Rave: Learn to like running

We have a love-hate relationship with running here on the fourth floor. Love: being completely energized and refreshed post-run (and post-shower), knowing you just burned a couple hundred calories, and that muscles-are-sore-in-the-best-way-possible feeling. Hate: being a sweaty, red-faced mess in public, being unable to catch your breath, and feeling like you may die at any moment. Some of us are newbie and/or wannabe runners, and wanted to share our tips for how to actually like running… or at least stop hating it.

First thing’s first: Don’t underestimate the power of a brisk walk to warm up and post-run stretching. This article from the Globe and Mail notes pre-run stretching can be counter-productive and compares stretching to piece of gum. “You put it in your mouth and chew it for 10 minutes – then take it out and stretch it. Voila! It stretches with ease. Take that same piece of gum out of your mouth and put it on a table, then try to stretch it 10 minutes later when it’s cold. It stretches with resistance and snaps. Muscles work very much the same way.” Try these post-run stretches from Huffington Post.

Next, have realistic expectations and set a goal. You will not be able to run 5k right off the bat, and if you try, you will most likely never run again. Ease yourself into it with an app like Couch to 5k, a running program designed to get just about anyone from the couch to running five kilometers or 30 minutes in just nine weeks. It alternates walking and running intervals, gradually increasing the run over nine weeks, until you are able to run 5k or 30 minutes non-stop. RunKeeper is another cool app that lets you enter a target pace at the start of your activity and get coached on whether you are ahead/behind that pace through your headphones, along with tracking how far you went, how long it took you, and the route you travelled. 

RunKeeper app.

Running is easy on the wallet given it’s free and you can do it just about anywhere, but we do recommend investing in a quality pair of shoes, if nothing else. A good pair of shoes will absorb the impact on your bones and joints, saving your knees and shins. We like Reebok Runtone – the airpods on the outsole create micro-instability, activating your muscles as you stabilize yourself, while the synthetic mesh offers breathability for your feet.

Something else worth investing in, especially for our larger-chested friends, is a decent sports bra. Our friend at Happy or Hungry who has big nungas herself (as she calls them), has done the research and recos the Ta Ta Tamer from Lululemon. Cheaper bras are okay for strength training and yoga, etc. but you’ll definitely want to keep strapped in on the run, so it’s worth the trip to Lulu.

Ta Ta Tamer II from Lululemon.

Some other easy ways to enjoy your run include making a killer playlist (try not to listen to these songs until your run so you are pumped when you hear them!), listening to an audio book, or catching up on Mad Men (when on the treadmill). Basically, make your run interesting so you’re not focused on the hard parts. Switching from the treadmill to an outdoor jaunt can help too – a change of scenery can do wonders.

We’d run every day if this was our view: shirtless Matthew McConaughey.

And remember: You don’t have to run fast. You just have to run.

City Living: Playlists for running in the city

We thought that since we recently posted about Toronto running routes, it was only fitting that we provide you with some playlists that will help kickstart your run, keep you going and cool you down. With some new hits, old classics and a variety of music genres, we hope the variety will help inspire and encourage fellow runners as they jog or sprint around Toronto.

While we wouldn’t normally associate indie/alternative music with running, we realized that when cranked up in our headphones, bands like Foster the People and Florence and the Machine make for some pretty energizing play lists. Check out who else made the cut.

For the lovers of Top 40 out there (yes, we are guilty of this from time to time) this is the perfect upbeat playlist that will most likely have you singing along as you run. Don’t forget to breathe between hitting the high notes.

Who knew that techno and electronic music had uses aside from dancing the night away at the Guvernment? Make sure to blast this music and you’ll be shocked at how intense your run can get. 

Hip Hop
With a little throw back to the 90s, this playlist shares the intensity of the techno playlist, but also has words to sing, or rather rap, along to. 

Too lazy to create your own playlist? Websites like Slacker Radio and 8 Tracks will make them for you! We have definitely found that music is the key to staying energized while running.  We also find it important to constantly update what you’re listening to in order to keep things new and interesting. So with warm weather on the horizon, grab your iPod, load your new playlist and head outdoors for a run!