Tag Archives: Runner’s World

Reading on the Run: Audiobooks to Inspire You

Scene from a running trail in Portland, Maine

Scene from a running trail in Portland, Maine

Check out five audiobooks that will help you unleash your inner champion.

Since two of my favorite loves are reading and running, I was thrilled to write a piece for Runner’s World Zelle on the intersection of those two subjects, specifically audiobooks that will help fire up your running through their tales of trouncing self-imposed limitations, journeying from everywoman to athlete on the world stage, and more. Of course, I’ve included my beloved What I Talk About When I Talk About Running, by Haruki Murakami. (Incidentally, his first two novels, which were previously impossible to get in English, have been recently released as Wind/Pinball.)

Be sure to check out Five Running-Themed Audiobooks to Inspire for my other recommendations.

Note: The Will Smith quote has been truncated. For the full version, search “Will Smith on running and reading.”

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Triumph, Running, and My New Article on Runner’s World

PLEASE JOIN ME at the Zelle section of Runner’s World this week for my piece on triumph, motherhood, and running! 

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At top: Lauren Edwards of Run Salt Run crossing the finish line of her first marathon.

We’ve had a very strange six months or so in the Boston area. First there was the historic Snowmageddon winter, then it got nice for like two days, then completely hot, then downright frigid—just a week ago I wore a coat to a Red Sox game. In June! (I was sick that week so I was probably even more susceptible to cold than usual, but it wasn’t just me: The day before that people all over the city were in coats and winter hats! This day, they’d ditched the hats, but it was still freezing.)

Anyway, I say all this to illustrate how wild it was that I went out for a run yesterday without checking my weather app. I’d had a bad start to the morning, so maybe that was why. Plus, I went out later in the morning than usual, so I was a bit off my game all the way around. The temperature felt fine when I stepped outside though, so for a change weather wasn’t on my mind. But then about 10 minutes into my run I felt dizzy and like I was going to pass out, and I realized it was extremely hot and humid. Not only that, but I was running faster than usual (thanks to a new song on my running mix). For the next mile it was a war between two voices, one on each shoulder similar to what you see sometimes in movies, only mine were focused on exercise: the lethargic sloth-y devil on one shoulder—“Oh, this is no good at all. It’s waayy too hot to run. Let’s turn around and go slather Earth Balance on that bagel that’s waiting for us”—duking it out with the drill sergeant/angel on the other—“No! We’re going to run! We’re not going to let this heat beat us! Get cracking people!” (The drill sergeant/angel is a big fan of barking out orders.)

After a few starts-and-stops, drill sergeant had her way, and then something miraculous happened: I felt like I was flying, heat and humidity be damned. I did pop into a convenience store for an ice cold bottle of water which didn’t hurt (and felt very good on my wrists and neck), but not only did I finish my run, I actually looped back to add on more to it. When I returned home—completely drenched and face beet red—I felt so happy and triumphant, literally and metaphorically miles away from where I’d been when I’d left.

Each time I go out for a run, there’s a sense of that triumph—sometimes small, such as when I go when you just don’t want to, sometimes grand-feeling, such as when I want to completely drop out of a run or race, but instead push through and surprise myself with something I didn’t even know I had inside. Running’s ability to supply a triumph is one of the many reasons I love it.

My stories of triumph are small. I’ve never had to overcome anything major to run, and I probably don’t push myself as hard as I could since I’m in it largely for the Zen. But the running world abounds with dramatic stories, and I am absolutely thrilled to have written one them for my favorite publication, Runner’s World. It’s online at Zelle, which is the new section aimed at women.

My piece focuses on Lauren Edwards, who underwent two surgeries to correct her femoral anteversion as a young girl, after which she spent most of the year immobilized in a cast from her waist to her ankles, lying prone on her “wheelbed.” Subsequently she dealt with a number of issues, both external and internal. The “you-can/no-you-can’t” voices I dealt with yesterday were nothing to compared to what she had to overcome.

Check out the story I wrote about her inspirational experience of overcoming limitations, and weigh in with your thoughts!

(By the way, there should be a couple more pieces publishing on Runner’s World soon. I’ll let you know when they do!)

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Glute Strengthener, A Playlist Fit for Rocky, Oiselle Fashion Show, and More

Walden Pond

View from trail at Walden Pond during fall

This week, temperatures dropped and I saw telltale signs of fall—a smattering of yellow and orange leaves amongst the lush green, a sparkle to the air as if you’re looking through diamond glasses, vivid blue skies, and pink and orange sunsets. At this time of the year, I feel as if I could run forever. (Though fyi: emphasis on the word ‘feel.’) Fall is a great time for running, and it seems like there’s lots of exciting news and developments around it. So, I thought this week I would put together a bit of link love for things that grabbed my attention.

First up, Oiselle used only real athletes in their fashion show, which grabbed the attention of the New York Times.

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The new Runner’s World hit newsstands and doorsteps, and, Wow! I love the fresher and edgier redesign. I always thought the covers turned something really exciting into something, well, kind of staid. So it’s nice to see some movement and life reflected. Plus, how about those vegan socks! Also, I loved the passion with which Sons of Anarchy’s Theo Rossi spoke of running.

Karla Bruning (as usual) has wonderfully motivating posts. Two faves: running mantras and a Philadelphia Marathon playlist.

On a different note, the Apple Watch may have worrisome repercussions for all the other fitness trackers and running watches.

And finally, here’s my new favorite strengthening exercise: Marching bridge. It’s from a series of strengthening exercises taken from the book Build Your Running Body.

 

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Three Tips on How Runners Can Avoid Yoga Injuries

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Running coach and yoga teacher Sage Rountree weighs in on why runners should be careful when adding yoga to their training—and how they can do so.

Yoga is widely prescribed as a panacea to all that ails. Depressed? Do yoga? Anxious? Do yoga? Got a tight runner’s body? Well, then, most definitely do yoga.

Yet yoga—like any activity—carries with it the risk of injury. And many runners’ competitive nature coupled with a tight body elevates that risk. To find out some ways runners can stay safe while getting their om on, I spoke with Sage Rountree, a USA Triathlon-and RRCA-certified coach and yoga instructor and author of The Runner’s Guide to Yoga. Here are three tips she recommends.

Watch for trouble spots.

As mentioned above and as a polarizing New York Times article “How Yoga Wrecks Your Body” details, yoga is not without its injuries. The most serious injuries occur in the lower back, the shoulder, knees, and neck, with wrists and hips being two more places of vulnerability. And with runners, hamstrings can also be of special concern, says Rountree. “The number one injury in students who run is a high hamstring tear,” she says. These can happen during running or other activities, usually from causes like rapid pace changes or being overly aggressive. But a hamstring injury can also occur during yoga. Rountree says a high hamstring tear feels like a pain in the buttock, typically on just one side of your body. It occurs up near the sitting bone and, and ironically feels like if you could simply stretch it out to make it feel better. During such poses as forward folds, runners may become overly aggressive and push their stretches past the point that is appropriate—and safe. Of course, such aggressiveness can cause a number of other injuries, particularly when it’s combined with lack of experience.

Consider a basics class to learn proper alignment.

On the note of experience, anyone—not just runners—interested in yoga would do well to start with the basics, and this is especially true if you know you tend to push yourself. As a runner, you may be drawn to the flow/vinyasa or power yoga classes, which can evoke the intensity and movement of running. These are the classes that move quickly through series of poses, usually with sun salutation A and B as their foundation, and some with the added element of heat. The problem is that with that fast motion, there simply isn’t the necessary time to break down the fundamentals of a pose, or even, in many cases, for the teacher to offer corrections. In addition, heated yoga may raise the risk of overstretching. Not good. As mentioned above, you can injure your body doing yoga—especially in a crowded group classes or in classes where you’ll be too tempted to keep up with the bendy advanced regulars. If you’re new to yoga or coming back from a long break, it’s worth investing in slower-moving basic classes in alignment-focused styles such as hatha yoga or Iyengar, or at the very least, a basics flow/vinyasa or power class.

Leave your Type A personality at the door.

At the core of far too many yoga injuries is ego. As in I’m going to keep up with the people around me! “It’s tempting to make yoga about being bendy,” says Rountree, “but you don’t need to get your foot behind head to help yourself through yoga.” In fact, she says that yoga doesn’t have to look stereotypically flexible to be helpful. Everyone is different, but as a runner you only need a certain amount of flexibility—not much even—to smooth out your stride. Rountree recommends that if you’re a serious runner, you need to approach yoga with a eye to balancing your running rather than adding to the intensity, especially during high-mileage periods; the idea is to complement, not undermine. Yoga can complement running; it can encourage balance, focus, back strength and flexibility, and connect you to your breathing. But to create this symbiotic relationship, it’s helpful to know your own body, what your running plans and goals are, and how various poses can help you. That’s why it’s important to go with a knowledgeable teacher and to always listen to and respect what your own body is telling you.

See also:

Do you run and do yoga? What has worked well for you?

Photo by Drewski Mac; from Karma Spot

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