· 5 min
An Interview with Lou Alexander of Big A88 Jogger
We sat down with Lou Alexander, CEO and Founder of Big A88 Jogger and former NFL Athlete, to learn more about his new company (founded on March 27th, 2020) and how he transitioned from a Pro Football Career into jogging and apparel. RockMyRun: What is Big A88 Jogger? How did it start? Lou Alexander: What started off as a joke on social media, I started to incorporate jogging into my workouts. Soon it began to pick up steam, with a community of like minded individuals that were looking to get better and find a way to work out during the Covid-19 pandemic. As a former NFL athlete I have always pushed inspiration and motivation to the individuals that needed it the most. Also, showing the process of how I lost 100lbs gave others hope that they too can achieve monumental health goals also. Our appeal is not only for style and having the best “Swagg” it’s for empowering the masses. We inspire and motivate through action and accountability. The Big A88 Jogger apparel/movement has a mission to help you drive towards finding your true self and achieving greatness at the BIGGEST level. RMR:What was your athletic highlight? My athletic highlight was making it to The NFL. It was always a dream to see my name on the back of a NFL jersey, I’ve only dreamed of that. It was amazing that I was able to accomplish that goal. RMR: When you were in the NFL, what was your daily exercise routine? What is it now? LA: My day in the NFL started at 6:00am with breakfast followed by watching a film. By 8am I was getting ready for the weight room, and during the prep for workout, music was blasting in my headphones. By 10:30 the workout was complete, and I was off to the last film session before lunch and practice at 2pm. Once practice started at 2 it was go time, I would always attempt to hype everyone up, appreciating the opportunity to play a sport I loved. Once practice was over it was recovery, food and sleep following! Long but rewarding. RMR: What is the relationship between your football background and your experience with jogging? LA: Jogging was never the first choice. With football I was always conditioned to do movements that help develop explosion, lateral quickness and strength. But after retiring I noticed a huge mental advantage from jogging. There is a certain level of happiness that comes over you as you’re on the jogging journey or completing the task. Jogging took the forefront for me because it changed my life forever physically and mentally and I push that to the world daily. RMR: What would be your advice to other athletes (like football players) about getting into jogging? LA: The advice I will offer to all my fellow athletes I’ve played with and others, is that Jogging not only has a huge amount of health benefits, it’s also a mind healer. As athletes we look for other forms of meditation but often time sitting stationary in Zen can become challenging due to our high tempo nature. Turning on music and jogging gives you a form of movement meditation and allows so much of your brain to open up. The possibilities are endless. Jogging helps with post-career uncertainty by keeping competition in your life. There is nothing like improving your pace time every run! RMR: Running is typically a solitary sport, what is the importance or benefits of a running community? LA: A running community, allows everyone to drive towards the same goal; that’s finishing. It also ensures encouragement. No man or woman left behind mentality. Jogging communities drive change and unifies all walks of life. Race,creed and economic status does not matter. All that matters is the movement. RMR: What is your experience with RockMyRun? How did you discover it? How do you use it now? LA: My longtime college friend reached out to me about RockMyRun. He noticed the community of joggers I was building and sent me a video of this cool app. I was instantly intrigued when I heard the music selection and also the playlist that are pre-set for your preference. Anyone that knows me, understands that music is my favorite pastime, and having an app that goes on the jogging journey with me with Soul, 80s hits, Hip Hop and R&B I am all for it! I use RockMyRun during every jog. I am a huge believer of the app and I am looking forward to sharing it with others! RMR: How does music affect your exercise routine? LA: Music is a must have during a jog. Tempo and the beat of the song uplift you and sparks a good mood. Also, for those who don’t like dancing it’s a happy act; so try it, or dance in your mind while you run. Don’t be surprised if you’re roaming the street and you catch the BIG A88 JOGGER dancin! I love music and being happy. RMR: What’s your favorite song to run to? LA: That’s a tough one! I would say currently I like “Just don’t waste my time” by Usher and Ella Mae RMR: If you could give one piece of advice, what would it be? There are so many people looking for the silver bullet around how to achieve their goals when you see them as being so far away. I reference jogging to bridge a perspective. I say that when I’m running, it’s with the set intentions that this is a process, it may take me 20 minutes to complete or 15 minutes but it’s not instant. There is terrain that goes from incline to decline, turns on different streets, etc… But the journey is worth it once you complete it. Never look for success instantly; if you didn’t have to work hard, it will not last. Same with jogging. If you don’t work hard at it, you will never know what achievement feels like. To learn more about Lou Alexander or Big A88 Jogger, check out his website biga88jogger.com
· 4 min
Why Do You Run? 4 Reasons to Be Motivated
Improve Your Health One 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 Good Another 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 Mood Finally, 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.
· 4 min
10 Beliefs About Running with Music – A Manifesto
I’m fed up with people that hate on those of us who enjoy running with music. So, I created a manifesto for the music listening runner. A set of beliefs that those of us who enjoy our music while running share and governs our behavior. Just so you know where I’m coming from, my discovery of the this dislike for us began as a result of a lot of the research I did as one of the founders of Rock My Run into what makes runners tick and what would best help them perform. Between hours and hours of interviews and extensive online research, one of the things I discovered is what many of you probably already know: There is a split between those who listen to music while they run and those who don’t. What came to light is that there seems to be some harshly negative views of those that like or even love music while they run. I’ve heard people condemn runners that listen to music as disrespectful, clueless and even question their dedication to the sport. I’ll admit that this frustrates and annoys me. While we have all dealt with clueless people on a race course or out running in the streets, I don’t believe that this is related to whether or not they are listening to music. I believe that there are clueless people independent of their music listening habits. I believe that those that are rude on a course don’t represent me and my ability to run with headphones. Once I started thinking about all this I realized that us runners that listen to music need a manifesto; a set of beliefs and principles that define us as a community and can help dispel stereotypes and misconceptions about who we are, why we love our music, and our ability to perform. From there the idea of being a “Run Rocker” started. However I realized that “rocking a run” meant more than just the combination of running and music – it was about passion, excitement and enjoyment. It’s about the joy that comes from completing a goal, from performing well and overcoming obstacles. So with that said here is my first stab at a manifesto for Run Rockers everywhere. See if you agree with me. Music listening runners, unite! I can run with music and still be considered an excellent runnerI will at times unabashedly pump my fist to the beat of the music while I’m running if I’m really feeling a song. After all we’re supposed to have a good time with this, right?I can run with music and still pay attention to my surroundings. Not only am I’m talented like that, I’m also smart enough not to crank my volume in the wrong surroundings. Sometimes I will run only with one earphone in if that’s what the situation calls for.I am not ashamed to admit music can affect me emotionally. The right song at the right time can make me happy, nostalgic, help me power through a hill or focus on maintaining my paceBelieve it or not, it is absolutely possible to listen to my body AND my music at the same time. I can rock to a hot mix and determine if that soreness in my hamstrings is an injury or just some lactic acid I need to work throughI believe that “rocking a run” means not just listening to music while running but giving my best effort during every workout, every training run and every race.I believe that while I enjoy running with music, it is not my crutch. If my iPod dies during a workout or if a race bans music players I can still compete and give it my best. I just may not like the sound of my own panting.I believe that talking during long runs is ok, but don’t get offended if I turn on my music for a bit. Sometimes I just want to zone out and rock with my tunes.Treadmills are bad enough as they are. My music helps me tune out that person next to me talking on their cell phone at the gym (note: there is no “Cellphone Run Talkers” manifesto for good reason :))I am proud to be a run rocker because it means I am taking on new challenges, stretching myself and becoming a better me. What about you? Are there other beliefs that should be added to this list or taken away? What do you think?
· 1 min
Pushing Past Your Limits
Starting Blocks at Vacant Starting Line Before Event At Rock My Run we are all about motivation. Although we provide some awesome DJ mixes for running, we do so in order to help you stay motivated and help you attain your goals. So, when we find something besides DJ mixes that is inspiring, we like to share it in the hopes that it will help you to be the best runner and all-around-you, you can be. This video below is an inspiring 10 minute talk from a woman who lost both her legs but went on to become a professional snowboarder. Her story is incredibly inspiring and will leaving you feeling empowered to push through whatever limits you think you have to what you want to achieve – running or otherwise. Enjoy. Living Beyond Limits – Amy Purdy
· 7 min
Fantastic insights from Run Rocker Misty Phillips
Here at RockMyRun, we’ve initiated a series of blog posts featuring our awesome Run Rocker family. Each post will be rapid-fire questions that not only showcases the RockMyRun spirit but also presents unique perspectives on the sport of running, how music plays a role, and hopefully offers some tips on challenges you may experience in your journeys. For the second in our series of runner interviews from our inspirational RockMyRun family, we are proud to introduce Run Rocker, Misty Phillips. This time, we did it half marathon style, with 13(.1) questions for Misty who offered some fantastic advice, ranging from improving marathon time to juggling running with family life. 1. How long have you classified yourself as a “runner” (or do you?) I started running when I was about ten years old. I competed in cross country a couple of years in high school. I also ran sporadically over the years and competed in local 5K races and a few 10K races here and there. I really got away from the sport in my twenties when my children were small. I became a serious runner in May, 2011, when I signed up for my first marathon. 2. How often do you run weekly/monthly? My current training plan consists of 5-6 runs in a 7 day time period. 3. In which conditions you prefer to run (time in the day, indoors/outdoors…)? I love to run on the road. All-weather conditions are OK with me – except heavy rain. Although I am not a morning person, I am growing to love early morning runs. There’s less traffic and much more to observe in nature – I like to watch deer, birds, and squirrels. 4. What running accomplishment are you most proud of? Or what is your best running experience? I signed up to run my first marathon about two years ago. My goal for that race was finishing. However, the experience left such an impression that I wanted to go back to the drawing board, get a solid training plan together, and really see what I was made of. I was afforded the opportunity to work with a wonderful “Koach” who provided me with a plan and weekly feedback. Incidentally, he provides running tips via twitter @Marathon Koach to over 9,000 followers! With his help and my dedication to that goal – I have improved my marathon time from 5:06 (October 2011 – Marine Corps Marathon) to 4:17 (October 2012 – Chicago Marathon) and six weeks later I was able to run 4:07 (December 2012-St. Jude Marathon). Improving my marathon finish time by nearly an hour is my greatest accomplishment at this point. 5. Do you have any running-related goals for 2013? If so what are your plans for reaching them? 2012 will be a tough year to beat, and I know that. But, I am very optimistic about my ability to continue to improve. One of the most fascinating aspects of marathoning to me, personally, is that it is possible to get faster and better with time and training. I have a long term goal – I visualize this each time I run – that one day I will run in the Boston Marathon. As for this year, I have a few marathons I am considering and I would love to break 4 hours. I think it is reasonable and attainable if I can stay injury-free. 6. Since you started running, what is the biggest change in yourself, either physical or emotional that you’ve noticed? The most significant change I am aware of is my self-perception. I used to think of myself as a back of the pack runner. As hard as it was to realize, I had to give myself credit for improving speed and endurance. I needed to select the right starting corral in marathons to keep from being held back – and in 5 and 10K’s I needed to edge my way a little closer to the front before the gun is fired. THAT has been tough for me – seeing myself as a competitive runner. When I look back at my Chicago finish time and (4:17) and compare that to my St. Jude finish time (4:07) – I realized that I positioned myself more accurately in the starting corral in Memphis (St. Jude). In Chicago I was in the back of the 5:30 corral (which slowed my first few miles way down). I learned from this and moved up to the 4:30 corral in Memphis at St. Jude. 7. What motivates you to run? I like the isolation of the training run. I feel free from every care in the world. 8. What kind of music inspires you while running? I am a child of the ‘80s so most of what is on my MP3 player is from that era. There’s a lot of U2, INXS, The Police, etc. The type of music depends on the type of run: for shorter and faster runs, I prefer faster-paced music like rap and hip-hop. I’ll sometimes dig into whatever my teenage son is listening to for help here. My longer runs tend to be mellower; I love to listen to BB King in the dead heat of the Mississippi summer when the humidity hangs in the air like a curtain. 9. What one tip would you share with runners everywhere if you could? Surround yourself with other runners for support and encouragement. People who don’t run won’t understand what you are going through – good or bad! 10. How do you squeeze running time into your schedule? It’s tough. Physically and emotionally running can literally tear you down if you’re not careful. I am very fortunate that my family supports and encourages my endeavors, so sometimes I get away with a few household chores slipping here and there. At the end of any given day, I will have run 10-15 miles and still have to make a trip to the grocery store and attend a girl scouts meeting. When you are runner, it’s part of your day, so you have to figure out how to do IT ALL. 11. What words would you use to describe how you feel while running? When I run I feel very happy and peaceful. There’s a certain clarity that comes to my mind when I am on the road. I get my best ideas, dream up new goals and think about what I am truly grateful for in that moment. 12. How do you fight that “I don’t want to run today” feeling? I have learned to listen to my body. Sometimes the “not want to run feeling” is a sign of fatigue. That may be a call to prop up my feet and read a book instead. MOST of the time I can start putting on my running shoes and I start feeling better about going. 13. How do you power through tough stretches of a run? You absolutely MUST be your own best friend. You must learn to encourage yourself to keep going, push harder and never give up. You also have to learn to not be too hard on yourself too – it’s critical after a training run or race to reflect on THREE positive aspects of the experience before looking for areas of improvement. Otherwise, you’ll burn out. 13.1 Which RockMyRun mixes truly rock your runs? DJ Little Fever’s Brooks RockMyRun Mix is my all-time favorite. I had the opportunity to train with this mix a few times prior to the Chicago Marathon in October 2012. On race day – the mix ended up starting at mile 23. The end of the marathon was by far one of the most intense experiences of my life – hundreds of thousands of spectators lined the streets and as I neared mile 25, I was running like the wind (Marshall Tucker Band)! Perhaps the most interesting thing about this is that I can now listen to the playlist and the music brings back very vivid memories of the end of the race.
· 6 min
How RunRocker Shantal Rocked Her Competition
We recently caught up with personal trainer and RunRocker Shantal, to chat about staying fit and how music helped her reach her goals. A personal trainer, nutritionist and group fitness instructor, Shantal also competes in bodybuilding competitions—recently placing second at the prestigious International Drug Free Athletics (IDFA) Pro Universe event. Keep on reading for a Q&A with this inspirational athlete! What inspired your interest in fitness? My first fitness endeavor was in my parents’ basement using an ironing board for an incline bench, a table leaf and two cement blocks for a step board and a few dumbbells. I remember exercising from workouts featured in Shape Magazine, along with Olivia Newton John’s “Physical” blasting in the background! I was 13 and found myself enjoying the rush and pump of lifting! Fast forward to today. I have over 20 years of experience as a successful fitness leader and have started to tackle different areas of fitness including, running two half marathons, several 10k races, mud runs, Olympic weightlifting, CrossFit, endurance running and hot yoga! I love how I can adapt so many different varieties of fitness to my clients and myself. In 2009, I hired my trainer Leah Berti to help me diet down and get ripped up for my first Figure competition with FAME. I placed very well with two, first place trophies anda second andthird as well! I was hooked! I then placedfourth during Provincials with the Alberta Bodybuilding Association (ABBA). After a four year break from competing, my goal was to compete again before I reached the age 45. My IDFA Pro Card was my goal this time, which I achieved in June 2013 and few months later I placed second for IDFA Pro Universe. Perfect!!!! That is a huge feat, placing second at the IDFA Pro Universe event. Can you tell us a bit more about that achievement? Receiving second place in my first pro show was crazy awesome! I am so proud to be able to achieve this goal! In January 2013 I weighed 160 pounds, with the guidance of my trainer, the support of my husband and boys, and the mind blowing mixes of RockMyRun, I dropped 40lbs. Endless Hours of cardio and lifting could not have been easier listening to mixes like Rock to the Beat, This Is Why You’re Hot and Fitlicious to name just a few. You’ve lost a lot of weight in the last year, how much did you lose and what advice would you give to women who are making weight loss a 2014 resolution? In the before picture I was 160 pounds. I dropped down to 123 pounds for the competition in November and currently am holding steady at 135, which is an ideal weight to put on muscle without adding too much extra fat. This fat loss did not happen overnight, was not easy and took a lot of work and commitment to stick with the plan. A few words of advice for women who want to drop fat would be to: – Be realistic and consistent with your training, diet and goals– You cannot out train a poor diet, so don’t lie to yourself a bout food. It all counts!– Find a certified personal trainer who has a nutrition background– You may not like it (calorie restriction and working out everyday), but you still gotta do it!– Acknowledge your feelings when you don’t want to work out or eat to the plan, then move on!!!!– Lastly, keep RockMyRun close at hand, it’ll give you the edge to keep going strong! What’s a typical workout day or week for you like? Do you focus on strength, cardio or a mixture of the two? I start each and every day with 60 minutes of cardio at 6 a.m. before getting the boys ready for school. We have a gym in the garage that we named, GGYM, so convenient. My work day of training and teaching at the YMCA would start at 9 a.m. and I would fit in my lifting program five days a week between clients or later in the evening. When things get busy how do you make time to fit in your workouts? I believe it’s always a choice to train or not and you don’t find the time you have to make the time, it’s never an issue! Some days working out just doesn’t sound fun—due to weather conditions, a long workday, too much holiday pie and more—how do you get yourself out the door and working out on days like these? I always feel better after a workout. If I am lacking motivation I focus on RockMyRun and it always pushes me. The sound, the tempo and rhythm is like a workout partner waiting for me at the gym. You’ve mentioned you use RockMyRun regularly, how does music help you keep moving and motivated? I have always been moved by music, so when my husband first found your app I was hooked immediately and we signed up for the premium membership within a week. The mixes on RockMyRun are amazing and so motivational. I enjoy the variety of the songs and I appreciate the length and BPM being featured as it helps me choose the mix to fit my mood and workout. I believe training and lifting is not all physical, and that the mental, emotional and spiritual aspect of training is a big part of success. The mind is a different tool than the body and when the two work together, anything is achievable. RockMyRun ALWAYS…ALWAYS puts me in the right frame of mind to block any restrictions out so I can push through my training and push through it hard! You’re also a wife and mother to two boys—what role does your family play in your fitness and bodybuilding achievements? Everything! I could never have come this far without the honesty and commitment from my husband – plus he enjoys my tight butt and hard body. Our boys have shown patience and support as well. They are the first to remind me of what I should not be eating during the diet down and have spent their share of time in the gym waiting for mom! What’s next for you? Do you have any future competitions or races in the pipeline? I am going to spend a few years building my physique and improving my muscle mass. I would like to compete in a few more competitions before I reach 50, focusing on masters, but never saying no to an open category. I love competing with women who are younger! In 2014 I am going to run a few half marathons and perhaps enter a strong woman competition later in the year. Until then I will continue my fit lifestyle with my family and am thankful RockMyRun will be with me through this coming year of long runs and heavy lifting.
· 3 min
A Resolution for All Runners
This is one of my favorite quotes. Not only is it completely accurate, but it can apply to any aspect of life. I’m going to use it in a running sense here, and hopefully this is a quote that you can apply to your fitness goals in 2015. The good thing about this quote is that whether you are an advanced runner or a not-so-advanced runner, you can take something away from it. Advanced Runners You have so much more power and influence over other runners than you realize. While it may not be on the same level as NBA or NFL stars, running peers definitely look up to and admire you. You are the standard for the sport of running, and others are striving to get to your level. So use that for some good. Be open to helping out those who may be new to the sport. Take time out to run with a slower group or partner. Offer advice or a helping hand to runners trying to improve their speed or distance. Running is a daunting task in and of itself, and it isn’t made easier by the intimidation factor of advanced runners. So use your influence for some good, and help somebody out who is trying to break into the sport. You never know, you may just change a life. Beginning Runners Sure, you may be new to the sport, you may be slower than most, but that doesn’t matter. Don’t be afraid to get involved, particularly with those who are more experienced than you. I had a client tell me that her New Year’s Resolution was to “be more comfortable being uncomfortable.” I think that is a perfect mindset for a new or beginner runner. Don’t be afraid to ask a more advanced runner for help. Don’t be afraid to go on a run with someone who is a little faster than you. Chances are they won’t mind the company, and you’ll also get a hell of a workout in. The point I want to get across here is that just because you’re new, slow, or inexperienced, doesn’t mean you can’t jump right in and mix it up with everybody else. The more you surround yourself with good people and good runners, the better off you will be. The running community is such a great community. I am fortunate enough to have many friends who are runners, and a soon-to-be-wife who is an excellent runner as well. While I’m faster than some of these people, there are certainly plenty who can leave me in the dust. But, aside from distances and times, we pick each other up and help each other out along the way. I encourage you, if you haven’t already, to get some running buddies together and make time to run together. Believe me; it is worth the time and effort. Post contributed by Brock Jones. Brock is Co-Owner and Head Trainer with 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 .
· 3 min
Running Is A Team Sport
Why did I wait until I was in my 40’s to begin running? I ask myself this question all the time, and I know the answer. I was not disciplined and did not want to challenge or push myself. Growing up, I was not a very physically active kid, I didn’t play sports and never acquired the drive to have goals and challenge myself physically. There was always something however that drew me to running. I would see women running down the street and they looked so strong, fit and happy and I wanted that too, but didn’t think I was capable, in good enough shape or that mentally could do it. One day, I decided enough is enough. I was going to start, or at least try, so I bought some running shoes, got my playlist ready, left the house and began running. I don’t think I made it 1/4 of a mile before I was out of breath and had a side stitch. Needless to say, I had no idea what I was doing. This pattern went on for a week or so before I wanted to give up. I was having lower back pain, knee pain and just hurting all over, I started to believe I wasn’t capable, but I was still determined. I reached out to friends who were runners, and they suggested Running/Walking intervals, so I downloaded an app and this worked for me. I was able to build my stamina and endurance and eventually could run a mile without stopping, then 2, then 3 and eventually 6. Truthfully, there were times I wanted to stop the training because it was getting too hard, but I was determined to not give up on the goal I had set – to run my first 5K. I ran that race, was so proud of myself, and the addiction began. I immediately signed up for a 10K to be held 2 months later. After a few more 5K’s and another 10K, running had become a part of my life. I set running a half marathon as my next goal and I recently accomplished that and plan on running 3 more next year. The joy running brings and the sense of accomplishment you feel once you cross that finish line is like nothing else. Along my journey, I have posted my races and trainings on Instagram and have received so much support. You may think running is an individual sport, but it really is a team sport. I’m lucky to have an amazing group of supportive women in my life and on Instagram, where we encourage and cheer each other on, celebrate each others successes and tell each others it’s O.K. if you didn’t workout or if you ate that donut, tomorrow’s a new day. We check on each other when someone has been MIA and give them the boost they may be looking for. As women, we tend to tear each other down, instead of build each other up. Instead of smiling as we pass, we immediately judge. What we forget is that we are all struggling with something, we all have insecurities and we need to give one another (and ourselves) a break. I’m so thankful for being apart of this amazing community of women. It has completely changed how I treat other women. This it what has inspired me to start my Instagram running page, Inspiring Women Runners. Together we can inspire women of all levels to find their happy and feel the joy running brings. I have been overwhelmed with the flood of women hash tagging their running photos and thanking me for starting this page. I have seen women thanking others for their motivational post, scheduling meet ups when they realized they are running the same race and congratulating each other on their races. This is what running to me is all about. I encourage you to smile, wave, or give a thumbs up the next time you pass a runner on the trail. I guarantee it will give you a boost of energy to finish your run strong and will do the same for your fellow runner. Selena Baity is on a mission to help us encourage and motivate one another through running. Learn more on Instagram at @inspiringwomenrunners or her blog -Contributed by Selena Baity
· 6 min
What Does It Take To Complete An Ironman 70.3?
This past Sunday RockMyRun blog contributor, Brock (Co-Owner and Head Trainer with ) completed his first Ironman 70.3 triathlon! Interested in doing a half or full Ironman one day? Keep on reading for a summary of the race and an inside look at what the sport entails! The Swim This is a picture of the swim start for the IRONMAN 70.3 Augusta race. As you can see you walk out onto a floating dock directly underneath the bridge. As with many other races, the waves went off every four minutes. The cool thing here, though, was that you could jump in the water and get acclimated, or sit on the dock until the horn went off. Most people jumped in to adjust to the cool water. It was really a cool start though, not only because of the scenery, but because you could also see your whole swim directly in front of you. After the start, it takes a few minutes for the faster swimmers to separate themselves, and until they can, you’re stuck kicking and punching the rest of your competitors. I was definitely on the receiving end of a few kicks and punches, but believe me, I handed out more than I got in return. I got in a really good rhythm in the water and was able to separate myself (along with a handful of others) from the majority of the group within a couple of minutes. The swim was downstream, which helped, but I will say I had a good day in the water. Going in a straight line, as opposed to pushing off a wall 80 times, or worrying about rounding multiple buoys, makes it much easier to concentrate on just swimming. And that’s what I was able to do. I was off to a great start! The Bike Being that my fiancé didn’t want to/couldn’t follow me for 56 miles (don’t blame her), this is the only photo of me on my bike. After getting to the swim finish and getting out of the wetsuit, it was time to get a quick snack, some water, throw on the helmet and cycling shoes, and get to it. As you can see, the sky was pretty overcast, which made for absolutely perfect weather for a long bike ride. It always takes me a few minutes to get into a good flow on the bike. I’m not sure why, but the first couple of miles seem to be somewhat of a nuisance for me. But, once I got settled in and into a solid speed, it was a great ride. There were a few people who I spoke with before the race that told me the bike ride would be a little hilly, saying there were some pretty solid rolling hills here and there throughout the course. My initial reaction was that I’m from central Kentucky, where every single hill is very rolling and very long, but I didn’t want to be overconfident heading in. I prepared myself accordingly, and planned to pace around 16-17 MPH. I’m not sure if the course was flatter than what had been described to me, I psyched myself up too much for it, or I just felt good, but I had an awesome ride (It was probably a combination of the three). My goal was to finish the 56-mile ride in 3:30, and I ended with a time of 2:59. The Run Let me precede this part by noting how important it is to be fueled up before you get to this point in the race. Water, electrolytes, and just some overall substance in your stomach cannot be stressed enough. You’ve got anywhere from 2:00 to 4:00 on the bike (depending on skill) to get some nutrition and hydration in you, and you have to take advantage. I took advantage, but not nearly enough, as I would come to find out very quickly. This is a little before the mile 4 marker, and also one of the last times I was seen with a smile on my face until the race was over. After getting back to the transition, hopping off the bike, grabbing a banana and some water, I was off on the run. The first three miles felt fine. I was in a pretty decent groove – albeit a slow one – and looking forward to the rest of the run. Then mile five hit me like a ton of bricks. This time it wasn’t the weather (I don’t think it got above 80 degrees) or the course (flat as an ironing board). It was my nutrition, or lack thereof. I could tell around the mile five point that I was beginning to get a bit dehydrated. I have a pretty sensitive stomach during races, and didn’t really want to try anything new during the race, so I stuck with water and the occasional half banana. But, it was simply too little too late. Around the eight or nine mile point, the cramps started setting in. I hate to admit, but this is when the run/walk method came into play. I don’t like to walk during races, but honestly that’s the only way I was going to finish this race. And there’s no way in hell I wasn’t finishing this race. I’ve got too much pride for that. I managed to finish the last 4 – 5 miles and cross the finish line with a time of 2:30 for the run. It was much slower than my goal time, but, being a rookie in this event, I won’t complain. I have to say, after a little time to reflect, this was unlike anything I’ve been a part of. By far, without any doubt at all, this was the hardest race I’ve done. The three events individually, sure, they’d be very manageable. But putting them all together and you’re looking at a whole new beast. And when I say that I went through about every emotion possible, I’m not exaggerating. Starting the race, I was feeling great. I killed the swim and beat my goal on the bike. But then it all came full circle on the run. The course setup did me no favors either. It was a loop course that we ran twice, and had plenty of turns throughout. Those turns resulted in passing the finish line FOUR times before actually crossing. Pairing that with the shutdown mode that my body was going into made for a lot of different emotions throughout the run. This was the closest my body has ever come to physically failing – due to inadequate nutrition – but I was able to stay strong enough mentally to see it through to the end. And let me tell you, nothing is more demoralizing that watching others finish, knowing you still have seven or eight miles left to go. It tests your will and determination. But that’s what an Ironman is all about! Overall, even with my struggles on the run, it was a great weekend. I set a goal of 6:30 and, even with my struggle on the run, finished with a time of 6:10. It was challenging, miserable, inspiring, fun, frustrating, and completely awesome all at the same time. Immediately after the race I told myself I would stick to shorter distances for a while. But, after a few bottles of Gatorade knocked some sense back into my brain, I know I’ll be back again for more. Post contributed by Brock Jones. Brock is Co-Owner and Head Trainer with 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 .
· 3 min
What’s In a Runner? 6 Traits of Successful Runners
Many times I’m asked questions like “What makes somebody a good runner?” or “What can I do to become a good runner?” To be honest, it’s not really a simple, uniform answer. People are too different in their interests and abilities to have one answer to these questions. But, there are some things that many, if not all, good runners have in common. Here is a list that I’ve put together of what I think really makes someone a quality runner. 1. Good runners enjoy running. Kind of weird, isn’t it?? It sounds elementary, but usually in order to be really good at something, you have to enjoy doing it. There are the rare occasions where somebody is talented in an area and they don’t enjoy it. But for the most part, this holds true. Good runners aren’t out on the road because someone is making them do it. They aren’t pounding the pavement for any reason other than they genuinely love the sport. 2. Good runners value their rest time. Nobody likes a good sleep session more than me. I take every chance I can to knock out a solid nap during the day, and I’m usually asleep by 11 PM – and that’s a Friday night. Good runners know the value of putting your body through challenging workouts as well as letting it rest in between. Our bodies recover best when we get plenty of sleep. 3. Good runners don’t diet. In order to be able to perform on the road, you have to take care of business in the kitchen as well. It’s like filling up your gas tank before taking a road trip. You can’t get there without the proper fuel. Good runners know that a balanced diet will help them perform better and stay healthy throughout their race seasons. 4. Good runners don’t push it. This may sound a little backwards to you, because most good runners do in fact push themselves very hard. I’m referring specifically to injuries here. Good, smart runners know when to dial it down a little bit. Whether it’s a serious issue, or just something that’s been nagging them for a while, they know when and when not to push through. 5. Good runners stay in good company. It’s just a natural thing for people to surround themselves with others who share the same interests. So, people who run consistently are more than likely going to gravitate towards other runners. You’ll generally see these people out in the wee hours of the morning, but instead of stumbling home from the bar, they’re lacing up their running shoes in order to get a head start on the day to come. 6. Good runners are not perfectionists. Everyone out there is going to have good and bad days. What separates the good from the rest is the ability to forget about the bad days. It’s just the way things work. Some days your body isn’t going to function as well as others. Good runners have the ability and determination to get past those bad workouts and on to the next one. 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.
· 4 min
The Realities of Running
One of the only concrete things about running is the surface that you’re on. Some people are distance runners, while others prefer sprinting. Treadmills are great for certain people, yet some of us prefer the outdoor run. Everybody is unique in their own way. With that being said, there are many things that can hold true for almost all runners, regardless of their situation. Here are 6 of my “Realities of Running.” 1. You Will Hate Running I know what you’re thinking: This doesn’t really sound like something you should put in a post about running. Well, the reality is that this is true, and almost all of you can relate to it. There has been a time, at some point or another, when you have hated running. Maybe burnout has set in, the weather has made for awful conditions, or you have simply had a streak of bad workouts. Whatever the reason, there has been a point for all of us where we have despised the sport of running. 2. You Will Love Running This one is more like it, right? Just like we’ve hated it at times, the reason we keep going is because we ultimately love (or at least have an interest in) running. Whether it’s the euphoric feeling you get after a hard run, the accomplishment of setting a new PR, or simply the ability to get lost in a long run, you’ve learned to love this sport. It has become a part of you, almost to the point where you feel bad if you miss a day. Know what I’m talking about? Yeah, I thought so. 3. Injuries Are Inevitable This is where the old “too much of a good thing” proverb comes into play. There’s a solid chance that if you run long enough, something is going to start hurting at some point or another. It could be something simple like a pair of aching knees or something more complicated like a muscle strain. You could, of course, be one of those who can run 50 miles a week and be fine. But for most of us, the chance of something happening along the way is, unfortunately, fairly high. 4. You Will Become Competitive Don’t get too excited here. This isn’t competitive in the sense of winning races, getting endorsements, or making a ton of money. The competitiveness I am talking about is with yourself and – if you have them – your peers. It won’t take long, either. Before you know it you will be trying to beat your fastest time or improve your longest run. You’ll try to beat your running partner’s time in a certain distance. Not only will this add a little excitement to your workouts, but it will force you to work harder and ultimately become a better runner. 5. It Will Cost Money Just like anything else on this planet, if you want to enjoy running, you’re going to have to invest not just your time and effort, but your finances as well. Just like you have to have the right equipment to do your job 40 hours a week, you have to have the right equipment if you want to get the most out of running. Whether it’s a new pair of shoes, some cold weather gear, or the races that you want to cross off your list, you’re going to have to open up the checkbook. Look at it like this: You’re not simply paying to wear nice clothes or run a certain race, you’re buying an experience. You’re paying for something that is bigger than yourself, and something that those who don’t participate in won’t always understand. 6. It Will Be Worth It After all the pain and suffering, the time and financial input, the good races and bad, at the end of the day it is all worth it. Running is something that, for almost all of us, is a part of us. To the point that if we don’t do it, we feel like something is missing. The truth is, as I’ve mentioned, people who don’t run simply don’t understand what we get out of running. Yeah, it’s not always great and we have bad days. But, there’s always that good day right around the corner. The day will come when you feel like you’re Forrest Gump and can “run clear to the ocean.” The feelings of accomplishment and satisfaction are things that keep most of us coming back for more. Can you relate to any of these? What are some of your “realities of running?” Post contributed by Brock Jones. Brock is Co-Owner and Head Trainer with 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 .
· 3 min
Runners Who Inspire: Waldon Adams
Remember the last time that little voice in your head said, “I can’t”? When you decided not to run because you weren’t strong enough or didn’t feel like you could go that extra mile? We’ve all been there. And for some, that voice is a bit louder than we’d like. Every once in awhile, we come across a person so inspiring, that voice goes silent. Waldon Adams is one of those people. Unsung Hero When you envision the embodiment of heroism, your mind may not necessarily conceive a 55-year-old AIDS patient who spent more than 30 years living on the streets of Washington D.C. To many, however, Waldon has become a source of inspiration fit for a cape. Waldon began his journey battling addiction at the age of 9 when he became hooked on the liquid medication prescribed for his asthma. At 17-years-old, he was in an accident that resulted in the loss of fingers and a piece of his left hand, leading to a spiral of addiction and depression. This experience led to many stays in psychiatric hospitals and an inability to hold down a job. In 2004, Waldon experienced another setback when he was diagnosed with HIV, which has since transitioned into AIDS. This is not a Cinderella story. This is the story of a man who never got a fairy godmother, but found the power to thrive within himself. He had every reason to say “I can’t,” but didn’t. A New Drug To mitigate the effects of his medication, Waldon began jogging around his hospital bed. As he began to run in ever-widening laps, he discovered running had a significant impact on his physical and mental wellness. He was hooked, but this time to something wonderful. Since that day, he has run 15 marathons, 25 half-marathons, 20 10k’s, and 21 5k’s. Now, he’s training for his first ever 100-mile endurance run. With mental strength at the core of his perseverance, he’s been using RockMyRun to power through the tougher parts of his training. His favorite stations? 10K4MK Home Run and Run The World. “I don’t know how I’d get through the 12-hour treadmill session without RockMyRun!” said Waldon with a chuckle. Making it Count At this point in his journey, Waldon has gone from overcoming personal obstacles to becoming a source of inspiration for people experiencing similar challenges. With Miriam’s Kitchen, a non-profit organization in D.C. that seeks to end veteran and chronic homelessness, he works as the first ever Advocacy Fellow working to secure housing vouchers for people living on the streets. “I know how it feels, so it’s great to give back,” he said. He humbly credits running and Miriam’s Kitchen with much of his success. “I truly believe that running and Miriam’s Kitchen saved my life. Running helped me regain control, and Miriam’s Kitchen restored my dignity and supported me on a path to finding a home,” he said. Want to join Waldon in a run and help him raise money to end veteran and chronic homelessness? Join Team MK and their sponsor, Routeam, for the annual 10K4MK event in Annapolis, MD on November 19, 2016 (in person, virtually, or as a “sleepwalker”!) and use the code WALDON16 at checkout to donate 10% of your entry fee to Miriam’s Kitchen. Waldon will be out there listening to his favorite 10K4MK Home Run station. How about you? -Contributed by Laura Elsey, Team MK