January 31, 2011

The Top 5 Reasons To Run

You know all the obvious reasons to start running – it can help you lose those holiday pounds or that baby weight, and it’s good for your body, lowering cholesterol and keeping your heart healthy – but have you considered that running also has many benefits aside from these?

You may be running (or walking) for fun, fitness or competition; or you may be running with a certain goal in mind. Whatever your reason or goal we are eager to help, support and encourage you. At Runner’s Edge we love to help people find their style of running – whether it be marathons, cross country or triathlons. We embrace the running lifestyle and believe that the main reason to start running is that it is a great “life exercise”- it's simple, convenient, and easy to maintain throughout your life. We also know how difficult it is to find the time, energy, and motivation to get out there and exercise, especially after long days at work, school, or with the kids. Once you have considered the following 5 other reasons to start running, we know you won't look back!

1. Mental Health

We are familiar with the physical benefits of running and exercise, but did you know that working out can lead to improvements in mental health and emotional well-being too? This is especially beneficial during the cold, dark, dreary days of winter. Get up, go outside, and enjoy the rush of endorphins you get from working out. You’ll feel instantly re-energized, more positive, and more relaxed, and these effects will continue to last! If you can maintain your running schedule during the winter it can really help to beat the winter blues.

2. Knocking Down Negativity

Nothing works as well on your self-esteem as working out. Setting goals for yourself can help you push through negative thoughts and assumptions. Each time you think you can’t run another minute and then you succeed it will boost your self-esteem.

Many people are worried about working out, thinking “I can’t do this” “I’m out of shape” “I’m weak” etc – setting and achieving goals will knock down all those NOs and CAN’Ts . I can’t do it will soon become yes I can! Your fitness, self-esteem and confidence will all increase with regular running. Motivate yourself further by rewarding yourself after every goal – a new pair of athletic running shoes when you complete your first 5k?

3. Lower Stress & Improve Energy

Like most forms of exercise, running is an excellent way to decrease stress. Powering through a run will literally sweat out all the stress you’ve accumulated that day!

Additionally, running is a great way to boost your energy levels. Runners who train in the morning report higher levels of energy and focus through the day. If you’re feeling sluggish and lethargic, go for a run – even a mile can make a huge difference in your energy levels. The only hurdle you need to overcome is mental – the desire not to go, the inherent laziness and inertia, once you have battled that nothing is insurmountable!

4. It’s Free

Unlike gym memberships, fitness and weight equipment, yoga classes, personal training, and boot camp classes, running is free. The only things you need are good running shoes and good running apparel, nothing else is needed to participate (although we recommend an mp3 player and running safety accessories!).

5. Convenience

Running is a solo sport and, as such, relies entirely on you. You run when you can, and since there’s no specific equipment or locations necessary, you can accomplish a quick morning jog around your neighborhood or a brief run on your lunch break. On weekends, seek out new terrains to run on or find a local running group (also free!). With running, there’s no guilt associated with paying huge sums of money for a yoga studio membership you only frequent once a week. There’s no anxiety in trying to schedule a morning workout at the gym but worrying about morning rush hour traffic and getting the kids ready for school. You can schedule you own runs, find beautiful new locales to run and enjoy the scenery, and even make some new friends!

January 6, 2011

Winter Running: Tips, Tricks & Training

The Northeast is battered by storms, California is drenched in rain and even in the South they are feeling the cold – it’s the middle of winter and you don’t want to halt your training schedule, but how do you brave the elements?

For most runners, both amateur and professional, training in winter simply requires a few changes and adjustments. It is possible to sustain a running regimen during the colder months, however, keep in mind that certain climate situations can be hazardous so be sure to check the weather daily. If blustering winds and thunderstorms keep you off the streets for one day, why not hit the gym instead?

Runner’s Edge NY has compiled some tips and tricks for training in winter from our experienced, professional staff. With over 30 years in the business and a slew of employees who run marathons and are qualified Triathletes, we believe this information will be as helpful to you as it has to us!

What to Wear: Layers, Layers, Layers!

Winter brings out some of the harshest elements – from biting winds to slippery ice and chilly rain. In order to maximize your workout without hurting your body or your health, make sure to insulate against the cold by applying layers of clothing.

Start underneath with some women’s or men’s running tights to keep your legs warm. Compression tights have the added benefit of enhancing the workout and keeping sweat away from the body to prevent chafing! Up top, start with a moisture-wicking base layer, then add a mid-layer of a running vest or a half zip top.

In rain or particularly cold weather (below freezing), you will want to add a running jacket designed specifically for insulating the body against the elements while not obstructing your movements while you run. We recommend the Brooks Essential Run Jacket for both men and women. Base layers should be made of moisture-wicking material and the outer layer or shell should be water-and wind-resistant.

What to Bring

Always take your I.D and a water bottle if you’re out for a long run. Even in cold weather, it’s easy to dehydrate, even if you don’t feel it. Remember to drink fluids before, during and after your run. If you are running during the day, be sure to slather on some sunscreen as skin damage can occur in winter too!
It's important to have identification on you at all times during a run. We recommend the hugely popular Road I.D identification bracelet - find Road I.D products by clicking the link on Runner's Edge.

Safety in Numbers

Winter streets can be slippery, or worse, desolate. Keep things safe and social by running with a friend or group. Find local running groups in your community by checking online!

Bundle Up!

Now that you are decked out in some warm, insulated running clothes it’s time to make sure the rest of you is warm too. Having the right running accessories will make a huge difference once you go outside – try some running gloves or a hat.

Time of Day

Picking a time of day to ensure a safe and successful run is necessary. Remember that winter days have fewer hours of sunlight so your usual after-work jog may not be bathed in sunlight as it is during the long summer days. Schedule your winter running regimen to take place during the sunlit hours and reap the benefits of warmth, safety and a good dose of Vitamin D!

Safety Measures

If you schedule does not allow for daytime running, be sure to wear reflective gear when do go running at night. Whether you opt for a reflective vest or shoes, make sure you are visible! You can also purchase a Nathan L.E.D. Clip-On Safety Strobe Light and clip it to your clothing for added visibility – both for you and others on the road! Always have your I.D with you and make sure someone knows that you are going for a run and which course you take.

Slip & Slide

Winter weather means snow, ice and sleet. Prevent slipping and falling by choosing terrain that has more traction and is less slippery. You can also adjust your stride – shortening the distance and keeping low to the ground will minimize the chances of an accident. Fresh snow is safer to run on that ice or packed snow. When streets are covered in slush, it’s hard to see potholes and other road damage so keep an eye out when you run! Also, be sure to check your shoes – older, worn shoes will have less traction so make sure your gear is in tip top condition.

Stretching & Warming Up

We all know how important it is to stretch and warm up correctly before and after working out, but in winter it becomes absolutely essential. In colder temperatures, the body takes longer to warm up so set aside 10 minutes to stretch lightly and get the blood flowing before pounding the pavement. Even more essential is stretching after your run while the muscles are warm. This will help to prevent injuries- your muscles will thank you!

No matter what climate you train in, Runner’s Edge NY is here to help! Browse our huge selection of running gear and accessories, contact us to take advantage of our 30+ years of experience and our staff of Triathletes and marathon runners, and check out our owner, Bob Cook, giving advice on how to dress appropriately for your type of training in the January, 2011 issue of Runner’s World.