Favorite Pandora Stations For Working Out

This year I’ve been experimenting with which are the best Pandora stations to run and workout to. There are several stations that are designed for working out, but few of those have worked for me, so below is a list of all the stations I’ve used for any type of exercise, categorized by what they’re best for. As with any Pandora station, there is only so long you can use it before you tire of the songs, so this list includes the stations that I have tired of but served their purpose when I could still stand the songs.

CARDIO:

I Love It Radio

Absolutely the best for running. The tempo really keeps me motivated and in a good mood. Features artists such as Swedish House Mafia, Calvin Harris, Icona Pop, Avicii, M83, and Ellie Goulding.

Scream And Shout Radio

Good for running or any type of cardio. Very similar to I Love It Radio, featuring some of the same artists, but slightly more main stream, pop music. Features artists such as Icona Pop, Ke$ha, Lady Gaga, Britney Spears, and Katy Perry.

Drop It Like It’s Hot Radio

Good for gym cardio like biking and elliptical and light core work. Features artists such as 50 cent, The Game, G-Unit, and D12.

Pop and Hip Hop Power Workout Radio

If there was a station designed for getting you through the monotony of gym cardio machines, this is it. Features artists such as Pitbull, will.i.am, David Guetta, Flo Rida, and Usher.

Today’s Hip Hop and Pop Hits Radio

Best for a more gentle cardio workout. For some reason I can’t run to it, something about the poppyness of it or the softness of the beats, but I love it on the elliptical. Features artists such as Jason DeRulo, Jay Sean, Akon, and Chris Brown.

GENERAL GYM EXERCISES/CORE:

Macklemore Radio

I was starting to get bored of I Love It Radio and wanted to be able to run to the music from this station. It’s a little too soft to run to though, but it’s great pump up music and fun to listen to at the gym while doing light core work. Features artists such as Eminem, Jay-Z, Imagine Dragon, Kid Cudi, and Mac Miller.

Pumped Up Kicks Radio

Fun for core/muscle strengthening. Features artists such as Metric, Tegan and Sara, Yeah Yeah Yeahs, and The Naked and Famous.

LIFTING/STRENGTH:

Rap Strength Training Radio

Great for lifting or any type of slow paced strength exercises. Features artists such as DJ Khaled, Lil Wayne, Drake, Young Jeezy, and T.I.

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Finish At The 50 5k/10k Race Recap

The second race my dad and I signed up for this summer was a 10k that took place at Patriot’s Place, home of New England’s NFL team, the Patriots. (http://www.harvardpilgrimfinishatthe50.com) Now I’m not the biggest football fan, but I was so pumped for this race! I mean how cool, you get to run onto the field where beautiful Tom Brady has stood, and finish at the 50 yard line while they show you on the jumbotron!

This race had the potential to be awesome, if it weren’t for the horrendous heat. I should’ve expected this considering it was on July 3 (Boston in July is never pleasant) but I was not at all prepared for the heat and humidity. I had been out of the country until a week before the race, and hadn’t run at all while I was gone.

The day before the race, my dad and I were both feeling really sick and my hip was really hurting. We considered not doing it, but decided to go ahead with it anyways. When we got to Gillette Stadium and felt the heat I decided to drop down into the 5k race instead of the 10k, which I am wildly glad I did because my chest was so tight the entire race, I felt like I was having a heart attack.

Besides the heat and humidity, the course of the race was nearly entirely on black concrete with no shade, which did not help the situation at all. The 5k route basically took us around the parking lot, then all the way up the crowd control ramps into the stadium, around the stadium, down the ramps on the other side, around the stadium again and then out onto the field. The ramps really messed with my speed because at every turn, a lot of people would stop and walk which made it hard to keep a consistent pace given how narrow they were. By the end of the race I was so overheated I couldn’t even enjoy how cool it was being on the field. All of the water was on the outside of the field and once you left you couldn’t reenter, so I kind of missed the coolest part due to exhaustion.

Best part about doing the 5k though, was that it was at 5:30pm, an hour earlier than the 10k, so I got to cheer my dad on! My awesome friend Molly braved the heat to hangout with me after my race and watch my dad. We were able to see him cross the start line and at two other places on the course. By the time he finished, he did not look like he was doing too well, a rarity for him, but not for the race. All around, there were elite, extremely fit runners taking knees and panting.

For the dignity of my father and I, I will not mention our times, but lets just say it was no one’s best day. We were both around 5 minutes slower than our average pace. Despite the heat, and the fact that they only had women’s large t-shirts left, it was a really cool place for a race, and probably the only way I’ll ever get on the field at Gillette Stadium. Also, as we were leaving, we saw Team Hoyt, who have participated in over 1000 races. My dad said that he ran past them during the race and gave the father, Dick, a pat on the shoulder. Overall, another very cool running experience.

Pre-race

Pre-race

The daunting race ramps

The daunting race ramps

Post-race

Post-race

Dad at the start of the 10k

Dad at the start of the 10k

Newton 10k Race Recap

Victory pose, post race

Victory pose, post race

Daddy and Daughter right after the finish

Daddy and Daughter right after the finish

Rocking the Newton 10k race t-shirt

Rocking the Newton 10k race t-shirt

The Newton 10k was my first race, with the exception of some 5k fun runs I did as a little kid. It took place on June 2,2013 and at that time, I had been running for a little under two months. Mid-May I got strep throat so I stopped running and had only about a week back on the pavement before the race.

I was wildly excited for this race, partly because of my extreme competitive spirit, partly because I got into running because I missed the electric and fun experience of track meets, but mostly because I got to run it with my dad.

Ever since I can remember my dad has been a runner. I actually plan on writing an entire blog post on the whole daddy-daughter running thing, but this will suffice for now. When I got into track but not distance running, I was really worried that I was disappointing my dad. I imagined that he had always wanted a kid he could run with and train with, and that was something I wanted as well, minus the act of actually running. Much to my dad’s credit, he was never once disappointed in my choice to not run distance, but when I got into this year, I think he was pretty pumped.

While I was still away at school he called me and asked me if I wanted to run this race with him. I said absolutely and now here we were on race day. The forecast for the day was something like a high of 88 degrees, which for an Oregonian such as myself is quite daunting. I have a 10 degree range of temperate from 65 to 75 in which I’m comfortable, and other than that I’m too hot or cold.  The race started at 8am though, so it wasn’t too hot until near the end of the race.

We arrived at 7am to beat the non-existent crowds, explore, and hit the port-a-potties. It was a really manageable sized group, around 650, and after running other races, I have come to realize that this was an exceptionally well-organized race, so shout out to Fattman Productions for that. There were no time corrals, people just gathered down the street from the starting line. People didn’t push and it was very relaxed.

When I first started running in April I was running 10 – 10:30 minute miles. I’ve now gotten myself down to 9 minute miles, and that is my goal for half marathon. My dad, who runs much faster than me, dutifully ran the first mile with me, which we did in 8:40, and then I freed him to go tear it up. Despite the heat, the race was so fun. The sky was stunningly blue and it was awesome to see bobbing neon bodies snaking up ahead. Oddly enough, I ran nearly the entire race with about a 5-10 foot radius of no people around me. The course ran through beautiful residential Newton, and some of the residents came out to cheer us on which was really nice, and gave a very helpful boost. The course also utilized some of the Boston Marathon route and at the bottom of one of the hills, someone dressed in a gorilla suit with a heartbreak hill t-shirt was high fiving the runners, which was hilarious.

I skipped the first water station because I have a little bit of a complex about showing off and being strong which is super stupid, so I need to just get over it and stop when I need to. There were three water stations placed around mile 2, mile 4, and mile 5.5. I suffer from abdominal cramps when I run and I had a pretty gnarly one from around mile 3 to 5 so at the second water stop I decided to take a rest. Once I’d drank half my water, because it was hot and I thought it looked hardcore, I decided to dump the rest of my water on my head. Queen of the idiots over here dumped it right into her ear and short-circuited her headphones. By the third water station I was feeling good so I decided to get water but, against my father’s advice, drink it while I ran. As my father had warned would happen, I choked on it.

Once my cramps dissipate, I typically get a second wind for my last mile. By the end of this race, I was unbelievably hot, but wanted to finish strong and kicked it into high gear. As I came down the final stretch I saw my dad standing right next to the finish line cheering and it gave me the extra boost I needed to finish strong. When I crossed the line, my dad gave me a huge hug and despite feeling like I was going to throw up, I was filled with some serious elation and endorphins.

I really liked the post race offerings. I discovered Hint Water there, which is really mildly flavored water and is so refreshing after running. They also had free samples of Unreal Candy, which I’m obsessed with. I’d discovered the “unjunked” candy a few weeks earlier and my favorite is their version of a Snickers bar. Right before we were about to leave, we checked the results and it turned out I’d gotten third in my age group (I mean there were only eight girls in the 16-19 age group, but hey!) which meant I got a prize in the form of a New Balance water belt! I ran a 55:32.5, 8:57/mile pace, and got 319 out of 647. My dad, beast that he is, ran a 48:45 7:51/mile pace, and got 15th in the 50-59 age group, which is incredible considering the Newton 10k was a Massachusetts Senior Olympics event, meaning that my dad was running against the states’ top senior runners. Overall he got 132 out of 647.

After the race, my dad and I went to a hip Lebanese café nearby (my dad specializes in the discovery of hip cafes) for a celebratory drink and pastry, proudly sporting our finishers t-shirts, which were really nice, fitted dry-fit type material. I’m hoping to make a tradition of running this race with my dad; it was a great size, well run, and a beautiful route. Besides the joy of getting to run with my dad, this was my first exposure to the elite 20-30 year old runners, which has given me something to aspire to.

Favorite Motivational Videos

I have always been a sucker for all things motivational, specifically in the sports realm. I’m not exactly sure what it is, but all of those, “Dig deep,” “Find the strength within,” etc type ads really get me right in the feelings. I am forever amazed by the feats that the human body can accomplish and no matter how many times I’ve seen or heard something, it will never cease to give me goose bumps.

 

This obsession probably dates back further, but the first time I remember feeling so overwhelmed and inspired by an athletic story was when I was ten. My best friend and I had a true fan-girl thing going for Lance Armstrong. In fact, I decided, in order to be true to my obsession, I must read his very grownup biography. I believe I made it through the first ten pages before realizing that I wasn’t old enough to read the details of the effects of Lance’s 18 golf ball sized tumors, but that figure, and his story, have always stuck with me. No matter the recent discovery of his doping, his story is still one of incredible human triumph, and that, will always inspire me.

 

If you show me a black and white ad of someone hunched over with sweat dripping in slow motion off of their face, doesn’t matter what the ad is for, I will be brimming with can-do energy. The shit just really gets me going.

 

So without further ado here are the two most inspirational sports ads I’ve ever seen. Before every track meet in high school I used to watch these to remind myself of the incredible potential of the human body and the unbelievable feeling of triumph. Even now, when I’m down, or about to go for a really hard workout, I watch them.

 

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ijTwZNUBhcI

I have no idea where this first video came from. It says it’s a Nike ad, but it isn’t, although a lot of the footage is taken from other Nike ads. The monologue that goes with it is without a doubt the most inspirational, goose bump inducing piece of literature ever written, and nearly every time I watch it, I feel so amped up that I consider printing out the words and pasting them on my bedroom wall. Right after I first discovered this video (by doing a YouTube search of inspirational sports ads, yes I’ve already admitted I have an obsession) it disappeared, I think because of copy right infringement or something, but much to my relief it has returned to get me all inspired-up whenever the need be.

 

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1RYt8gh388Y

This second video, which supplies much of the footage for the above video, is from the ’08 Olympics. Nothing gets me going quite like the Olympics. It’s hard to even describe how I feel about them except that it’s like watching 16 days of nonstop inspirational ads and the entire time I feel like crying at how impressive it all is and running a million marathons because everything we need is already inside and our potential is infinite.

Killer Core Workout

In addition to running, I try and do some sort of core/muscle work with each of my workouts. When I’m at the gym cross training I do a more intense muscle workout using the machines and weights and balls, but this little home workout is something I started using last spring. It takes about fifteen minutes (if you go non-stop), and must be worked up to, but if repeated multiple times week it gives some pretty great results. I find it to be so effective because it manages to reach both upper and lower abs, as well as the sides.

Stretching:

I recommend, especially for those who are just starting out, to stretch between every one or two ab exercises. The stretch I most recommend is the cobra stretch, where one lays with hips and legs on the floor while pushing the upper body straight up, palms flat on the floor in front of the hips, arms straight.

Gym Adaptation:

When I’m looking to make this workout harder, specifically when I’m at the gym with access to equipment, I’ll make the following adaptations:

For leg-lifts or butt-ups place a rubber ball or 2.5 – 5 pound weight between the feet.

For suitcases place a 5 – 10 pound medicine ball between the knees.

For any of the crunches hold a 5 pound weight against the chest for added resistance.

10 push-ups

20 leg-lifts

Lay flat on your back with hands under your butt, by your sides, or holding the matt above your head. Raise your legs straight up so they make a 90-degree angle with the floor. Slowly lower your legs together to the floor, (either tap your heels lightly on the floor or hover them an inch above) then raise them back up to the starting position. Repeat.

20 butt-ups

Lay flat on your back with your hands under your butt or by your sides and legs at a 90-degree angle with the floor. Lift your butt off of the ground, pushing your legs straight up, then lower back to the ground. Repeat.

10 push-ups

20 toe-touches

Lay flat on your back with your legs at a 90-degree angle with the floor and toes flexed. Reach your hands up towards your toes lifting your shoulders off of the floor. Lower back down and repeat.

60 side crunches

Lay on your back with your feet flat on the ground, knees bent, and arms bent with hands behind your head. Tip your knees as far as they can go to one side. Your feet should come up off of the floor and the thigh of which side you’re tilting should rest on the ground. Crunch up straight towards your hip. Switch sides after 30 reps.

10 push-ups

 20 v-sits

Lay flat on your back with your legs stretched out straight on the ground and arms flat on the ground above your head. Simultaneously lift your arms and legs until your body makes a V shape, balancing on your butt. Your arms can either reach up towards your toes or reach out straight from your shoulders, parallel to the floor. Lower down and repeat.

50 suitcases

Lay on your back, feet on the ground, knees bent, arms bent with hands behind your head. Clench your abs and lift your knees and elbows until they touch. Lower back down and repeat.

10 push-ups

 100 different level crunches

Lay on your back, feet on the ground, knees bent, arms bent, with hands behind head. Crunch towards your knees, lifting your shoulders partly off of the floor. Do 30 crunches in this position. Then lift your knees towards your chest. Your thighs should make a 90-degree angle with the floor, and your calves should make a 90-degree angle with your thighs. Do 35 crunches in this position. Now you’re almost there. Straighten your legs so they make a 90-degree angle with the floor. Do 35 crunches in this position.

20 v-crunches

I don’t really know how to explain this one, so 55 – 1:10 of this video shows it. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=F1PCW2xubGo If you’re looking for more of a challenge, don’t put your hands down, and if you’re looking for less of a challenge, place your hands behind you, fingertips facing forward.

10 push-ups

 10-20 Assorted back exercises

When strengthening your abs it is essential to also strengthen your lower back. Your lower back is part of your core and core strength helps with balance and stability. While doing a bunch of ab exercises can make your stomach look nice, strengthening the entire core helps with enhancing athletic performance.

(Feel free to slip in any of these between the core exercises)

Lay flat on your stomach with arms stretched out straight above your head. Lift your chest and arms off of the floor as high as you can, leaving your legs on the ground, hold for a second, then lower to the floor and repeat 10-20 times

Lay flat on your stomach with arms stretched out straight above your head. Lift your arms and chest off of the floor while simultaneously lifting your legs, hold for a second, then lower to the floor and repeat 10-20 times.

Lay flat on the ground with one arm stretched straight above your head and the other bent with the chin resting on your fist. Lift the stretched out arm at the same time as the opposite leg. Lift and lower 10-20 times then switch sides and repeat.