Real Runners Don’t Use Headphones

Or do they?

Whether runners should utilize headphones or not for outdoor training has been a long standing debate among running enthusiasts for years. While training with my boyfriend for our first half marathon I was completely peeved he trained with headphones on. Me: post-college athlete and fitness junkie; Him: life time surfer who consistently rides first class on (as he says) the no-stress-express.

I got frustrated as I didn’t think he took our training seriously nor did I feel he kept on track with our pace as he would speed up and slow down during training sessions (attributed to his headphones of course!). However, in the midst of my snobby-runner mindset, I stopped and realized the importance of our goal: have fun together, oh and finish our first race.

Therefore, rather than persuade him to run without headphones I presented him the pros and cons of running outdoors with headphones which can assist other running gurus and novice alike.

Pros – perfect running assistant for gym training, prevents earaches when running outdoors, musical companion to combat head trash, allows runners to kill two birds with one stone: finish that audio book you’ve been dying to complete and workout.

Cons – huge safety hazard because headphones eliminate one of your most vital senses: sound. Runners can’t hear untamed dogs, screeching traffic, honking horns and unwanted physical attention. Your focus can be drawn to the music in your ears rather than your physical surroundings, such as a raised sidewalk path.The pressure of headphones can also produce headaches, reduces your chance to converse with your training buddy and eliminates the enjoyment of a quiet trail. Lastly, if you’re training, training runs are meant to prepare and simulate race day and some runs don’t allow headphones on race day.

Alternatives – Can’t part with headphones? Workout indoors. If you run outdoors run with one ear bud out or run with your phone strapped to your arm playing music without the use of headphones (stream Pandora if you’d like). Choose songs with similar BPM (Beats per minute). For example, in your play list don’t choose LMFAO’s Party Rock followed with Adele’s Chasing Pavements. It could affect your pace (and annoy your training partner). Create a play list specifically for your workout and cool down.

Exception – Deaf runners are the exception and hopefully they train outdoors with at least two additional hearing runners who can prevent running hazards by guiding the front and back of a training group.

Outlining the pros and cons of running with headphones with my boyfriend released me from my long time notion that real runners don’t use headphones. And, since I fully disclosed the hazards of running outdoors with headphones I wouldn’t feel as bad for his misfortune if he happened to get hit, bit or snatched by something or someone (joking of course).

What are some of your thoughts on running with headphones? I’d love to hear your feedback.

Eating healthy: Getting Started

This is my first blog post. I hope you enjoy it!

I am often asked how I eat “so” healthy and with today being the first day of 2012 and the beginning of New Year resolutions I decided to write my first post on healthy eating basics.

If you really want to know “the secret” to healthy eating the secret is…there isn’t one. However, below you will read two helpful tips that guide me to sustain a healthy life style.

Attitude

I believe wanting a healthy life style is the foundation to any health quest. What ever drives you to make the leap into a health craze whether it’s wanting to fit into a size 6 dress for your daughter’s wedding next year, hopping back into your high school tuxedo or to play with your kids again, maintain that positive mental drive throughout the year and not just for a special occasion. Sure it’s tough to stay positively fit mentality, however daily motivation to maintain a positive mental drive takes practice. There are some days I do not feel like cooking and opt for a sit down meal at my favorite fast food joint, but I remind myself of why I rather cook than indulge A) my disgust of processed foods and B) I really don’t know what the heck is in the food I will consume. If you struggle with anti-health-head-trash just remind yourself of why you chose to make the health leap.

Kitchen

Healthy eating definitely starts in your kitchen. I read an awesome article by Shelby Barone who writes a weekly column for the OC Register on healthy eating for kids, but this article pertains to adults too. In summary, her article suggests a pantry overhaul of fatty foods and food you shouldn’t and really wouldn’t eat anyway. I think her suggestion applies to the entire kitchen and not just the pantry, include counter tops and the refrigerator too. When I moved into my significant other’s home we did just that. A complete kitchen overhaul. We made five piles:

1. Discard – this pile was for food that was expired and I mean, five years expired!
2. Donate – food we wanted to donate which contained high salt, fat or sugar content to reduce the urge for mindless eating
3. Mom – food we knew mom would use because it fit her cooking recipes
4. Work – food that the men at his work would easily consume and to save money on fast food runs
5. Keep – this pile was quite slim but it consisted mainly of canned vegetables such as corn and beans

Main benefits obviously was the elimination of unhealthy food and secondary benefits was the space we retrieved!

We replaced fatty snacks with high fiber cereals, plain yogurt, fresh vegetables and dried fruit such as mulberries and goji berries.

There you have it the basics to my healthy life style, positive attitude and kitchen overhaul.

I would love your feedback on your healthy life style basics. Please write me a comment below!