None of these running enthusiast are paid actors.


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Start Your Own Running Blog

If you’ve read my About Me page, you know that I am doing this blog for my Introduction to Web-based Journalism class. My peers and I have been taught how to produce podcasts, Youtube videos, make slideshows with audio, quizzes and alternative story forms. Everything I’ve learned in this class will be helpful to me no matter what track-public relations, broadcast or print-I decide to take.

My running blog has also educated me tremendously more about running. I am a self-taught and disciplined runner which leaves a lot of room for mistakes. Since I’ve never had a coach in my other sports teach me proper forms for long distance running I’ve had to figure out what works for me.

Through research on the Web I’ve taught myself about breathing, proper diet, and care for shin splints. Also, since I have been averaging a blog a week, I’m forced to constantly think about running. I’ve had to approach a simple way to workout from very creative angles; trying to guess what my readers want to know and portraying running as something other than just exercise but a hobby for life.

What has been most beneficial to myself about creating a running blog is to practice what I preach. It would be unethical for a journalist to give advice on something they’ve never applied themselves; and I have to say my running has improved since I’ve created this blog.

Livestrong Loops has me running outside more often which has been awesome in the summer weather and the impact is better for my shin splints.

I refer back to my words in the blog I wrote about breathing while running. Using cadences, a 2-2 rhythm of exhaling and exhaling, when I’m exhausted and want to stop has kept me going during long runs.

My posts about shin splints, proper diet and my Nike Free Runs have been helpful for my readers. I’ve had friends comment outside of WordPress thanking me for making the post and saying that they learned something new from reading the article.

My suggestion to anyone who likes to write and is passionate about something is to blog about it-you’ll educate yourself and friends while having fun (hopefully). WordPress lets me have this page for free and I can manage multiple blog subjects under the same user name. The software is very easy to use and has a professional look to it; Cal Poly’s award winning newspaper Mustang Daily uses WordPress for their online Web site.

This class and blog has really helped me to become more knowledgeable about running while losing a few pounds.

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Livestrong Loops Tutorial

Livestrong Loops is a perfect tool for the statistical conscious outdoor runner. Map a run through a user-friendly Google powered map. It will calculate the distance, calories, elevation, and estimate a time for the run. Livestrong only asks you to become a member–which is free. Maps can be saved and shared with the public or kept private.

Steps to make a map

1. Become a member: Click this link to register in less than two minutes. You will be able to create a username that is different than your email. Agree or disagree to receive newsletters and become a more active member.

2. Link: While on the homepage, you can link to Livestrong Loops from the sub headlines Fitness, Tools and MyPlate. Click the icon reading “Loops” with a pictured runner.

3, Create: Click the yellow “Create” bar at the bottom of the first column on the left.

4. Start mapping: Set your default location or enter an address to start, I will start my loop at Cal Poly Rec Center. Click on the road to place your start marker

Starting marker is placed

To continue mapping a loop, simple click on the road to create a line. I love this Web site because it follows the curvatures of a map unlike Google Maps which does a straight line from point to point.

Creating the trail

During this run I go off road and the programming prefers to stay on streets. To continue a unpaved path move your curser over the blue line until white squares pop up. Grab the first square and drag your marker to where it need to be. You can go back and adjust the line to the curve of the road by grabbing other blue squares.

Use the blue squares to more accurately direct a trail

Don’t forget to use the “Undo” “Redo” and “Clear buttons at the top of the map.

Unfortunately, the map they have of Cal Poly’s campus is outdated and doesn’t show Via Carta cutting all the way through campus. This problem is an easy fix, use the same blue squares from the last step to connect the roads.

Connecting Via Carta

So now my trail has been mapped. Livestrong Loops tells me the distance, elevation levels, and ascending and descending heights. If you enter your activity type, weight and average speed it will calculate the amount of calories you have burned.


If you want to get more advanced, or if you are mapping this trail for a running event, drag markers from below the “Statistics” sections to tell runners more about the trail. I have added markers Railroad crossings, a hazard, off-roading and scenic.

Now, click “Save” in the upper right corner of the map. Add a title, description and location and choose if you want to share the map with the public or make it private.

If you are serious about weight loss, add the run to MyPlate to keep track of calories burned and calories consumed.


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What’s Your Running IQ Quiz

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Map a run using Livestrong.com

Running outdoors has it’s benefits of fresh air, constant changing terrain, visual distractions and it’s always free. As a new runner, I found running outdoors inconvenient because I couldn’t track how far I was going and how many calories I was burning. Treadmills have the technology to let a user know that kind of information which is helpful to record progress.

While surfing the net I came across a Web site that is an excellent tool for all outdoor runners. Livestrong.com offers a program for members to easily map their outdoor running route. Along with computing the distance of a run, Livestrong Loops will let a user know an estimated amount of calories and time of the run if you enter your weight and average running speed; it also features elevation levels.

To create my own map I first had to become a member which entailed creating a username and entering my email address.

I found the software extremely easy to use on this Web site. I have recently used Google Maps to create my last 5k run around Cal Poly’s campus. It took me about an hour and I found the programming jerky and uncomfortable to use.

My map on Livestrong Loops took me about five minutes to make. I simply clicked where I wanted my marker to go and it followed the shape of the road, unlike Google Maps which would always create a straight line from point to point.

After I finished my map I chose to share it so other runners in the area can find my map on the Web site. On a scale of one to five I rated my route on scenic aspects, difficulty and overall quality of the run.

I really recommend this Web site. The more I play on it the more I’m enjoying it. When creating a map for the public you can add markers for bathrooms, off-trail running, railroad crossings, scenic spots and more.

Who should use Livestrong Loops

Non-profit companies should use this Web site to map out the runs for their fundraisers
People serious about losing weight
Runners who are new to an area
Anyone who runs, walks, bikes or hikes outdoors

My favorite discovery was that Livestrong members can add runs to a program called Myplate which will keep track of calories consumed and calories burned off; ideal for any health conscious person.

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Op-Ed: Gym as my temple

Image from Calpoly.com

Cal Poly’s Rec Center has become a place where I can step back from my busy world of school and work and find time to reflect and focus on myself. The entire process of changing, running, stretching and lifting has become a spiritual ritual I crave. My devotion to running and working out is practiced far more than my devotion towards religion.

Religion has taught me that the church is not the building but the people who congregate inside of it. The same goes with running, I don’t necessarily have to be near a gym to get the same spiritual affects.

My obsession with long distance running is a fairly new one being as I started taking running as a serious hobby sometime in November. Over the past seven months I have become devoted and passionate to something I despised in high school. Running in volleyball and basketball was used as a punishment so I had negative associations towards it. Now, I love this form of exercise not only for it’s physical benefits but for what running has done for me mentally and spiritually.

I have been running about 15 to 20 miles a week since November. I’ve seen improvements in distance, speed and stamina. I ran my first 5k on the treadmill with no incline and a constant speed of six miles per hour. My average speed has increased to seven miles per hour and my distance varies from three to five miles per run.

Running has helped me lose weight and I believe it has also improved my immune system. While everyone around me in the dorms are getting sick I remain healthy; my hangovers have also been less intense.

Contradictory to my opinions of running in high school, I have found running to be a huge stress reliever in my life. I view running as a conduit when I end my school days with a workout. When I’m running I can think back and analyze what has happened during the day. My thoughts become less clouded the further I run and more than often I leave a work out open-minded and ready to take on anything that comes my way.

I have also used running to channel built up aggression. I really use the angry juice when I am running outdoors and start to ascend up a hill. I sprint when I think about how much someone has made me mad or a bad grade I’ve received in class. It feels good to have my heart pounding and my chest jutting in and out taking in the fresh air.

It’s amazing how running can give the whole body a buzz-a healthy, legal buzz.

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My New Nike Free Runs

Nike Free Runs-Look at that flexibility!

I recently traded in my Nike Zoom for Nike Free Run running shoes and I am obsessed. At first I was reluctant to give up my Zooms because of their style and comfort but I’m very happy with my recent adoption. The Free Run are lighter, shape better with my feet and technologically more advanced.

Free Run shoes have been advertised as barefoot running, a newish style of shoe that is pretty self explanatory. The barefoot style allows for extremely flexible soul, something I really loved in the old pair. Both are able to almost bend in half which leads to a less supportive run my flat feet enjoy.

Enjoy some facts about the newest edition to Nike’s Free family:

Weight: 6.4 ounces (Women’s size 8 )

Upper Material: Mesh making the shoe more breathable

Midsole Material: Phylite which is lighter than rubber

Outsole: Rubber allowing for more traction

A unique aspect of my Free Runs is that they don’t have a tongue; the shoe easily slips onto my feet just like a slipper. I’ve never seen a running shoe without a tongue, and I think it gives the shoe a lounge quality that makes me want to wear them all day.

To add comfort to my new shoes the salesclerk at Sports Authority suggested that I buy soles for my shoes. He said running shoes aren’t made with durable soles and if I bought some they would help with my shin splints and last for a year. So far I have noticed more support in my arches and the soles are quickly morphing to my feet. I can already feel the indents where my toes are. I’m hoping that transferring the soles into a new pair of shoes will make for less time to wear the new shoes in.

When I went to purchase my shoes they cashier offered me $10 insurance; yes, I got insurance on my shoes. The $10 I gave with purchase allows me to return the shoes anytime within a year and 30 days for a brand new pair. Essentially, I will be able to trade these shoes in when they wear out in six months for a brand new pair.

My new Nike’s also have the Nike+ technology. Nike+ is a sensor that is inserted into the sole of my left shoe. The sensor transmits information like miles per hour, distance, calorie burn and work out time to my iPod Touch. The sensor cost around $20 and is also compatible with the iPhone and iPod Nano. I don’t have this yet but I’ve been considering it more since I’ve been doing more outdoor running.

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