Philadelphia Marathon Month

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The countdown to the Philadelphia Marathon (half-marathon and 8K!) is on and we can’t wait to run this city with you. From Center City to West Philadelphia and Fairmount Park out to Manayunk, we’re looking forward to a weekend of fun, sweat and cheers with the best running community around.

Since the race is only getting closer, we’re kicking off Marathon Month with a ‘Runner’s Checklist’ to help you get everything you need for the big day.

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Finding a Running Buddy

The weather is getting cooler and it seems like the whole running community is out there on Kelly Drive lately! Fall race training is in full swing. Last week, we talked about a couple of things you could try to conquer your long run. One of those options was to try running with a friend. Everybody has a different running style, so there are a couple of questions to ask when looking for a running buddy.

What pace do you want to run? Different paces can run together if one person is ambitious to push it a little bit and/or the other doesn’t mind slowing down a bit. It’s important to be totally up front and honest about how much you’re capable of changing (in either direction!) your pace. Solution: Run in a small group of similar paces. That way, you can mix and match to find some great partners!

Where do you want to run? As a runner myself, I don’t mind going on a run to new places in the city. It might be worth noting, however, that some people don’t enjoy switching it up as much! For example, a person may stick to the Schuylkill River and absolutely hate running in Center City. Try to gauge where the other wants to run!

Music or no music? I see a lot of people out there on the trail running next to each other, both with headphones in. While this may seem like a small detail, some people absolutely detest running with no music! Having a sense of which way your buddy prefers is always helpful.

Do you know where Philadelphia Runner is? That’s right, it’s a great icebreaker for you and your proposed running partner. Plus, we’ve got free group runs from our store, so it’s a great way to test out the waters of a new running friend! Or maybe you’re just looking for a running buddy? Definitely come on over to one of these runs and meet some awesome runners. Are you looking for something a tad more structured? Check out Team Philly!

Do you have any standby questions when looking for a running partner?

How to Cross Train for Running

We’re runners. We are big fans (most of the time) of moving forward in a repetitive manner. That can be a great thing when you’re having a tougher run and need to have a zen mindset to get through it. But today, I’m going to recommend you step outside of your bubble (if you haven’t already!) and cross train.

Unite Fitness & Philadelphia Runner
From one of our Unite Fitness cross training runs!

Why would you want to do that? Like I mentioned before, running requires a very repetitive motion. All of that strain on your muscles can take a toll on your body. By mixing it up, your body will break out of it’s shell and adapt in different ways. And did you know that cross training can also help your running? It’s true! For some people, it even helps with injury prevention. And isn’t that what we all need more of?

Well, now what do I do? I wouldn’t leave you lost and confused, here. Today, I’ve got some different ways to cross train to improve your running. Let us know how you cross train in the comments!

  1. Try another form of cardio. I’m not suggesting you cheat on your running, I’m merely suggesting you complement it! Hop in the pool and do some laps. It’s not a weight bearing activity, so it gives your joints (knees, hips, & ankles…we’re looking at you!) a break and improves your cardiovascular system at the same time! Another great thing to try is the rowing (a.k.a. urg) machine. The movement is driven from your lower body, so it trains those muscles to be power houses. And in a race, those power houses are gold.
  2. Strength Train. Many times, people neglect resistance training as part of their training plan. Strengthening those muscles (especially those legs again!) correctly generally correlates to less chance of injury, so it’s worth a try! However, make sure you’re not forgetting about your upper body. Do your back and shoulders ever get sore after a run? It could be from a tension or weakness in those muscles. Try strengthening those puppies up to reduce pain.
  3. Give yoga a try. I know, I know. We’re all very diligent and we stretch before and after every run. But for those of us who are looking for that extra boost, give yoga a try! It may help loosen those tight muscles. It will help with something else too. Have you ever been on a run and can’t get your mind to stop complaining about how far you have yet wandering? The meditation aspect of yoga might be something you want to check out! Who says you can’t meditate on a run? Just do us a favor and watch where you’re going!
  4. Come to our Unite Fitness cross training run! Alright, you want me to make it super easy for you? Come to our cross training run with Unite Fitness. It’s at 6:00 pm on Thursday, August 15. You can meet up at our Center City store and get a killer workout. There’s even some running (and beer!) involved, so everybody’s happy! Find out more about it here.

Cross training can be a great tool to improve your running performance. It can also help with preventing burnout because you’ll be varying your activities. What more could you ask for?

Tell us, have you gotten your cross-train on? What’s your favorite thing to do?