The folks at New Balance really know how to throw a media retreat! They combined interesting information about the company, brand, and products with fun and sun.
Saturday morning started with a yoga class on the hotel’s courtyard, which overlooked the beach. I’m not sure I’ve ever done yoga in a more beautiful setting. Love.
The instructor focused on poses that were most beneficial to runners. Pigeon pose almost killed me.
After yoga, it was time to eat– thank goodness because my stomach was growling so loudly during Shavasana. I hope no one heard it.
Breakfast was buffet-style, so I helped myself to some scrambled eggs, fresh fruit, and toast with peanut butter.
The morning info sessions started with a presentation about the minimal footwear market and New Balance’s new Minumus Collection, which will debut in February 2012.
As you probably know, the minimalist trend has hit the running world fast and furious and a lot of runners are curious about it, so New Balance responded with NB Minimus, which is a barefoot-inspired line of shoes. I haven’t tried minimalist running or even wanted to try it, but I was still opened-minded and interested to hear what the New Balance people had to say about it.
What I found most interesting about the NB Minimus shoes is that their design was developed from a combination of scientific research and testing by world-class elite and ultrarunners. New Balance has done some really interesting research in their Sports Lab to create a shoe that gives runners a “closer to barefoot” experience, including digitizing the wear pattern on the sole of their Minimus collection to give runners the extra support only where it is needed. Cool, right?
Speaking of cool new running shoes, New Balance gave all of the media retreat attendees a new pair of sneakers. Sweet!
How fun are these bright yellow 890s? They were great to run in too– I wore them for the Falmouth Road Race. They’re light (REVlite technology makes them 30% lighter than standard midsole shoes), but supportive at the same time.
New Balance also hooked us up with some awesome new running apparel, so a bunch of us ended up wearing the exact same outfit at the media retreat. We’re so cool.
Ok, back to the minimalist stuff.
As you know, the minimalist running tread is really hot right now. It seems like everyone has read Born to Run, and now all sorts of runners are jumping right into barefoot running. Well, podiatrists are having a field day with this new trend because all sorts of people are coming into their offices with foot injuries. Not good.
New Balance has partnered with Good Form Running to help more people make running less-painful and more enjoyable by reducing the strain that leads to injury. For minimalist running, this means essentially talking people off the ledge because if you don’t ease into it, you can really hurt yourself since there is more strain on the foot, calf, and Achilles tendon. New Balance recommends limiting initial use of their Minimus shoes to 10% of overall running workouts and very gradually increasing time and distance.
Part of the retreat included a Form Clinic, where we learned how to reduce the strain that leads to injury with four steps: posture, midfoot, cadence, lean. (Just click on the link to learn more about each of them.)
What we learned about cadence really blew my mind. Basically, aiming for a cadence of 180 steps per minute (or 3 per second) requires the most work, but conserves energy by reducing the temptation to over-stride. Keeping this tempo encourages you to run lighter, resulting in a more efficient form that helps to prevent injury.
I chatted with Matt about cadence after the clinic, and he said he experienced fewer injuries after working on his own. He said he used music with a 180 beat to keep up his pace. Interesting stuff, right? I’m planning to talk to my running coach about it.
After the Form Clinic, we enjoyed a short break, which included beach time and water activities. I’m telling ya, New Balance knows how to plan a media retreat!
A little while later, it was time for lunch. There was a nice spread of sandwiches, Cape Cod chips (naturally), fresh fruit, and (wicked good) chocolate chip cookies.
My plate included a veggie sandwich with hummus, a peach, and a chocolate chip cookie. I later when back for more cookies.
The afternoon sessions focused on running footwear and apparel.
Next spring, the second version of the 1080s will feature a new heel technology called N2, where Nitrogen is injected to create a cushioning yet durable feel. Fancy.
During the footwear session, I also fell in love with the v2 860s, which have some serious cushioning and a moderate level of stability. Perfect for marathon training.
Learning about New Balance’s new running apparel was my favorite part of the afternoon. Let’s just say, it isn’t your grandfather’s line of New Balance anymore!
The new lines, which will debut next spring, have a minimalist theme (less is more) with lots of translucent and lightweight fabrics. A bunch of pieces will also feature Ice-Fil (body-cooling) and sweat-wicking and odor-eliminating technologies. Also, keep your eye out for the 5-Inch Two-In-One running shorts. They’re super cute! (Sorry I didn’t snap a photo of them.)
A number of the pieces that we viewed were prototypes and not the final product for market. It was pretty cool seeing them all marked up.
After the final session of the day, everyone showered and prettied themselves for dinner at the Landfall Restaurant in Woods Hole. We took a trolley ride to the restaurant, which was right near the start line of the Falmouth Road Race.
The meal started with appetizers: fried calamari and raw clams, shrimp, and oysters. I chowed the calamari.
For my entrée, I ordered the broiled scallops, which were lightly breaded and served with tomatoes, olives, and feta. Delish.
I really enjoyed the New Balance Media Retreat. Thanks so much for inviting me, New Balance! It was a great way to learn more about the company, brand, and new initiatives.