The Perks of Running Without Music

When most people learn that I do most of my running without music, their response is something to the effect of WHAT?! But…WHY?? 

Well, here’s why…in a nice, bulleted list format, of course.

-Heightened attention to your body’s needs. Music is a great distraction, yes, but being distracted while running isn’t necessarily the safest route. It’s important to tune in to your body as you run and notice those little nuances- Is your stride getting funky? Your ankle bothering you? An old injury creeping up? Pay attention to your footfalls and let your body move with its natural rhythm, not the ever-changing rhythm of your fave Pandora station.

-Preserve music as a motivation strategy in desperate times. Because I generally don’t run with music, having a backup playlist on hand can serve as a great motivator during particularly long (read: 26.2 mile) runs or on those days when the last thing you want is to be left alone with your own thoughts. During my marathon last fall, I ran music-less until mile 17, at which point I switched on my badass “Awesome Jackie’s Marathon!” Spotify playlist (curated specifically for me by my college besties- I have the best best friends 🙂 ). This was the perfect energy boost to get me pumped up for the final 9 miles, when my internal drive just wasn’t cutting it anymore.

-Erase a context for timing. If you’re really looking to relax on your run and avoid counting miles/feet/inches as they crawl by, music may be keeping you from doing just that. You may be subconsciously (or consciously) counting songs and using them to calculate minutes run and minutes remaining. Stop! Enjoy the scenery! Which brings me to… Continue reading

Where to Find High-Quality, Affordable Workout Gear

If you’re anything like me, you’re always drooling over the Lululemon and Athleta catalogs that turn up in the mail, eyeing all the yogis’ adorable printed leggings on Instagram, and comparing your workout ensemble to everyone else’s on the trail. I know, I know, working out is not about looking cute, but you’ve got to admit: working out is a lot more enjoyable when you feel good about yourself. And there’s no better motivation to get your butt to yoga than having a brand new polka-dotted pair of leggings to show off. Am I right?

Here’s the problem. Motivational or not, a new pair of leggings for a cool $100+ or a fun, bright top for $50+ is just not in my budget, especially when I’m already investing in expensive yoga memberships, race entries, and new Asics twice a year so I don’t end up with club feet and my dad’s knock knees (sorry, dad).

Salar leggings

Ladies, problem solved: FABLETICS. Fabletics is Kate Hudson’s athletic apparel line/monthly membership program. It’s similar to Birch Box, Nature Box (another obsession of mine), etc. in that you sign up as a VIP member and receive monthly benefits. Continue reading

Why YOU Can Call Yourself a Runner 

It takes a lot for people to qualify themselves as runners. Why, I don’t really know…It’s like the term runner only applies to the elusive human wonders who can run 2-hour marathons. At 5 am. Every day. With ease. And six pack abs.

I, however, have finally allowed myself to be considered a runner. What qualifies me? I run. Simple as that. Not always consistently. Not always long distances. Definitely not always with ease or grace [have you seen Phoebe from Friends run? ]. But I make time for running and use it to set goals and help myself progress in my mental and physical health. So yes, I am a runner. 

I first committed to my running journey in April of 2013, after I had a horribly embarrassing first game on my new social kickball league. Sparknotes version: on my way to first base, I spun to avoid being tagged out and ended up skidding through the dirt, facing the opposite direction I had intended. Lucky ol’ me then got to spend post-kickball social hour at the bar with scrapes up my back and pants chock-full of mulch. Let’s just say this was the final “Jackie, you’re never going to be cut out for team sports” straw. And that night, I signed up for my first half marathon.

While yes, running is a solo event and it doesn’t require hand-eye coordination or team communication, it certainly comes with its own struggles. However, I’ve managed to tackle them and go from a girl who only runs a mile for the state test in gym class (and at a glacial pace, at that), to a girl who runs for *gasp* fun and adventure and well-being. I’ve worked up from 1 mile to 26.2 (actually 27.2 according to my running app, but who’s counting), squashing self-doubt and impressing myself every step of the way. And now, yes, I proudly call myself a runner. And if I can be a runner, so can you.

I’d love to hear your stories! What made you decide to become a runner? Post your stories & motivation in the comments below.  🙂