Monday, January 28, 2013

Zen and the Art of being a Treadmill Master

Photo by E.C. Campbell Photography
Treadmills are a necessary evil. They come in handy for when inclement weather prevents running outside, as well as for scaredy safety cats like me who don't like to run in the dark. Unfortunately, they are boring. Between a lack of scenery and hills, it's easy to feel like a hamster running on a wheel. However, treadmills can be great for maintaining a consistent pace, so I do appreciate them for pace and speed drills. Since you just need to move your feet fast enough not to shoot off the back of the treadmill, I have learned to love the miles I put in by listening to podcasts and audio books, as I never know what I'm going to hear next, creating something for me to focus on, other than that rotating track. Here are a few of my favorite resources for aural entertainment:

Overdrive: Overdrive is an application that connects you to your local library's digital collection and downloads your selections directly to your device. I've found this is the easiest way to get my audio book fix.

Librivox: This is a collection of works in the public domain read aloud by volunteers. Some of the volunteer's voices are a bit hard to understand but there's lots of great stuff on here to download for free. This is where I get all my H.P. Lovecraft, which is great for taking your mind off the treadmill.

Marathon Training Academy: I listen to a podcast about running while I run. Angie and Trevor give out valuable advice on training, running nutrition, along with race recaps that make me want to run (almost) every race they review.

Ben Greenfield Fitness: Don't be fooled by the strangely specific titles, each episode answers a wide variety of listener questions, making each episode a wealth of information.

For running outside, I'll stick to music but my heart belongs to audio books and podcasts for turning me from a treadmill hamster to a treadmill master.

PS- Don't forget to adjust the incline to 1.0% when you're on the treadmill to compensate for the lack of wind and hills!

Thursday, January 17, 2013

Supplies I want for my 26.2, or What have I done?!

Photo by Martineric
Let's cut to the chase: I registered for a marathon. This marathon, to be exact. I'm hoping that training above sea level with all the altitude will make things a bit easier, but, no matter what, I'm still going to be slapping my feet against pavement for 26.2 miles. While I'm actually feeling fairly confident about this endeavor (and the half marathon I'm running two weeks later...), there are some supplies I'd like to have to along the way:

New running shoes: Y'all, I overpronate a lot. When I get my gait tested, they put me in borderline orthopedic shoes. I don't get those shoes, but I get a very similar, but slighty more stylish version. I would like a new pair of them.
Compression socks: I've heard these help speed up recovery if you wear them pre, post and sometimes during running. Also, I can pretend I'm Cher from Clueless with my knee highs.
Arm warmers: I thought these were so stupid at first but now I get it! You can start out running in a long sleeved shirt and end in a tank top. Brilliant. Also, the ones linked have SPF, which is awesome! These are nice too.
Registration for That Dam Run Half Marathon: I'm running this as part of my marathon training. It'll be nice to end a long run with a medal and someone handing me a banana.
A new armband for my phone: I've never had to get rid of an armband due to it breaking or wearing out, it's always been that I can't handle how bad it smells because I am a stinky runner. The Armpocket looks jazzy and it can hold my my gels! This one is nice too.
FlipBelt: It looks like it won't move! I have a belt and it's terrible to run with because it either bounces all over or is uncomfortably tight. Luckily, it's great at amusement parks and anywhere else I want to avoid carrying a purse. The FlipBelt looks like it'll be docile.
Lush bath goodies: Epsom salt soaks become vastly more glamorous when you throw a bath bomb or a bubble bar in the mix.
New running clothes: Eh, why not? I'll certainly be using them.

Tuesday, January 15, 2013

Thrive Forward!

Brendan Brazier
It's that time of year again: gyms are packed and extra moist, there are piles of health gimmicks at the front of every store and every other ad on television is someone talking about how they never thought they'd wear a bikini again. On the plus side, you have the support of approximately 98% of the population if you happen to want to go on a health kick on January 1st. 2013 brought an amazing new tool for those looking to increase their health and general well-being: Brendan Brazier's Thrive Forward. Brazier, super-athlete and founder of Vega, has put together a crash course in eating well. The focus is on progress versus perfection and on thinking about everything you're adding in, versus taking out. Also, it's personalized based on your goals! Want better sleep? More energy? A more resilient immune system? Thrive Forward has you covered. Each day, you watch a short video, read some supplemental materials and then receive a follow-up email. Oh, and it's free. Completely. You can watch every single video, read every article and not pay a cent. It's awesome.

While going through Thrive Forward, I've been off gluten, caffeine, sugar and booze, for a grand total of 15 days now. I haven't tried to break anyone's arm for coffee and my running is easier than ever, which is super fantastic. I love having the daily reminders of how eating well effects your body and then see that knowledge in action at the gym. Those who have read Brazier's Thrive won't find themselves covering much new ground, but since when is it a bad thing to be reminded to eat your fruits, veggies and whole grains? Never. Never is the answer. Check out Thrive Forward and be inspired to cram into the gym with everyone else!

Tuesday, January 1, 2013

Ben Davis Does Life

Who is Ben Davis? If you don't know the answer to this question, you are missing out. I've posted his video before, wherein he loses 120 pounds by running and, more importantly, finds himself and happiness while doing so. Ever since he announced on his tumblr that he was writing a book, I've been dying to get my hands on a copy. Lucky me, his publishers sent me a copy to review.

The book is every bit as inspiring as the video that launched Ben Davis into the hearts of a million runners and onto the cover of Runner's World. We see how dark things were for Ben before he took that first step running, how deep his depression was and how isolated he allowed himself to become. This means that we are even more elated when he decides to do life. His journey is stunningly fast, from his first 5K to completing an Iron Man. Ben doesn't pull any punches about the tough side of running- blisters, chaffing, pain, bonking, but he also shares in the glory of allowing yourself to embrace all that life has to offer.

Ben readily admits that sometimes your mind isn't up to doing the right thing, so you force your body to do it instead- run instead of reddit, eat kale instead of cookies. The book is also punctuated with training plans, each one placed strategically after Ben accomplishes that particular feat, from the 5K to the Ironman.

In short, this book isn't so much about Ben's journey, it is about finding what is holding you back, and forcing it out of your life, in turn allowing yourself to live the life each of us deserves. Ben's journey is admirable, but the beauty of it is that it could be anyone's story, provided they embrace all that life has to offer.

Finally, for those not in the know, here's Ben's video: