Today I did something absolutely groundbreaking....
Yup, I went for a run. For those who can't afford a gym membership or other expensive fitness classes, all you need to do is strap on your shoes and run around the block a few times. Of course, it's much more enjoyable when you have some nice scenery around you, and some good music on your mp3 player.
Speaking of, I totally recommend the Sennheiser CX 300 II available on Amazon if you're looking for good running earphones, they have amazingly crisp sound quality, different earbud sizes for a snug fit that won't fall out, and they don't hurt your ears while wearing them. They also cut out background sounds so you can really tune out any cars or traffic noise and just focus on the music. I've owned them for over a year and still going strong.
Today I did just that - I listened to Tool Aenima on my mp3 player and ran along the river that flows near where I live. It was the perfect weather - not too hot, and the trees offered some shade as well. I remembered the first time I ever went for a jog before I started a regular exercise routine, I could only last a few minutes without having to walk. I was so out of breath, panting, had a stitch in my side, and just felt miserable and wanted to give up. Today I noticed what a big improvement I've made in this time, and how much further I could go.
I'm not an expert runner, I'm more the jump-around-like-a-maniac plyometrics kinda gal. I love HIIT training (High Intensity Interval Training) where you do a period of high intensity work-out, followed by a short rest period to get your heartbeat down again. Then you're back with incredible high intensity for a few minutes and then again a rest phase. HIIT training is great for me because you burn a high amount of calories in a relatively short period of time; it's the "get 'er done" way of exercising. Short, incredibly tough, but effective.
You can do HIIT with running as well, which is what I tried to do today. I did bursts of fast running until I was so out of breath, then a period of walking. Sometimes I mixed it up by doing some running jumps and lunges in between. I must have looked a bit odd, thank god for a deserted pathway along the river! It helps to have somewhat spongy ground underneath you like running in a park on mulch or grass, but if you're in a city and you're running on concrete, make sure to buy a really good pair of running shoes to cushion the impact. Buying a good pair of runners is essential for any exercise routine, I can't believe what a difference it has made! I used to have horrible shin splints, today I didn't notice any. I posted about the shoes I purchased here.
Now that the weather is turning a bit cooler with fall approaching, I will try to run at least once a week to mix it up with my other DVD work-outs. It's a great way to get some fresh air and to keep the work-outs interesting! Speaking of DVDs, I recently added Beachbody's Turbofire to the mix, but I'm not entirely convinced on it yet. The music is a tad irritating and I feel the workouts don't have an adequate stretch period before and after - I'll have to try it a bit more before I can form an opinion.
Are you an avid runner? What is some your favorite music to run to?