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Thread: What Keeps You Fit?

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  1. #31
    IMPROVE YOUR RUNNING FORM WITH THESE 5 WARM-UP DRILLS

    by Runtastic Team | 27.07.2017

    Good running form might come more naturally to some, but it’s certainly a skill that can be learned. Running with good technique will make you quicker, more efficient and less likely to get injured. Include a combination of these 5 drills in your pre-run warm-up so that you’re prepared to run with good technique.

    5 DRILLS YOU CAN START USING TODAY:

    1. HIGH KNEES

    This drill gets those knees up and gets you running with a high knee drive! A higher knee drive means bigger strides, and bigger strides typically lead to a faster runner. You don’t need to cover a lot of ground – just 30 to 50 meters. Make sure to bring your knee up to hip height before putting it down again (don’t stride forward). This drill also engages your arms. As your knee comes up, swing and drive your opposite arm upwards. This should be a rapid drill, so alternate your legs as fast as possible.

    2. BUTT KICKS

    Butt kicks get your hamstrings working and help you develop a quicker stride rate and a longer stride. Using small steps, almost running in place, quickly lift one foot to your glutes, or just under, and then straight down again (don’t stride forward) – bonus points if you can actually kick your glutes! You should cover a small amount of ground during the drill, about 30 to 50 meters. This is also a quick drill with a fast turnover, so alternate your legs as fast as possible.

    3. STRIDES
    Strides get you practicing good running technique as well as running at a fast pace. They should be done over 100m. Start from standing, speed up to a jog and then keep accelerating until you’re running at approximately 95% of your top speed over the last 10 meters. Go, go, go!

    4. A-SKIP & B-SKIP
    A-Skip

    A-skips (which you can see at 0:30 in the video above) build leg strength and a good knee lift and promote an efficient foot strike. You should be taking small skips, with one knee coming to waist height while the other leg stays as straight as possible. Make sure to land on your mid or forefoot and don’t forget to engage your arms! Both feet should touch the ground at roughly the same time. Do this for 30 to 50 meters.

    B-Skip

    B-skips are similar to A-skips, but instead of bringing the working leg to waist height, kick it out in front of you to waist height, or just below, during the skip. It should then come down to join your back leg and touch the ground at the same time.

    5. CARIOCA

    Pronounced “ka-ree-o-ka”, this drill involves lots of twisting movements. This drill is about ground contact time and will give you a quicker turnover. You need to move laterally for this drill. Start by bringing your right foot over your left foot and move your hips to the left as you do so. Then rotate to the right as you bring your left foot over your right foot, while moving your right foot backward. This switching should be one fluid and constant movement – ensure you travel sideways! Make sure your torso is moving with your feet. When you bring your right foot over your left, you should rotate your torso left and bring your left arm across your body in a twisting motion. Move laterally for about 50 meters and then head in the opposite direction.

    Now’s the time! Get to it and try out these drills! They don’t take much time and can really impact your running form and performance. High knees and butt kicks can be included in every running warm-up, but feel free to mix and match the others and create your own running drills workout. Your running form is sure to improve if you do these drills 2-3 times per week.
    FRIENDS LANG KAMI

  2. #32
    THE 6 KEY DOS & DON’TS FOR RUNNERS

    by Runtastic Team | 14.04.2017

    Whether you are a beginner or have been running for years, there are several basic rules that every runner should follow. Here are the 6 most important dos and don’ts.

    DOS:

    1. START OUT SLOWLY
    Naturally, you are very motivated at the beginning and want to reach your goal as fast as possible. So what happens? You start off too fast and overexertion, side aches and pain are the price you pay. Your body needs time to warm up. Therefore, run the first kilometer at a moderate pace, i.e. where you can easily hold a conversation. That way you won’t burn yourself out on your long runs.

    2. ADD VARIETY TO YOUR RUNNING WORKOUTS
    If you always run the same loop at the same pace, at some point you will plateau and stop making progress. Break out of your comfort zone and mix up your workout routine! You can challenge your body in new ways with a variety of running workouts like interval and tempo runs, hill sprints or running on different surfaces.

    Also, how about doing some cross training with strength training or other endurance sports?

    3. SCHEDULE REST DAYS
    Your rest days are just as important as regular training. Make sure to get plenty of recovery. You don’t want to be tired and exhausted, especially when you are preparing for a marathon.

    So what are you waiting for? Download the Runtastic app today and start tracking your runs!

    DON’TS:

    1. EAT A BIG MEAL BEFORE YOUR WORKOUT
    You order a big cheeseburger and fries although you have an afternoon run planned? This is definitely the wrong food choice and will slow you down during your training. You won’t be setting a new personal best on that day! Fatty, high-fiber and spicy foods are all a bad idea before running. A high-carb snack like a small bowl of oatmeal or a banana gives you the power you need without weighing you down. Also, make sure to leave plenty of time between when you eat and when you start your run.

    2. HIT THE ROAD WITHOUT WARMING UP
    A warm-up is designed to prepare your muscles for the upcoming workout. Warming up properly can improve your performance and prevent injuries. You can find the best stretches for warming up before a run on the Runtastic Blog.

    3. NEVER CHANGE YOUR SHOES
    Running shoes also have an expiration date. Just think of how many kilometers you put on them in a year. There are several factors that influence the lifespan of your running shoes such as your weight, the age of the shoe, your running form, your shoe size, the shoe model and the surfaces you run on. As a rule of thumb, you should change your running shoes every 500 km (300 miles). This helps you avoid injuries.

    Our tip: Thanks to the integrated Shoe Tracking feature, the Runtastic App reminds you when it is time to purchase a new pair of running shoes!
    FRIENDS LANG KAMI

  3. #33
    HOW TO BOOST YOUR METABOLISM AND BURN FAT BY RUNNING

    by Sascha Wingenfeld | 02.04.2018

    Everyone burns fat differently. How much depends on a person’s gender, age and weight, as well as genetic factors. While many people are blessed with a good metabolism and don’t have to do much to reach their desired weight, others have a very hard time losing weight. But the good news is that even if you are not one of the lucky ones who is born with a fat-burning engine, you can still learn how to boost your metabolism. In today’s blog post, expert Sascha Wingenfeld explains how you can lose weight by running.

    CARDIO TRAINING: THE BEST PLACE FOR BEGINNING RUNNERS TO START
    Are you looking for the best way to burn fat and boost your metabolism? Are you a running beginner? Then regular cardio training is the best thing for you. “Running or walking are the best ways to train your metabolism to get the energy it needs from your fat reserves,” explains running expert Sascha. The idea is to train your body to use stored fat to fuel your muscles. This process builds the base for more intense workouts in the future. Cardio training is best for beginners because the workouts are done at low intensity.

    A word of caution:

    Unfortunately, the total number of calories burned by easy cardio training is relatively low. However, it has been shown that beginner runners who initially burn 10 g of fat per 30-minute workout, are able to increase their burn to 30 g after only 12 weeks.

    INTERVAL TRAINING FOR MORE ADVANCED RUNNERS
    More advanced runners should do at least one fat-burning interval training per week. “These workouts burn a higher number of calories due to the increased intensity. Your body also requires a longer time to recover which helps you continue to torch calories after your workout is over.”

    A word of caution:

    Interval training puts a lot of stress on your body, especially your heart and muscles. Therefore, it is only suited for experienced runners. It is also important to work in some easy cardio training between your interval workouts.

    MUSCLE BUILDING AND STRENGTH TRAINING
    Whereas the focus of your training at the beginning is improving the supply of energy to your muscles, strength training is about burning the fat provided by your metabolism: one extra kg of muscle burns an additional 50 calories per day. It is for this reason that your muscles are known as the “fat-burning furnace.” Since the running workouts described above do not particularly challenge or build all your muscles, you should include one or two strength workouts per week in your training. “Make sure to focus on large muscle groups or chains. These workouts promise the biggest gains. Whether you prefer to do bodyweight training with the Results app or lift weights is up to you,” says the running expert. Here, once again, a good mix of the two is probably the best recipe for success.

    SWITCH UP YOUR TRAINING FOR LASTING SUCCESS
    Sascha points out that “when you want to lose weight by running, you’ll have a lot of success at the beginning as each workout will bring you closer to your goal.” However, it is important to keep your metabolism revved up. You need to continually challenge your body so it doesn’t get used to the effort of running the same loop every day. This way your body is forced to provide more energy through its metabolic processes.

    Tip for runners:

    Try to never do the same workout two days in a row. Switch regularly between cardio, strength and interval training and don’t forget to include rest days for recovery. This will force your body to adapt to new and varying training stimuli.

    STICK WITH IT AND SET NEW GOALS
    Runners who succeed in keeping their metabolism in high gear reap the benefits of an increased fat oxidation rate (fat burning) and a higher basal metabolic rate. Make sure to set new goals to stay motivated. “But keep in mind that your body gets used to the new training stimuli after a while and the more often you train, the more efficiently it works,” explains the running expert. Therefore, it is important to cross-train (engage in other types of workouts) if you want to lose weight by running.

    If you want to maintain your weight and boost your metabolism in the long run, you should also keep an eye on your nutrition. “The important thing in the long-term is to find your own perfect mix of exercise and nutrition or, in other words, the right balance between energy intake and expenditure.”

    So, do you feel like running after reading this article? Then download the Runtastic app today and start tracking your runs.
    FRIENDS LANG KAMI

  4. #34
    6 REASONS RUNNING ISN’T LEADING TO WEIGHT LOSS

    by Tina Muir | 29.03.2018

    Whether we will admit it or not, part of the reason we all run is to keep the weight off. To stay healthy and live a long, happy life. Running is not always the most enjoyable form of exercise, but it is definitely effective, and besides, doesn’t that mean we get to enjoy a few more of those sweets without feeling guilty?

    Today, we are going to look into the reasons why you might not be losing weight as quickly as you thought you would, or even gaining weight as you begin to run more.

    By becoming more aware of what you are putting into your body, you can maintain your weight at a level you feel confident at, without restrictions. Running is hard, we know that, but we want to make it easy for you to reap the rewards, and make that hard work worthwhile.

    Many runners will be thinking that their major goal is not to lose weight, but to perform on race day, and this should be the primary goal, but most runners cite maintenance of weight as one of the major reasons.

    YOU MIGHT BE WONDERING: IS THERE ANYTHING I CAN DO TO SPEED UP THE WEIGHT LOSS?
    Unfortunately, sometimes when runners first begin serious training, they end up gaining weight, which can be especially frustrating to new runners (and we wonder why so many runners do not keep it up!).

    If you understand the science behind initial weight gain and the practical reasons for why this happens, you can stay positive towards your training, and keep working towards trust that those long-term gains both to your overall fitness and to your race times will come.

    HERE ARE 6 REASONS RUNNING MIGHT NOT LEAD TO WEIGHT LOSS

    1. THE SCALE IS A TRICKSTER
    If the scale were a person, it would be considered a misleading trickster. A scale only provides one number, your absolute weight, which isn’t always an accurate measurement of what is happening in your body.

    Drink a gallon of water and you are 8.3 lb (3.8 kg) heavier. Take out a kidney (which we do not recommend!) and you are down 2 lb (0.9 kg).

    These may be extreme examples, but it proves that your absolute weight on a scale is not necessarily a truthful assessment of changes in your weight, and especially your fitness.

    2. EXTRA WATER STORAGE
    When you increase your training to prepare for a goal race, your body begins to retain and store additional water to repair damaged muscle fibers and to deliver glycogen to the working muscles.

    Likewise, you may even be drinking more water to stay hydrated after your runs. Water may add weight to the scale, but it is not accurate of the training adaptations.

    3. MUSCLE WEIGHS MORE THAN FAT
    We are not saying you are going to turn into a body builder within a few days of beginning your running program, but over time, your body will begin to build muscle and burn fat.

    While this is great news for your overall fitness and race times, you’re actually gaining weight by replacing low-density fat tissue with high-density muscle tissue. While it may add a bit to the scale, it is a good change and will help you to continue to run faster and get fitter.

    4. LOOKING FOR SHORT-TERM RESULTS
    Did you know? It takes a deficit of 3500 calories to lose one pound (0.5 kg). If you want to lose weight safely and be healthy, you should aim for a 300-600 a day calorie deficit.

    This will lead to losing 1-2 lb (0.5 – 0.9 kg) per week. Checking the scale every morning is going to reveal very little about your long-term progress or how much weight you have actually lost.

    By getting in the habit of weighing yourself every day, you are monitoring the fluctuations in your hydration levels and other non-essential weight metrics.

    In the same way you wouldn’t expect a 1 minute drop in your 5K PR after one week of training, after one week of running, you should not expect a 5 lb (2.3 kg) weight loss.

    5. EATING TOO MUCH TO COMPENSATE
    Here’s the deal: Running burns more calories than any other form of exercise, but while the energy demands of running are high, this does not mean that you can eat whatever you want and still lose weight.

    Runners are guilty of justifying their unhealthy foods by saying, “I ran for an hour today, I earned it”.

    Many running groups meet up at the local coffee shop after a weekend run. However, a Frappuccino and a small cake will quickly eliminate any caloric deficit from the run and actually prevent weight loss.

    Running does burn a lot of calories, but you have to watch the amount of non-nutrient dense foods you consume, or you could quickly gain weight.

    Likewise, as mentioned in the article on how to lose weight and still run well, you need to provide your muscles with the necessary carbohydrates and protein to recover. This is a delicate balance, and probably the most difficult element to losing weight while running.

    Recovery should be the focus, and your muscles receiving the nutrients they need to rebuild should be the priority. The harder you train, the more often you will get hungry and the real secret is to refuel with nutrient-dense and high quality foods.

    Remember: Sacrificing recovery for a few less calories is not a good long-term plan. The numbers on the scale are arbitrary and focusing on them can be detrimental to your long-term progression. If you can continue to build your fitness and training levels, you’ll be running farther, faster, and be much healthier overall.

    Tip:

    Runners will burn an average of 100 calories per mile, but this will change based on your pace, size and metabolism.

    6. HIDDEN CALORIES
    Sports drinks and energy gels are the best example of hidden calories, as they have a high caloric content.

    It’s critical that you practice your fueling strategy during your long runs and hard workouts for optimal performance on race day. You also need to fuel your training and workouts to be able to complete long and arduous marathon workouts. Energy gels and sports drinks make this much easier.

    However: This also means that the total number of calories you will burn from these long runs and hard workouts will be less than you think. But before you think about skipping them, remember, you need those extra calories for optimal performance and training progression.

    Unfortunately, they can also be the reason you might not see the weight loss on a scale.

    CONCLUSION: FOCUS ON THE RIGHT METRICS
    Here is what it comes down to: Running will not automatically result in an immediate weight loss.

    Although running does burn more calories than any other form of exercise, the scale should not be the primary metric by which you gauge your fitness level and training progression.

    Weight loss is always going to be an important part of why many people run, just don’t become a slave to the numbers on the scale.

    Instead pay attention to how you feel – do you have more energy, feel stronger, and like the way your clothes are starting to fit? While not metric measurements, your emotions are a much more accurate measurement of your progression.

    ***

    Tina Muir

    As a former elite runner, Tina knows what athletes need to focus on in their training. "I'm an expert at improving your running."
    FRIENDS LANG KAMI

  5. #35
    5 First-Time Marathoners Share Their Training Tips

    Turns out it’s about a lot more than endurance and avoiding chafe.

    By Emily Abbate

    October 31, 2019

    For many, the idea of running a marathon is as polarizing as the New England Patriots. You’re either fully in support of Tom Brady’s excellence, or you never want to see Bill Belichick and his hoodie ever again. A lot of people I know have running a marathon on their bucket list, somewhere next to “go to the Super Bowl” and “win my fantasy league.”

    That’s especially true this time of year, when three of the biggest world marathons—Berlin, Chicago, and New York—happen within a 36-day period. We checked in with five first-time marathon men who decided to take the leap of sweaty faith and check off this big life to-do in 2019. Here are their biggest training cycle takeaways.

    1. Cameron Ahouse
    Boston, Mass.
    Customer Support and Fitness Instructor at EveryBody Fights & TB12 Sports
    New York City Marathon

    Cameron Ahouse wasn’t particularly committed to running a marathon this fall. His girlfriend, on the other hand, definitely was: Every Saturday, the two would head out on her long run together. “Once we got up to 16 miles, I knew I was in this for the long haul,” he said, adding that he’ll be running for the Muscular Dystrophy Association come race day (this Sunday).

    His goal? To finish, for sure, but also to maintain. While the personal trainer is excited for the run, he’s got other goals on his mind. “I had signed up for the Spartan Beast in Central Florida before NYC,” he says. “I look at this whole journey and the pieces that make it up (each long run, each meal, each session in the gym or in a class) as a competition against myself—to keep my weight the same, get stronger and be able to run a marathon.”

    The biggest lesson: “Break it up into little doables,” he says. “In running, it’s important to focus on each mile and not allow yourself to get consumed by all of the miles that you have to run that day. The same thing goes for life. Just focus on the task at hand, and then move onto the next. It’s more manageable that way.”

    2. Gerald Flores
    Newark, New Jersey
    Editor-in-Chief, Sole Collector
    Chicago Marathon

    Spoiler alert: Gerald Flores didn’t have the marathon he was hoping for in Chicago. A long-time running fanatic, tendonosis in his ankle and foot struck about a month into his training cycle. There was one long run where he questioned if he’d be able to show up on race day at all.
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    Still, come October 13, Flores turned up in Chicago, put on his Nikes, did the thing, and did it well. Motivated by all the spectator signs along the way, he finished the race with a mix of walking and running. “It’s so different when you’re doing fitness on the treadmill and you don’t have an audience,” he said. “The crowds helped me smile through when I knew that it was gonna be tough.”

    The biggest lesson: “Run your own race,” he says. “I definitely let my pride get the best of me with this one. If I wasn’t so worried about making up for lost time post-injury, maybe I would’ve been better for race day. Make your own plan, and stick to it. Be cool with what you have going on. I’ll definitely be back for redemption.”

    3. Sam Schube
    New York, NY
    Senior Editor, GQ
    Chicago Marathon

    It had been 10 years since Sam Schube did any considerable amount of distance running. But when the former cross country athlete was having some back pain earlier this year, he decided to lace up and get moving to try to build some essential strength back.

    And the essential strength came, for sure (also, a 20-pound weight-loss). Schube drew the most enjoyment from the speed work that came hand-in-hand with training. “It was fun to push my body hard and watch it respond well,” he says, “With the faster running, you break up the monotony and use different muscles. By seeing what I was capable of on the track, it made me wonder if I could’ve been more aggressive during the actual race.”

    The biggest lesson: “There’s some real value in doing this whole thing without music or podcasts or anything,” he says. “You have to spend some time being bored and patient with yourself. It was a nice ‘no content’ part of my day, since I’m usually spending all of my time listening, watching and reading. The blank space made me focus on me.”

    4. Jordan Andino, 31
    Chef and founder, Flip Sigi
    New York, New York
    New York City Marathon

    When chef Jordan Andino thinks of things that bring him joy, he thinks of rooftop parties with friends and crafting new recipes for his New York City filipinio taqueria Flip Sigi. Added to the list recently: running. “I always ran a little, but never more than a mile at a time,” says the former high school track athlete, who raced events like the 100 and 200 meters. “When I finally tried to string four together at once earlier this year in February, it was the hardest thing I’d ever done at the time. I strained my IT band, was out for six weeks, but knew immediately that I’d be back.”

    Fast forward eight months: he’s preparing to toe the line in Staten Island without any excuses holding him back. “Through this training, I had to make time,” he says. “It taught me that when people give an excuse, it’s because they don’t want to do it. If you want to do something, you’ll do it regardless of how busy you are, or financial constraints. Now, I can filter the bullshit.”

    The biggest lesson: “Learning how to breathe has dramatically changed my life for the better,” he says. “It’s translated into every other area in life. When I’m stressed out and going hard in the kitchen or when I have a large event, I go back to my breath and it calms me down.”

    5. Jose Bolaños, 27
    San Francisco, California
    Financial Strategist
    New York City Marathon

    Originally from Costa Rica, Bolanos grew up extremely active, even playing competitive tennis. After college, he moved to New York City and soon found himself working 100-hour weeks, capped off with excessive caffeine, lack of sleep, and weekend partying. “It just didn’t feel right without exercise,” he says. “I didn’t feel like myself.”

    The biggest lesson: Encouraged by his running team, Umbali Running (based in Costa Rica), Bolaños’s biggest takeaway from this training cycle is: surround yourself with people who share your passion. “Running with a group helps a lot for pacing and team motivation, just like in the rest of life. There’s a sense of responsibility because others depend on you, especially when it comes to pace. Support means that you have a teammate going through the same effort, pain, and glory with you. That’s pretty special.”
    FRIENDS LANG KAMI

  6. #36
    How to Do Biceps Curls the Right Way, According to Personal Trainers

    What you’re doing wrong—and how to fix it.

    By Jay Willis

    December 26, 2017

    As you go about your business in the weight room, have you ever glanced over at a personal trainer during one of their client sessions and idly asked yourself something like, Dang, I wonder if they ever happen to notice what I'm doing over here? Good news! While your gym's fitness professionals obviously can't leave their charges to deliver you some kind of stern pro bono talking-to, they do see you, and they have a lot of feelings to share about...the myriad things you're doing wrong. (Perhaps this is, in retrospect, one of those questions to which you didn't want to know the answer.)

    Fortunately, a few trainers have generously agreed to share with us the most common and most aggravating habits they see gymgoers developing—and a little free advice on how to fix them. This is, in effect, money in your pocket. Today: biceps curls.

    Keep the sway away

    When doing a standing biceps curl, be sure to keep your shoulders pulled back over your torso. I often see people leaning forward and swaying in order to generate momentum that helps them to lift the weight. This is especially true when, as is often the case with biceps exercises, they are trying to lift too much, too fast. Don't stick with just one grip, either. The straight-bar curl is tough to beat, but cycling between that, dumbbell curls, and EZ bar curls (using both inside and outside grips) helps to keep the guns guessing. —Ben Booker, Second Chance Fitness

    Let those things breathe

    Whether performing barbell or dumbbell curls, you need to first set your back so that your shoulder blades are pulled down toward your butt and your chest is slightly raised. Let the biceps "breathe" by moving your hands slightly in front of your torso, so that your elbows are just in front of your shoulders. Once you have this stretch on the biceps, take a peek at where the biceps attaches to the shoulder to make sure that that connection point isn't "hidden" by the dreaded forward hunch. Curl the barbell up and away from your body while keeping your shoulder blades, hips, and elbows immobile. End the repetition a few inches from your shoulders to maintain tension on the muscle, and squeeze for a few seconds at the top. —Mike Dewar, J2FIT Strength and Conditioning

    Take a seat (or a knee)

    If you find yourself persistently cheating by swinging the weight toward your chest, try doing your next set of curls with your back against the wall—bracing yourself against an immobile surface like this will help you to notice if your body has learned to try and generate momentum. Focus on keeping your elbows pressed against your sides, instead of flaring out at the start of a repetition. You can also try taking your legs and hips out of the equation altogether by performing curls while seated, or even kneeling on the ground. —Sean Barcellona, Burn Boot Camp

    Four quarters

    It’s very common for people to unknowingly perform a three-quarter curl, where they curl the weight all the way to the top, but only allow it to travel three-quarters of the way back down. Robbing your biceps of this full range of motion significantly limits your ability to develop functional strength. Make sure you get that full stretch at the bottom of each repetition! — Josh Cox, Anytime Fitness
    FRIENDS LANG KAMI

  7. #37
    The Highs and Lows of Running Your First Marathon, By the Numbers

    How to run 26.2 miles the hard way.

    By Sam Schube

    November 4, 2019

    8, more or less
    The number of years since my last serious stint running. I ran cross-country in high school and enjoyed it. But then I got pretty good at drinking in college and enjoyed that more than I enjoyed running, and that was that.

    I spent a few springs and falls cycling, but that didn’t quite stick. I’d hit a yoga class occasionally, and a spin class with buddy. But running? Running sucked. Running was what I did when I’d exhausted all other options, when the gym was closed and Flywheel out of the question and I really wanted to suffer my way through exercise. I was not, nor would I ever be, a marathoner. And then, after a few months training at a boxing gym, I tweaked my back. Physical therapy helped, and taught me that I’d essentially neglected my glutes and low abs for most of that near-decade. Running, I thought, with its straight line movement and required use of one’s ass, might provide an answer—and, miraculously, it did. The glutes clicked. The abs engaged. I was pouring sweat, and my lungs were Juul-ridden, but after a few weeks, my back was feeling better. And then, toward the end of June, the kind folks at Nike emailed to ask if I’d be interested in running the Chicago Marathon, in October. No, I thought, not in a million fucking years. And then I wrote back to tell them I wanted in.

    86
    The high temperature, in degrees fahrenheit, measured at JFK the day of my first training run, at the beginning of July. One thing that people don’t necessarily tell you, probably because it should be blindingly obvious, is that because marathon season hits in the fall, marathon training season—especially for Chicago, a month earlier than the race in New York—starts just as summer really gets cooking. Naturally, it peaks as the weather gets truly miserable.

    You learn a lot of things running in the summer: that you need to wear sunscreen. That taking your shirt off is a reasonable response to high temperatures, but that you better have applied sunscreen on the parts of your body that were covered up when you left the house. You also learn that you need to get out early, before eight, lest it get too hot. Which means you probably don’t need to have that extra beer at dinner the night before—and, hell, maybe you just stay in tonight, anyway. Early one tomorrow, and all. You learn that being done with a long run by the time everyone else is waking up (or just stumbling home) provides the purest hit of self-righteousness—and then you learn that your friends don’t particularly care to hear about how early you woke up. So you learn to find a balance: a night out here, a quiet one there. You learn to forgive yourself for skipping a day, but also to make it up when you can. You might even learn that running doesn’t have to be miserable.

    7.27
    Length, in miles, of my average training run. I think one of the reasons I used to be resistant to running was that I never lasted that long. “Going for a run” meant “Running three or four miles,” which in practice meant exercising for, at most, 25 or 30 minutes. And if you’re doing something uncomfortable for 30 minutes, it’s pretty hard not to spend the entire time thinking about anything but being finished. It should follow that, if running three miles is miserable, running six should be worse. Because running is a fickle beast that mocks your sanity, the opposite turns out to be true.

    I say this knowing full well that you will all scowl at me, unless you already know it, too: running six miles is so much better than running three miles. When you’re exercising for an hour, you can’t spend the whole time thinking about the finish line. You’ll go nuts. You’ll start to hate running.

    So I started to think about different things, or not to think at all. I’d just go blank for 20-minute stretches. (Considering the amount of my waking life spent near visual or aural content, stuff, this was a big number.) I’d think about my stride, and remember to tuck my pelvis in, and keep my arms moving. I’d check my watch a little too often, but eventually that would subside, too. I’d borrow a tip from a guy I read about in a Runner’s World I bought in an airport, and conjure the word “Float” when I was struggling. Or I’d think about something the comedian Pete Holmes had explained on GQ’s Airplane Mode podcast: that the phrase “Yes, thank you” can endow a boring experience with depth and mystery. It sounds horrendously dorky, I know, until you say it when you really need it. Then it works.

    22
    Length, in miles, of my longest training run. No one should ever run 22 miles in a row. It’s just the absolute dumbest thing in the world.
    FRIENDS LANG KAMI

  8. #38
    ^ (Continued from above)

    1,000
    Length, in meters, of the interval series that broke me. I’ll confess: the speed workouts surprised me. Nike introduced me to Steve Finley, a flinty, easy-joking coach. He set me up with a training plan, which included weekly speed work—which, conveniently, I could do under his supervision: he’s the head coach of the Brooklyn Track Club, which inexplicably hosts a morning workout on the track in East River Park once a week. I’d roll out of bed, jog to the track, and listen up for my punishment.

    I hadn’t really done speed stuff before—and back when I was a runner, I thought it was beneath me. 5000m > 100. Right? But I quickly learned that track work is hard—a lot harder, often, than skipping along at a mellow 8:40 pace for 10 miles. And I also learned that the only way to run faster is to run fast: to put in that time on the track. Which made more sense after the set of 6x1000 meter intervals than it did before. Woof.

    0
    Number of sleeves I learned you should wear while training in New York in the summertime.

    2
    Tech-y bracelets I wore to train. Left arm: an Apple Watch, the Nike edition, linked up to Nike’s Run Club app. Right arm: something called a Whoop, to measure effort, sleep, and recovery. The watch was essential. It told me how far I’d gone, and how fast, though I found myself peeking at—and paying attention to—my “average pace” readout more often than I should have. And though I’m loathe to admit it, the app’s gamification techniques (giving you badges for running three times in a week, say, or hitting different milestones) hooked me.

    The Whoop, on the other hand, produced a stranger sensation. By measuring heart rate (and something called heart rate variability, which is exactly what it sounds like), the wrist-worn strap told me how hard I’d worked in a given day, how well (or how poorly) I slept that night, and how ready my body was to take on more strain the next day. It was great to know not to expect peak performance on certain days—I’d throttle my effort back, and push a little harder on days my recovery was in the green zone, rather than yellow or red. It was less great, for example, to learn that my body was in full rebellion: that I’d slept a paltry four hours despite being in bed for eight—or that, on race day, I was only 53% recovered, or whatever the number was. Other information was so obvious as to make me laugh: a night out with my brother in Austin landed me squarely in the red zone the next morning. (Do not run 13 miles in the red zone.)

    I cannot say I dug my dual-bracelet look, but both tools provided me enough information to prove actionable—but not so much that I was buried in it.

    60
    Pounds of force applied by the Theragun, a “percussive therapy” device I enlisted for my recovery. Good lord, do I love my Theragun.

    0.5
    Mark in miles, roughly, at which I had to pee on race day. One thing I probably should have seen coming is that running a marathon involves plenty of waiting. The gun went off at 7:30 A.M., but I didn’t start running for another 21 or 22 minutes. Which meant it was a solid half-hour since I’d last peed, which on a nervous race day might as well have been four days. So when I passed under a bridge less than a mile in and saw plenty of folks (all men) dropping trou, I joined in. Which wound up providing, in its own a way, a kind of lesson.

    Three miles in, and I was moving slow. Not, like, marathon-advice, take-the-beginning-easy slow. Slow-slow. And I think I might have sat pretty at that pace had I not found a running buddy.

    3-10
    Miles, roughly, during which I ran with Jes Woods, Nike running coach and all-around gem. Some 45,000 people were running the race that day, and I managed to bump into one of the five or so I knew. (To be fair, we started next to each other. But then I had to pee.) Jes was looking for another of our Nike pals, so she pushed the pace a little bit, and my body agreed. So I found myself, ten or so miles in, all of a sudden right back at my goal pace. The lesson: when you can bump into a world-class runner who casually knocks out ultramarathons and needs to run exactly the pace you do for approximately seven miles, you do that.

    19
    Mile at which I thought to myself, and was subsequently thrilled to be thinking: Wow, this is going pretty great! Things were a breeze. The sun had come out. The weather was perfect. Nothing was chafing.

    20
    Mile at which I thought to myself: This is not going great. My quads tightened up. My knee started getting all hinky. I remember coming under a bridge and thinking: Well, fuck.

    23
    Mile at which the marathon actually started to suck. The thoughts I had at 20 were adorable, charming, representative of a mind and body that had not yet learned what pain was. This was new territory for me. It was miserable. It was glorious. I remember nothing.

    7,200
    Approximate distance, in meters, from the 800-meters-to-go sign and the finish line.

    100
    Number of marathons completed by a man I met just on the other side of the finish line. “Here’s the thing about everything between your first marathon and your hundredth,” he told me. (I could barely stand, so you’ll have to trust my paraphrase.) “You’re gonna have good days and you’re gonna have bad days.”

    0
    Percentage chance I run 99 more marathons.

    100
    Percentage chance I do another.
    FRIENDS LANG KAMI


 
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