Fitness Fridays: Running

I was never a big runner until recently.

For the past six years, I have had easy access to gym facilities, either through my university gym or a fitness facility membership. Last November I became certified in Group Power, an hour-long strength-training class that I teach anywhere from two to four times a week. Now I typically workout five to six days a week (I always take off Fridays and Saturdays, unless I teach those days), but have found that a gym membership was becoming too expensive considering that I only use it to use machines probably two times a week, down from the six that I was using it back before I became certified.

If you are going to make the plunge and get a gym membership, I have always believed in utilizing it to its full advantage. I get that life is busy, but I have always found time to stop by the gym to get at least a half hour of cardio in. For $60 a month, you better believe that I took full advantage of the facility.

I didn’t bother to renew my membership this past July because it wasn’t worth it to me anymore. When I’m not teaching Power, I have taken up running outside because not only is it a great form of cardio exercise, but it’s free. Now if it was between running on a treadmill or outside, I’m a bit torn. On a treadmill, you are going at a steady pace on smooth ground. When you run outside, the speed at which you are going varies, as does the terrain. On the plus side, it’s a more interesting run compared to a treadmill, and you aren’t watching the time.

When I run, I always make sure I’m wearing my Nike Free Run +3 with the Nike Sensor activated. The sensor is connected to my iPhone via the Nike+ app which tells me how fast I’m going, the time, how many kilometres I ran, how many calories I burned, and more. Once I’m done my workout I send it to my profile online which tracks my progress. I am obsessed with this app; it’s a great way to keep track of your stats and compare yourself to others. It’s almost like playing a video game, to be honest. I always feel such great accomplishment when I track my results and it’s nice to see how I did compared to other days which have the same workout. If you want something similar for free, download Map My Run, which works the same way, except instead of a sensor it uses GPS technology. Now I’m not a crazy runner and haven’t been in any marathons (yet!), but I do have a few tips for those who want to take it up.

  1. Start slow – Don’t think you are going to be able to run 5K the first time you start out. Heck, don’t even think you may be able to run 10 minutes straight the first time you hit the pavement. A good way to build endurance would be to stagger your workouts, start off with a five minute walk, then run for a minute and then walk for a minute and keep doing that for about half an hour. There is an app which will help you with this, it’s call 5K Runner.
  2. Pace yourself – Go slow, there is nothing wrong with a jog. If you are jogging, rather than sprinting or running, you can most likely go longer before slowing down to walk.
  3. Get in the zone – the second I start to think that I should slow down, I start feeling the pain and I feel like I have to stop. To shush that voice in your head, play some good tunes; stuff that is motivating. I like to feel the music.
  4. Break up your runs – I have done 5K both running straight and running with a few short walk breaks in-between. If you are doing an interval cycle, you work your body more because your heart rate slows down, so when you start running again your body is working harder, thus burning more calories. Plus, who doesn’t like a break every once in a while?

With winter coming up here I’m going to have to find a place to run inside but once spring hits, I’m hitting the pavement hard once again.

Do you have any running tips?

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