Monthly Archives: July 2011

Interesting day

I’ve not been running for the past week due to a flair up of Plantar Faciitis in my left heel.  I jumped my mileage uped bit too much a couple weeks ago, and I have since noticed that the shoes I was wearing on that long run have almost zero arch support.  I have slightly high arches and so some arch support is helpful on long runs.

I found a great resource for sports injuries, here.  I’ve been staying off my feet as much as possible, stretching and icing.  Yesterday my heel was feeling pretty good, so, I waited for today to get out on it.  I decided that a short run would be best, and since I was going to do a short run, why not do a really short run? So I broke out my minimalist shoes and did just under a mile run.  It felt really good.  I think I should keep up a couple days a week with short minimalist runs to help build up lower leg and foot strength.

In addition to my short minimalist run I took a bike ride today.  I picked up an older road bike, a Trek 2300 composite:

 This is a big jump from riding a mountain bike.  I did a little 5-6 mile ride just to get the feel for it.  It was a lot of fun riding something so light and fast.  I’m looking forward to getting in some longer rides over the next week or so.  This should help out by providing some cross training.  More importantly, it is something that I can get into trying out some local triathlons.  I’d like to try out a sprint or two and see how I like it.  Worst case, it’s a fast cross training bike and one I can ride with other road bike riders that I know.  It will also give me the ability to ride a century, 100 mile bike race.  Not sure what all I’ll do, but I’m sure I’ll have fun trying.


Is running a religion?

Is Running a Religion? by George Sheehan

I wrote about this article and how it impacted me on my other blog, here.  Many thanks to Steve of Phedippidations for guiding me to look into this more.  It is difficult for me to believe that one could be a long distance runner and not be a bit of a philosopher.  It seems to me the two things go hand in hand.  Running for hours without spending time thinking about God, the nature of man, or some other deep thought would make the whole exercise without meaning or purpose.

To me it is diametrically opposed to, yet accomplishes the same thing as, Zen sitting.  In Zen you sit quietly, without moving, until you forget there is body there and you are just focused thought.  While running, once you get beyond a certain fitness level and can run for long periods, you find a similar place.  The body is kept busy with running, but it becomes something you no longer have to actively think about, you just do it.  While the body is busy running, the mind is free to contemplate things.

Going to this quiet place is one of my most treasured parts of my day.  For me, it makes running worth doing.

Not feeling it this morning

Or, rather, feeling my age and the mileage on my body.  75 degrees and 10,000% humidity, phone/mp3/satelite tracking all borked, knees/hips/feet hurt.  I pushed through 6 miles or so just to see if I could run through it with little luck.

I put in a bug report with Sports TrackLive.  I’m guessing it’s better in the long run to listen to my body and not push myself to the point of injury.  There is still plenty of time for long runs before the marathon.  That all doesn’t mean I have to like it.

On a more positive note, I picked up a used road bike yesterday.  It’s a Trek 2300 with a composite frame.  It needs a tune up and new shifter cables before I get out and ride it.  Did a short ride around the block last night with the few gears I could get to.  Wow, huge difference from my old mountain bike.  Should make not only a good cross training bike but also competitive bike to try out a century or a triathlon with.

Endomondo vs. Sports Track Live

There are lots of apps out there for logging your runs using your GPS enabled smart phone or similar devices.  I have found this to be a fantastic use for these devices.  For most of my life I had to either run on streets, where I could drive and get the odometer reading, run on a track, or just guess how far I had run.  Running on streets is fine, no problem with that unless you want to hit a trail or run through a park.  A high school track is great, until you start running 3+ miles on it, then the monotony is mind numbing and motivation shattering.  So then I was left with seat of the pants guessing.  You run a track and from time and exertion you guess how long it is.  Then you ask your buddies to run it and give their input, average it out and come up with your SWAG(Scientific Wild Assed Guess).  No longer!  Now we can see how far we ran, our pace, splits, altitude, and even have our music mute and a voice tell us while we are running how fast and how far we have gone.  Good days for those of us who like to get off the beaten track.

There are literally dozens of applications out there to track your runs.  Depending on your device operating system (Android, iOS, WP7, Symbian).  I happen to be in the Android camp, so I’ll be looking at application for my phone, the Motorola Atrix running Android 2.2.  Specifically today I’m comparing Endomondo and Sports Tracker by Sports Track Live.  To be fair and upfront, I’ve been using Sports Track Live for over a year (log here) and have only used Endomondo twice so far.  That being said, lets get into the details.

Both apps are easy to find and install through the Android Marketplace.  Setup is similar for both, set up account, input height/weight/age, select activity (running/cycling/snow boarding…), hit the start button and go.  When you are finished, hit stop, and your info uploads to their website.  You can then look at how far you ran at what pace, and see your track on a Google map.  Beyond these basics is where the differences show up.

Voice announce.  Both apps have this available.  This feature mutes your music while a voice tells you information about your run up to this point.  Endomondo gave me the choice to have this on or off, and if I wanted to download another app I could chose male or female voices.  It decided that it would tell me my pace, distance, and mile split every mile.  Sports Track Live gives you the option to set how often you get announcements.  You can set them by distance (1/4 mile, 1/2 mile, 1 mile/kilometer) or by time (1 minute, 5 minutes).  You can also select what information you hear (pace, current speed, average pace, altitude, and many more).  I like the level of customization the Sports Track Live gives to this feature.

To be fair, there are dozens of features on both of these apps that I will probably never use.  Coaching features, heart rate monitors, cadence monitors, and more.

Post run data.  Here I have to give the nod to Sports Track Live as well.  The level of detail in the report/log is much finer that in Endomondo.  Sports Track gives me my performance for .25 mile, .5 mile, 1 mile, 1,5,10 minutes, maximum ascents and descents.  It also compares these stats to prior runs and shows you, by use of a star system, how close you were to your personal best for that stat.  To me, this is important.  More important than the social aspect of these apps.

If the social aspect of tracking and logging runs is more important to you, then Endomondo has it hands down.  With an installed user base that is 10 times larger than Sports Track Live there is a better chance you will find people near your that are using this app.   It also has Challenges you can take part in like; most miles in a month, most calories burned, first to 100 miles.  You can also run against someone on a track they have made at some time in the past, pretty cool, it just isn’t all that important to me.

All that being said, they are both good apps that do the job they are intended to do.  In my opinion, Endomondo is more about the social networking side of working out.  Sports Track Live is more concerned with giving lots of details and options for customizing things for someone serious about logging miles and analyzing performance.  For my running app, I’m sticking with Sports Track Live.

I’d like to hear what your thoughts are.

Hydration 101

You hear and read a lot about hydration these days. Having had several IV’s given over the years for dehydration I’ve learned a few things:
1.  We all walk around on the edge of dehydration all the time.
2.  If you are feeling thirsty you are already dehydrated.
3.  If you wait to hydrate until you are already working out, you are to late. You will not be able to drink enough to catch up.
4.  There is no substitute for water.
5.  Hydration begins at least one to two days prior to an endurance event. If you train regularly it is an everyday thing, summer and winter.  2 liters a day is a good maintenance goal for water consumption.
6.  Leave the sports drinks alone in general, unless you need the sugar and salt.

Have fun out there, but stay safe.

Runners 40 Commandments

The 40 Runner’s Commandments
by Joe Kelly
1. Don’t be a whiner. Nobody likes a whiner, not even other whiners.
2. Walking out the door is often the toughest part of a run.
3. Don’t make running your life. Make it part of your life.
4. Keep promises, especially ones made to yourself.
5. The faster you are the less you should talk about your times.
6. Keep a quarter in your pocket. One day you’ll need to call for a ride.
7. Don’t compare yourself to other runners.
8. All runners are equal, some are just faster than others.
9. Keep in mind that the later in the day it gets, the more likely it is that you won’t run.
10. For a change of pace, get driven out and then run back.
11. If it was easy, everybody would be a runner.
12. When standing in starting lines, remind yourself how fortunate you are to be there.
13. Getting out of shape is much easier than getting into shape.
14. A bad day of running still beats a good day at work.
15. Don’t talk about your running injuries. People don’t want to hear about your sore knee or black toe.
16. Don’t always run alone.
17. Don’t always run with people.
18. Approach running as if the quality of your life depended on it.
19. No matter how slow, your run is still faster than someone sitting on a couch.
20. Keep in mind that the harder you run during training, the luckier you’ll get during racing.
21. Races aren’t just for those who can run fast.
22. There are no shortcuts to running excellence.
23. The best runs sometimes come on days when you didn’t feel like running.
24. There is nothing boring about running. There are, however, boring people who run.
25. Distance running is like cod liver oil. At first it makes you feel awful, then it makes you feel better.
26. Never throw away the instructions to your running watch.
27. Don’t try to outrun dogs.
28. Don’t wait for perfect weather. If you do, you won’t run very often.
29. When tempted to stop being a runner, make a list of the reasons you started.
30. Without goals, training has no purpose.
31. Go for broke, but be prepared to be broken.
32. Spend more time running on the roads than sitting on the couch.
33. Make progress in your training, but progress at your own rate.
34. “Winning” means different things to different people.
35. Unless you make your living as a runner, don’t take running too seriously.
36. Never tell a runner that he or she doesn’t look good in tights.
37. Never confuse the Ben-Gay tube with the toothpaste tube.
38. Preventing running injuries is easier than curing them.
39. Running is simple. Don’t make it complicated.
40. Running is always enjoyable. Sometimes, though, the joy doesn’t come until the end of the run.

Thought I would share this.

Long run this morning

With the heat and humidity this time of year I was up and out early this morning to get my long run in for the week.  Managed to hit the street around 0530, just as the sky was starting to get light, BMNT (Beginning Morning Nautical Twilight).  It was as cool as it was going to get out, around 73 degrees and just a little damp out.  One of many nice reasons to be out this early is that there is next to no one out on the running trails.  The smell of the dew on the trees and brush along the trail was nice, not as fragrant as California, but still nice.  I was also treated to a beautiful sunrise over Swan Lake at Furman University.

So, I’ve been doing some reading on marathon training and general pre-race training for endurance races and figured I’d put some of that to the test.  Eating and drinking while running was my focus today.  While it is possible to complete a marathon without eating anything during the race, the likelihood of completing the race is much higher if you fuel during the race.  In the past on some of my long runs I’ve waited until about 6-8 miles before I would eat my first gel.  According to the experts this is a mistake.  By that time you are already running low on fuel for your body and it takes time to digest even sports gels.  The idea is to plan your refueling so that your body has a constant supply of carbs to burn.  Today I tried eating my first gel about 30 minutes in and the other two 45 minutes apart.  This seemed to work well, i never felt my legs getting heavy or my energy lacking.

The only negative was after the third and last gel around mile 9.  It made me a bit nauseous.  I slowed my pace for about 100 yards and that cleared up.  As my long runs get longer I’ll continue to work out the best timing and see what my tolerance is for big mouthfuls of sugar.

Water consumption was also on my mind.  Normally on summer runs I sweat a lot, particularly for the first hour or so of a run.  Then is seems to taper off.  I think this is in part just my body regulating itself, but it may also be due to not drinking enough while running.  Today I tried to make it a point to drink more water more often.  There is a resupply issue as there is a 6 mile gap where no water is available, but, 20 ounces of water seems to be plenty to cover that distance.  I didn’t notice any appreciable improvement with drinking more water.  On the other hand, I had no negative effects either.  This leads me to believe that I probably need to continue drinking at this higher level.

That’s is for today.  Enjoy your 4th of July, stay safe.

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