On maintaining motivation

From “11 ways to make running fun” at Running Nut:

Running constantly alternates between good and bad, easy and hard, exhilarating and boring. The average runner experiences long periods of drudgery, interrupted by a brief period of exhilaration. By keeping running fun you can eliminate these long periods of drudgery. You can also increase the duration and intensity of these periods of exhilaration. Perhaps, you can even make running so fun that it all blends into a constant period of exhilaration.

A good article that lists 11 things to do that’ll help you maintain the fun in running. My favourite, of course is number 5:

5. Run With Music

A recommended read.


Jill Bruyere on hot to run faster

Jill Bruyere share’s training tips in How To Run Faster:

The biggest and most important thing you can do to get faster is to train consistently. Figure out how many days per week you can fit in your schedule and stick to it. And, be realistic. Only you know your time constraints, so do what you know you can and will accomplish each week.

Training consistently is key. At the beginning of 2011 I decided I would do a half marathon in May and set out on a 3 day per week training routine. For the most part, I followed it almost without a hitch, but after the half marathon I didn’t do anything for a full week. I sort of allowed myself a week’s rest, then did a run exactly a week after, and haven’t gone on another one since.

I’m getting up early tomorrow to start again with the routine, but I’m not happy I dropped the ball. Once you’re used to it it’s easy, but one slip and it gets harder to get back into the habit.


Make every minute count

Liz Plosser at Runner’s World:

Runners are a time-crunched crew. Too often, we push back our speed, fitness, or weight-loss goals when life gets in the way. The focused workouts in these pages are designed to make you faster, stronger, and fitter in however many minutes you can spare.

This article has a good collection of workouts ranging from 20, 30, 45 minutes to an hour (or more) and are broken down into categories.

The first series under the title “The busy runner’s guide to getting faster” is designed to improve speed. The second is called “The busy runner’s guide to staying fit”, which includes a section on stretching with photographs to show you how. This is cool. Then there’s the “The busy runner’s guide to loosing weight”, and finally the article ends with a recommendation for how to schedule a week depending on what the goal is (speed, fitness, weight loss) and how many days a week you can run.


Where have I been?

Apologies I haven’t posted anything in a couple of weeks. A lot has happened since:

  1. Work (ie. my day job) got hectic and has taken most of my time.
  2. I ran a half marathon 2 weeks ago and wanted to post about it, but haven’t had the time (see 1)
  3. I decided I don’t want to just post any running playlist unless I truly enjoy it.

Number 1 seems to be under control now, so I’ll have time to post often again.

Number 2 is still in the back of my head, I have a post almost ready about it that should be published soon.

Number 3 is the one I want to address. When I started this site I wanted to share my running playlists with everyone, and I did so often at the beginning. I gave them a star rating and was publishing every playlist I made. However, giving it more thought, I don’t think there’s any point in sharing my 1, 2 or even 3 star playlists. They’re obviously not great (in my opinion, at least) and I don’t run to them. A few I only ran 2 or 3 times before sharing and haven’t used again.

This is pointless.

I only want to share my favourite running playlists here, so I’ll probably post them less often.


Quote of the Day – Glenn Cunningham

In running it is man against himself, the cruelest of opponents. The other runners are not the real enemies. His adversary lies within him, in his ability with brain and heart to master himself and his emotions.

- Glenn Cunningham, American runner in the 1930s

via: Runners World Newsletter


Running with music. Good and Bad.

Ryan from funrunningryan.com wrote an article explaining why he doesn’t like running with music. It’s an interesting read and his reasons are valid. Even if I don’t agree with them personally, I can understand his thinking.

The basic issues he has with running with music using his iPod are:

  1. Hassle of carrying an iPod
  2. Headphones not staying put.
  3. Finding the right music.
  4. Running to the tempo of the music.

As I said, all valid points. Let’s look at them one by one.

First, the hassle of carrying an iPod. He was using the older, heavier iPod Video, so I can see how that would’ve been annoying. Ryan also mentions songs tended to skip sometimes, which suggests the mechanical drive was moving, which is not a good thing. The new iPod shuffle or iPod nano would solve both issues as they’re small and lightweight, and use flash drives that have no moving pieces. I actually run with my iPhone, which also has a flash drive, and have never felt it was too heavy or bulky. And has never skipped a beat.

Second, the headphones not staying put. This is one I struggled with myself for a while when I was using the standard white ones that come with the iPhone. I also had the issue of them getting soaked in sweat. I did some research and found several options. Most people recommended a Sennheiser PMX 680, but it’s almost US$50, so I looked at the Sony Mdr-As20J and the Philips SHQ1000/28. I eventually bought the Phillips and have been very happy with it. The ear buds stay in their place and they don’t get wet. And it was less than US$20.

Third, finding the right music. Well, I obviously like doing this (or I wouldn’t have JoggerTunes!), but I can understand how if you don’t find it fun it would feel like a chore. The good thing is that there are a few places online where you can see cool playlists that others have done to save you the trouble of having to think.

Fourth, and perhaps most importantly, is that Ryan felt listening to music made him run to the rhythm of the song. Here’s what he says:

One of the biggest issues I had was my background in marching band. I would constantly find myself running with the beat of the music. So if it was a fast song I would pick up my pace, even if I wasn’t fit enough to keep up with it. And then if the music would slow down, so would I.

This also happens to me and I would guess most people. You naturally get into the rhythm and it’s sometimes harder or slower than you should be going. However, I see this as a good thing. I create playlists with faster music when I want to run faster and slower when I want to run slower. Right now I’m experimenting with a playlists that actually starts slow for a warm up, then picks up gradually until it gets really fast, then slows down for a cool down. I’ll post it as soon as I’m ready, I’m just testing it out at the moment.


Music in Sport and Exercise : An Update on Research and Application

I’ve seen the study I mentioned previously referenced in several articles and publications, so I did some digging and found it in The Sport Journal.

The study is titled “Music in Sport and Exercise : An Update on Research and Application” and was submitted by Costas Karageorghis and David-Lee Priest of Brunel University. The conclusion says:

We have established that there are many ways in which music can be applied to both training and competition. The effects of carefully selected music are both quantifiable and meaningful. As Paula Radcliffe, the world record–holding marathoner, has said, “I put together a playlist and listen to it during the run-in. It helps psych me up and reminds me of times in the build-up when I’ve worked really hard, or felt good. With the right music, I do a much harder workout.”

The findings we have discussed lead to the possibility that the use of music during athletic performance may yield long-term benefits such as exercise adherence and heightened sports performance, through a superior quantity and quality of training. Although many athletes today already use music, they often approach its use in quite a haphazard manner. We hope that through applying the principles outlined in this article, athletes and coaches will be able to harness the stimulative, sedative, and work-enhancing effects of music with greater precision.

It’s an interesting read for anyone interested in running to music.


More on running with music vs not

iSport.com

Few debates in the running world are as heated as the argument over whether or not it’s ok to listen to music while you work out: Pro-mp3 runners push the distraction, fun, and motivation of good tunes; the other side maintains that using headphones is a departure from nature, athletic awareness, and is simply the stuff of joggers.

Both sides make valid points, but recent studies have shown evidence of enhanced performance in those who listen to music during difficult training. So if you do enjoy wearing headphones, it appears you’ve got some support to bolster your case.

link: Running with Music | iSport.com

This article references 2 studies, one related to cyclists and one related to runners that I’ve mentioned before.