How to Tell if Music Will Help or Hurt Your Workout

Music can boost your workout by distracting you from pain and fatigue, but it’s not a boon to every workout. Depending on your personality and your sport, you may be better off skipping distractions.

Source: How to Tell if Music Will Help or Hurt Your Workout

I’ve spoken before about my distaste for music in particular training.  For cycling, it’s a Darwin Award to me.  There’s the same potential for running, but not as much and it can be more beneficial IMO to have music than while cycling.  I’ve seen setups that allow you to listen to music while swimming.  I come from cycling – group rides usually provide a partner but otherwise are without music so being without never bothered me.

How to Improve Your Running After a Bad Marathon

The marathon is a fickle beast: at 26.2 miles, the potential for back luck is huge. After 20 miles you’re in the Wild West and anything can happen.  That uncharted territory can bring disastrous consequences, reducing your goal marathon pace to a shuffle or leading to a few too many bathroom stops.

Source: In Defense of Dirty, Rotten, No-Good Marathons (or, how to learn from bad marathons)

The stuff raised in the article can be applied to any competition.  While the experience may seem bad, it’s not a loss if you can learn and improve.

Feeling Sick or Tired? To Train, Or Not to Train…

[Former pro Ben] Day believes that every single athlete undergoing a training cycle needs to better understand when to push through fatigue, illness or injury and when they should rest and recover. Below, Day discusses some guidelines in making the right decisions.

Source: Feeling sick or tired? To train or not to train…

For content from a cycling website, the only thing that applies to cycling is measuring power via a power meter (in the hub, cranks, or pedals).  Which lead me to wonder if anyone has implemented a power meter in running shoes… Someone has, and DCRainmaker has a review!  If you haven’t read DC Rainmaker stuff before, it’s incredibly detailed and insightful.

For Better Fitness Success, Stop Using the Word “Mistake”

The problem with the word mistake is that it’s negatively ingrained into society. People too often define themselves by their mistakes, the presumed result of their own character flaws. Recall the last time you uttered the words “I made a mistake.” You probably subconsciously judged your own character as soon as those words came out of your mouth.

All humans make mistakes. And while they’re completely natural, the word implies a dead end of sorts, rather than a learning opportunity that will make you better at life.

Source: For Better Fitness Success, Stop Using the Word “Mistake”

On a similar vein, there are benefits to failing

One aspect I encountered is dealing people can make can be trying.  Some have different goals, or things come easier/etc – so they aren’t very supportive or even thoughtful.  May your experience be better, or at least know to take it with a grain of salt because it’s a known issue that we don’t like to see others improve.

Max Heart Rate Math: You’re Doing It Wrong

…The question of how to find maximum heart rates is not just of academic interest, medical experts say. The formula for calculating the maximum rate has become a standard in cardiology and in fitness programs, and an entire industry has grown up around it, with monitors sold to individuals and built into exercise equipment.

…Heart rate is an indicator of heart disease, said Dr. Michael Lauer, a cardiologist and the director of clinical research in cardiology at the Cleveland Clinic Foundation. But, he added, it is not the maximum that matters: it is how quickly the heart rate falls when exercise is stopped.

Source: ‘Maximum’ Heart Rate Theory Is Challenged

The suggested formulas for theoretical maximum heart rate:

  • For people 30+: 208 – (age * 0.7)
  • For women, 35+: 206 – (age * 0.88)
  • For older, healthy adults & women: 211 – (age * 0.64)

Even if you pick the best formula for you (as it can be unclear), the number you get will have a pretty big margin of error (10-20 beats off).   Disclaimer: if you have a health condition where all-out exercise might be dangerous (or if you’re not sure), get a doctor’s OK before trying.  But when in doubt – exercise really hard, and see how high the meter goes.

Your max heart rate for running may be different from your max heart rate for other sports, like cycling and, most notoriously, swimming. Your heart has to work harder to pump blood around when you’re upright versus horizontal. If you determine your max heart rate with a running test and use that to guide pool workouts – you’ll be chasing numbers you probably can’t actually achieve in the pool/etc.

FYI: If you know your max is very different from the formula, that would be important information to give your doctor if you ever need to take a stress test, since they base the test’s stopping criteria on a percentage of what they believe is your max heart rate.

When to Donate Blood so You Don’t Screw up Your Workout Routine

There’s not much that’s more essential to your running (and your life) than your blood.

The more oxygen-carrying power your blood has, the faster you can run. Without enough oxygen, your body is quickly plunged into acidosis, the deep burning sensation in your legs that you feel at the end of a race or a hard workout.

Doing anything that would decrease your body’s oxygen-carrying potential would be crazy right?

Well, maybe not if it can save somebody’s life.

Source: How Donating Blood Impacts Your Training and Racing (And 4 Strategies to Mitigate the Impact)

Blood donation groups like the Red Cross advise against heavy exercise the same day you donate, to avoid reopening the needle wound and because you may feel dizzy or faint from low blood pressure.  Be aware that frozen blood has a 48-hour lifespan, compared to four weeks for fresh blood, makes me understand why there are constantly blood drives.  But the last time I checked, those on blood thinners are not allowed to donate.  If you can, please consider donating or encouraging those who can to donate blood.

Related reads:

Beyond Charity: Turning The Soup Kitchen Upside Down

[Robert Egger] set out to train homeless people on the streets of Washington, D.C. — many of whom were drug addicts cycling in and out of a life of crime — how to cook and earn a food handler’s license. The goal was to help them trade addiction and crime for stable employment in restaurants and other food enterprises.

Source: Beyond Charity: Turning The Soup Kitchen Upside Down

Not a bad idea – you can go anywhere and find work as a cook.

Fitness Tracker: The Data You Can (and Can’t) Trust

Everyone is on the fitness tracking bandwagon. The Apple Watch will track your heartbeat, steps, and activity. The Fitbit and Fuelband have been doing similar things for years. But they aren’t perfect.  At best, the data is good encouragement, but at worst, it’s unreliable and misleading. Here’s why all that data doesn’t equal better health, and what you actually can use.

Source: The Data You Can (and Can’t) Trust From Your Fitness Tracker

I rather liked this article, particularly:

…quantifying yourself isn’t the same as improving yourself…

You also have to learn to build better habits that feed back on themselves to help you make long-term lifestyle changes. You also need to learn that self-compassion is critical to your long-term success. Learning to forgive yourself after getting sick and seeing your tracker’s numbers plummet will be more valuable to you in the long run than watching them soar to new heights or earning a shiny badge for your profile. Finally, none of this addresses the role that a healthy diet that you can actually stick to and a proper understanding of nutrition play in the whole affair.