You've focused on the big things...but have you enjoyed the little things in running?

Often we have our goals set on one major race/event for the year and we do everything we can to reach those goals.  That is the ultimate in running.  Set your goals and achieve them.  It is fantastic to cross that finish line, clock that PR, qualify for Boston or do what you never dreamed you could.  There is no bad reason to run.  Now that the Fox Valley Marathon races are over, the Chicago Marathon tucked itself away for a winter nap and you begin to take a big sigh of a well run race; don't forget the little things that made the trip worth while.  I think too often we enjoy the results of our journey, but only put up with the journey itself.  I'm not here to tell you "Enjoy it all!"  I'm here to say that you can have a bad run AND still enjoy it at the same time.  Wait, What?!  It's a little trick I have when I am having a bad run, bike or anything that I should be enjoying.  Find the enjoyment in the minutia.  Revel in the fact that your jacket has an earphone cord holder.  Love that your shoe has a secret message on it.  Marvel at how warm this super thin jacket can keep you.  Be astonished at how GOOD a gel can taste, when any other person would gag on it in daily life.  When you are feeling down about a run you just had or actually during one, let those small things pick you up.  My challenge to everyone reading this is to enjoy what you have accomplished this year.  Look at the little things you have never noticed before.  Take pictures of them, both literally and figuratively.  Take a different view of your run and snap it.  Make those old running routes new again.  And guess what?  You will have some cool pictures to look back on and smile about your journey; no matter how bad that run was.  :)  I've noticed a few small things at GRO, so have a look.

GRO is honored to be named "50 Best" again!



Geneva Running Outfitters was named one of the 50 Best Running Stores in America® for 2016. The presentation took place earlier this month at The Running Event®, the industry’s major trade show and conference, in Orlando, Florida.


The 50 Best Running Stores in America is sponsored by the running magazine Competitor, Gatorade Endurance and Running Insight, the leading trade publication for the running business.


The selection of Geneva Running Outfitters capped off a yearlong search to determine the running stores that offer excellent in-store service and have powerful connections to their local communities.  “Runners can buy shoes anywhere, but specialty running stores provide more than a transaction. They provide an educational, inspirational experience,” said Mark Sullivan, editor of Running Insight. “And the very best of those stores are the ones that make the list.”


Geneva Running Outfitters was one of the stores that emerged as one of the 50 Best after a rigorous evaluation process that began when runners nominated their favorite stores for consideration through More than 16,000 nominations for almost 200 different stores were submitted by runners throughout the country.

Those nominations were vetted and more than 120 stores were evaluated for their connections and service to their local communities. That process included an analysis of the stores’ work with local charities and running groups, as well as the clinics and education they provide to their customers.


The final step in determining the list was a “Mystery Shopping” report conducted by The Franklin Retail Solutions, the leading in-store merchandising company in the sports industry. Franklin mystery shoppers anonymously visited the stores to buy a pair of shoes and rated the stores on the service they provided using 25 different criteria. The criteria started with “how promptly were you greeted?” and continued through shoe fitting techniques all the way to the check-out process.


“Geneva Running Outfitters should be very proud to be on this list,” Sullivan said. “And the runners in their hometown are fortunate to have such a great store available to them.”


The full list of The 50 Best Running Stores in America can be seen at

Are you ready to be seen....when it's dark?

As the daylight hours fade, it seems as if runners/walkers take some sort of pride in being out when it's pitch dark out.  I'll admit, there is something eerily soothing about being out on the trails that early/late.  The next part is where we've all been.  Whether it is you or someone else, but inevitably someone sneaks up on you.  It's not because they are trying to, or that you are zoning off, but most likely you aren't aware of them and they aren't aware of you.  There is a simple solution to this that everyone can remember:  "See and be seen."  If you can see, then that other person won't sneak up on you and if you are "seen", then you can't sneak up on the other person.  Overall, we are concerned about everyone's safety while out when it's dark, so to "see and be seen", you should follow a few rules:

1. White is NOT visible.  You need bright colors AND lights to be seen.  

2. Those lights should blink to be seen better

3. The blinking lights should be located on extremities, if possible.  Putting lights on your arms and legs are most beneficial.

4. To "see", there are a number of products, from running flashlights to running headlamps.  Remember, all headlamps are NOT created equal.  Having a light that spreads and has different modes is very important, much like what the Nebula/Halo Fire offers.

The Nebula Fire and Halo Fire are rechargeable, have flood and spotlights for running and provide a feature called "Run-wave", that allows to change modes without pressing a button. 

The Nebula Fire and Halo Fire are rechargeable, have flood and spotlights for running and provide a feature called "Run-wave", that allows to change modes without pressing a button. 

5. Not sure if you should wear that extra piece of visibility?  The answer is yes.  So what might you be wearing to have the best visibility?

a)Headlamp to "see".  Never hurts to be able to see where you are going.  This also helps with being seen.

b)vest with reflectivity and lights (they can be built in or clip-ons).  This is the biggest surface area for "be seen" material.

c)blinking light to be worn on arm, feet or legs.  This creates the movement that makes it easier to be seen.

d)any shoe/apparel typically has some reflective qualities to it.  Unless it is a very visible/reflective piece of apparel, it should never be your main "be seen" piece.

Remember, at 25mph, cars need roughly 85 ft to stop.  Are you "being seen" enough for cars to see you in that period of time?  

Check out this video to see how you stack up.

If you are still unsure about what you need from GRO to make it safe and enjoyable to run at night, drop by so one of our Running Consultants can help you get set up.

Twilight or Dawning of new season?


It really depends on how you look at it, but for most of us, the running season is winding down and we will take a mental/physical break from what we have been doing for the spring and summer.  We encourage you to rest and recover, but it doesn't mean you have to stop things all-together.  You can start to make goals for next year and use the fall/winter as a jump-start on reaching those goals.  Are you looking to do your first triathlon next year?  Don't wait until March/April to delve into better swimming.  Take those lessons now and carry that through winter.  Tired of running on the roads?  Take a nice destination drive to a preserve/state park to get some great trail running in (Rock Cut State Park, Herrick Lake, Nelson Lake, etc...).  Love to bike on the roads, but it's going to be too chilly soon?  Break out that mountain/"fat tire" bike and hit the trails to mix it up.  You've worked hard, so have some different type of fun with it now.  Enjoy!

Are you ready for your events?

It's getting to be that time of the year when we have our BIG events coming up.  Whether it is the Chicago Triathlon, Chicago Marathon or Fox Valley Marathon (there are plenty of others!), you can always do your best to make sure things go your way on race day.  Here are some great steps for success, especially for the Fox Valley Marathon:

-Make sure you have all of your gear ready in advance of the race.  You don't have to be on your phone every five minutes checking the weather, but be prepared for the temperature range for the day.  The historic avg high is roughly 75 degrees and the low is 54 (Fox Valley).  Will you be chilly in the morning?  Remember you can wear clothes to the race and check your gear before the race starts.  If the race ends up being a little chilly, you can use arm warmers to keep those arms warm, without putting on extra layers.  The beauty of arm warmers are that you can roll them down or back up depending on the weather situation.  Once you have all of your gear planned, lay it out the night before to make sure you haven't forgotten anything.  You can even send that picture to friends, so that they know what you're wearing in the morning.

-Have a plan (but don't be married to it).  Know how you want your race to go, while also being realistic.  Know when you are taking gels, water and what some of your splits will be.  Above all else, plan for the unexpected.  You may drop a gel, miss a water stop, trip and fall, have a shoe lace come untied, etc...  How can you plan for that?  Sometimes you can't, but you can just keep a smile on your face and do the best you can with a given situation.  This leads me to my next point on how to be able to keep a smile on your face if something goes wrong.... 


-Use a pace group.  We are providing the Fox Valley Marathon Pacers, and their jobs are to get you to the finish line on time, all while being a guide of the course.  They will run even splits, even efforts and help you to the finish.  If you have questions about the course, during the race, they are the ones to ask.  They'll be the ones holding the signs at the race start.  So line up with them and you'll be golden.  

-Have Fun!!  It's a tough, but exhilarating day for everyone, so just remember that it's supposed to be fun.  Smile for the pictures, give high fives, give words of encouragement and mostly, just have fun with the day.  If you can enjoy yourself, it will be a success!

Is a GPS watch for me?

This is a question we hear a lot from our runner friends.  They may see their running buddies with one; with them saying "you've got to get one!"  Or, there may be an article about the latest and greatest watch.  What most people leave out is the most important part.  "Do you actually NEED one?"  We carry Garmin GPS watches at GRO, and will use those models for comparison in this blog.  

Let's first talk about what exactly a GPS watch is.  GPS (global positioning system) "is a satellite-based navigation system made up of a network of 24 satellites placed into orbit by the U.S. Department of Defense." (from  The watch "talks" to the satellites about where it is.  The watch then turns that conversation into speed/pace.  Here's where the fun starts and where asking the question "do I actually need one?" comes into play.  Do you want the watch to give you feedback?  Do you want the watch for recovery features?  Do you want the watch to be used as a training log?  Do you want the watch to serve as a activity tracker?   Do you want the watch to help you train more efficiently?  If you answered "yes" to any of these, then a GPS watch might be for you.  Most people who are running can answer yes to some of those questions, though.  There are options for just over $100 that will give you speed/distance/time and some other timing features (Forerunner 25).  There are watches for just over $300 that will have built in Heart Rate (in the wrist strap), recovery advisory, bluetooth connectivity, smart apps, and almost everything else except the kitchen sink(Forerunner 735XT).  

Once you have the watch to suit your needs, where do you go from there?  Are you using it to simply track your distance or pace?  What do those numbers mean?  Have you ever looked down at your watch and said, "Wow I'm running fast today" or "wow, my pace is really bad today"?  My question is how do you know?  Is it based on previous runs?  Is it your feel?  Is it something that you "just know?"  Or do you have a specific set of paces that you can use as guidelines to get you though your different workouts?  Using a GPS watch is very simple to do, but using it to improve your fitness takes a little bit more.  Drop in to GRO to have our Garmin Whisperer help you work out what's best for you and get you started down the path of fitness/running!

Come in and grab your free gift with purchase of Garmin watch when mentioning this blog post!