Thanksgiving Running

After my last couple of weekend runs ending with a sore knee part way through, I’ve focused on my pace and running a mostly flatter course. I’ve decided part of my problem has been starting out at a pace that was too high, and then pushing it on hills early in the run. The outdoor track I’ve been running has a pretty sharp uphill segment, followed by a long slower climb.

I’ve got a Christmas 10k coming up in two weeks, my first 10k, and I’ve been questioning myself over whether I could make it without walking the last part if my knee got sore.

I tested myself running on an indoor track, for 10k, on Monday, and had no problems (except being bored going in short circles). Next, I studied up on how to set up some interval training on my iSmoothRun app and put together a 5k and 10k set of negative intervals at a good training speed for me. I knew that with the four day Thanksgiving weekend I would be food challenged and would need to burn some calories to break even on weight.

On Thanksgiving day the weather was great – about 70 degrees with a nice breeze. I ran 10k around my neighborhood, doing three loops around a course with a long uphill, but not too steep, on the back side. Hearing the iSmoothRun voice telling me “slower” during the first couple of kilometers really helped me get a better feel for my pace. I finished tired but not worn out, or too sore, so I was very happy.

The next morning I was up three pounds, so I obviously enjoyed my Thanksgiving dinner (cornbread dressing – I had to have seconds). Back outside that afternoon, I ran 5k at a faster pace with a sprint the last 100 meters. I was pretty worn down about the 4k point, but pushed through and had enough gas to do the sprint, so I was happy. I ran three minutes faster than my only 5k chip time, which also made me happy.

Now I’ll just be focusing on my upcoming 10k, and at least know I’ve got a good plan to work over the next two weeks. And focusing on keeping the weight going down, and not up. This morning I was down one pound, so I still have work to do to get over my holiday weight gain.

Sore Legs/Knee

For the last two weekends, I’ve tried to run 10k for my “long” run of the week. Both times, I got about half way done and had to stop and just walk till the end.

After researching it, I don’t know if it’s my knee or my calf muscles, but both times it occurred I was doing uphill running. So I have gone flat, and back to intervals. Today I ran 10k on an indoor track, walking 200m and running either 400m or 600m, then repeating. And it was pain free.

So somewhere in the (a) softer track, (b) flat surface, and (c) pacing myself, is the solution. Now I’m going to find a flat outdoor run for sometime over the Thanksgiving weekend, and pace myself the same to see if I can do as well on asphalt as I can do inside.

My Running Apps Ecosystem

I’ve been running for just less than three months, but as the name on the blog says, I’m an IT guy who likes gadgets. My gadget is my iPhone, and I have tried close to a dozen iPhone apps, and probably a half-dozen websites.

I had initially settled on RunMeter on my iPhone uploading to the dailymile website due to its mostly uncluttered interface, and the fact that my lap swimming could -gasp- actually be manually entered in yards on dailymile. There are a whole bunch of sites that wanted my laps entered in either miles or metric, and most US pools are in yards.

Dailymile has lasted several months now, but I have decided I want to get a chest strap heart rate monitor (Christmas is just around the corner), and dailymile doesn’t have the ability to let me really see the amount of data that a heart rate monitor can produce. I have spent a lot of time reading extensive product reviews on the DCrainmaker website – thank you so much, Ray. He got me looking at the TrainingPeaks website (I wish the entire site worked on an iPad, but they are still totally Adobe Flash based) because it can track my workouts AND my calorie intake. The DCrainmaker site also helped me decide to get the Wahoo Blue HR monitor which will pair with my iPhone (4s or 5) using the new BlueTooth LE specification instead of an ANT dongle.

On Saturday I ran across an iPhone app I had not looked at before, and after reading the reviews I paid for it. iSmoothRun is in the Apple App Store ($4.99 US) and has just helped me to create my own “running app ecosystem”.

Running App Ecosystem picture

How BRILLIANT is this? iSmoothRun can use either a GPS signal or (because it learns your cadence when it can get GPS) it will also work indoors. It somehow takes your GPS coordinates and adds temperature, wind speed, and humidity to every run. It can upload to eight different websites, plus send an email, plus Twitter and FaceBook. And it tracks your cadence and can coach you on how to learn to use cadence more effectively.

So I am now uploading to dailymile, TrainingPeaks, and Garmin Connect, all at the same time, and can do a side-by-side comparison of my real data (I found out that you do not have to have a Garmin device to creat an account an upload data). This will be fun. Also, since I can upload to the RunKeeper website (which I find really cluttered, and their iPhone app won’t work inside) I do, just so it also downloads back to my Tactio Health app that I wrote about in September.

I ran my weekend long run (10k) using iSmoothRun this morning, hit finish, and my run showed up everywhere. I am impressed. I’m also happy that my 10k time today was 4 minutes faster than last week, but it’s only my second time running this distance, so who knows.

Updated 11/6/12:  One thing I have found so far is that iSmoothrun sends the weather data correctly to dailymile, but this info does not seem to transfer to Garmin Connect or TrainingPeaks.

Also, the more I try to use TrainingPeaks, the more I don’t like it. The Adobe Flash thing makes it both slow and buggy. Trying to track food is so slow it is painful. And then I can’t see it on my iPad anyway. I was hoping to replace manual calorie intake entries in my MyFitnessPal iPhone app, but I don’t see it happening.