Sight see and stay fit… now there’s an idea! As the northern hemisphere plans their summer vacations, why not take another approach and think of including a destination run in there too. There is something for everyone’s taste and here are my top picks that may just get you motivated to pack your running shoes.
If drinking is your thing head towards California or Oregon and combine wine tasting with running through the vineyards – http://destinationraces.com
Want to take in some ruins then the Rome Marathon is perfect. Starting and finishing at the Colosseum, it goes past the Vatican City and through Piazza Navona. http://www.maratonadiroma.it
Give back to the local community and have a once in a lifetime experience – the beautiful Angkor Wat half marathon in Cambodia does just that. Proceeds go to the Cambodian children and disabled, while runners get to have this amazing temple all to themselves (and the children in local villages cheering you on is a special treat) http://www.angkormarathon.org
Head north for the Glitnir Reykjavik Marathon in Iceland. The northernmost capital in the world, has some of the cleanest air on earth, along with ideal running temperatures in August. But just watch your pre-race diet as don’t be surprised to come across unique menu options such as Hrútspungar (ram testicles), Svi (half a sheep’s head) and Hákarl (raw, putrefied Greenlandic shark). http://www.marathon.is/reykjavikurmaraton
Don’t expect to set any personal bests at the Great Wall Marathon due to the tough course. But what an amazing experience running on part of a wall that was over 6,000km long and was built in 7th Century BC! http://www.great-wall-marathon.com
And of course, it would be remiss of me not to include the New York Marathon. An iconic run that draws more than 100,000 applicants a year and 315 million worldwide television viewers. http://www.nycmarathon.org
Does this sound familiar… another long morning of meetings, need to blow off some steam and feel exhausted by lunch time? It’s time you hit the gym or went outside for a run (or even a walk)
It has been scientifically proven that people who exercise on work days are more productive, happier and suffer less stress than on non-gym days, in addition to being better equipped to handle whatever the day threw at them.
Companies have been encouraging employees to exercise more for years (to improve health insurance premiums, some corporations offer reimbursements for gym memberships, while others have resorted to paying employees by the km to run or swim). But, most employees still exercise before or after the business day as they are made to feel too guilty to ditch work in the middle of the day to work up a sweat. It seems it’s ok to go out and eat or shop at lunch, but not so accepted to go to the gym.
It is possible to exercise at lunchtime and be back at your desk on time, it just takes some planning (especially for us gals)
1. Try and pick an earlier or later time (11am or 2pm) as the gym isn’t as busy so you won’t have to wait for any machines (and the change rooms aren’t as hectic too)
2. Bring your lunch to eat at your desk so you don’t use valuable time lining up to buy a sandwich
3. Ladies – don’t plan on washing your hair post-gym workout. Tie it back that day and go with minimal, easy make up
4. Join a gym close to the office – or just go for a run/walk to save time
If all else fails we could go and work for PepsiCo, HBO, or Google who have their own on-site fitness centers (Google offers 230 exercise classes a week). Or even move to Denmark where each day at 10.45 am the factory door at AXA Power closes for 1 ½ hours and all staff members gather outside to walk, run, bike, swim or row.
I love my Nike Free running shoes (and no, I don’t get paid to mention them) so when I found out you can personalize them I was even more excited. Gone are the days when you have to pay an artist located in Tribeca a year’s wage to get a pair of custom painted sneakers – now it costs you about $20 extra to come up with your design and all from the comfort of home. A ‘must have” for anyone who wears sneakers for exercise or pleasure.
NikePick materials, colours and even have a one-on-one design session with a consultant for you or a group thanks to NIKEiD studio. http://nikeid.nike.com/nikeid/index.jsp#home
ConverseThe Converse MAKE project is pretty irresistible. And they have some funky kids options. http://www.converse.com/#/products/shoes/converseOne/scratch/all
Not satisfied? New Balance and Reebok have also joined in to offer online design services.
And ever wondered what happened to one of the original “design sneakers”… LA Gear! Introduced in 1992 the immortal L.A. Lights, was the shoe line from L.A. Gear that featured red LED bulbs in the heels that blinked every time you took a step. Alongside Reebok’s Pump series, the wildly popular sneakers dominated the shoe scene in the early ’90s with athlete endorsers such as Karl Malone and Hakeem Olajuwon.
Unfortunately it wasn’t enough to keep the company going and they filed for bankruptcy in 1998. LA Gear has since eased its way back into the market, and re-released the classic L.A. Lights hoping to take piece of the retro market.
With the Olympics around the corner, women’s handbags trends are racing toward the finish line with all things athletic. Perforated leather, mesh paneling, and athletic detailing are being woven into all pieces. And these aren’t just for gym bags and backpacks, it’s for every day, take me anywhere use.
Don’t worry guys – you get to look stylish in a “manly” way too. Billy Reid has a range of leather bags made especially for men which will be the envy of everyone at the gym or going to work. http://www.billyreid.com/category/luggage/horween-cordovan.html
These are certainly a step up from the original duffle bag (the name comes from Duffel, a town in Belgium where the thick cloth used to make the bag originated) which are still used by military personnel.
A great way to incentivize yourself and keep your new year’s resolution of getting fit going, is to of course buy another gadget that makes it more fun (but unfortunately no less painful) As running is my number one choice of exercise, here are the latest and greatest watches that will help track just about everything you do. Now all you have to do is lace up your shoes and go outside and run!
Garmin Forerunner 210 – $200
While not the most expensive in the Garmin series, it has a broad set of features that caters to everyone from the beginner to elite Triathletes. It is GPS-equipped and lets you check data like time, distance, and pace at a glance while you’re running. You can then review that same data, along with maps of your routes and more detailed workout information when you’re back at your computer. It can also be paired wirelessly with a heart rate monitor.
Garmin Forerunner 910XT – $400
Then grown up version of the 210, it is a serious watch for the serious athlete. If cycling and swimming are going to be part of your routine then this is the money!
Polar RCX5 – $350
A slimmed down version of the old Polar watches that were a chunky feature on everyone’s wrists for years. The ZoneOptimizer feature measures complex heart rate calculations (calculates your level of fatigue before each workout – very cool!) And of course it plugs into Polar’s web app, where you can view your progress, recovery time, and training loads. It’s like a having your own magic endurance coach, without the part where they yell at you!
Nike Sportsband – $59
I have an expensive sports watch, but personally I like simplicity and found it in the Nike Sportsband. Water resistant so you can run in the rain, and just one touch of a button to start it. You can easily toggle between time, calories, distance and average speed without losing a step. Easy to upload info, and the online program to track your runs is pretty good. Just one catch, you have to wear Nike shoes to run in!
If you are embarking on a flight anytime soon (or have a long commute to work each day), here are a few of my favourite books that may help pass the time away. All are non-fiction, and yes have a common theme of people and sport, BUT you don’t have to be an avid sports fan to enjoy them. They are great stories.
1. Born to Run – Christopher McDougall
2. Open – Andre Agassi
3. Racing Through the Dark – David Millar