1. Most frontside skis are too precise and exhausting for freeskiing. Not the pared-down CX 80, which does away with heavy add-ons like complex binding plates for a more responsive feel. It’s ten millimeters fatter than most, but its World Cup­–inspired…

In the Store: If you’re buying just one pair of skis (and not building a quiver), look for a set that matches your style of skiing and the terrain you frequent 70 percent of the time. And don’t be afraid to upgrade: Buy skis slightly above…

DEAN KARNAZES talks about racing in the most extreme conditions on earth.

I’m looking for a compact and lightweight backpack that I can take running. It should move with me securely through rough terrain. Do you have suggestions? Jay Vancouver, Washington

He’s stronger, fitter, and nearly six seconds faster than he was in 2001, when he smashed Jim Ryun’s high school mile record. But consistency has never been Alan Webb’s strong point. Will Beijing finally bring America’s star runner the glory he—and the rest of us—have been waiting for?

1. WILSON AVP REPLICA BALL You might not be able to spike like Misty May-Treanor, but you won’t be able to blame the ball. This soft, composite-leather volleyball is a facsimile of what the pros use. $15; Women’s Beach Gear Essentials 2. LOLË…

Ultrarunning ambassador Dean Karnazes shares his secrets for going, going, going …

1. BROOKS INFINITI JACKET The billboard-size logo on the back will make you feel like a pro during warm-ups, while reflective touches make it great for chilly dusk workouts. $100; The Goods: Road-Race Day 2. TRIGGER POINT PLANTAR FASCIITIS KIT The antidote to…

I’m an experienced road runner, and now I want to train for an off-road triathlon. Where should I start with trail-runners? Chris Indianapolis, Indiana

A sport-by-sport guide to everything you need to excel.

Turn your vacation into a full-body recalibration with these performance-enhancing getaways

I've run one ultrarathon and looking to do a few more this year. What are the best and lightest trail shoes on the market? I tried the North Face Arnuva 50 Boa, but I'd like to hear about some lighter choices. Thanks! Alex Iowa City, Iowa

Gear you can't run without

Put that weekly jog to rest and take your training to a new level with our guide to technique, gear, and recovery

You skipped breakfast because you overslept because you couldn’t fall asleep because you didn’t have enough time to exercise. Sound familiar? Then turn the page and let us—and Michael Phelps—show you how to recalibrate for your best year ever.

Pick one of these races coming up this spring, and start rehearsing your victory speech.

I'm looking for the perfect trail running jacket: soft shell to eliminate the noise of nylon, breathable so I don't overheat, and resistant to light rain and wind. I chasing a unicorn, or does such a beast exist? Blake Lexington, Kentucky

1. Bern Muse Helmet Slope Style This downsized lid has zero bobblehead factor yet still has room for a removable liner (with speakers). $99; 2. Marmot Furlong Like it or not, you will get noticed in the lift line when you’re…

Call it trickle-up technology. In the past 30 years, adventure-centric products have moved from the margins to the mainstream. Here's drool-inducing proof that today's top manufacturers are on our side.

Sorry, abs: One muscle trumps all others. Keep your ticker in top shape with our complete guide to cardio health.

I’m an avid hiker and getting back into running, too. I love my Vasque hiking boots, which offer a lot of support, cushioning, and a cradled heel. But none of the running shoes I have tried offer the se fit. Can I run a 5K in hiking boots? Just kidding, sort of. Any suggestions? Matt Downingtown, Pennsylvania

Go with the flow, say ChiRunners, and your legs will follow

1. HIND P.E. SHORT SLEEVE SHIRT » This T’s grid pattern minimizes points of contact on the skin for increased airflow, which helps keep you cool. And on long runs, the extra-stretchy underarm panels don’t chafe. $38; womens running…

Strange but true: It feels good to run all day. Prep yourself with this go-far gear.

A new shoe promises more efficient running by taking a page from Isaac Newton

In the Store: Don’t know what kind of arches you have? Dunk your foot lightly in some water and then step on a paper bag. See almost your entire foot? You’re an overpronator. See very little? You’re an underpronator (this is less common). »…

I'd like to attend an outdoor camp this summer. Where can I find one that offers a unique adventure? Melissa C. Spokane, WA

I’m so glad it’s finally spring, and I can’t wait to get out on the trails. But it’s pretty muddy on some of my favorites. Which trail-runners do you recommend for these conditions? Kevin Boulder, Colorado

I have a modest build and run three times per week on mostly hard surfaces. Recently, after every session I’ve developed persistent heel pain. Any suggestion on a good running shoe that offers outstanding cushioning? Rich New York, New York

I'd love to run on the concrete recreation trails outside my house, but they hurt my bones. I’ve had to stick to dirt trails, which are a car ride away. Which running shoe will cushion well on paved surfaces? LCB Erie, Colorado

Dean Karnazes grabbed the headlines, but Mississippi native SAM THOMPSON, 25, nabbed the record last summer with little fanfare, becoming the first person to blitz 50 marathons in 50 days in 50 states. Even more impressive: He suffered zero blisters en route. Here's how.

I’m sick of being confined to the treadmill this winter. How should I dress for a cold-weather run? Knox Brookline, Massachusetts

With the latest iPod evolution, our human guinea pig turns on, tunes in, and...drops out?

I need a headlp for late-night trail running. I have a Petzl Tikka, which is great if everything is within hands reach, but beyond your feet it doesn't work very well. What do you suggest? David Syracuse, New York

To interview ultrarunner Dean Karnazes for our January cover story, “This Life Goes to 11,” managing editor Katie Arnold joined him for a “short run.” Four hours later, she’d completed her first marathon. Here, read extended excerpts from their conversation.

What's to love in 2006? How about 100 of the most newsworthy athletes, products, gadgets, bold ideas, and badass feats? From Lance's remarkable retirement (you try raising $500,000 for charity in one night) to a cell phone that logs your training run (and tells you where to turn) to a 33-item gift guide (check out Oakley's Bluetooth shades), here ar

In which our intrepid misadventurer sets out to win a marathon and quit smoking. (Hint: He only succeeds at one.)

Why does running downhill make me sore? Jim Colorado Springs, CO

Several weeks ago I ran the marathon I've been training for since January, and now I've gained four pounds in the past six weeks. How can I keep the weight off? Help!

What happens when training goes digital? Your workouts get real.

Can I use my 10k running time to figure out how fast I could run a marathon? Stewart W. Doylestown, Pa.

Wanna live where the action is? The goal: Trails out the back door, a serious Saturday-morning peloton, whitewater just up the road, and neighbors eager to join in. Our source: The best adventure athletes in America, who tell us where they live and why. The result: 20 places where locals work, train, and play hard. Start packing now.

It's time to take a fresh look at how to make the most of your 48 hours of weekend freedom. From high-adrenaline blasts to ultimate Zen sessions, we've created 37 custom plans to match every mood. Start packing—your adventure starts Friday.

Get the most out of long summer days with featherweight performance gear for running, riding, climbing, and hiking

After a breakout year, this native Colorado triathlete is ready for the world stage

I am a slow runner. In fact, last week I was running and I was passed by a glacier. How can I improve my speed?

I used to run consistently but have, well, slacked. Can you give me a good one-month schedule that would help me build up a base? Don Boulder, Colorado

Should I run on the treadmill before I eat breakfast or should I eat something first? Gabby La Puente, CA

When it comes to adventure kingdoms, all roads eventually lead to California. Here's where to find the Golden State's secret stash.

Time to tune up that garageful of gear (we don't mean lawn chairs) and devote your next outing to full-throttle fun.

What is the best way to keep my legs strong without gaining muscle? I’m built like a sprinter and I build muscle very easily. I run, bike, inline-skate, ski, and play squash and tennis. I want to prevent injuries without adding muscle. I’ve had two knee surgeries and over 40. Jay Liverpool, New York

She: "I just ran 300 miles!" He: "Check out my rippling quads!" It ain't easy being Pam Reed. When the skinny Tucson mom ran 11 marathons in a row without stopping this spring, did anybody notice? No, they were too busy fawning over her nemesis, the buff Dean Karnazes, as he dashed gaily from magazine shoot to book signing. So what gives?

I have been participating in duathlons, but I find my biggest problem is that I carry too much upper body muscle. Are long training rides/runs the only way to improve strength to weight ratio for the bike/run? S Boston, Massachusetts

Is it really possible to go from a beginning runner (i.e., comfortable for about a half mile) to someone who can manage 10.8 miles in a mere nine months with proper training, or I kidding myself? y Atlanta, Georgia

Workers, unite! Get dressed, gear up, and turn that commuter grind into a grand detour—you'll kick-start the day

Don't undermine your trail-shoe investment with tired socks. A fresh set of condition-specific cushions will turn miles into smiles.

IN THE STORE Unless you're purchasing the same model you always have (and even if you are), you're smart to put running shoes through their paces before pulling out your plastic. Runners have very different gaits, and each shoe fits that gait differently. Your best bet is to visit a…

Whether your happy medium is mud, water, or plain old dirt, there's a trick new trail runner built to take you there

I would love to jog, but my knees swell. Can I build stronger knees and, if so, how? Should I just hike and use a treadmill to get the se exercise effects and just forget about running? Kathryn Moundsville, Virginia

You should eat something first. While you are sleeping, your body utilizes liver glycogen to provide a steady source of fuel to your brain and central nervous system; therefore, when you wake up, your liver glycogen stores are depleted, sometimes by up to 80 percent. Because liver glycogen is one…

Is it more effective to run and then lift or to lift first? I keep hearing different answers. Jenn Doantelli Mahwah, New Jersey

I currently running but I also want the ability to hop on a bike and keep up. How hard is it to switch between biking and running? Phillip Escondido, California

If elliptical machines and treadmills supposedly give you the se workout, why can I "run" on an elliptical machine for 45 minutes with no trouble when I struggle to run 10 minutes on a treadmill? Seth Mountain View, CA

If you're only willing to set aside 30 minutes a day to do something to improve your fitness, what should you do?

How to see your stomping grounds as a concrete jungle.

LAST FEBRUARY, we asked Werner Hoeger, an exercise physiologist at Boise State University, to evaluate the training regimens of three top winter athletes and decide who had the best combination of power, cardiovascular fitness, and speed. (Speed skater Derek Parra got the nod.) With the Athens Games coming up this…

Tony Little (I'm the World's Number One Personal Trainer!) travels to Tonga (it's a monarchy, right? you just stop the fatty food from coming in!) and whips the island nation into shape (holy shit, these people are huge!)

Let one of America’s best sport camps propel you toward a bigger, richer life. Because nothing beats the buzz of learning something new.

I have been running four to six miles four days a week and my knee has started to hurt. I tried switching shoes, running on grass, etc. Icing seems to help a lot, but I don't know how long I should have it on there. Is half an hour too long to ice my knee? Cody Carik Bismarck, ND