There Is Time To Run. Find it.

The excuses we give ourselves as to why we can’t go for a run are usually surmountable. We’ve just decided not to go for a run, and want to justify it to ourselves. That is why we call them excuses, and not reasons.

One of the most common is I don’t have time.

Here is what I have to say to that:

Someone busier than you is running right now. 

Want proof? The PRESIDENT of the United States of America works out. All the time. That means when you say you are too busy to run today, you are in fact claiming that you are more busy than the leader of one of the most powerful nations in the world. So first of all, congrats to you. You must be important. Second, what are you doing reading this? Go run!

Actually, let’s all do that. Let’s go run.

Happy Running!

 

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You Are Awesome

In running without my watch, I have lost all the standard ways I have of measuring success. On a long run, for instance, am I sticking strictly to the 10 minutes of running and 1 minute of walking, or did I sneak in an extra walking break? Are my splits even? Did I run exactly 16k or was it 15.9k? Did I blast out at the beginning only to crawl towards the end? Without my watch, I don’t know. And sometimes, that is a good thing.

I know I’m not alone here. We all strive for the cleanest run possible. For the perfect run.

All of these measurements, while they can help us to improve when used properly, frequently cloud the bigger successes. This is something I have realized running without all my tech, because I simply can’t measure as I normally do. I’m left to only decide “Did I do it?”

It is so easy for us as runners to finish up a run, and then immediately pick holes in it. I hear this all the time at running groups. Invariably, the leader says “Great run everyone, good job!” and the runners promptly begin to grumble: “yah, but I didn’t hit that hill as fast as I can” or “It was okay, but my splits weren’t even”. All of this is said out of wanting to push ourselves to be better. To be clear: that is fine. What isn’t fine is forgetting that

You are awesome.

What runners do all the time is totally remarkable. That applies if you run 3k or 30k on a regular day. Either way, you are choosing to challenge yourself. You are choosing to be physically active. You are choosing your health. And you are doing so in a world of temptations. You could watch tv instead, after all.

Now, I think that constantly pushing ourselves is a good thing. I just don’t want us to forget, as a community, that this sport of ours really is awesome.

Now go for a run. Happy Running!

 

Running Into The Unknown

Having arrived into Dublin a few days ago now, I think I’m mostly over the jet-lag. Last night’s run was fantastic, so I really slept like a baby.

While I’m here I’m running tech-less. It’s just me and my water bottle when I set out. I don’t have access to my beloved Nike+ and I can’t seem to find my Garmin charger. Once I lost those two, I felt like I should just ditch the iPod as well, out of solidarity.

So it’s back to the old tech version of planning out a route beforehand and then running out the door. This becomes doubly difficult in a city I’m unfamiliar with, with road names I can’t pronounce, and whose streets never go straight in any direction.

That said, running without tech and along completely unknown routes is exhilarating. It forces increased alertness and pushes curiosity. I think both are great things.

That said, it can lead to some interesting problems. Last night, being somewhat jet lagged and completely exhausted, a plotted out what I thought was a very easy 4k route. Just a quick jaunt to wake up my legs, my heart and my mind. The first 1k was pleasant, following the River Liffey, passing the Guinness Brewery.

Then the route curved off into the city, and, apparently up. And up. And up.

About 2k of a gentle but persistent slope upwards. The kind that leaves a dull ache in your calves. This is apparently a popular running route, as I found several significantly more capable runners than me blasting up the hill.

And thus, my short quick run was turned into a hill workout. Such is the joys of running new routes, in a new city.

I can’t wait to head out again tonight.

 

 

Route Change Up

Run

As you may know from reading my posts, I’m currently running and writing in Dublin, Ireland. This means I’ve had a BIG route change up, and am happily exploring new running routes and trails.

However, when I’m home I frequently find myself running the same routes, just out of habit. I know that this route, for instance, is a great 5k loop without many stoplights, or this one is a fantastic 20k long run that flows through many different interesting neighbourhoods.

When I first started running, I used it as a way to explore my city and truly see the world around me. I still do that, but occasionally I fall in to lulls where I use the same route, day in and day out. I’m here to encourage you not to do that.

Changing up your route has several benefits, the biggest of which is avoiding running boredom. Constantly seeing new sites and navigating new terrain keeps you aware and bright, both of which are good for your psyche and your run time. On a slightly darker note, the Toronto City Police also recommend running different routes, so potential predators will not be able to track you easily. It’s a sad thing that I have to mention this, but changing your running route can increase your overall safety. Of course, when selecting a new route, make sure you are not running down dark alleys at 2am next to minimum security prisons, etc, etc, etc.

If you have a system like Nike+, Garmin or any other GPS watch, its easy to head out the door without a plan. If you don’t, take 10 minutes before your run and map out a new route on Google Maps. If you’re stumped on where to go, contact your local Running Room. They have routes of different lengths and technical skills mapped out, all of which leave from their stores of course. And while you’re at it, maybe head out with one of their free Run Clubs!

Alright, enough planning. Go Run. Go Far. Go Enjoy. And Happy Running!

(Photo Credit: R A Pyke)

Jet Lagged Running

Good morning to you folks. It is currently mid-afternoon for me, as I have now arrived into Dublin, Ireland, where I will be posting from for the next month or so.

semàfor dublinès - dublin traffic lights

Today, I am very very jet lagged. Red eye flights can do that for you. Nonetheless, I am lacing up for a quick run. And by quick, I a mean I will run at a very slow pace over a very short distance, but nonetheless will run.

Look, sometimes just getting out the door and going for your run is a big feat. Not every day can be the day you set a new record, run a little farther or run a bit faster. And that is okay. Those days are just the days you are preparing to hit your new records. Or they are the days you are running, like me, to get your run in.

Truth be told, I’m also running because I want to explore some of my new neighbourhood, as well as hit the internal reset button that running hits for me. Sure, I may be tired as hell. I may only run 3 kilometres. It may take me an eternity. But I know I’ll feel better after I do.

So Happy Running, from Dublin.

(Photo Credit: Campru)

I Songza While I Run

Skullcandy Headphones

Among my running friends, the music we listen to, the playlists we create and the effort we put into finding that perfect mix is a subject of constant discussion.

Which is why, lately, I’ve been leaving it up to fate. Well, sort of. It would more accurate to say I’ve been leaving it up to the folks at Songza, and their delightfully surprising playlists.

If you’re not acquainted with Songza, it’s a website and app that provides streaming playlists for whatever mood you are in (from Energetic to Nocturnal) or activity you are doing (Girls Night Out? Lying Low on a Sunday Afternoon? Hanging out in the Man Cave?), as well as per the more traditional decades and genres. The possibilities are endless. And because Songza actually pays their staff to compile playlists, you end up with a good product.

And because Songza is an app, I can listen via my smartphone where I also track my run (with Nike+). Personally, the less stuff I can have strapped to my body when I head out the door, the better.

I tend to find a playlist I like and stick with it for a bit. Here are my favourite playlists for running, courtesy of Songza. Take a listen!

  1. Pick Up Your Feet
  2. Pop Kiss-Offs
  3. Beer in Your Water Bottle: Alt Rock Workout
  4. Guitars & PBRs
  5. Sunshine Indie Pop Workout
  6. Marathon Workout
  7. Massive Pop Hits: The Remixes

(Photo Credit: Brett Levin)