The New Year is a time to start thinking about resolutions and getting motivated to get and stay in shape. The goal is to motivate your friends and followers to start thinking about fitness and health now, powered by our new Tarah headphones— no better option out there to help you stay motivated during your workout.
DAY 1 — MINDBODY:
Let’s be honest, having the perfect playlist is essential to your workout routine. We all know sweatin’ it out without music is not ideal; each song is essential to your fitness goals. From getting in the zen zone before your first yoga class to powering your bench press, there’s a beat that speaks to you and your mood. What you listen to—and how you listen to it—becomes the soundtrack to your journey, so are you ready to make some noise this new year?
Through the Jaybird App and Jaybird’s Spotify station, you can discover music that elevates what you love. Featuring collections of songs, like the MINDBODY X Jaybird Power Workout Mix—carefully curated by the boss ladies at MINDBODY—Tarah can rock with you, wherever you go.
DAY 2 — @JOEDIESEL_FITNESS:
Make SMALL changes! So many people over haul their lives in January with strict diet, no days off from the gym, and no down time to accomplish their goals and that is ALWAYS a recipe for failure… make small changes to your life and slowly increase over time, that way your body and mind will have time to adjust. So here is what I suggest starting with:
1) Add 5 servings of fruits and veggies daily, to your regular diet. Once you are use to that add more.
2) Start training only 4 days per week, this will avoid burnout and also give your muscles time to heal. I only have two workout splits (legs, back, biceps and chest, tris, shoulders) and I alternate between the two. This helps with progress keeping your muscles active and pumped.
Check out the playlist that powers Joe’s fitness:
DAY 3 — @IAMLSHAUNTAY:
After finishing a series of marathons and ultramarathons, I found myself encountering that dreadful period where I wondered what I would do with my fitness in between races. Naturally my wandering mind pushed me to peruse the internet seeking out events but it also led me back to focusing on things that I tend to avoid like sprinting to change things up or stretching after grooving to some tunes on a hard gym workout.
For those who are seeking a tip or two on how to push through the holiday spirit, consider this:
- Your ‘Monday’ is right now: Choose any day of the week – maybe even today – and start small. Don’t get caught up looking around the room wondering why you’re not moving like everyone else.
- Consistency is key: Perhaps your goal is to run a marathon next year but you never ran a mile before. Most training plans start with a C25K, which is great, but if all you have is a speed walk in you, aim for that 3-4 times a week and slowly progress from there. 8, 12, 26 or 52 weeks: Who’s judging? Your race, your pace.
- Recruit buddies or create incentives: If you need a support system, you’re not alone. Seek out a friend with a similar or common goal who will keep you accountable and if they’re not around, use the gift of technology to keep you grooving.
Groove to my Spotify list and try out my workout. Whether you have ten minutes or a bit over a hour, take a chance on this routine and modify where necessary:
- 3 – 5 minute warm up with a jump rope, high knees or simply marching in place
- Try each workout for 45 seconds each with a 20 second transition:
- Jumping Jacks (or toe touches)
- Power/Air Squats
- Plank with Shoulder Taps
- Mountain Climbers
- Curtsy Lunges
- Standard, Modified or Plyo Push Ups
Recover for 1 -2 minutes by taking a sip of water and moving in place to keep up heart rate and go for 3 – 6 rounds. Remember to stretch and/or foam roll after your workout while your muscles are still warm.
DAY 4 — @IFBBHEATHERDEES:
During the Holidays time is limited. We rush around to parties, shopping etc. and usually put our fitness goals on the back burner. My tip is; Just make it to the gym!
When you’re in a bind and don’t have the time to weight train and do cardio.. you can do weights at a cardio pace! Or better yet, use your body weight to get it done even quicker! Circuit training is key! When you at least make it to the gym during the busy season, you’ll feel better & generally make better nutritional decisions!
DAY 5 — @NICKSYMMONDS:
My tip is to use music to motivate yourself. A good playlist can get you in the right mindset to push through any workout.
DAY 6 — @NIKKI_HOWARD:
Fitness fanatic Nikki Howard knows how important it is to have a good time while staying in shape. Nothing inspires her to have fun working out more than a solid playlist. For her fitness tip, she has decided to share her personally curated playlist that pushes her to stay motivated in the winter months.
“As you guys can probably tell, music gets me jazzed (no pun intended) and nothing helps me get through a brutal workout more than DMX, RTJ, and other bands that aren’t all acronyms which is why I am stoked to be a part of this @jaybirdsport giveaway.”
This is the playlist that pumps Nikki up:
DAY 7 — @TRACKBABY001:
The holidays can be a constant rush. So if running errands means less time to be active you can still jam in some time on the treadmill! For my tip I’m going to give you my favorite treadmill workout to do at the gym my favorite treadmill workout to do at the gym:
30 second sprint on level 3 starting off and 20 seconds off, 8 sets. Be sure to increase your speed each set.
DAY 8 — @TIMOTHYALLENOLSON:
Stop, feel, listen. Remember to create moments of stillness through the hustle and bustle of the holiday season. From rushing to sleep to rushing to wake, we rush rush rush, check phone, rush, eat, rush, check Instagram, rush, exercise, rush, rush, rush.
Add a mindful moment to your busy day by just taking a few deep breaths. Breathe fully in, pause, exhale completely and bring gentle awareness to your body and mind.
DAY 9 — @MELISSA_HARTWIG:
Here’s a little holiday motivation in an unexpected direction: Sometimes, taking it easy is the BEST thing you can do for your fitness.
During the holiday season (parties, shopping, and sugar, oh my), you may be richly scheduled, extra-stressed, over-tired, and feeling pressure to keep up with All the Things. You think you have to do MORE to stay on track; go harder, run faster, double up on workouts, give 100% every session. But what if that’s just digging yourself an even deeper hole? Truth: If this is your context, you’ll make more progress by stepping BACK than stepping it up.
More isn’t always better. And if you need to show yourself grace and hit cruise control on your training, goals, or race prep to stay happy, healthy, and connected to what matters this holiday season, you should do that. So here is your permission slip to sleep the extra hour, skip the power flow and restore, hike instead of run, and swap your “Go Hard” playlist for “Flow.” You may just find that throttling it back is exactly what you need to move forward with your goals.
Find my Flow playlist below, and know that I fell out of this pose one second later… but felt 💯 about ditching the squats and sprints and just playing with shapes today.
DAY 10 — @RUNNINGBRINA:
A great stretch with calming music is exactly what I need after my early morning runs. It relaxes me and gets me ready for the day. Especially during the sometimes stressful holiday season, 10-15 minutes to stretch is crucial for my overall mood.
DAY 11 — @ELISESBODYSHOP:
This holiday season I encourage you to move in whatever way feels best for your body while keeping your eyes on a strong start to 2019. I will be with you every step of the journey into the next year giving you ways to move in and out of the gym. Speaking of, this video is one of my favorite core finishers to get moving anywhere, anytime.
DAY 12 — @JUSTGET.FIT:
Perform each exercise for 20 seconds, then rest for 10 seconds. Repeat for 8 rounds (a total of 4 min per exercise) before moving on to the next exercise:
Ball throw sit ups
DAY 13 — @MADELINE_MOVES:
Fitness doesn’t have to be “all or nothing”, especially through the Holidays. Allow a 20 minute power walk or run to be celebrated just as much as an hour session in the gym.
DAY 14 — @MEAGENHARRIMAN:
So, the holidays are stressful and with it being the weekend before Christmas, I know many of you will be attending holiday parties! I wanted to share with you a quick tip to keep you reaching towards your goals this holiday season!
Go for the goods that aren’t available year round! What do I mean? Sugar cookies, are there YEAR ROUND – you can easily make a batch in the middle of summer if you wanted to! So don’t fill up with those types of foods! Instead, fully enjoy the foods that only come around this time of year! For me, I will be indulging in eggnog and Nana’s homemade peanut butter balls!!!! How about you? What are you looking forward to indulging in?
DAY 15 — @JESSDAVIS_USA:
Waking up this morning for a brisk morning run as a gift to myself before time with family. I know the holidays are stressful to most on their fitness and health goals but know what it’s one a year and making memories are the most important. But my holidays fitness tip for you, set a schedule and WRITE IT DOWN! It seems so simple but I often find people who are just winging it, set yourselves reasonable goals for each day and crush it. A killer playlist doesn’t hurt either.
DAY 16 — @BELENMOZO:
This is what Christmas looks like for me this year. I’ve learned that you have to outwork your competitors to always be on top. You might not get to #1 but you will always be the better version of yourself.
Head over to our Instagram feed for a chance to win daily prizes for the next 16 days.
Black Men Run is an international run group that supports a wide range of abilities and is open to everyone. From first timers to advanced runners, Black Men Run strives to promote increased fitness through a culture of running. Black Men Run Mission Statement: To encourage health and wellness among African American men by promoting a culture of running/jogging to stay fit resulting in “A Healthy Brotherhood”. In this entry, Black Men Run member Ricardo Sandy tells us how simply doing a favor for a friend got him running marathons. Sandy resides in Brooklyn, New York as a father, ex-nightlife promoter, legal assistant, and freelance photographer.
Sandy explains, “Honestly, running is not something I grew up liking or ever thought I would enjoy. During high school I wasn’t the most athletic student and in college I became a ‘gym rat’, working out 5-6 days a week in order to create a bigger, better me minus the cardio…or so I thought.”
In early November of 2014 my friend Nyoka asked me to support her on a run she was doing in order to help improve her current health condition. Unbeknownst to me her version of support meant me training and running with her. I committed without hesitation and thanks to my usual impulsive and overzealous competitive mindset I automatically challenged her in order to help motivate her without a second thought – “If you run this race, then I’ll run a marathon!” Keep in mind, I never considered myself a runner, so I totally put my foot in my mouth with that one. With less than 2 months of training, on December 31, 2014 at 11:59 pm in 17 degrees I found myself at the starting line of my very first race in Central Park. Of course Nyoka ran and finished, as did I, which only meant I had to keep running.
Photo by: George Grullon for GnP Photos
Being a man of my word I couldn’t back down and I had to set an example for my children – “If you say you’re going to do something, DO IT” and “Always finish what you start.” During 2015 I trained for and participated in the 9+1 program in order to qualify for the 2016 TCS New York City Marathon. Along the way I documented my journey via various social media platforms (#RickRunsNYC) and to my surprise the response/support that I received was shocking. Of course your friends start with “What are you running from?”, which was followed by “Run Forest Run.” It didn’t take long for my friends to realize that this had transitioned from just a challenge to a healthier lifestyle change for me . Their continued support was overwhelming and the comedic jab “Run Forest Run” became few and far. I had finally found a sport that gave me the most satisfaction, fed my competitive nature with a full on crowd of strangers cheering you on every step of the way, and all while becoming a healthier individual. I wouldn’t have been able to do it without music either. Music helps me get through my runs and greatly influences my pace. I usually start off with something slow then I kick it up a notch with each song until there is a full on party going on by the time I get to the finish line.
Photo by: Gurber Mathews Photography New York
A HEALTHY BROTHERHOOD
After qualifying for the NYC Marathon and during the second leg of the journey to my first marathon, where I needed more motivation, my friend Michael Lewis introduced me to Black Men Run (“BMR”). I am not going to lie, I was reluctant at first, but with a little coaxing (and background checking) in May of 2016 I came out for my first “Sunday Runday”. The motivation, camaraderie, and accountability, through the motto “No Man Left Behind” displayed by this group of men during that 1.5 hours of training made me realize that this is where I wanted to be and the support system that I needed to get me over the hump and to the finish line – and it’s free…sign me up! BMR is a global (yes we’re in Europe) run group whose mission statement is “To encourage health and wellness among African American men by promoting a culture of running/jogging to stay fit resulting in ‘A Healthy Brotherhood’.” I trained for a little over 5 months with my brothers for the run of a lifetime , I was guided by the wisdom of veteran runners as well as through the run regimen provided by our run coach and captains.
Photo by: Gurber Mathews Photography New York
GOALS GOAL GOALS
On November 6, 2016, after running across 5 bridges, through 5 boroughs, and 26.2 miles for 4 plus hours I became a MARATHONER – part of the 1% Club! It was at the moment I crossed the finish line that I realized my running had just begun. Along my run journey I met some very inspiring and awesome individuals that have accomplished amazing things in the running community. It also seems that I became an inspiration to others as well. The combination fueled me and I developed new goals, one of which was not my own but none the less I set out on a quest to help my BMR brother, Mike become a Rock ‘n’ Roll Marathon Series Hall of Famer. How do you become a hall of Famer you ask? One must do 15 marathons or half marathons within 1 calendar year from January to December. This would be my biggest challenge/commitment yet. After 15 cities in 12 states and 2 countries Mike and I are in the Hall of Fame. The series was less about the medals (there were many) and more about the people we met, relationships we built (shout to the RunFam) and memories that will last a lifetime.
Photo by: Joe Casimir of JCasimir Photos
My accolades to date are approximately 62 races with 634 race miles (give or take a few). The highlights thus far are: 2016 TCS New York City Marathon; 2017 Bank of America Chicago Marathon; 2017 TCS New York City Marathon; 2017 Rock ‘n’ Roll Run Series Hall of Fame; and the 2017 St. Jude’s Memphis Marathon. 2017 was a great year in my running career, and honestly, I’m not sure yet how to top it, but I know I’m not going to stop as I have my eyes set on the prize: all of the Abbott World Marathon Majors and to become a Six Star Finisher!
Check out Black Men Run’s playlist of the week:
Keep in touch with Black Men Run!
My name is Justin Williams, and I’m a personal trainer from Santa Monica, CA. I grew up in a very athletic family, which led me to a successful collegiate football career and my profession in fitness. As a personal trainer I consider myself a guide and motivator to my clients, and my love for training has grown into a love for running.
Growing up I was always actively involved in various sports (Basketball, Football, Wrestling etc.) and running was always apart of my routine because of the conditioning benefits. Now that I’m in the fitness realm, I view running as something fundamental that everyone can do within their own capacity. Which is why, I still run as part of my training routine till this day.
“This ensures my foundation is sound, and I don’t suffer the typical injuries that runners face.”
Ideally I like to just wake up, get dressed, lace up my shoes, throw on my Jaybird X3 headphones, and just go. Later in the afternoon or evening is when I incorporate my strength/resistance training. With my athletic background I definitely still take a certain level of enjoyment and pride in retaining a certain level of relative strength, but I genuinely believe my strength as a runner is literally… my strength. Even when I take “time off” from running on the road, I’m retooling my body in the gym. I’m lifting heavy, and incorporating stability and mobility work as well for when I do have a race or an event coming up. This ensures my foundation is sound, and I don’t suffer the typical injuries that runners face.
“It’s one thing to complete a race and it’s another to finish strong and still be physically healthy afterwards.”
Running has helped me discover a lot about myself, not just physically but mentally & spiritually as well. When it comes to being in the gym vs. running on the road, it’s almost two different personalities so to speak. If you could hear my music in the gym, I listen to stuff that pumps me up with heavy bass and hard, fast-tempo beats. When I’m on the road I prefer smoother, more mellow sounds to keep my heart rate steady and not overly excited, so I can maintain a certain pace. I’m very much aware I’m not the stereotypical runner and it’s not easy at all. There’s a point in every run where I’m mentally fighting with myself to stop or slow down because my body is getting close to its limit, but that’s when mental toughness comes into play and you push to finish that last mile or that last lap around the track. Every person can do amazing and incredible things, it’s just a matter of making your mind up and then executing! Check out my playlist below of some tracks that help me push my limits.
We also want to hear your stories. Share your motivation for running in a short story and hashtag #whyirunjaybird on Instagram for a chance to win weekly prizes including earbuds and a chance to be featured on our social channels. We’re inspired by every type of runner, so don’t hesitate to share your passion with us. To the parent that wakes up early before sending their kids off to school, the beginner seeking to finish their first 5k, and the marathoner looking to set a new PR, your passion inspires more people than you’ll ever know. Share your stories with us and #runwild. Find more info about the This Is Why I Run series here.
Keep in touch with Justin!
My name is Syd Schulz and I am a professional mountain bike racer, focusing on enduro events. I am also a writer, blogger and lifestyle athlete. Currently based in Taos, NM, I grew up in Ohio and started riding bikes as a kid in the rolling foothills of the Appalachian mountains. Over the past three years, I have raced my bike on four different continents and traveled all over the United States in a dirt-bag van. My blog focuses on inspirational content and stories of my own personal development. My goal is to inspire others to tackle their biggest hurdles in life (and on the bike).
Van life is pretty trendy these days, but sifting through the hashtag on Instagram doesn’t shed much light on what it’s really like. Apparently, you can cook gourmet meals on a single burner and wake up every morning with a view of the beach, but what about the everyday grind? And what about working out? Perhaps the average van life instagrammer gets enough exercise wrestling with the pop-top on their 1970s vanagon, but as professional mountain bikers who also happen to live on the road, my fiancé and I have to take our training a little more seriously. That means fitting in workouts around the every day logistics of van life. Whether you’re living in a van full time or just traveling for a few weeks in the summer, these tips should help you maintain your fitness routine on the road.
Prioritize your training schedule and PLAN AHEAD. This is pretty obvious but it’s also probably the most important tip on the list. While it’s always important to prioritize your training, it’s extra important if you’re living in a van, because van life has a tendency to throw the unexpected at you. If you’re not careful a lot of little things (filling up water, dealing with mechanical issues, setting up camp, driving into town) can swallow up your entire day. But, as with most things, if you have a plan, you’re way more likely to succeed. Make sure you plan around where you’ll be, so that your schedule is realistic to the time and resources (gym access, good mountain bike trails, etc.) that you have available.
Make sure your workout gear is easily accessible. If you have to spend half an hour digging around the bowels of your van to find all your riding gear, that’s going to cut into your workout time. Staying organized in a small space can be a nightmare, so when you plan your van build, make sure your organization reflects your priorities — If all your workout stuff has an assigned spot that’s easy to get to, you’ll save valuable time (and mental anguish). Ideally, when you arrive at the trailhead or the gym, it will only takes you a few seconds to find what you need.
KEEP A MINI-GYM
Better yet, have your own mobile mini gym. It’s amazing what you can do with a few resistance bands, a TRX, a jump rope and some creative body weight exercises. A pretty small investment in exercise equipment can mean you have no excuse to skip your workout, even if you’re camping in the middle of nowhere. I keep all these goodies together in a bag, because, even if I am going to a gym, you never know exactly what sort of equipment they’ll have, so it’s good to bring the essentials with you. I also use this bag to store some spare gym clothes and my Jaybird X3s, so (as per my second point) I can be ready to workout in no time.
Here’s what I have in my mini mobile gym bag:
– PT bands
– Resistance bands
– Jump rope
– Tennis balls (for juggling or rolling out sore muscles)
– Foam roller
– Voodoo floss band
– Jaybird X3s for the tunezzz
USE GYM SHOWERS
Speaking of gyms, shower at the gym. Finding showers while living the van life can be a challenge. Sure, you can have an expensive shower set up in your van, or fiddle with a solar shower — but if you’re an athlete, the best thing to do is just commit to showering at the gym. You’re not going to pay the gym fee for just a shower, so you’ll probably follow through with your workout as well. (Note: may not be financially sustainable if you feel the need to shower more than twice a week — but hey, you’re living in a van, so you’re probably on the level.)
GET A MAT
Invest in a tumbling mat. This was one of our best Amazon purchases ever. Why not just a yoga mat? Well, the problem with van life is that you don’t always have smooth, rock-less surfaces to set up a yoga mat, and having a thick tumbling mat means you can literally stretch on any surface, no matter how bumpy. The mat also doubles as a wind blocker when cooking in the desert, or a privacy screen for changing in the parking lot. Yes, it takes up a decent bit of space in the van, but it’s always the first thing we pull out when we make camp and it’s probably our most used item, so it’s well worth it.
Hopefully this inspired you to get out there and get your workout done, whether you live in a van or not!
Check out my playlist of the week:
Keep in touch with Syd!
If you’re a runner, there’s a good chance you’re familiar with Runkeeper. This mobile app helps you track workouts, set goals, follow a running plan, stay motivated, and see your progress in an easy-to-use interface. It is one of the most popular personal fitness programs out there, and today, we have announced a collaboration to help bring music to where you run.
For many runners, you wouldn’t even think about hitting the road or trails without bringing your favorite music with you. Running is all about finding your rhythm and settling into a groove, and for many, listening to music is key. Music helps keep your mind off achy joints, shortness of breath and overall fatigue.
Even Runkeeper realizes that music and running go hand in hand. In fact, over the last 90 days, more than 65 percent of Runkeeper users listened to music while tracking their activity!
Runkeeper and Jaybird are committed to providing a custom running and listening experience to help take each of your future workouts to the next level. Whether training for a marathon, your first 5K, or just getting in shape, our collective goal is to help power your run.
Jaybird is offering several opportunities to Runkeeper users, including the Jaybird X3 Challenge, which more than 125,000 Runkeeper users have already stepped up to complete. Now through June 12, users can join the X3 Challenge and track five activities within the app. Those who complete the challenge receive $20 off the Jaybird X3 Wireless Headphones.
Jaybird and Runkeeper are also collaborating on regular Music Monday content and shakeout runs in locations across the U.S. throughout 2017.
Download the Runkeeper app and start pairing your runs with your favorite set of Jaybird earbuds.
Once you put a few runs under your belt, let us know in the comments what new challenges you’d like to see added that combine your love of running with the power of music. We’d also love to know what songs get you going on your runs!
My body jolts to life as my alarm clock blares on the nightstand beside me. I slowly open one eye, then the other, and peer at the glowing red light. The clock reads 4:00am. Doesn’t it feel like your alarm always goes off just seconds after you finally fall asleep?
Most people hate Mondays. They coin phrases like “Monday Blues,” and “Case of the Mondays.” I, on the other hand, love Mondays. To me, Mondays represent a brand new week; A fresh start and an opportunity to leave all of last week’s woes and stresses behind me. Mondays also follow Sundays, which are days for recovery and relaxation for me. My body is strongest on Mondays. I wake up feeling well rested, focused and ready conquer. Like Mondays, most people also hate leg days… squats and deadlifts and lunges, oh my. Like Mondays, I love leg days. I get high off of pushing my body to levels beyond what I thought was possible just days before. Today is Monday and today is leg day. I give my alarm clock a whack and jump out of bed, ready to begin my pre-workout routine.
My pre-workout routine always begins with a nutrient dense meal. Food for fuel.. that’s my motto. I throw some oatmeal into a pot of boiling water and watch as it absorbs every last drop. I do not fear the carb, and neither should you! I down my oatmeal like it is the first time I have eaten in weeks, guzzle a protein shake, grab my water and my X3 Bluetooth headphones and run out the door like a kid on Christmas morning. My blood is pumping and my heart is racing as I cruise to the gym, anxiously anticipating the taxing 90-minute workout that lies ahead. I can literally hear my mind giving my body a pep talk as the neurons from my brain engage the nerve endings of every one of my muscles. This may sound insane to most people but I live for this.
I wrap my headphones around my head and position each bud in each ear. It is the music that fuels me. The moment I hit play I enter a new dimension; a world in which only I and the bar before me exist. Sweat is dripping down my face, my neck, my chest, my arms and my legs. My whole body is shaking, unsure as to whether or not it will survive one last set. It does. It always does…
Running a half-marathon is a worthy goal, and maybe it’s a goal you set for yourself at the beginning of the year.
Have you stayed true to that enthusiasm? Maybe you’ve already given up on the idea of training. After all, you’ve haven’t run a mile since high school P.E. class.
How could anyone who doesn’t run ever be ready for a half-marathon?
The thought of running 13.1 miles non-stop is intimidating even for the casual runner. If you think that attaining your goal of running a half-marathon is out of the picture because of your lack of fitness and running, think again.
You can train to run a half-marathon, no matter your current fitness level or running ability. Here’s how:
The Walk-Run Technique
When training, it can be tempting to go all-in immediately. This misconception about training is also what discourages people from starting to train.
The problem with doing too much too soon is that you’re more likely to get injured.
You’ll sabotage your training because forcing yourself to run more than you can handle can make you hate running.
Even if you’ve never run a mile, there are many half-marathon training programs available that promise to get you ready from 8 weeks to 20 weeks.
The key is to go at your own speed and gradually progress. We repeat, go at your own speed.
A common denominator for most of the half-marathon training programs is the blending of walking and running. Walking a few minutes followed by running a few minutes back to running for an hour is a great way to get started on your half-marathon training. The time, speed and frequency of the walking and running will vary depending on your training plan, your fitness level, and how far away your half-marathon is.
The further into your training, the longer the running intervals will become. A walking-running technique eases you into training, makes it doable and more enjoyable, and lowers your risk of injury.
How can activities like swimming, cycling and yoga help you in your half-marathon training? You may think that training for a half-marathon means putting the miles on your feet. It’s true that when you run and walk, you exercise and strengthen important muscles in your legs that are necessary to finish a half-marathon.
The repeated wear on the joints in your legs, however, can cause them to weaken and be more prone to injury, which will ultimately sideline your training.
This is where cross-training comes in.
When you do a different form of exercise, you’re strengthening other muscles that can help relieve the stress on your leg muscles and joints.
Cross training also gives your body a much-needed curveball by doing an activity that is not routine. Regularly throwing your body surprises helps you overcome the infamous “plateau” of training where you’re no longer progressing.
Tune-In to Your Body
Throughout your training, especially in the beginning, it is important to listen to your body. Pain and discomfort are signs that you’re pushing your body too hard and you’re not allowing your body to properly recover.
Finishing a half-marathon is doable even if running isn’t currently a part of your fitness routine.
Your half-marathon training can be more enjoyable with good workout music. At Jaybird, our wireless buds offer superior quality sound which will make your training go faster.
For more information about our earbuds, contact us at Jaybird today.
For a lot of people, there is an inherent rhythm in running. When they “get into the groove” it feels like they could just keep going from one end of the city to the other. Their breathing and their cadence are in complete control, and they thrive on pushing themselves a little faster or a little further each run.
For many other people, though, it’s never quite that simple. It can be hard to remain fully focused for an entire run, and when the stress on the knees, ankles, and lungs starts to build, it only gets more difficult.
A lot of runners turn to music to help them find that “groove.” (Yes, that was a cheesy pun just there, but it couldn’t be helped.) The constant rhythm of a favorite song can help people focus on the run, keep a steady pace, and get past the fatigue they might otherwise feel.
It’s not as simple as putting in the earbuds and randomly playing any old song from your collection, though.
No, to really add rhythm to your run, you’re going to have to be a little more selective.
Getting in Sync
The key to augmenting your run with music is synchronization. The rhythm of the music and the rhythm of your stride should be tied closely together.
In other words, you don’t really want to start your run with the fastest, hardest-pounding music on your playlist. Instead, go for something with more of a mid-range tempo so you can start off easy and build to a faster pace.
Then, when you reach that point in the run where you really start to struggle, you can switch to the faster songs on your playlist. Maybe some techno. Maybe some dance music. Maybe hard rock. Whatever really gets your energy going.
Finally, as you start to reach the end of your run, switch back to something a little slower. You can even take advantage of some nice, relaxing tunes to help wind down and get ready for recovery.
What is a Good Cadence?
Your cadence (the number of steps you take in a minute) has a huge impact on how you run and how you feel when you run. Speeding up your cadence, for example, can have an effect on how your muscles and joints perform.
The general belief is that a 170 to 180 steps per minute is a pretty good cadence, and music can make it easier to change your cadence up or down, based on your personal goals until you reach that level. Eventually, those small changes can become part of your natural movement.
Listen to Your Body’s Rhythms
Everyone approaches running and exercise a little differently, and the music that works for one person may not fit on the playlist for someone else.
Pay attention to how you run. At what point do you start to face those mental blocks that tell you to give up and be done. At what point do you start winding down?
You’re the best person to know when and where you run out of energy or start to get distracted, disinterested, or discouraged, and you can plan your playlist accordingly. These are the times when you can switch to songs with a higher BPM to motivate yourself to go further.
Rhythm and Pace Can Make a Better Run
Running experts say that by staying aware of your pace, you will get more endurance benefits and be able to stay out longer and push yourself to the end of your run.
Whether you’re a causal runner or trying to up your game and take on a new distance run, pacing can really be important. Start too fast, and you’ll wear out. End the run with too much energy left over, and you won’t feel satisfied.
The right music can help you keep the rhythm of your run, so you can ease in at the beginning, really step it up mid run, and finally wind down near the end (but still pushing yourself to use up everything you’ve got).
This is especially important in those longer runs where it’s easy to zone out and lose track of how you’re doing. A runner might suddenly realize that they could have been going at a faster pace for that last five minutes, or that they’ve burned themselves out by going too fast, too soon.
Music is a great aid to keeping a steady pace. Find the right songs with the right beats per minute for each part of your run and soon you may start to improve endurance, sharpen your focus, and get more out of each run.
Building up your endurance so you can push yourself a little further or a little faster is a common goal among runners. There are some effective ways to reach these higher levels of stamina, and many of them go far beyond the standard “just keep running a little further every day” idea.
The thing is, like many exercises, it’s important to working on increasing your running endurance while minimizing the risk of injuries. If you end up running too far or too fast before your body is ready for it, you could end up doing more harm than good.
So, what’s the trick? How can you strike this balance of pushing yourself without harming yourself?
Try to incorporate some of these suggestions and see how they affect your run.
Never Forget Strength Training
Strength training is a major component of the endurance equation, even though many runners focus strictly on cardio. A cardio-only workout may not be able to get you to the levels you’d like to reach, and may even lead to chronic aches and pains throughout the body.
There have even been some studies that show how strength and endurance training have a beneficial effect on the running economy. Most notably, the increased leg muscles help absorb the impact of your stride, and with more strength you can propel yourself further with every step.
On top of that, the right strength training can help improve oxygen uptake, increase coordination, and help you run more efficiently.
What kind of strength training will help your run? Generally speaking, anything involves compound movements – exercises that activate more than one joint. This could be anything from squats and lunges to pushups and deadlifts.
Just 10 minutes of strength training after every run can make a huge difference. This is a key factor for increased endurance right here. Do your strength training right after your run. Not before, and not on alternate days. If you work out before the run, you might use up all the glycogen stores in your muscles, making it harder to complete your run. If you alternate strength training and cardio days, you may end up building muscle rather than endurance.
Consistency is the foundation of running endurance. And it’s not just about running every day, but always pushing yourself a little further.
And when we say a little further, we mean it. A gradual increase in mileage will help your body adapt and increase its stamina. However, you need to make sure you’re doing enough of the strength training mentioned above to handle even these gradual increases in distance.
It’s okay to take some time between distance increases. You don’t want to force yourself to do something you’re not ready for, but you do want to keep at it until you can reach your next milestone.
… But Not Routine
A routine can be the enemy of endurance. If you keep doing the exact same thing every day, your body is going to adapt and become comfortable at that level.
Switching up your workouts, especially the strength training aspects, will prevent your body from plateauing. Move your muscles in different ways. It’s more motivating, more invigorating, and more efficient.
Find Your Rhythm
Do you ever feel your energy increase when you’re listening to your favorite music? There’s a reason for that. We know that music helps improve a runner’s cadence and builds positive associations with working out, but now we even have some studies that suggest that certain types of music can increase exercise endurance by 15%.
There’s just something about putting in the earbuds and blocking out the distractions that makes it easier for many runners to find those hidden reserves of energy and get a little more out of every run.
The Best Uphill Battle Ever
There’s nothing quite like a big hill for building running endurance. Sure, it looks a little daunting. Yes, running uphill goes against most of our natural inclinations. (“Inclinations.” Get it? These are the jokes, friends.) But it really is a great way to develop the muscles you need for better endurance.
Begin by walking up the hill. Then, as you feel your calf muscles start to compensate and grow stronger, you can switch to jogging the hill. Eventually, you’ll be running up this supposedly insurmountable hill with stronger lungs and legs and feeling great when you reach the top.
(Go ahead, hum the Rocky theme song and pump your fists in the air. Trust me, you’ll want to.)
The Running Endurance Equation
Like most equations, this one needs to be balanced. Too much weight on one side could throw everything else out of order. When you want to start increasing your endurance, make sure you’re getting enough cardio, strength training, variety, and rhythm to gradually and safely take your next run a little longer and a little faster.
How Music Affects Your Brain
We’ve all experienced it. We’re just sitting there, minding our own business, and then that one song comes over the speakers and suddenly our heads start bobbing along in time with the music. Our feet start tapping to the beat, and we know we’ll be humming the words the rest of the day.
Music has an amazing ability to sneak into our minds and begin playing around with the wiring there. Without even trying, it can improve our moods, increase our energy, and get us motivated to do more.
It turns out, though, that there’s more to it than just a catchy tune.
There is a lot of evidence that connects music to brain health and function. In fact, a lot of the most recent studies are suggesting that:
Music Can Be a Real Rush
Scientists have observed that certain parts of the brain produce physical reactions to your favorite music. One group of scientists carried out an experiment in which they examined the amount of dopamine that was released when the subjects heard music they deemed pleasurable. (Dopamine being the stuff that the brain releases in response to pleasure-related stimuli and is involved with different functions, including movement, motivation, and reward.)
The study showed that at a certain point in the music, when the listeners were experiencing the most pleasure, a part of the brain called the ventral striatum released dopamine. However, about 10 to 15 seconds before that moment, a different part of the brain, called the dorsal striatum, also released some dopamine.
In other words, even the anticipation of the best parts of our favorite music can give us a real, physiological rush.
Music Can Improve Your Mood
When that dopamine is released, it immediately helps improve our moods.
Surprisingly, some studies even found that it wasn’t just upbeat music that could do this. They suggested that even sad music could help when you’re feeling down.
Now, this is a bit of a tricky one to talk about, because other studies warn that sad music can cause negative feelings or serious grief.
In this case, however, the authors of the study suggested that sad music provided a substitute for a lost relationship. It became a stand-in for an empathetic friend who understand what you’re going through.
And sometimes, the feeling that someone else – anyone else – understands you is enough to make you feel better.
But let’s go back to more positive, upbeat music. This is where you’re more likely to get that shot of dopamine that can immediately improve your mood.
Music Can Make You More Productive
It turns out that music can also affect workplace performance.
Now, to be clear about, there is plenty of anecdotal evidence to support both sides of this argument. One says that music is beneficial while the other says it can be too distracting.
However, in one study involving IT specialists, it appeared that those who listened to music while they worked were able to complete their tasks more quickly and even came up with better ideas throughout the process.
Why? The simple answer is because they were in a better mood.
You should never discount the power of a positive mood.
When you’re stressed, you tend to make hasty decisions and your focus becomes very narrow. When you’re in a better mood, your perspective opens a little bit and you can see a wider range of options.
Music Has Health Benefits
So far, we’ve talked about the psychological and neurological benefits of music. What about the rest of your body? Are there any physiological benefits connected to music?
In one study, researchers looked at patients who were about to undergo surgery. Half of the patients were assigned to listen to music before the surgery while the others took anti-anxiety drugs. Right before the surgery, they examined the patients’ levels of cortisol (the stress hormone).
The results showed that the music listeners went into the surgery with much less anxiety and lower cortisol levels than those who took the drugs.
So, while this was just one study, it does hint that there may be some medicinal value to music.
Two Things to Remember When Choosing Brain Music
1. Age is NOT an Issue
Most of these studies have shown that age is not much of a factor when it comes to the brain boosting effects of music. There are benefits that can be felt at all ages, from the very young to the very ol… very experienced in years.
2. Personal Choice IS
One common thread in these studies was that participants could choose their own music. This is important because, over the years, our brains literally become wired to appreciate certain types of music.
As we’re exposed to different genres of music over a lifetime, a part of the brain, called the superior temporal gyrus, starts to store certain musical templates. This makes it so you tend to appreciate the nuances of similar music in the future.
So, pick the music that means the most to you and discover what kind of impact it can have on your mind, mood, and health.