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updated: 12/10/2012 7:55 AM

Your health: Training networks can help

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  • Make running a social activity, either with a friend or online, to get the most out of it.

      Make running a social activity, either with a friend or online, to get the most out of it.

  • Check out two new websites to jump-start your workouts instead of using DVDs.

      Check out two new websites to jump-start your workouts instead of using DVDs.

 

Social media training

Faster. Stronger. Longer. This triumvirate of adjectives is the holy grail of running, and training plans abound to help runners seeking to improve their mile splits, power up a hill and go farther than before.

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But might the solution lie in something as simple as a hashtag? In the December issue of Runner's World, writer and avid runner Clare Trageser examines the role that social media and networking sites such as Twitter, Facebook and Dailymile.com play in training, says The Washington Post.

Trageser details her own efforts to break a half marathon personal record through a running group she joined on Meetup.com. The members connect on Facebook, share training plans and pep talks in online forums and post inspirational photos on Pinterest.

All for the good, says James Fowler, a medical genetics and political science professor at the University of California at San Diego, pointing out that the best way to get someone to start running is to make it social. Still, Runner's World columnist Bart Yasso gave Trageser some advice: "If you're tweeting while you run, you aren't running fast enough."

Exercise alternatives

For those who don't like exercise DVDs and have trouble fitting workouts into their schedule, two new websites are designed to help you get moving, according to The Washington Post.

GoRecess.com helps match those wanting/needing exercise with local fitness classes by allowing them to search by location and the type of exercise they're in the mood for. Much like restaurant reservation sites, GoRecess allows you to search and book visits -- for the standard class rate -- online. You can also maintain a fitness calendar, share classes with friends and tweet reviews. It can provide links to classes in New York, Washington and L.A.

If group exercise isn't your thing, InerTRAIN.com helps create personalized workouts you can do on your own, in the privacy of your home or gym. The site matches eager exercisers with a professional trainer who designs e-routines for as little as $9 each. Participants first fill out a lifestyle questionnaire and complete a fitness test, which the virtual coach uses to tailor exercise plans to ability and interest.

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