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Top Running Store … 10 Years Running

50-best-2016-logoWow! We are honored and humbled. Big River was recently recognized as one of The 50 Best Running Stores in America® by Running Insight and Competitor Magazine. We were the only St. Louis based store to be recognized in the Top 50. This is our 10th consecutive year to be honored as a top-50 running store in America – every year we’ve been open.

Big River earned the honor following an extensive nomination and review process that rated the store on its customer service, product knowledge, merchandising and community service. All stores are visited by a secret shopper, and this year, Big River was one of only 8 stores in the country that earned a perfect secret shopping score.

A huge thank you to our staff who bring the awesome everyday. And an enormous thank you to all of YOU! You bring out the best of Big River!

Holiday Lights Run 2016

Big River South City is your headquarters for Holiday Lights Runs this December! Gather your family, friends and running buddies at Big River – South City any weeknight from December 5 – 23 from 4:30 – 6:30 p.m. Big River Running will provide you with maps of a twinkling 3-mile route and post-run hot cocoa!

We close at 7pm so please plan your run and finish time accordingly.

What to bring:

  • Holiday spirit! Feel free to dress up!
  • Headlamp and reflective apparel and gear
  • Your friends, family and running buddies
  • Donations to help families in need this holiday season (see Tis the season! below)
  • Money! Big River will be selling commemorative Holiday Lights Run mugs and ornaments!

Big River Running will provide you with:

  • A detailed map of a 3-mile route featuring some of the amazing holiday lights displays in St. Louis Hills like Snowflake Street and Candy Cane Lane!
  • Post-run hot cocoa

Tis the season for giving!

Big River Running has partnered with the Santa’s Helpers charity to make the holidays a little brighter for St. Louis families in need.  If the spirit moves you, please consider bring in any of the following items to Big River – South City:

  • Toys (new and unwrapped)
  • Children’s books (new and unwrapped)
  • Clothing (new, infant through adult sizes needed)

Big River – South City will be accepting donations for Santa’s Helpers from December 1 – December 19.

Turkey Trot Traditions

Running on Thanksgiving morning is a great tradition to start or continue with your family and friends. Nothing prepares you for a day of eating and football watching like a run!

Run Local!

Just say no to those sponsored Facebook posts and Google ads suggesting races put on by out-of-town corporations. Big River, your local race timing friends and running store, brings you an amazing selection of races that are organized by our communities right here in the St. Louis area like The Hungry Turkey, Chesterfield Turkey Trot and Kirkwood Webster Turkey Day Run. Many have a charity component too, which gives everyone a warm, fuzzy feeling inside.

Screen Shot 2015-11-12 at 10.51.23 AMBig River’s The Hungry Turkey is St. Louis’ only Thanksgiving Day run downtown – featuring a new course this year! The Hungry Turkey is a great way to get the whole family out the door and engaged in a healthy activity (did we mention that kids under the age of 12 run free with a registered adult?). Participants can run the race and then stay afterward to enjoy the parade! The Hungry Turkey partners (as it has every year since its inception) with Operation Food Search, the largest distributor of free food to the community in the entire region. It is completely befitting for the holiday season to help support a charity like this. How do we do it? We run a canned food drive at every Big River Running store throughout the entire registration period.  We collect cans from everyone that wishes to donate and if desired, you can ask for a $5 coupon good towards your race registration. We also accept monetary donations during the online registration process with 100% of these dollars going to OFS. Want options? We also highly recommend the Chesterfield Turkey Trot and Kirkwood Webster Turkey Day Run, which are put on by local communities and benefit our neighborhoods.



Run Safety Tips


November is National Run Safety Month. As the days are getting shorter that means that it is dark when we are running or walking no matter if we head out the door in the morning or the evening. Instead of letting the darkness get you down, we would love to share some tips and a gear checklist to keep you safe when you are getting out and being active, whether it’s walking your dog in the morning or sneaking in a run after work!

Rule #1: See and be seen.
Wear reflective gear and use lights. Not only do we want cars to see our reflective gear in their headlights, it is equally important for us to see where we are going! Sidewalks, curbs, leaves and sticks have been known to lurk in the dark, waiting to trip us up. Gear like headlamps, handheld flashlights and cap lights are a great source for putting out light. Reflective vests, jackets and shoes, as well as brightly colored clothing with built in reflectivity shine when an external light source like headlights or streetlights are flashed upon them.

Rule #2: Talk it up.
Just shouting, “I’m going for a run!” as we dash out the door isn’t good enough. It is important to tell loved ones or friends that we are going for a run, where we are going and about how long we expect to be gone in case something goes awry. Some Garmin’s offer runner tracking when paired with a smartphone!

Rule #3: Carry a phone and your ID.
Lots of us are running with our phones now, listening to our favorite running playlists but carrying a phone with you has a safety component too. Being able to call someone in case of an emergency is important, as is carrying proper identification. Big River has plenty of storage solutions that are comfortable to use and many that fit larger smartphones. Road IDs can be customized to share information such as a name and number of an emergency contact, any medication allergies and blood type.

Rule #4: Run against traffic and obey all traffic laws.
By following all traffic laws such as stopping at streetlights and crossing at intersections, we remain aware of our surroundings and are also providing a courtesy to those with whom we share the road. Running against traffic (on the sidewalk!) also lets us see what is happening up the road. Remember if you are listening to music with headphones, keep the volume low enough that you are still aware of your surroundings!

Running Safety Tip #5: Run with a group.
Running with a group is a great way to stay motivated during the cold and dark months of winter. It is also safer to run with other people in low light conditions. As a group you are less likely to get approached and in the event of an emergency, there is always someone with you to call for help. Big River offers great opportunities to run with a group all year long.

Running Safety Tip #6: Plan routes in safe, well-lit areas.
Sticking to routes that have well-lit paths and sidewalks is best so you can see! Well-lit areas also tend to have more foot traffic and less chance of crime. Plan your routes ahead of time so you know where you are going!

Running Safety Tip #7: Stay well-hydrated.
Even when the temperatures get cooler, staying properly hydrated is key! We often mis-judge our dehydration when running outdoors in colder weather because we may not sweat as much or feel as thirsty. Or we overdress and then sweat too much because of our layers! When the temperature drops, local parks often shut off their water fountains. Use a hand-held water bottle (bonus points if it’s one that lights up) to ensure you have your own supply!

Be Safe, Be Seen This Halloween


We’re dressing up as a pirate this Halloween and have an important question for you … “ARRRRR you visible this Halloween?” We’re not joking. The days are getting shorter as winter approaches and that means for many runners (and trick or treaters), getting our mileage in during lower light conditions or even after the sun goes down. You no longer have to be afraid of the dark! Big River offers the best and brightest in safety measures from headlamps to reflective vests, from clip-on blinky lights to reflective strips and much, much more! With so many options out there we broke down some of the key features and benefits of some of our best sellers!

Nathan Light Spur: This little beauty slides unobtrusively onto the back of almost any shoe and with the push of a button creates an illumination (with the option for a strobe affect as well).

Petzl Tikka Headlamp:
A tried and true favorite! This lightweight and did we mention comfortable headlamp is adjustable and will light the way down whatever road you may travel. Providing 100 lumens of light, those early morning or late night runs won’t seem so dark and lonely.

Amphipod Xinglet: Lightweight and offering 360 degrees of reflectivity, this ultra comfortable vest isn’t just for those ultra runners! Fully adjustable, soft and chafe-free straps make this vest the only one you will need!

Knuckle Lights: Go boldly where no other runners have gone before…or at least it might seem that way because you can actually see where you are going! Worn on your hands in the perfect position to see and be seen, Knuckle Lights will blaze the trail with 45 Lumens per light. Three power settings (low, high and strobe) offer a variety of safety options so if you are like goldilocks, you can find one that is just right no matter what!

Amphipod Vizlet LED: The most versatile option around! This wearable flashing LED reflector attaches to almost anything! From hydration belts, shorts/waistbands, sleeves or collars, caps and hats (and don’t forget dog collars and leashes), this LED reflector is super well rounded. with easy to use integrated magnets it stays put no matter what activity and is perfect for even those trick or treaters on Halloween night! No jokes here! This little LED packs a punch!

Mercy Sports Medicine: Running Through & After Injury

Pain Is Your Check Engine Light

If you have an injury, it is not a good idea to continue running through pain. Nor is it advised that you take medication to alleviate (and therefore masking) pain without other intervention. For example, when the check engine light goes on in a car, it is always a good idea to have your car serviced by a mechanic to find the problem and correct it. The body is similar, only it uses pain as its check engine light. Pain is the signal to the brain that informs you something is wrong. With your car, if you were to continue driving with the check engine light on, the problem will not get fixed and there is a good chance more problems may occur. Same thing goes for your body! Furthermore, if you continue to run with an injury while masking it with pain relieving medication, you are putting yourself at a high risk for a more severe injury. Always consult with your primary care or sports medicine physician when pain occurs before continuing your normal running program.

Upon Return from Injury – Slow & Steady Wins the Race

It is typically okay to start a gradual running and strength program when pain is no longer being experienced and full range of motion has been restored. The key word is gradual! Trying to return to running too quickly drastically increases the risk of re-injury. If it is an injury you are seeing a medical doctor or receiving rehabilitation for, be sure all medical professionals have cleared you to begin such activity. While you may be chomping at the bit to get back in action, slow and steady wins the race in this case, or at least keeps you healthy and able to run in the race!

Mercy Clinic Sports Medicine offices are located at 15945 Clayton Road, Suite 210 (Phone: 636-893-1360) and 633 Emerson Road, Suite 20 (Phone: 314-325-3068).

Garmin Forerunner 35

Garmin Forerunner 35 is now at Big River Running! Why we love it …
Easy-to-use GPS Running Watch with Wrist-based Heart Rate

  • Monitors heart rate¹ at the wrist, all day and night, using Garmin Elevate™ wrist heart rate technology
  • Built-in GPS tracks how far, how fast and where you run
  • Connected features²: smart notifications, automatic uploads to Garmin Connect™, live tracking and music controls
  • All-day activity tracking¹ counts steps, calories and intensity minutes and reminds you when to move
  • Automatically uploads² your data to Garmin Connect, our free online fitness community where you can join challenges, receive insights and share your progress as you meet your goals

The details:

Run Your Heart Out

Forerunner 35 is slim and lightweight — perfect for daily runs, training and racing. It features built-in wrist-based heart rate as well as GPS that tracks your distance, pace, intervals and more. And since all these stats are captured by the watch, your watch is all you need — no phone, no chest strap. Just put on Forerunner 35 and go.

Stay Connected

When paired with your compatible smartphone, Forerunner 35 offers the convenience of smart notifications right on your wrist along with a variety of other connected features makes it easy to live and run without one interrupting the other². Stay connected to family and friends with the live tracking feature, which lets them follow your runs in real time. Forerunner 35 also keeps you up to date with automatic software updates, and it allows for music controls and more on your device.

Customize and Connect

Forerunner 35 GPS running watch allows you to automatically upload your stats and runs to Garmin Connect, our free online fitness community where you can review your progress and even share via social media. This free software is available for desktop or on your smartphone with the Garmin Connect™ Mobile app.

Activity Tracking All Day and Night

There’s no reason not to wear your Forerunner 35 every day, thanks to its extensive activity tracking features. That includes steps, calories, distance, sleep and intensity minutes, not to mention 24/7 heart rate monitoring. It also watches out for periods of inactivity and gives you vibration alerts when it’s time to move.

Understand Movement

Forerunner 35 features Garmin Move IQ™, which captures different activities —such as walking, running and more — to view on Garmin Connect. No need to switch out your watch or start a new activity — the watch automatically recognizes when your movement changes so you can go from a walk to a run in no time. Access Garmin Connect via mobile app or desktop to see your Garmin Move IQ-captured event in more detail, join challenges and compete against others.

Thank you for shopping local!

Rest & Recover to Run Fast

Rest and recovery tends to be an underrated and unappreciated aspect of training. Everyone talks about his or her super long long run or really hard workout. People talk about the glorious parts of running, but not about stuff like recovery runs, foam rolling, nutrition, days off or sleep.

The basic science behind improving your fitness level is by performing strenuous physical activity, you stress your body by breaking it down. This stress is unknown to the body, thus to accommodate this new stress the body rebuilds back stronger than before. So if you do not allow proper recovery time, then no adaption can be made which basically neglects all the hard work you just put in.

To bounce back stronger and faster after a really hard session, rest and recovery needs to be a priority. There are many types of recovery like immediate, day-to-day, or training cycle to training cycle.

Immediately following a run, the recovery process begins. There are many things you can do to begin the process. Performing a proper cool down by either jogging slowly or walking will allow the heart rate to come back down and flush out metabolic waste that accumulates after a hard effort. Once the heart rate has come down, foam rolling and stretching are also a great way to flush out the toxins. Nutrition can also jumpstart recovery because your body is in a depleted state and craving nutrients. Your body needs to be rehydrated and restocked of glycogen. Many nutritionists recommend ingesting 200-300 calories that contain a 3-to-1 ratio of carbohydrates to protein. Chocolate milk, energy bars, or refueling drinks provide the optimal ratio to jumpstart recovery.

Day-to-day runners can help their body recovery more efficiently and effectively. The most underrated recovery tool is sleep. While sleeping, the biggest gains in recovery are made because the body releases human growth hormones which builds and repairs muscle tissue. To ensure you stay healthy and recover faster, you need to allow optimal amount of time to sleep (7-9 hours). Professional runners sleep on average from 10 to 12 hours a night to allow proper recovery. Professional runners also receive massages once or twice every week. While most people can’t get massages multiple times per week, foam rolling is the next best thing. Foam rolling helps push the metabolic waste and promotes circulation which offers the same benefits of a massage. Maintaining a healthy diet and staying hydrated will also keep your metabolism revving and continue to help the body recover quicker.

After a large training block with a peak race, a long period of rest is needed to allow the body to get back to “normal.” Most coaches recommend taking at least two weeks of zero running followed by two more weeks of light running or exercise. This does not mean sit around every day and do nothing, but break the cycle of running and do other activities that allow for recovery like hiking, walks, or biking. This is active recovery that gives both the mind and body a break from running. Once you are fully recovered from that training block after a couple weeks, begin to build back up slowly and find that next big goal to hit!

Don’t be afraid to rest and recover. Impress your running buddies tomorrow by bragging about how much sleep you got last night instead of mentioning the killer hill repeats you did.

Hydrate to be Great

Water is the most essential nutrient to human life. Staying hydrated is vital for both immediate physical and mental performance as well as long term overall health. H2O is essential for certain chemical reactions, maintaining thermoregulation, and lubricant to keep the body moving smoothly. Proper hydration during the summer months is even more important albeit more difficult due to the vast amount of water loss through increased perspiration. It’s hot out there! Make sure you are properly hydrated!

Strategies to Stay Hydrated:

  • Know your goal! The recommended water intake in ounces per day is your body weight in kilograms. This does not take into account water you may also get from other fluids and food. One pound is equal to .45 kilograms, so multiply your weight by .45 to learn your number. For example, if you weigh 130 pounds. Multiply 130 by .45 and you get 61. That’s how many ounces of water a 130-lb person should drink each day.
  • You can never have enough fruits and vegetables. They are almost entirely made of water!
  • Keep a water bottle with you wherever you are .. in your car, at your desk, on your kitchen counter at home, etc. You know the saying, “out of sight, out of mind.” You want the opposite, so keep your water in sight!
  • Avoid caffeinated and sugary drinks. They are actually diuretics and cause dehydration.
  • If you feel thirsty, it’s already too late. Your body is dehydrated. Try to stay ahead of the sensation of thirst to ensure proper hydration.
  • When you are losing a lot of salt through excessive perspiration, electrolyte replenishment is as important as hydration. You may even need to consider using salt tablets or electrolyte replenishment drinks such as Nuun or Gatorade.

Proper hydration can increase your quality of life while allowing you to perform physically and mentally at full capacity. Who doesn’t want that?!