More Running Info and Tips

Have you started running? Are you running and walking in succession, as I outlined below? Good. What this is called, this training that involves periods of high intensity running separated with periods of low intensity resting, is Interval Training. It is a repetitive form of training that leads to the adaptation response. The repetition of intervals causes the body to build new capillaries, bringing more oxygen to the muscles. This increases the muscles’ lactate tolerance, and strengthens the heart. These changes in the body improve performance and cardiovascular health. Interval training is a beneficial form of training as it helps prevent injury by increasing your training intensity without overtraining or burning you out. Like all exercise, the level that you train at is completely subjective to your own needs.

Here’s something to always remember during your work out: “Sometimes you’re ahead. Sometimes you’re behind. The race is long. And in the end, it’s only with yourself.” So don’t get discouraged. Even if you don’t feel like you’re improving, you are, so long as you are trying to. And now some tips to avoid injury.

- Warm up before you start your intervals. Stretch out your muscles, and walk at a brisk pace for 5 minutes or so.
- Set your interval speed/length goals with your abilities in mind. Don’t try to reach goals that you aren’t ready for, because it will lead to injury.
- Start your intervals low. If you want to run 2 minutes then walk 2 minutes, that’s perfectly fine. As your training continues, you’ll find your speed and time will increase steadily. I suggest increasing interval length every 2 weeks (considing you train at least 5 days a week).
- Be sure to bring your heart rate down during the rest period between intervals (ie. While you’re walking). Interval Training isn’t Interval Training if you’re not resting up between fast intervals.
- To improve, work on either speed or duration but never both at the same time. I recommend working on your endurance before working on your speed.
- Train on level surfaces, not hilly or slanted planes, as this could also lead to injury and decrease the results of interval training.

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Running at the Gym or at Home - How to Start

The hardest thing about running is getting started. When you can't run very fast or very far, it can be frustrating. Without endurance, running can be painful and the possibility of injury can be high. When I started running I couldn't even run around the block without losing my breath and losing feeling in my legs! I would try and run every night, but would end up crawling home in agony every time. What was worse was the lack of results. No weight loss, no strength building. Seriously! Oy. Running was NOT fun. And that was precisely the problem. Running really should be fun. It's a wonderful thing. It's such a good work out from a cardio AND fat burning AND muscle building point of view. It's like your own built in visit to the gym without even visiting the gym. And the most brilliant thing about it is that you can do it anywhere!  But first, you must increase your strength and endurance. This requires working your cardiovascular system, and building some muscle.

If you're just starting out running around your block or outdoors anywhere, the following is a good way to get your body used to the motion and built up your endurance and strength which will allow you to run longer, faster, and farther. This will in turn give you better results and make you feel GREAT!
Make sure you stretch before you head out. You don't want any injuries. Begin in intervals. Depending on your fitness level and what your body can handle (and really trust your body. it knows what it can do) start with brisk walk for 5 minutes. Warm things up. And try a light jog. Jog for 5 minutes, then walk for 5 minutes. Do this for a solid 40 minutes to an hour. Don't forget your trusty iPod, to keep your pace up and spirits high!  Do this for a week. The next week, after a warm up walk, jog for 6 minutes and walk for 4. And then the following week, jog 7 minutes and walk 3. Continue in this pattern until you can jog/run for a straight 10 minutes. Once you've got that down, we'll start working on speed and bring things up to a 10 minute mile.

If you're starting your running regime on a treadmill, I recommend a similar technique to that stated above. However, make sure to implement other cardio machines to work your body in lower-impact movements. Try combining 25 minutes on the treadmill with 25 minutes each on the elliptical and stationary bike. You're endurance will be climbing in no time.

More info on endurance to follow.
Run, Forrest, run!

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Lose Weight and Run Fast

When I started running I couldn't even jog. My run was a walk, and even that tired me out. I used to run a lot in high school, but when I went off to university my schedule of class and the general chaos of the student lifestyle left me little to no time for cardio training, weight training, or even the odd jog. And what happened? Well, I put on the pounds. I carried the weight well, mind you, but still felt very uncomfortable in my own body. By the time I reached graduation, I had managed to develop a fairly regular regime of cardio and weight training, and had lost a bit of weight and toned up somewhat. My endurance had increased slightly, but hadn't been a priority when I went to the gym.
Now I'm a post-grad student who can run a 8.5 minute mile with baggy pants. My secret? It's simple. You just have to change your priorities. Ask yourself: Why do you go to the gym? Why do you deprive yourself of what you crave? Why do you compare yourself to others? Why do you think you're too fat, or too skinny, or not fast enough?
I used to go to the gym because I wanted to lose weight. This is the wrong reason. Now I go to the gym to feel good. Exercising releases endorphins, and endorphins make you happy. Happiness is the reason we need to do things, because happiness can only create more happiness for yourself and those around you. So, when you go to the gym, go to feel good. Instead of having goals like 'lose weight', aim to 'run a mile' or 'jog for 10 minutes without a break'. It's starting with small and completely reasonable goals like this that will spring you into the greatest shape of your life! And when you're busy thinking about other things, you'll start to notice your body changing into something that makes you happy instead of something that you only see as standing in the way of your happiness.

And now, a playlist of songs to make you happy while you're celebrating your body at the gym!
But first a disclaimer. You must know that I am not afraid of being cheesey when it comes to work-out tunes. Sometimes the corniest of songs can really spur that "I'm in a montage right now" kind of energy.
Take a Change On Me - Abba
Sweet Road - Animal Collective
Do The Whirlwind - Architecture in Helsinki
For the Price of a Cup of Tea - Belle & Sebastian
Annie Waits - Ben Folds
Catch My Disease - Ben Lee
Big Time Sensuality - Bjork
Close To Me - The Cure
Pig - Dave Matthews Band
Chocolate - Snow Patrol
Such Great Heights - Postal Service
Gravity Rides Everything - Modest Mouse
Stand - R.E.M.
Ray of Light - Madonna
Kites are Fun - The Free Design

And there you have it! Run long and run hard.

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You Gotta ROCK While You RUN!

About to head out for a run? Or perhaps you're going to hit up the gym soon? Either way you're going to need to pump your mp3 player full with some rocking tunes in order to optimize your workout and keep your spirits high. Motivation is best when it's musical; especially when your muscles didn't get the memo from your head that you've decided to start training for that 10k marathon today.

Whether you're doing some cardio or lifting some weights, no doubt that your iPod or iPod equivelant is at your side, egging you on to push your body to it's limits. But let's face it, it can be fairly discouraging when you triumphantly hit mile 4 on the treadmill and someone like, oh I don't know, let's say Jewel chimes in whining about some soul that needs saving. Nuts to that. You need something to bring you into mile 5. You need something to maintain your groove and achieve whatever goal you have set for yourself. You need something to make you feel like sweating is sexy. And so, dear friends, I will teach you how to rock while you run with various selections that will appeal to any and all musical tastes!

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Warming Up - Pump You Up - Get Ready to Run Tunes of Choice

These are good tunes for that brisk warm-up walk, or that pre-workout stretching session.
No Cars Go - Arcade Fire
Haiti - Arcade Fire
Tiny Paintings - Architecture in Helsinki
Since I Left You - Avalanches
Be Gentle With Me - The Boy Least Likely To
Where Do I Begin - Chemical Brothers
Fender Bender - Kid Koala
Spiders (Kidsmoke) - Wilco

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High Intensity Tunes to Keep You Going

Most of the following titles have a 'second-wind' power over me. When I think I've taken my last stride, or lifted my last ounce, these tunes rip into me and pull out a whole lotta strength.
Signal in the Sky - Apples in Stereo
Neighbourhood #1 (Tunnels) - Arcade Fire
Rebellion (Lies) - Arcade Fire
Do The Whirlwind - Architecture in Helsinki
Wishbone - Architecture in Helsinki
Frontier Psychiatrist - Avalanches
Live at Dominoes - Avalanches
Body Movin' - Beastie Boys
So What'cha Want - Beastie Boys
Intergalactic - Beastie Boys
Mixed Bizness - Beck
Sexx Laws - Beck
Devil's Haircut - Beck
Hey Mama - Black Eyed Peas
Don't Lie - Black Eyed Peas
My Humps - Black Eyed Peas
Girls Boys - Blur
Toxic - Britney Spears
Major Label Debut (fast) - Broken Social Scene
Galvanize - Chemical Brothers
The Boxer - Chemical Brothers
Hey Boy Hey Girl - Chemical Brothers
Because We Can - Fatboy Slim
At Auntie Tom's - Fuzz Townshend
Faith - George Michael
Bottle Rocket - The Go! Team
Feel Good Inc. - Gorillaz
Holla Back Girl - Gwen Stefani
Bandages - Hot Hot Heat
Talk To Me, Dances With Me - Hot Hot Heat
Legend of a Cowgirl - Imani Coppola
Get Right - J.Lo
Anything - Jay-Z
Senorita - Justin Timberlake
Hollywood - Madonna
Hung Up - Madonna
Ray of Light - Madonna
It's Like That -Mariah Carey
Black or White - Michael Jackson
Bodyrock - Moby
Run On - Moby
Under Pressure - Queen ft. David Bowie
Dance to the Underground - Radio 4
I Need You Love - The Rapture
Sister Saviour - The Rapture
Out of the Races and onto the Track - The Rapture
Final Frontier - RJD2
Let the Good Times Roll, pt2 - RJD2
Let's Push Things Forward - The Streets
Nothing But Green Lights - Tom Vek
Diamonds and Guns - Transplants
California Babylon - Transplants
Blue Orchid - White Stripes
Shine a Light - Wolk Parade

*Disclaimer: please pay for your music!

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