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RaceTimes DASH is our bi-monthly electronic newsletter that reaches 760,000 athletes. We're pleased to have Hillary JM Topper, MPA writing our feature columns this year. When you subscribe to RaceTimes Magazine, you will now receive the DASH in the months between each issue of RaceTimes.

February 2024 Issue

My name is Hilary Topper, and I am the new columnist for RaceTimes Dash. This column will be delivered via email every other month. In it, I will provide you with tips and strategies to improve your running experience.


Let me tell you a little about me. I am a certified Road Runners Club of America Level 1 Run Coach. I’m also a USA Triathlon Coach Level 1 and a US Master Swim Coach Level 3.


I’m also the author of From Couch Potato to Endurance Athlete, published by Meyer &

Meyer Sports Publishers. My story is about how anyone can make a change, no matter

how old, young, overweight, or underweight you may be. I changed my life when I was

48 and started to run for the first time. In the last 10+ years, I have experienced it all

– from injuries to success, and I’m happy to share it with you.


I have toured around the country and met many amazing athletes in Ann Arbor, MI;

Boca Raton, FL; Nashville, TN; Austin, TX; Boston, MA; Denver, CO; Boulder, CO; and

throughout the New York Metropolitan Area.


I am also a blogger with, started in 2011, where I review products,

races, training experiences, and more. I also write for, my NY Lifestyle Blog, which I began in 2009 and reviews restaurants, travel, hotels, wine, shopping, and more. I have an endurance podcast called Hilary Topper on Air, where I interview amazing athletes and brands.


Facing Setbacks

I’ve been facing setbacks since I started competing in endurance sports. Recently, the doctors found an aneurysm in my brain.  I recently underwent four hours of major surgery, where they put a stent in place to divert the blood away from the aneurysm.


As many of you have probably experienced, I’ve had minor setbacks like meniscus tears, Achilles tendinitis, plantar fasciitis, and more. It comes with the territory.


So, how do you come back from an injury?


Start Slowly:

The time you've been off, and your previous training load should determine how you return to running. After ensuring you're ready, wait another day and start by walking or light jogging. After surgery, I began by just walking at a slow but steady pace.

Maintain Physical Therapy/Cross-Training

Keeping up with your physical therapy or cross-training regimen is essential as you return to

running. This can help ensure that your body is physically prepared for the demands of running.

Rest and Recover

Incorporate rest days or active rest days in your training routine. Taking at least one day off a

week can help avoid re-injury and allow your body time to recover.


Strength Training

Prioritize injury prevention by including strength training in your routine. This helps build your

overall fitness and strengthens the muscles that support running.


Listen to Your Body

Always be attentive to your body's signals. If you feel pain or discomfort while running, it's important to take it as a sign that you may need to slow down or adjust your training plan. At my first swim after surgery, I swam about 700 yards and called it quits. It was short for me, but I knew my body couldn’t do much more, and I would build upon that in the coming weeks. You can do that too.


Remember to take it slow and easy if you return after an injury. You got this. You can, and you will come back!


Questions, Comments, Concerns from You?

I would love for you to suggest a story idea or submit a question to me for future columns of RaceTimes Dash. Your input is truly valued, and I’m here to help you improve your experience. My email is


Thanks so much for reading!



15 Ways to Health Article in RaceTimes Magazine

15 Simple Ways to Be Healthier

Simple and effective changes you can make this year to improve your health.

Dressing for the Elements Article in RaceTimes Magazine

Dressing For the Elements 

With the changing season, you may start asking yourself what to wear when the temperature starts dropping. This easy guide will tell you everything you need to know to dress for the elements. 

Improve Fitness Article in RaceTimes Magazine

How to Improve Your Fitness During COVID

James Williams, an athlete and coach, shares how you can stay fit during the COVID-19 pandemic. 

More Articles that might interest you

April 2024 Issue


First and foremost, I want to extend a heartfelt thank you to all our readers for their invaluable input and suggestions. Your enthusiasm and participation have been overwhelming, and I'm excited to announce that I will incorporate your ideas into future articles.


Your warm response has been truly encouraging. This sense of community and shared passion makes writing for you a rewarding experience. So, once again, thank you.



It saddened me to learn about Kelvin Kiptum, a world-record marathon runner who passed away in February. The 24-year-old elite runner died in a car crash with his coach in Kenya. He won the Chicago Marathon in 2023. May they both rest in peace.


Getting Back to Training

As you know, I recently had brain surgery for an unusual aneurysm that was likely to rupture. Thankfully, it did not, and I had a stent put in to divert the flow of blood away from it. Ten days after surgery, I was cleared to train. Running has been the biggest challenge for me. But I’m so determined to get back. In the meantime, I signed up for a 10K in May - Alpha Win Run Hudson Valley Marathon at the Walkway Over the Hudson. Use code HILARY for 15% off the entry price on any Alpha Win races! I also plan on doing the Chicago Spring 10K, which I'm also psyched about. So, I don't have a choice but to get back! If you plan on running either of these races, say “hi” to me! And if you are running an exciting race, let me know! I have so many on my bucket list, but I would love to hear about your experiences, too! My email is

Today, we are lacing up to delve into the world of sneakers. With many brands flooding the market and new models launching almost daily, choosing the right pair can feel like navigating a maze. Are sneaker stores just pushing the brands they stock? Is online shopping a better option? Should women opt for gender-specific sneakers? And how many pairs should you own? Should you get minimalist sneakers or maximum cushioning? Let's break it down.

Choosing the Right Brand

There are so many different sneaker brands on the market that it is overwhelming for a new and experienced runner to decide what is best. Most sneakers today are dominated by big names. But don't let brand popularity sway your decision. Instead, focus on comfort, fit, arch support, and suitability. 

Lesser-known brands can have excellent quality. I have tried so many different brands during my tenure as an athlete. I love certain brands and don’t like others. But what I love may not work for you. So, my advice is to try on as many different pairs of sneakers as possible and see which ones you like best.

Shopping In-Store vs Online

Buying in-store allows you to try on different pairs and get a feel for what works best. However, shopping online offers a broader range of brands and models, often at competitive prices. If you shop online, read reviews, understand the sizing chart, and choose retailers with good return policies.

Gender-Specific Sneakers

While women-specific sneakers are on the market, choosing between unisex or gender-specific models largely depends on individual fit and comfort. Women's sneakers may offer a narrower fit and lighter weight, but the most important factor is feeling good on your feet.

How Many Pairs?

I have a lot of sneakers. Some I buy, and some I get in exchange for a review on my blog. I’m grateful that I can test many different brands. 


Although I have many sneakers, I typically recommend having at least two pairs: one for training and one for racing. Training shoes are more durable and cushioned, while racing shoes are lighter and more responsive. Some athletes also have a third pair for cross-training activities to ensure appropriate support and cushioning for different types of exercise.

Maximum vs. Minimalist

Minimalist shoes, as the name suggests, offer a 'barefoot' running experience by minimizing cushioning and drop from heel to toe. The benefits of these shoes include improved balance and stronger foot muscles. On the other hand, maximum cushioning shoes provide a plush, comfortable ride with lots of shock absorption. They can reduce the impact on joints, which benefits long-distance runners or those recovering from injury. There are cons to both. But, again, it’s about your comfort and what works for you.

The perfect sneaker is about something other than the brand, where you shop, or even if it's gender specific. It's about finding the fit, comfort, and functionality for your unique needs.


So, whether you're a seasoned athlete or a casual runner, remember these tips the next time you're in the market for a new pair of sneakers.


Until our next issue, happy running!

Virtual Race Article in RaceTimes Magazine

Keeping At It: Virtual Racing During COVID-19

Nutritionist and avid runner Allison Backer talks about how she is keeping herself motivated during the COVID-19 pandemic

Middle Aged and Stronger Article in RaceTimes Magazine

Middle Aged & Stronger Than Ever

Don't let the aging process scare you! Here's some tips on how to stay fit as you get older.

Defying the Odds Article in RaceTimes Magazine

Defying the Odds

Veteran Aaron Hale is continuously defying the odds after losing his eyesight and hearing. He isn't letting anything stop him from running and lifting others up in the process! Learn how you can find success through struggle, not despite it. 

Chasing the Boston Marathon Article in RaceTimes Magazine

Chasing Boston: The Journey to 26.2

Colin Hackman is a 3-time Boston Marathon runner. Learn what he does to prepare for this famous race. 

Finish Line Thoughts Article in RaceTimes Magazine

Finish Line Thoughts

Crossing the finish line is a special time for each and every race. Robyn shares her thoughts as she crosses her finish line. 

Exercise when Injured Article in RaceTimes Magazine

4 Activities to Do When you Have a Running Injury

James Williams, an ultra runner, shares tips and tricks on coping with a running injury. 

Kathrine Switzer Article in RaceTimes Magazine

Modern Day Kathrine: An Exclusive Interview

What is Kathrine Switzer up to today? Her nonprofit organization 261 Fearless is changing women's lives across the globe.

Walk Into The Wild Article in RaceTimes Magazine

Take a Walk Into the Wild

Kirsten always wanted to be a runner, but a knee injury prevented her from reaching her goals. Read how she learned that you don't always have to run to the finish line, sometimes you can walk. 

The Beginning of a Movement Article in RaceTimes Magazine

The Beginning of a Movement

A cold day in April of 1967 changed Kathrine Switzer's life and women's endurance sports forever.

After 23 Marathons Article in RaceTimes Magazine

After 23 Marathons

Marathons are a huge deal for runners. Learn what Robyn's thoughts are after running 23 of them. 

Starting a Running Club Article in RaceTimes Magazine

How I Started a Running Club

Starting a running club is a great way to bond with your friends. Learn how you can start one of your own. 

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