Confession: I used to think that the only real reason to do cardio was to look good in a swimsuit. And since my 20-year-old body pretty much maintained itself (*sigh*… those were the days!), I didn’t work out super regularly because — why? Then a few things happened in my life that changed my perspective. First, I got my first “grown-up” job post-college and discovered that running was a great way to focus my mind and relieve stress after work. Then when I was 24, I was in a really bad car accident that left me in a neck brace and unable to exercise for 4 months, and for the first time ever I discovered that having the ability to exercise and push my body physically is actually a great privilege… one I haven’t taken for granted since.

Music is a huge part of my workout routine — the combination of great beats, my feet hitting pavement, and the exhilarating knowledge that I’ve pushed myself to my limit has become an addictive way to start my day. When I skip working out to sleep in, I end up feeling lethargic and irritable, and the endorphin rush that comes from getting my heart rate elevated first thing in the morning is more effective than a jolt of caffeine. Which is why I’m excited to be partnering with Spotify this fall for its new “Running” feature that has made my workouts more fun — I actually feel excited to slip on my running shoes in the morning and get outside to discover some great new music! The way it works is: you choose the genre, then Spotify Running matches the tempo to your running pace, helping you run farther and faster and letting your mind drift with the music.

In honor of the launch, Spotify asked me to share why I run, and after thinking through all the different reasons, I adopted the mantra, “Will Run For Happy Vibes.” When I work out first thing in the morning, I definitely feel like the best version of myself. I’m more relaxed, more generous with others, and excited to dive into my workday and get stuff done. The energy boost that comes from a good workout is a much stronger incentive than a toned bod (though if that’s a side benefit, awesome.)

And now, the giveaway! We’ve partnered with Spotify Running to give you some extra incentive to lace up your sneaks and hit the pavement. One lucky winner will receive: One (1) year Premium subscription to Spotify, One (1) pair of Bose SoundSport in-ear headphones, One (1) Nike Gift Card ($75), and a supply of healthy gourmet snacks! To enter, all you have to do is check out Spotify Running, then leave a comment on this post letting us know your favorite musical genre or Spotify Running playlist!

Contest ends next Thursday November 5th at midnight CST, and winner must be at least 18 years of age and live in the US. Good luck!

This post was made possible through my partnership with Spotify. The prize was provided by Spotify, but Spotify and its agents and representatives are not a sponsor, administrator, or involved in any other way with this giveaway. All opinions expressed in the post are my own and not those of Spotify or its agents and representatives.

*photos by Kristen Kilpatrick

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