How to Run Your First Marathon

  ·  8 min

How to Run Your First Marathon

Running a marathon for the first time is not easy, but with the right guidance, you’ll be in the best position possible to achieve this awesome goal. This post will help you prepare for your first marathon, and future marathons if you fall in love with it like I have. Let’s make that leap into the unknown and scary together! Deciding which marathon is right for youAdditionally, you need to figure out when/where you are racing to determine some key components to your training. For a beginner, I would recommend up to 16 weeks of total training. A lot of great marathons are in the Fall or Spring, so make sure you are also aware of the type of weather you thrive best in and try to pick a race that will match your needs. Personally, I like cooler temperatures so marathons in November and December are typically my favorite.Commit to the goalThe first step to running a marathon is to commit to the goal. The training will be hard, and the commitment and dedication will at times feel overwhelming. But what is hard is not impossible. Embrace each challenge and know that in the end, it will all be worth it. Now that you’ve decided you really want to do this, I would pick a marathon and register. Put in on your calendar; it will help conceptualize the entire process, which will help make everything feel more real and will add a component of accountability to your training. Picking a marathon training planThere are many beginner training plans online so make sure you pick one that excites you and you think you can handle. A few training plans that I trust and recommend are: https://www.halhigdon.com/training-programs/marathon-training/novice-1-marathon/ (For a very novice runner who wants as much guidance as possible at no cost)https://runsmartproject.com/training-plans-old/ (For a beginner who is willing to pay for personalized workouts to match his/her training goals)http://www.jeffgalloway.com/training/marathon-training/ (For a beginner who has been doing some running/walking in the past few weeks)Here’s what you can expect: Typically, each week you want to include a long run (which I will argue is the most important run of the week), a faster-paced interval run (a run that includes some speed and is broken up into different length intervals), and 2-3 easy runs. The long run is crucial because it will be what most simulates what your actual marathon will feel like. The idea of ‘time on feet’ is critical to remember because you want to train your body to be able to handle the cumulative load of being on your feet for many hours at a time. You also want to make sure you include two days a week of supplemental strengthening exercises, which I will get into more detail a bit later. As you progress, you can add more volume/intensity to your week, but I would start with 4-5 days of running and 1-2 days of rest or cross-training (any other form of exercise: i.e. biking, swimming, elliptical, etc.)What running shoes should I buy for a marathon?Before you start running, you want to make sure you have the right shoes. In this day and age, there are hundreds of different shoes to choose from, so I would advise going into your local running store and having them fit you for a pair. The shoe buying process can be overwhelming with all the options and opinions out there, but one general guideline to follow: if the shoe is comfortable and supportive on your foot, you should be fine. Additionally, make sure you practice running in the shoes you will be racing in and try to get a new pair every 300-400 miles. This will help to keep your lower half healthy and feeling fresh.RecoveryAnother key component of your training is RECOVERY!! Recovery is not the absence of training, it is training in itself. A lot of runners struggle with this aspect, but the only way to make real progress in training is to let your body rest and adapt to the training. Many athletes have the flawed mentality that the more they train, the more fit they will become. Ultimately, without recovery one will never improve. It is the rest period after a workout that allows one’s body to adapt to the stress you just put it through and come back stronger than before. Recovery does not just mean rest. It also means making sure to stretch/foam roll to keep your muscles and tendons loose and pliable, eating immediately or as soon as possible after a workout, as well as strengthening exercises to keep you strong and injury-free. It is imperative to make time in your training for stability/mobility exercises, as well as strength-training to improve running form and decrease your likelihood of injury. Sometimes we think that running an extra mile here or there is going to be the difference to our training, but I strongly believe that reducing a run by 5-10 minutes and using that extra time to do strengthening exercises will benefit you much more in the long run (pun intended ). Again, there are a plethora of good resources online for flexibility and strengthening exercises, so find one you like and stick with it. Personally, I have found that Jay Dicharry’s books, Anatomy for Runners and Running Rewired, are phenomenal guides for both flexibility and strengthening exercises. If you don’t want to purchase his books, a few key strength exercises to include in your program twice a week are: Squats (2-3 sets of 8-10 reps)Lunges (2-3 sets of 8-10 reps each leg)Single Leg Romanian Dead Lifts (2-3 sets of 8-10 reps each leg)Plank hold (3x30 sec)Calf raises (2-3 sets of 10-12 reps each leg)This leads me to my next important topic, sleep and nutrition. Sleep and NutritionTo have sufficient energy to fuel your body for the training you will be doing, you must take sleep and nutrition into account. Sleeping 7-9 hours a night is ideal and you want to prioritize a sleep routine that keeps you feeling rested and feeling good. In regard to food, you need to think in terms of fueling your body. You want to make sure that you are giving your body the best possible nutrients to allow it to perform at its best. A lot of runners struggle with the nutrition component, but one of the best ways to think is to have the majority of your diet be comprised of whole foods (minimally processed foods that are close to nature, such as fruits, vegetables, nuts, beans, etc.), whole-grains, and a variety of nutrient-dense foods. Also, the importance of protein for someone training for a marathon is essential. You are stressing your muscles to their limits and you want to replenish them with enough protein to help rebuild them. Lastly, you never want to go too long without eating and don’t tell yourself any food is off limits. Of course, you don’t want to eat an entire chocolate cake, but if you’re craving a piece, then eat one! By listening to your hunger cues and giving your body what it wants, you will be less likely to binge on something that you have told yourself is off limits.You will really want to practice eating before big training runs so you can get familiar with whatworks well for your body before race day. Typically, some great pre-race foods include bananas, toast with peanut butter and honey, and oatmeal. The night before your race you want to focus on eating a meal that has about 60% carbohydrates (pasta, rice, bread), 30% protein, and 10% fat. Finally, you need to practice fueling DURING your training runs. There are now a wide array of energy gels out there to practice with, as well as some liquid carbohydrate based drinks that work great. Personally, I love the Maurten carbohydrate drink and the Gu energy gels. Just make sure you always practice your strategies and NEVER TRY ANYTHING NEW ON RACE DAY.The mental component of running a marathonThe last piece of the puzzle that I think is critical is the mental component. In endurance sports, the mind can play many tricks on the body and it is vital to remember that we are stronger than we think. A huge mantra that has helped me in my running career is to ‘control the controllables’. We don’t have control over the weather or how other people are doing, but we do have control over our attitude and our effort. Do your best to focus on the factors that will put you in the best position to reach your goal. Everything else is irrelevant.You can do this!I’ll just leave you with my favorite quote, “So many of our dreams at first seem impossible, then they seem improbable, and then, when we summon the will, they soon become inevitable.”Go out there and chase down your dreams my friends! Adriana started running competitively in 6th grade and competed at a Varsity level all throughout high school. Her junior year of college at Duke University, she decided to run her first marathon after spontaneously joining a friend for her 16 mile long run. She finished the Disney Marathon in January 2011 in a time of 3:17. Fast forward to now, Adriana has brought her marathon PR down to 2:44, and has run many marathons, most recently the 2018 and 2019 California International Marathon, 2019 Grandma’s Marathon, 2020 Aviation Marathon, and qualified and competed at the 2020 Olympic Marathon Trials in Atlanta, Georgia! She lives in in Winston-Salem, NC and works as a Career Services Specialist at Wake Forest University. 


How to Run Your First Marathon

  ·  8 min

How to Run Your First Marathon

Running a marathon for the first time is not easy, but with the right guidance, you’ll be in the best position possible to achieve this awesome goal. This post will help you prepare for your first marathon, and future marathons if you fall in love with it like I have. Let’s make that leap into the unknown and scary together! Deciding which marathon is right for youAdditionally, you need to figure out when/where you are racing to determine some key components to your training. For a beginner, I would recommend up to 16 weeks of total training. A lot of great marathons are in the Fall or Spring, so make sure you are also aware of the type of weather you thrive best in and try to pick a race that will match your needs. Personally, I like cooler temperatures so marathons in November and December are typically my favorite.Commit to the goalThe first step to running a marathon is to commit to the goal. The training will be hard, and the commitment and dedication will at times feel overwhelming. But what is hard is not impossible. Embrace each challenge and know that in the end, it will all be worth it. Now that you’ve decided you really want to do this, I would pick a marathon and register. Put in on your calendar; it will help conceptualize the entire process, which will help make everything feel more real and will add a component of accountability to your training. Picking a marathon training planThere are many beginner training plans online so make sure you pick one that excites you and you think you can handle. A few training plans that I trust and recommend are: https://www.halhigdon.com/training-programs/marathon-training/novice-1-marathon/ (For a very novice runner who wants as much guidance as possible at no cost)https://runsmartproject.com/training-plans-old/ (For a beginner who is willing to pay for personalized workouts to match his/her training goals)http://www.jeffgalloway.com/training/marathon-training/ (For a beginner who has been doing some running/walking in the past few weeks)Here’s what you can expect: Typically, each week you want to include a long run (which I will argue is the most important run of the week), a faster-paced interval run (a run that includes some speed and is broken up into different length intervals), and 2-3 easy runs. The long run is crucial because it will be what most simulates what your actual marathon will feel like. The idea of ‘time on feet’ is critical to remember because you want to train your body to be able to handle the cumulative load of being on your feet for many hours at a time. You also want to make sure you include two days a week of supplemental strengthening exercises, which I will get into more detail a bit later. As you progress, you can add more volume/intensity to your week, but I would start with 4-5 days of running and 1-2 days of rest or cross-training (any other form of exercise: i.e. biking, swimming, elliptical, etc.)What running shoes should I buy for a marathon?Before you start running, you want to make sure you have the right shoes. In this day and age, there are hundreds of different shoes to choose from, so I would advise going into your local running store and having them fit you for a pair. The shoe buying process can be overwhelming with all the options and opinions out there, but one general guideline to follow: if the shoe is comfortable and supportive on your foot, you should be fine. Additionally, make sure you practice running in the shoes you will be racing in and try to get a new pair every 300-400 miles. This will help to keep your lower half healthy and feeling fresh.RecoveryAnother key component of your training is RECOVERY!! Recovery is not the absence of training, it is training in itself. A lot of runners struggle with this aspect, but the only way to make real progress in training is to let your body rest and adapt to the training. Many athletes have the flawed mentality that the more they train, the more fit they will become. Ultimately, without recovery one will never improve. It is the rest period after a workout that allows one’s body to adapt to the stress you just put it through and come back stronger than before. Recovery does not just mean rest. It also means making sure to stretch/foam roll to keep your muscles and tendons loose and pliable, eating immediately or as soon as possible after a workout, as well as strengthening exercises to keep you strong and injury-free. It is imperative to make time in your training for stability/mobility exercises, as well as strength-training to improve running form and decrease your likelihood of injury. Sometimes we think that running an extra mile here or there is going to be the difference to our training, but I strongly believe that reducing a run by 5-10 minutes and using that extra time to do strengthening exercises will benefit you much more in the long run (pun intended ). Again, there are a plethora of good resources online for flexibility and strengthening exercises, so find one you like and stick with it. Personally, I have found that Jay Dicharry’s books, Anatomy for Runners and Running Rewired, are phenomenal guides for both flexibility and strengthening exercises. If you don’t want to purchase his books, a few key strength exercises to include in your program twice a week are: Squats (2-3 sets of 8-10 reps)Lunges (2-3 sets of 8-10 reps each leg)Single Leg Romanian Dead Lifts (2-3 sets of 8-10 reps each leg)Plank hold (3x30 sec)Calf raises (2-3 sets of 10-12 reps each leg)This leads me to my next important topic, sleep and nutrition. Sleep and NutritionTo have sufficient energy to fuel your body for the training you will be doing, you must take sleep and nutrition into account. Sleeping 7-9 hours a night is ideal and you want to prioritize a sleep routine that keeps you feeling rested and feeling good. In regard to food, you need to think in terms of fueling your body. You want to make sure that you are giving your body the best possible nutrients to allow it to perform at its best. A lot of runners struggle with the nutrition component, but one of the best ways to think is to have the majority of your diet be comprised of whole foods (minimally processed foods that are close to nature, such as fruits, vegetables, nuts, beans, etc.), whole-grains, and a variety of nutrient-dense foods. Also, the importance of protein for someone training for a marathon is essential. You are stressing your muscles to their limits and you want to replenish them with enough protein to help rebuild them. Lastly, you never want to go too long without eating and don’t tell yourself any food is off limits. Of course, you don’t want to eat an entire chocolate cake, but if you’re craving a piece, then eat one! By listening to your hunger cues and giving your body what it wants, you will be less likely to binge on something that you have told yourself is off limits.You will really want to practice eating before big training runs so you can get familiar with whatworks well for your body before race day. Typically, some great pre-race foods include bananas, toast with peanut butter and honey, and oatmeal. The night before your race you want to focus on eating a meal that has about 60% carbohydrates (pasta, rice, bread), 30% protein, and 10% fat. Finally, you need to practice fueling DURING your training runs. There are now a wide array of energy gels out there to practice with, as well as some liquid carbohydrate based drinks that work great. Personally, I love the Maurten carbohydrate drink and the Gu energy gels. Just make sure you always practice your strategies and NEVER TRY ANYTHING NEW ON RACE DAY.The mental component of running a marathonThe last piece of the puzzle that I think is critical is the mental component. In endurance sports, the mind can play many tricks on the body and it is vital to remember that we are stronger than we think. A huge mantra that has helped me in my running career is to ‘control the controllables’. We don’t have control over the weather or how other people are doing, but we do have control over our attitude and our effort. Do your best to focus on the factors that will put you in the best position to reach your goal. Everything else is irrelevant.You can do this!I’ll just leave you with my favorite quote, “So many of our dreams at first seem impossible, then they seem improbable, and then, when we summon the will, they soon become inevitable.”Go out there and chase down your dreams my friends! Adriana started running competitively in 6th grade and competed at a Varsity level all throughout high school. Her junior year of college at Duke University, she decided to run her first marathon after spontaneously joining a friend for her 16 mile long run. She finished the Disney Marathon in January 2011 in a time of 3:17. Fast forward to now, Adriana has brought her marathon PR down to 2:44, and has run many marathons, most recently the 2018 and 2019 California International Marathon, 2019 Grandma’s Marathon, 2020 Aviation Marathon, and qualified and competed at the 2020 Olympic Marathon Trials in Atlanta, Georgia! She lives in in Winston-Salem, NC and works as a Career Services Specialist at Wake Forest University. 


RockMyRun User Feedback Survey Results

  ·  2 min

RockMyRun User Feedback Survey Results

We’re always looking to improve our app, and wanted to make sure that we understood where our current opportunities were. So in May of 2020, we sent out a survey to our most active RockMyRun users. Primarily, we wanted to know how the app was doing, but we also geek out on data and wanted to see how people are using RockMyRun.Here are the results! How often do people use RockMyRun?We found that 32% of our users use RockMyRun 3-4 times a week. That’s a very high number, meaning that people use our app almost every day. That was exciting for us to see, and we were also impressed with our users dedication to fitness! What do people use RockMyRun For?Not surprisingly, most users (76%!) use RockMyRun for running, but people also like to use it for walking, cardio, erights, group fitness classes, cycling, and more!We also had some really interesting “Other” write-ins, such as cooking, mowing the lawn, cleaning, driving, and as background music for gatherings with friends. Who’s using the Tempo Changing Feature? One of the features that sets RockMyRun apart from other apps is the automatic tempo changing based on GPS, heart rate, etc. So we were curious: How many people are currently using this feature?We were glad that the majority were taking advantage of this feature, but only 63%!Here’s how people were using this feature:79% of users manually set their BPM, while only 35% connect it to their steps, and only 18% connect it to their heart rate.What new features did people request?Most responses said that integrating with speakers, such as Bose® or Sonos®, would be a valuable feature.Additionally, most people also said they’d love to have RockMyRun work on an AppleWatch without needing to have their device near. We also received feedback that we need to improve the music discovery process, which is something we are already working on!We hope you find these results as interesting as we do!Do you agree? Where do you stack up? We’d love to hear in the comments.


RockMyRun User Feedback Survey Results

  ·  2 min

RockMyRun User Feedback Survey Results

We’re always looking to improve our app, and wanted to make sure that we understood where our current opportunities were. So in May of 2020, we sent out a survey to our most active RockMyRun users. Primarily, we wanted to know how the app was doing, but we also geek out on data and wanted to see how people are using RockMyRun.Here are the results! How often do people use RockMyRun?We found that 32% of our users use RockMyRun 3-4 times a week. That’s a very high number, meaning that people use our app almost every day. That was exciting for us to see, and we were also impressed with our users dedication to fitness! What do people use RockMyRun For?Not surprisingly, most users (76%!) use RockMyRun for running, but people also like to use it for walking, cardio, erights, group fitness classes, cycling, and more!We also had some really interesting “Other” write-ins, such as cooking, mowing the lawn, cleaning, driving, and as background music for gatherings with friends. Who’s using the Tempo Changing Feature? One of the features that sets RockMyRun apart from other apps is the automatic tempo changing based on GPS, heart rate, etc. So we were curious: How many people are currently using this feature?We were glad that the majority were taking advantage of this feature, but only 63%!Here’s how people were using this feature:79% of users manually set their BPM, while only 35% connect it to their steps, and only 18% connect it to their heart rate.What new features did people request?Most responses said that integrating with speakers, such as Bose® or Sonos®, would be a valuable feature.Additionally, most people also said they’d love to have RockMyRun work on an AppleWatch without needing to have their device near. We also received feedback that we need to improve the music discovery process, which is something we are already working on!We hope you find these results as interesting as we do!Do you agree? Where do you stack up? We’d love to hear in the comments.


Top 10 Rules of the Road

  ·  3 min

Top 10 Rules of the Road

Looking for a few ways to make the most out of your running experience? Follow my Top 10 Rules of the Road for a more enjoyable, less stressful run.1. Be ThankfulIf you are fortunate enough to be able to run at your own discretion, be grateful for that gift.  Some people do not have that ability.  Embrace the gift, because it can be taken away in an instant.2. Just Do ItThe more you think about it, the less likely you are to actually do it.  Don’t think.  Just do.3. Ditch the Jordan’sBaggy short are to running what oil is to water – they just don’t mix!  So get rid of the high tops shoes and wife beaters and pick up some running-specific gear.  Not only will you actually look like a runner, but you will feel and perform like one too.4. This Isn’t GymnasticsWe’re not on the pummel horse here, we’re on the pavement.  Nobody cares about your splits.  If somebody wants to know how fast your individual mile times are, they’ll ask.5. Shut Up and RunNobody likes a whiner, not even other whiners.  If you wait for perfect conditions, your muscles to stop aching, or your schedule to open up, you’re not going to get very far.  Embrace the wind.  Learn to love 20 degree runs.6. FamiliarityWhether it’s a spoonful of butter, a bowl of oatmeal, or a 20 ounce Mountain Dew, put the same foods in your body prior to your run.  Do not eat anything your body is unaccustomed to.  Trust me; I’ve learned this the hard way.  Your stomach and digestive system will thank you around mile 10.7. Pre-Game RitualAlways.  Always.  Always.  Make a visit to the restroom before a long run.  Just as with Rule 6, your stomach will be happy you did this.8. Mix It UpRun alone.  Run with people.  Run on the treadmill.  Run on the road.  Run intervals.  Run distance.  Specificity is important when training for a race or a certain distance.  But variety will limit boredom and give you different workouts to look forward to.9. We Are All EqualRunners are as varied as any group of people in the world.  Some of us are sprinters while others prefer distance.  Some of us like to listen to the pounding of feet against the pavement and some like the pounding of music in our headphones.  As different as we may be, we are also equal because we are runners.10. Enjoy it!This is why I run.  I make it a personal goal to enjoy every run, whether it’s a struggle or not.  So, take a break every once in a while and remember why you run.  Find what you enjoy about it and keep that close to you.As a holiday gift for you all, I’m leaving you with one of my favorite treadmill workouts.  I call this the High/Low Workout.  As the name indicates, you will alternate between high and low running speeds on the treadmill.  I usually set my intervals for 30 seconds at a high intensity followed by 30 seconds of low intensity running.  Each set usually lasts for 5-6 minutes, with a 1 minute walk in between sets.To give you an idea of what the High/Low entails, here is what a typical workout looks like for me:Set 1: 8.0 MPH/6.0 MPH – 5 MinutesSet 2: 8.5 MPH/6.0 MPH – 5 MinutesSet 3: 9.0 MPH/5.5 MPH – 5 MinutesSet 4: 9.5 MPH/5.5 MPH – 5 MinutesSet 5: 10.0 MPH/5.0 MPH – 5 MinutesDo you have any of your own Rules of the Road?  Leave your favorite rule in the comment box below!Post contributed by Brock Jones.  Brock is Co-Owner and Head Trainer with BodyFIT, Inc. in Lexington, KY. He holds a Masters of Science in Exercise Physiology from the University of Kentucky and is an NSCA Certified Strength and Conditioning Specialist.  You can read more of Brock’s posts about fitness and exercise on the BodyFIT Punch Blog.


Top 10 Rules of the Road

  ·  3 min

Top 10 Rules of the Road

Looking for a few ways to make the most out of your running experience? Follow my Top 10 Rules of the Road for a more enjoyable, less stressful run.1. Be ThankfulIf you are fortunate enough to be able to run at your own discretion, be grateful for that gift.  Some people do not have that ability.  Embrace the gift, because it can be taken away in an instant.2. Just Do ItThe more you think about it, the less likely you are to actually do it.  Don’t think.  Just do.3. Ditch the Jordan’sBaggy short are to running what oil is to water – they just don’t mix!  So get rid of the high tops shoes and wife beaters and pick up some running-specific gear.  Not only will you actually look like a runner, but you will feel and perform like one too.4. This Isn’t GymnasticsWe’re not on the pummel horse here, we’re on the pavement.  Nobody cares about your splits.  If somebody wants to know how fast your individual mile times are, they’ll ask.5. Shut Up and RunNobody likes a whiner, not even other whiners.  If you wait for perfect conditions, your muscles to stop aching, or your schedule to open up, you’re not going to get very far.  Embrace the wind.  Learn to love 20 degree runs.6. FamiliarityWhether it’s a spoonful of butter, a bowl of oatmeal, or a 20 ounce Mountain Dew, put the same foods in your body prior to your run.  Do not eat anything your body is unaccustomed to.  Trust me; I’ve learned this the hard way.  Your stomach and digestive system will thank you around mile 10.7. Pre-Game RitualAlways.  Always.  Always.  Make a visit to the restroom before a long run.  Just as with Rule 6, your stomach will be happy you did this.8. Mix It UpRun alone.  Run with people.  Run on the treadmill.  Run on the road.  Run intervals.  Run distance.  Specificity is important when training for a race or a certain distance.  But variety will limit boredom and give you different workouts to look forward to.9. We Are All EqualRunners are as varied as any group of people in the world.  Some of us are sprinters while others prefer distance.  Some of us like to listen to the pounding of feet against the pavement and some like the pounding of music in our headphones.  As different as we may be, we are also equal because we are runners.10. Enjoy it!This is why I run.  I make it a personal goal to enjoy every run, whether it’s a struggle or not.  So, take a break every once in a while and remember why you run.  Find what you enjoy about it and keep that close to you.As a holiday gift for you all, I’m leaving you with one of my favorite treadmill workouts.  I call this the High/Low Workout.  As the name indicates, you will alternate between high and low running speeds on the treadmill.  I usually set my intervals for 30 seconds at a high intensity followed by 30 seconds of low intensity running.  Each set usually lasts for 5-6 minutes, with a 1 minute walk in between sets.To give you an idea of what the High/Low entails, here is what a typical workout looks like for me:Set 1: 8.0 MPH/6.0 MPH – 5 MinutesSet 2: 8.5 MPH/6.0 MPH – 5 MinutesSet 3: 9.0 MPH/5.5 MPH – 5 MinutesSet 4: 9.5 MPH/5.5 MPH – 5 MinutesSet 5: 10.0 MPH/5.0 MPH – 5 MinutesDo you have any of your own Rules of the Road?  Leave your favorite rule in the comment box below!Post contributed by Brock Jones.  Brock is Co-Owner and Head Trainer with BodyFIT, Inc. in Lexington, KY. He holds a Masters of Science in Exercise Physiology from the University of Kentucky and is an NSCA Certified Strength and Conditioning Specialist.  You can read more of Brock’s posts about fitness and exercise on the BodyFIT Punch Blog.


Music Synchronizes To Your Heartbeat With RockMyRun

  ·  1 min

Music Synchronizes To Your Heartbeat With RockMyRun

Are you ready to love your run with all your heart? Then good news – we have just launched a lovely new feature on our iPhone app called myBeat™ Heart, which leverages your heartbeat to dictate the tempo of the music. You read that right—imagine Taylor Swift, Blake Shelton, Avicii or Bon Jovi singing along to the beat of your heart!So how exactly does it work?The RockMyRun app and myBeat™ Heart feature pairs with (almost) any Bluetooth or Ant+ heart rate monitor. (Looking to buy a heart rate monitor? We’re fans of the brands Mio Global and Pear Sports) Once running, we’ll monitor when you switch heart rate zones and adjust the music’s beats per minute (BPM) to correlate. Don’t worry—once your heart rate hits max zones, we’ll level off the BPM/tempo to create a calming (as opposed to frantic) experience.Getting started with the myBeat™ Heart feature is simple, here’s how to do so:Fire up your Bluetooth or Ant+ heart rate monitorSelect your favorite downloaded RockMyRun mix from your MyMixesHit play and then select myBeat™ HeartGo through a one time setup to pair RockMyRun with your deviceStart rockin’!myBeatTM Heart will join our already popular myBeat feature suite, which includes myBeat™ Manual and myBeat™ Steps. As a reminder, myBeat™ Manual lets you manually set the music tempo to your goal cadence, while myBeat™ Steps enables you to let the tempo of any steady BPM mix automatically adjust so that the beat matches every step you take!Ready to start rocking in a whole new way? Download the app


Music Synchronizes To Your Heartbeat With RockMyRun

  ·  1 min

Music Synchronizes To Your Heartbeat With RockMyRun

Are you ready to love your run with all your heart? Then good news – we have just launched a lovely new feature on our iPhone app called myBeat™ Heart, which leverages your heartbeat to dictate the tempo of the music. You read that right—imagine Taylor Swift, Blake Shelton, Avicii or Bon Jovi singing along to the beat of your heart!So how exactly does it work?The RockMyRun app and myBeat™ Heart feature pairs with (almost) any Bluetooth or Ant+ heart rate monitor. (Looking to buy a heart rate monitor? We’re fans of the brands Mio Global and Pear Sports) Once running, we’ll monitor when you switch heart rate zones and adjust the music’s beats per minute (BPM) to correlate. Don’t worry—once your heart rate hits max zones, we’ll level off the BPM/tempo to create a calming (as opposed to frantic) experience.Getting started with the myBeat™ Heart feature is simple, here’s how to do so:Fire up your Bluetooth or Ant+ heart rate monitorSelect your favorite downloaded RockMyRun mix from your MyMixesHit play and then select myBeat™ HeartGo through a one time setup to pair RockMyRun with your deviceStart rockin’!myBeatTM Heart will join our already popular myBeat feature suite, which includes myBeat™ Manual and myBeat™ Steps. As a reminder, myBeat™ Manual lets you manually set the music tempo to your goal cadence, while myBeat™ Steps enables you to let the tempo of any steady BPM mix automatically adjust so that the beat matches every step you take!Ready to start rocking in a whole new way? Download the app


Why Do You Run? 4 Reasons to Be Motivated

  ·  4 min

Why Do You Run? 4 Reasons to Be Motivated

Improve Your HealthOne of the most common reasons we run, exercise, read fitness magazines and websites and enjoy apps like RockMyRun, is to improve our health. Sure we’ve heard that “exercise is medicine,” but like all medicine, if we don’t take it, it won’t work. And when it comes to running, or any doing any exercise routinely, the motivation for putting on our sneakers and working up a sweat has got to be internal.That means turning the “E” in exercise into “enjoyment” not “excruciating.” Do that by finding your “why” and creating a plan that includes specific, small and measurable steps attached to a written weekly plan. Ensure you do what you say you are going to do by finding a buddy and filling your vision with friendly, not trash, talk about your progress. Do you feel like you are breathing easier already?Look GoodAnother common motivation for exercising is pure vanity—you want to look great in that new bikini or tee shirt. Superficial? No way! Who says wanting to look good is shallow and artificial? Ever apply for a job and show up looking unwell, unkempt, or unhealthy? You get the idea. Whether it’s your wedding, a job interview, your high school or college reunion or the upcoming party, looking good is a prime motivator to put some fuel in your step around the track, on the trail, in the gym or running through the streets of downtown. And by the way, don’t think this is a woman’s motivator. GQ Magazine is pretty, pretty popular!To help you achieve this goal if this is your primary motivation, don’t, repeat don’t, go all out. You might find yourself burning out your flame before its red carpet show time. High intensity interval training that includes planned, focused ups and downs, for about eight cycles, taking no more than about 30 minutes four or five times a week, should be fine coupled with resistance training that focuses on full body activity. Body-sculpting, Pilates, Yoga, TRX, Total Gym, light weights and high reps, are the key here. Lastly, visualize yourself already achieving what you set out to accomplish, seeing yourself in the present bringing that new you to the party. Doesn’t if feel great to be a size 4 or have some muscle under that tee shirt?Socialize“Friends” wasn’t just a widely popular TV show, but socialization is a third reason people decide to workout. The idea of “group ex,” Zumba, Les Mills, biking, hiking, track and running clubs are in large measure successful due to the opportunity for social connection. Many people realize that a great way to connect with others and make new friends is through activities. Ever notice that grass grows without any battles and fruits ripen without any drama? If it’s friends you are looking for, joining a group exercise activity by allowing yourself to be free of self-consciousness will certainly help. Come from a place of acceptance—of yourself and others—and the experience will be easy and effortless.Friends, new or old, can be great cheerleaders and sources of accountability—and you can be the same for others. Set up a social media group and keep tweeting and texting about your experiences—soon enough you’ll attract others to your new passion. Like being a social exercise leader? Check out Fitmob and see if a social group exists near your home yet.Enhance Your MoodFinally, we all get down and blue, worried and irritated and just downright nasty from time to time. Guess what the fourth most common reason people “need to go out for a run”? That’s right! It’s a great mood enhancer. By releasing  and increasing those “feel-good” brain chemicals, decreasing those chemicals that increase anxiety and depression and providing a calming feeling, people find lots of solid motivation to exercise to simply feel happier, more confident, cope more effectively, concentrate easier – all within five minutes after moderate exercise.If this is your primary reason, internal motivation is a high driver and that’s great. You’ll stick with it longer than if your motivation is purely external.  One caveat here is don’t overdo it because you like the way it makes you feel so much.  A plan of about 150 minutes per week of moderate to intense activity will give you the mood enhancement you are looking for. Novelty is important so mix it up. Positive thinking is important to boost mood, so include affirmations such as, “I, Jennifer, already know what it feels like to live my life calmly, successfully and happily.” After an affirmation like this, don’t forget to say “thanks” acting like it’s already present in your life.There you have it. The four top reasons people are buying running shoes, joining gyms, hiring trainers and pushing themselves to sweat—getting and staying healthy, looking good, connecting with friends and feeling happier and more positive. If your main motivation isn’t here, let us know what it is in the comments below.Post contributed by Michael R. Mantell, Ph.D.  Dr. Mantell has served as a long-time Assistant Clinical Professor in the Department of Psychiatry at the University of California, San Diego and today is the Senior Fitness Consultant for Behavioral Sciences for the American Council on Exercise, a behavioral sciences coach, an author and a national fitness-health speaker. 


Why Do You Run? 4 Reasons to Be Motivated

  ·  4 min

Why Do You Run? 4 Reasons to Be Motivated

Improve Your HealthOne of the most common reasons we run, exercise, read fitness magazines and websites and enjoy apps like RockMyRun, is to improve our health. Sure we’ve heard that “exercise is medicine,” but like all medicine, if we don’t take it, it won’t work. And when it comes to running, or any doing any exercise routinely, the motivation for putting on our sneakers and working up a sweat has got to be internal.That means turning the “E” in exercise into “enjoyment” not “excruciating.” Do that by finding your “why” and creating a plan that includes specific, small and measurable steps attached to a written weekly plan. Ensure you do what you say you are going to do by finding a buddy and filling your vision with friendly, not trash, talk about your progress. Do you feel like you are breathing easier already?Look GoodAnother common motivation for exercising is pure vanity—you want to look great in that new bikini or tee shirt. Superficial? No way! Who says wanting to look good is shallow and artificial? Ever apply for a job and show up looking unwell, unkempt, or unhealthy? You get the idea. Whether it’s your wedding, a job interview, your high school or college reunion or the upcoming party, looking good is a prime motivator to put some fuel in your step around the track, on the trail, in the gym or running through the streets of downtown. And by the way, don’t think this is a woman’s motivator. GQ Magazine is pretty, pretty popular!To help you achieve this goal if this is your primary motivation, don’t, repeat don’t, go all out. You might find yourself burning out your flame before its red carpet show time. High intensity interval training that includes planned, focused ups and downs, for about eight cycles, taking no more than about 30 minutes four or five times a week, should be fine coupled with resistance training that focuses on full body activity. Body-sculpting, Pilates, Yoga, TRX, Total Gym, light weights and high reps, are the key here. Lastly, visualize yourself already achieving what you set out to accomplish, seeing yourself in the present bringing that new you to the party. Doesn’t if feel great to be a size 4 or have some muscle under that tee shirt?Socialize“Friends” wasn’t just a widely popular TV show, but socialization is a third reason people decide to workout. The idea of “group ex,” Zumba, Les Mills, biking, hiking, track and running clubs are in large measure successful due to the opportunity for social connection. Many people realize that a great way to connect with others and make new friends is through activities. Ever notice that grass grows without any battles and fruits ripen without any drama? If it’s friends you are looking for, joining a group exercise activity by allowing yourself to be free of self-consciousness will certainly help. Come from a place of acceptance—of yourself and others—and the experience will be easy and effortless.Friends, new or old, can be great cheerleaders and sources of accountability—and you can be the same for others. Set up a social media group and keep tweeting and texting about your experiences—soon enough you’ll attract others to your new passion. Like being a social exercise leader? Check out Fitmob and see if a social group exists near your home yet.Enhance Your MoodFinally, we all get down and blue, worried and irritated and just downright nasty from time to time. Guess what the fourth most common reason people “need to go out for a run”? That’s right! It’s a great mood enhancer. By releasing  and increasing those “feel-good” brain chemicals, decreasing those chemicals that increase anxiety and depression and providing a calming feeling, people find lots of solid motivation to exercise to simply feel happier, more confident, cope more effectively, concentrate easier – all within five minutes after moderate exercise.If this is your primary reason, internal motivation is a high driver and that’s great. You’ll stick with it longer than if your motivation is purely external.  One caveat here is don’t overdo it because you like the way it makes you feel so much.  A plan of about 150 minutes per week of moderate to intense activity will give you the mood enhancement you are looking for. Novelty is important so mix it up. Positive thinking is important to boost mood, so include affirmations such as, “I, Jennifer, already know what it feels like to live my life calmly, successfully and happily.” After an affirmation like this, don’t forget to say “thanks” acting like it’s already present in your life.There you have it. The four top reasons people are buying running shoes, joining gyms, hiring trainers and pushing themselves to sweat—getting and staying healthy, looking good, connecting with friends and feeling happier and more positive. If your main motivation isn’t here, let us know what it is in the comments below.Post contributed by Michael R. Mantell, Ph.D.  Dr. Mantell has served as a long-time Assistant Clinical Professor in the Department of Psychiatry at the University of California, San Diego and today is the Senior Fitness Consultant for Behavioral Sciences for the American Council on Exercise, a behavioral sciences coach, an author and a national fitness-health speaker. 


How to Run Your First Marathon

  ·  8 min

How to Run Your First Marathon

Running a marathon for the first time is not easy, but with the right guidance, you’ll be in the best position possible to achieve this awesome goal. This post will help you prepare for your first marathon, and future marathons if you fall in love with it like I have. Let’s make that leap into the unknown and scary together! Deciding which marathon is right for youAdditionally, you need to figure out when/where you are racing to determine some key components to your training. For a beginner, I would recommend up to 16 weeks of total training. A lot of great marathons are in the Fall or Spring, so make sure you are also aware of the type of weather you thrive best in and try to pick a race that will match your needs. Personally, I like cooler temperatures so marathons in November and December are typically my favorite.Commit to the goalThe first step to running a marathon is to commit to the goal. The training will be hard, and the commitment and dedication will at times feel overwhelming. But what is hard is not impossible. Embrace each challenge and know that in the end, it will all be worth it. Now that you’ve decided you really want to do this, I would pick a marathon and register. Put in on your calendar; it will help conceptualize the entire process, which will help make everything feel more real and will add a component of accountability to your training. Picking a marathon training planThere are many beginner training plans online so make sure you pick one that excites you and you think you can handle. A few training plans that I trust and recommend are: https://www.halhigdon.com/training-programs/marathon-training/novice-1-marathon/ (For a very novice runner who wants as much guidance as possible at no cost)https://runsmartproject.com/training-plans-old/ (For a beginner who is willing to pay for personalized workouts to match his/her training goals)http://www.jeffgalloway.com/training/marathon-training/ (For a beginner who has been doing some running/walking in the past few weeks)Here’s what you can expect: Typically, each week you want to include a long run (which I will argue is the most important run of the week), a faster-paced interval run (a run that includes some speed and is broken up into different length intervals), and 2-3 easy runs. The long run is crucial because it will be what most simulates what your actual marathon will feel like. The idea of ‘time on feet’ is critical to remember because you want to train your body to be able to handle the cumulative load of being on your feet for many hours at a time. You also want to make sure you include two days a week of supplemental strengthening exercises, which I will get into more detail a bit later. As you progress, you can add more volume/intensity to your week, but I would start with 4-5 days of running and 1-2 days of rest or cross-training (any other form of exercise: i.e. biking, swimming, elliptical, etc.)What running shoes should I buy for a marathon?Before you start running, you want to make sure you have the right shoes. In this day and age, there are hundreds of different shoes to choose from, so I would advise going into your local running store and having them fit you for a pair. The shoe buying process can be overwhelming with all the options and opinions out there, but one general guideline to follow: if the shoe is comfortable and supportive on your foot, you should be fine. Additionally, make sure you practice running in the shoes you will be racing in and try to get a new pair every 300-400 miles. This will help to keep your lower half healthy and feeling fresh.RecoveryAnother key component of your training is RECOVERY!! Recovery is not the absence of training, it is training in itself. A lot of runners struggle with this aspect, but the only way to make real progress in training is to let your body rest and adapt to the training. Many athletes have the flawed mentality that the more they train, the more fit they will become. Ultimately, without recovery one will never improve. It is the rest period after a workout that allows one’s body to adapt to the stress you just put it through and come back stronger than before. Recovery does not just mean rest. It also means making sure to stretch/foam roll to keep your muscles and tendons loose and pliable, eating immediately or as soon as possible after a workout, as well as strengthening exercises to keep you strong and injury-free. It is imperative to make time in your training for stability/mobility exercises, as well as strength-training to improve running form and decrease your likelihood of injury. Sometimes we think that running an extra mile here or there is going to be the difference to our training, but I strongly believe that reducing a run by 5-10 minutes and using that extra time to do strengthening exercises will benefit you much more in the long run (pun intended ). Again, there are a plethora of good resources online for flexibility and strengthening exercises, so find one you like and stick with it. Personally, I have found that Jay Dicharry’s books, Anatomy for Runners and Running Rewired, are phenomenal guides for both flexibility and strengthening exercises. If you don’t want to purchase his books, a few key strength exercises to include in your program twice a week are: Squats (2-3 sets of 8-10 reps)Lunges (2-3 sets of 8-10 reps each leg)Single Leg Romanian Dead Lifts (2-3 sets of 8-10 reps each leg)Plank hold (3x30 sec)Calf raises (2-3 sets of 10-12 reps each leg)This leads me to my next important topic, sleep and nutrition. Sleep and NutritionTo have sufficient energy to fuel your body for the training you will be doing, you must take sleep and nutrition into account. Sleeping 7-9 hours a night is ideal and you want to prioritize a sleep routine that keeps you feeling rested and feeling good. In regard to food, you need to think in terms of fueling your body. You want to make sure that you are giving your body the best possible nutrients to allow it to perform at its best. A lot of runners struggle with the nutrition component, but one of the best ways to think is to have the majority of your diet be comprised of whole foods (minimally processed foods that are close to nature, such as fruits, vegetables, nuts, beans, etc.), whole-grains, and a variety of nutrient-dense foods. Also, the importance of protein for someone training for a marathon is essential. You are stressing your muscles to their limits and you want to replenish them with enough protein to help rebuild them. Lastly, you never want to go too long without eating and don’t tell yourself any food is off limits. Of course, you don’t want to eat an entire chocolate cake, but if you’re craving a piece, then eat one! By listening to your hunger cues and giving your body what it wants, you will be less likely to binge on something that you have told yourself is off limits.You will really want to practice eating before big training runs so you can get familiar with whatworks well for your body before race day. Typically, some great pre-race foods include bananas, toast with peanut butter and honey, and oatmeal. The night before your race you want to focus on eating a meal that has about 60% carbohydrates (pasta, rice, bread), 30% protein, and 10% fat. Finally, you need to practice fueling DURING your training runs. There are now a wide array of energy gels out there to practice with, as well as some liquid carbohydrate based drinks that work great. Personally, I love the Maurten carbohydrate drink and the Gu energy gels. Just make sure you always practice your strategies and NEVER TRY ANYTHING NEW ON RACE DAY.The mental component of running a marathonThe last piece of the puzzle that I think is critical is the mental component. In endurance sports, the mind can play many tricks on the body and it is vital to remember that we are stronger than we think. A huge mantra that has helped me in my running career is to ‘control the controllables’. We don’t have control over the weather or how other people are doing, but we do have control over our attitude and our effort. Do your best to focus on the factors that will put you in the best position to reach your goal. Everything else is irrelevant.You can do this!I’ll just leave you with my favorite quote, “So many of our dreams at first seem impossible, then they seem improbable, and then, when we summon the will, they soon become inevitable.”Go out there and chase down your dreams my friends! Adriana started running competitively in 6th grade and competed at a Varsity level all throughout high school. Her junior year of college at Duke University, she decided to run her first marathon after spontaneously joining a friend for her 16 mile long run. She finished the Disney Marathon in January 2011 in a time of 3:17. Fast forward to now, Adriana has brought her marathon PR down to 2:44, and has run many marathons, most recently the 2018 and 2019 California International Marathon, 2019 Grandma’s Marathon, 2020 Aviation Marathon, and qualified and competed at the 2020 Olympic Marathon Trials in Atlanta, Georgia! She lives in in Winston-Salem, NC and works as a Career Services Specialist at Wake Forest University. 


How to Run Your First Marathon

  ·  8 min

How to Run Your First Marathon

Running a marathon for the first time is not easy, but with the right guidance, you’ll be in the best position possible to achieve this awesome goal. This post will help you prepare for your first marathon, and future marathons if you fall in love with it like I have. Let’s make that leap into the unknown and scary together! Deciding which marathon is right for youAdditionally, you need to figure out when/where you are racing to determine some key components to your training. For a beginner, I would recommend up to 16 weeks of total training. A lot of great marathons are in the Fall or Spring, so make sure you are also aware of the type of weather you thrive best in and try to pick a race that will match your needs. Personally, I like cooler temperatures so marathons in November and December are typically my favorite.Commit to the goalThe first step to running a marathon is to commit to the goal. The training will be hard, and the commitment and dedication will at times feel overwhelming. But what is hard is not impossible. Embrace each challenge and know that in the end, it will all be worth it. Now that you’ve decided you really want to do this, I would pick a marathon and register. Put in on your calendar; it will help conceptualize the entire process, which will help make everything feel more real and will add a component of accountability to your training. Picking a marathon training planThere are many beginner training plans online so make sure you pick one that excites you and you think you can handle. A few training plans that I trust and recommend are: https://www.halhigdon.com/training-programs/marathon-training/novice-1-marathon/ (For a very novice runner who wants as much guidance as possible at no cost)https://runsmartproject.com/training-plans-old/ (For a beginner who is willing to pay for personalized workouts to match his/her training goals)http://www.jeffgalloway.com/training/marathon-training/ (For a beginner who has been doing some running/walking in the past few weeks)Here’s what you can expect: Typically, each week you want to include a long run (which I will argue is the most important run of the week), a faster-paced interval run (a run that includes some speed and is broken up into different length intervals), and 2-3 easy runs. The long run is crucial because it will be what most simulates what your actual marathon will feel like. The idea of ‘time on feet’ is critical to remember because you want to train your body to be able to handle the cumulative load of being on your feet for many hours at a time. You also want to make sure you include two days a week of supplemental strengthening exercises, which I will get into more detail a bit later. As you progress, you can add more volume/intensity to your week, but I would start with 4-5 days of running and 1-2 days of rest or cross-training (any other form of exercise: i.e. biking, swimming, elliptical, etc.)What running shoes should I buy for a marathon?Before you start running, you want to make sure you have the right shoes. In this day and age, there are hundreds of different shoes to choose from, so I would advise going into your local running store and having them fit you for a pair. The shoe buying process can be overwhelming with all the options and opinions out there, but one general guideline to follow: if the shoe is comfortable and supportive on your foot, you should be fine. Additionally, make sure you practice running in the shoes you will be racing in and try to get a new pair every 300-400 miles. This will help to keep your lower half healthy and feeling fresh.RecoveryAnother key component of your training is RECOVERY!! Recovery is not the absence of training, it is training in itself. A lot of runners struggle with this aspect, but the only way to make real progress in training is to let your body rest and adapt to the training. Many athletes have the flawed mentality that the more they train, the more fit they will become. Ultimately, without recovery one will never improve. It is the rest period after a workout that allows one’s body to adapt to the stress you just put it through and come back stronger than before. Recovery does not just mean rest. It also means making sure to stretch/foam roll to keep your muscles and tendons loose and pliable, eating immediately or as soon as possible after a workout, as well as strengthening exercises to keep you strong and injury-free. It is imperative to make time in your training for stability/mobility exercises, as well as strength-training to improve running form and decrease your likelihood of injury. Sometimes we think that running an extra mile here or there is going to be the difference to our training, but I strongly believe that reducing a run by 5-10 minutes and using that extra time to do strengthening exercises will benefit you much more in the long run (pun intended ). Again, there are a plethora of good resources online for flexibility and strengthening exercises, so find one you like and stick with it. Personally, I have found that Jay Dicharry’s books, Anatomy for Runners and Running Rewired, are phenomenal guides for both flexibility and strengthening exercises. If you don’t want to purchase his books, a few key strength exercises to include in your program twice a week are: Squats (2-3 sets of 8-10 reps)Lunges (2-3 sets of 8-10 reps each leg)Single Leg Romanian Dead Lifts (2-3 sets of 8-10 reps each leg)Plank hold (3x30 sec)Calf raises (2-3 sets of 10-12 reps each leg)This leads me to my next important topic, sleep and nutrition. Sleep and NutritionTo have sufficient energy to fuel your body for the training you will be doing, you must take sleep and nutrition into account. Sleeping 7-9 hours a night is ideal and you want to prioritize a sleep routine that keeps you feeling rested and feeling good. In regard to food, you need to think in terms of fueling your body. You want to make sure that you are giving your body the best possible nutrients to allow it to perform at its best. A lot of runners struggle with the nutrition component, but one of the best ways to think is to have the majority of your diet be comprised of whole foods (minimally processed foods that are close to nature, such as fruits, vegetables, nuts, beans, etc.), whole-grains, and a variety of nutrient-dense foods. Also, the importance of protein for someone training for a marathon is essential. You are stressing your muscles to their limits and you want to replenish them with enough protein to help rebuild them. Lastly, you never want to go too long without eating and don’t tell yourself any food is off limits. Of course, you don’t want to eat an entire chocolate cake, but if you’re craving a piece, then eat one! By listening to your hunger cues and giving your body what it wants, you will be less likely to binge on something that you have told yourself is off limits.You will really want to practice eating before big training runs so you can get familiar with whatworks well for your body before race day. Typically, some great pre-race foods include bananas, toast with peanut butter and honey, and oatmeal. The night before your race you want to focus on eating a meal that has about 60% carbohydrates (pasta, rice, bread), 30% protein, and 10% fat. Finally, you need to practice fueling DURING your training runs. There are now a wide array of energy gels out there to practice with, as well as some liquid carbohydrate based drinks that work great. Personally, I love the Maurten carbohydrate drink and the Gu energy gels. Just make sure you always practice your strategies and NEVER TRY ANYTHING NEW ON RACE DAY.The mental component of running a marathonThe last piece of the puzzle that I think is critical is the mental component. In endurance sports, the mind can play many tricks on the body and it is vital to remember that we are stronger than we think. A huge mantra that has helped me in my running career is to ‘control the controllables’. We don’t have control over the weather or how other people are doing, but we do have control over our attitude and our effort. Do your best to focus on the factors that will put you in the best position to reach your goal. Everything else is irrelevant.You can do this!I’ll just leave you with my favorite quote, “So many of our dreams at first seem impossible, then they seem improbable, and then, when we summon the will, they soon become inevitable.”Go out there and chase down your dreams my friends! Adriana started running competitively in 6th grade and competed at a Varsity level all throughout high school. Her junior year of college at Duke University, she decided to run her first marathon after spontaneously joining a friend for her 16 mile long run. She finished the Disney Marathon in January 2011 in a time of 3:17. Fast forward to now, Adriana has brought her marathon PR down to 2:44, and has run many marathons, most recently the 2018 and 2019 California International Marathon, 2019 Grandma’s Marathon, 2020 Aviation Marathon, and qualified and competed at the 2020 Olympic Marathon Trials in Atlanta, Georgia! She lives in in Winston-Salem, NC and works as a Career Services Specialist at Wake Forest University. 


RockMyRun User Feedback Survey Results

  ·  2 min

RockMyRun User Feedback Survey Results

We’re always looking to improve our app, and wanted to make sure that we understood where our current opportunities were. So in May of 2020, we sent out a survey to our most active RockMyRun users. Primarily, we wanted to know how the app was doing, but we also geek out on data and wanted to see how people are using RockMyRun.Here are the results! How often do people use RockMyRun?We found that 32% of our users use RockMyRun 3-4 times a week. That’s a very high number, meaning that people use our app almost every day. That was exciting for us to see, and we were also impressed with our users dedication to fitness! What do people use RockMyRun For?Not surprisingly, most users (76%!) use RockMyRun for running, but people also like to use it for walking, cardio, erights, group fitness classes, cycling, and more!We also had some really interesting “Other” write-ins, such as cooking, mowing the lawn, cleaning, driving, and as background music for gatherings with friends. Who’s using the Tempo Changing Feature? One of the features that sets RockMyRun apart from other apps is the automatic tempo changing based on GPS, heart rate, etc. So we were curious: How many people are currently using this feature?We were glad that the majority were taking advantage of this feature, but only 63%!Here’s how people were using this feature:79% of users manually set their BPM, while only 35% connect it to their steps, and only 18% connect it to their heart rate.What new features did people request?Most responses said that integrating with speakers, such as Bose® or Sonos®, would be a valuable feature.Additionally, most people also said they’d love to have RockMyRun work on an AppleWatch without needing to have their device near. We also received feedback that we need to improve the music discovery process, which is something we are already working on!We hope you find these results as interesting as we do!Do you agree? Where do you stack up? We’d love to hear in the comments.


RockMyRun User Feedback Survey Results

  ·  2 min

RockMyRun User Feedback Survey Results

We’re always looking to improve our app, and wanted to make sure that we understood where our current opportunities were. So in May of 2020, we sent out a survey to our most active RockMyRun users. Primarily, we wanted to know how the app was doing, but we also geek out on data and wanted to see how people are using RockMyRun.Here are the results! How often do people use RockMyRun?We found that 32% of our users use RockMyRun 3-4 times a week. That’s a very high number, meaning that people use our app almost every day. That was exciting for us to see, and we were also impressed with our users dedication to fitness! What do people use RockMyRun For?Not surprisingly, most users (76%!) use RockMyRun for running, but people also like to use it for walking, cardio, erights, group fitness classes, cycling, and more!We also had some really interesting “Other” write-ins, such as cooking, mowing the lawn, cleaning, driving, and as background music for gatherings with friends. Who’s using the Tempo Changing Feature? One of the features that sets RockMyRun apart from other apps is the automatic tempo changing based on GPS, heart rate, etc. So we were curious: How many people are currently using this feature?We were glad that the majority were taking advantage of this feature, but only 63%!Here’s how people were using this feature:79% of users manually set their BPM, while only 35% connect it to their steps, and only 18% connect it to their heart rate.What new features did people request?Most responses said that integrating with speakers, such as Bose® or Sonos®, would be a valuable feature.Additionally, most people also said they’d love to have RockMyRun work on an AppleWatch without needing to have their device near. We also received feedback that we need to improve the music discovery process, which is something we are already working on!We hope you find these results as interesting as we do!Do you agree? Where do you stack up? We’d love to hear in the comments.


Top 10 Rules of the Road

  ·  3 min

Top 10 Rules of the Road

Looking for a few ways to make the most out of your running experience? Follow my Top 10 Rules of the Road for a more enjoyable, less stressful run.1. Be ThankfulIf you are fortunate enough to be able to run at your own discretion, be grateful for that gift.  Some people do not have that ability.  Embrace the gift, because it can be taken away in an instant.2. Just Do ItThe more you think about it, the less likely you are to actually do it.  Don’t think.  Just do.3. Ditch the Jordan’sBaggy short are to running what oil is to water – they just don’t mix!  So get rid of the high tops shoes and wife beaters and pick up some running-specific gear.  Not only will you actually look like a runner, but you will feel and perform like one too.4. This Isn’t GymnasticsWe’re not on the pummel horse here, we’re on the pavement.  Nobody cares about your splits.  If somebody wants to know how fast your individual mile times are, they’ll ask.5. Shut Up and RunNobody likes a whiner, not even other whiners.  If you wait for perfect conditions, your muscles to stop aching, or your schedule to open up, you’re not going to get very far.  Embrace the wind.  Learn to love 20 degree runs.6. FamiliarityWhether it’s a spoonful of butter, a bowl of oatmeal, or a 20 ounce Mountain Dew, put the same foods in your body prior to your run.  Do not eat anything your body is unaccustomed to.  Trust me; I’ve learned this the hard way.  Your stomach and digestive system will thank you around mile 10.7. Pre-Game RitualAlways.  Always.  Always.  Make a visit to the restroom before a long run.  Just as with Rule 6, your stomach will be happy you did this.8. Mix It UpRun alone.  Run with people.  Run on the treadmill.  Run on the road.  Run intervals.  Run distance.  Specificity is important when training for a race or a certain distance.  But variety will limit boredom and give you different workouts to look forward to.9. We Are All EqualRunners are as varied as any group of people in the world.  Some of us are sprinters while others prefer distance.  Some of us like to listen to the pounding of feet against the pavement and some like the pounding of music in our headphones.  As different as we may be, we are also equal because we are runners.10. Enjoy it!This is why I run.  I make it a personal goal to enjoy every run, whether it’s a struggle or not.  So, take a break every once in a while and remember why you run.  Find what you enjoy about it and keep that close to you.As a holiday gift for you all, I’m leaving you with one of my favorite treadmill workouts.  I call this the High/Low Workout.  As the name indicates, you will alternate between high and low running speeds on the treadmill.  I usually set my intervals for 30 seconds at a high intensity followed by 30 seconds of low intensity running.  Each set usually lasts for 5-6 minutes, with a 1 minute walk in between sets.To give you an idea of what the High/Low entails, here is what a typical workout looks like for me:Set 1: 8.0 MPH/6.0 MPH – 5 MinutesSet 2: 8.5 MPH/6.0 MPH – 5 MinutesSet 3: 9.0 MPH/5.5 MPH – 5 MinutesSet 4: 9.5 MPH/5.5 MPH – 5 MinutesSet 5: 10.0 MPH/5.0 MPH – 5 MinutesDo you have any of your own Rules of the Road?  Leave your favorite rule in the comment box below!Post contributed by Brock Jones.  Brock is Co-Owner and Head Trainer with BodyFIT, Inc. in Lexington, KY. He holds a Masters of Science in Exercise Physiology from the University of Kentucky and is an NSCA Certified Strength and Conditioning Specialist.  You can read more of Brock’s posts about fitness and exercise on the BodyFIT Punch Blog.


Top 10 Rules of the Road

  ·  3 min

Top 10 Rules of the Road

Looking for a few ways to make the most out of your running experience? Follow my Top 10 Rules of the Road for a more enjoyable, less stressful run.1. Be ThankfulIf you are fortunate enough to be able to run at your own discretion, be grateful for that gift.  Some people do not have that ability.  Embrace the gift, because it can be taken away in an instant.2. Just Do ItThe more you think about it, the less likely you are to actually do it.  Don’t think.  Just do.3. Ditch the Jordan’sBaggy short are to running what oil is to water – they just don’t mix!  So get rid of the high tops shoes and wife beaters and pick up some running-specific gear.  Not only will you actually look like a runner, but you will feel and perform like one too.4. This Isn’t GymnasticsWe’re not on the pummel horse here, we’re on the pavement.  Nobody cares about your splits.  If somebody wants to know how fast your individual mile times are, they’ll ask.5. Shut Up and RunNobody likes a whiner, not even other whiners.  If you wait for perfect conditions, your muscles to stop aching, or your schedule to open up, you’re not going to get very far.  Embrace the wind.  Learn to love 20 degree runs.6. FamiliarityWhether it’s a spoonful of butter, a bowl of oatmeal, or a 20 ounce Mountain Dew, put the same foods in your body prior to your run.  Do not eat anything your body is unaccustomed to.  Trust me; I’ve learned this the hard way.  Your stomach and digestive system will thank you around mile 10.7. Pre-Game RitualAlways.  Always.  Always.  Make a visit to the restroom before a long run.  Just as with Rule 6, your stomach will be happy you did this.8. Mix It UpRun alone.  Run with people.  Run on the treadmill.  Run on the road.  Run intervals.  Run distance.  Specificity is important when training for a race or a certain distance.  But variety will limit boredom and give you different workouts to look forward to.9. We Are All EqualRunners are as varied as any group of people in the world.  Some of us are sprinters while others prefer distance.  Some of us like to listen to the pounding of feet against the pavement and some like the pounding of music in our headphones.  As different as we may be, we are also equal because we are runners.10. Enjoy it!This is why I run.  I make it a personal goal to enjoy every run, whether it’s a struggle or not.  So, take a break every once in a while and remember why you run.  Find what you enjoy about it and keep that close to you.As a holiday gift for you all, I’m leaving you with one of my favorite treadmill workouts.  I call this the High/Low Workout.  As the name indicates, you will alternate between high and low running speeds on the treadmill.  I usually set my intervals for 30 seconds at a high intensity followed by 30 seconds of low intensity running.  Each set usually lasts for 5-6 minutes, with a 1 minute walk in between sets.To give you an idea of what the High/Low entails, here is what a typical workout looks like for me:Set 1: 8.0 MPH/6.0 MPH – 5 MinutesSet 2: 8.5 MPH/6.0 MPH – 5 MinutesSet 3: 9.0 MPH/5.5 MPH – 5 MinutesSet 4: 9.5 MPH/5.5 MPH – 5 MinutesSet 5: 10.0 MPH/5.0 MPH – 5 MinutesDo you have any of your own Rules of the Road?  Leave your favorite rule in the comment box below!Post contributed by Brock Jones.  Brock is Co-Owner and Head Trainer with BodyFIT, Inc. in Lexington, KY. He holds a Masters of Science in Exercise Physiology from the University of Kentucky and is an NSCA Certified Strength and Conditioning Specialist.  You can read more of Brock’s posts about fitness and exercise on the BodyFIT Punch Blog.


Music Synchronizes To Your Heartbeat With RockMyRun

  ·  1 min

Music Synchronizes To Your Heartbeat With RockMyRun

Are you ready to love your run with all your heart? Then good news – we have just launched a lovely new feature on our iPhone app called myBeat™ Heart, which leverages your heartbeat to dictate the tempo of the music. You read that right—imagine Taylor Swift, Blake Shelton, Avicii or Bon Jovi singing along to the beat of your heart!So how exactly does it work?The RockMyRun app and myBeat™ Heart feature pairs with (almost) any Bluetooth or Ant+ heart rate monitor. (Looking to buy a heart rate monitor? We’re fans of the brands Mio Global and Pear Sports) Once running, we’ll monitor when you switch heart rate zones and adjust the music’s beats per minute (BPM) to correlate. Don’t worry—once your heart rate hits max zones, we’ll level off the BPM/tempo to create a calming (as opposed to frantic) experience.Getting started with the myBeat™ Heart feature is simple, here’s how to do so:Fire up your Bluetooth or Ant+ heart rate monitorSelect your favorite downloaded RockMyRun mix from your MyMixesHit play and then select myBeat™ HeartGo through a one time setup to pair RockMyRun with your deviceStart rockin’!myBeatTM Heart will join our already popular myBeat feature suite, which includes myBeat™ Manual and myBeat™ Steps. As a reminder, myBeat™ Manual lets you manually set the music tempo to your goal cadence, while myBeat™ Steps enables you to let the tempo of any steady BPM mix automatically adjust so that the beat matches every step you take!Ready to start rocking in a whole new way? Download the app


Music Synchronizes To Your Heartbeat With RockMyRun

  ·  1 min

Music Synchronizes To Your Heartbeat With RockMyRun

Are you ready to love your run with all your heart? Then good news – we have just launched a lovely new feature on our iPhone app called myBeat™ Heart, which leverages your heartbeat to dictate the tempo of the music. You read that right—imagine Taylor Swift, Blake Shelton, Avicii or Bon Jovi singing along to the beat of your heart!So how exactly does it work?The RockMyRun app and myBeat™ Heart feature pairs with (almost) any Bluetooth or Ant+ heart rate monitor. (Looking to buy a heart rate monitor? We’re fans of the brands Mio Global and Pear Sports) Once running, we’ll monitor when you switch heart rate zones and adjust the music’s beats per minute (BPM) to correlate. Don’t worry—once your heart rate hits max zones, we’ll level off the BPM/tempo to create a calming (as opposed to frantic) experience.Getting started with the myBeat™ Heart feature is simple, here’s how to do so:Fire up your Bluetooth or Ant+ heart rate monitorSelect your favorite downloaded RockMyRun mix from your MyMixesHit play and then select myBeat™ HeartGo through a one time setup to pair RockMyRun with your deviceStart rockin’!myBeatTM Heart will join our already popular myBeat feature suite, which includes myBeat™ Manual and myBeat™ Steps. As a reminder, myBeat™ Manual lets you manually set the music tempo to your goal cadence, while myBeat™ Steps enables you to let the tempo of any steady BPM mix automatically adjust so that the beat matches every step you take!Ready to start rocking in a whole new way? Download the app


Why Do You Run? 4 Reasons to Be Motivated

  ·  4 min

Why Do You Run? 4 Reasons to Be Motivated

Improve Your HealthOne of the most common reasons we run, exercise, read fitness magazines and websites and enjoy apps like RockMyRun, is to improve our health. Sure we’ve heard that “exercise is medicine,” but like all medicine, if we don’t take it, it won’t work. And when it comes to running, or any doing any exercise routinely, the motivation for putting on our sneakers and working up a sweat has got to be internal.That means turning the “E” in exercise into “enjoyment” not “excruciating.” Do that by finding your “why” and creating a plan that includes specific, small and measurable steps attached to a written weekly plan. Ensure you do what you say you are going to do by finding a buddy and filling your vision with friendly, not trash, talk about your progress. Do you feel like you are breathing easier already?Look GoodAnother common motivation for exercising is pure vanity—you want to look great in that new bikini or tee shirt. Superficial? No way! Who says wanting to look good is shallow and artificial? Ever apply for a job and show up looking unwell, unkempt, or unhealthy? You get the idea. Whether it’s your wedding, a job interview, your high school or college reunion or the upcoming party, looking good is a prime motivator to put some fuel in your step around the track, on the trail, in the gym or running through the streets of downtown. And by the way, don’t think this is a woman’s motivator. GQ Magazine is pretty, pretty popular!To help you achieve this goal if this is your primary motivation, don’t, repeat don’t, go all out. You might find yourself burning out your flame before its red carpet show time. High intensity interval training that includes planned, focused ups and downs, for about eight cycles, taking no more than about 30 minutes four or five times a week, should be fine coupled with resistance training that focuses on full body activity. Body-sculpting, Pilates, Yoga, TRX, Total Gym, light weights and high reps, are the key here. Lastly, visualize yourself already achieving what you set out to accomplish, seeing yourself in the present bringing that new you to the party. Doesn’t if feel great to be a size 4 or have some muscle under that tee shirt?Socialize“Friends” wasn’t just a widely popular TV show, but socialization is a third reason people decide to workout. The idea of “group ex,” Zumba, Les Mills, biking, hiking, track and running clubs are in large measure successful due to the opportunity for social connection. Many people realize that a great way to connect with others and make new friends is through activities. Ever notice that grass grows without any battles and fruits ripen without any drama? If it’s friends you are looking for, joining a group exercise activity by allowing yourself to be free of self-consciousness will certainly help. Come from a place of acceptance—of yourself and others—and the experience will be easy and effortless.Friends, new or old, can be great cheerleaders and sources of accountability—and you can be the same for others. Set up a social media group and keep tweeting and texting about your experiences—soon enough you’ll attract others to your new passion. Like being a social exercise leader? Check out Fitmob and see if a social group exists near your home yet.Enhance Your MoodFinally, we all get down and blue, worried and irritated and just downright nasty from time to time. Guess what the fourth most common reason people “need to go out for a run”? That’s right! It’s a great mood enhancer. By releasing  and increasing those “feel-good” brain chemicals, decreasing those chemicals that increase anxiety and depression and providing a calming feeling, people find lots of solid motivation to exercise to simply feel happier, more confident, cope more effectively, concentrate easier – all within five minutes after moderate exercise.If this is your primary reason, internal motivation is a high driver and that’s great. You’ll stick with it longer than if your motivation is purely external.  One caveat here is don’t overdo it because you like the way it makes you feel so much.  A plan of about 150 minutes per week of moderate to intense activity will give you the mood enhancement you are looking for. Novelty is important so mix it up. Positive thinking is important to boost mood, so include affirmations such as, “I, Jennifer, already know what it feels like to live my life calmly, successfully and happily.” After an affirmation like this, don’t forget to say “thanks” acting like it’s already present in your life.There you have it. The four top reasons people are buying running shoes, joining gyms, hiring trainers and pushing themselves to sweat—getting and staying healthy, looking good, connecting with friends and feeling happier and more positive. If your main motivation isn’t here, let us know what it is in the comments below.Post contributed by Michael R. Mantell, Ph.D.  Dr. Mantell has served as a long-time Assistant Clinical Professor in the Department of Psychiatry at the University of California, San Diego and today is the Senior Fitness Consultant for Behavioral Sciences for the American Council on Exercise, a behavioral sciences coach, an author and a national fitness-health speaker. 


Why Do You Run? 4 Reasons to Be Motivated

  ·  4 min

Why Do You Run? 4 Reasons to Be Motivated

Improve Your HealthOne of the most common reasons we run, exercise, read fitness magazines and websites and enjoy apps like RockMyRun, is to improve our health. Sure we’ve heard that “exercise is medicine,” but like all medicine, if we don’t take it, it won’t work. And when it comes to running, or any doing any exercise routinely, the motivation for putting on our sneakers and working up a sweat has got to be internal.That means turning the “E” in exercise into “enjoyment” not “excruciating.” Do that by finding your “why” and creating a plan that includes specific, small and measurable steps attached to a written weekly plan. Ensure you do what you say you are going to do by finding a buddy and filling your vision with friendly, not trash, talk about your progress. Do you feel like you are breathing easier already?Look GoodAnother common motivation for exercising is pure vanity—you want to look great in that new bikini or tee shirt. Superficial? No way! Who says wanting to look good is shallow and artificial? Ever apply for a job and show up looking unwell, unkempt, or unhealthy? You get the idea. Whether it’s your wedding, a job interview, your high school or college reunion or the upcoming party, looking good is a prime motivator to put some fuel in your step around the track, on the trail, in the gym or running through the streets of downtown. And by the way, don’t think this is a woman’s motivator. GQ Magazine is pretty, pretty popular!To help you achieve this goal if this is your primary motivation, don’t, repeat don’t, go all out. You might find yourself burning out your flame before its red carpet show time. High intensity interval training that includes planned, focused ups and downs, for about eight cycles, taking no more than about 30 minutes four or five times a week, should be fine coupled with resistance training that focuses on full body activity. Body-sculpting, Pilates, Yoga, TRX, Total Gym, light weights and high reps, are the key here. Lastly, visualize yourself already achieving what you set out to accomplish, seeing yourself in the present bringing that new you to the party. Doesn’t if feel great to be a size 4 or have some muscle under that tee shirt?Socialize“Friends” wasn’t just a widely popular TV show, but socialization is a third reason people decide to workout. The idea of “group ex,” Zumba, Les Mills, biking, hiking, track and running clubs are in large measure successful due to the opportunity for social connection. Many people realize that a great way to connect with others and make new friends is through activities. Ever notice that grass grows without any battles and fruits ripen without any drama? If it’s friends you are looking for, joining a group exercise activity by allowing yourself to be free of self-consciousness will certainly help. Come from a place of acceptance—of yourself and others—and the experience will be easy and effortless.Friends, new or old, can be great cheerleaders and sources of accountability—and you can be the same for others. Set up a social media group and keep tweeting and texting about your experiences—soon enough you’ll attract others to your new passion. Like being a social exercise leader? Check out Fitmob and see if a social group exists near your home yet.Enhance Your MoodFinally, we all get down and blue, worried and irritated and just downright nasty from time to time. Guess what the fourth most common reason people “need to go out for a run”? That’s right! It’s a great mood enhancer. By releasing  and increasing those “feel-good” brain chemicals, decreasing those chemicals that increase anxiety and depression and providing a calming feeling, people find lots of solid motivation to exercise to simply feel happier, more confident, cope more effectively, concentrate easier – all within five minutes after moderate exercise.If this is your primary reason, internal motivation is a high driver and that’s great. You’ll stick with it longer than if your motivation is purely external.  One caveat here is don’t overdo it because you like the way it makes you feel so much.  A plan of about 150 minutes per week of moderate to intense activity will give you the mood enhancement you are looking for. Novelty is important so mix it up. Positive thinking is important to boost mood, so include affirmations such as, “I, Jennifer, already know what it feels like to live my life calmly, successfully and happily.” After an affirmation like this, don’t forget to say “thanks” acting like it’s already present in your life.There you have it. The four top reasons people are buying running shoes, joining gyms, hiring trainers and pushing themselves to sweat—getting and staying healthy, looking good, connecting with friends and feeling happier and more positive. If your main motivation isn’t here, let us know what it is in the comments below.Post contributed by Michael R. Mantell, Ph.D.  Dr. Mantell has served as a long-time Assistant Clinical Professor in the Department of Psychiatry at the University of California, San Diego and today is the Senior Fitness Consultant for Behavioral Sciences for the American Council on Exercise, a behavioral sciences coach, an author and a national fitness-health speaker. 


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How to Run Your First Marathon

  ·  8 min

How to Run Your First Marathon

Running a marathon for the first time is not easy, but with the right guidance, you’ll be in the best position possible to achieve this awesome goal. This post will help you prepare for your first marathon, and future marathons if you fall in love with it like I have. Let’s make that leap into the unknown and scary together! Deciding which marathon is right for youAdditionally, you need to figure out when/where you are racing to determine some key components to your training. For a beginner, I would recommend up to 16 weeks of total training. A lot of great marathons are in the Fall or Spring, so make sure you are also aware of the type of weather you thrive best in and try to pick a race that will match your needs. Personally, I like cooler temperatures so marathons in November and December are typically my favorite.Commit to the goalThe first step to running a marathon is to commit to the goal. The training will be hard, and the commitment and dedication will at times feel overwhelming. But what is hard is not impossible. Embrace each challenge and know that in the end, it will all be worth it. Now that you’ve decided you really want to do this, I would pick a marathon and register. Put in on your calendar; it will help conceptualize the entire process, which will help make everything feel more real and will add a component of accountability to your training. Picking a marathon training planThere are many beginner training plans online so make sure you pick one that excites you and you think you can handle. A few training plans that I trust and recommend are: https://www.halhigdon.com/training-programs/marathon-training/novice-1-marathon/ (For a very novice runner who wants as much guidance as possible at no cost)https://runsmartproject.com/training-plans-old/ (For a beginner who is willing to pay for personalized workouts to match his/her training goals)http://www.jeffgalloway.com/training/marathon-training/ (For a beginner who has been doing some running/walking in the past few weeks)Here’s what you can expect: Typically, each week you want to include a long run (which I will argue is the most important run of the week), a faster-paced interval run (a run that includes some speed and is broken up into different length intervals), and 2-3 easy runs. The long run is crucial because it will be what most simulates what your actual marathon will feel like. The idea of ‘time on feet’ is critical to remember because you want to train your body to be able to handle the cumulative load of being on your feet for many hours at a time. You also want to make sure you include two days a week of supplemental strengthening exercises, which I will get into more detail a bit later. As you progress, you can add more volume/intensity to your week, but I would start with 4-5 days of running and 1-2 days of rest or cross-training (any other form of exercise: i.e. biking, swimming, elliptical, etc.)What running shoes should I buy for a marathon?Before you start running, you want to make sure you have the right shoes. In this day and age, there are hundreds of different shoes to choose from, so I would advise going into your local running store and having them fit you for a pair. The shoe buying process can be overwhelming with all the options and opinions out there, but one general guideline to follow: if the shoe is comfortable and supportive on your foot, you should be fine. Additionally, make sure you practice running in the shoes you will be racing in and try to get a new pair every 300-400 miles. This will help to keep your lower half healthy and feeling fresh.RecoveryAnother key component of your training is RECOVERY!! Recovery is not the absence of training, it is training in itself. A lot of runners struggle with this aspect, but the only way to make real progress in training is to let your body rest and adapt to the training. Many athletes have the flawed mentality that the more they train, the more fit they will become. Ultimately, without recovery one will never improve. It is the rest period after a workout that allows one’s body to adapt to the stress you just put it through and come back stronger than before. Recovery does not just mean rest. It also means making sure to stretch/foam roll to keep your muscles and tendons loose and pliable, eating immediately or as soon as possible after a workout, as well as strengthening exercises to keep you strong and injury-free. It is imperative to make time in your training for stability/mobility exercises, as well as strength-training to improve running form and decrease your likelihood of injury. Sometimes we think that running an extra mile here or there is going to be the difference to our training, but I strongly believe that reducing a run by 5-10 minutes and using that extra time to do strengthening exercises will benefit you much more in the long run (pun intended ). Again, there are a plethora of good resources online for flexibility and strengthening exercises, so find one you like and stick with it. Personally, I have found that Jay Dicharry’s books, Anatomy for Runners and Running Rewired, are phenomenal guides for both flexibility and strengthening exercises. If you don’t want to purchase his books, a few key strength exercises to include in your program twice a week are: Squats (2-3 sets of 8-10 reps)Lunges (2-3 sets of 8-10 reps each leg)Single Leg Romanian Dead Lifts (2-3 sets of 8-10 reps each leg)Plank hold (3x30 sec)Calf raises (2-3 sets of 10-12 reps each leg)This leads me to my next important topic, sleep and nutrition. Sleep and NutritionTo have sufficient energy to fuel your body for the training you will be doing, you must take sleep and nutrition into account. Sleeping 7-9 hours a night is ideal and you want to prioritize a sleep routine that keeps you feeling rested and feeling good. In regard to food, you need to think in terms of fueling your body. You want to make sure that you are giving your body the best possible nutrients to allow it to perform at its best. A lot of runners struggle with the nutrition component, but one of the best ways to think is to have the majority of your diet be comprised of whole foods (minimally processed foods that are close to nature, such as fruits, vegetables, nuts, beans, etc.), whole-grains, and a variety of nutrient-dense foods. Also, the importance of protein for someone training for a marathon is essential. You are stressing your muscles to their limits and you want to replenish them with enough protein to help rebuild them. Lastly, you never want to go too long without eating and don’t tell yourself any food is off limits. Of course, you don’t want to eat an entire chocolate cake, but if you’re craving a piece, then eat one! By listening to your hunger cues and giving your body what it wants, you will be less likely to binge on something that you have told yourself is off limits.You will really want to practice eating before big training runs so you can get familiar with whatworks well for your body before race day. Typically, some great pre-race foods include bananas, toast with peanut butter and honey, and oatmeal. The night before your race you want to focus on eating a meal that has about 60% carbohydrates (pasta, rice, bread), 30% protein, and 10% fat. Finally, you need to practice fueling DURING your training runs. There are now a wide array of energy gels out there to practice with, as well as some liquid carbohydrate based drinks that work great. Personally, I love the Maurten carbohydrate drink and the Gu energy gels. Just make sure you always practice your strategies and NEVER TRY ANYTHING NEW ON RACE DAY.The mental component of running a marathonThe last piece of the puzzle that I think is critical is the mental component. In endurance sports, the mind can play many tricks on the body and it is vital to remember that we are stronger than we think. A huge mantra that has helped me in my running career is to ‘control the controllables’. We don’t have control over the weather or how other people are doing, but we do have control over our attitude and our effort. Do your best to focus on the factors that will put you in the best position to reach your goal. Everything else is irrelevant.You can do this!I’ll just leave you with my favorite quote, “So many of our dreams at first seem impossible, then they seem improbable, and then, when we summon the will, they soon become inevitable.”Go out there and chase down your dreams my friends! Adriana started running competitively in 6th grade and competed at a Varsity level all throughout high school. Her junior year of college at Duke University, she decided to run her first marathon after spontaneously joining a friend for her 16 mile long run. She finished the Disney Marathon in January 2011 in a time of 3:17. Fast forward to now, Adriana has brought her marathon PR down to 2:44, and has run many marathons, most recently the 2018 and 2019 California International Marathon, 2019 Grandma’s Marathon, 2020 Aviation Marathon, and qualified and competed at the 2020 Olympic Marathon Trials in Atlanta, Georgia! She lives in in Winston-Salem, NC and works as a Career Services Specialist at Wake Forest University. 


How to Run Your First Marathon

  ·  8 min

How to Run Your First Marathon

Running a marathon for the first time is not easy, but with the right guidance, you’ll be in the best position possible to achieve this awesome goal. This post will help you prepare for your first marathon, and future marathons if you fall in love with it like I have. Let’s make that leap into the unknown and scary together! Deciding which marathon is right for youAdditionally, you need to figure out when/where you are racing to determine some key components to your training. For a beginner, I would recommend up to 16 weeks of total training. A lot of great marathons are in the Fall or Spring, so make sure you are also aware of the type of weather you thrive best in and try to pick a race that will match your needs. Personally, I like cooler temperatures so marathons in November and December are typically my favorite.Commit to the goalThe first step to running a marathon is to commit to the goal. The training will be hard, and the commitment and dedication will at times feel overwhelming. But what is hard is not impossible. Embrace each challenge and know that in the end, it will all be worth it. Now that you’ve decided you really want to do this, I would pick a marathon and register. Put in on your calendar; it will help conceptualize the entire process, which will help make everything feel more real and will add a component of accountability to your training. Picking a marathon training planThere are many beginner training plans online so make sure you pick one that excites you and you think you can handle. A few training plans that I trust and recommend are: https://www.halhigdon.com/training-programs/marathon-training/novice-1-marathon/ (For a very novice runner who wants as much guidance as possible at no cost)https://runsmartproject.com/training-plans-old/ (For a beginner who is willing to pay for personalized workouts to match his/her training goals)http://www.jeffgalloway.com/training/marathon-training/ (For a beginner who has been doing some running/walking in the past few weeks)Here’s what you can expect: Typically, each week you want to include a long run (which I will argue is the most important run of the week), a faster-paced interval run (a run that includes some speed and is broken up into different length intervals), and 2-3 easy runs. The long run is crucial because it will be what most simulates what your actual marathon will feel like. The idea of ‘time on feet’ is critical to remember because you want to train your body to be able to handle the cumulative load of being on your feet for many hours at a time. You also want to make sure you include two days a week of supplemental strengthening exercises, which I will get into more detail a bit later. As you progress, you can add more volume/intensity to your week, but I would start with 4-5 days of running and 1-2 days of rest or cross-training (any other form of exercise: i.e. biking, swimming, elliptical, etc.)What running shoes should I buy for a marathon?Before you start running, you want to make sure you have the right shoes. In this day and age, there are hundreds of different shoes to choose from, so I would advise going into your local running store and having them fit you for a pair. The shoe buying process can be overwhelming with all the options and opinions out there, but one general guideline to follow: if the shoe is comfortable and supportive on your foot, you should be fine. Additionally, make sure you practice running in the shoes you will be racing in and try to get a new pair every 300-400 miles. This will help to keep your lower half healthy and feeling fresh.RecoveryAnother key component of your training is RECOVERY!! Recovery is not the absence of training, it is training in itself. A lot of runners struggle with this aspect, but the only way to make real progress in training is to let your body rest and adapt to the training. Many athletes have the flawed mentality that the more they train, the more fit they will become. Ultimately, without recovery one will never improve. It is the rest period after a workout that allows one’s body to adapt to the stress you just put it through and come back stronger than before. Recovery does not just mean rest. It also means making sure to stretch/foam roll to keep your muscles and tendons loose and pliable, eating immediately or as soon as possible after a workout, as well as strengthening exercises to keep you strong and injury-free. It is imperative to make time in your training for stability/mobility exercises, as well as strength-training to improve running form and decrease your likelihood of injury. Sometimes we think that running an extra mile here or there is going to be the difference to our training, but I strongly believe that reducing a run by 5-10 minutes and using that extra time to do strengthening exercises will benefit you much more in the long run (pun intended ). Again, there are a plethora of good resources online for flexibility and strengthening exercises, so find one you like and stick with it. Personally, I have found that Jay Dicharry’s books, Anatomy for Runners and Running Rewired, are phenomenal guides for both flexibility and strengthening exercises. If you don’t want to purchase his books, a few key strength exercises to include in your program twice a week are: Squats (2-3 sets of 8-10 reps)Lunges (2-3 sets of 8-10 reps each leg)Single Leg Romanian Dead Lifts (2-3 sets of 8-10 reps each leg)Plank hold (3x30 sec)Calf raises (2-3 sets of 10-12 reps each leg)This leads me to my next important topic, sleep and nutrition. Sleep and NutritionTo have sufficient energy to fuel your body for the training you will be doing, you must take sleep and nutrition into account. Sleeping 7-9 hours a night is ideal and you want to prioritize a sleep routine that keeps you feeling rested and feeling good. In regard to food, you need to think in terms of fueling your body. You want to make sure that you are giving your body the best possible nutrients to allow it to perform at its best. A lot of runners struggle with the nutrition component, but one of the best ways to think is to have the majority of your diet be comprised of whole foods (minimally processed foods that are close to nature, such as fruits, vegetables, nuts, beans, etc.), whole-grains, and a variety of nutrient-dense foods. Also, the importance of protein for someone training for a marathon is essential. You are stressing your muscles to their limits and you want to replenish them with enough protein to help rebuild them. Lastly, you never want to go too long without eating and don’t tell yourself any food is off limits. Of course, you don’t want to eat an entire chocolate cake, but if you’re craving a piece, then eat one! By listening to your hunger cues and giving your body what it wants, you will be less likely to binge on something that you have told yourself is off limits.You will really want to practice eating before big training runs so you can get familiar with whatworks well for your body before race day. Typically, some great pre-race foods include bananas, toast with peanut butter and honey, and oatmeal. The night before your race you want to focus on eating a meal that has about 60% carbohydrates (pasta, rice, bread), 30% protein, and 10% fat. Finally, you need to practice fueling DURING your training runs. There are now a wide array of energy gels out there to practice with, as well as some liquid carbohydrate based drinks that work great. Personally, I love the Maurten carbohydrate drink and the Gu energy gels. Just make sure you always practice your strategies and NEVER TRY ANYTHING NEW ON RACE DAY.The mental component of running a marathonThe last piece of the puzzle that I think is critical is the mental component. In endurance sports, the mind can play many tricks on the body and it is vital to remember that we are stronger than we think. A huge mantra that has helped me in my running career is to ‘control the controllables’. We don’t have control over the weather or how other people are doing, but we do have control over our attitude and our effort. Do your best to focus on the factors that will put you in the best position to reach your goal. Everything else is irrelevant.You can do this!I’ll just leave you with my favorite quote, “So many of our dreams at first seem impossible, then they seem improbable, and then, when we summon the will, they soon become inevitable.”Go out there and chase down your dreams my friends! Adriana started running competitively in 6th grade and competed at a Varsity level all throughout high school. Her junior year of college at Duke University, she decided to run her first marathon after spontaneously joining a friend for her 16 mile long run. She finished the Disney Marathon in January 2011 in a time of 3:17. Fast forward to now, Adriana has brought her marathon PR down to 2:44, and has run many marathons, most recently the 2018 and 2019 California International Marathon, 2019 Grandma’s Marathon, 2020 Aviation Marathon, and qualified and competed at the 2020 Olympic Marathon Trials in Atlanta, Georgia! She lives in in Winston-Salem, NC and works as a Career Services Specialist at Wake Forest University. 


RockMyRun User Feedback Survey Results

  ·  2 min

RockMyRun User Feedback Survey Results

We’re always looking to improve our app, and wanted to make sure that we understood where our current opportunities were. So in May of 2020, we sent out a survey to our most active RockMyRun users. Primarily, we wanted to know how the app was doing, but we also geek out on data and wanted to see how people are using RockMyRun.Here are the results! How often do people use RockMyRun?We found that 32% of our users use RockMyRun 3-4 times a week. That’s a very high number, meaning that people use our app almost every day. That was exciting for us to see, and we were also impressed with our users dedication to fitness! What do people use RockMyRun For?Not surprisingly, most users (76%!) use RockMyRun for running, but people also like to use it for walking, cardio, erights, group fitness classes, cycling, and more!We also had some really interesting “Other” write-ins, such as cooking, mowing the lawn, cleaning, driving, and as background music for gatherings with friends. Who’s using the Tempo Changing Feature? One of the features that sets RockMyRun apart from other apps is the automatic tempo changing based on GPS, heart rate, etc. So we were curious: How many people are currently using this feature?We were glad that the majority were taking advantage of this feature, but only 63%!Here’s how people were using this feature:79% of users manually set their BPM, while only 35% connect it to their steps, and only 18% connect it to their heart rate.What new features did people request?Most responses said that integrating with speakers, such as Bose® or Sonos®, would be a valuable feature.Additionally, most people also said they’d love to have RockMyRun work on an AppleWatch without needing to have their device near. We also received feedback that we need to improve the music discovery process, which is something we are already working on!We hope you find these results as interesting as we do!Do you agree? Where do you stack up? We’d love to hear in the comments.


RockMyRun User Feedback Survey Results

  ·  2 min

RockMyRun User Feedback Survey Results

We’re always looking to improve our app, and wanted to make sure that we understood where our current opportunities were. So in May of 2020, we sent out a survey to our most active RockMyRun users. Primarily, we wanted to know how the app was doing, but we also geek out on data and wanted to see how people are using RockMyRun.Here are the results! How often do people use RockMyRun?We found that 32% of our users use RockMyRun 3-4 times a week. That’s a very high number, meaning that people use our app almost every day. That was exciting for us to see, and we were also impressed with our users dedication to fitness! What do people use RockMyRun For?Not surprisingly, most users (76%!) use RockMyRun for running, but people also like to use it for walking, cardio, erights, group fitness classes, cycling, and more!We also had some really interesting “Other” write-ins, such as cooking, mowing the lawn, cleaning, driving, and as background music for gatherings with friends. Who’s using the Tempo Changing Feature? One of the features that sets RockMyRun apart from other apps is the automatic tempo changing based on GPS, heart rate, etc. So we were curious: How many people are currently using this feature?We were glad that the majority were taking advantage of this feature, but only 63%!Here’s how people were using this feature:79% of users manually set their BPM, while only 35% connect it to their steps, and only 18% connect it to their heart rate.What new features did people request?Most responses said that integrating with speakers, such as Bose® or Sonos®, would be a valuable feature.Additionally, most people also said they’d love to have RockMyRun work on an AppleWatch without needing to have their device near. We also received feedback that we need to improve the music discovery process, which is something we are already working on!We hope you find these results as interesting as we do!Do you agree? Where do you stack up? We’d love to hear in the comments.


Top 10 Rules of the Road

  ·  3 min

Top 10 Rules of the Road

Looking for a few ways to make the most out of your running experience? Follow my Top 10 Rules of the Road for a more enjoyable, less stressful run.1. Be ThankfulIf you are fortunate enough to be able to run at your own discretion, be grateful for that gift.  Some people do not have that ability.  Embrace the gift, because it can be taken away in an instant.2. Just Do ItThe more you think about it, the less likely you are to actually do it.  Don’t think.  Just do.3. Ditch the Jordan’sBaggy short are to running what oil is to water – they just don’t mix!  So get rid of the high tops shoes and wife beaters and pick up some running-specific gear.  Not only will you actually look like a runner, but you will feel and perform like one too.4. This Isn’t GymnasticsWe’re not on the pummel horse here, we’re on the pavement.  Nobody cares about your splits.  If somebody wants to know how fast your individual mile times are, they’ll ask.5. Shut Up and RunNobody likes a whiner, not even other whiners.  If you wait for perfect conditions, your muscles to stop aching, or your schedule to open up, you’re not going to get very far.  Embrace the wind.  Learn to love 20 degree runs.6. FamiliarityWhether it’s a spoonful of butter, a bowl of oatmeal, or a 20 ounce Mountain Dew, put the same foods in your body prior to your run.  Do not eat anything your body is unaccustomed to.  Trust me; I’ve learned this the hard way.  Your stomach and digestive system will thank you around mile 10.7. Pre-Game RitualAlways.  Always.  Always.  Make a visit to the restroom before a long run.  Just as with Rule 6, your stomach will be happy you did this.8. Mix It UpRun alone.  Run with people.  Run on the treadmill.  Run on the road.  Run intervals.  Run distance.  Specificity is important when training for a race or a certain distance.  But variety will limit boredom and give you different workouts to look forward to.9. We Are All EqualRunners are as varied as any group of people in the world.  Some of us are sprinters while others prefer distance.  Some of us like to listen to the pounding of feet against the pavement and some like the pounding of music in our headphones.  As different as we may be, we are also equal because we are runners.10. Enjoy it!This is why I run.  I make it a personal goal to enjoy every run, whether it’s a struggle or not.  So, take a break every once in a while and remember why you run.  Find what you enjoy about it and keep that close to you.As a holiday gift for you all, I’m leaving you with one of my favorite treadmill workouts.  I call this the High/Low Workout.  As the name indicates, you will alternate between high and low running speeds on the treadmill.  I usually set my intervals for 30 seconds at a high intensity followed by 30 seconds of low intensity running.  Each set usually lasts for 5-6 minutes, with a 1 minute walk in between sets.To give you an idea of what the High/Low entails, here is what a typical workout looks like for me:Set 1: 8.0 MPH/6.0 MPH – 5 MinutesSet 2: 8.5 MPH/6.0 MPH – 5 MinutesSet 3: 9.0 MPH/5.5 MPH – 5 MinutesSet 4: 9.5 MPH/5.5 MPH – 5 MinutesSet 5: 10.0 MPH/5.0 MPH – 5 MinutesDo you have any of your own Rules of the Road?  Leave your favorite rule in the comment box below!Post contributed by Brock Jones.  Brock is Co-Owner and Head Trainer with BodyFIT, Inc. in Lexington, KY. He holds a Masters of Science in Exercise Physiology from the University of Kentucky and is an NSCA Certified Strength and Conditioning Specialist.  You can read more of Brock’s posts about fitness and exercise on the BodyFIT Punch Blog.


Top 10 Rules of the Road

  ·  3 min

Top 10 Rules of the Road

Looking for a few ways to make the most out of your running experience? Follow my Top 10 Rules of the Road for a more enjoyable, less stressful run.1. Be ThankfulIf you are fortunate enough to be able to run at your own discretion, be grateful for that gift.  Some people do not have that ability.  Embrace the gift, because it can be taken away in an instant.2. Just Do ItThe more you think about it, the less likely you are to actually do it.  Don’t think.  Just do.3. Ditch the Jordan’sBaggy short are to running what oil is to water – they just don’t mix!  So get rid of the high tops shoes and wife beaters and pick up some running-specific gear.  Not only will you actually look like a runner, but you will feel and perform like one too.4. This Isn’t GymnasticsWe’re not on the pummel horse here, we’re on the pavement.  Nobody cares about your splits.  If somebody wants to know how fast your individual mile times are, they’ll ask.5. Shut Up and RunNobody likes a whiner, not even other whiners.  If you wait for perfect conditions, your muscles to stop aching, or your schedule to open up, you’re not going to get very far.  Embrace the wind.  Learn to love 20 degree runs.6. FamiliarityWhether it’s a spoonful of butter, a bowl of oatmeal, or a 20 ounce Mountain Dew, put the same foods in your body prior to your run.  Do not eat anything your body is unaccustomed to.  Trust me; I’ve learned this the hard way.  Your stomach and digestive system will thank you around mile 10.7. Pre-Game RitualAlways.  Always.  Always.  Make a visit to the restroom before a long run.  Just as with Rule 6, your stomach will be happy you did this.8. Mix It UpRun alone.  Run with people.  Run on the treadmill.  Run on the road.  Run intervals.  Run distance.  Specificity is important when training for a race or a certain distance.  But variety will limit boredom and give you different workouts to look forward to.9. We Are All EqualRunners are as varied as any group of people in the world.  Some of us are sprinters while others prefer distance.  Some of us like to listen to the pounding of feet against the pavement and some like the pounding of music in our headphones.  As different as we may be, we are also equal because we are runners.10. Enjoy it!This is why I run.  I make it a personal goal to enjoy every run, whether it’s a struggle or not.  So, take a break every once in a while and remember why you run.  Find what you enjoy about it and keep that close to you.As a holiday gift for you all, I’m leaving you with one of my favorite treadmill workouts.  I call this the High/Low Workout.  As the name indicates, you will alternate between high and low running speeds on the treadmill.  I usually set my intervals for 30 seconds at a high intensity followed by 30 seconds of low intensity running.  Each set usually lasts for 5-6 minutes, with a 1 minute walk in between sets.To give you an idea of what the High/Low entails, here is what a typical workout looks like for me:Set 1: 8.0 MPH/6.0 MPH – 5 MinutesSet 2: 8.5 MPH/6.0 MPH – 5 MinutesSet 3: 9.0 MPH/5.5 MPH – 5 MinutesSet 4: 9.5 MPH/5.5 MPH – 5 MinutesSet 5: 10.0 MPH/5.0 MPH – 5 MinutesDo you have any of your own Rules of the Road?  Leave your favorite rule in the comment box below!Post contributed by Brock Jones.  Brock is Co-Owner and Head Trainer with BodyFIT, Inc. in Lexington, KY. He holds a Masters of Science in Exercise Physiology from the University of Kentucky and is an NSCA Certified Strength and Conditioning Specialist.  You can read more of Brock’s posts about fitness and exercise on the BodyFIT Punch Blog.


Music Synchronizes To Your Heartbeat With RockMyRun

  ·  1 min

Music Synchronizes To Your Heartbeat With RockMyRun

Are you ready to love your run with all your heart? Then good news – we have just launched a lovely new feature on our iPhone app called myBeat™ Heart, which leverages your heartbeat to dictate the tempo of the music. You read that right—imagine Taylor Swift, Blake Shelton, Avicii or Bon Jovi singing along to the beat of your heart!So how exactly does it work?The RockMyRun app and myBeat™ Heart feature pairs with (almost) any Bluetooth or Ant+ heart rate monitor. (Looking to buy a heart rate monitor? We’re fans of the brands Mio Global and Pear Sports) Once running, we’ll monitor when you switch heart rate zones and adjust the music’s beats per minute (BPM) to correlate. Don’t worry—once your heart rate hits max zones, we’ll level off the BPM/tempo to create a calming (as opposed to frantic) experience.Getting started with the myBeat™ Heart feature is simple, here’s how to do so:Fire up your Bluetooth or Ant+ heart rate monitorSelect your favorite downloaded RockMyRun mix from your MyMixesHit play and then select myBeat™ HeartGo through a one time setup to pair RockMyRun with your deviceStart rockin’!myBeatTM Heart will join our already popular myBeat feature suite, which includes myBeat™ Manual and myBeat™ Steps. As a reminder, myBeat™ Manual lets you manually set the music tempo to your goal cadence, while myBeat™ Steps enables you to let the tempo of any steady BPM mix automatically adjust so that the beat matches every step you take!Ready to start rocking in a whole new way? Download the app


Music Synchronizes To Your Heartbeat With RockMyRun

  ·  1 min

Music Synchronizes To Your Heartbeat With RockMyRun

Are you ready to love your run with all your heart? Then good news – we have just launched a lovely new feature on our iPhone app called myBeat™ Heart, which leverages your heartbeat to dictate the tempo of the music. You read that right—imagine Taylor Swift, Blake Shelton, Avicii or Bon Jovi singing along to the beat of your heart!So how exactly does it work?The RockMyRun app and myBeat™ Heart feature pairs with (almost) any Bluetooth or Ant+ heart rate monitor. (Looking to buy a heart rate monitor? We’re fans of the brands Mio Global and Pear Sports) Once running, we’ll monitor when you switch heart rate zones and adjust the music’s beats per minute (BPM) to correlate. Don’t worry—once your heart rate hits max zones, we’ll level off the BPM/tempo to create a calming (as opposed to frantic) experience.Getting started with the myBeat™ Heart feature is simple, here’s how to do so:Fire up your Bluetooth or Ant+ heart rate monitorSelect your favorite downloaded RockMyRun mix from your MyMixesHit play and then select myBeat™ HeartGo through a one time setup to pair RockMyRun with your deviceStart rockin’!myBeatTM Heart will join our already popular myBeat feature suite, which includes myBeat™ Manual and myBeat™ Steps. As a reminder, myBeat™ Manual lets you manually set the music tempo to your goal cadence, while myBeat™ Steps enables you to let the tempo of any steady BPM mix automatically adjust so that the beat matches every step you take!Ready to start rocking in a whole new way? Download the app


Why Do You Run? 4 Reasons to Be Motivated

  ·  4 min

Why Do You Run? 4 Reasons to Be Motivated

Improve Your HealthOne of the most common reasons we run, exercise, read fitness magazines and websites and enjoy apps like RockMyRun, is to improve our health. Sure we’ve heard that “exercise is medicine,” but like all medicine, if we don’t take it, it won’t work. And when it comes to running, or any doing any exercise routinely, the motivation for putting on our sneakers and working up a sweat has got to be internal.That means turning the “E” in exercise into “enjoyment” not “excruciating.” Do that by finding your “why” and creating a plan that includes specific, small and measurable steps attached to a written weekly plan. Ensure you do what you say you are going to do by finding a buddy and filling your vision with friendly, not trash, talk about your progress. Do you feel like you are breathing easier already?Look GoodAnother common motivation for exercising is pure vanity—you want to look great in that new bikini or tee shirt. Superficial? No way! Who says wanting to look good is shallow and artificial? Ever apply for a job and show up looking unwell, unkempt, or unhealthy? You get the idea. Whether it’s your wedding, a job interview, your high school or college reunion or the upcoming party, looking good is a prime motivator to put some fuel in your step around the track, on the trail, in the gym or running through the streets of downtown. And by the way, don’t think this is a woman’s motivator. GQ Magazine is pretty, pretty popular!To help you achieve this goal if this is your primary motivation, don’t, repeat don’t, go all out. You might find yourself burning out your flame before its red carpet show time. High intensity interval training that includes planned, focused ups and downs, for about eight cycles, taking no more than about 30 minutes four or five times a week, should be fine coupled with resistance training that focuses on full body activity. Body-sculpting, Pilates, Yoga, TRX, Total Gym, light weights and high reps, are the key here. Lastly, visualize yourself already achieving what you set out to accomplish, seeing yourself in the present bringing that new you to the party. Doesn’t if feel great to be a size 4 or have some muscle under that tee shirt?Socialize“Friends” wasn’t just a widely popular TV show, but socialization is a third reason people decide to workout. The idea of “group ex,” Zumba, Les Mills, biking, hiking, track and running clubs are in large measure successful due to the opportunity for social connection. Many people realize that a great way to connect with others and make new friends is through activities. Ever notice that grass grows without any battles and fruits ripen without any drama? If it’s friends you are looking for, joining a group exercise activity by allowing yourself to be free of self-consciousness will certainly help. Come from a place of acceptance—of yourself and others—and the experience will be easy and effortless.Friends, new or old, can be great cheerleaders and sources of accountability—and you can be the same for others. Set up a social media group and keep tweeting and texting about your experiences—soon enough you’ll attract others to your new passion. Like being a social exercise leader? Check out Fitmob and see if a social group exists near your home yet.Enhance Your MoodFinally, we all get down and blue, worried and irritated and just downright nasty from time to time. Guess what the fourth most common reason people “need to go out for a run”? That’s right! It’s a great mood enhancer. By releasing  and increasing those “feel-good” brain chemicals, decreasing those chemicals that increase anxiety and depression and providing a calming feeling, people find lots of solid motivation to exercise to simply feel happier, more confident, cope more effectively, concentrate easier – all within five minutes after moderate exercise.If this is your primary reason, internal motivation is a high driver and that’s great. You’ll stick with it longer than if your motivation is purely external.  One caveat here is don’t overdo it because you like the way it makes you feel so much.  A plan of about 150 minutes per week of moderate to intense activity will give you the mood enhancement you are looking for. Novelty is important so mix it up. Positive thinking is important to boost mood, so include affirmations such as, “I, Jennifer, already know what it feels like to live my life calmly, successfully and happily.” After an affirmation like this, don’t forget to say “thanks” acting like it’s already present in your life.There you have it. The four top reasons people are buying running shoes, joining gyms, hiring trainers and pushing themselves to sweat—getting and staying healthy, looking good, connecting with friends and feeling happier and more positive. If your main motivation isn’t here, let us know what it is in the comments below.Post contributed by Michael R. Mantell, Ph.D.  Dr. Mantell has served as a long-time Assistant Clinical Professor in the Department of Psychiatry at the University of California, San Diego and today is the Senior Fitness Consultant for Behavioral Sciences for the American Council on Exercise, a behavioral sciences coach, an author and a national fitness-health speaker. 


Why Do You Run? 4 Reasons to Be Motivated

  ·  4 min

Why Do You Run? 4 Reasons to Be Motivated

Improve Your HealthOne of the most common reasons we run, exercise, read fitness magazines and websites and enjoy apps like RockMyRun, is to improve our health. Sure we’ve heard that “exercise is medicine,” but like all medicine, if we don’t take it, it won’t work. And when it comes to running, or any doing any exercise routinely, the motivation for putting on our sneakers and working up a sweat has got to be internal.That means turning the “E” in exercise into “enjoyment” not “excruciating.” Do that by finding your “why” and creating a plan that includes specific, small and measurable steps attached to a written weekly plan. Ensure you do what you say you are going to do by finding a buddy and filling your vision with friendly, not trash, talk about your progress. Do you feel like you are breathing easier already?Look GoodAnother common motivation for exercising is pure vanity—you want to look great in that new bikini or tee shirt. Superficial? No way! Who says wanting to look good is shallow and artificial? Ever apply for a job and show up looking unwell, unkempt, or unhealthy? You get the idea. Whether it’s your wedding, a job interview, your high school or college reunion or the upcoming party, looking good is a prime motivator to put some fuel in your step around the track, on the trail, in the gym or running through the streets of downtown. And by the way, don’t think this is a woman’s motivator. GQ Magazine is pretty, pretty popular!To help you achieve this goal if this is your primary motivation, don’t, repeat don’t, go all out. You might find yourself burning out your flame before its red carpet show time. High intensity interval training that includes planned, focused ups and downs, for about eight cycles, taking no more than about 30 minutes four or five times a week, should be fine coupled with resistance training that focuses on full body activity. Body-sculpting, Pilates, Yoga, TRX, Total Gym, light weights and high reps, are the key here. Lastly, visualize yourself already achieving what you set out to accomplish, seeing yourself in the present bringing that new you to the party. Doesn’t if feel great to be a size 4 or have some muscle under that tee shirt?Socialize“Friends” wasn’t just a widely popular TV show, but socialization is a third reason people decide to workout. The idea of “group ex,” Zumba, Les Mills, biking, hiking, track and running clubs are in large measure successful due to the opportunity for social connection. Many people realize that a great way to connect with others and make new friends is through activities. Ever notice that grass grows without any battles and fruits ripen without any drama? If it’s friends you are looking for, joining a group exercise activity by allowing yourself to be free of self-consciousness will certainly help. Come from a place of acceptance—of yourself and others—and the experience will be easy and effortless.Friends, new or old, can be great cheerleaders and sources of accountability—and you can be the same for others. Set up a social media group and keep tweeting and texting about your experiences—soon enough you’ll attract others to your new passion. Like being a social exercise leader? Check out Fitmob and see if a social group exists near your home yet.Enhance Your MoodFinally, we all get down and blue, worried and irritated and just downright nasty from time to time. Guess what the fourth most common reason people “need to go out for a run”? That’s right! It’s a great mood enhancer. By releasing  and increasing those “feel-good” brain chemicals, decreasing those chemicals that increase anxiety and depression and providing a calming feeling, people find lots of solid motivation to exercise to simply feel happier, more confident, cope more effectively, concentrate easier – all within five minutes after moderate exercise.If this is your primary reason, internal motivation is a high driver and that’s great. You’ll stick with it longer than if your motivation is purely external.  One caveat here is don’t overdo it because you like the way it makes you feel so much.  A plan of about 150 minutes per week of moderate to intense activity will give you the mood enhancement you are looking for. Novelty is important so mix it up. Positive thinking is important to boost mood, so include affirmations such as, “I, Jennifer, already know what it feels like to live my life calmly, successfully and happily.” After an affirmation like this, don’t forget to say “thanks” acting like it’s already present in your life.There you have it. The four top reasons people are buying running shoes, joining gyms, hiring trainers and pushing themselves to sweat—getting and staying healthy, looking good, connecting with friends and feeling happier and more positive. If your main motivation isn’t here, let us know what it is in the comments below.Post contributed by Michael R. Mantell, Ph.D.  Dr. Mantell has served as a long-time Assistant Clinical Professor in the Department of Psychiatry at the University of California, San Diego and today is the Senior Fitness Consultant for Behavioral Sciences for the American Council on Exercise, a behavioral sciences coach, an author and a national fitness-health speaker. 


How to Run Your First Marathon

  ·  8 min

How to Run Your First Marathon

Running a marathon for the first time is not easy, but with the right guidance, you’ll be in the best position possible to achieve this awesome goal. This post will help you prepare for your first marathon, and future marathons if you fall in love with it like I have. Let’s make that leap into the unknown and scary together! Deciding which marathon is right for youAdditionally, you need to figure out when/where you are racing to determine some key components to your training. For a beginner, I would recommend up to 16 weeks of total training. A lot of great marathons are in the Fall or Spring, so make sure you are also aware of the type of weather you thrive best in and try to pick a race that will match your needs. Personally, I like cooler temperatures so marathons in November and December are typically my favorite.Commit to the goalThe first step to running a marathon is to commit to the goal. The training will be hard, and the commitment and dedication will at times feel overwhelming. But what is hard is not impossible. Embrace each challenge and know that in the end, it will all be worth it. Now that you’ve decided you really want to do this, I would pick a marathon and register. Put in on your calendar; it will help conceptualize the entire process, which will help make everything feel more real and will add a component of accountability to your training. Picking a marathon training planThere are many beginner training plans online so make sure you pick one that excites you and you think you can handle. A few training plans that I trust and recommend are: https://www.halhigdon.com/training-programs/marathon-training/novice-1-marathon/ (For a very novice runner who wants as much guidance as possible at no cost)https://runsmartproject.com/training-plans-old/ (For a beginner who is willing to pay for personalized workouts to match his/her training goals)http://www.jeffgalloway.com/training/marathon-training/ (For a beginner who has been doing some running/walking in the past few weeks)Here’s what you can expect: Typically, each week you want to include a long run (which I will argue is the most important run of the week), a faster-paced interval run (a run that includes some speed and is broken up into different length intervals), and 2-3 easy runs. The long run is crucial because it will be what most simulates what your actual marathon will feel like. The idea of ‘time on feet’ is critical to remember because you want to train your body to be able to handle the cumulative load of being on your feet for many hours at a time. You also want to make sure you include two days a week of supplemental strengthening exercises, which I will get into more detail a bit later. As you progress, you can add more volume/intensity to your week, but I would start with 4-5 days of running and 1-2 days of rest or cross-training (any other form of exercise: i.e. biking, swimming, elliptical, etc.)What running shoes should I buy for a marathon?Before you start running, you want to make sure you have the right shoes. In this day and age, there are hundreds of different shoes to choose from, so I would advise going into your local running store and having them fit you for a pair. The shoe buying process can be overwhelming with all the options and opinions out there, but one general guideline to follow: if the shoe is comfortable and supportive on your foot, you should be fine. Additionally, make sure you practice running in the shoes you will be racing in and try to get a new pair every 300-400 miles. This will help to keep your lower half healthy and feeling fresh.RecoveryAnother key component of your training is RECOVERY!! Recovery is not the absence of training, it is training in itself. A lot of runners struggle with this aspect, but the only way to make real progress in training is to let your body rest and adapt to the training. Many athletes have the flawed mentality that the more they train, the more fit they will become. Ultimately, without recovery one will never improve. It is the rest period after a workout that allows one’s body to adapt to the stress you just put it through and come back stronger than before. Recovery does not just mean rest. It also means making sure to stretch/foam roll to keep your muscles and tendons loose and pliable, eating immediately or as soon as possible after a workout, as well as strengthening exercises to keep you strong and injury-free. It is imperative to make time in your training for stability/mobility exercises, as well as strength-training to improve running form and decrease your likelihood of injury. Sometimes we think that running an extra mile here or there is going to be the difference to our training, but I strongly believe that reducing a run by 5-10 minutes and using that extra time to do strengthening exercises will benefit you much more in the long run (pun intended ). Again, there are a plethora of good resources online for flexibility and strengthening exercises, so find one you like and stick with it. Personally, I have found that Jay Dicharry’s books, Anatomy for Runners and Running Rewired, are phenomenal guides for both flexibility and strengthening exercises. If you don’t want to purchase his books, a few key strength exercises to include in your program twice a week are: Squats (2-3 sets of 8-10 reps)Lunges (2-3 sets of 8-10 reps each leg)Single Leg Romanian Dead Lifts (2-3 sets of 8-10 reps each leg)Plank hold (3x30 sec)Calf raises (2-3 sets of 10-12 reps each leg)This leads me to my next important topic, sleep and nutrition. Sleep and NutritionTo have sufficient energy to fuel your body for the training you will be doing, you must take sleep and nutrition into account. Sleeping 7-9 hours a night is ideal and you want to prioritize a sleep routine that keeps you feeling rested and feeling good. In regard to food, you need to think in terms of fueling your body. You want to make sure that you are giving your body the best possible nutrients to allow it to perform at its best. A lot of runners struggle with the nutrition component, but one of the best ways to think is to have the majority of your diet be comprised of whole foods (minimally processed foods that are close to nature, such as fruits, vegetables, nuts, beans, etc.), whole-grains, and a variety of nutrient-dense foods. Also, the importance of protein for someone training for a marathon is essential. You are stressing your muscles to their limits and you want to replenish them with enough protein to help rebuild them. Lastly, you never want to go too long without eating and don’t tell yourself any food is off limits. Of course, you don’t want to eat an entire chocolate cake, but if you’re craving a piece, then eat one! By listening to your hunger cues and giving your body what it wants, you will be less likely to binge on something that you have told yourself is off limits.You will really want to practice eating before big training runs so you can get familiar with whatworks well for your body before race day. Typically, some great pre-race foods include bananas, toast with peanut butter and honey, and oatmeal. The night before your race you want to focus on eating a meal that has about 60% carbohydrates (pasta, rice, bread), 30% protein, and 10% fat. Finally, you need to practice fueling DURING your training runs. There are now a wide array of energy gels out there to practice with, as well as some liquid carbohydrate based drinks that work great. Personally, I love the Maurten carbohydrate drink and the Gu energy gels. Just make sure you always practice your strategies and NEVER TRY ANYTHING NEW ON RACE DAY.The mental component of running a marathonThe last piece of the puzzle that I think is critical is the mental component. In endurance sports, the mind can play many tricks on the body and it is vital to remember that we are stronger than we think. A huge mantra that has helped me in my running career is to ‘control the controllables’. We don’t have control over the weather or how other people are doing, but we do have control over our attitude and our effort. Do your best to focus on the factors that will put you in the best position to reach your goal. Everything else is irrelevant.You can do this!I’ll just leave you with my favorite quote, “So many of our dreams at first seem impossible, then they seem improbable, and then, when we summon the will, they soon become inevitable.”Go out there and chase down your dreams my friends! Adriana started running competitively in 6th grade and competed at a Varsity level all throughout high school. Her junior year of college at Duke University, she decided to run her first marathon after spontaneously joining a friend for her 16 mile long run. She finished the Disney Marathon in January 2011 in a time of 3:17. Fast forward to now, Adriana has brought her marathon PR down to 2:44, and has run many marathons, most recently the 2018 and 2019 California International Marathon, 2019 Grandma’s Marathon, 2020 Aviation Marathon, and qualified and competed at the 2020 Olympic Marathon Trials in Atlanta, Georgia! She lives in in Winston-Salem, NC and works as a Career Services Specialist at Wake Forest University. 


How to Run Your First Marathon

  ·  8 min

How to Run Your First Marathon

Running a marathon for the first time is not easy, but with the right guidance, you’ll be in the best position possible to achieve this awesome goal. This post will help you prepare for your first marathon, and future marathons if you fall in love with it like I have. Let’s make that leap into the unknown and scary together! Deciding which marathon is right for youAdditionally, you need to figure out when/where you are racing to determine some key components to your training. For a beginner, I would recommend up to 16 weeks of total training. A lot of great marathons are in the Fall or Spring, so make sure you are also aware of the type of weather you thrive best in and try to pick a race that will match your needs. Personally, I like cooler temperatures so marathons in November and December are typically my favorite.Commit to the goalThe first step to running a marathon is to commit to the goal. The training will be hard, and the commitment and dedication will at times feel overwhelming. But what is hard is not impossible. Embrace each challenge and know that in the end, it will all be worth it. Now that you’ve decided you really want to do this, I would pick a marathon and register. Put in on your calendar; it will help conceptualize the entire process, which will help make everything feel more real and will add a component of accountability to your training. Picking a marathon training planThere are many beginner training plans online so make sure you pick one that excites you and you think you can handle. A few training plans that I trust and recommend are: https://www.halhigdon.com/training-programs/marathon-training/novice-1-marathon/ (For a very novice runner who wants as much guidance as possible at no cost)https://runsmartproject.com/training-plans-old/ (For a beginner who is willing to pay for personalized workouts to match his/her training goals)http://www.jeffgalloway.com/training/marathon-training/ (For a beginner who has been doing some running/walking in the past few weeks)Here’s what you can expect: Typically, each week you want to include a long run (which I will argue is the most important run of the week), a faster-paced interval run (a run that includes some speed and is broken up into different length intervals), and 2-3 easy runs. The long run is crucial because it will be what most simulates what your actual marathon will feel like. The idea of ‘time on feet’ is critical to remember because you want to train your body to be able to handle the cumulative load of being on your feet for many hours at a time. You also want to make sure you include two days a week of supplemental strengthening exercises, which I will get into more detail a bit later. As you progress, you can add more volume/intensity to your week, but I would start with 4-5 days of running and 1-2 days of rest or cross-training (any other form of exercise: i.e. biking, swimming, elliptical, etc.)What running shoes should I buy for a marathon?Before you start running, you want to make sure you have the right shoes. In this day and age, there are hundreds of different shoes to choose from, so I would advise going into your local running store and having them fit you for a pair. The shoe buying process can be overwhelming with all the options and opinions out there, but one general guideline to follow: if the shoe is comfortable and supportive on your foot, you should be fine. Additionally, make sure you practice running in the shoes you will be racing in and try to get a new pair every 300-400 miles. This will help to keep your lower half healthy and feeling fresh.RecoveryAnother key component of your training is RECOVERY!! Recovery is not the absence of training, it is training in itself. A lot of runners struggle with this aspect, but the only way to make real progress in training is to let your body rest and adapt to the training. Many athletes have the flawed mentality that the more they train, the more fit they will become. Ultimately, without recovery one will never improve. It is the rest period after a workout that allows one’s body to adapt to the stress you just put it through and come back stronger than before. Recovery does not just mean rest. It also means making sure to stretch/foam roll to keep your muscles and tendons loose and pliable, eating immediately or as soon as possible after a workout, as well as strengthening exercises to keep you strong and injury-free. It is imperative to make time in your training for stability/mobility exercises, as well as strength-training to improve running form and decrease your likelihood of injury. Sometimes we think that running an extra mile here or there is going to be the difference to our training, but I strongly believe that reducing a run by 5-10 minutes and using that extra time to do strengthening exercises will benefit you much more in the long run (pun intended ). Again, there are a plethora of good resources online for flexibility and strengthening exercises, so find one you like and stick with it. Personally, I have found that Jay Dicharry’s books, Anatomy for Runners and Running Rewired, are phenomenal guides for both flexibility and strengthening exercises. If you don’t want to purchase his books, a few key strength exercises to include in your program twice a week are: Squats (2-3 sets of 8-10 reps)Lunges (2-3 sets of 8-10 reps each leg)Single Leg Romanian Dead Lifts (2-3 sets of 8-10 reps each leg)Plank hold (3x30 sec)Calf raises (2-3 sets of 10-12 reps each leg)This leads me to my next important topic, sleep and nutrition. Sleep and NutritionTo have sufficient energy to fuel your body for the training you will be doing, you must take sleep and nutrition into account. Sleeping 7-9 hours a night is ideal and you want to prioritize a sleep routine that keeps you feeling rested and feeling good. In regard to food, you need to think in terms of fueling your body. You want to make sure that you are giving your body the best possible nutrients to allow it to perform at its best. A lot of runners struggle with the nutrition component, but one of the best ways to think is to have the majority of your diet be comprised of whole foods (minimally processed foods that are close to nature, such as fruits, vegetables, nuts, beans, etc.), whole-grains, and a variety of nutrient-dense foods. Also, the importance of protein for someone training for a marathon is essential. You are stressing your muscles to their limits and you want to replenish them with enough protein to help rebuild them. Lastly, you never want to go too long without eating and don’t tell yourself any food is off limits. Of course, you don’t want to eat an entire chocolate cake, but if you’re craving a piece, then eat one! By listening to your hunger cues and giving your body what it wants, you will be less likely to binge on something that you have told yourself is off limits.You will really want to practice eating before big training runs so you can get familiar with whatworks well for your body before race day. Typically, some great pre-race foods include bananas, toast with peanut butter and honey, and oatmeal. The night before your race you want to focus on eating a meal that has about 60% carbohydrates (pasta, rice, bread), 30% protein, and 10% fat. Finally, you need to practice fueling DURING your training runs. There are now a wide array of energy gels out there to practice with, as well as some liquid carbohydrate based drinks that work great. Personally, I love the Maurten carbohydrate drink and the Gu energy gels. Just make sure you always practice your strategies and NEVER TRY ANYTHING NEW ON RACE DAY.The mental component of running a marathonThe last piece of the puzzle that I think is critical is the mental component. In endurance sports, the mind can play many tricks on the body and it is vital to remember that we are stronger than we think. A huge mantra that has helped me in my running career is to ‘control the controllables’. We don’t have control over the weather or how other people are doing, but we do have control over our attitude and our effort. Do your best to focus on the factors that will put you in the best position to reach your goal. Everything else is irrelevant.You can do this!I’ll just leave you with my favorite quote, “So many of our dreams at first seem impossible, then they seem improbable, and then, when we summon the will, they soon become inevitable.”Go out there and chase down your dreams my friends! Adriana started running competitively in 6th grade and competed at a Varsity level all throughout high school. Her junior year of college at Duke University, she decided to run her first marathon after spontaneously joining a friend for her 16 mile long run. She finished the Disney Marathon in January 2011 in a time of 3:17. Fast forward to now, Adriana has brought her marathon PR down to 2:44, and has run many marathons, most recently the 2018 and 2019 California International Marathon, 2019 Grandma’s Marathon, 2020 Aviation Marathon, and qualified and competed at the 2020 Olympic Marathon Trials in Atlanta, Georgia! She lives in in Winston-Salem, NC and works as a Career Services Specialist at Wake Forest University. 


RockMyRun User Feedback Survey Results

  ·  2 min

RockMyRun User Feedback Survey Results

We’re always looking to improve our app, and wanted to make sure that we understood where our current opportunities were. So in May of 2020, we sent out a survey to our most active RockMyRun users. Primarily, we wanted to know how the app was doing, but we also geek out on data and wanted to see how people are using RockMyRun.Here are the results! How often do people use RockMyRun?We found that 32% of our users use RockMyRun 3-4 times a week. That’s a very high number, meaning that people use our app almost every day. That was exciting for us to see, and we were also impressed with our users dedication to fitness! What do people use RockMyRun For?Not surprisingly, most users (76%!) use RockMyRun for running, but people also like to use it for walking, cardio, erights, group fitness classes, cycling, and more!We also had some really interesting “Other” write-ins, such as cooking, mowing the lawn, cleaning, driving, and as background music for gatherings with friends. Who’s using the Tempo Changing Feature? One of the features that sets RockMyRun apart from other apps is the automatic tempo changing based on GPS, heart rate, etc. So we were curious: How many people are currently using this feature?We were glad that the majority were taking advantage of this feature, but only 63%!Here’s how people were using this feature:79% of users manually set their BPM, while only 35% connect it to their steps, and only 18% connect it to their heart rate.What new features did people request?Most responses said that integrating with speakers, such as Bose® or Sonos®, would be a valuable feature.Additionally, most people also said they’d love to have RockMyRun work on an AppleWatch without needing to have their device near. We also received feedback that we need to improve the music discovery process, which is something we are already working on!We hope you find these results as interesting as we do!Do you agree? Where do you stack up? We’d love to hear in the comments.


RockMyRun User Feedback Survey Results

  ·  2 min

RockMyRun User Feedback Survey Results

We’re always looking to improve our app, and wanted to make sure that we understood where our current opportunities were. So in May of 2020, we sent out a survey to our most active RockMyRun users. Primarily, we wanted to know how the app was doing, but we also geek out on data and wanted to see how people are using RockMyRun.Here are the results! How often do people use RockMyRun?We found that 32% of our users use RockMyRun 3-4 times a week. That’s a very high number, meaning that people use our app almost every day. That was exciting for us to see, and we were also impressed with our users dedication to fitness! What do people use RockMyRun For?Not surprisingly, most users (76%!) use RockMyRun for running, but people also like to use it for walking, cardio, erights, group fitness classes, cycling, and more!We also had some really interesting “Other” write-ins, such as cooking, mowing the lawn, cleaning, driving, and as background music for gatherings with friends. Who’s using the Tempo Changing Feature? One of the features that sets RockMyRun apart from other apps is the automatic tempo changing based on GPS, heart rate, etc. So we were curious: How many people are currently using this feature?We were glad that the majority were taking advantage of this feature, but only 63%!Here’s how people were using this feature:79% of users manually set their BPM, while only 35% connect it to their steps, and only 18% connect it to their heart rate.What new features did people request?Most responses said that integrating with speakers, such as Bose® or Sonos®, would be a valuable feature.Additionally, most people also said they’d love to have RockMyRun work on an AppleWatch without needing to have their device near. We also received feedback that we need to improve the music discovery process, which is something we are already working on!We hope you find these results as interesting as we do!Do you agree? Where do you stack up? We’d love to hear in the comments.


Top 10 Rules of the Road

  ·  3 min

Top 10 Rules of the Road

Looking for a few ways to make the most out of your running experience? Follow my Top 10 Rules of the Road for a more enjoyable, less stressful run.1. Be ThankfulIf you are fortunate enough to be able to run at your own discretion, be grateful for that gift.  Some people do not have that ability.  Embrace the gift, because it can be taken away in an instant.2. Just Do ItThe more you think about it, the less likely you are to actually do it.  Don’t think.  Just do.3. Ditch the Jordan’sBaggy short are to running what oil is to water – they just don’t mix!  So get rid of the high tops shoes and wife beaters and pick up some running-specific gear.  Not only will you actually look like a runner, but you will feel and perform like one too.4. This Isn’t GymnasticsWe’re not on the pummel horse here, we’re on the pavement.  Nobody cares about your splits.  If somebody wants to know how fast your individual mile times are, they’ll ask.5. Shut Up and RunNobody likes a whiner, not even other whiners.  If you wait for perfect conditions, your muscles to stop aching, or your schedule to open up, you’re not going to get very far.  Embrace the wind.  Learn to love 20 degree runs.6. FamiliarityWhether it’s a spoonful of butter, a bowl of oatmeal, or a 20 ounce Mountain Dew, put the same foods in your body prior to your run.  Do not eat anything your body is unaccustomed to.  Trust me; I’ve learned this the hard way.  Your stomach and digestive system will thank you around mile 10.7. Pre-Game RitualAlways.  Always.  Always.  Make a visit to the restroom before a long run.  Just as with Rule 6, your stomach will be happy you did this.8. Mix It UpRun alone.  Run with people.  Run on the treadmill.  Run on the road.  Run intervals.  Run distance.  Specificity is important when training for a race or a certain distance.  But variety will limit boredom and give you different workouts to look forward to.9. We Are All EqualRunners are as varied as any group of people in the world.  Some of us are sprinters while others prefer distance.  Some of us like to listen to the pounding of feet against the pavement and some like the pounding of music in our headphones.  As different as we may be, we are also equal because we are runners.10. Enjoy it!This is why I run.  I make it a personal goal to enjoy every run, whether it’s a struggle or not.  So, take a break every once in a while and remember why you run.  Find what you enjoy about it and keep that close to you.As a holiday gift for you all, I’m leaving you with one of my favorite treadmill workouts.  I call this the High/Low Workout.  As the name indicates, you will alternate between high and low running speeds on the treadmill.  I usually set my intervals for 30 seconds at a high intensity followed by 30 seconds of low intensity running.  Each set usually lasts for 5-6 minutes, with a 1 minute walk in between sets.To give you an idea of what the High/Low entails, here is what a typical workout looks like for me:Set 1: 8.0 MPH/6.0 MPH – 5 MinutesSet 2: 8.5 MPH/6.0 MPH – 5 MinutesSet 3: 9.0 MPH/5.5 MPH – 5 MinutesSet 4: 9.5 MPH/5.5 MPH – 5 MinutesSet 5: 10.0 MPH/5.0 MPH – 5 MinutesDo you have any of your own Rules of the Road?  Leave your favorite rule in the comment box below!Post contributed by Brock Jones.  Brock is Co-Owner and Head Trainer with BodyFIT, Inc. in Lexington, KY. He holds a Masters of Science in Exercise Physiology from the University of Kentucky and is an NSCA Certified Strength and Conditioning Specialist.  You can read more of Brock’s posts about fitness and exercise on the BodyFIT Punch Blog.


Top 10 Rules of the Road

  ·  3 min

Top 10 Rules of the Road

Looking for a few ways to make the most out of your running experience? Follow my Top 10 Rules of the Road for a more enjoyable, less stressful run.1. Be ThankfulIf you are fortunate enough to be able to run at your own discretion, be grateful for that gift.  Some people do not have that ability.  Embrace the gift, because it can be taken away in an instant.2. Just Do ItThe more you think about it, the less likely you are to actually do it.  Don’t think.  Just do.3. Ditch the Jordan’sBaggy short are to running what oil is to water – they just don’t mix!  So get rid of the high tops shoes and wife beaters and pick up some running-specific gear.  Not only will you actually look like a runner, but you will feel and perform like one too.4. This Isn’t GymnasticsWe’re not on the pummel horse here, we’re on the pavement.  Nobody cares about your splits.  If somebody wants to know how fast your individual mile times are, they’ll ask.5. Shut Up and RunNobody likes a whiner, not even other whiners.  If you wait for perfect conditions, your muscles to stop aching, or your schedule to open up, you’re not going to get very far.  Embrace the wind.  Learn to love 20 degree runs.6. FamiliarityWhether it’s a spoonful of butter, a bowl of oatmeal, or a 20 ounce Mountain Dew, put the same foods in your body prior to your run.  Do not eat anything your body is unaccustomed to.  Trust me; I’ve learned this the hard way.  Your stomach and digestive system will thank you around mile 10.7. Pre-Game RitualAlways.  Always.  Always.  Make a visit to the restroom before a long run.  Just as with Rule 6, your stomach will be happy you did this.8. Mix It UpRun alone.  Run with people.  Run on the treadmill.  Run on the road.  Run intervals.  Run distance.  Specificity is important when training for a race or a certain distance.  But variety will limit boredom and give you different workouts to look forward to.9. We Are All EqualRunners are as varied as any group of people in the world.  Some of us are sprinters while others prefer distance.  Some of us like to listen to the pounding of feet against the pavement and some like the pounding of music in our headphones.  As different as we may be, we are also equal because we are runners.10. Enjoy it!This is why I run.  I make it a personal goal to enjoy every run, whether it’s a struggle or not.  So, take a break every once in a while and remember why you run.  Find what you enjoy about it and keep that close to you.As a holiday gift for you all, I’m leaving you with one of my favorite treadmill workouts.  I call this the High/Low Workout.  As the name indicates, you will alternate between high and low running speeds on the treadmill.  I usually set my intervals for 30 seconds at a high intensity followed by 30 seconds of low intensity running.  Each set usually lasts for 5-6 minutes, with a 1 minute walk in between sets.To give you an idea of what the High/Low entails, here is what a typical workout looks like for me:Set 1: 8.0 MPH/6.0 MPH – 5 MinutesSet 2: 8.5 MPH/6.0 MPH – 5 MinutesSet 3: 9.0 MPH/5.5 MPH – 5 MinutesSet 4: 9.5 MPH/5.5 MPH – 5 MinutesSet 5: 10.0 MPH/5.0 MPH – 5 MinutesDo you have any of your own Rules of the Road?  Leave your favorite rule in the comment box below!Post contributed by Brock Jones.  Brock is Co-Owner and Head Trainer with BodyFIT, Inc. in Lexington, KY. He holds a Masters of Science in Exercise Physiology from the University of Kentucky and is an NSCA Certified Strength and Conditioning Specialist.  You can read more of Brock’s posts about fitness and exercise on the BodyFIT Punch Blog.


Music Synchronizes To Your Heartbeat With RockMyRun

  ·  1 min

Music Synchronizes To Your Heartbeat With RockMyRun

Are you ready to love your run with all your heart? Then good news – we have just launched a lovely new feature on our iPhone app called myBeat™ Heart, which leverages your heartbeat to dictate the tempo of the music. You read that right—imagine Taylor Swift, Blake Shelton, Avicii or Bon Jovi singing along to the beat of your heart!So how exactly does it work?The RockMyRun app and myBeat™ Heart feature pairs with (almost) any Bluetooth or Ant+ heart rate monitor. (Looking to buy a heart rate monitor? We’re fans of the brands Mio Global and Pear Sports) Once running, we’ll monitor when you switch heart rate zones and adjust the music’s beats per minute (BPM) to correlate. Don’t worry—once your heart rate hits max zones, we’ll level off the BPM/tempo to create a calming (as opposed to frantic) experience.Getting started with the myBeat™ Heart feature is simple, here’s how to do so:Fire up your Bluetooth or Ant+ heart rate monitorSelect your favorite downloaded RockMyRun mix from your MyMixesHit play and then select myBeat™ HeartGo through a one time setup to pair RockMyRun with your deviceStart rockin’!myBeatTM Heart will join our already popular myBeat feature suite, which includes myBeat™ Manual and myBeat™ Steps. As a reminder, myBeat™ Manual lets you manually set the music tempo to your goal cadence, while myBeat™ Steps enables you to let the tempo of any steady BPM mix automatically adjust so that the beat matches every step you take!Ready to start rocking in a whole new way? Download the app


Music Synchronizes To Your Heartbeat With RockMyRun

  ·  1 min

Music Synchronizes To Your Heartbeat With RockMyRun

Are you ready to love your run with all your heart? Then good news – we have just launched a lovely new feature on our iPhone app called myBeat™ Heart, which leverages your heartbeat to dictate the tempo of the music. You read that right—imagine Taylor Swift, Blake Shelton, Avicii or Bon Jovi singing along to the beat of your heart!So how exactly does it work?The RockMyRun app and myBeat™ Heart feature pairs with (almost) any Bluetooth or Ant+ heart rate monitor. (Looking to buy a heart rate monitor? We’re fans of the brands Mio Global and Pear Sports) Once running, we’ll monitor when you switch heart rate zones and adjust the music’s beats per minute (BPM) to correlate. Don’t worry—once your heart rate hits max zones, we’ll level off the BPM/tempo to create a calming (as opposed to frantic) experience.Getting started with the myBeat™ Heart feature is simple, here’s how to do so:Fire up your Bluetooth or Ant+ heart rate monitorSelect your favorite downloaded RockMyRun mix from your MyMixesHit play and then select myBeat™ HeartGo through a one time setup to pair RockMyRun with your deviceStart rockin’!myBeatTM Heart will join our already popular myBeat feature suite, which includes myBeat™ Manual and myBeat™ Steps. As a reminder, myBeat™ Manual lets you manually set the music tempo to your goal cadence, while myBeat™ Steps enables you to let the tempo of any steady BPM mix automatically adjust so that the beat matches every step you take!Ready to start rocking in a whole new way? Download the app


Why Do You Run? 4 Reasons to Be Motivated

  ·  4 min

Why Do You Run? 4 Reasons to Be Motivated

Improve Your HealthOne of the most common reasons we run, exercise, read fitness magazines and websites and enjoy apps like RockMyRun, is to improve our health. Sure we’ve heard that “exercise is medicine,” but like all medicine, if we don’t take it, it won’t work. And when it comes to running, or any doing any exercise routinely, the motivation for putting on our sneakers and working up a sweat has got to be internal.That means turning the “E” in exercise into “enjoyment” not “excruciating.” Do that by finding your “why” and creating a plan that includes specific, small and measurable steps attached to a written weekly plan. Ensure you do what you say you are going to do by finding a buddy and filling your vision with friendly, not trash, talk about your progress. Do you feel like you are breathing easier already?Look GoodAnother common motivation for exercising is pure vanity—you want to look great in that new bikini or tee shirt. Superficial? No way! Who says wanting to look good is shallow and artificial? Ever apply for a job and show up looking unwell, unkempt, or unhealthy? You get the idea. Whether it’s your wedding, a job interview, your high school or college reunion or the upcoming party, looking good is a prime motivator to put some fuel in your step around the track, on the trail, in the gym or running through the streets of downtown. And by the way, don’t think this is a woman’s motivator. GQ Magazine is pretty, pretty popular!To help you achieve this goal if this is your primary motivation, don’t, repeat don’t, go all out. You might find yourself burning out your flame before its red carpet show time. High intensity interval training that includes planned, focused ups and downs, for about eight cycles, taking no more than about 30 minutes four or five times a week, should be fine coupled with resistance training that focuses on full body activity. Body-sculpting, Pilates, Yoga, TRX, Total Gym, light weights and high reps, are the key here. Lastly, visualize yourself already achieving what you set out to accomplish, seeing yourself in the present bringing that new you to the party. Doesn’t if feel great to be a size 4 or have some muscle under that tee shirt?Socialize“Friends” wasn’t just a widely popular TV show, but socialization is a third reason people decide to workout. The idea of “group ex,” Zumba, Les Mills, biking, hiking, track and running clubs are in large measure successful due to the opportunity for social connection. Many people realize that a great way to connect with others and make new friends is through activities. Ever notice that grass grows without any battles and fruits ripen without any drama? If it’s friends you are looking for, joining a group exercise activity by allowing yourself to be free of self-consciousness will certainly help. Come from a place of acceptance—of yourself and others—and the experience will be easy and effortless.Friends, new or old, can be great cheerleaders and sources of accountability—and you can be the same for others. Set up a social media group and keep tweeting and texting about your experiences—soon enough you’ll attract others to your new passion. Like being a social exercise leader? Check out Fitmob and see if a social group exists near your home yet.Enhance Your MoodFinally, we all get down and blue, worried and irritated and just downright nasty from time to time. Guess what the fourth most common reason people “need to go out for a run”? That’s right! It’s a great mood enhancer. By releasing  and increasing those “feel-good” brain chemicals, decreasing those chemicals that increase anxiety and depression and providing a calming feeling, people find lots of solid motivation to exercise to simply feel happier, more confident, cope more effectively, concentrate easier – all within five minutes after moderate exercise.If this is your primary reason, internal motivation is a high driver and that’s great. You’ll stick with it longer than if your motivation is purely external.  One caveat here is don’t overdo it because you like the way it makes you feel so much.  A plan of about 150 minutes per week of moderate to intense activity will give you the mood enhancement you are looking for. Novelty is important so mix it up. Positive thinking is important to boost mood, so include affirmations such as, “I, Jennifer, already know what it feels like to live my life calmly, successfully and happily.” After an affirmation like this, don’t forget to say “thanks” acting like it’s already present in your life.There you have it. The four top reasons people are buying running shoes, joining gyms, hiring trainers and pushing themselves to sweat—getting and staying healthy, looking good, connecting with friends and feeling happier and more positive. If your main motivation isn’t here, let us know what it is in the comments below.Post contributed by Michael R. Mantell, Ph.D.  Dr. Mantell has served as a long-time Assistant Clinical Professor in the Department of Psychiatry at the University of California, San Diego and today is the Senior Fitness Consultant for Behavioral Sciences for the American Council on Exercise, a behavioral sciences coach, an author and a national fitness-health speaker. 


Why Do You Run? 4 Reasons to Be Motivated

  ·  4 min

Why Do You Run? 4 Reasons to Be Motivated

Improve Your HealthOne of the most common reasons we run, exercise, read fitness magazines and websites and enjoy apps like RockMyRun, is to improve our health. Sure we’ve heard that “exercise is medicine,” but like all medicine, if we don’t take it, it won’t work. And when it comes to running, or any doing any exercise routinely, the motivation for putting on our sneakers and working up a sweat has got to be internal.That means turning the “E” in exercise into “enjoyment” not “excruciating.” Do that by finding your “why” and creating a plan that includes specific, small and measurable steps attached to a written weekly plan. Ensure you do what you say you are going to do by finding a buddy and filling your vision with friendly, not trash, talk about your progress. Do you feel like you are breathing easier already?Look GoodAnother common motivation for exercising is pure vanity—you want to look great in that new bikini or tee shirt. Superficial? No way! Who says wanting to look good is shallow and artificial? Ever apply for a job and show up looking unwell, unkempt, or unhealthy? You get the idea. Whether it’s your wedding, a job interview, your high school or college reunion or the upcoming party, looking good is a prime motivator to put some fuel in your step around the track, on the trail, in the gym or running through the streets of downtown. And by the way, don’t think this is a woman’s motivator. GQ Magazine is pretty, pretty popular!To help you achieve this goal if this is your primary motivation, don’t, repeat don’t, go all out. You might find yourself burning out your flame before its red carpet show time. High intensity interval training that includes planned, focused ups and downs, for about eight cycles, taking no more than about 30 minutes four or five times a week, should be fine coupled with resistance training that focuses on full body activity. Body-sculpting, Pilates, Yoga, TRX, Total Gym, light weights and high reps, are the key here. Lastly, visualize yourself already achieving what you set out to accomplish, seeing yourself in the present bringing that new you to the party. Doesn’t if feel great to be a size 4 or have some muscle under that tee shirt?Socialize“Friends” wasn’t just a widely popular TV show, but socialization is a third reason people decide to workout. The idea of “group ex,” Zumba, Les Mills, biking, hiking, track and running clubs are in large measure successful due to the opportunity for social connection. Many people realize that a great way to connect with others and make new friends is through activities. Ever notice that grass grows without any battles and fruits ripen without any drama? If it’s friends you are looking for, joining a group exercise activity by allowing yourself to be free of self-consciousness will certainly help. Come from a place of acceptance—of yourself and others—and the experience will be easy and effortless.Friends, new or old, can be great cheerleaders and sources of accountability—and you can be the same for others. Set up a social media group and keep tweeting and texting about your experiences—soon enough you’ll attract others to your new passion. Like being a social exercise leader? Check out Fitmob and see if a social group exists near your home yet.Enhance Your MoodFinally, we all get down and blue, worried and irritated and just downright nasty from time to time. Guess what the fourth most common reason people “need to go out for a run”? That’s right! It’s a great mood enhancer. By releasing  and increasing those “feel-good” brain chemicals, decreasing those chemicals that increase anxiety and depression and providing a calming feeling, people find lots of solid motivation to exercise to simply feel happier, more confident, cope more effectively, concentrate easier – all within five minutes after moderate exercise.If this is your primary reason, internal motivation is a high driver and that’s great. You’ll stick with it longer than if your motivation is purely external.  One caveat here is don’t overdo it because you like the way it makes you feel so much.  A plan of about 150 minutes per week of moderate to intense activity will give you the mood enhancement you are looking for. Novelty is important so mix it up. Positive thinking is important to boost mood, so include affirmations such as, “I, Jennifer, already know what it feels like to live my life calmly, successfully and happily.” After an affirmation like this, don’t forget to say “thanks” acting like it’s already present in your life.There you have it. The four top reasons people are buying running shoes, joining gyms, hiring trainers and pushing themselves to sweat—getting and staying healthy, looking good, connecting with friends and feeling happier and more positive. If your main motivation isn’t here, let us know what it is in the comments below.Post contributed by Michael R. Mantell, Ph.D.  Dr. Mantell has served as a long-time Assistant Clinical Professor in the Department of Psychiatry at the University of California, San Diego and today is the Senior Fitness Consultant for Behavioral Sciences for the American Council on Exercise, a behavioral sciences coach, an author and a national fitness-health speaker. 


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How to Run Your First Marathon

  ·  8 min

How to Run Your First Marathon

Running a marathon for the first time is not easy, but with the right guidance, you’ll be in the best position possible to achieve this awesome goal. This post will help you prepare for your first marathon, and future marathons if you fall in love with it like I have. Let’s make that leap into the unknown and scary together! Deciding which marathon is right for youAdditionally, you need to figure out when/where you are racing to determine some key components to your training. For a beginner, I would recommend up to 16 weeks of total training. A lot of great marathons are in the Fall or Spring, so make sure you are also aware of the type of weather you thrive best in and try to pick a race that will match your needs. Personally, I like cooler temperatures so marathons in November and December are typically my favorite.Commit to the goalThe first step to running a marathon is to commit to the goal. The training will be hard, and the commitment and dedication will at times feel overwhelming. But what is hard is not impossible. Embrace each challenge and know that in the end, it will all be worth it. Now that you’ve decided you really want to do this, I would pick a marathon and register. Put in on your calendar; it will help conceptualize the entire process, which will help make everything feel more real and will add a component of accountability to your training. Picking a marathon training planThere are many beginner training plans online so make sure you pick one that excites you and you think you can handle. A few training plans that I trust and recommend are: https://www.halhigdon.com/training-programs/marathon-training/novice-1-marathon/ (For a very novice runner who wants as much guidance as possible at no cost)https://runsmartproject.com/training-plans-old/ (For a beginner who is willing to pay for personalized workouts to match his/her training goals)http://www.jeffgalloway.com/training/marathon-training/ (For a beginner who has been doing some running/walking in the past few weeks)Here’s what you can expect: Typically, each week you want to include a long run (which I will argue is the most important run of the week), a faster-paced interval run (a run that includes some speed and is broken up into different length intervals), and 2-3 easy runs. The long run is crucial because it will be what most simulates what your actual marathon will feel like. The idea of ‘time on feet’ is critical to remember because you want to train your body to be able to handle the cumulative load of being on your feet for many hours at a time. You also want to make sure you include two days a week of supplemental strengthening exercises, which I will get into more detail a bit later. As you progress, you can add more volume/intensity to your week, but I would start with 4-5 days of running and 1-2 days of rest or cross-training (any other form of exercise: i.e. biking, swimming, elliptical, etc.)What running shoes should I buy for a marathon?Before you start running, you want to make sure you have the right shoes. In this day and age, there are hundreds of different shoes to choose from, so I would advise going into your local running store and having them fit you for a pair. The shoe buying process can be overwhelming with all the options and opinions out there, but one general guideline to follow: if the shoe is comfortable and supportive on your foot, you should be fine. Additionally, make sure you practice running in the shoes you will be racing in and try to get a new pair every 300-400 miles. This will help to keep your lower half healthy and feeling fresh.RecoveryAnother key component of your training is RECOVERY!! Recovery is not the absence of training, it is training in itself. A lot of runners struggle with this aspect, but the only way to make real progress in training is to let your body rest and adapt to the training. Many athletes have the flawed mentality that the more they train, the more fit they will become. Ultimately, without recovery one will never improve. It is the rest period after a workout that allows one’s body to adapt to the stress you just put it through and come back stronger than before. Recovery does not just mean rest. It also means making sure to stretch/foam roll to keep your muscles and tendons loose and pliable, eating immediately or as soon as possible after a workout, as well as strengthening exercises to keep you strong and injury-free. It is imperative to make time in your training for stability/mobility exercises, as well as strength-training to improve running form and decrease your likelihood of injury. Sometimes we think that running an extra mile here or there is going to be the difference to our training, but I strongly believe that reducing a run by 5-10 minutes and using that extra time to do strengthening exercises will benefit you much more in the long run (pun intended ). Again, there are a plethora of good resources online for flexibility and strengthening exercises, so find one you like and stick with it. Personally, I have found that Jay Dicharry’s books, Anatomy for Runners and Running Rewired, are phenomenal guides for both flexibility and strengthening exercises. If you don’t want to purchase his books, a few key strength exercises to include in your program twice a week are: Squats (2-3 sets of 8-10 reps)Lunges (2-3 sets of 8-10 reps each leg)Single Leg Romanian Dead Lifts (2-3 sets of 8-10 reps each leg)Plank hold (3x30 sec)Calf raises (2-3 sets of 10-12 reps each leg)This leads me to my next important topic, sleep and nutrition. Sleep and NutritionTo have sufficient energy to fuel your body for the training you will be doing, you must take sleep and nutrition into account. Sleeping 7-9 hours a night is ideal and you want to prioritize a sleep routine that keeps you feeling rested and feeling good. In regard to food, you need to think in terms of fueling your body. You want to make sure that you are giving your body the best possible nutrients to allow it to perform at its best. A lot of runners struggle with the nutrition component, but one of the best ways to think is to have the majority of your diet be comprised of whole foods (minimally processed foods that are close to nature, such as fruits, vegetables, nuts, beans, etc.), whole-grains, and a variety of nutrient-dense foods. Also, the importance of protein for someone training for a marathon is essential. You are stressing your muscles to their limits and you want to replenish them with enough protein to help rebuild them. Lastly, you never want to go too long without eating and don’t tell yourself any food is off limits. Of course, you don’t want to eat an entire chocolate cake, but if you’re craving a piece, then eat one! By listening to your hunger cues and giving your body what it wants, you will be less likely to binge on something that you have told yourself is off limits.You will really want to practice eating before big training runs so you can get familiar with whatworks well for your body before race day. Typically, some great pre-race foods include bananas, toast with peanut butter and honey, and oatmeal. The night before your race you want to focus on eating a meal that has about 60% carbohydrates (pasta, rice, bread), 30% protein, and 10% fat. Finally, you need to practice fueling DURING your training runs. There are now a wide array of energy gels out there to practice with, as well as some liquid carbohydrate based drinks that work great. Personally, I love the Maurten carbohydrate drink and the Gu energy gels. Just make sure you always practice your strategies and NEVER TRY ANYTHING NEW ON RACE DAY.The mental component of running a marathonThe last piece of the puzzle that I think is critical is the mental component. In endurance sports, the mind can play many tricks on the body and it is vital to remember that we are stronger than we think. A huge mantra that has helped me in my running career is to ‘control the controllables’. We don’t have control over the weather or how other people are doing, but we do have control over our attitude and our effort. Do your best to focus on the factors that will put you in the best position to reach your goal. Everything else is irrelevant.You can do this!I’ll just leave you with my favorite quote, “So many of our dreams at first seem impossible, then they seem improbable, and then, when we summon the will, they soon become inevitable.”Go out there and chase down your dreams my friends! Adriana started running competitively in 6th grade and competed at a Varsity level all throughout high school. Her junior year of college at Duke University, she decided to run her first marathon after spontaneously joining a friend for her 16 mile long run. She finished the Disney Marathon in January 2011 in a time of 3:17. Fast forward to now, Adriana has brought her marathon PR down to 2:44, and has run many marathons, most recently the 2018 and 2019 California International Marathon, 2019 Grandma’s Marathon, 2020 Aviation Marathon, and qualified and competed at the 2020 Olympic Marathon Trials in Atlanta, Georgia! She lives in in Winston-Salem, NC and works as a Career Services Specialist at Wake Forest University. 


How to Run Your First Marathon

  ·  8 min

How to Run Your First Marathon

Running a marathon for the first time is not easy, but with the right guidance, you’ll be in the best position possible to achieve this awesome goal. This post will help you prepare for your first marathon, and future marathons if you fall in love with it like I have. Let’s make that leap into the unknown and scary together! Deciding which marathon is right for youAdditionally, you need to figure out when/where you are racing to determine some key components to your training. For a beginner, I would recommend up to 16 weeks of total training. A lot of great marathons are in the Fall or Spring, so make sure you are also aware of the type of weather you thrive best in and try to pick a race that will match your needs. Personally, I like cooler temperatures so marathons in November and December are typically my favorite.Commit to the goalThe first step to running a marathon is to commit to the goal. The training will be hard, and the commitment and dedication will at times feel overwhelming. But what is hard is not impossible. Embrace each challenge and know that in the end, it will all be worth it. Now that you’ve decided you really want to do this, I would pick a marathon and register. Put in on your calendar; it will help conceptualize the entire process, which will help make everything feel more real and will add a component of accountability to your training. Picking a marathon training planThere are many beginner training plans online so make sure you pick one that excites you and you think you can handle. A few training plans that I trust and recommend are: https://www.halhigdon.com/training-programs/marathon-training/novice-1-marathon/ (For a very novice runner who wants as much guidance as possible at no cost)https://runsmartproject.com/training-plans-old/ (For a beginner who is willing to pay for personalized workouts to match his/her training goals)http://www.jeffgalloway.com/training/marathon-training/ (For a beginner who has been doing some running/walking in the past few weeks)Here’s what you can expect: Typically, each week you want to include a long run (which I will argue is the most important run of the week), a faster-paced interval run (a run that includes some speed and is broken up into different length intervals), and 2-3 easy runs. The long run is crucial because it will be what most simulates what your actual marathon will feel like. The idea of ‘time on feet’ is critical to remember because you want to train your body to be able to handle the cumulative load of being on your feet for many hours at a time. You also want to make sure you include two days a week of supplemental strengthening exercises, which I will get into more detail a bit later. As you progress, you can add more volume/intensity to your week, but I would start with 4-5 days of running and 1-2 days of rest or cross-training (any other form of exercise: i.e. biking, swimming, elliptical, etc.)What running shoes should I buy for a marathon?Before you start running, you want to make sure you have the right shoes. In this day and age, there are hundreds of different shoes to choose from, so I would advise going into your local running store and having them fit you for a pair. The shoe buying process can be overwhelming with all the options and opinions out there, but one general guideline to follow: if the shoe is comfortable and supportive on your foot, you should be fine. Additionally, make sure you practice running in the shoes you will be racing in and try to get a new pair every 300-400 miles. This will help to keep your lower half healthy and feeling fresh.RecoveryAnother key component of your training is RECOVERY!! Recovery is not the absence of training, it is training in itself. A lot of runners struggle with this aspect, but the only way to make real progress in training is to let your body rest and adapt to the training. Many athletes have the flawed mentality that the more they train, the more fit they will become. Ultimately, without recovery one will never improve. It is the rest period after a workout that allows one’s body to adapt to the stress you just put it through and come back stronger than before. Recovery does not just mean rest. It also means making sure to stretch/foam roll to keep your muscles and tendons loose and pliable, eating immediately or as soon as possible after a workout, as well as strengthening exercises to keep you strong and injury-free. It is imperative to make time in your training for stability/mobility exercises, as well as strength-training to improve running form and decrease your likelihood of injury. Sometimes we think that running an extra mile here or there is going to be the difference to our training, but I strongly believe that reducing a run by 5-10 minutes and using that extra time to do strengthening exercises will benefit you much more in the long run (pun intended ). Again, there are a plethora of good resources online for flexibility and strengthening exercises, so find one you like and stick with it. Personally, I have found that Jay Dicharry’s books, Anatomy for Runners and Running Rewired, are phenomenal guides for both flexibility and strengthening exercises. If you don’t want to purchase his books, a few key strength exercises to include in your program twice a week are: Squats (2-3 sets of 8-10 reps)Lunges (2-3 sets of 8-10 reps each leg)Single Leg Romanian Dead Lifts (2-3 sets of 8-10 reps each leg)Plank hold (3x30 sec)Calf raises (2-3 sets of 10-12 reps each leg)This leads me to my next important topic, sleep and nutrition. Sleep and NutritionTo have sufficient energy to fuel your body for the training you will be doing, you must take sleep and nutrition into account. Sleeping 7-9 hours a night is ideal and you want to prioritize a sleep routine that keeps you feeling rested and feeling good. In regard to food, you need to think in terms of fueling your body. You want to make sure that you are giving your body the best possible nutrients to allow it to perform at its best. A lot of runners struggle with the nutrition component, but one of the best ways to think is to have the majority of your diet be comprised of whole foods (minimally processed foods that are close to nature, such as fruits, vegetables, nuts, beans, etc.), whole-grains, and a variety of nutrient-dense foods. Also, the importance of protein for someone training for a marathon is essential. You are stressing your muscles to their limits and you want to replenish them with enough protein to help rebuild them. Lastly, you never want to go too long without eating and don’t tell yourself any food is off limits. Of course, you don’t want to eat an entire chocolate cake, but if you’re craving a piece, then eat one! By listening to your hunger cues and giving your body what it wants, you will be less likely to binge on something that you have told yourself is off limits.You will really want to practice eating before big training runs so you can get familiar with whatworks well for your body before race day. Typically, some great pre-race foods include bananas, toast with peanut butter and honey, and oatmeal. The night before your race you want to focus on eating a meal that has about 60% carbohydrates (pasta, rice, bread), 30% protein, and 10% fat. Finally, you need to practice fueling DURING your training runs. There are now a wide array of energy gels out there to practice with, as well as some liquid carbohydrate based drinks that work great. Personally, I love the Maurten carbohydrate drink and the Gu energy gels. Just make sure you always practice your strategies and NEVER TRY ANYTHING NEW ON RACE DAY.The mental component of running a marathonThe last piece of the puzzle that I think is critical is the mental component. In endurance sports, the mind can play many tricks on the body and it is vital to remember that we are stronger than we think. A huge mantra that has helped me in my running career is to ‘control the controllables’. We don’t have control over the weather or how other people are doing, but we do have control over our attitude and our effort. Do your best to focus on the factors that will put you in the best position to reach your goal. Everything else is irrelevant.You can do this!I’ll just leave you with my favorite quote, “So many of our dreams at first seem impossible, then they seem improbable, and then, when we summon the will, they soon become inevitable.”Go out there and chase down your dreams my friends! Adriana started running competitively in 6th grade and competed at a Varsity level all throughout high school. Her junior year of college at Duke University, she decided to run her first marathon after spontaneously joining a friend for her 16 mile long run. She finished the Disney Marathon in January 2011 in a time of 3:17. Fast forward to now, Adriana has brought her marathon PR down to 2:44, and has run many marathons, most recently the 2018 and 2019 California International Marathon, 2019 Grandma’s Marathon, 2020 Aviation Marathon, and qualified and competed at the 2020 Olympic Marathon Trials in Atlanta, Georgia! She lives in in Winston-Salem, NC and works as a Career Services Specialist at Wake Forest University. 


RockMyRun User Feedback Survey Results

  ·  2 min

RockMyRun User Feedback Survey Results

We’re always looking to improve our app, and wanted to make sure that we understood where our current opportunities were. So in May of 2020, we sent out a survey to our most active RockMyRun users. Primarily, we wanted to know how the app was doing, but we also geek out on data and wanted to see how people are using RockMyRun.Here are the results! How often do people use RockMyRun?We found that 32% of our users use RockMyRun 3-4 times a week. That’s a very high number, meaning that people use our app almost every day. That was exciting for us to see, and we were also impressed with our users dedication to fitness! What do people use RockMyRun For?Not surprisingly, most users (76%!) use RockMyRun for running, but people also like to use it for walking, cardio, erights, group fitness classes, cycling, and more!We also had some really interesting “Other” write-ins, such as cooking, mowing the lawn, cleaning, driving, and as background music for gatherings with friends. Who’s using the Tempo Changing Feature? One of the features that sets RockMyRun apart from other apps is the automatic tempo changing based on GPS, heart rate, etc. So we were curious: How many people are currently using this feature?We were glad that the majority were taking advantage of this feature, but only 63%!Here’s how people were using this feature:79% of users manually set their BPM, while only 35% connect it to their steps, and only 18% connect it to their heart rate.What new features did people request?Most responses said that integrating with speakers, such as Bose® or Sonos®, would be a valuable feature.Additionally, most people also said they’d love to have RockMyRun work on an AppleWatch without needing to have their device near. We also received feedback that we need to improve the music discovery process, which is something we are already working on!We hope you find these results as interesting as we do!Do you agree? Where do you stack up? We’d love to hear in the comments.


RockMyRun User Feedback Survey Results

  ·  2 min

RockMyRun User Feedback Survey Results

We’re always looking to improve our app, and wanted to make sure that we understood where our current opportunities were. So in May of 2020, we sent out a survey to our most active RockMyRun users. Primarily, we wanted to know how the app was doing, but we also geek out on data and wanted to see how people are using RockMyRun.Here are the results! How often do people use RockMyRun?We found that 32% of our users use RockMyRun 3-4 times a week. That’s a very high number, meaning that people use our app almost every day. That was exciting for us to see, and we were also impressed with our users dedication to fitness! What do people use RockMyRun For?Not surprisingly, most users (76%!) use RockMyRun for running, but people also like to use it for walking, cardio, erights, group fitness classes, cycling, and more!We also had some really interesting “Other” write-ins, such as cooking, mowing the lawn, cleaning, driving, and as background music for gatherings with friends. Who’s using the Tempo Changing Feature? One of the features that sets RockMyRun apart from other apps is the automatic tempo changing based on GPS, heart rate, etc. So we were curious: How many people are currently using this feature?We were glad that the majority were taking advantage of this feature, but only 63%!Here’s how people were using this feature:79% of users manually set their BPM, while only 35% connect it to their steps, and only 18% connect it to their heart rate.What new features did people request?Most responses said that integrating with speakers, such as Bose® or Sonos®, would be a valuable feature.Additionally, most people also said they’d love to have RockMyRun work on an AppleWatch without needing to have their device near. We also received feedback that we need to improve the music discovery process, which is something we are already working on!We hope you find these results as interesting as we do!Do you agree? Where do you stack up? We’d love to hear in the comments.


Top 10 Rules of the Road

  ·  3 min

Top 10 Rules of the Road

Looking for a few ways to make the most out of your running experience? Follow my Top 10 Rules of the Road for a more enjoyable, less stressful run.1. Be ThankfulIf you are fortunate enough to be able to run at your own discretion, be grateful for that gift.  Some people do not have that ability.  Embrace the gift, because it can be taken away in an instant.2. Just Do ItThe more you think about it, the less likely you are to actually do it.  Don’t think.  Just do.3. Ditch the Jordan’sBaggy short are to running what oil is to water – they just don’t mix!  So get rid of the high tops shoes and wife beaters and pick up some running-specific gear.  Not only will you actually look like a runner, but you will feel and perform like one too.4. This Isn’t GymnasticsWe’re not on the pummel horse here, we’re on the pavement.  Nobody cares about your splits.  If somebody wants to know how fast your individual mile times are, they’ll ask.5. Shut Up and RunNobody likes a whiner, not even other whiners.  If you wait for perfect conditions, your muscles to stop aching, or your schedule to open up, you’re not going to get very far.  Embrace the wind.  Learn to love 20 degree runs.6. FamiliarityWhether it’s a spoonful of butter, a bowl of oatmeal, or a 20 ounce Mountain Dew, put the same foods in your body prior to your run.  Do not eat anything your body is unaccustomed to.  Trust me; I’ve learned this the hard way.  Your stomach and digestive system will thank you around mile 10.7. Pre-Game RitualAlways.  Always.  Always.  Make a visit to the restroom before a long run.  Just as with Rule 6, your stomach will be happy you did this.8. Mix It UpRun alone.  Run with people.  Run on the treadmill.  Run on the road.  Run intervals.  Run distance.  Specificity is important when training for a race or a certain distance.  But variety will limit boredom and give you different workouts to look forward to.9. We Are All EqualRunners are as varied as any group of people in the world.  Some of us are sprinters while others prefer distance.  Some of us like to listen to the pounding of feet against the pavement and some like the pounding of music in our headphones.  As different as we may be, we are also equal because we are runners.10. Enjoy it!This is why I run.  I make it a personal goal to enjoy every run, whether it’s a struggle or not.  So, take a break every once in a while and remember why you run.  Find what you enjoy about it and keep that close to you.As a holiday gift for you all, I’m leaving you with one of my favorite treadmill workouts.  I call this the High/Low Workout.  As the name indicates, you will alternate between high and low running speeds on the treadmill.  I usually set my intervals for 30 seconds at a high intensity followed by 30 seconds of low intensity running.  Each set usually lasts for 5-6 minutes, with a 1 minute walk in between sets.To give you an idea of what the High/Low entails, here is what a typical workout looks like for me:Set 1: 8.0 MPH/6.0 MPH – 5 MinutesSet 2: 8.5 MPH/6.0 MPH – 5 MinutesSet 3: 9.0 MPH/5.5 MPH – 5 MinutesSet 4: 9.5 MPH/5.5 MPH – 5 MinutesSet 5: 10.0 MPH/5.0 MPH – 5 MinutesDo you have any of your own Rules of the Road?  Leave your favorite rule in the comment box below!Post contributed by Brock Jones.  Brock is Co-Owner and Head Trainer with BodyFIT, Inc. in Lexington, KY. He holds a Masters of Science in Exercise Physiology from the University of Kentucky and is an NSCA Certified Strength and Conditioning Specialist.  You can read more of Brock’s posts about fitness and exercise on the BodyFIT Punch Blog.


Top 10 Rules of the Road

  ·  3 min

Top 10 Rules of the Road

Looking for a few ways to make the most out of your running experience? Follow my Top 10 Rules of the Road for a more enjoyable, less stressful run.1. Be ThankfulIf you are fortunate enough to be able to run at your own discretion, be grateful for that gift.  Some people do not have that ability.  Embrace the gift, because it can be taken away in an instant.2. Just Do ItThe more you think about it, the less likely you are to actually do it.  Don’t think.  Just do.3. Ditch the Jordan’sBaggy short are to running what oil is to water – they just don’t mix!  So get rid of the high tops shoes and wife beaters and pick up some running-specific gear.  Not only will you actually look like a runner, but you will feel and perform like one too.4. This Isn’t GymnasticsWe’re not on the pummel horse here, we’re on the pavement.  Nobody cares about your splits.  If somebody wants to know how fast your individual mile times are, they’ll ask.5. Shut Up and RunNobody likes a whiner, not even other whiners.  If you wait for perfect conditions, your muscles to stop aching, or your schedule to open up, you’re not going to get very far.  Embrace the wind.  Learn to love 20 degree runs.6. FamiliarityWhether it’s a spoonful of butter, a bowl of oatmeal, or a 20 ounce Mountain Dew, put the same foods in your body prior to your run.  Do not eat anything your body is unaccustomed to.  Trust me; I’ve learned this the hard way.  Your stomach and digestive system will thank you around mile 10.7. Pre-Game RitualAlways.  Always.  Always.  Make a visit to the restroom before a long run.  Just as with Rule 6, your stomach will be happy you did this.8. Mix It UpRun alone.  Run with people.  Run on the treadmill.  Run on the road.  Run intervals.  Run distance.  Specificity is important when training for a race or a certain distance.  But variety will limit boredom and give you different workouts to look forward to.9. We Are All EqualRunners are as varied as any group of people in the world.  Some of us are sprinters while others prefer distance.  Some of us like to listen to the pounding of feet against the pavement and some like the pounding of music in our headphones.  As different as we may be, we are also equal because we are runners.10. Enjoy it!This is why I run.  I make it a personal goal to enjoy every run, whether it’s a struggle or not.  So, take a break every once in a while and remember why you run.  Find what you enjoy about it and keep that close to you.As a holiday gift for you all, I’m leaving you with one of my favorite treadmill workouts.  I call this the High/Low Workout.  As the name indicates, you will alternate between high and low running speeds on the treadmill.  I usually set my intervals for 30 seconds at a high intensity followed by 30 seconds of low intensity running.  Each set usually lasts for 5-6 minutes, with a 1 minute walk in between sets.To give you an idea of what the High/Low entails, here is what a typical workout looks like for me:Set 1: 8.0 MPH/6.0 MPH – 5 MinutesSet 2: 8.5 MPH/6.0 MPH – 5 MinutesSet 3: 9.0 MPH/5.5 MPH – 5 MinutesSet 4: 9.5 MPH/5.5 MPH – 5 MinutesSet 5: 10.0 MPH/5.0 MPH – 5 MinutesDo you have any of your own Rules of the Road?  Leave your favorite rule in the comment box below!Post contributed by Brock Jones.  Brock is Co-Owner and Head Trainer with BodyFIT, Inc. in Lexington, KY. He holds a Masters of Science in Exercise Physiology from the University of Kentucky and is an NSCA Certified Strength and Conditioning Specialist.  You can read more of Brock’s posts about fitness and exercise on the BodyFIT Punch Blog.


Music Synchronizes To Your Heartbeat With RockMyRun

  ·  1 min

Music Synchronizes To Your Heartbeat With RockMyRun

Are you ready to love your run with all your heart? Then good news – we have just launched a lovely new feature on our iPhone app called myBeat™ Heart, which leverages your heartbeat to dictate the tempo of the music. You read that right—imagine Taylor Swift, Blake Shelton, Avicii or Bon Jovi singing along to the beat of your heart!So how exactly does it work?The RockMyRun app and myBeat™ Heart feature pairs with (almost) any Bluetooth or Ant+ heart rate monitor. (Looking to buy a heart rate monitor? We’re fans of the brands Mio Global and Pear Sports) Once running, we’ll monitor when you switch heart rate zones and adjust the music’s beats per minute (BPM) to correlate. Don’t worry—once your heart rate hits max zones, we’ll level off the BPM/tempo to create a calming (as opposed to frantic) experience.Getting started with the myBeat™ Heart feature is simple, here’s how to do so:Fire up your Bluetooth or Ant+ heart rate monitorSelect your favorite downloaded RockMyRun mix from your MyMixesHit play and then select myBeat™ HeartGo through a one time setup to pair RockMyRun with your deviceStart rockin’!myBeatTM Heart will join our already popular myBeat feature suite, which includes myBeat™ Manual and myBeat™ Steps. As a reminder, myBeat™ Manual lets you manually set the music tempo to your goal cadence, while myBeat™ Steps enables you to let the tempo of any steady BPM mix automatically adjust so that the beat matches every step you take!Ready to start rocking in a whole new way? Download the app


Music Synchronizes To Your Heartbeat With RockMyRun

  ·  1 min

Music Synchronizes To Your Heartbeat With RockMyRun

Are you ready to love your run with all your heart? Then good news – we have just launched a lovely new feature on our iPhone app called myBeat™ Heart, which leverages your heartbeat to dictate the tempo of the music. You read that right—imagine Taylor Swift, Blake Shelton, Avicii or Bon Jovi singing along to the beat of your heart!So how exactly does it work?The RockMyRun app and myBeat™ Heart feature pairs with (almost) any Bluetooth or Ant+ heart rate monitor. (Looking to buy a heart rate monitor? We’re fans of the brands Mio Global and Pear Sports) Once running, we’ll monitor when you switch heart rate zones and adjust the music’s beats per minute (BPM) to correlate. Don’t worry—once your heart rate hits max zones, we’ll level off the BPM/tempo to create a calming (as opposed to frantic) experience.Getting started with the myBeat™ Heart feature is simple, here’s how to do so:Fire up your Bluetooth or Ant+ heart rate monitorSelect your favorite downloaded RockMyRun mix from your MyMixesHit play and then select myBeat™ HeartGo through a one time setup to pair RockMyRun with your deviceStart rockin’!myBeatTM Heart will join our already popular myBeat feature suite, which includes myBeat™ Manual and myBeat™ Steps. As a reminder, myBeat™ Manual lets you manually set the music tempo to your goal cadence, while myBeat™ Steps enables you to let the tempo of any steady BPM mix automatically adjust so that the beat matches every step you take!Ready to start rocking in a whole new way? Download the app


Why Do You Run? 4 Reasons to Be Motivated

  ·  4 min

Why Do You Run? 4 Reasons to Be Motivated

Improve Your HealthOne of the most common reasons we run, exercise, read fitness magazines and websites and enjoy apps like RockMyRun, is to improve our health. Sure we’ve heard that “exercise is medicine,” but like all medicine, if we don’t take it, it won’t work. And when it comes to running, or any doing any exercise routinely, the motivation for putting on our sneakers and working up a sweat has got to be internal.That means turning the “E” in exercise into “enjoyment” not “excruciating.” Do that by finding your “why” and creating a plan that includes specific, small and measurable steps attached to a written weekly plan. Ensure you do what you say you are going to do by finding a buddy and filling your vision with friendly, not trash, talk about your progress. Do you feel like you are breathing easier already?Look GoodAnother common motivation for exercising is pure vanity—you want to look great in that new bikini or tee shirt. Superficial? No way! Who says wanting to look good is shallow and artificial? Ever apply for a job and show up looking unwell, unkempt, or unhealthy? You get the idea. Whether it’s your wedding, a job interview, your high school or college reunion or the upcoming party, looking good is a prime motivator to put some fuel in your step around the track, on the trail, in the gym or running through the streets of downtown. And by the way, don’t think this is a woman’s motivator. GQ Magazine is pretty, pretty popular!To help you achieve this goal if this is your primary motivation, don’t, repeat don’t, go all out. You might find yourself burning out your flame before its red carpet show time. High intensity interval training that includes planned, focused ups and downs, for about eight cycles, taking no more than about 30 minutes four or five times a week, should be fine coupled with resistance training that focuses on full body activity. Body-sculpting, Pilates, Yoga, TRX, Total Gym, light weights and high reps, are the key here. Lastly, visualize yourself already achieving what you set out to accomplish, seeing yourself in the present bringing that new you to the party. Doesn’t if feel great to be a size 4 or have some muscle under that tee shirt?Socialize“Friends” wasn’t just a widely popular TV show, but socialization is a third reason people decide to workout. The idea of “group ex,” Zumba, Les Mills, biking, hiking, track and running clubs are in large measure successful due to the opportunity for social connection. Many people realize that a great way to connect with others and make new friends is through activities. Ever notice that grass grows without any battles and fruits ripen without any drama? If it’s friends you are looking for, joining a group exercise activity by allowing yourself to be free of self-consciousness will certainly help. Come from a place of acceptance—of yourself and others—and the experience will be easy and effortless.Friends, new or old, can be great cheerleaders and sources of accountability—and you can be the same for others. Set up a social media group and keep tweeting and texting about your experiences—soon enough you’ll attract others to your new passion. Like being a social exercise leader? Check out Fitmob and see if a social group exists near your home yet.Enhance Your MoodFinally, we all get down and blue, worried and irritated and just downright nasty from time to time. Guess what the fourth most common reason people “need to go out for a run”? That’s right! It’s a great mood enhancer. By releasing  and increasing those “feel-good” brain chemicals, decreasing those chemicals that increase anxiety and depression and providing a calming feeling, people find lots of solid motivation to exercise to simply feel happier, more confident, cope more effectively, concentrate easier – all within five minutes after moderate exercise.If this is your primary reason, internal motivation is a high driver and that’s great. You’ll stick with it longer than if your motivation is purely external.  One caveat here is don’t overdo it because you like the way it makes you feel so much.  A plan of about 150 minutes per week of moderate to intense activity will give you the mood enhancement you are looking for. Novelty is important so mix it up. Positive thinking is important to boost mood, so include affirmations such as, “I, Jennifer, already know what it feels like to live my life calmly, successfully and happily.” After an affirmation like this, don’t forget to say “thanks” acting like it’s already present in your life.There you have it. The four top reasons people are buying running shoes, joining gyms, hiring trainers and pushing themselves to sweat—getting and staying healthy, looking good, connecting with friends and feeling happier and more positive. If your main motivation isn’t here, let us know what it is in the comments below.Post contributed by Michael R. Mantell, Ph.D.  Dr. Mantell has served as a long-time Assistant Clinical Professor in the Department of Psychiatry at the University of California, San Diego and today is the Senior Fitness Consultant for Behavioral Sciences for the American Council on Exercise, a behavioral sciences coach, an author and a national fitness-health speaker. 


Why Do You Run? 4 Reasons to Be Motivated

  ·  4 min

Why Do You Run? 4 Reasons to Be Motivated

Improve Your HealthOne of the most common reasons we run, exercise, read fitness magazines and websites and enjoy apps like RockMyRun, is to improve our health. Sure we’ve heard that “exercise is medicine,” but like all medicine, if we don’t take it, it won’t work. And when it comes to running, or any doing any exercise routinely, the motivation for putting on our sneakers and working up a sweat has got to be internal.That means turning the “E” in exercise into “enjoyment” not “excruciating.” Do that by finding your “why” and creating a plan that includes specific, small and measurable steps attached to a written weekly plan. Ensure you do what you say you are going to do by finding a buddy and filling your vision with friendly, not trash, talk about your progress. Do you feel like you are breathing easier already?Look GoodAnother common motivation for exercising is pure vanity—you want to look great in that new bikini or tee shirt. Superficial? No way! Who says wanting to look good is shallow and artificial? Ever apply for a job and show up looking unwell, unkempt, or unhealthy? You get the idea. Whether it’s your wedding, a job interview, your high school or college reunion or the upcoming party, looking good is a prime motivator to put some fuel in your step around the track, on the trail, in the gym or running through the streets of downtown. And by the way, don’t think this is a woman’s motivator. GQ Magazine is pretty, pretty popular!To help you achieve this goal if this is your primary motivation, don’t, repeat don’t, go all out. You might find yourself burning out your flame before its red carpet show time. High intensity interval training that includes planned, focused ups and downs, for about eight cycles, taking no more than about 30 minutes four or five times a week, should be fine coupled with resistance training that focuses on full body activity. Body-sculpting, Pilates, Yoga, TRX, Total Gym, light weights and high reps, are the key here. Lastly, visualize yourself already achieving what you set out to accomplish, seeing yourself in the present bringing that new you to the party. Doesn’t if feel great to be a size 4 or have some muscle under that tee shirt?Socialize“Friends” wasn’t just a widely popular TV show, but socialization is a third reason people decide to workout. The idea of “group ex,” Zumba, Les Mills, biking, hiking, track and running clubs are in large measure successful due to the opportunity for social connection. Many people realize that a great way to connect with others and make new friends is through activities. Ever notice that grass grows without any battles and fruits ripen without any drama? If it’s friends you are looking for, joining a group exercise activity by allowing yourself to be free of self-consciousness will certainly help. Come from a place of acceptance—of yourself and others—and the experience will be easy and effortless.Friends, new or old, can be great cheerleaders and sources of accountability—and you can be the same for others. Set up a social media group and keep tweeting and texting about your experiences—soon enough you’ll attract others to your new passion. Like being a social exercise leader? Check out Fitmob and see if a social group exists near your home yet.Enhance Your MoodFinally, we all get down and blue, worried and irritated and just downright nasty from time to time. Guess what the fourth most common reason people “need to go out for a run”? That’s right! It’s a great mood enhancer. By releasing  and increasing those “feel-good” brain chemicals, decreasing those chemicals that increase anxiety and depression and providing a calming feeling, people find lots of solid motivation to exercise to simply feel happier, more confident, cope more effectively, concentrate easier – all within five minutes after moderate exercise.If this is your primary reason, internal motivation is a high driver and that’s great. You’ll stick with it longer than if your motivation is purely external.  One caveat here is don’t overdo it because you like the way it makes you feel so much.  A plan of about 150 minutes per week of moderate to intense activity will give you the mood enhancement you are looking for. Novelty is important so mix it up. Positive thinking is important to boost mood, so include affirmations such as, “I, Jennifer, already know what it feels like to live my life calmly, successfully and happily.” After an affirmation like this, don’t forget to say “thanks” acting like it’s already present in your life.There you have it. The four top reasons people are buying running shoes, joining gyms, hiring trainers and pushing themselves to sweat—getting and staying healthy, looking good, connecting with friends and feeling happier and more positive. If your main motivation isn’t here, let us know what it is in the comments below.Post contributed by Michael R. Mantell, Ph.D.  Dr. Mantell has served as a long-time Assistant Clinical Professor in the Department of Psychiatry at the University of California, San Diego and today is the Senior Fitness Consultant for Behavioral Sciences for the American Council on Exercise, a behavioral sciences coach, an author and a national fitness-health speaker. 


How to Run Your First Marathon

  ·  8 min

How to Run Your First Marathon

Running a marathon for the first time is not easy, but with the right guidance, you’ll be in the best position possible to achieve this awesome goal. This post will help you prepare for your first marathon, and future marathons if you fall in love with it like I have. Let’s make that leap into the unknown and scary together! Deciding which marathon is right for youAdditionally, you need to figure out when/where you are racing to determine some key components to your training. For a beginner, I would recommend up to 16 weeks of total training. A lot of great marathons are in the Fall or Spring, so make sure you are also aware of the type of weather you thrive best in and try to pick a race that will match your needs. Personally, I like cooler temperatures so marathons in November and December are typically my favorite.Commit to the goalThe first step to running a marathon is to commit to the goal. The training will be hard, and the commitment and dedication will at times feel overwhelming. But what is hard is not impossible. Embrace each challenge and know that in the end, it will all be worth it. Now that you’ve decided you really want to do this, I would pick a marathon and register. Put in on your calendar; it will help conceptualize the entire process, which will help make everything feel more real and will add a component of accountability to your training. Picking a marathon training planThere are many beginner training plans online so make sure you pick one that excites you and you think you can handle. A few training plans that I trust and recommend are: https://www.halhigdon.com/training-programs/marathon-training/novice-1-marathon/ (For a very novice runner who wants as much guidance as possible at no cost)https://runsmartproject.com/training-plans-old/ (For a beginner who is willing to pay for personalized workouts to match his/her training goals)http://www.jeffgalloway.com/training/marathon-training/ (For a beginner who has been doing some running/walking in the past few weeks)Here’s what you can expect: Typically, each week you want to include a long run (which I will argue is the most important run of the week), a faster-paced interval run (a run that includes some speed and is broken up into different length intervals), and 2-3 easy runs. The long run is crucial because it will be what most simulates what your actual marathon will feel like. The idea of ‘time on feet’ is critical to remember because you want to train your body to be able to handle the cumulative load of being on your feet for many hours at a time. You also want to make sure you include two days a week of supplemental strengthening exercises, which I will get into more detail a bit later. As you progress, you can add more volume/intensity to your week, but I would start with 4-5 days of running and 1-2 days of rest or cross-training (any other form of exercise: i.e. biking, swimming, elliptical, etc.)What running shoes should I buy for a marathon?Before you start running, you want to make sure you have the right shoes. In this day and age, there are hundreds of different shoes to choose from, so I would advise going into your local running store and having them fit you for a pair. The shoe buying process can be overwhelming with all the options and opinions out there, but one general guideline to follow: if the shoe is comfortable and supportive on your foot, you should be fine. Additionally, make sure you practice running in the shoes you will be racing in and try to get a new pair every 300-400 miles. This will help to keep your lower half healthy and feeling fresh.RecoveryAnother key component of your training is RECOVERY!! Recovery is not the absence of training, it is training in itself. A lot of runners struggle with this aspect, but the only way to make real progress in training is to let your body rest and adapt to the training. Many athletes have the flawed mentality that the more they train, the more fit they will become. Ultimately, without recovery one will never improve. It is the rest period after a workout that allows one’s body to adapt to the stress you just put it through and come back stronger than before. Recovery does not just mean rest. It also means making sure to stretch/foam roll to keep your muscles and tendons loose and pliable, eating immediately or as soon as possible after a workout, as well as strengthening exercises to keep you strong and injury-free. It is imperative to make time in your training for stability/mobility exercises, as well as strength-training to improve running form and decrease your likelihood of injury. Sometimes we think that running an extra mile here or there is going to be the difference to our training, but I strongly believe that reducing a run by 5-10 minutes and using that extra time to do strengthening exercises will benefit you much more in the long run (pun intended ). Again, there are a plethora of good resources online for flexibility and strengthening exercises, so find one you like and stick with it. Personally, I have found that Jay Dicharry’s books, Anatomy for Runners and Running Rewired, are phenomenal guides for both flexibility and strengthening exercises. If you don’t want to purchase his books, a few key strength exercises to include in your program twice a week are: Squats (2-3 sets of 8-10 reps)Lunges (2-3 sets of 8-10 reps each leg)Single Leg Romanian Dead Lifts (2-3 sets of 8-10 reps each leg)Plank hold (3x30 sec)Calf raises (2-3 sets of 10-12 reps each leg)This leads me to my next important topic, sleep and nutrition. Sleep and NutritionTo have sufficient energy to fuel your body for the training you will be doing, you must take sleep and nutrition into account. Sleeping 7-9 hours a night is ideal and you want to prioritize a sleep routine that keeps you feeling rested and feeling good. In regard to food, you need to think in terms of fueling your body. You want to make sure that you are giving your body the best possible nutrients to allow it to perform at its best. A lot of runners struggle with the nutrition component, but one of the best ways to think is to have the majority of your diet be comprised of whole foods (minimally processed foods that are close to nature, such as fruits, vegetables, nuts, beans, etc.), whole-grains, and a variety of nutrient-dense foods. Also, the importance of protein for someone training for a marathon is essential. You are stressing your muscles to their limits and you want to replenish them with enough protein to help rebuild them. Lastly, you never want to go too long without eating and don’t tell yourself any food is off limits. Of course, you don’t want to eat an entire chocolate cake, but if you’re craving a piece, then eat one! By listening to your hunger cues and giving your body what it wants, you will be less likely to binge on something that you have told yourself is off limits.You will really want to practice eating before big training runs so you can get familiar with whatworks well for your body before race day. Typically, some great pre-race foods include bananas, toast with peanut butter and honey, and oatmeal. The night before your race you want to focus on eating a meal that has about 60% carbohydrates (pasta, rice, bread), 30% protein, and 10% fat. Finally, you need to practice fueling DURING your training runs. There are now a wide array of energy gels out there to practice with, as well as some liquid carbohydrate based drinks that work great. Personally, I love the Maurten carbohydrate drink and the Gu energy gels. Just make sure you always practice your strategies and NEVER TRY ANYTHING NEW ON RACE DAY.The mental component of running a marathonThe last piece of the puzzle that I think is critical is the mental component. In endurance sports, the mind can play many tricks on the body and it is vital to remember that we are stronger than we think. A huge mantra that has helped me in my running career is to ‘control the controllables’. We don’t have control over the weather or how other people are doing, but we do have control over our attitude and our effort. Do your best to focus on the factors that will put you in the best position to reach your goal. Everything else is irrelevant.You can do this!I’ll just leave you with my favorite quote, “So many of our dreams at first seem impossible, then they seem improbable, and then, when we summon the will, they soon become inevitable.”Go out there and chase down your dreams my friends! Adriana started running competitively in 6th grade and competed at a Varsity level all throughout high school. Her junior year of college at Duke University, she decided to run her first marathon after spontaneously joining a friend for her 16 mile long run. She finished the Disney Marathon in January 2011 in a time of 3:17. Fast forward to now, Adriana has brought her marathon PR down to 2:44, and has run many marathons, most recently the 2018 and 2019 California International Marathon, 2019 Grandma’s Marathon, 2020 Aviation Marathon, and qualified and competed at the 2020 Olympic Marathon Trials in Atlanta, Georgia! She lives in in Winston-Salem, NC and works as a Career Services Specialist at Wake Forest University. 


How to Run Your First Marathon

  ·  8 min

How to Run Your First Marathon

Running a marathon for the first time is not easy, but with the right guidance, you’ll be in the best position possible to achieve this awesome goal. This post will help you prepare for your first marathon, and future marathons if you fall in love with it like I have. Let’s make that leap into the unknown and scary together! Deciding which marathon is right for youAdditionally, you need to figure out when/where you are racing to determine some key components to your training. For a beginner, I would recommend up to 16 weeks of total training. A lot of great marathons are in the Fall or Spring, so make sure you are also aware of the type of weather you thrive best in and try to pick a race that will match your needs. Personally, I like cooler temperatures so marathons in November and December are typically my favorite.Commit to the goalThe first step to running a marathon is to commit to the goal. The training will be hard, and the commitment and dedication will at times feel overwhelming. But what is hard is not impossible. Embrace each challenge and know that in the end, it will all be worth it. Now that you’ve decided you really want to do this, I would pick a marathon and register. Put in on your calendar; it will help conceptualize the entire process, which will help make everything feel more real and will add a component of accountability to your training. Picking a marathon training planThere are many beginner training plans online so make sure you pick one that excites you and you think you can handle. A few training plans that I trust and recommend are: https://www.halhigdon.com/training-programs/marathon-training/novice-1-marathon/ (For a very novice runner who wants as much guidance as possible at no cost)https://runsmartproject.com/training-plans-old/ (For a beginner who is willing to pay for personalized workouts to match his/her training goals)http://www.jeffgalloway.com/training/marathon-training/ (For a beginner who has been doing some running/walking in the past few weeks)Here’s what you can expect: Typically, each week you want to include a long run (which I will argue is the most important run of the week), a faster-paced interval run (a run that includes some speed and is broken up into different length intervals), and 2-3 easy runs. The long run is crucial because it will be what most simulates what your actual marathon will feel like. The idea of ‘time on feet’ is critical to remember because you want to train your body to be able to handle the cumulative load of being on your feet for many hours at a time. You also want to make sure you include two days a week of supplemental strengthening exercises, which I will get into more detail a bit later. As you progress, you can add more volume/intensity to your week, but I would start with 4-5 days of running and 1-2 days of rest or cross-training (any other form of exercise: i.e. biking, swimming, elliptical, etc.)What running shoes should I buy for a marathon?Before you start running, you want to make sure you have the right shoes. In this day and age, there are hundreds of different shoes to choose from, so I would advise going into your local running store and having them fit you for a pair. The shoe buying process can be overwhelming with all the options and opinions out there, but one general guideline to follow: if the shoe is comfortable and supportive on your foot, you should be fine. Additionally, make sure you practice running in the shoes you will be racing in and try to get a new pair every 300-400 miles. This will help to keep your lower half healthy and feeling fresh.RecoveryAnother key component of your training is RECOVERY!! Recovery is not the absence of training, it is training in itself. A lot of runners struggle with this aspect, but the only way to make real progress in training is to let your body rest and adapt to the training. Many athletes have the flawed mentality that the more they train, the more fit they will become. Ultimately, without recovery one will never improve. It is the rest period after a workout that allows one’s body to adapt to the stress you just put it through and come back stronger than before. Recovery does not just mean rest. It also means making sure to stretch/foam roll to keep your muscles and tendons loose and pliable, eating immediately or as soon as possible after a workout, as well as strengthening exercises to keep you strong and injury-free. It is imperative to make time in your training for stability/mobility exercises, as well as strength-training to improve running form and decrease your likelihood of injury. Sometimes we think that running an extra mile here or there is going to be the difference to our training, but I strongly believe that reducing a run by 5-10 minutes and using that extra time to do strengthening exercises will benefit you much more in the long run (pun intended ). Again, there are a plethora of good resources online for flexibility and strengthening exercises, so find one you like and stick with it. Personally, I have found that Jay Dicharry’s books, Anatomy for Runners and Running Rewired, are phenomenal guides for both flexibility and strengthening exercises. If you don’t want to purchase his books, a few key strength exercises to include in your program twice a week are: Squats (2-3 sets of 8-10 reps)Lunges (2-3 sets of 8-10 reps each leg)Single Leg Romanian Dead Lifts (2-3 sets of 8-10 reps each leg)Plank hold (3x30 sec)Calf raises (2-3 sets of 10-12 reps each leg)This leads me to my next important topic, sleep and nutrition. Sleep and NutritionTo have sufficient energy to fuel your body for the training you will be doing, you must take sleep and nutrition into account. Sleeping 7-9 hours a night is ideal and you want to prioritize a sleep routine that keeps you feeling rested and feeling good. In regard to food, you need to think in terms of fueling your body. You want to make sure that you are giving your body the best possible nutrients to allow it to perform at its best. A lot of runners struggle with the nutrition component, but one of the best ways to think is to have the majority of your diet be comprised of whole foods (minimally processed foods that are close to nature, such as fruits, vegetables, nuts, beans, etc.), whole-grains, and a variety of nutrient-dense foods. Also, the importance of protein for someone training for a marathon is essential. You are stressing your muscles to their limits and you want to replenish them with enough protein to help rebuild them. Lastly, you never want to go too long without eating and don’t tell yourself any food is off limits. Of course, you don’t want to eat an entire chocolate cake, but if you’re craving a piece, then eat one! By listening to your hunger cues and giving your body what it wants, you will be less likely to binge on something that you have told yourself is off limits.You will really want to practice eating before big training runs so you can get familiar with whatworks well for your body before race day. Typically, some great pre-race foods include bananas, toast with peanut butter and honey, and oatmeal. The night before your race you want to focus on eating a meal that has about 60% carbohydrates (pasta, rice, bread), 30% protein, and 10% fat. Finally, you need to practice fueling DURING your training runs. There are now a wide array of energy gels out there to practice with, as well as some liquid carbohydrate based drinks that work great. Personally, I love the Maurten carbohydrate drink and the Gu energy gels. Just make sure you always practice your strategies and NEVER TRY ANYTHING NEW ON RACE DAY.The mental component of running a marathonThe last piece of the puzzle that I think is critical is the mental component. In endurance sports, the mind can play many tricks on the body and it is vital to remember that we are stronger than we think. A huge mantra that has helped me in my running career is to ‘control the controllables’. We don’t have control over the weather or how other people are doing, but we do have control over our attitude and our effort. Do your best to focus on the factors that will put you in the best position to reach your goal. Everything else is irrelevant.You can do this!I’ll just leave you with my favorite quote, “So many of our dreams at first seem impossible, then they seem improbable, and then, when we summon the will, they soon become inevitable.”Go out there and chase down your dreams my friends! Adriana started running competitively in 6th grade and competed at a Varsity level all throughout high school. Her junior year of college at Duke University, she decided to run her first marathon after spontaneously joining a friend for her 16 mile long run. She finished the Disney Marathon in January 2011 in a time of 3:17. Fast forward to now, Adriana has brought her marathon PR down to 2:44, and has run many marathons, most recently the 2018 and 2019 California International Marathon, 2019 Grandma’s Marathon, 2020 Aviation Marathon, and qualified and competed at the 2020 Olympic Marathon Trials in Atlanta, Georgia! She lives in in Winston-Salem, NC and works as a Career Services Specialist at Wake Forest University. 


RockMyRun User Feedback Survey Results

  ·  2 min

RockMyRun User Feedback Survey Results

We’re always looking to improve our app, and wanted to make sure that we understood where our current opportunities were. So in May of 2020, we sent out a survey to our most active RockMyRun users. Primarily, we wanted to know how the app was doing, but we also geek out on data and wanted to see how people are using RockMyRun.Here are the results! How often do people use RockMyRun?We found that 32% of our users use RockMyRun 3-4 times a week. That’s a very high number, meaning that people use our app almost every day. That was exciting for us to see, and we were also impressed with our users dedication to fitness! What do people use RockMyRun For?Not surprisingly, most users (76%!) use RockMyRun for running, but people also like to use it for walking, cardio, erights, group fitness classes, cycling, and more!We also had some really interesting “Other” write-ins, such as cooking, mowing the lawn, cleaning, driving, and as background music for gatherings with friends. Who’s using the Tempo Changing Feature? One of the features that sets RockMyRun apart from other apps is the automatic tempo changing based on GPS, heart rate, etc. So we were curious: How many people are currently using this feature?We were glad that the majority were taking advantage of this feature, but only 63%!Here’s how people were using this feature:79% of users manually set their BPM, while only 35% connect it to their steps, and only 18% connect it to their heart rate.What new features did people request?Most responses said that integrating with speakers, such as Bose® or Sonos®, would be a valuable feature.Additionally, most people also said they’d love to have RockMyRun work on an AppleWatch without needing to have their device near. We also received feedback that we need to improve the music discovery process, which is something we are already working on!We hope you find these results as interesting as we do!Do you agree? Where do you stack up? We’d love to hear in the comments.


RockMyRun User Feedback Survey Results

  ·  2 min

RockMyRun User Feedback Survey Results

We’re always looking to improve our app, and wanted to make sure that we understood where our current opportunities were. So in May of 2020, we sent out a survey to our most active RockMyRun users. Primarily, we wanted to know how the app was doing, but we also geek out on data and wanted to see how people are using RockMyRun.Here are the results! How often do people use RockMyRun?We found that 32% of our users use RockMyRun 3-4 times a week. That’s a very high number, meaning that people use our app almost every day. That was exciting for us to see, and we were also impressed with our users dedication to fitness! What do people use RockMyRun For?Not surprisingly, most users (76%!) use RockMyRun for running, but people also like to use it for walking, cardio, erights, group fitness classes, cycling, and more!We also had some really interesting “Other” write-ins, such as cooking, mowing the lawn, cleaning, driving, and as background music for gatherings with friends. Who’s using the Tempo Changing Feature? One of the features that sets RockMyRun apart from other apps is the automatic tempo changing based on GPS, heart rate, etc. So we were curious: How many people are currently using this feature?We were glad that the majority were taking advantage of this feature, but only 63%!Here’s how people were using this feature:79% of users manually set their BPM, while only 35% connect it to their steps, and only 18% connect it to their heart rate.What new features did people request?Most responses said that integrating with speakers, such as Bose® or Sonos®, would be a valuable feature.Additionally, most people also said they’d love to have RockMyRun work on an AppleWatch without needing to have their device near. We also received feedback that we need to improve the music discovery process, which is something we are already working on!We hope you find these results as interesting as we do!Do you agree? Where do you stack up? We’d love to hear in the comments.


Top 10 Rules of the Road

  ·  3 min

Top 10 Rules of the Road

Looking for a few ways to make the most out of your running experience? Follow my Top 10 Rules of the Road for a more enjoyable, less stressful run.1. Be ThankfulIf you are fortunate enough to be able to run at your own discretion, be grateful for that gift.  Some people do not have that ability.  Embrace the gift, because it can be taken away in an instant.2. Just Do ItThe more you think about it, the less likely you are to actually do it.  Don’t think.  Just do.3. Ditch the Jordan’sBaggy short are to running what oil is to water – they just don’t mix!  So get rid of the high tops shoes and wife beaters and pick up some running-specific gear.  Not only will you actually look like a runner, but you will feel and perform like one too.4. This Isn’t GymnasticsWe’re not on the pummel horse here, we’re on the pavement.  Nobody cares about your splits.  If somebody wants to know how fast your individual mile times are, they’ll ask.5. Shut Up and RunNobody likes a whiner, not even other whiners.  If you wait for perfect conditions, your muscles to stop aching, or your schedule to open up, you’re not going to get very far.  Embrace the wind.  Learn to love 20 degree runs.6. FamiliarityWhether it’s a spoonful of butter, a bowl of oatmeal, or a 20 ounce Mountain Dew, put the same foods in your body prior to your run.  Do not eat anything your body is unaccustomed to.  Trust me; I’ve learned this the hard way.  Your stomach and digestive system will thank you around mile 10.7. Pre-Game RitualAlways.  Always.  Always.  Make a visit to the restroom before a long run.  Just as with Rule 6, your stomach will be happy you did this.8. Mix It UpRun alone.  Run with people.  Run on the treadmill.  Run on the road.  Run intervals.  Run distance.  Specificity is important when training for a race or a certain distance.  But variety will limit boredom and give you different workouts to look forward to.9. We Are All EqualRunners are as varied as any group of people in the world.  Some of us are sprinters while others prefer distance.  Some of us like to listen to the pounding of feet against the pavement and some like the pounding of music in our headphones.  As different as we may be, we are also equal because we are runners.10. Enjoy it!This is why I run.  I make it a personal goal to enjoy every run, whether it’s a struggle or not.  So, take a break every once in a while and remember why you run.  Find what you enjoy about it and keep that close to you.As a holiday gift for you all, I’m leaving you with one of my favorite treadmill workouts.  I call this the High/Low Workout.  As the name indicates, you will alternate between high and low running speeds on the treadmill.  I usually set my intervals for 30 seconds at a high intensity followed by 30 seconds of low intensity running.  Each set usually lasts for 5-6 minutes, with a 1 minute walk in between sets.To give you an idea of what the High/Low entails, here is what a typical workout looks like for me:Set 1: 8.0 MPH/6.0 MPH – 5 MinutesSet 2: 8.5 MPH/6.0 MPH – 5 MinutesSet 3: 9.0 MPH/5.5 MPH – 5 MinutesSet 4: 9.5 MPH/5.5 MPH – 5 MinutesSet 5: 10.0 MPH/5.0 MPH – 5 MinutesDo you have any of your own Rules of the Road?  Leave your favorite rule in the comment box below!Post contributed by Brock Jones.  Brock is Co-Owner and Head Trainer with BodyFIT, Inc. in Lexington, KY. He holds a Masters of Science in Exercise Physiology from the University of Kentucky and is an NSCA Certified Strength and Conditioning Specialist.  You can read more of Brock’s posts about fitness and exercise on the BodyFIT Punch Blog.


Top 10 Rules of the Road

  ·  3 min

Top 10 Rules of the Road

Looking for a few ways to make the most out of your running experience? Follow my Top 10 Rules of the Road for a more enjoyable, less stressful run.1. Be ThankfulIf you are fortunate enough to be able to run at your own discretion, be grateful for that gift.  Some people do not have that ability.  Embrace the gift, because it can be taken away in an instant.2. Just Do ItThe more you think about it, the less likely you are to actually do it.  Don’t think.  Just do.3. Ditch the Jordan’sBaggy short are to running what oil is to water – they just don’t mix!  So get rid of the high tops shoes and wife beaters and pick up some running-specific gear.  Not only will you actually look like a runner, but you will feel and perform like one too.4. This Isn’t GymnasticsWe’re not on the pummel horse here, we’re on the pavement.  Nobody cares about your splits.  If somebody wants to know how fast your individual mile times are, they’ll ask.5. Shut Up and RunNobody likes a whiner, not even other whiners.  If you wait for perfect conditions, your muscles to stop aching, or your schedule to open up, you’re not going to get very far.  Embrace the wind.  Learn to love 20 degree runs.6. FamiliarityWhether it’s a spoonful of butter, a bowl of oatmeal, or a 20 ounce Mountain Dew, put the same foods in your body prior to your run.  Do not eat anything your body is unaccustomed to.  Trust me; I’ve learned this the hard way.  Your stomach and digestive system will thank you around mile 10.7. Pre-Game RitualAlways.  Always.  Always.  Make a visit to the restroom before a long run.  Just as with Rule 6, your stomach will be happy you did this.8. Mix It UpRun alone.  Run with people.  Run on the treadmill.  Run on the road.  Run intervals.  Run distance.  Specificity is important when training for a race or a certain distance.  But variety will limit boredom and give you different workouts to look forward to.9. We Are All EqualRunners are as varied as any group of people in the world.  Some of us are sprinters while others prefer distance.  Some of us like to listen to the pounding of feet against the pavement and some like the pounding of music in our headphones.  As different as we may be, we are also equal because we are runners.10. Enjoy it!This is why I run.  I make it a personal goal to enjoy every run, whether it’s a struggle or not.  So, take a break every once in a while and remember why you run.  Find what you enjoy about it and keep that close to you.As a holiday gift for you all, I’m leaving you with one of my favorite treadmill workouts.  I call this the High/Low Workout.  As the name indicates, you will alternate between high and low running speeds on the treadmill.  I usually set my intervals for 30 seconds at a high intensity followed by 30 seconds of low intensity running.  Each set usually lasts for 5-6 minutes, with a 1 minute walk in between sets.To give you an idea of what the High/Low entails, here is what a typical workout looks like for me:Set 1: 8.0 MPH/6.0 MPH – 5 MinutesSet 2: 8.5 MPH/6.0 MPH – 5 MinutesSet 3: 9.0 MPH/5.5 MPH – 5 MinutesSet 4: 9.5 MPH/5.5 MPH – 5 MinutesSet 5: 10.0 MPH/5.0 MPH – 5 MinutesDo you have any of your own Rules of the Road?  Leave your favorite rule in the comment box below!Post contributed by Brock Jones.  Brock is Co-Owner and Head Trainer with BodyFIT, Inc. in Lexington, KY. He holds a Masters of Science in Exercise Physiology from the University of Kentucky and is an NSCA Certified Strength and Conditioning Specialist.  You can read more of Brock’s posts about fitness and exercise on the BodyFIT Punch Blog.


Music Synchronizes To Your Heartbeat With RockMyRun

  ·  1 min

Music Synchronizes To Your Heartbeat With RockMyRun

Are you ready to love your run with all your heart? Then good news – we have just launched a lovely new feature on our iPhone app called myBeat™ Heart, which leverages your heartbeat to dictate the tempo of the music. You read that right—imagine Taylor Swift, Blake Shelton, Avicii or Bon Jovi singing along to the beat of your heart!So how exactly does it work?The RockMyRun app and myBeat™ Heart feature pairs with (almost) any Bluetooth or Ant+ heart rate monitor. (Looking to buy a heart rate monitor? We’re fans of the brands Mio Global and Pear Sports) Once running, we’ll monitor when you switch heart rate zones and adjust the music’s beats per minute (BPM) to correlate. Don’t worry—once your heart rate hits max zones, we’ll level off the BPM/tempo to create a calming (as opposed to frantic) experience.Getting started with the myBeat™ Heart feature is simple, here’s how to do so:Fire up your Bluetooth or Ant+ heart rate monitorSelect your favorite downloaded RockMyRun mix from your MyMixesHit play and then select myBeat™ HeartGo through a one time setup to pair RockMyRun with your deviceStart rockin’!myBeatTM Heart will join our already popular myBeat feature suite, which includes myBeat™ Manual and myBeat™ Steps. As a reminder, myBeat™ Manual lets you manually set the music tempo to your goal cadence, while myBeat™ Steps enables you to let the tempo of any steady BPM mix automatically adjust so that the beat matches every step you take!Ready to start rocking in a whole new way? Download the app


Music Synchronizes To Your Heartbeat With RockMyRun

  ·  1 min

Music Synchronizes To Your Heartbeat With RockMyRun

Are you ready to love your run with all your heart? Then good news – we have just launched a lovely new feature on our iPhone app called myBeat™ Heart, which leverages your heartbeat to dictate the tempo of the music. You read that right—imagine Taylor Swift, Blake Shelton, Avicii or Bon Jovi singing along to the beat of your heart!So how exactly does it work?The RockMyRun app and myBeat™ Heart feature pairs with (almost) any Bluetooth or Ant+ heart rate monitor. (Looking to buy a heart rate monitor? We’re fans of the brands Mio Global and Pear Sports) Once running, we’ll monitor when you switch heart rate zones and adjust the music’s beats per minute (BPM) to correlate. Don’t worry—once your heart rate hits max zones, we’ll level off the BPM/tempo to create a calming (as opposed to frantic) experience.Getting started with the myBeat™ Heart feature is simple, here’s how to do so:Fire up your Bluetooth or Ant+ heart rate monitorSelect your favorite downloaded RockMyRun mix from your MyMixesHit play and then select myBeat™ HeartGo through a one time setup to pair RockMyRun with your deviceStart rockin’!myBeatTM Heart will join our already popular myBeat feature suite, which includes myBeat™ Manual and myBeat™ Steps. As a reminder, myBeat™ Manual lets you manually set the music tempo to your goal cadence, while myBeat™ Steps enables you to let the tempo of any steady BPM mix automatically adjust so that the beat matches every step you take!Ready to start rocking in a whole new way? Download the app


Why Do You Run? 4 Reasons to Be Motivated

  ·  4 min

Why Do You Run? 4 Reasons to Be Motivated

Improve Your HealthOne of the most common reasons we run, exercise, read fitness magazines and websites and enjoy apps like RockMyRun, is to improve our health. Sure we’ve heard that “exercise is medicine,” but like all medicine, if we don’t take it, it won’t work. And when it comes to running, or any doing any exercise routinely, the motivation for putting on our sneakers and working up a sweat has got to be internal.That means turning the “E” in exercise into “enjoyment” not “excruciating.” Do that by finding your “why” and creating a plan that includes specific, small and measurable steps attached to a written weekly plan. Ensure you do what you say you are going to do by finding a buddy and filling your vision with friendly, not trash, talk about your progress. Do you feel like you are breathing easier already?Look GoodAnother common motivation for exercising is pure vanity—you want to look great in that new bikini or tee shirt. Superficial? No way! Who says wanting to look good is shallow and artificial? Ever apply for a job and show up looking unwell, unkempt, or unhealthy? You get the idea. Whether it’s your wedding, a job interview, your high school or college reunion or the upcoming party, looking good is a prime motivator to put some fuel in your step around the track, on the trail, in the gym or running through the streets of downtown. And by the way, don’t think this is a woman’s motivator. GQ Magazine is pretty, pretty popular!To help you achieve this goal if this is your primary motivation, don’t, repeat don’t, go all out. You might find yourself burning out your flame before its red carpet show time. High intensity interval training that includes planned, focused ups and downs, for about eight cycles, taking no more than about 30 minutes four or five times a week, should be fine coupled with resistance training that focuses on full body activity. Body-sculpting, Pilates, Yoga, TRX, Total Gym, light weights and high reps, are the key here. Lastly, visualize yourself already achieving what you set out to accomplish, seeing yourself in the present bringing that new you to the party. Doesn’t if feel great to be a size 4 or have some muscle under that tee shirt?Socialize“Friends” wasn’t just a widely popular TV show, but socialization is a third reason people decide to workout. The idea of “group ex,” Zumba, Les Mills, biking, hiking, track and running clubs are in large measure successful due to the opportunity for social connection. Many people realize that a great way to connect with others and make new friends is through activities. Ever notice that grass grows without any battles and fruits ripen without any drama? If it’s friends you are looking for, joining a group exercise activity by allowing yourself to be free of self-consciousness will certainly help. Come from a place of acceptance—of yourself and others—and the experience will be easy and effortless.Friends, new or old, can be great cheerleaders and sources of accountability—and you can be the same for others. Set up a social media group and keep tweeting and texting about your experiences—soon enough you’ll attract others to your new passion. Like being a social exercise leader? Check out Fitmob and see if a social group exists near your home yet.Enhance Your MoodFinally, we all get down and blue, worried and irritated and just downright nasty from time to time. Guess what the fourth most common reason people “need to go out for a run”? That’s right! It’s a great mood enhancer. By releasing  and increasing those “feel-good” brain chemicals, decreasing those chemicals that increase anxiety and depression and providing a calming feeling, people find lots of solid motivation to exercise to simply feel happier, more confident, cope more effectively, concentrate easier – all within five minutes after moderate exercise.If this is your primary reason, internal motivation is a high driver and that’s great. You’ll stick with it longer than if your motivation is purely external.  One caveat here is don’t overdo it because you like the way it makes you feel so much.  A plan of about 150 minutes per week of moderate to intense activity will give you the mood enhancement you are looking for. Novelty is important so mix it up. Positive thinking is important to boost mood, so include affirmations such as, “I, Jennifer, already know what it feels like to live my life calmly, successfully and happily.” After an affirmation like this, don’t forget to say “thanks” acting like it’s already present in your life.There you have it. The four top reasons people are buying running shoes, joining gyms, hiring trainers and pushing themselves to sweat—getting and staying healthy, looking good, connecting with friends and feeling happier and more positive. If your main motivation isn’t here, let us know what it is in the comments below.Post contributed by Michael R. Mantell, Ph.D.  Dr. Mantell has served as a long-time Assistant Clinical Professor in the Department of Psychiatry at the University of California, San Diego and today is the Senior Fitness Consultant for Behavioral Sciences for the American Council on Exercise, a behavioral sciences coach, an author and a national fitness-health speaker. 


Why Do You Run? 4 Reasons to Be Motivated

  ·  4 min

Why Do You Run? 4 Reasons to Be Motivated

Improve Your HealthOne of the most common reasons we run, exercise, read fitness magazines and websites and enjoy apps like RockMyRun, is to improve our health. Sure we’ve heard that “exercise is medicine,” but like all medicine, if we don’t take it, it won’t work. And when it comes to running, or any doing any exercise routinely, the motivation for putting on our sneakers and working up a sweat has got to be internal.That means turning the “E” in exercise into “enjoyment” not “excruciating.” Do that by finding your “why” and creating a plan that includes specific, small and measurable steps attached to a written weekly plan. Ensure you do what you say you are going to do by finding a buddy and filling your vision with friendly, not trash, talk about your progress. Do you feel like you are breathing easier already?Look GoodAnother common motivation for exercising is pure vanity—you want to look great in that new bikini or tee shirt. Superficial? No way! Who says wanting to look good is shallow and artificial? Ever apply for a job and show up looking unwell, unkempt, or unhealthy? You get the idea. Whether it’s your wedding, a job interview, your high school or college reunion or the upcoming party, looking good is a prime motivator to put some fuel in your step around the track, on the trail, in the gym or running through the streets of downtown. And by the way, don’t think this is a woman’s motivator. GQ Magazine is pretty, pretty popular!To help you achieve this goal if this is your primary motivation, don’t, repeat don’t, go all out. You might find yourself burning out your flame before its red carpet show time. High intensity interval training that includes planned, focused ups and downs, for about eight cycles, taking no more than about 30 minutes four or five times a week, should be fine coupled with resistance training that focuses on full body activity. Body-sculpting, Pilates, Yoga, TRX, Total Gym, light weights and high reps, are the key here. Lastly, visualize yourself already achieving what you set out to accomplish, seeing yourself in the present bringing that new you to the party. Doesn’t if feel great to be a size 4 or have some muscle under that tee shirt?Socialize“Friends” wasn’t just a widely popular TV show, but socialization is a third reason people decide to workout. The idea of “group ex,” Zumba, Les Mills, biking, hiking, track and running clubs are in large measure successful due to the opportunity for social connection. Many people realize that a great way to connect with others and make new friends is through activities. Ever notice that grass grows without any battles and fruits ripen without any drama? If it’s friends you are looking for, joining a group exercise activity by allowing yourself to be free of self-consciousness will certainly help. Come from a place of acceptance—of yourself and others—and the experience will be easy and effortless.Friends, new or old, can be great cheerleaders and sources of accountability—and you can be the same for others. Set up a social media group and keep tweeting and texting about your experiences—soon enough you’ll attract others to your new passion. Like being a social exercise leader? Check out Fitmob and see if a social group exists near your home yet.Enhance Your MoodFinally, we all get down and blue, worried and irritated and just downright nasty from time to time. Guess what the fourth most common reason people “need to go out for a run”? That’s right! It’s a great mood enhancer. By releasing  and increasing those “feel-good” brain chemicals, decreasing those chemicals that increase anxiety and depression and providing a calming feeling, people find lots of solid motivation to exercise to simply feel happier, more confident, cope more effectively, concentrate easier – all within five minutes after moderate exercise.If this is your primary reason, internal motivation is a high driver and that’s great. You’ll stick with it longer than if your motivation is purely external.  One caveat here is don’t overdo it because you like the way it makes you feel so much.  A plan of about 150 minutes per week of moderate to intense activity will give you the mood enhancement you are looking for. Novelty is important so mix it up. Positive thinking is important to boost mood, so include affirmations such as, “I, Jennifer, already know what it feels like to live my life calmly, successfully and happily.” After an affirmation like this, don’t forget to say “thanks” acting like it’s already present in your life.There you have it. The four top reasons people are buying running shoes, joining gyms, hiring trainers and pushing themselves to sweat—getting and staying healthy, looking good, connecting with friends and feeling happier and more positive. If your main motivation isn’t here, let us know what it is in the comments below.Post contributed by Michael R. Mantell, Ph.D.  Dr. Mantell has served as a long-time Assistant Clinical Professor in the Department of Psychiatry at the University of California, San Diego and today is the Senior Fitness Consultant for Behavioral Sciences for the American Council on Exercise, a behavioral sciences coach, an author and a national fitness-health speaker. 


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How to Run Your First Marathon

  ·  8 min

How to Run Your First Marathon

Running a marathon for the first time is not easy, but with the right guidance, you’ll be in the best position possible to achieve this awesome goal. This post will help you prepare for your first marathon, and future marathons if you fall in love with it like I have. Let’s make that leap into the unknown and scary together! Deciding which marathon is right for youAdditionally, you need to figure out when/where you are racing to determine some key components to your training. For a beginner, I would recommend up to 16 weeks of total training. A lot of great marathons are in the Fall or Spring, so make sure you are also aware of the type of weather you thrive best in and try to pick a race that will match your needs. Personally, I like cooler temperatures so marathons in November and December are typically my favorite.Commit to the goalThe first step to running a marathon is to commit to the goal. The training will be hard, and the commitment and dedication will at times feel overwhelming. But what is hard is not impossible. Embrace each challenge and know that in the end, it will all be worth it. Now that you’ve decided you really want to do this, I would pick a marathon and register. Put in on your calendar; it will help conceptualize the entire process, which will help make everything feel more real and will add a component of accountability to your training. Picking a marathon training planThere are many beginner training plans online so make sure you pick one that excites you and you think you can handle. A few training plans that I trust and recommend are: https://www.halhigdon.com/training-programs/marathon-training/novice-1-marathon/ (For a very novice runner who wants as much guidance as possible at no cost)https://runsmartproject.com/training-plans-old/ (For a beginner who is willing to pay for personalized workouts to match his/her training goals)http://www.jeffgalloway.com/training/marathon-training/ (For a beginner who has been doing some running/walking in the past few weeks)Here’s what you can expect: Typically, each week you want to include a long run (which I will argue is the most important run of the week), a faster-paced interval run (a run that includes some speed and is broken up into different length intervals), and 2-3 easy runs. The long run is crucial because it will be what most simulates what your actual marathon will feel like. The idea of ‘time on feet’ is critical to remember because you want to train your body to be able to handle the cumulative load of being on your feet for many hours at a time. You also want to make sure you include two days a week of supplemental strengthening exercises, which I will get into more detail a bit later. As you progress, you can add more volume/intensity to your week, but I would start with 4-5 days of running and 1-2 days of rest or cross-training (any other form of exercise: i.e. biking, swimming, elliptical, etc.)What running shoes should I buy for a marathon?Before you start running, you want to make sure you have the right shoes. In this day and age, there are hundreds of different shoes to choose from, so I would advise going into your local running store and having them fit you for a pair. The shoe buying process can be overwhelming with all the options and opinions out there, but one general guideline to follow: if the shoe is comfortable and supportive on your foot, you should be fine. Additionally, make sure you practice running in the shoes you will be racing in and try to get a new pair every 300-400 miles. This will help to keep your lower half healthy and feeling fresh.RecoveryAnother key component of your training is RECOVERY!! Recovery is not the absence of training, it is training in itself. A lot of runners struggle with this aspect, but the only way to make real progress in training is to let your body rest and adapt to the training. Many athletes have the flawed mentality that the more they train, the more fit they will become. Ultimately, without recovery one will never improve. It is the rest period after a workout that allows one’s body to adapt to the stress you just put it through and come back stronger than before. Recovery does not just mean rest. It also means making sure to stretch/foam roll to keep your muscles and tendons loose and pliable, eating immediately or as soon as possible after a workout, as well as strengthening exercises to keep you strong and injury-free. It is imperative to make time in your training for stability/mobility exercises, as well as strength-training to improve running form and decrease your likelihood of injury. Sometimes we think that running an extra mile here or there is going to be the difference to our training, but I strongly believe that reducing a run by 5-10 minutes and using that extra time to do strengthening exercises will benefit you much more in the long run (pun intended ). Again, there are a plethora of good resources online for flexibility and strengthening exercises, so find one you like and stick with it. Personally, I have found that Jay Dicharry’s books, Anatomy for Runners and Running Rewired, are phenomenal guides for both flexibility and strengthening exercises. If you don’t want to purchase his books, a few key strength exercises to include in your program twice a week are: Squats (2-3 sets of 8-10 reps)Lunges (2-3 sets of 8-10 reps each leg)Single Leg Romanian Dead Lifts (2-3 sets of 8-10 reps each leg)Plank hold (3x30 sec)Calf raises (2-3 sets of 10-12 reps each leg)This leads me to my next important topic, sleep and nutrition. Sleep and NutritionTo have sufficient energy to fuel your body for the training you will be doing, you must take sleep and nutrition into account. Sleeping 7-9 hours a night is ideal and you want to prioritize a sleep routine that keeps you feeling rested and feeling good. In regard to food, you need to think in terms of fueling your body. You want to make sure that you are giving your body the best possible nutrients to allow it to perform at its best. A lot of runners struggle with the nutrition component, but one of the best ways to think is to have the majority of your diet be comprised of whole foods (minimally processed foods that are close to nature, such as fruits, vegetables, nuts, beans, etc.), whole-grains, and a variety of nutrient-dense foods. Also, the importance of protein for someone training for a marathon is essential. You are stressing your muscles to their limits and you want to replenish them with enough protein to help rebuild them. Lastly, you never want to go too long without eating and don’t tell yourself any food is off limits. Of course, you don’t want to eat an entire chocolate cake, but if you’re craving a piece, then eat one! By listening to your hunger cues and giving your body what it wants, you will be less likely to binge on something that you have told yourself is off limits.You will really want to practice eating before big training runs so you can get familiar with whatworks well for your body before race day. Typically, some great pre-race foods include bananas, toast with peanut butter and honey, and oatmeal. The night before your race you want to focus on eating a meal that has about 60% carbohydrates (pasta, rice, bread), 30% protein, and 10% fat. Finally, you need to practice fueling DURING your training runs. There are now a wide array of energy gels out there to practice with, as well as some liquid carbohydrate based drinks that work great. Personally, I love the Maurten carbohydrate drink and the Gu energy gels. Just make sure you always practice your strategies and NEVER TRY ANYTHING NEW ON RACE DAY.The mental component of running a marathonThe last piece of the puzzle that I think is critical is the mental component. In endurance sports, the mind can play many tricks on the body and it is vital to remember that we are stronger than we think. A huge mantra that has helped me in my running career is to ‘control the controllables’. We don’t have control over the weather or how other people are doing, but we do have control over our attitude and our effort. Do your best to focus on the factors that will put you in the best position to reach your goal. Everything else is irrelevant.You can do this!I’ll just leave you with my favorite quote, “So many of our dreams at first seem impossible, then they seem improbable, and then, when we summon the will, they soon become inevitable.”Go out there and chase down your dreams my friends! Adriana started running competitively in 6th grade and competed at a Varsity level all throughout high school. Her junior year of college at Duke University, she decided to run her first marathon after spontaneously joining a friend for her 16 mile long run. She finished the Disney Marathon in January 2011 in a time of 3:17. Fast forward to now, Adriana has brought her marathon PR down to 2:44, and has run many marathons, most recently the 2018 and 2019 California International Marathon, 2019 Grandma’s Marathon, 2020 Aviation Marathon, and qualified and competed at the 2020 Olympic Marathon Trials in Atlanta, Georgia! She lives in in Winston-Salem, NC and works as a Career Services Specialist at Wake Forest University. 


How to Run Your First Marathon

  ·  8 min

How to Run Your First Marathon

Running a marathon for the first time is not easy, but with the right guidance, you’ll be in the best position possible to achieve this awesome goal. This post will help you prepare for your first marathon, and future marathons if you fall in love with it like I have. Let’s make that leap into the unknown and scary together! Deciding which marathon is right for youAdditionally, you need to figure out when/where you are racing to determine some key components to your training. For a beginner, I would recommend up to 16 weeks of total training. A lot of great marathons are in the Fall or Spring, so make sure you are also aware of the type of weather you thrive best in and try to pick a race that will match your needs. Personally, I like cooler temperatures so marathons in November and December are typically my favorite.Commit to the goalThe first step to running a marathon is to commit to the goal. The training will be hard, and the commitment and dedication will at times feel overwhelming. But what is hard is not impossible. Embrace each challenge and know that in the end, it will all be worth it. Now that you’ve decided you really want to do this, I would pick a marathon and register. Put in on your calendar; it will help conceptualize the entire process, which will help make everything feel more real and will add a component of accountability to your training. Picking a marathon training planThere are many beginner training plans online so make sure you pick one that excites you and you think you can handle. A few training plans that I trust and recommend are: https://www.halhigdon.com/training-programs/marathon-training/novice-1-marathon/ (For a very novice runner who wants as much guidance as possible at no cost)https://runsmartproject.com/training-plans-old/ (For a beginner who is willing to pay for personalized workouts to match his/her training goals)http://www.jeffgalloway.com/training/marathon-training/ (For a beginner who has been doing some running/walking in the past few weeks)Here’s what you can expect: Typically, each week you want to include a long run (which I will argue is the most important run of the week), a faster-paced interval run (a run that includes some speed and is broken up into different length intervals), and 2-3 easy runs. The long run is crucial because it will be what most simulates what your actual marathon will feel like. The idea of ‘time on feet’ is critical to remember because you want to train your body to be able to handle the cumulative load of being on your feet for many hours at a time. You also want to make sure you include two days a week of supplemental strengthening exercises, which I will get into more detail a bit later. As you progress, you can add more volume/intensity to your week, but I would start with 4-5 days of running and 1-2 days of rest or cross-training (any other form of exercise: i.e. biking, swimming, elliptical, etc.)What running shoes should I buy for a marathon?Before you start running, you want to make sure you have the right shoes. In this day and age, there are hundreds of different shoes to choose from, so I would advise going into your local running store and having them fit you for a pair. The shoe buying process can be overwhelming with all the options and opinions out there, but one general guideline to follow: if the shoe is comfortable and supportive on your foot, you should be fine. Additionally, make sure you practice running in the shoes you will be racing in and try to get a new pair every 300-400 miles. This will help to keep your lower half healthy and feeling fresh.RecoveryAnother key component of your training is RECOVERY!! Recovery is not the absence of training, it is training in itself. A lot of runners struggle with this aspect, but the only way to make real progress in training is to let your body rest and adapt to the training. Many athletes have the flawed mentality that the more they train, the more fit they will become. Ultimately, without recovery one will never improve. It is the rest period after a workout that allows one’s body to adapt to the stress you just put it through and come back stronger than before. Recovery does not just mean rest. It also means making sure to stretch/foam roll to keep your muscles and tendons loose and pliable, eating immediately or as soon as possible after a workout, as well as strengthening exercises to keep you strong and injury-free. It is imperative to make time in your training for stability/mobility exercises, as well as strength-training to improve running form and decrease your likelihood of injury. Sometimes we think that running an extra mile here or there is going to be the difference to our training, but I strongly believe that reducing a run by 5-10 minutes and using that extra time to do strengthening exercises will benefit you much more in the long run (pun intended ). Again, there are a plethora of good resources online for flexibility and strengthening exercises, so find one you like and stick with it. Personally, I have found that Jay Dicharry’s books, Anatomy for Runners and Running Rewired, are phenomenal guides for both flexibility and strengthening exercises. If you don’t want to purchase his books, a few key strength exercises to include in your program twice a week are: Squats (2-3 sets of 8-10 reps)Lunges (2-3 sets of 8-10 reps each leg)Single Leg Romanian Dead Lifts (2-3 sets of 8-10 reps each leg)Plank hold (3x30 sec)Calf raises (2-3 sets of 10-12 reps each leg)This leads me to my next important topic, sleep and nutrition. Sleep and NutritionTo have sufficient energy to fuel your body for the training you will be doing, you must take sleep and nutrition into account. Sleeping 7-9 hours a night is ideal and you want to prioritize a sleep routine that keeps you feeling rested and feeling good. In regard to food, you need to think in terms of fueling your body. You want to make sure that you are giving your body the best possible nutrients to allow it to perform at its best. A lot of runners struggle with the nutrition component, but one of the best ways to think is to have the majority of your diet be comprised of whole foods (minimally processed foods that are close to nature, such as fruits, vegetables, nuts, beans, etc.), whole-grains, and a variety of nutrient-dense foods. Also, the importance of protein for someone training for a marathon is essential. You are stressing your muscles to their limits and you want to replenish them with enough protein to help rebuild them. Lastly, you never want to go too long without eating and don’t tell yourself any food is off limits. Of course, you don’t want to eat an entire chocolate cake, but if you’re craving a piece, then eat one! By listening to your hunger cues and giving your body what it wants, you will be less likely to binge on something that you have told yourself is off limits.You will really want to practice eating before big training runs so you can get familiar with whatworks well for your body before race day. Typically, some great pre-race foods include bananas, toast with peanut butter and honey, and oatmeal. The night before your race you want to focus on eating a meal that has about 60% carbohydrates (pasta, rice, bread), 30% protein, and 10% fat. Finally, you need to practice fueling DURING your training runs. There are now a wide array of energy gels out there to practice with, as well as some liquid carbohydrate based drinks that work great. Personally, I love the Maurten carbohydrate drink and the Gu energy gels. Just make sure you always practice your strategies and NEVER TRY ANYTHING NEW ON RACE DAY.The mental component of running a marathonThe last piece of the puzzle that I think is critical is the mental component. In endurance sports, the mind can play many tricks on the body and it is vital to remember that we are stronger than we think. A huge mantra that has helped me in my running career is to ‘control the controllables’. We don’t have control over the weather or how other people are doing, but we do have control over our attitude and our effort. Do your best to focus on the factors that will put you in the best position to reach your goal. Everything else is irrelevant.You can do this!I’ll just leave you with my favorite quote, “So many of our dreams at first seem impossible, then they seem improbable, and then, when we summon the will, they soon become inevitable.”Go out there and chase down your dreams my friends! Adriana started running competitively in 6th grade and competed at a Varsity level all throughout high school. Her junior year of college at Duke University, she decided to run her first marathon after spontaneously joining a friend for her 16 mile long run. She finished the Disney Marathon in January 2011 in a time of 3:17. Fast forward to now, Adriana has brought her marathon PR down to 2:44, and has run many marathons, most recently the 2018 and 2019 California International Marathon, 2019 Grandma’s Marathon, 2020 Aviation Marathon, and qualified and competed at the 2020 Olympic Marathon Trials in Atlanta, Georgia! She lives in in Winston-Salem, NC and works as a Career Services Specialist at Wake Forest University. 


RockMyRun User Feedback Survey Results

  ·  2 min

RockMyRun User Feedback Survey Results

We’re always looking to improve our app, and wanted to make sure that we understood where our current opportunities were. So in May of 2020, we sent out a survey to our most active RockMyRun users. Primarily, we wanted to know how the app was doing, but we also geek out on data and wanted to see how people are using RockMyRun.Here are the results! How often do people use RockMyRun?We found that 32% of our users use RockMyRun 3-4 times a week. That’s a very high number, meaning that people use our app almost every day. That was exciting for us to see, and we were also impressed with our users dedication to fitness! What do people use RockMyRun For?Not surprisingly, most users (76%!) use RockMyRun for running, but people also like to use it for walking, cardio, erights, group fitness classes, cycling, and more!We also had some really interesting “Other” write-ins, such as cooking, mowing the lawn, cleaning, driving, and as background music for gatherings with friends. Who’s using the Tempo Changing Feature? One of the features that sets RockMyRun apart from other apps is the automatic tempo changing based on GPS, heart rate, etc. So we were curious: How many people are currently using this feature?We were glad that the majority were taking advantage of this feature, but only 63%!Here’s how people were using this feature:79% of users manually set their BPM, while only 35% connect it to their steps, and only 18% connect it to their heart rate.What new features did people request?Most responses said that integrating with speakers, such as Bose® or Sonos®, would be a valuable feature.Additionally, most people also said they’d love to have RockMyRun work on an AppleWatch without needing to have their device near. We also received feedback that we need to improve the music discovery process, which is something we are already working on!We hope you find these results as interesting as we do!Do you agree? Where do you stack up? We’d love to hear in the comments.


RockMyRun User Feedback Survey Results

  ·  2 min

RockMyRun User Feedback Survey Results

We’re always looking to improve our app, and wanted to make sure that we understood where our current opportunities were. So in May of 2020, we sent out a survey to our most active RockMyRun users. Primarily, we wanted to know how the app was doing, but we also geek out on data and wanted to see how people are using RockMyRun.Here are the results! How often do people use RockMyRun?We found that 32% of our users use RockMyRun 3-4 times a week. That’s a very high number, meaning that people use our app almost every day. That was exciting for us to see, and we were also impressed with our users dedication to fitness! What do people use RockMyRun For?Not surprisingly, most users (76%!) use RockMyRun for running, but people also like to use it for walking, cardio, erights, group fitness classes, cycling, and more!We also had some really interesting “Other” write-ins, such as cooking, mowing the lawn, cleaning, driving, and as background music for gatherings with friends. Who’s using the Tempo Changing Feature? One of the features that sets RockMyRun apart from other apps is the automatic tempo changing based on GPS, heart rate, etc. So we were curious: How many people are currently using this feature?We were glad that the majority were taking advantage of this feature, but only 63%!Here’s how people were using this feature:79% of users manually set their BPM, while only 35% connect it to their steps, and only 18% connect it to their heart rate.What new features did people request?Most responses said that integrating with speakers, such as Bose® or Sonos®, would be a valuable feature.Additionally, most people also said they’d love to have RockMyRun work on an AppleWatch without needing to have their device near. We also received feedback that we need to improve the music discovery process, which is something we are already working on!We hope you find these results as interesting as we do!Do you agree? Where do you stack up? We’d love to hear in the comments.


Top 10 Rules of the Road

  ·  3 min

Top 10 Rules of the Road

Looking for a few ways to make the most out of your running experience? Follow my Top 10 Rules of the Road for a more enjoyable, less stressful run.1. Be ThankfulIf you are fortunate enough to be able to run at your own discretion, be grateful for that gift.  Some people do not have that ability.  Embrace the gift, because it can be taken away in an instant.2. Just Do ItThe more you think about it, the less likely you are to actually do it.  Don’t think.  Just do.3. Ditch the Jordan’sBaggy short are to running what oil is to water – they just don’t mix!  So get rid of the high tops shoes and wife beaters and pick up some running-specific gear.  Not only will you actually look like a runner, but you will feel and perform like one too.4. This Isn’t GymnasticsWe’re not on the pummel horse here, we’re on the pavement.  Nobody cares about your splits.  If somebody wants to know how fast your individual mile times are, they’ll ask.5. Shut Up and RunNobody likes a whiner, not even other whiners.  If you wait for perfect conditions, your muscles to stop aching, or your schedule to open up, you’re not going to get very far.  Embrace the wind.  Learn to love 20 degree runs.6. FamiliarityWhether it’s a spoonful of butter, a bowl of oatmeal, or a 20 ounce Mountain Dew, put the same foods in your body prior to your run.  Do not eat anything your body is unaccustomed to.  Trust me; I’ve learned this the hard way.  Your stomach and digestive system will thank you around mile 10.7. Pre-Game RitualAlways.  Always.  Always.  Make a visit to the restroom before a long run.  Just as with Rule 6, your stomach will be happy you did this.8. Mix It UpRun alone.  Run with people.  Run on the treadmill.  Run on the road.  Run intervals.  Run distance.  Specificity is important when training for a race or a certain distance.  But variety will limit boredom and give you different workouts to look forward to.9. We Are All EqualRunners are as varied as any group of people in the world.  Some of us are sprinters while others prefer distance.  Some of us like to listen to the pounding of feet against the pavement and some like the pounding of music in our headphones.  As different as we may be, we are also equal because we are runners.10. Enjoy it!This is why I run.  I make it a personal goal to enjoy every run, whether it’s a struggle or not.  So, take a break every once in a while and remember why you run.  Find what you enjoy about it and keep that close to you.As a holiday gift for you all, I’m leaving you with one of my favorite treadmill workouts.  I call this the High/Low Workout.  As the name indicates, you will alternate between high and low running speeds on the treadmill.  I usually set my intervals for 30 seconds at a high intensity followed by 30 seconds of low intensity running.  Each set usually lasts for 5-6 minutes, with a 1 minute walk in between sets.To give you an idea of what the High/Low entails, here is what a typical workout looks like for me:Set 1: 8.0 MPH/6.0 MPH – 5 MinutesSet 2: 8.5 MPH/6.0 MPH – 5 MinutesSet 3: 9.0 MPH/5.5 MPH – 5 MinutesSet 4: 9.5 MPH/5.5 MPH – 5 MinutesSet 5: 10.0 MPH/5.0 MPH – 5 MinutesDo you have any of your own Rules of the Road?  Leave your favorite rule in the comment box below!Post contributed by Brock Jones.  Brock is Co-Owner and Head Trainer with BodyFIT, Inc. in Lexington, KY. He holds a Masters of Science in Exercise Physiology from the University of Kentucky and is an NSCA Certified Strength and Conditioning Specialist.  You can read more of Brock’s posts about fitness and exercise on the BodyFIT Punch Blog.


Top 10 Rules of the Road

  ·  3 min

Top 10 Rules of the Road

Looking for a few ways to make the most out of your running experience? Follow my Top 10 Rules of the Road for a more enjoyable, less stressful run.1. Be ThankfulIf you are fortunate enough to be able to run at your own discretion, be grateful for that gift.  Some people do not have that ability.  Embrace the gift, because it can be taken away in an instant.2. Just Do ItThe more you think about it, the less likely you are to actually do it.  Don’t think.  Just do.3. Ditch the Jordan’sBaggy short are to running what oil is to water – they just don’t mix!  So get rid of the high tops shoes and wife beaters and pick up some running-specific gear.  Not only will you actually look like a runner, but you will feel and perform like one too.4. This Isn’t GymnasticsWe’re not on the pummel horse here, we’re on the pavement.  Nobody cares about your splits.  If somebody wants to know how fast your individual mile times are, they’ll ask.5. Shut Up and RunNobody likes a whiner, not even other whiners.  If you wait for perfect conditions, your muscles to stop aching, or your schedule to open up, you’re not going to get very far.  Embrace the wind.  Learn to love 20 degree runs.6. FamiliarityWhether it’s a spoonful of butter, a bowl of oatmeal, or a 20 ounce Mountain Dew, put the same foods in your body prior to your run.  Do not eat anything your body is unaccustomed to.  Trust me; I’ve learned this the hard way.  Your stomach and digestive system will thank you around mile 10.7. Pre-Game RitualAlways.  Always.  Always.  Make a visit to the restroom before a long run.  Just as with Rule 6, your stomach will be happy you did this.8. Mix It UpRun alone.  Run with people.  Run on the treadmill.  Run on the road.  Run intervals.  Run distance.  Specificity is important when training for a race or a certain distance.  But variety will limit boredom and give you different workouts to look forward to.9. We Are All EqualRunners are as varied as any group of people in the world.  Some of us are sprinters while others prefer distance.  Some of us like to listen to the pounding of feet against the pavement and some like the pounding of music in our headphones.  As different as we may be, we are also equal because we are runners.10. Enjoy it!This is why I run.  I make it a personal goal to enjoy every run, whether it’s a struggle or not.  So, take a break every once in a while and remember why you run.  Find what you enjoy about it and keep that close to you.As a holiday gift for you all, I’m leaving you with one of my favorite treadmill workouts.  I call this the High/Low Workout.  As the name indicates, you will alternate between high and low running speeds on the treadmill.  I usually set my intervals for 30 seconds at a high intensity followed by 30 seconds of low intensity running.  Each set usually lasts for 5-6 minutes, with a 1 minute walk in between sets.To give you an idea of what the High/Low entails, here is what a typical workout looks like for me:Set 1: 8.0 MPH/6.0 MPH – 5 MinutesSet 2: 8.5 MPH/6.0 MPH – 5 MinutesSet 3: 9.0 MPH/5.5 MPH – 5 MinutesSet 4: 9.5 MPH/5.5 MPH – 5 MinutesSet 5: 10.0 MPH/5.0 MPH – 5 MinutesDo you have any of your own Rules of the Road?  Leave your favorite rule in the comment box below!Post contributed by Brock Jones.  Brock is Co-Owner and Head Trainer with BodyFIT, Inc. in Lexington, KY. He holds a Masters of Science in Exercise Physiology from the University of Kentucky and is an NSCA Certified Strength and Conditioning Specialist.  You can read more of Brock’s posts about fitness and exercise on the BodyFIT Punch Blog.


Music Synchronizes To Your Heartbeat With RockMyRun

  ·  1 min

Music Synchronizes To Your Heartbeat With RockMyRun

Are you ready to love your run with all your heart? Then good news – we have just launched a lovely new feature on our iPhone app called myBeat™ Heart, which leverages your heartbeat to dictate the tempo of the music. You read that right—imagine Taylor Swift, Blake Shelton, Avicii or Bon Jovi singing along to the beat of your heart!So how exactly does it work?The RockMyRun app and myBeat™ Heart feature pairs with (almost) any Bluetooth or Ant+ heart rate monitor. (Looking to buy a heart rate monitor? We’re fans of the brands Mio Global and Pear Sports) Once running, we’ll monitor when you switch heart rate zones and adjust the music’s beats per minute (BPM) to correlate. Don’t worry—once your heart rate hits max zones, we’ll level off the BPM/tempo to create a calming (as opposed to frantic) experience.Getting started with the myBeat™ Heart feature is simple, here’s how to do so:Fire up your Bluetooth or Ant+ heart rate monitorSelect your favorite downloaded RockMyRun mix from your MyMixesHit play and then select myBeat™ HeartGo through a one time setup to pair RockMyRun with your deviceStart rockin’!myBeatTM Heart will join our already popular myBeat feature suite, which includes myBeat™ Manual and myBeat™ Steps. As a reminder, myBeat™ Manual lets you manually set the music tempo to your goal cadence, while myBeat™ Steps enables you to let the tempo of any steady BPM mix automatically adjust so that the beat matches every step you take!Ready to start rocking in a whole new way? Download the app


Music Synchronizes To Your Heartbeat With RockMyRun

  ·  1 min

Music Synchronizes To Your Heartbeat With RockMyRun

Are you ready to love your run with all your heart? Then good news – we have just launched a lovely new feature on our iPhone app called myBeat™ Heart, which leverages your heartbeat to dictate the tempo of the music. You read that right—imagine Taylor Swift, Blake Shelton, Avicii or Bon Jovi singing along to the beat of your heart!So how exactly does it work?The RockMyRun app and myBeat™ Heart feature pairs with (almost) any Bluetooth or Ant+ heart rate monitor. (Looking to buy a heart rate monitor? We’re fans of the brands Mio Global and Pear Sports) Once running, we’ll monitor when you switch heart rate zones and adjust the music’s beats per minute (BPM) to correlate. Don’t worry—once your heart rate hits max zones, we’ll level off the BPM/tempo to create a calming (as opposed to frantic) experience.Getting started with the myBeat™ Heart feature is simple, here’s how to do so:Fire up your Bluetooth or Ant+ heart rate monitorSelect your favorite downloaded RockMyRun mix from your MyMixesHit play and then select myBeat™ HeartGo through a one time setup to pair RockMyRun with your deviceStart rockin’!myBeatTM Heart will join our already popular myBeat feature suite, which includes myBeat™ Manual and myBeat™ Steps. As a reminder, myBeat™ Manual lets you manually set the music tempo to your goal cadence, while myBeat™ Steps enables you to let the tempo of any steady BPM mix automatically adjust so that the beat matches every step you take!Ready to start rocking in a whole new way? Download the app


Why Do You Run? 4 Reasons to Be Motivated

  ·  4 min

Why Do You Run? 4 Reasons to Be Motivated

Improve Your HealthOne of the most common reasons we run, exercise, read fitness magazines and websites and enjoy apps like RockMyRun, is to improve our health. Sure we’ve heard that “exercise is medicine,” but like all medicine, if we don’t take it, it won’t work. And when it comes to running, or any doing any exercise routinely, the motivation for putting on our sneakers and working up a sweat has got to be internal.That means turning the “E” in exercise into “enjoyment” not “excruciating.” Do that by finding your “why” and creating a plan that includes specific, small and measurable steps attached to a written weekly plan. Ensure you do what you say you are going to do by finding a buddy and filling your vision with friendly, not trash, talk about your progress. Do you feel like you are breathing easier already?Look GoodAnother common motivation for exercising is pure vanity—you want to look great in that new bikini or tee shirt. Superficial? No way! Who says wanting to look good is shallow and artificial? Ever apply for a job and show up looking unwell, unkempt, or unhealthy? You get the idea. Whether it’s your wedding, a job interview, your high school or college reunion or the upcoming party, looking good is a prime motivator to put some fuel in your step around the track, on the trail, in the gym or running through the streets of downtown. And by the way, don’t think this is a woman’s motivator. GQ Magazine is pretty, pretty popular!To help you achieve this goal if this is your primary motivation, don’t, repeat don’t, go all out. You might find yourself burning out your flame before its red carpet show time. High intensity interval training that includes planned, focused ups and downs, for about eight cycles, taking no more than about 30 minutes four or five times a week, should be fine coupled with resistance training that focuses on full body activity. Body-sculpting, Pilates, Yoga, TRX, Total Gym, light weights and high reps, are the key here. Lastly, visualize yourself already achieving what you set out to accomplish, seeing yourself in the present bringing that new you to the party. Doesn’t if feel great to be a size 4 or have some muscle under that tee shirt?Socialize“Friends” wasn’t just a widely popular TV show, but socialization is a third reason people decide to workout. The idea of “group ex,” Zumba, Les Mills, biking, hiking, track and running clubs are in large measure successful due to the opportunity for social connection. Many people realize that a great way to connect with others and make new friends is through activities. Ever notice that grass grows without any battles and fruits ripen without any drama? If it’s friends you are looking for, joining a group exercise activity by allowing yourself to be free of self-consciousness will certainly help. Come from a place of acceptance—of yourself and others—and the experience will be easy and effortless.Friends, new or old, can be great cheerleaders and sources of accountability—and you can be the same for others. Set up a social media group and keep tweeting and texting about your experiences—soon enough you’ll attract others to your new passion. Like being a social exercise leader? Check out Fitmob and see if a social group exists near your home yet.Enhance Your MoodFinally, we all get down and blue, worried and irritated and just downright nasty from time to time. Guess what the fourth most common reason people “need to go out for a run”? That’s right! It’s a great mood enhancer. By releasing  and increasing those “feel-good” brain chemicals, decreasing those chemicals that increase anxiety and depression and providing a calming feeling, people find lots of solid motivation to exercise to simply feel happier, more confident, cope more effectively, concentrate easier – all within five minutes after moderate exercise.If this is your primary reason, internal motivation is a high driver and that’s great. You’ll stick with it longer than if your motivation is purely external.  One caveat here is don’t overdo it because you like the way it makes you feel so much.  A plan of about 150 minutes per week of moderate to intense activity will give you the mood enhancement you are looking for. Novelty is important so mix it up. Positive thinking is important to boost mood, so include affirmations such as, “I, Jennifer, already know what it feels like to live my life calmly, successfully and happily.” After an affirmation like this, don’t forget to say “thanks” acting like it’s already present in your life.There you have it. The four top reasons people are buying running shoes, joining gyms, hiring trainers and pushing themselves to sweat—getting and staying healthy, looking good, connecting with friends and feeling happier and more positive. If your main motivation isn’t here, let us know what it is in the comments below.Post contributed by Michael R. Mantell, Ph.D.  Dr. Mantell has served as a long-time Assistant Clinical Professor in the Department of Psychiatry at the University of California, San Diego and today is the Senior Fitness Consultant for Behavioral Sciences for the American Council on Exercise, a behavioral sciences coach, an author and a national fitness-health speaker. 


Why Do You Run? 4 Reasons to Be Motivated

  ·  4 min

Why Do You Run? 4 Reasons to Be Motivated

Improve Your HealthOne of the most common reasons we run, exercise, read fitness magazines and websites and enjoy apps like RockMyRun, is to improve our health. Sure we’ve heard that “exercise is medicine,” but like all medicine, if we don’t take it, it won’t work. And when it comes to running, or any doing any exercise routinely, the motivation for putting on our sneakers and working up a sweat has got to be internal.That means turning the “E” in exercise into “enjoyment” not “excruciating.” Do that by finding your “why” and creating a plan that includes specific, small and measurable steps attached to a written weekly plan. Ensure you do what you say you are going to do by finding a buddy and filling your vision with friendly, not trash, talk about your progress. Do you feel like you are breathing easier already?Look GoodAnother common motivation for exercising is pure vanity—you want to look great in that new bikini or tee shirt. Superficial? No way! Who says wanting to look good is shallow and artificial? Ever apply for a job and show up looking unwell, unkempt, or unhealthy? You get the idea. Whether it’s your wedding, a job interview, your high school or college reunion or the upcoming party, looking good is a prime motivator to put some fuel in your step around the track, on the trail, in the gym or running through the streets of downtown. And by the way, don’t think this is a woman’s motivator. GQ Magazine is pretty, pretty popular!To help you achieve this goal if this is your primary motivation, don’t, repeat don’t, go all out. You might find yourself burning out your flame before its red carpet show time. High intensity interval training that includes planned, focused ups and downs, for about eight cycles, taking no more than about 30 minutes four or five times a week, should be fine coupled with resistance training that focuses on full body activity. Body-sculpting, Pilates, Yoga, TRX, Total Gym, light weights and high reps, are the key here. Lastly, visualize yourself already achieving what you set out to accomplish, seeing yourself in the present bringing that new you to the party. Doesn’t if feel great to be a size 4 or have some muscle under that tee shirt?Socialize“Friends” wasn’t just a widely popular TV show, but socialization is a third reason people decide to workout. The idea of “group ex,” Zumba, Les Mills, biking, hiking, track and running clubs are in large measure successful due to the opportunity for social connection. Many people realize that a great way to connect with others and make new friends is through activities. Ever notice that grass grows without any battles and fruits ripen without any drama? If it’s friends you are looking for, joining a group exercise activity by allowing yourself to be free of self-consciousness will certainly help. Come from a place of acceptance—of yourself and others—and the experience will be easy and effortless.Friends, new or old, can be great cheerleaders and sources of accountability—and you can be the same for others. Set up a social media group and keep tweeting and texting about your experiences—soon enough you’ll attract others to your new passion. Like being a social exercise leader? Check out Fitmob and see if a social group exists near your home yet.Enhance Your MoodFinally, we all get down and blue, worried and irritated and just downright nasty from time to time. Guess what the fourth most common reason people “need to go out for a run”? That’s right! It’s a great mood enhancer. By releasing  and increasing those “feel-good” brain chemicals, decreasing those chemicals that increase anxiety and depression and providing a calming feeling, people find lots of solid motivation to exercise to simply feel happier, more confident, cope more effectively, concentrate easier – all within five minutes after moderate exercise.If this is your primary reason, internal motivation is a high driver and that’s great. You’ll stick with it longer than if your motivation is purely external.  One caveat here is don’t overdo it because you like the way it makes you feel so much.  A plan of about 150 minutes per week of moderate to intense activity will give you the mood enhancement you are looking for. Novelty is important so mix it up. Positive thinking is important to boost mood, so include affirmations such as, “I, Jennifer, already know what it feels like to live my life calmly, successfully and happily.” After an affirmation like this, don’t forget to say “thanks” acting like it’s already present in your life.There you have it. The four top reasons people are buying running shoes, joining gyms, hiring trainers and pushing themselves to sweat—getting and staying healthy, looking good, connecting with friends and feeling happier and more positive. If your main motivation isn’t here, let us know what it is in the comments below.Post contributed by Michael R. Mantell, Ph.D.  Dr. Mantell has served as a long-time Assistant Clinical Professor in the Department of Psychiatry at the University of California, San Diego and today is the Senior Fitness Consultant for Behavioral Sciences for the American Council on Exercise, a behavioral sciences coach, an author and a national fitness-health speaker. 


How to Run Your First Marathon

  ·  8 min

How to Run Your First Marathon

Running a marathon for the first time is not easy, but with the right guidance, you’ll be in the best position possible to achieve this awesome goal. This post will help you prepare for your first marathon, and future marathons if you fall in love with it like I have. Let’s make that leap into the unknown and scary together! Deciding which marathon is right for youAdditionally, you need to figure out when/where you are racing to determine some key components to your training. For a beginner, I would recommend up to 16 weeks of total training. A lot of great marathons are in the Fall or Spring, so make sure you are also aware of the type of weather you thrive best in and try to pick a race that will match your needs. Personally, I like cooler temperatures so marathons in November and December are typically my favorite.Commit to the goalThe first step to running a marathon is to commit to the goal. The training will be hard, and the commitment and dedication will at times feel overwhelming. But what is hard is not impossible. Embrace each challenge and know that in the end, it will all be worth it. Now that you’ve decided you really want to do this, I would pick a marathon and register. Put in on your calendar; it will help conceptualize the entire process, which will help make everything feel more real and will add a component of accountability to your training. Picking a marathon training planThere are many beginner training plans online so make sure you pick one that excites you and you think you can handle. A few training plans that I trust and recommend are: https://www.halhigdon.com/training-programs/marathon-training/novice-1-marathon/ (For a very novice runner who wants as much guidance as possible at no cost)https://runsmartproject.com/training-plans-old/ (For a beginner who is willing to pay for personalized workouts to match his/her training goals)http://www.jeffgalloway.com/training/marathon-training/ (For a beginner who has been doing some running/walking in the past few weeks)Here’s what you can expect: Typically, each week you want to include a long run (which I will argue is the most important run of the week), a faster-paced interval run (a run that includes some speed and is broken up into different length intervals), and 2-3 easy runs. The long run is crucial because it will be what most simulates what your actual marathon will feel like. The idea of ‘time on feet’ is critical to remember because you want to train your body to be able to handle the cumulative load of being on your feet for many hours at a time. You also want to make sure you include two days a week of supplemental strengthening exercises, which I will get into more detail a bit later. As you progress, you can add more volume/intensity to your week, but I would start with 4-5 days of running and 1-2 days of rest or cross-training (any other form of exercise: i.e. biking, swimming, elliptical, etc.)What running shoes should I buy for a marathon?Before you start running, you want to make sure you have the right shoes. In this day and age, there are hundreds of different shoes to choose from, so I would advise going into your local running store and having them fit you for a pair. The shoe buying process can be overwhelming with all the options and opinions out there, but one general guideline to follow: if the shoe is comfortable and supportive on your foot, you should be fine. Additionally, make sure you practice running in the shoes you will be racing in and try to get a new pair every 300-400 miles. This will help to keep your lower half healthy and feeling fresh.RecoveryAnother key component of your training is RECOVERY!! Recovery is not the absence of training, it is training in itself. A lot of runners struggle with this aspect, but the only way to make real progress in training is to let your body rest and adapt to the training. Many athletes have the flawed mentality that the more they train, the more fit they will become. Ultimately, without recovery one will never improve. It is the rest period after a workout that allows one’s body to adapt to the stress you just put it through and come back stronger than before. Recovery does not just mean rest. It also means making sure to stretch/foam roll to keep your muscles and tendons loose and pliable, eating immediately or as soon as possible after a workout, as well as strengthening exercises to keep you strong and injury-free. It is imperative to make time in your training for stability/mobility exercises, as well as strength-training to improve running form and decrease your likelihood of injury. Sometimes we think that running an extra mile here or there is going to be the difference to our training, but I strongly believe that reducing a run by 5-10 minutes and using that extra time to do strengthening exercises will benefit you much more in the long run (pun intended ). Again, there are a plethora of good resources online for flexibility and strengthening exercises, so find one you like and stick with it. Personally, I have found that Jay Dicharry’s books, Anatomy for Runners and Running Rewired, are phenomenal guides for both flexibility and strengthening exercises. If you don’t want to purchase his books, a few key strength exercises to include in your program twice a week are: Squats (2-3 sets of 8-10 reps)Lunges (2-3 sets of 8-10 reps each leg)Single Leg Romanian Dead Lifts (2-3 sets of 8-10 reps each leg)Plank hold (3x30 sec)Calf raises (2-3 sets of 10-12 reps each leg)This leads me to my next important topic, sleep and nutrition. Sleep and NutritionTo have sufficient energy to fuel your body for the training you will be doing, you must take sleep and nutrition into account. Sleeping 7-9 hours a night is ideal and you want to prioritize a sleep routine that keeps you feeling rested and feeling good. In regard to food, you need to think in terms of fueling your body. You want to make sure that you are giving your body the best possible nutrients to allow it to perform at its best. A lot of runners struggle with the nutrition component, but one of the best ways to think is to have the majority of your diet be comprised of whole foods (minimally processed foods that are close to nature, such as fruits, vegetables, nuts, beans, etc.), whole-grains, and a variety of nutrient-dense foods. Also, the importance of protein for someone training for a marathon is essential. You are stressing your muscles to their limits and you want to replenish them with enough protein to help rebuild them. Lastly, you never want to go too long without eating and don’t tell yourself any food is off limits. Of course, you don’t want to eat an entire chocolate cake, but if you’re craving a piece, then eat one! By listening to your hunger cues and giving your body what it wants, you will be less likely to binge on something that you have told yourself is off limits.You will really want to practice eating before big training runs so you can get familiar with whatworks well for your body before race day. Typically, some great pre-race foods include bananas, toast with peanut butter and honey, and oatmeal. The night before your race you want to focus on eating a meal that has about 60% carbohydrates (pasta, rice, bread), 30% protein, and 10% fat. Finally, you need to practice fueling DURING your training runs. There are now a wide array of energy gels out there to practice with, as well as some liquid carbohydrate based drinks that work great. Personally, I love the Maurten carbohydrate drink and the Gu energy gels. Just make sure you always practice your strategies and NEVER TRY ANYTHING NEW ON RACE DAY.The mental component of running a marathonThe last piece of the puzzle that I think is critical is the mental component. In endurance sports, the mind can play many tricks on the body and it is vital to remember that we are stronger than we think. A huge mantra that has helped me in my running career is to ‘control the controllables’. We don’t have control over the weather or how other people are doing, but we do have control over our attitude and our effort. Do your best to focus on the factors that will put you in the best position to reach your goal. Everything else is irrelevant.You can do this!I’ll just leave you with my favorite quote, “So many of our dreams at first seem impossible, then they seem improbable, and then, when we summon the will, they soon become inevitable.”Go out there and chase down your dreams my friends! Adriana started running competitively in 6th grade and competed at a Varsity level all throughout high school. Her junior year of college at Duke University, she decided to run her first marathon after spontaneously joining a friend for her 16 mile long run. She finished the Disney Marathon in January 2011 in a time of 3:17. Fast forward to now, Adriana has brought her marathon PR down to 2:44, and has run many marathons, most recently the 2018 and 2019 California International Marathon, 2019 Grandma’s Marathon, 2020 Aviation Marathon, and qualified and competed at the 2020 Olympic Marathon Trials in Atlanta, Georgia! She lives in in Winston-Salem, NC and works as a Career Services Specialist at Wake Forest University. 


How to Run Your First Marathon

  ·  8 min

How to Run Your First Marathon

Running a marathon for the first time is not easy, but with the right guidance, you’ll be in the best position possible to achieve this awesome goal. This post will help you prepare for your first marathon, and future marathons if you fall in love with it like I have. Let’s make that leap into the unknown and scary together! Deciding which marathon is right for youAdditionally, you need to figure out when/where you are racing to determine some key components to your training. For a beginner, I would recommend up to 16 weeks of total training. A lot of great marathons are in the Fall or Spring, so make sure you are also aware of the type of weather you thrive best in and try to pick a race that will match your needs. Personally, I like cooler temperatures so marathons in November and December are typically my favorite.Commit to the goalThe first step to running a marathon is to commit to the goal. The training will be hard, and the commitment and dedication will at times feel overwhelming. But what is hard is not impossible. Embrace each challenge and know that in the end, it will all be worth it. Now that you’ve decided you really want to do this, I would pick a marathon and register. Put in on your calendar; it will help conceptualize the entire process, which will help make everything feel more real and will add a component of accountability to your training. Picking a marathon training planThere are many beginner training plans online so make sure you pick one that excites you and you think you can handle. A few training plans that I trust and recommend are: https://www.halhigdon.com/training-programs/marathon-training/novice-1-marathon/ (For a very novice runner who wants as much guidance as possible at no cost)https://runsmartproject.com/training-plans-old/ (For a beginner who is willing to pay for personalized workouts to match his/her training goals)http://www.jeffgalloway.com/training/marathon-training/ (For a beginner who has been doing some running/walking in the past few weeks)Here’s what you can expect: Typically, each week you want to include a long run (which I will argue is the most important run of the week), a faster-paced interval run (a run that includes some speed and is broken up into different length intervals), and 2-3 easy runs. The long run is crucial because it will be what most simulates what your actual marathon will feel like. The idea of ‘time on feet’ is critical to remember because you want to train your body to be able to handle the cumulative load of being on your feet for many hours at a time. You also want to make sure you include two days a week of supplemental strengthening exercises, which I will get into more detail a bit later. As you progress, you can add more volume/intensity to your week, but I would start with 4-5 days of running and 1-2 days of rest or cross-training (any other form of exercise: i.e. biking, swimming, elliptical, etc.)What running shoes should I buy for a marathon?Before you start running, you want to make sure you have the right shoes. In this day and age, there are hundreds of different shoes to choose from, so I would advise going into your local running store and having them fit you for a pair. The shoe buying process can be overwhelming with all the options and opinions out there, but one general guideline to follow: if the shoe is comfortable and supportive on your foot, you should be fine. Additionally, make sure you practice running in the shoes you will be racing in and try to get a new pair every 300-400 miles. This will help to keep your lower half healthy and feeling fresh.RecoveryAnother key component of your training is RECOVERY!! Recovery is not the absence of training, it is training in itself. A lot of runners struggle with this aspect, but the only way to make real progress in training is to let your body rest and adapt to the training. Many athletes have the flawed mentality that the more they train, the more fit they will become. Ultimately, without recovery one will never improve. It is the rest period after a workout that allows one’s body to adapt to the stress you just put it through and come back stronger than before. Recovery does not just mean rest. It also means making sure to stretch/foam roll to keep your muscles and tendons loose and pliable, eating immediately or as soon as possible after a workout, as well as strengthening exercises to keep you strong and injury-free. It is imperative to make time in your training for stability/mobility exercises, as well as strength-training to improve running form and decrease your likelihood of injury. Sometimes we think that running an extra mile here or there is going to be the difference to our training, but I strongly believe that reducing a run by 5-10 minutes and using that extra time to do strengthening exercises will benefit you much more in the long run (pun intended ). Again, there are a plethora of good resources online for flexibility and strengthening exercises, so find one you like and stick with it. Personally, I have found that Jay Dicharry’s books, Anatomy for Runners and Running Rewired, are phenomenal guides for both flexibility and strengthening exercises. If you don’t want to purchase his books, a few key strength exercises to include in your program twice a week are: Squats (2-3 sets of 8-10 reps)Lunges (2-3 sets of 8-10 reps each leg)Single Leg Romanian Dead Lifts (2-3 sets of 8-10 reps each leg)Plank hold (3x30 sec)Calf raises (2-3 sets of 10-12 reps each leg)This leads me to my next important topic, sleep and nutrition. Sleep and NutritionTo have sufficient energy to fuel your body for the training you will be doing, you must take sleep and nutrition into account. Sleeping 7-9 hours a night is ideal and you want to prioritize a sleep routine that keeps you feeling rested and feeling good. In regard to food, you need to think in terms of fueling your body. You want to make sure that you are giving your body the best possible nutrients to allow it to perform at its best. A lot of runners struggle with the nutrition component, but one of the best ways to think is to have the majority of your diet be comprised of whole foods (minimally processed foods that are close to nature, such as fruits, vegetables, nuts, beans, etc.), whole-grains, and a variety of nutrient-dense foods. Also, the importance of protein for someone training for a marathon is essential. You are stressing your muscles to their limits and you want to replenish them with enough protein to help rebuild them. Lastly, you never want to go too long without eating and don’t tell yourself any food is off limits. Of course, you don’t want to eat an entire chocolate cake, but if you’re craving a piece, then eat one! By listening to your hunger cues and giving your body what it wants, you will be less likely to binge on something that you have told yourself is off limits.You will really want to practice eating before big training runs so you can get familiar with whatworks well for your body before race day. Typically, some great pre-race foods include bananas, toast with peanut butter and honey, and oatmeal. The night before your race you want to focus on eating a meal that has about 60% carbohydrates (pasta, rice, bread), 30% protein, and 10% fat. Finally, you need to practice fueling DURING your training runs. There are now a wide array of energy gels out there to practice with, as well as some liquid carbohydrate based drinks that work great. Personally, I love the Maurten carbohydrate drink and the Gu energy gels. Just make sure you always practice your strategies and NEVER TRY ANYTHING NEW ON RACE DAY.The mental component of running a marathonThe last piece of the puzzle that I think is critical is the mental component. In endurance sports, the mind can play many tricks on the body and it is vital to remember that we are stronger than we think. A huge mantra that has helped me in my running career is to ‘control the controllables’. We don’t have control over the weather or how other people are doing, but we do have control over our attitude and our effort. Do your best to focus on the factors that will put you in the best position to reach your goal. Everything else is irrelevant.You can do this!I’ll just leave you with my favorite quote, “So many of our dreams at first seem impossible, then they seem improbable, and then, when we summon the will, they soon become inevitable.”Go out there and chase down your dreams my friends! Adriana started running competitively in 6th grade and competed at a Varsity level all throughout high school. Her junior year of college at Duke University, she decided to run her first marathon after spontaneously joining a friend for her 16 mile long run. She finished the Disney Marathon in January 2011 in a time of 3:17. Fast forward to now, Adriana has brought her marathon PR down to 2:44, and has run many marathons, most recently the 2018 and 2019 California International Marathon, 2019 Grandma’s Marathon, 2020 Aviation Marathon, and qualified and competed at the 2020 Olympic Marathon Trials in Atlanta, Georgia! She lives in in Winston-Salem, NC and works as a Career Services Specialist at Wake Forest University. 


RockMyRun User Feedback Survey Results

  ·  2 min

RockMyRun User Feedback Survey Results

We’re always looking to improve our app, and wanted to make sure that we understood where our current opportunities were. So in May of 2020, we sent out a survey to our most active RockMyRun users. Primarily, we wanted to know how the app was doing, but we also geek out on data and wanted to see how people are using RockMyRun.Here are the results! How often do people use RockMyRun?We found that 32% of our users use RockMyRun 3-4 times a week. That’s a very high number, meaning that people use our app almost every day. That was exciting for us to see, and we were also impressed with our users dedication to fitness! What do people use RockMyRun For?Not surprisingly, most users (76%!) use RockMyRun for running, but people also like to use it for walking, cardio, erights, group fitness classes, cycling, and more!We also had some really interesting “Other” write-ins, such as cooking, mowing the lawn, cleaning, driving, and as background music for gatherings with friends. Who’s using the Tempo Changing Feature? One of the features that sets RockMyRun apart from other apps is the automatic tempo changing based on GPS, heart rate, etc. So we were curious: How many people are currently using this feature?We were glad that the majority were taking advantage of this feature, but only 63%!Here’s how people were using this feature:79% of users manually set their BPM, while only 35% connect it to their steps, and only 18% connect it to their heart rate.What new features did people request?Most responses said that integrating with speakers, such as Bose® or Sonos®, would be a valuable feature.Additionally, most people also said they’d love to have RockMyRun work on an AppleWatch without needing to have their device near. We also received feedback that we need to improve the music discovery process, which is something we are already working on!We hope you find these results as interesting as we do!Do you agree? Where do you stack up? We’d love to hear in the comments.


RockMyRun User Feedback Survey Results

  ·  2 min

RockMyRun User Feedback Survey Results

We’re always looking to improve our app, and wanted to make sure that we understood where our current opportunities were. So in May of 2020, we sent out a survey to our most active RockMyRun users. Primarily, we wanted to know how the app was doing, but we also geek out on data and wanted to see how people are using RockMyRun.Here are the results! How often do people use RockMyRun?We found that 32% of our users use RockMyRun 3-4 times a week. That’s a very high number, meaning that people use our app almost every day. That was exciting for us to see, and we were also impressed with our users dedication to fitness! What do people use RockMyRun For?Not surprisingly, most users (76%!) use RockMyRun for running, but people also like to use it for walking, cardio, erights, group fitness classes, cycling, and more!We also had some really interesting “Other” write-ins, such as cooking, mowing the lawn, cleaning, driving, and as background music for gatherings with friends. Who’s using the Tempo Changing Feature? One of the features that sets RockMyRun apart from other apps is the automatic tempo changing based on GPS, heart rate, etc. So we were curious: How many people are currently using this feature?We were glad that the majority were taking advantage of this feature, but only 63%!Here’s how people were using this feature:79% of users manually set their BPM, while only 35% connect it to their steps, and only 18% connect it to their heart rate.What new features did people request?Most responses said that integrating with speakers, such as Bose® or Sonos®, would be a valuable feature.Additionally, most people also said they’d love to have RockMyRun work on an AppleWatch without needing to have their device near. We also received feedback that we need to improve the music discovery process, which is something we are already working on!We hope you find these results as interesting as we do!Do you agree? Where do you stack up? We’d love to hear in the comments.


Top 10 Rules of the Road

  ·  3 min

Top 10 Rules of the Road

Looking for a few ways to make the most out of your running experience? Follow my Top 10 Rules of the Road for a more enjoyable, less stressful run.1. Be ThankfulIf you are fortunate enough to be able to run at your own discretion, be grateful for that gift.  Some people do not have that ability.  Embrace the gift, because it can be taken away in an instant.2. Just Do ItThe more you think about it, the less likely you are to actually do it.  Don’t think.  Just do.3. Ditch the Jordan’sBaggy short are to running what oil is to water – they just don’t mix!  So get rid of the high tops shoes and wife beaters and pick up some running-specific gear.  Not only will you actually look like a runner, but you will feel and perform like one too.4. This Isn’t GymnasticsWe’re not on the pummel horse here, we’re on the pavement.  Nobody cares about your splits.  If somebody wants to know how fast your individual mile times are, they’ll ask.5. Shut Up and RunNobody likes a whiner, not even other whiners.  If you wait for perfect conditions, your muscles to stop aching, or your schedule to open up, you’re not going to get very far.  Embrace the wind.  Learn to love 20 degree runs.6. FamiliarityWhether it’s a spoonful of butter, a bowl of oatmeal, or a 20 ounce Mountain Dew, put the same foods in your body prior to your run.  Do not eat anything your body is unaccustomed to.  Trust me; I’ve learned this the hard way.  Your stomach and digestive system will thank you around mile 10.7. Pre-Game RitualAlways.  Always.  Always.  Make a visit to the restroom before a long run.  Just as with Rule 6, your stomach will be happy you did this.8. Mix It UpRun alone.  Run with people.  Run on the treadmill.  Run on the road.  Run intervals.  Run distance.  Specificity is important when training for a race or a certain distance.  But variety will limit boredom and give you different workouts to look forward to.9. We Are All EqualRunners are as varied as any group of people in the world.  Some of us are sprinters while others prefer distance.  Some of us like to listen to the pounding of feet against the pavement and some like the pounding of music in our headphones.  As different as we may be, we are also equal because we are runners.10. Enjoy it!This is why I run.  I make it a personal goal to enjoy every run, whether it’s a struggle or not.  So, take a break every once in a while and remember why you run.  Find what you enjoy about it and keep that close to you.As a holiday gift for you all, I’m leaving you with one of my favorite treadmill workouts.  I call this the High/Low Workout.  As the name indicates, you will alternate between high and low running speeds on the treadmill.  I usually set my intervals for 30 seconds at a high intensity followed by 30 seconds of low intensity running.  Each set usually lasts for 5-6 minutes, with a 1 minute walk in between sets.To give you an idea of what the High/Low entails, here is what a typical workout looks like for me:Set 1: 8.0 MPH/6.0 MPH – 5 MinutesSet 2: 8.5 MPH/6.0 MPH – 5 MinutesSet 3: 9.0 MPH/5.5 MPH – 5 MinutesSet 4: 9.5 MPH/5.5 MPH – 5 MinutesSet 5: 10.0 MPH/5.0 MPH – 5 MinutesDo you have any of your own Rules of the Road?  Leave your favorite rule in the comment box below!Post contributed by Brock Jones.  Brock is Co-Owner and Head Trainer with BodyFIT, Inc. in Lexington, KY. He holds a Masters of Science in Exercise Physiology from the University of Kentucky and is an NSCA Certified Strength and Conditioning Specialist.  You can read more of Brock’s posts about fitness and exercise on the BodyFIT Punch Blog.


Top 10 Rules of the Road

  ·  3 min

Top 10 Rules of the Road

Looking for a few ways to make the most out of your running experience? Follow my Top 10 Rules of the Road for a more enjoyable, less stressful run.1. Be ThankfulIf you are fortunate enough to be able to run at your own discretion, be grateful for that gift.  Some people do not have that ability.  Embrace the gift, because it can be taken away in an instant.2. Just Do ItThe more you think about it, the less likely you are to actually do it.  Don’t think.  Just do.3. Ditch the Jordan’sBaggy short are to running what oil is to water – they just don’t mix!  So get rid of the high tops shoes and wife beaters and pick up some running-specific gear.  Not only will you actually look like a runner, but you will feel and perform like one too.4. This Isn’t GymnasticsWe’re not on the pummel horse here, we’re on the pavement.  Nobody cares about your splits.  If somebody wants to know how fast your individual mile times are, they’ll ask.5. Shut Up and RunNobody likes a whiner, not even other whiners.  If you wait for perfect conditions, your muscles to stop aching, or your schedule to open up, you’re not going to get very far.  Embrace the wind.  Learn to love 20 degree runs.6. FamiliarityWhether it’s a spoonful of butter, a bowl of oatmeal, or a 20 ounce Mountain Dew, put the same foods in your body prior to your run.  Do not eat anything your body is unaccustomed to.  Trust me; I’ve learned this the hard way.  Your stomach and digestive system will thank you around mile 10.7. Pre-Game RitualAlways.  Always.  Always.  Make a visit to the restroom before a long run.  Just as with Rule 6, your stomach will be happy you did this.8. Mix It UpRun alone.  Run with people.  Run on the treadmill.  Run on the road.  Run intervals.  Run distance.  Specificity is important when training for a race or a certain distance.  But variety will limit boredom and give you different workouts to look forward to.9. We Are All EqualRunners are as varied as any group of people in the world.  Some of us are sprinters while others prefer distance.  Some of us like to listen to the pounding of feet against the pavement and some like the pounding of music in our headphones.  As different as we may be, we are also equal because we are runners.10. Enjoy it!This is why I run.  I make it a personal goal to enjoy every run, whether it’s a struggle or not.  So, take a break every once in a while and remember why you run.  Find what you enjoy about it and keep that close to you.As a holiday gift for you all, I’m leaving you with one of my favorite treadmill workouts.  I call this the High/Low Workout.  As the name indicates, you will alternate between high and low running speeds on the treadmill.  I usually set my intervals for 30 seconds at a high intensity followed by 30 seconds of low intensity running.  Each set usually lasts for 5-6 minutes, with a 1 minute walk in between sets.To give you an idea of what the High/Low entails, here is what a typical workout looks like for me:Set 1: 8.0 MPH/6.0 MPH – 5 MinutesSet 2: 8.5 MPH/6.0 MPH – 5 MinutesSet 3: 9.0 MPH/5.5 MPH – 5 MinutesSet 4: 9.5 MPH/5.5 MPH – 5 MinutesSet 5: 10.0 MPH/5.0 MPH – 5 MinutesDo you have any of your own Rules of the Road?  Leave your favorite rule in the comment box below!Post contributed by Brock Jones.  Brock is Co-Owner and Head Trainer with BodyFIT, Inc. in Lexington, KY. He holds a Masters of Science in Exercise Physiology from the University of Kentucky and is an NSCA Certified Strength and Conditioning Specialist.  You can read more of Brock’s posts about fitness and exercise on the BodyFIT Punch Blog.


Music Synchronizes To Your Heartbeat With RockMyRun

  ·  1 min

Music Synchronizes To Your Heartbeat With RockMyRun

Are you ready to love your run with all your heart? Then good news – we have just launched a lovely new feature on our iPhone app called myBeat™ Heart, which leverages your heartbeat to dictate the tempo of the music. You read that right—imagine Taylor Swift, Blake Shelton, Avicii or Bon Jovi singing along to the beat of your heart!So how exactly does it work?The RockMyRun app and myBeat™ Heart feature pairs with (almost) any Bluetooth or Ant+ heart rate monitor. (Looking to buy a heart rate monitor? We’re fans of the brands Mio Global and Pear Sports) Once running, we’ll monitor when you switch heart rate zones and adjust the music’s beats per minute (BPM) to correlate. Don’t worry—once your heart rate hits max zones, we’ll level off the BPM/tempo to create a calming (as opposed to frantic) experience.Getting started with the myBeat™ Heart feature is simple, here’s how to do so:Fire up your Bluetooth or Ant+ heart rate monitorSelect your favorite downloaded RockMyRun mix from your MyMixesHit play and then select myBeat™ HeartGo through a one time setup to pair RockMyRun with your deviceStart rockin’!myBeatTM Heart will join our already popular myBeat feature suite, which includes myBeat™ Manual and myBeat™ Steps. As a reminder, myBeat™ Manual lets you manually set the music tempo to your goal cadence, while myBeat™ Steps enables you to let the tempo of any steady BPM mix automatically adjust so that the beat matches every step you take!Ready to start rocking in a whole new way? Download the app


Music Synchronizes To Your Heartbeat With RockMyRun

  ·  1 min

Music Synchronizes To Your Heartbeat With RockMyRun

Are you ready to love your run with all your heart? Then good news – we have just launched a lovely new feature on our iPhone app called myBeat™ Heart, which leverages your heartbeat to dictate the tempo of the music. You read that right—imagine Taylor Swift, Blake Shelton, Avicii or Bon Jovi singing along to the beat of your heart!So how exactly does it work?The RockMyRun app and myBeat™ Heart feature pairs with (almost) any Bluetooth or Ant+ heart rate monitor. (Looking to buy a heart rate monitor? We’re fans of the brands Mio Global and Pear Sports) Once running, we’ll monitor when you switch heart rate zones and adjust the music’s beats per minute (BPM) to correlate. Don’t worry—once your heart rate hits max zones, we’ll level off the BPM/tempo to create a calming (as opposed to frantic) experience.Getting started with the myBeat™ Heart feature is simple, here’s how to do so:Fire up your Bluetooth or Ant+ heart rate monitorSelect your favorite downloaded RockMyRun mix from your MyMixesHit play and then select myBeat™ HeartGo through a one time setup to pair RockMyRun with your deviceStart rockin’!myBeatTM Heart will join our already popular myBeat feature suite, which includes myBeat™ Manual and myBeat™ Steps. As a reminder, myBeat™ Manual lets you manually set the music tempo to your goal cadence, while myBeat™ Steps enables you to let the tempo of any steady BPM mix automatically adjust so that the beat matches every step you take!Ready to start rocking in a whole new way? Download the app


Why Do You Run? 4 Reasons to Be Motivated

  ·  4 min

Why Do You Run? 4 Reasons to Be Motivated

Improve Your HealthOne of the most common reasons we run, exercise, read fitness magazines and websites and enjoy apps like RockMyRun, is to improve our health. Sure we’ve heard that “exercise is medicine,” but like all medicine, if we don’t take it, it won’t work. And when it comes to running, or any doing any exercise routinely, the motivation for putting on our sneakers and working up a sweat has got to be internal.That means turning the “E” in exercise into “enjoyment” not “excruciating.” Do that by finding your “why” and creating a plan that includes specific, small and measurable steps attached to a written weekly plan. Ensure you do what you say you are going to do by finding a buddy and filling your vision with friendly, not trash, talk about your progress. Do you feel like you are breathing easier already?Look GoodAnother common motivation for exercising is pure vanity—you want to look great in that new bikini or tee shirt. Superficial? No way! Who says wanting to look good is shallow and artificial? Ever apply for a job and show up looking unwell, unkempt, or unhealthy? You get the idea. Whether it’s your wedding, a job interview, your high school or college reunion or the upcoming party, looking good is a prime motivator to put some fuel in your step around the track, on the trail, in the gym or running through the streets of downtown. And by the way, don’t think this is a woman’s motivator. GQ Magazine is pretty, pretty popular!To help you achieve this goal if this is your primary motivation, don’t, repeat don’t, go all out. You might find yourself burning out your flame before its red carpet show time. High intensity interval training that includes planned, focused ups and downs, for about eight cycles, taking no more than about 30 minutes four or five times a week, should be fine coupled with resistance training that focuses on full body activity. Body-sculpting, Pilates, Yoga, TRX, Total Gym, light weights and high reps, are the key here. Lastly, visualize yourself already achieving what you set out to accomplish, seeing yourself in the present bringing that new you to the party. Doesn’t if feel great to be a size 4 or have some muscle under that tee shirt?Socialize“Friends” wasn’t just a widely popular TV show, but socialization is a third reason people decide to workout. The idea of “group ex,” Zumba, Les Mills, biking, hiking, track and running clubs are in large measure successful due to the opportunity for social connection. Many people realize that a great way to connect with others and make new friends is through activities. Ever notice that grass grows without any battles and fruits ripen without any drama? If it’s friends you are looking for, joining a group exercise activity by allowing yourself to be free of self-consciousness will certainly help. Come from a place of acceptance—of yourself and others—and the experience will be easy and effortless.Friends, new or old, can be great cheerleaders and sources of accountability—and you can be the same for others. Set up a social media group and keep tweeting and texting about your experiences—soon enough you’ll attract others to your new passion. Like being a social exercise leader? Check out Fitmob and see if a social group exists near your home yet.Enhance Your MoodFinally, we all get down and blue, worried and irritated and just downright nasty from time to time. Guess what the fourth most common reason people “need to go out for a run”? That’s right! It’s a great mood enhancer. By releasing  and increasing those “feel-good” brain chemicals, decreasing those chemicals that increase anxiety and depression and providing a calming feeling, people find lots of solid motivation to exercise to simply feel happier, more confident, cope more effectively, concentrate easier – all within five minutes after moderate exercise.If this is your primary reason, internal motivation is a high driver and that’s great. You’ll stick with it longer than if your motivation is purely external.  One caveat here is don’t overdo it because you like the way it makes you feel so much.  A plan of about 150 minutes per week of moderate to intense activity will give you the mood enhancement you are looking for. Novelty is important so mix it up. Positive thinking is important to boost mood, so include affirmations such as, “I, Jennifer, already know what it feels like to live my life calmly, successfully and happily.” After an affirmation like this, don’t forget to say “thanks” acting like it’s already present in your life.There you have it. The four top reasons people are buying running shoes, joining gyms, hiring trainers and pushing themselves to sweat—getting and staying healthy, looking good, connecting with friends and feeling happier and more positive. If your main motivation isn’t here, let us know what it is in the comments below.Post contributed by Michael R. Mantell, Ph.D.  Dr. Mantell has served as a long-time Assistant Clinical Professor in the Department of Psychiatry at the University of California, San Diego and today is the Senior Fitness Consultant for Behavioral Sciences for the American Council on Exercise, a behavioral sciences coach, an author and a national fitness-health speaker. 


Why Do You Run? 4 Reasons to Be Motivated

  ·  4 min

Why Do You Run? 4 Reasons to Be Motivated

Improve Your HealthOne of the most common reasons we run, exercise, read fitness magazines and websites and enjoy apps like RockMyRun, is to improve our health. Sure we’ve heard that “exercise is medicine,” but like all medicine, if we don’t take it, it won’t work. And when it comes to running, or any doing any exercise routinely, the motivation for putting on our sneakers and working up a sweat has got to be internal.That means turning the “E” in exercise into “enjoyment” not “excruciating.” Do that by finding your “why” and creating a plan that includes specific, small and measurable steps attached to a written weekly plan. Ensure you do what you say you are going to do by finding a buddy and filling your vision with friendly, not trash, talk about your progress. Do you feel like you are breathing easier already?Look GoodAnother common motivation for exercising is pure vanity—you want to look great in that new bikini or tee shirt. Superficial? No way! Who says wanting to look good is shallow and artificial? Ever apply for a job and show up looking unwell, unkempt, or unhealthy? You get the idea. Whether it’s your wedding, a job interview, your high school or college reunion or the upcoming party, looking good is a prime motivator to put some fuel in your step around the track, on the trail, in the gym or running through the streets of downtown. And by the way, don’t think this is a woman’s motivator. GQ Magazine is pretty, pretty popular!To help you achieve this goal if this is your primary motivation, don’t, repeat don’t, go all out. You might find yourself burning out your flame before its red carpet show time. High intensity interval training that includes planned, focused ups and downs, for about eight cycles, taking no more than about 30 minutes four or five times a week, should be fine coupled with resistance training that focuses on full body activity. Body-sculpting, Pilates, Yoga, TRX, Total Gym, light weights and high reps, are the key here. Lastly, visualize yourself already achieving what you set out to accomplish, seeing yourself in the present bringing that new you to the party. Doesn’t if feel great to be a size 4 or have some muscle under that tee shirt?Socialize“Friends” wasn’t just a widely popular TV show, but socialization is a third reason people decide to workout. The idea of “group ex,” Zumba, Les Mills, biking, hiking, track and running clubs are in large measure successful due to the opportunity for social connection. Many people realize that a great way to connect with others and make new friends is through activities. Ever notice that grass grows without any battles and fruits ripen without any drama? If it’s friends you are looking for, joining a group exercise activity by allowing yourself to be free of self-consciousness will certainly help. Come from a place of acceptance—of yourself and others—and the experience will be easy and effortless.Friends, new or old, can be great cheerleaders and sources of accountability—and you can be the same for others. Set up a social media group and keep tweeting and texting about your experiences—soon enough you’ll attract others to your new passion. Like being a social exercise leader? Check out Fitmob and see if a social group exists near your home yet.Enhance Your MoodFinally, we all get down and blue, worried and irritated and just downright nasty from time to time. Guess what the fourth most common reason people “need to go out for a run”? That’s right! It’s a great mood enhancer. By releasing  and increasing those “feel-good” brain chemicals, decreasing those chemicals that increase anxiety and depression and providing a calming feeling, people find lots of solid motivation to exercise to simply feel happier, more confident, cope more effectively, concentrate easier – all within five minutes after moderate exercise.If this is your primary reason, internal motivation is a high driver and that’s great. You’ll stick with it longer than if your motivation is purely external.  One caveat here is don’t overdo it because you like the way it makes you feel so much.  A plan of about 150 minutes per week of moderate to intense activity will give you the mood enhancement you are looking for. Novelty is important so mix it up. Positive thinking is important to boost mood, so include affirmations such as, “I, Jennifer, already know what it feels like to live my life calmly, successfully and happily.” After an affirmation like this, don’t forget to say “thanks” acting like it’s already present in your life.There you have it. The four top reasons people are buying running shoes, joining gyms, hiring trainers and pushing themselves to sweat—getting and staying healthy, looking good, connecting with friends and feeling happier and more positive. If your main motivation isn’t here, let us know what it is in the comments below.Post contributed by Michael R. Mantell, Ph.D.  Dr. Mantell has served as a long-time Assistant Clinical Professor in the Department of Psychiatry at the University of California, San Diego and today is the Senior Fitness Consultant for Behavioral Sciences for the American Council on Exercise, a behavioral sciences coach, an author and a national fitness-health speaker. 


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