I know most of us are probably already half-way into our various summer-time slim-down plans, but today is the beginning of a brand-new, much-requested fitness feature on S&P called Get Fit! Discovering fun and creative ways to live a healthy, active lifestyle is something that I consider to be one of my favorite pastimes, and if I can provide helpful resources, insight & encouragement to others along the way, then why wouldn't I share?!
Get Fit is a place where you'll find tips, tricks and honest accounts of my own personal experiences, and I'm so excited to share with you in this new way. As usual, feel free to let me know if you have any questions or specific topics you'd like me to cover, and I'll do my best to deliver exactly what the S&P community is interested in!
Keep reading to find today's topic below - My Running Essentials...
Running // I know - You either love it or you hate it, and let me start by telling you that I've personally experienced both ends of the spectrum, but I can honestly say that it has been one of the most important things that has gotten me through an interesting, and somestimes difficult, past few years.
The Backstory // I ran track on and off throughout junior high and high school, but always focused more on field events and sprinting. I cringed whenever I had to run more than 100 yards, and used to curse the very track I zipped around when we had to warm up every day before practice. A major burn-out led to a notable running-lapse in college, and that turned into a huge lack of both endurance and interest. I didn't pick it back up until after G and I got married and moved to Kansas CIty in 2007, and for some unexplained reason, got bit by the bug and haven't stopped since!
I'm not saying that it's always easy or that I'm always ready and raring to head out the door, but the equipment is simple, it's extremely portable & there's really nothing like the rush of endorphins you get after your heart gets pumping and your feet have started hitting the pavement.
Currently // My training, speed & endurance seem to go through phases, but I'm currently on a pretty consistent schedule where I'm able to run 3-6 miles at a time, about 2-3 times per week. That's a huge improvement over HARDLY being able to run an entire mile without walking 5 years ago, and even though it has been a long process, the rewards and benefits have far outweighed the hard work. I have seen a significant improvement in my mental, emotional & physical health, and my energy levels are notably higher than they were when I started.
Here are some of my must haves that I rarely hit the trail without...
- Map My Run // This free smartphone app has been a total lifesaver, and beside my tennies, it's the one thing that I honestly wouldn't bother running without. It tracks my mileage, pace, speed, altitude, route & calories burned, and stores them all for me so that I can see my improvement and challenge myself to keep getting better. I also love that if I'm not running as often as normal, it sends me a gentle e-mail reminder to get back out there, and surprisingly - it seems to work! Like a little buddy keeping me accountable! :)
- Nike LunarEclipse // I recently switched to this shoe after running in the Nike Free Run +3 for several months, and I cannot believe what the change has done for my training! The Frees were great when I was doing a lot more cross-training (kickboxing, spinning & interval training), but now that we don't have a gym membership and the main purpose of my shoes is outdoor running, I need something with more support and cushion (Granny alert!). The LunarEclipses have eliminated the little twinge in my knee, and the "bouncy" soles make me feel like I can go a lot farther than before.
- Aveeno Hydrosport Sunscreen // Being outside for a few hours a week can make for some MEAN tan lines. My skin darkens almost immediately upon stepping outdoors, so I always make sure to apply a generous coat of sunscreen before heading out. My current favorite is Aveeno Hydrosport 30 SPF. It's a spray-on application (very handy for reaching my back/shoulders), smells GREAT & is a natural product by a line I love. I put this all over my face/body and can sweat and sweat and this stuff really seems to stay put - the key to staying protected from the harsh rays! I've recently begun to contemplate how crazy I would seem if I ordered a case of it... I take sun protection very seriously!
- chicBud Earbuds // These little babies were given to me at an event I attended this past winter, and when I finally used them and realized how amazing they are, I was kicking myself for not trying them out sooner! The cord is flat which prevents tangling, and the little squishy parts of the actual ear pieces come in 3 interchangeable sizes: I like the smallest one for running and then I use the largest option for listening to music while I commute/travel.
- Tunes // Since I'm already running with my iPhone, I've found that it's most convenient to either listen to music on the free Pandora app, or my favorite podcasts on iTunes. The Black Eyed Peas Pandora station pumps me up for quick runs, but when I'm feeling like I need a distraction to get me through a tougher route, I listen to After the Jump (Design*Sponge's Grace Bonney), WTF with Marc Maron, or TEDTalks.
- Kindle // When I travel, I typically choose to run on the treadmill of my hotel gym - some people hate it, but I actually LOVE running indoors. To keep from getting bored, I usually have the TV on to some type of news program and then I ALWAYS have my Kindle on hand, and have become a pro at reading while I jog! If you try this out, please be very careful (start slowly!) and don't forget to make the text size much larger than normal. :)
Do we have any other runners out there reading? (I know there are at least a few of you!) Feel free to share in the comments about your own experiences, questions, or tricks of the trade, because you know I always love a great conversation. Let's help each other learn about new ways to make jogging more comfortable, convenient & enjoyable!
Do you HAVE A QUESTION or topic hat you'd like to see featured on GET FIT? Shoot me a message, and I'll do my best to incorporate it into this brand new fitness column on S&P!