Spring is finally here, so I wanted to showcase some of my favorite running gear for the season. Now, not all of this is brand new or top of the line, but rather things that I find useful, durable and valuable for running during the spring months. The Fresh Brew Run Club is based in Michigan where the weather can be unpredictable, so it is important to wear the right gear.
The Nike Alphafly 2 is Nike’s premier, flagship running shoe, chock full of the latest running shoe technology. You’ve seen the best runners in the world wear this shoe, but is it good for the average runner too? In my review, I took to the park paths to review the Nike Alphafly 2 at varying “slower” speeds. Check out the video below:
Key Features of the Nike Alphafly 2
The Nike Alphafly 2 has some incredible technology. This is a super shoe, which essentially means it is an ultralightweight shoe with a carbon fiber plate in the midsole. The Alphafly 2 features extremely bouncy and light ZoomX foam on the midsole with the carbon fiber plate inside. This plate is to provide energy return to your stride and propel you forward. There are also Air Zoom pods to help propel you forward. The upper is made of Nike’s Atomknit material, which is so thin that you can see right through it. There is minimal padding around the heel and the upper fits like a sock around your foot.
If that sounds like a lot, it is. But is it too much for the average 4-hour marathon runner? Let’s find out.
This is an awesome shoe.
Weight: As soon as I put it on, I noticed how lightweight this shoe is. The ZoomX foam and Atomknit upper make for an extremely light shoe.
Propulsion: Wearing these shoes feels like you have springs or are being propelled forward. Its no wonder some runners have voiced opposition to these types of shoes; they really do make you faster. The shoe returns energy to your stride and gave me the feeling of running downhill, even at slower speeds (like 9 minutes/mile).
Looks: This shoe stands out. This shoe looks like a Ferrari and each colorway has bold colors that will certainly make you stand out on the course. In fact, they are so flashy that I was initially concerned that they are too cool for a 4-hour marathoner myself. Like, trying too hard much? But honestly, after putting these on, they look so flashy that I can’t resist. After all, look good, feel good, and run good, right?
Performance: Let me be clear, these will make you a faster runner, no matter what pace you are running. And that’s what really matters. In fact, I think the improvement to performance might be greater for an average runner vs. an elite runner. Shaving off 4% of your time during a 4-hour marathon really adds up! I tried a few different speeds in my video, and they all felt pretty good. I did notice an urge to run faster at each of those speeds. This shoe is like a current pulling you out to the sea of faster paces, which I think is great.
Price: This shoe retails for $275, which is wildly expensive. Fortunately, you can get this on StockX for far cheaper. Still, it’s a big chunk of change to drop on a pair of shoes. If you’re shoe shopping for your first big race, maybe consider something a little more “down to earth” like the Nike Pegasus instead.
Durability: I am a heel striker, and as I noted in the video, I saw some slight wear and tear on the heel area after one run. These are racing shoes, so you probably aren’t going to get as many miles out of these as your typical running shoes (although I have seen some runners get a TON of miles in Alphaflys and Vaporflys). The thin upper is durable enough to perform well during normal marathon conditions, but you could be one rough surface from tearing them.
This is a super shoe, meaning it will 100% improve your performance, no matter what pace you plan on running. It’s fun, light and will turn some heads out on the course. If you can stomach the price, this shoe is a great racing shoe with enough cushioning to keep your feet happy for a full 26.2 and beyond.
The Official Fresh Brew Run Club Nespresso pod ratings
Welcome to my Nespresso pod ratings. I love Nespresso pods. I love running. I love drinking Nespresso before I go for a run. So this post is my ongoing rankings of Nespresso pods as I attempt to try all the Vertuo pods. I am starting this journey in January 2023, and will continue to add to update this list as I add more pods. Be sure to check out my running vlog for my video reactions as I try each one. I also do running shoe reviews, so check that out as well!
My ratings. Click the links to shop for each flavor.
Intenso: this is one of Nespresso’s strongest brews. Just pure, strong coffee. Perfect for waking me up and getting me out on the run. My rating: A
Odacio: Bold flavor, great taste. Something I will definitely enjoy before a long run. Rating: A-
Stormio: Not as intense as the Intenso, but a nice solid coffee. My rating: B
Melozio: A pretty mild coffee. Tastes fine, but doesn’t have that punch I prefer before runs. Rating: B
Caramel Cookie: This was not very good. It felt dry and the flavor was just off. My rating: D
More to come!
Be sure to subscribe to The Fresh Brew Run Club on YouTube, a channel dedicated to talking about running and coffee from the perspective of the average runner and coffee drinker.
Welcome to the first edition of the Fresh Brewsletter. I hope to make a weekly update on my running endeavors, as well as other aspects loosely related to running. Subscribe to the Fresh Brew Run Club by entering your email for updates. I promise I won’t spam you with a bunch of useless nonsense; my nonsense will be extremely useful.
3 Running Observations
I just got back from Boston, and what a fun city to run in! It’s the closest I’ve felt to running in Europe anywhere in the US, with its narrow and winding cobblestone streets, historic architecture and loud sea birds circling overhead, waiting for me to collapse while charging up Beacon Hill. I am working on a new video recapping my run along the Freedom Trail, Fenway Park and the finish line of the Boston Marathon this week. Hopefully, I will have it posted for this weekend.
On the flip side, Portland, ME is one of the worst cities to run in. It might have been the scorching heat, but the lack of trees in this city certainly didn’t help. Traffic was busy, crosswalks were limited and I didn’t find the charm I expected to see, based on Somebody Feed Phil. Live and learn.
In the dead of last winter, I promised I would never take warm weather for granted. However, the latest heat/humidity wave has me wavering (pun) on that promise. Running in this weather is a slog! But at least there is no risk of slipping on black ice and freezing to the sidewalk.
My Latest Video
Speaking of running in all these states, I launched my 50 State Running Challenge this week, where starting this summer, I am trying to run in all 50 states. It will take me a lifetime, but I am up for the challenge, and welcome any excuse to travel to Hawaii and Alaska. The first video is from my home state of Michigan, on my favorite running path, the Detroit Riverwalk.
Bad news. My Nike ZoomX Invincible 2 is cracking. The midsole foam has a few concerning cracks after 100 miles. I’ll cover it in a future video, but I never had this problem with the first version of the shoe, and I even ran 500 miles in one of them. I am racking my brain trying to remember if I got my heel caught in a bike chain or bitten by a dog, but I can’t recall. Hopefully, this is just a fluke.
I tried to get Dunkin Donuts in Boston. I showed up at the location 30 minutes before I had a tour across the street (which seemed like plenty of time) but my order wasn’t completed in time and I sadly had to leave it. However, I did get a (very costly) orange juice. It was ok. Never ended up having a Dunkin coffee in Boston. It’s always unfortunate when you miss out on local fare that you can’t get anywhere else.
Song of the Week
Happiness by The 1975. Great song. It’s a burst of saxophone-laden positivity that makes my runs fly by. I’ll always associate this song with running the city of Boston, as I had it on repeat all week.
Interesting Read of the Week
Great piece on Marge Hickman, a 72-year-old runner competing in a 100-mile race in Lousiville. Goals, tbh. Read via the New York Times.
Thanks for reading the first ever version of TheFreshBrewsletter. Subscribe by submitting your info on the homepage. If you have topic ideas, questions, comments or anything else, shoot me an email at firstname.lastname@example.org.
I picked up the GoPro HERO9, and here’s my review after a few runs.
In order to kick my YouTube video quality up a notch (have you subscribed yet?), I picked up a new camera; here’s my GoPro HERO9 review. I plan on using this to capture video before, during and after my runs, and here’s my review:
Why I got the GoPro HERO9
In my previous videos, I was using my iPhone to capture footage during the run. While the iPhone is an incredible camera with many different uses, I found I was spending a lot of time setting things up; connecting the phone to the tripod, opening the camera, switching to video and repeating the process for every shot. This is no big deal when I’m just casually running, but now that I’m training for a 5K, I don’t want to spend half of my run standing around setting up shots.
The phone camera setup also means I had to run with a backpack, which is kind of bulky, especially on hotter runs.
And finally, I just don’t want to run with my phone. It’s bulky, oddly shaped and running is an escape from the stresses that my cellular device delivers.
Here are the pros I found running with the HERO9.
Lightweight – As I mentioned earlier, I don’t want to run with a bulky phone. Thankfully, the GoPro is pretty lightweight and easy to carry in my hand on a run. The cube-ish shape is perfect for holding
Fits in a tripod – I was able to get an attachment that connects the GoPro to my original tripod, which works perfectly for my shots. In fact, adding the tripod actually made it easier to carry during a run in my hand.
Most importantly, the footage looks fantastic. Even when running, the image stabilization worked brilliantly and the footage was crisp. I haven’t played with all the settings yet, but I am excited to try all the different options, such as timelapse, slow-motion and 5K. My TV isn’t even 5K!
Here are the cons I found with the HERO9
Price – At $500 retail, this is a PRICEY piece of equipment. Thankfully, GoPro is offering a ton of deals to bring down the price. I ended up paying $350, which included an extra battery and a 64GB memory card. I actually put the camera in my cart and left it for a day or so, and the deal magically got better. Part of that deal includes signing up for GoPro’s subscription service for a year, but I will probably cancel before it renews.
Lock screen shenanigans – On my first run, I did not have the lock screen on, and I ended up accidentally mashing the touch screen with my palm, messing up my settings. I lost some footage because I ended up taking a photo or recording in timelapse instead of normal video. There is a screen lock setting, but I found it difficult to actually unlock on the run. Yes, that’s probably the point, but it isn’t super convenient if you are looking to use multiple settings on one run. I’d love to see a physical toggle switch like the iPhone’s ringer toggle.
Micro SD – I am not a huge fan of the Micro SD memory card. I understand this is probably a space-saving measure, as a normal-sized SD card would take up more space and weight, but I truly expect to lose the tiny Micro SD card at some point. Or an ant to carry it off one day.
Overall, I loved the GoPro HERO9 for this review. The footage is awesome, it’s easy to take with me on a run and it’s super convenient. If you have the budget, I would recommend the HERO9. Don’t forget to check out the FBRC YouTube channel!
These treadmill running tips will help you break up the monotony of running in place.
I do not enjoy the treadmill. I find it boring and the exact opposite of everything I love about running. The treadmill takes away the joy of feeling the sun on your skin, hearing the birds chirp and breathing in fresh air. However, not all climates allow for year-round running, so the treadmill can be a necessity. But it doesn’t have to be complete misery; check out this video from the Fresh Brew Run Club for some treadmill running tips:
Cover the screen
It’s tempting to stare at the time and distance on your treadmill, as if that will make things go any faster, but all it does it occupy your mind with exactly how far and long you still have to run. Instead, find a cloth, piece or paper or sometihng to cover up the screen so you can focus on something else. Try not to look at the numbers too much, but instead focus on your form, or the TV. Speaking of TV…
Watch TV while running
One of my favorite ways to pass the boredom of treadmill running is to watch TV. I took an old TV of mine and mounted it to the wall in front of the treadmill with a mount I purchased on Amazon, then connected a Roku to the TV so I can watch any streaming channel of my choosing. While I mostly prefer to watch YouTube, I can catch up on the latest episode of This Old House if I choose. I also attached Velcro strips to my remotes and the treadmill itself, so I never lose the remote, or have to hear it rattle around in the cupholder.
Visualize Your Goals
To help me stay motivated, I wrote down my goal 5K time and stuck it to the wall in front of my treadmill, just under the TV. This way, I am always reminded of exactly why I’m running. In my case, it’s to beat my 5K PR from high school. On days when I feel like quitting after one mile, the visual goal helps me to stay on track (or tread).
What are your treadmill running tips?
Those are a few of my treadmill running tips. If you want the full list, check out my video! Do you have some treadmill running tips of your own? Leave them in a comment below!