Product Review: SAXX Underwear

Tim Mosbacher is a RErun Ambassador for 2017/2018. We asked him to test out a pair of the SAXX Underwear and tell us what he thought. You can read more of his reviews and stories from running here

Courtesy of Tim Mosbacher

A few months ago I was doing a little shopping at the Runner’s Edge and posed an issue to salesman Forrest Boughner.  I was wearing out the liners of my running shorts faster than normal, and running shorts have been getting more expensive every year.  He suggested purchasing SAXX underwear and using these as a replacement for the liner.  He divulged a little personal information—he was now wearing SAXX underwear and was liking them.  Forrest and I usually do not discuss our underwear choices so I thought they must be good!

 Fast forward to this month and I am now on my second pair of SAXX underwear.  Forrest was correct.  They are a cheaper replacement to purchasing all-new running shorts, and they are the most comfortable underwear you can buy.

 I initially did not even wear the first pair for running.  SAXX were so comfortable I started wearing them as my go-to comfortable wear.  Their moisture wicking and anti-microbial properties create a situation where you do not sweat during normal wear, which eliminates odors.  The most noticeable feature when you first put them on is the “ballpark pouch.”  SAXX promotes the pouch as a “3D hammock shaped pouch which is designed for contact free support.”  The pouch prevents heat and chafing from skin-against-skin friction.

Courtesy of Tim Mosbacher

 With the second pair I removed the liners from my old damaged shorts and wore the SAXX boxer brief as the “liner.”  Despite high heat conditions, I had no chafing and very little moisture in the front (some in the rear) due to the pouch.  The legs did not ride up much for me and to be honest I never even felt them on any of the test runs. 

 Sizing seems accurate as I normally wear a 30-inch waist pant and the tested briefs were a small with the advertised waist of 30-32.  In the future I would like to test out a XS and compare as they are rated 27-29. 

 The “elephant in the room” with SAXX briefs would be the cost.  They are priced at $38 a pair. After a few months of wearing my first pair, they look the same as the day I purchased them.  I have been able to run in shorts that I would have relegated to the trash bin, saving hundreds of dollars on new shorts with liners.  It seems $38 is a good investment.

Runner of the Month – July 2017

Leah Handelman is a familiar face towards the front of races in the Montana trail racing scene. She recently followed up her win at the Don’t Fence Me In 30k with a first place finish at the Bighorn 52 mile run in Wyoming. She is also currently the female leader in the Treasure State Trail Series.

Name: Leah Handelman

Age: 32

Hometown: Whitefish, MT

How did you get into running?  I actually got into running as a way to relieve stress and anxiety and to keep an overly energetic dog happy.   My Dad, an avid runner and former Marine, got me into racing by convincing me to do the Big Mountain trail run almost 10 years ago and by then I was officially hooked.

What is your favorite run around Missoula?  I love Mt Jumbo because the lack of year round accessibility keeps it wild. When it’s open, one my favorite loops is up and over Jumbo via the “L” trail or switchbacks into Woods  Gulch.

What’s next on your running calendar? So far, I’m looking forward to RATBOB in July, some TBD  Montana trail series races throughout the summer, and the North Face 50 miler in Park City, in September.

Tell us about Bighorn: Mud, mud, and more mud. But seriously, it was a great lesson in patience.  Initially I was caught up in the  excitement and temptation to push it in the first few miles, but after wiping out in cold, wet mud for the tenth or eleventh time I made the decision to hold back a bit, save some energy, and “race my own race.” In the end, it paid off, and I had the stamina to make-up for any lost time when the mud (finally) subsided.

Congratulations on a strong start to the 2017 trail season, Leah! Keep up the good work. 

Downhill Running Form and Training Techniques

Downhill Running Form and Training Techniques
John Fiore, PT

The challenges of running uphill are addressed through uphill interval training and techniques specific to climbing. Downhill running, however, is often a forgotten aspect of training. While it is true that many races are won on the unrelenting climbs, races are more often lost on the long, technical descents due to blown quads and poor technique. I do not claim to be a stellar downhill runner, but I will pass on useful training techniques founded in running biomechanics which may help you make the Swift Current cutoff time or even soar to victory at The Rut this September.

Regardless of body type or speed, the following seven training tips will improve your downhill running form and efficiency and reduce post-running soreness and injury risk.

Commit to running downhill: When the climb is over and the gradient tips downward, shift gears in your mind and body and commit to descending. Your leg musculature must now function in the lengthened position referred to as an eccentric contraction. In a lengthened position, your muscles are prone to soreness which is minimized through specified training.

Lean forward and use gravity: A common mistake many runners make is to lean back on the while descending. This “back seat” descending techniques results in higher impact loading through the heel, a shift of the center of gravity behind the body, and a higher incidence of blown quads or sliding feet. Lean forward slightly through the pelvis and trunk, using gravity to your advantage. Downhill running is often viewed as controlled free-falling and can actually be as fun as it sounds.

Descending at the Chuckanut 50k

Move your feet quickly: Cadence plays a crucial role in increasing running efficiency by reducing joint impact loading and conserving energy. Increasing your cadence (160-180 foot strikes per minute) will decrease joint impact forces, reduce muscle fatigue, and reduce the incidence of tripping on a stray rock. Try seeking out rocks to land on rather than navigating around rocks as if you are crossing a stream.

Look down the mountain and anticipate your next move: When running uphill, it is best to look a step or two ahead rather than face the entire climb head-on. In contrast, when descending, keep your eyes five to ten feet ahead of your feet and anticipate your next two steps in your mind and your legs will follow. Practice this technique on a rocky familiar descent and train your proprioception (non-visual sense of foot-leg position in space).

Relax your arms and utilize your entire body for balance: Balance becomes more of an issue running downhill at speed. Utilize your arms for balance and allow them to flail wildly while maintaining stable, strong trunk and hip musculature. Core strength and joint stabilization will pay off on the descents and it is important to utilize a regular program to achieve functional running strength.

Simulate race terrain in training: If your upcoming race includes downhill running or technical, rocky terrain, it is imperative to practice on similar terrain. Missoulians are fortunate to have a choice of rocky, steep terrain less than one hour away in any direction from town. Rocky trails abound in the Bitterroot, Rattlesnake, and Mission Mountains. Practice downhill intervals, climbing back up, and practicing a different line and varying your cadence and foot placement strategies.

Emphasize eccentric single leg training: Runners tend to focus on step ups, squats, and non-weight bearing gluteal exercises, but the secret to confident downhill running lies in eccentric single leg strengthening. Utilize single leg plyo-hops, box jumps, and even single leg box jumps onto an uneven surface such as a pad or Bosu Ball to train your body to fly down the scree and talus slopes of your favorite mountain race. For more specific questions related to downhill running training, injury treatment or prevention, call or email me at Sapphire Physical Therapy.


John Fiore, PT

Hip Extension for Efficient Running

Hip Extension for Efficient Running

(Unlocking the mystery which drives running)
By: John Fiore, PT

Runners of all abilities and ages strive to run efficiently and injury-free. While the importance of foot strike pattern and cadence will be addressed in future articles, this month’s article will focus on the role of hip extension to maximize running efficiency and reduce injury risk. Runners are often given general cues to improve running form which often result in further compensatory running patterns. “Running with an upright trunk” and “drive your hips and pelvis forward” cues in reality inhibit true hip extension by increasing lumbar spine compression through an anterior pelvic tilt. The first step to running efficiently is to understand what hip extension is.

Hip extension begins as the body passes behind the center of gravity of the body (pelvis, torso) during the running stride. Hip extension (coupled with knee and ankle extension) produces the power phase which drives running forward propulsion. A strong gluteus maximus is a must for hip extension in runners. The gluteus maximus is the primary hip extender while the hamstring assists. In the presence of an underactive or weak gluteus maximus, the hamstring assumes the role of hip extension which often leads to hamstring muscle overuse injuries.

Photo courtesy of

It is difficult to evaluate true hip extension without a video running analysis with high- speed cameras to capture and objectively quantify hip joint extension angles. A real- time video running analysis will document hip extension while running. Think of a running stride as being comprised of two equal halves (hip flexion and hip extension). Similar to a pendulum, the hip excursion during hip extension (backward portion of the running stride) should approximate the hip excursion during hip flexion (forward portion of the running stride). Visualize your trunk and torso as the axis of a pendulum with hip extension equaling hip flexion.

Another function of hip extension is one of power transfer. Energy gained through gluteus maximus contraction and hip extension, is transferred into more efficient hip flexion during the forward swing phase of the running stride. A stretch reflex of the hip flexor muscle during hip extension results in a more efficient forward stride. Lifestyle consequences interfere with our natural, efficient running stride. Prolonged sitting increases the risk of hip flexor tightness (psoas, rectus femoris), an anterior tilt of the pelvis, and weak gluteal muscles (gluteus maximus, gluteus medius).

Restoring necessary hip extension while running is not achieved by running upright or driving the pelvis forward as many runners are instructed to do. Retraining the body to extend the hip while stabilizing the pelvis is possible only through core stabilization, functional (weight bearing) strengthening, and running video analysis. Without adequate pelvic stabilization, anterior tilting of the pelvis results in increased lumbar compression and increased hamstring muscle compensation.

Photo courtesy of

The experts at Sapphire Physical Therapy can evaluate your running gait with our real-time 2D video running analysis. Based on the analysis data, an individualized functional strength, pelvis stabilization program will allow you to work towards pain-free running and detect underlying form or strength issues. Call Sapphire Physical Therapy or see learn more at and let us help you successfully achieve your running goals.

John Fiore, PT

Runners of the Month: June 2017

Runner’s of the Month – Ken, Erin, and Erin

Ken O’Donnell, Erin Forde, and Erin Williams are three new employees at Runner’s Edge. We are happy to have them on board and hope you can swing by and say hi!

Name: Ken O’Donnell, Erin Forde, Erin Williams

How long have you been in Missoula? 
K- Since January 2016
EF- Three years, yay Mountains!
EW- “I was born and raised in Missoula, Montana. I am fifth generation Montanan. My state love runs deep.”

How many years have you been running?
K- 10 Years
EF- 11 years, since middle school
EW- 10 Years, since sophomore year at Hellgate

Are you training for anything in particular?
K-  “What I’m really training for is good health and the ability to stay extremely active for the rest of my life.”
EF- “My husband and I are going to run our first Missoula Half Marathon.”
EW- “Ski season! And I am going to be using our glorious summer to get ready for the Rut 28k.”

What is your favorite local race?
 K- Catch ‘Em If You Can 5K (editor’s note: now Heartthrob 5k)
EF- Turkey Trot with family and friends
EW- I love the Blue Mountain 30k

What is your do you enjoy most about the local running community?
K- “Everyone seems to love running AND beer!”
EF- “Everyone is so welcoming! It’s always intimidating starting a new job or run with new people, but you all sure have made the transition super easy! 🙂 I’ve had so much fun meeting people that enjoy being outside and having a blast while running.”
EW- “I continue to be tickled by the accessibility to support, and motivation for each other. I am so grateful and excited to help strengthen this community and their love of movement and running.”

What is your best running memory?
K- “On Christmas I went for a run in the morning when it was still dark and there was a fresh layer of snow everywhere and the air just had that feeling to it that only a frigid, dark winter morning has. I was running out of town and even though all I could hear was the crunch of snow underfoot, the sound of my breathing and the constant wind, I could still sense the lights from town and that buzz of electricity. Then the presence of town and the hum of all the fridges, lights and obnoxious speakers at the Maverick gas station suddenly stopped! I turned around and saw that almost the entire city had lost power! It was so dark and so quiet! It was as if the city had disappeared and I was looking out from this big hill at a vast, empty, dark place where no people lived. I ran home in the dark and the silence and being there no streetlights where I was, fortunately for me, there wasn’t a soul out driving around at that time on Christmas morning.”
 EF- “Hopefully it will be the half marathon I run with my Hubby! Otherwise the 5k beer run because there’s a free beer at the end! :)”
EW- “In February 2016, I ran up Ben Lomond Peak in Queenstown, NZ. We ran up into a Hallmark sunset. The ascent was roughly two and a half Mount Sentinels stacked with more curves, flowers, and once domesticated goats. We went out hard. Every time I reminisce I am just unbelievably grateful for the exposure running can provide to a place.


Sentinel Hill Climb: Registration Now Open

Registration for the Sentinel Hill Climb is now open! 

Be the king or queen of the hill at this iconic event by testing your quads on your ascent up the face on Sentinel.

For more information and to register, please click HERE