Radio listening good for `real runners'?

Fitness Q & A

August 26, 2005|By Gailor Large | Gailor Large,SPECIAL TO THE SUN

Is it a mistake to listen to music while running? I know "real runners" don't bring tunes along, but I can go so much farther with the music pumping me up. Should I make a more concerted effort to leave my MP3 at home?

Running outdoors alone, lost in thought, is one of the most satisfying mind-body exercises you'll find. That said, if you've tried it and it doesn't work for you - maybe you run on loud city streets and not along quiet, tree-lined trails - don't stress over it.

While professional racers traditionally haven't worn headphones, you should do what works for you. There is no reason to force yourself to run in silence. If music keeps you motivated on a long run, use it. And don't feel like an amateur just because you do. After all, Olympic runner Dan Browne swears by it.

I'm so grossed out by the workout mats at my gym. They're used in every one of the group classes and are always slippery with sweat. How can I persuade my club to buy new mats?

You can't. Your best bet is to bring a yoga mat (which you can carry rolled on your walk to the gym). Placing it over the workout mat, with a thin towel in between, will keep it slip-proof and grime-free, and you'll still have the cushion of the mat.

I've just started jogging again and read that you should only increase your workouts by 10 percent weekly. That seems slow.

That is good advice, with this exception: If you're just starting back, and jogging under 10 miles a week, you can add more than 10 percent weekly until you're back to the mileage you were jogging before your layoff. This is true, of course, only if your body feels up for it.

Do you have a fitness question? You can submit questions via e-mail to fitness@baltsun.com, or online at baltimoresun.com/healthscience, or in writing to The Baltimore Sun, 501 N. Calvert St., Baltimore, MD 21278.

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