Tag Archive: Running

Some Experiments in Running and Technology

Okay, technically it was one experiment testing several hypotheses, but anyway.

Background for the experiment:

I used to run.  I had a Garmin Forerunner for a very long time that I loved very much and then I had a Garmin 220, which I also loved very much.  These both served me well before there were phones with GPS and apps and watches, oh my.  I also used to upload the data from these watches to the very awesome RunningAhead website.  I love the site, and especially the training log.   All my running data is on that site.

I now have an iPhone and an Apple Watch.  I haven’t been running, but I have become addicted to the “Activity/Move/Stand” stats on my watch and also some of the health stats like steps per day.

I also like to take walks and play Pokemon Go.

What I wanted to have happen:

I wanted to go for a run and NOT wear two watches (aka my Apple Watch AND my Garmin).  I wanted a way of tracking my steps taken during the run and have my run and steps count toward the Apple Watch activity/move stats.  I wanted a way to record all the great running stats that my Garmin normally tracks AND be able to upload it to RunningAhead.  AND, I wanted to play Pokemon Go during my run (gotta hatch those eggs!).  Oh!  And I also wanted training programs on the watch, like Couch to 5k or similar so I have cues to start/stop running.  No big deal, right?

Pre-experiment trial and research:

I tried a few apps with the watch to see what I could get out of the above requirements and had a really difficult time getting in all of my objectives.  If you open too many apps on the watch, they cancel each other out.  If I started Runkeeper and then the Workout app, Runkeeper stopped.  I tried different apps, same problem.  Then I found this awesome reddit thread, where someone experimented with several variations on recording a run and realized I needed to do.  Further research showed I could upload Runkeeper’s export to RunningAhead.  AND Runkeeper has several free training programs on the app.  Runtastic was in the running (pun intended) for a while, but their training programs all cost quite a bit of money.

Final experiment:

I loaded Runkeeper on my phone, which automatically loads it on my watch.  I made sure both were fully charged.  I started Runkeeper on my watch (but didn’t start a run).  I started Runkeeper on my phone in order to cue up today’s run per the training plan.  I tapped start.  I checked my watch to see that my watch was running Runkeeper, it was.  I went back to the phone and started up Pokemon Go.  I walked/ran for 34 minutes.  I ended the run on my watch.  Saved the run on my watch.  Sat down at my laptop, opened up Runkeeper.com, exported my run.  Went to RunningAhead.com and uploaded the file.

Experiment results:

Phone battery went from 94% to 55$ on a 34 minute run with Runkeeper running and Pokemon Go.  Obviously, this isn’t something I’ll want to do on long runs, but it worked and I’m happy.  My training run worked perfectly from the training plan on Runkeeper.  It “counted” on the Apple Health/Activity apps (and I’ll incidentally get two new badges this week since my run was included!).  Everything exported and imported beautifully to RunningAhead.  ALL OBJECTIVES ACHIEVED.

All in all, I’m very pleased with the results.  On longer runs, I’ll have to ditch Pokemon Go just for battery reasons, but I’m okay with that.  Extra super bonus that I’d love would be if Runkeeper could figure out how to get the running cues to use the haptic on the watch.  In a separate experiment I tried several apps to see if any of them would do that and none did.

Anyway, I’m back to running and hoping that all this technology keeps me motivated to stick with it.  Happy running!

Thinking About Quitting The Streak

So as many of you know, I’ve been running every day.  I have run every single day since June 1, 2009.  I started the streak as a way to motivate myself to run more.  I would run into weeks where I hadn’t run all week, saying “I’ll run tomorrow”.  The streak eliminated that, tomorrow was not an option.  I had to run today.  And it was great, and it worked.

[Disclaimer:  PLEASE do not respond to this post about how running is bad for me, or how running every day is bad for me.  I know how it affects me physically and I have had zero running-related issues over the last 3 1/2 years.  THAT is not the issue here.]

The problem is now that I feel like the streak rules me, rather than me ruling the streak.  It doesn’t feel motivating, it feels like a chore.  Running has lost it’s fun for me.  And I don’t run nearly the distances that I used to.  Not because I can’t, but because I don’t want to.

So I’m thinking of quitting the streak.

But there is a lot of emotion tied up in that simple sentence.  Running every day for 3 1/2 years has become a part of me.  Part of who I am, part of my identity.  It isn’t a decision I can make lightly.  As goofy as that may seem to some of you.  I know I’m close to ready.  There were times during the streak when circumstances looked like I might not get my run in and I was heartbroken.  I don’t feel that now.  Maybe just sadness and relief.

I haven’t decided anything at this point.  I’ll still run today.  And definitely tomorrow (to work off that Thanksgiving pumpkin pie).  But after that?  Not sure.

Speaking of Thanksgiving, I am so grateful to all of my awesome friends who supported my running habit.  Those of you who said “not on my watch!”.  Thank you.

Wowee Zowee 3 Years Batman!

Yeppers, it’s happened.  I was traveling today, so I got up at 2:45 AM in order to make sure I got my run in.  But I did it, 3 years of running. every.  single.  day.

There isn’t much to say that I haven’t already blogged about.  It’s been both hard and easy to accomplish this goal.  I have no reason to stop now, so who knows how long I’ll keep this going.

Thanks to everyone who has helped me get here, and there are a LOT of people who have helped me.

More on Nike Fuelband

I wrote about my new Nike Fuelband here.  Now that I have had it for a few weeks, I wanted to say a little more about it.

I love it!

First, the battery life.  It lasts roughly 9 days per charge.  It charges up pretty quickly, and has a nice little reminder indicator as it is getting low.  For something I am using all day, every day, that seems pretty good to me.

I wrote about Nike Fuel in that post.  When you first activate your fuel band, you are asked to select a goal.  I picked the lowest goal “suggested”, which was 2000.  (Remember, these are not calories, but “Nike Fuel”, a converted number so anyone with a fuel band can compare on equal footing).  Sadly (and a bit surprisingly) I did not easily meet the lowest suggested goal every day.  Many days I had to do a little extra to meet it.  But in a way, that was exciting, that meant that thanks to the Nike Fuel band, I was moving a little more each day.  Also, that I wasn’t as active as I may have thought.

After a week at 2000, I increased it to 2100.  We’re doing baby steps here, people.  I made my goal every day except one!  Where I missed it by 7 measly fuel points, and only because I wasn’t paying attention and midnight passed me by before I noticed.

They track some fun stuff, for example my best day was 3,194.  I’ve hit the 10k, 25k, and 50k Nike fuel milestones.  My average day is 2,300.  I can track my fuel against Women age 30-39 and the entire Nike+ community.  I see I lag them in most fuel in a week, and average fuel per week, but I am smoking both comparisons in daily goals hit.  So no surprise there, I may do a little less, but I’m consistent.  Still, it’s motivation to beat out the comparisons in all categories.

So here I am at 27 days with the Fuel band and I still love it, and I still wear it, and it’s still motivating me.  I’m increasing my goal to 2200 today.  I’m hoping to increase 100 points every week or so.

Anyone else got one?  Want to compare stats?  Let me know!

1000 days

1000 days.  One thousand days.  A grand.  1k.  One thousand days.

Saturday, February 25th was my thousandth day of running every single day.

Wowsa.  I never expected this when I started.  I believe my first goal was to get through the week.

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