Pickup joint
If runner’s knee is slowing you down, the muscles around your knee may be to blame. Researchers at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill monitored the biomechanics of 1,600 military-student athletes over several years and found that the common sports injury known as patellofemoral pain syndrome was more likely to develop in those with weaker hamstrings and quadriceps. The lack of strength causes the knee to bend poorly, which puts more pressure on the joint. “Yoga postures, like downward dog and warrior one, can help runners strengthen muscles that are overly tight and underdeveloped,” says Jillian Frechette, yoga instructor and owner of Toronto’s Aura-A Pilates Studio.

Winning formula
Can the fragrance you wear shave minutes off your race time? American freestyle skiing champ Michelle Roark thinks so. The athlete turned perfumer spritzes Confidence — her patent-pending scent spiked with grapefruit, rose and bergamot — on her neck warmer before competitions. She’ll be wearing it in Vancouver this month, where she’s competing for an Olympic medal. If she wins, we’re so buying a bottle.

Weather vain
Outfitted with heatreleasing grommets to regulate your body temp while you’re on a run, this electric-blue bomber also makes a more fashionable finish-line cover-up than a Mylar blanket.’

Product to try: Run Image Jacket ($240, Adidas by Stella McCartney)

Born Free
New research suggests that running barefoot might be safer than wearing trainers. The reason? Many souped-up, over-cushioned shoes control where our feet land, so they make the foot’s stabilizing muscles weaker, which can lead to injuries. Vibram’s FiveFingers Bikila shoes (named after an Olympic marathon champ who ran sans sneakers) fit like a glove and simulate barefoot running. But if you prefer the protection of a conventional shoe, Brooks’ new DNA model offers smart technology that adjusts the cushioning to your body weight and running style.

Products to try: FiveFingers Bikila shoes ($105, Vibram); Brooks DNA shoe ($180, Brooks)

Long legs
Time to start training! ELLE picks the must-do marathons for 2010.

(September 11) For a quintessential Canadian experience, sign up for Alberta’s Lost Soul Ultra, where runners share prairie trails with deer and beaver.

There (October 10) Chicago’s flat route and Grant Park starting line — where Obama delivered his presidential victory speech — make this race a favourite.

Abroad (October 25) You won’t feel guilty about washing down fish and chips with a pint of Guinness after you’ve burned billions of calories running through Dublin’s cobblestone streets.

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