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Headsweats is Official Headgear of US Open Pickleball Championship!

Headsweats is Official Headgear of US Open Pickleball Championship!

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On April 23, 2017, thousands of athletes will converge in Naples, FL, to kick off the 2nd annual US Open Pickleball Championship, a week-long tournament featuring top-tier pickleball players from around the world! But what exactly IS pickleball?

A fun racquet sport that combines elements of tennis, badminton, and ping pong, pickleball can be played both indoors or outdoors on a badminton-sized court with a slightly modified tennis net. Using a paddle and a small plastic ball with holes, athletes compete as either singles or doubles, much like tennis. The rules are simple and the game is easy for beginners to learn, but can develop into a quick, fast-paced, competitive game for experienced players. Because it appeals to so many ages and skill levels, pickleball has quickly become the FASTEST growing sport in the United States. To learn more about the sport of pickleball and to find out where you can play in your community, visit www.usapa.org!

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As the official headwear sponsor of the US Open Pickleball Champtionship and the USAPA Nationals tournament, which wrapped up last week in Casa Grande, AZ, Headsweats has created a collection of headwear specifically for the quickly-growing number of pickleballers across the nation. Designed to help keep sweat out of athletes’ eyes with a built in terry sweatband and keep them comfortable in our quick drying, moisture wicking, and breathable fabric; Headsweats’ new “Pickleball Collection” allow pickleballers to stay focused on what matters: winning the next point. To see the full collection, click HERE!

 

 

Headsweats Ambassador Matt Johnson – Transition from College XC to Ultras

Headsweats Ambassador Matt Johnson – Transition from College XC to Ultras

Headsweats Ambassador Matt Johnson ran track and cross country at the collegiate level, culminating in a trip to the 2013 NCAA Cross Country National Champtionships. After college, Matt wasn’t ready to give up his competitive running career, and found a new passion for the sport through training and racing in trail races and ultra marathons. Matt’s friend and college teammate Clay Holton interviewed him on what it’s like to transition from being a collegiate athlete to an ultramarathoner and what advice he would give other runners looking to continue their competitive running careers after college.

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How long have you been running? What made you start enjoying it?

I have been running competitively for a little over 10 years now.  I decided I wanted to try out cross country at the end of my 8th grade year in school (2006).  My  middle school PE teacher at the time was also the high school cross country coach.  He talked to me about joining the cross country team going into my freshmen year of high school after we ran the mile fitness test in PE.  I had always played football during the fall up to that point, but for whatever reason I decided to give running a try.  Looking back now, I can’t really think of a time when I didn’t enjoy it.  I have always loved sports that require a lot personal motivation and hard work to get better.  Regardless of my talent level in any given sport, I have always prided myself on being a hard worker.  I think that was the initial draw for me towards running.  It truly is one of those sports where you only get out of it what you put into it.  Outside of that, I have always loved the “team” aspect of the sport.  The camaraderie and respect amongst runners is unlike any other sport I have ever been around.  My best friendships in life have come through the sport of running.

Did you run in college? What was your favorite distance to run? What were some of your best times?

Yes, I ran at Augusta University (formerly Augusta State University and Georgia Regents University).  While I ran both cross country and track at the collegiate level, I would have to say that cross country has always been my favorite.  I am a true cross country guy at heart.  As far as my favorite race distance goes, it’s pretty simple…the longer the better (an early sign of an ultra-runner to come, haha)! In college that meant the 10k.  I have to admit…I was always a little jealous of the NAIA guys though, because NAIA sanctions  a marathon national championship every year, haha.  I did race a couple half marathons in college and really enjoyed those.  As far as time goes, I ran 26:05 for 8k in cross country, 15:59 for 5k,  and 33:25 for 10k…nothing crazy fast, but times that I am proud of.  Unfortunately, I was plagued with some untimely injuries during my last couple track seasons.  I also ran a 1hr 13min (5:35ish pace) half marathon.  I had a fifth year of eligibility in track, so I had an entire fall to just train in preparation for the spring.  My coach and I decided to play to my strengths and give a half marathon a go.  I actually think that my half marathon time is my fastest PR once you start converting it to shorter distances.   I definitely think I have still have some PRs in my legs whenever I decide to take a break from the trails.

Do you have a favorite college XC/track racing moment?

I have many great memories from my college running experience, but the best would definitely have to be qualifying as a team for the 2013 NCAA Cross Country National Championships.  That was literally my biggest goal in college and had been a team goal for four years.  That entire fall was a dream season for us.  As seniors, we were able to win our second conference championship and go on to qualify for nationals.  Toeing the line at a national championship and ending my career on the biggest stage (at the collegiate level) with all of my brothers (aka teammates) was a dream come true, and a perfect way to close out my cross country career.  It is truly something I will remember and cherish for the rest of my life.

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What kinds of races are you training up for now? What are some of the highlight races you’ve done since college?

My post-collegiate career thus far has consisted mostly trail racing (with a few road races mixed in).  After college I was looking for new ways to challenge myself and get me excited to train, so I decided to turn to the trails.  I have always loved running on trails, and I feel like my strengths as a runner suit me well on them.  I have raced in several Xterra races, as well as other trail races ranging in distance from 10k to 11.5 miles.  I also competed in my first  ultra marathon (50k) this past April! Racing a 50k was equally one of the most awesome and hardest things I have done in my entire life.  It tested me physically, mentally, and emotionally in ways like nothing else ever has.  I found out a lot about myself that day.

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Do you have a coach or any specific training partners?

I currently do not have a coach.  I read /research a lot, talk to people, and use knowledge I have gained over the years.  That was a decision I came to after college for a couple of different reasons. One, being married now, working full-time, coaching, and having a number of other responsibilities/obligations to take care of throughout the week, my schedule is constantly changing.  I have always been a very meticulous when it comes to my training.  Now that I am in “the real world”, I have had to learn to be much more flexible with my training.  Sometimes that means switching workouts to different days because of the way I feel or a lack of time…others it might mean missing a run completely.  Bottom line, life happens and things come up sometimes.  I have learned to go with the flow and not get frustrated if my training week doesn’t go exactly as planned.  With all that being said, if I have a coach putting in the time and effort to write training plans, I want to make sure I am giving that back by following exactly what he or she has planned for me.  I have always maintained the mindset that if I am going to commit to do something, I am going to do it right.  As I continue to adjust to “the real world” and my new normal, I will definitely consider going back to having a coach.  Right now, I am having fun writing my own workouts and experimenting with new things in ultra training.  It keeps things fun, and as corny as it sounds…that is always most important!  In regards to training partners, my main one is my wife, Tia!  I also run a lot with the high school athletes I coach, as well as a few of my former co-workers.  I will always take any opportunity I can to run with people!

What is the next big race you’re training for? Any specific time/place/finish goals?

My next big race will be The North Face Endurance Challenge Championship 50k in San Francisco this December!  I would be stoked to come home with a top-ten finish!  I have learned that time/pace on the trails isn’t quite as relevant because of the varying terrain/course conditions from race to race.  I am just excited for the opportunity for the challenge of competing against some of the best athletes in the sport.  Leading up to it I plan to compete in a smaller race or two (both road and trail).

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What kinds of workouts are you focusing on? Do you have a favorite workout?

Again, the specific workouts I am focus on really depends on what race I am training for.  However, throughout most of the year my training is usually going to incorporate some sort of tempo run, long run, and faster paced intervals or hills, among general mileage/recovery runs.  I also do strides throughout the year to help maintain foot speed/overall running economy (even when training for an ultra).  More specifically for ultra races, I have learned that it is important to research the course you are going to be racing and do your best to mimic that terrain in training.  The further I get into a training cycle for an ultra, the more my workouts become focused on helping me encounter/prepare for what I will see on race day (same applies for practicing nutrition intake as well).  As far as my favorite workouts, I have always loved long runs!  I also love longer progression runs and fartlek runs….basically any “effort” based workout that is less focused on hitting specific splits, and more focused on “feel” and allowing your body and the workout to progress naturally.  Lastly, I enjoy running any sort of hill workout.  I have learned that practicing downhill running is just as important as practicing uphill running when it comes to ultras and trail racing.  Right now in training I have been working on increasing my overall long run distance, as well as practicing my climbing and descending.

Do you run mostly on roads or trails?

Definitely TRAILS!!!

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I saw recently that you started being sponsored. What kinds of sponsorships do you have?

Yes, I currently represent four different companies as a brand ambassador in my training and racing:  CEP Compression, Nuun hydration, and Headsweats performance headwear.  The team I run for, Anchored Elite, is also sponsored by Janji.  Janji is an awesome running apparel company that also works to provide clean water for those who need it in countries all around the world!  I am very thankful to have the support of these great companies as I continue to pursue competitive trail running!  I truly love their products and would highly recommend them to anyone!  For any other running gear needs I go to Fleet Feet Atlanta!

Lastly, do you have any advice for runners who want to continue running competitively post-collegiately? Or advice for runners who are seeking to get any sort of sponsorship?

For those that might have a dream to continue running competitively post-collegiately, I encourage you to not give up on that dream.  My main motivating factor was not wanting to look back in 10 or 20 years and wonder what I could have done in the sport if I stuck with it.  One of my favorite quotes has become “Only those who risk going too far, can possibly find out how far they can go.”  It is not always easy considering the majority of post-collegiate runners aren’t supporting themselves by running, but it can be done.  Set new goals for yourself after college so you have a sense of direction and purpose with your training and racing.  Also, always make sure you maintain a healthy balance in life.  I believe too much of one thing can be a bad thing.  Now that I am working full-time and married, I have had to learn where running fits into all that.  Make running something you do, but not who you are.  Adjusting to the “real world” and all of life’s demands can be difficult sometimes, so you have to learn to be flexible.  Don’t beat yourself up if you miss a workout or have to cut a run short because “life” happens.  Ultimately, you have to find ways to continually make it fun.  You have to enjoy the process before you can enjoy the result.  As far as gaining sponsorships, don’t be afraid to reach out to companies yourself.  Most of the time, unless you are at a world class level, companies aren’t going to come find you.  Find products you love and believe in and start there.  Put together a “running resume” and start sending it out to companies that you are interested in.  Don’t be upset if you don’t hear back right away from companies.  Positivity and persistency can get you a long way when it comes to both running and seeking out sponsorships!

*Blog credit goes to Clay Holton. The original blog post can be found here: http://www.holtonphysicaltherapyandperformance.com/matthew-johnson-transition-from-college-xc-to-ultras/

 

Headsweats Ambassador Program Accepting Applications for 2017!

Headsweats Ambassador Program Accepting Applications for 2017!

Headsweats is currently looking for athletes of all ages and abilities who use and are passionate about the Headsweats brand to be a part of their 2017 Ambassador team!

HEADSWEATS AMBASSADOR APPLICATION

Each year, Headsweats carefully selects 30 athletes to represent the brand as ambassadors and spokespeople during training, racing, and on social media. Our Ambassadors are part of our extended family, and they have a passion for what they do and a love for the Headsweats brand and message. Headsweats Ambassadors receive yearly benefits including:

• Headsweats headwear to train and compete in year-round
• A unique discount code to share with friends, family and those you meet when training and racing
•A profile on Headsweats’ website and exposure on Headsweats’ social media channels
•Knowledge of  new products and news before anyone else

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We will be accepting applications for our 2017 Ambassador program through January 31, 2017. Since we receive such a high volume of applications each year, we will not be responding individually to each application. All selected 2017 Ambassadors will be notified mid-February via e-mail. If you think you would be a good fit for the Headsweats Ambassador program, please fill out an application HERE!

We look forward to reading your applications, and thank you for supporting Headsweats!

Sincerely,
The Headsweats Team

 

‘Share Your Team Spirit’ Headsweats Contest!

‘Share Your Team Spirit’ Headsweats Contest!

Win your team’s logoed headwear for you and a friend during March Madness! To enter, follow the 3 easy steps below:

1.) Click the ‘Like’ button at the top of this blog post to share it on Facebook.

2.) Pick your favorite school. In the comments section below, tell us which college team is your favorite, and you could win that hat for you and a friend.

3.) And you’re done! We’ll pick 5 random winners on March 25th. Contest begins March 18 and ends March 24th at 11:59 pm.

* Teams limited to those listed in the Headsweats University available collection. Winners will receive 2 pieces of headwear that are currently available in the collegiate collection – no back orders will be placed for this contest.

Headsweats Collegiate Line Debuted at The Running Event Dec 3 – 6

Headsweats Collegiate Line Debuted at The Running Event Dec 3 – 6

Last week, Headsweats debuted the brand new Collegiate Line at The Running Event (TRE), in Austin, TX from December 3 – 6, 2012. Here are the latest details on the Collegiate Line, when they’ll be available to the public, and some updates and pics from TRE!

Headsweats is pleased to announce a partnership with Top of the World Caps, the number one source for collegiate headwear throughout the US. Together, Headsweats and TOW Caps will bring sports enthusiasts, students, alumni, and athletes Headsweats’ best-selling technical headwear with logos from the top 350 colleges and universities across the country.

“We are receiving an overwhelming response from retailers,” says Alan Romick, Headsweats CEO. “They are excited to bring in the collection and offer a technical product that allows their customers to show their school spirit while performing at their personal best.”

The Collegiate Collection will spare no expense in allowing fans to celebrate their team. Previously only available in cotton, Headsweats new collegiate headwear will come equipped with exact school colors, unique school logo, and Headsweats superior Perspiration Technology™. The Collegiate Collection will be available in sublimated Race Hats, Supervisors, Go Hats, and embroidered Podium Hats. Headsweats is excited to give athletes and students the opportunity to truly show their school pride when out for a day of training or racing. Both Headsweats and Top of the World see this as just the beginning of a long and healthy relationship in the world of collegiate apparel.

This collaboration between Headsweats and Top of the World will allow these two leading brands to serve multiple markets with their new Collegiate Collection. Headsweats will continue to work exclusively with their endurance, cycle, and outdoor customers and Top of the World will serve the sporting goods, college bookstores, and team store channels.

Top of the World President Scott Shuler: “We are very excited to partner with Headsweats to offer this exciting new product to a whole new segment of collegiate fans. For years they have been waiting for this product and we are happy they can now express their team spirit on the track or trail.”

Headsweats Collegiate Collection debuted at The Running Event in Austin, TX, December 3 – 6, 2012. Many interested retailers stopped by the Headsweats booth 1166 to see our newest collection, enjoy some healthy competition, and show off their school pride! Everyone wanted to know which universities and colleges were available and which would soon be available in the coming months.

The new Collegiate Line will be available online at www.headsweats.com and in specialty retailers by December 2012.

Check out some photos from TRE:

The Headsweats Booth at TRE 12

Look at that track!
The Collegiate Line debuting!
The Headsweats Team looking sharp
Our new Collegiate Line logo
Top of the World & Headsweats take on the USA!
Senior Account Manager Jack, goofing around at the booth
Visitors to the Headsweats booth were aplenty
We brought along some other sublimated Headsweats hats to show off

TRE 12 was a success! Can’t wait ’till next year!

Headsweats is Official Headwear Sponsor of the 2012 US National Snowshoe Team

Headsweats is Official Headwear Sponsor of the 2012 US National Snowshoe Team

Headsweats, the world leader in performance headwear for active endeavors, is pleased to announce its sponsorship of the 2012 U.S. National Snowshoe Team. By providing team members with Headsweats Performance Beanies and Snowflake Beanies, the athletes will be able to stay warm and focused while training and competing.

The 2012 U.S. National Snowshoe Team is comprised of 16 of the finest winter endurance athletes the country has to offer. Many of these athletes are expected to compete all across the U.S., as well as abroad, in numerous major international snowshoe race events. Events for 2013 include the U.S. National Snowshoe Championships in Bend, OR, the La Ciaspolada Snowshoe Race in northern Italy which will serve as the 2013 World Snowshoe Championships and the Teva Winter Games in Colorado.

“When the weather turns cold we know that athletes still need performance headwear to help them perform at their peak,” states Mike McQueeney, President of Headsweats. “Headsweats is proud to be outfitting the US National Snowshoe Team with our premier fleece headwear for their winter training and competitions.”

When winter is at its worst, Headsweats will keep team members toasty with their top of the line Performance Beanies. Offering the quality performance Headsweats is known for in all of its products, the Performance Beanies are made of Eventure™ Fleece and offer a contoured, shaped fit. Even though the weather is cold, winter athletes still sweat and they need the ultimate in moisture management that is offered in all of Headsweats performance wear. The Performance Beanie comes with a band around the bottom edge that allows the wearer a snug fit. The women’s style has an embroidered snowflake on the front and an enclosed ponytail hole in the back for added comfort while wearing.

For more information on the United States National Snowshoe Team and/or the U.S. Snowshoe Association, Inc., go to www.snowshoeracing.com.

2012 US National Snowshoe Team members and their sponsors!