Tag Archives: gadgets

Running websites and apps to log your training

8 Mar

Having a great week of training so far. How is your training going? I’ve done a variety of tempo work and some slower runs and am starting to feel fitter again which I am really pleased about. I am very glad to not be doing the International Women’s Day 5k this weekend as it has really given me a breather.

I’ve started using a website called Daily Mile which is great and is actually motivating me somewhat at the moment.

Daily MileIf you haven’t heard of Daily Mile it is a running community website that you can sign up to and basically log your training. As well as logging your training you can make friends on the site and support one another – be it people in your area or all over the world. I like it as each time I’ve done a workout and logged it someone has congratulated me and in turn it has made me feel a bit accountable for my training and supported in a random social media kind of way.

There are others out there, in fact there are lots out there, so I thought in today’s post I would look at some of the different running websites where you can log training currently out in the market place.


My Fitness Pal

My Fitness Pal

This website is great and is more of a calorie King type website where you can log both training and calories. It is somewhat addictive especially as a number of my friends are using it and you can see what one another are doing training wise and also comment, and I have the iPhone app for it which is good as it means I can log my food wherever I go. I did get fed up though as for some reason my training wasn’t showing in my news feed and so it looked to other people like I wasn’t exercising. I did email My Fitness Pal and tell them and the y said there were some glitches for some people and they were working on it, so I am tending not to use it now and using Daily Mile instead.


Run Keeper

Runkeeper is another great website for logg

ing training and also has a great iPhone app where it acts as a GPS and logs your run and then sends it to your profile. You can add friends and support one another and share runs. As with My Fitness Pal and Daily Mile, Runkeeper has a whole community section where you can log training and get fitness reports.

Nike Running

Nike has always been very active in the running community and since bringing its Nike+ out some time ago it has developed a real following by runners and there is a Nike+ community which shows all runs done with the Nike+ and the ability to set goals and challenge friends. So if you have one it might be worth your while having a look at this. I wrote a post about mine a while ago which I mused to use before I got my Garmin. It’s a great tool to use if you use it understanding it might not be 100% accurate but it’s great for those that have just started running or run on similar terrain each time.

Adidas MiCoach

I don’t know too much about the MiCoach.  I know there is an app and I believe it works similarly to the Nike Plus pod and it goes under your trainer. The MiCoach I believe goes further than the Nike Plus and offers extras such as you can buy a MiCoach heart rate monitor and use a pacer which links to the app. It has a forum and a coaching area. I am not sure about a community but I am sure there would be one.

Garmin Connect

Garmin also has a great community website – “Garmin Connect ” for users of its watches where you can sync your runs from your watch and also add friends and share runs. You need to have one of their watches though to use the site. I find it useful and really good to see how my pace has changed and heart rate. The Garmin Connect site shows quite detailed information on your run such as elevation and heart rate which I find really useful.

Map My Run

Similar to that of Run Keeper. Map My Run enables you to map runs, share with friends, log runs and has a nice portal for you to see it all in as well as challenge friends and note your nutrition.

Other sites that you might be interested in that I haven’t used

Running Log

RunningAHEAD

Runners World Training Log Community

Log Your Run

Another cool site  is Cool Running running portal

Cool Running is an Aussie based running site. I quite like this site. It isn’t for logging your training so much although you can keep your own blog and list your running in there if you so wish.  But this site is actually great for looking up races in your area and in and around Australia. It also has lots of resources such as training advice and technique guides so well worth a look.

The pressure is off

27 Feb

I got in from my first proper run since I got sick two weeks ago today.

It was hard work.

I forced myself to get up, put my kit on and even ran with my iPod Shuffle this morning to give me that extra motivation. My legs felt sluggish to begin with and everything jiggled, or at least I thought it did. In my head I was pushing myself to push harder but my body was crying out that I hadn’t run properly in at least 10 days so to take it easy. Then when I got into the run I kept a nice comfortable pace, relaxed back into the run and really enjoyed it.I got home sweating profusely – it was a sticky morning in Brisbane this morning!

Pressure cooker letting off steam

Image used from Indiadaily.com

The first thing I said to my husband was

“i’m so slow…..I don’t know if I can do the 5k race that is in three weeks” and he said to me…

“why do you always put so much pressure on yourself?

You have nothing to prove. You’ve been running for 10+ years, have run four full marathons and are injury free! Stop complaining and enjoy running”.

I stood and looked at him and the penny (or cent – we’re in Australia after all!) dropped.

He was right.

The only person putting the pressure on was me. Noone was forcing me to enter the race that so many other people I know are running. I was forgetting the reason why I love to run!

So I’ve decided, pressure off for a while.I need to get better after being ill, get back into enjoying my running and aim for the next race but not force myself if my heart or health aren’t in it. Definitely going to do the Mother’s Day 8k in May all being well and may try a few Park Runs and Brisbane Road Runner Runs but no pressure.

Listen to your heart ….. rate

19 Apr

So I think I really need to change my alarm tune on my iPhone as it is currently Bruno Mars – ‘The Lazy Song’ which the first line sings “today  I don’t feel like doing anything, I just wanna lay in my bed..” That was me this morning. I had a bit of a chesty wheeze and wasn’t sure whether I should be running but decided to get up and go for it and keep it a slow but steady run.

I put my Garmin on and got ready and started running. It was so dark and cold I really didn’t want to go but I know that once I get started I always feel better. I looked down at my Garmin which thankfully has an awesome light and my heart rate said 203!!! Boy did I get the shock of my life. I was 500m into my run and wondered whether I should turn back and felt ok so figured it must have been my Garmin deciding it too wanted to stay in bed. As I got into 1500m my heart rate was pretty much back into my normal numbers and I decided to keep things relaxed this morning and ran a good 1 minute km slower as I wasnt feeling great anyway and wanted to make sure I kept my HR down.

I was always told by one of the guys at my London running club that you should take your resting heart rate every morning and if you wake up and it is higher then don’t push it as it could mean you are getting sick. So that’s exactly what I do now.

It was depressing running a really slow pace but sometimes I guess our bodies need that recovery and to just run steadily rather than running hell for leather each time we put our trainers on.

Keep running even when you think you aren’t getting anywhere…

19 Nov

Haven’t written in a while as have been adjusting to a life as a lady of leisure after finishing my job. I decided to put a positive spin on things and have been at the gym or running every day this week and it’s been great. My rest day will be Sunday for anyone wondering if I am going to rest!

I never thought I would be a real gym bunny but I have enjoyed the classes this week. I have done Body Balance, Body Attack, Body Step and Body Pump – clearly a Les Mills fan!

Anyway I just had a quick look at my Garmin Connect account as I have been feeling a bit despondent with my running this week but you know what I didn’t realise but I have improved my average pace time vastly in the last 6 months and I didn’t even realise it until looking at the stats – the watch doesn’t lie (I sometimes wish it did!).  But according to my Garmin my average min/km pace at the beginning of June when I got the watch was 6.30 min/km and now it is 5.41 min/km on average! Thats almost a whole minute faster per km in 6 months! and the last race I did which was the Cool Night Classic in the city my quickest km was 4.37 min/km which is really good for me!!

So if you are feeling a bit fed up with your running at the moment and feeling that you are not getting anywhere – you probably are wrong! If you are a consistent runner and have been running a couple of times a week for a while you may not realise it but you are probably much faster than you were to begin with.

Tips for motivation

1. Repetition

Do a race that you did this year next year and see how your times compare – you might be pleasantly surprised. I plan to do at least the Townsville and possible the Gold Coast Half Marathon’s again as I would like to have a crack at improving my time to prove to myself that all these early mornings, hill sessions, p90x and speed sessions have helped!

2. Challenges

If you use a watch like the Garmin 405 cx or a Nike Plus (although see my notes on Nike Plus in a previous post) – set yourself challenges and compare and see how you improve. I’ve set myself a couple of different challenges on my watch such as times for distances and also improving distance over  a month period in order to motivate myself. The Nike Plus has some good challenge options. But if you don’t have either of these kinds of devices you could just do it manually – set up a running log and record times and distances.

3. Train with friends

If you find training alone is hard work then train with friends and work towards some sort of challenge be it a race or just times together – motivate one another to keep going and to improve. When I first started running 10 years ago I trained with a friend at work and we pushed one another and she actually got me into the running circuit and I never looked back – I was hooked!

4. Rest up

For those over-trainers out there have a rest. I found when I had a week off a few months ago when I was tired that when I came back to training I came back with a vengeance and was faster than before. I was sluggish before and couldn’t be bothered to train, so I decided no – I am going to have a week off and not train and it did me the world of good, and towards the end of the week I was dying to get back to training and my motivation had returned!

Hope these tips help. If you have any – please share!

Have a great weekend!

What should you pack for race day?

25 Aug

It’s the Bridge to Brisbane 10k on Sunday, my last race for a little while.

I think I am ready although I haven’t trained this week. Going to do a speed session tomorrow morning and that should do me to be honest as I still have the half marathon training on my legs.

So I just need to get my stuff ready for race day now. I have certain things that I take with me on race day :

Race number and timing chip – These are the first things that go into my bag!!! So far I have never forgotten my race number but I know people that have!

Clothes ready - I never run in new clothes that I haven’t run a good distance in before – always ones that I know are comfortable and suitable for the race.

Shoes – I never wear brand new shoes, although I broke that rule a couple of races ago as my old shoes were giving me real hassle and I had no alternative but to wear new shoes – as it was I was very lucky and didn’t have any problems.

Safety pins – if you don’t get them provided with the race kit safety pins are a staple on the race list for the race number

Water – For before and after the race

Watch and Heart Rate Monitor – I can’t race without my Garmin 405 cx – it’s my lifeline for knowing my pace during the race and keeping an eye on my heart rate

iPod – I know some people disagree with running races with music but I need mine to pump me up when I feel tired during the race. In one of my earlier blogs I have listed the kind of music I listen to – it works for me.

Gels – For longer races like half and full marathons I take my energy gels, but for the 10k on Sunday I won’t bother too much.

Energy bar or banana – I find after races I am exhausted and hungry! so I always take something with me for after the race to munch on in case I can’t eat straight the way.

Have I missed anything? What do you take with you on race day?

Finding your way…

22 Aug

I went for a run today with the girls and ended up running on my own for the last 11k following a map and directions that had been kindly out together by one of the girls – and I got lost!  I’m not too good with directions and around where I live is like a rabbit warren.Unfortunately I hadn’t entered my run into my Garmin 405 cx watch so I was really lost.

Have you ever had that problem?

Do you have an iPhone? :-)

If so there are some awesome apps available now to save you from doing what I did which was try and keep running with no idea where I was going and ended up running over what I was meant to run!

I downloaded a couple of programs onto my iPhone which to be honest I have inly used a couple of times as I bought my Garmin GPS watch but for those of you interested I found two apps quite useful:

iMap my run – this GPS app enables you to map out your routes and runs and then if you get lost like I did you can physically look on your phone and see where you are and get back on track again!!

You can invite friends who are also on map my run and share workout information , see where you ran on Google Maps and if you are a social media freak like me you can have it all feed into an activity feed to let people know how well you trained :-)

There is a free version and a paid version available.

Run Keeper – this app is awesome too – it basically a gps program that maps how far you have run in total when running. You switch it on when you start your run and if you want it will even speak to you on the way round telling you how far you’ve gone and tell you what pace you are running at.

At the end of the workout you can see on Google Maps where you have run and how far you have run. It will even give you your split times which is really helpful. The girls I run with used it one morning when we were training for our half marathon for our 1km speed sessions around the lake.

There is a free app and a paid for app and the paid for one has many bells and whistles such as music and more features.

Any others that you have used or find work?

and the beat goes on….

14 Jul

I don’t know about you but music really motivates me when exercising.

I have found in some races that often music has been the only thing that has stopped me from full on giving up especially in marathons, and in the gym it’s the music that has helped me to hit that faster speed or run that extra kilometre on the treadmill. I only tend to listen to music when in the gym or in a race though as running at the times that I do – early in the morning or in the evening I like to know what’s going on around me and feel safer that way from moving vehicles and anything else that I may need to be aware of.

An article in MX newspaper today that I was reading on my home from work said that according to University of Southern Queensland psychology professor Peter Terry – listening to music whilst you train could actually make you train harder, better, faster and stronger. His findings went on to say that that elite athletes who listened to music whilst they ran had measurably lower oxygen requirements than those who did not and that music influences physiologically by regulating the heart rate and enhancing oxygen. Interesting stuff hey!

The research showed that elite athletes could run for an extra 1.5 minutes just by listening to their preferred music. One and a half minutes doesnt sound much I guess but at the paces that elite athletes run that is probably considerable.

So is at all about the tempo? I know for me I like a good beat and something that is pumping and pushes me along but I have friends who will listen to audio cds (as in spoken word) and classical music to motivate them so I guess it depends on the individual. That’s certainly what the article went on to say today too.

So on my iPod at the moment my top training tunes  on my ‘running tunes’ playlist are:

  • Boys and Girls – Pixie Lott
  • I Like it like that – Guy Sebastian
  • Now you’re gone – Basshunter
  • Celebration (Benny Benassi mix) – Madonna
  • Fight for this love (club mix) – Cheryl Cole
  • Insomnia (monster mix) – Faithless
  • Someday – RezonanceQ – this is my race finisher song too :-) I always like to have one that pushes me that extra mile/km to cross that finish line!

These are just some of the tunes that are motivating me at the moment. What motivates you? Do you listen to music when you run? Are you against it?

I’d love to hear from anyone that has an opinion…

Bye for now

The Half Marathon…

4 Jul

Today has been a long day, this morning at 6am I ran the Gold Coast Half Marathon :-)

My husband and I drove up to the Gold Coast yesterday, caught up with friends for lunch, who also kindly looked after Polly (our dog) whilst we stayed in a hotel ready for the race today. I always get a bit nervous before races and yesterday was no different, I was quite jumpy all day and very conscious of what I was eating, how much I was drinking and how much I was on my feet.

Our hotel was an experience I would not wish to repeat! It was right in the heart of Surfers Paradise and resulted in my not getting hardly any sleep – I think 3 hours at the most which was awful! It sounded like a disco in our room thanks to the guy next door – security had to intervene at 12.15am this morning as I was very very tired and needed at least a couple of hours sleep! (one rule of racing broken – no sleep!)

So not the best start, and then I broke another rule – I had to wear pretty much brand new trainers as the last time I ran my feet hurt because my older trainers basically had died slightly too soon and there was no way I would have got round in them. They told me at Athletes Foot that if you can bend your trainers front to back then they need to be replaced…mine were well down that route.

So anyway I met the girls at 4.30am this morning and staggered to the shuttle bus.

So on the start line this morning having had hardly any sleep and wearing new trainers, I hardly felt prepared…..

I then have my toilet ritual…For some reason my brain psychologically tells me that I need to go to the toilet twice before training or racing…if I don’t go I end up feeling like I need to go half way round – generally I don’t but it’s a ‘all in the head thing’ I think. So I went for my usual two trots to the toilet and the gun went off. On went the iPod and I stuck to my guns with my Garmin 405 cx guiding me  around the race keeping me aware of my pace, enabling me to pull back or push on as necessary and I felt strong.

I got depressed as I saw the 2 hour balloons go by but was told later that they stick to the gun time not the time your chip passed over the start and I was a couple of mins behind the gun. So when i looked at my faithful Garmin I realised I was still on track and should ignore the black balloon sailing off into the distance.

I sometimes find when I am bored in a race or needing to push on that I latch onto a runner in front whose pace is similar to mine and I chase them making sure I keep up with them. I did this a few times this morning to keep going and it really helped, although I was chasing a guy and he stepped up his speed in the end so I had to let him go…

So i had about 3k left and started to feel tired but pushed on and got over the finish line at approx 2hr and 6 seconds according to my watch which I was really pleased with, as the last week or so I hadn’t trained at all so I was worried I wouldn’t do under 2 and pretty much hit the target. I staggered over the line and felt a bit disorientated as I sprinted to the finish and used up my last bit of energy.

Finishing the race though more importantly meant that I raised $410 for World Vision which I am so pleased about.

The girls I trained with all finished and all did really well. I think apart from me there is only one of them that had ever done that distance in a race so I am really proud of them all for the effort they have put in and the times they achieved.

So all in all it has been a good day. I have 4 weeks until my next half marathon so I will keep you posted how training goes….

My justification for buying a GPS watch to run with!

5 Jun

I used to have a Nike Plus, in fact I still have one I just ‘retired’t it.

For those of you that don’t know what the Nike+ is its a foot pod thing and a transmitter. You basically calibrate your stride, plug in the transmitter to your iPod and away you go.

It tells you:

  • how far you have run
  • how many calories you have burned off
  • You can choose a power song to hit on your iPod when you really need a boost
  • you get a message from Lance Armstrong or Paula Radcliffe if you beat your personal best or do a long distance
  • You can choose to run by basic, by a time or a distance

According to my Nike+ I have run 150 runs using it in the last year or so – that’s not bad for me.

BUT

The problem is, I am not a consistent runner. If I am tired my stride is shorter, if I am running up hills then my stride is shorter, if I feel strong then my stride is much longer. So here’s the problem…

Because I have calibrated my stride if my stride significantly differs from the calibrated stride then my run is inaccurate. It was only when I ran a race with it on and it said I done 2k less than the race distance was that I started to have my doubts, and wonder of those 150 runs I had done, how many were actually accurate. When I started running with my friends and they mapped out a time using MapMyRun I realised that not many of my runs were accurate as I would always be way over or under, sothen started to wonder what the point of using a Nike+ was if I had no idea if any of the stats were right!

By all means if you have a consistent stride go for it, but for me not being a consistent runner in terms of stride I decided I needed something more. It was then that I discovered the Garmin 405 cx – and boy was I tempted! I did a lot of research, looked at ratings and useability and ordered it!! I got it a week ago and am going to start using it next week. I’ll let you know how it goes!!

have a great day! Z

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