Reviews: mags, apps, dvds & more

 

August:

.Runner's World Home

For August, I choose Runner’s World to review:

On the criteria of providing information for a wide range of runners, Runner’s World surpassed my expectations. Many features were actually “stepped”, picking a subject such as races, and having an article for beginners and another for more advanced racers on the next page. I liked this because not does it help a wider audience, but beginners could read both and see where they could advance to. Or, if one is in the middle, take a little from each article and use what was appropriate for them.  One section on finding the best shoes had a grid that included those who ran less than 18 miles a week, as well as all the way up past 32 miles. This is satisfying to  a beginner runner , instead of looking at shoes that will be useful when they become “good enough”, shoes are included that they can buy now. On the flip side, more advanced runners could also read the magazine to learn new things, instead of information they already knew. For everybody there seemed to be advice and encouragement.

On the criteria of aiming articles at more than one kind of runner Runner’s World also did a good job. It did leave out trail and mud runners, but  had help for runners of 5ks to marathons. The articles on runners–one of which I sourced in a blog– were well written and drew one in. Several of the articles showed the positive impact of running to our society. It was interesting to read about runners who were seeking their dream in a national setting, and still holding down a day job. It inspires one to find the time to get out on the road more.

The reasonable information on health and diet didn’t fare quite as well.  There was not much on injuries, either to avoid or how to recover from. There also wasn’t a lot on a runner’s diet in the Runner’s World. There was a section of post workout dinners, and I will say they looked quite easy and yummy. As neither of these are priority for me, that really isn’t an issue.  However, for someone looking for help, Runner’s World did not come through on this. There were several pieces on mental health and stress which were quite sensible and useful. Running as stress relief is something we can all relate to.

On the whole, I think Runner’s World could become one of my favorites. It touched on the subjects I was interested in and I can see it still being useful as I continue to advance my running. There were articles that inspired me to persevere, articles that showed the depth of commitment and some kick-ass shoes I wish I could afford.

September:

Running Times is aimed at ultra-runners and marathoners. I don’t plan on running that far (I’d probably die), but I still got some good tips from this magazine. And it is certainly fascinating and inspiring to learn what a runner can do with proper training and motivation. If someone can run 90 miles, it definitely makes it more credible that I could run 13 miles.

The magazine itself had a good cross section of articles. It had personal articles on specific runners to see what made them tick and how they had gotten so far. I learned about one gentleman who runs marathons in Crocs. Frankly, I wouldn’t put them on my feet to work in the garden (which is where they belong). But he’s done his personal best in them. Who knew?

There were articles on training and how to go farther. A couple on health, including one on nutrition and an excellent one describing how cortisone effects us and whether it could work and how and when it should be used. Even a piece on ultra-dogs that run super distances with their owners.

I particularly enjoyed the article on Flow, which could be useful in both athletics and our day to day lives. Studies show that people are happiest when they do activities that require skill and concentration.  I know that when I accomplish a difficult task, whether it be a grueling run or conquering something new at work, I feel fabulous. Flow is, in basic terms, the balance between skills vs. challenges. Too easy, we don’t feel the flush of success. Too hard, and we want to give up.

To find out how to make flow work for you, check out: http://www.runnersworld.com/racing/locking-into-flow

While I may read Running Times occasionally in the future, I don’t see it being one of my staples. But it is well worth the read. And who knows, it may turn into your favorite.

 

 October:

Fitness Magazine

I started this particular magazine with some preconceptions. It seems as if monthly fitness magazines aimed at women promise a new life changing exercise routine every month. (I suppose the men’s magazines do it as well) While intellectually I understand that is how they make money and sell magazines, I still feel overwhelmed when I see a new routine every month.

Fitness was, however, perhaps the magazine I got the most out of so far in my reviews.

It has some very good “shorts” about athletes making a difference. I was particularly impressed by Zoe Romano, who decided to run the entire Tour de France course and raised more than $200,000 for the World Pediatric Project. An accomplishment such as that inspires to me think of things I can do myself to make a difference. And is wonderful to see so many athletes working towards a goal of helping others.

The exercise routine was exceptional. I decided that I needed to try it before saying, “oh yeah, this will make my life better” sarcastically. There were actually two and I chose the Slimmer in 7 Days. It has two sets of exercises, one for Mon/Wed/Fri and one for Tues/Thurs/Sat. They are rather sweat inducing, and the guidelines suggest that beginners do one circuit and work up to three. I decided to do one circuit the first week, two the second week and, hopefully, three the third week.  The first set I found rather enjoyable after fumbling around for a few days.  The second set was brutal, due mostly to the Atomic Burpees the set started with. On the other hand, the next four exercises were a snap once the Burpees were done. I don’t know that I am slimmer, I didn’t measure before I started. But I am absolutely more toned and my run times have gotten faster. I realized that it is a very good thing to mix in new exercises just to work different muscle groups.While I do vary the types of exercise I do, they tend to stay the same variety. I will be keeping this routine in my mix. And I will be willing to try next month’s exercise offering.

I also appreciated the food articles. They had a great article with several different premade breakfasts. I made the muffins (recipe on my Tidbits page) several times and even adapted the recipe to different flavors. And with holiday season coming, it was good to read about snacks that satisfy the sweet tooth but don’t ruin the exercise we did that day.

In all, I got a lot out of this magazine. It opened my mind to the benefits of shaking up one’s routine. I have a new breakfast favorite. Fitness seems to be a magazine that actually puts health and  fitness above body image-in a culture of where body weight means everything–and that is a remarkable way to inspire.

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