounts and access to Crim Training staff to answer questions.

We hope you will join us on January 10 to kick off the New Year right!