2019 has arrived and I am going to spend a lot of time out here in cyberspace imparting what I think I know. It is my hope that you will look forward to explorations of health and fitness with me and that we both will learn and experience a few things along the way.
Before we get to all of that lets first just have a little bit of fun. One of the things that I do for myself is to create interesting play lists for my workout times. In particular, for cardio sessions, having a strong cadence to run to, or some powerful lyrics to energize me can make all the difference.
For a strength session I sometimes go with a book or interesting podcast. I prefer a podcast usually since I don’t want my concentration on a lift to be distracted by an interesting plot point. Regardless, there’s always the skip back function.
That being said, I really get into a good music list. The preparation of searching and downloading often get me jazzed up for a run the following day. I can’t wait to ‘try out’ the mix and see what needs to be added or dropped. While I like Pandora for a consistent mix relative to a genre or artist, I generally don’t rely on them for a quality workout mix. Apple music has pre-done mixes in all kinds of genres for all types of needs not just workouts. However, as good a job they do, sometimes I find myself hitting, skip too many times.
A full album might be good, however, it’s rare to find one which all the songs are great run jams. Personally, I like to shoot for a solid hour’s mix at least. Then I shuffle them each time. Since I don’t always go that long I wont get as burnt out on them.
2018 saw the creation of a bunch of lists, as I really ramped up my cardio last year. By the time I was ready for the Tough Mudder distance of 10+ miles I was doing sometimes 25 miles per week. That requires a lot of music!
In the interests of sharing I will be putting together new lists this year. I’ll make them available to see and if you’re on Apple music I can share them with you. Full disclosure, most of this will be more modern high energy dance and electronic music. That’s just what I like. You should put some effort into creating your own lists. Share back with me, what gets you out on the roads?
Not all of these are from 2018, and are much older in some cases. They are just what I put together last year and are the best songs from that year for me.
Best workout songs of 2018
Classic - Baba O’Riley - The Who
- Only The Young - Journey
- Don’t Stop Me Now - Queen
- More Than a Feeling - Boston
- Barracuda - Heart
- Dance the Night Away - Van Halen
Electronic/Pop - Fembot - Robyn
- Carry Me - Kygo
- Burnin - Calvin Harris
- Hey Now - London Grammar
- Therapy - Armin Van Burren
- Sun Comes up - Rudimental
Hard Rock/Metal - The Pretender - Foo Fighters
- Robot Stop - King Gizzard & the Lizard Wizard
- Girlfriend - Mathew Sweet
- Maiden, Mother, and Crone - The Sword
- You’ve Got Another Thing Coming - Judas Priest
Rap/Hip Hop - He Got Game - Public Enemy
- Run the Jewels (E) - Run the Jewels
- Shut ‘Em up - The Prodigy/Public Enemy
- Judgement Day - Method Man
Well that’s my best bunch from last year. Your assignment: Take some time and see what kind of a list you can put together for yourself. Have fun with it, then run with it.
I finally returned to active event participation and it felt great! I signed up with my buddy Jack and convinced him to go on some runs with me over the past couple of months. The first couple were 2 miles and I slowly progressed him up to almost 4. I had figured that, while he would make the full distance, he might not run much more than that and we would walk a lot towards the end. Plus, I didn't know for sure how much I could run either.
It was fun to be pleasantly surprised on both counts. He is funny to run with. I usually spend my runs zoned out or concentrating on some technical aspect of running form. It keeps me distracted from fatigue and helps get through tough sections. Jack just wants to talk the whole time, like literally, the whole time. We talked about pace, stride length, how to appropriately jockey for position, bathrooms (including all 8 year old topics related to bathrooms) and jokes. He asked about the new Star Wars movies, old Star Wars movies, "Can I have a popcicle?", "What if it was called a 'poopcicle'? "
He was concerned at first that we would get lost, but once he realized we were following a herd of 50,000 people that seemed to go away. I let him dictate the pace, when he wanted to walk we did and when he was ready to run we did that too. All told we ran a lot more than I thought, I figured about 5 miles of the 7+ including all the way up Doomsday hill!
I had no trouble either so that was great. I could have run the whole way and a lot faster for sure. No chance of a personal best but that's ok, it was still the longest run I had done since the accident so any positive outcome was a win.
Next year is the 40th Bloomsday so I think I will try to do that one solo. Hillary can take Jack and get him his poopcicle.
Me and my iPhone
iPhone is lacking in serious musical needs. Sticking with some older mixes but nothing really interesting to report.
A one day kettlebell certification similar to one I've done before is coming to Spokane in August. So, with my knee at a consistent 85-90% I'll be getting back into my routines again.
Since I hadn't been running hardly at all during 2014 I haven't used MapMyRun in a long time. Back in December I opened it up again and started to log some workouts and treadmill jogs. A years worth of updates meant that I had to re-educate myself on how to use the darn thing. Aside from a variety of new functions and social networking capabilities was the addition of group challenges.
Companies sponsor, as advertisement, an opt-in fitness challenge. Britta, for example, challenged you to log 50000 steps per week and, of course, record how often you hydrated. Each challenge has it's own exercise and nutrition goal. While the social networking aspect of MMR is nice, it sort of requires that you have lots of friends using the app. I don't have very many, so the buddy training aspect of the app is a bit lost on me. By contrast, these large community challenges I find a bit more engaging as you can get a percentile rating for your progress relative to all MMR challenge users. If you're really into competition there is a leader board you can check for each challenge. It's nice but I call a little BS on it at the same time. After one day of a challenge this guy had logged five 30 minute workouts and 8 supplementations. Come on man, you worked out for 2.5 hours, probably a run, and ate your vitamins for the day plus maybe a shake or something.
The running total for theses different target goals I like as well, keeping track of different variables each month is more fun than just checking off 'workout' in my planner. It's not like you are married to the thing either, the Britta challenge for example didn't really work for me since I couldn't find a way to log my steps all day and sync to the app. Oh well, I still checked my steps anyways and entered my hydration stats as well. I know I did better than the app was able to record and that was good enough for me.
In February I changed to the MapMyFitness App to more accurately record my workouts since Kettlebells aren't in the MMR list. MapMyFitness still records runs the same way including all my old routes, accesses the challenges, and links to your friends just like MMR.
Lots of folks use the wristband things, but I find them pretty limited in capability. The MapMy apps, I feel, are more comprehensive in what you can do with them plus there are all kinds of add ons if you pay to become an MVP member (I am not). There is a whole family of MapMy apps and I recommend that you check them out to enhance your workouts.
Almost forgot, oranges are good for you but don't really enhance your running much. MapMyRun is better than oranges.
Me and my iPhone
Working on 45 minutes continuous jogging right now. Hope to be close to an hour by April. My buddy Jack is running Bloomsday for the first time so he's been running a little bit with me. That should be fun and will also keep me from pushing too hard for a goal time this year.
The iPhone is tired of playing the same playlists. Need some new stuff badly. suggestions are welcome.
In a previous post I talked about theme running events. Being unfamiliar with these types of runs prior, I was very excited by them. I'll be honest, I REALLY wanted to do the zombie one, but I was too late to register for one in Seattle, so I signed up for the Tough Mudder in October. This event is much more intimidating than the zombie run and I was not entirely sure how to train for it exactly. After bombing Bloomsday two years ago having pulled a calf due to my lack of road running I have accepted the fact that I am old enough to do better.
I tried to follow rather general training principle that I use for any activity, match your workouts as closely as possible to the event in quiestion. We do this all the time in our programming. For tennis or golf we incorporate movements which will aid in shoulder mobility and rotation. A marathoner or triahtlete will build over weeks up to the race day load so that the body is familiar with the stresses placed on it. And on and on... However, I just wasn't sure how to get close to 12 miles and 25 physical obstacles.
It might seem obvious now, but I’ll admit it took me a week of treadmill/weight lifting circuits to realize that playground equipment was the better fit. A large open space to run on for about 1/2 mile or so and fixed sturdy equipment that I can use to move my body around on.
The event’s obstacles vary but in general the difficult ones emphasize upper body pulling and pushing such as, log carrying, wall climbing, pulling yourself out of the ice-water dunking area, etc. So, as I come to a stop near the play equipment, I’ll grab the monkeybars and do pull-ups, then switch to pushups or some squats, If there’s a bench I’ll do dips or step ups. Some challenges also require jumping or leaping so doing a set of short sprints or pretend basketball layups will really boost the heart rate. It varies and I usually go for about 2 minutes. After that, I’m back to the field for more jogging. Yes, it probably looks ridiculous, that's the nice thing about ear buds....I don't hear people wondering what the hell I'm doing on a children's playground.
Since the event is not timed, I’m not really concerned with my running pace, just completing the run/obstacle/run/obstacle format. The trick to increasing the number of circuits is to use the jog as your rest period. It’s challenging, so I’m also spending a lot of time stretching out.
Try the playground workout as a fun change up to a boring road run that incorporates some strength work. Regular cardio/strength circuits are fun too, but it’s nice to be outside while you can.
The double bonus was taking Jack with me once and he played with a friend he saw while I worked out. Initially, he said he would run with me a little bit but when he saw his friend, he was off and gone. So, working out while he plays pirates beats sitting on a park bench buried in my iPhone.
Speaking of iPhone - Needing some new music. U2 and some Arcade Fire mixes. Alternative Cardio Pandora station is good too. Still, I could use something new. Suggestions?
Running events have been one of the most popular public fitness related activities in history. I would say that swimming is probably right in there as well. Yet, of all those thousands of participants, over time immemorial you haven’t been one of them. Oh, perhaps you started a training program and intended to sign up for a 10k, but after a few weeks slogging along the road at 6:30 in the morning it just wasn’t that fun. It could be that you are an old hand at Bloomsday and it’s just not holding it’s appeal anymore. Been there, done that.
If only there were a way to look forward to an event with excitement, pure fun, ridiculousness, or even a little danger? That’s currently one of the fastest growing movements in the business of exercise. Theme events. From charity runs with doughnuts(best rest area ever) to insane adventure runs, these events put less emphasis on time and effort and more on fun and accomplishment.
Here are a few events to throw that much needed wrinkle into your straight and steady workout programs:
Training can get stale, whether it is running 5 days a week, or strength training regularly. Switching it up often can be helpful, but sometimes we just need something to look forward to. Most training blogs or articles (including ours) tend to focus on sets, reps, loading techniques, technical form tweaks, and other serious fitness topics. That’s all good, however, as insane or as silly as these events might be, I think they all come from a similar premise which I tend to agree with. Physical fitness should be an enjoyable part of life and these events can certainly be part of that lifestyle.
Me and my iPhone - This week has been Crystal Method Pandora station. Got some good runs in, including one with the nephew which was fun, I won’t say who got home first. Kettlebells and more kettlebells!