Rave: Getting in shape for spring

It’s finally getting warmer out, which means it’s time for all of us hibernators to get back into a real fitness
routine (don’t give us that look) so we can fit into our swimmers from last summer (remember those?). One of the easiest, most enjoyable ways to get into shape is to run. Time spent outside in the great outdoors, no gym fees and all you need are two feet and a heartbeat (well, and maybe a few other things). Here are some tips for getting into the runner’s groove and excited about running. It IS possible to be excited about running, we promise.

Start small, work up
Everyone says start slowly and work your
way up to being a long-distance (or short-distance) runner. Starting out with short bursts of speed has been proven to build momentum, so try jogging for three minutes and sprinting for one. Couch to 5K is a helpful downloadable program for
people starting from zero and implementing a fitness routine into their lives,
at their pace. 

Go from this…

…to this!
Pick a kick-ass playlist

     You know the difference between Norah Jones
and
Girl Talk? One makes you want to jump in a bubble bath, the other makes you
want to do everything at hyperspeed. A good playlist can really make the
difference between a good workout and a great one, so make sure you have tracks
with good beats.
Podrunner.com is a great website for downloading running mixes
– you can even choose music to go along with your pace. Music selections range from 120 to 181 BPM. 


Run with friends
You just can’t sleep in if it means your
friend is left at the end of your driveway. She’ll kill you. So get a foolproof
way to get out there on the track, the street, the gym, the treadmill… running with
friends allows you to catch up while burning serious calories.


Ever heard of The Color Run?  If you and your friends are feeling adventurous, head down to
Montreal on Saturday, August 17 for the most outrageous 5K you’ll ever
join. Participants are encouraged to wear white, so when completely doused with paint during the run they can take home a colourful keepsake at
the end. 

Keep it consistent
You can’t just run a 10K every time you feel the urge. No
matter how ready to run you feel, overexerting yourself will just hurt you in
the long run. So use an app or website like mapmyrun.com to log your runs
every day (or every other day, every three days, we’re not perfect), making sure you’re not overdoing it and track
your improvements over time.


Wear the right gear
We’ve all had running shoes that just ended
up doing more harm than good. Nobody likes blisters or bruises (it’s almost sandal season!) so making sure you have reliable footwear is really important. We like Reebok RealFlex Strength TR shoes – they provide traditional flexibility and lightweight feel, plus extra mid-foot stability. Forget Red Bull – these will give you wings. And they’re cute.



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Media, Darling: Jen Wilson

Jennifer Wilson is the technology and video games editor
at the Toronto Star. When she doesn’t have her nose in her iPhone, she can be
found hitting the sidewalks for a run, shoe shopping or settling in for a good
brunch with friends.





Twitter: @jenwilsonto @torontostar
Website: thestar.com 

Did you
always want to be in the media? If not, what other careers were on the horizon? 
Two left feet meant that my little girl dream of
becoming a ballerina was out of the question – but I wanted to be a writer from
about the age of seven. Working for a newspaper was my first (and only!) real
career dream.
        
Where would you like to be five years from now?
Hopefully no longer working the weekend
shift! But seriously, hopefully I’ll be in a position where I still get to
inform and entertain readers – and both write and edit.
Any advice for people
getting started in your industry?
Be flexible. When I started out, I thought the only
journalism that was interesting was coming from Parliament Hill. But I also had
student loans, so when I got the chance to edit real estate and home décor, I
took it. And I don’t regret it one bit. While it wasn’t my dream job, I learned
to love it, and it gave me the experience I needed to write and edit content a
little closer to my heart. Plus, I’m now a pro at spotting Ikea furniture with
potential — and think I’ve got a pretty sweet Scandinavian inspired condo as a
result.
What
are your favourite media outlets, not including your own?
New York Times, the BBC, the CBC and the Globe and Mail. I also rely on 680 News for breaking alerts and content shared
by friends on Facebook, Twitter and even by good old fashioned email.
Best
interview you’ve ever had?
The most surprising was when I interviewed Vanilla Ice about his home renovation TV show. I wasn’t sure what to expect, but I
hadn’t anticipated him having stitches from an ice dancing TV show! He was so
genuine and down to earth in person – the time just flew by.
Worst?
I was sick and hadn’t prepared as much
as I would have liked for a company profile, and the person I was interviewing
was rather nervous. There weren’t many usable quotes from the conversation, and
I had to follow up by email.
Best advice you’ve ever
been given?
  You can
do anything if you put your mind to it. And, it’s only hair – it will grow back.
What rule(s) do you live
your life by?
Say yes. What’s the worst thing that
could happen?
What’s the most important
tip you can give PR pros?
Don’t send me an email with a billion
attachments. Inbox storage is always maxed out – especially around the holidays
– and big files are the first to go when I need to unlock my messages to
send/receive more pressing emails.
Best experience you’ve had
with a PR pro? We love to hear about #wins.
It’s hard to name just one! But there’s
nothing that makes life easier than when you require a very specific source for
a story and the PR pro already anticipated it and made them available.
I
hate?
Accepting that I have limits and am unable to do
something.
I love?
High heels, hockey, long runs and good food. And, of
course, my family and friends.
Reading?
Constantly! In addition to the latest news, I love
picking up magazines and the latest buzz-worthy novels, as well as works of
non-fiction.
Best place on earth?
My parent’s house on Christmas Eve, when
it’s filled with family, friends and all my favourite food.
Dinner
guest?
That’s a tough one. Having just been the holidays, I’m going to go the sappy route and say my best friends and family over a
massive meal, with a good selection of desserts.
Hero?
I’ve been lucky to have many strong women who have
inspired me, including my mother and my grandmothers. On a broader scale, I’ve always admired Amelia Earhart’s adventurous streak – I feel like she was the
kind of woman who would, perhaps somewhat stubbornly, tackle any challenge
head-on.
Favourite app (or whatever
you are downloading these days)?
I’m still giddy over getting Google Maps
back on my iPhone. I have a terrible sense of direction and was, quite
literally, lost without it.
Pool or ocean?
Ocean, hands down. I’m a Nova Scotia
girl, and nothing compares to the salt air, the waves and the surf.
Voicemail
or email?
Always email. I always have my
smartphone in hand and am always on top of my inboxes. I’m way more likely to
reply to an email than pick up a phone call at any given moment.

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.