Monthly Archives: April 2015

Track Night with Apple Watch

I missed last weeks track event with FastTracks but I knew they were doing the same thing as week one, so I don’t feel like I missed out. 

This time I came along knowing there would be a different workout, a different coach AND having my new tech to play with. 

I started the session off by using Apple Watch to start a mapmyrun session to record my overall time and distance. I then turn the volume of my phone down to minimum to stop mapmyrun announcing all the half-mike waypoints. 

Then I put Apple Watch into stopwatch mode. This offers the ability to record multiple lap times from the same screen. After a warm up lap or three at a gentle jog we started the workout. 

Our target was: 200m consisting of 100m at 80% and 100m at 95%. Then walking 100m to recover… Then repeat ten times. Note that we were told to do the walk as 50m out and back.

The members of my set/group are really fast. The majority of them are older than me (some significantly) but they consistently hand my ass to me on a plate. I’m over the embarrassment of it by now and just hope that I can remain as fast when I get to their age! 

I ended up running mainly 38-40 second 200m periods. I was fairly consistent in my times but felt that we were probably running above the prescribed 95% level. The coach was running with us and didn’t rein us in. 

This was an interesting workout but it made traffic on the track quite chaotic and I felt sorry for all the other track users. We had three different groups running at different paces and going different directions on the track. This made it difficult for other track users. My apologies. 

Now for the tech. Well, I eventually got used to the stopwatch on the Apple Watch but it wasn’t easy. To press the lap button you have to use the screen. The physical buttons on the watch are set for other dedicated behaviours for the Watch OS. 

This means that before you can press the lap button you have to raise the watch to the appropriate position to get the screen to turn on, then try to find the lap button on the screen without knocking the stop button that is directly beside it. I also wear my watch on the ‘wrong’ wrist so this means the lap button is on the far side of the screen from my controlling hand. 

However, once I got used to this (and remembered that I was timing; stupid tired brain), it was easy to use. 

It has so good ways of presenting the data. I chose the digital face layout (hard press the screen) and it looked like this.   

When in use the lap button is in the same position as the ‘reset’ button above. You can scroll the lap list up and down to view the different results. It also has a graphical view but it doesn’t label it well so it has limited value.  

Then there is another mode that has it all in one.  

This shows the analog dials, the digital time, and the graph. 

At the end of the running I switched over to the mapmyrun app (double click the crown) and stopped the app. 

Everything appears to have worked fine.  

And if that wasn’t enough, I forgot my pedometer from work today so I had the Moves app running in the background of my phone to pickup my steps for the day (it is linked to my virgin pulse account).  

Completely teched out yet? Good, so am I. Dinner of meatless tofurky hotdogs and ice cream with strawberries. 

Day done. 

Further Adventures with Apple Watch

Today was another active day with a bike commute to work, plus a run/walk with my friend. 

The Apple watch worked well for my ride in, even sensing my button presses through my gloves (thin running silks). There seems to be something quirky going on with mapmyrun saving things when you finish up an exercise. I haven’t been able to put my finger on exactly what yet but sometimes it has problems to saving. I’ve not lost any data though… Yet. 

I had to cycle to the start for my run/walk which was four miles from my office. Then we did 6.2 miles and maintained the 1:30/3:00 run/recovery that we’ve been doing. Next time we will change the interval schedule. 

After this I had to cycle four miles home. Uphill. By this point I was very hungry and tired. It seemed like a long hill home. 

I’m enjoying the watch though and the other functions on it appear to work well. The battery life has also not been an issue, ending the day with about 40% remaining. I would point out that I don’t have many notifications setup on my phone preferring instead to pull messages when I am ready for them; this allows me better control over my work. 

Time to feed and shower. 

Apple Watch with MapMyRun

Today was my first run with my new Apple Watch. I chose to stick with using the mapmyrun app that I’ve used for many many years rather than switching to the workout app that Apple provide in the phone. 

I won’t cover all the unwrapping and setting up of the device as that is all over the Internet. Suffice to say that it was yet another awesome and seamless experience from Apple. The unpacking experience is delightful and setup a breeze. 

I got the line green sport version of the watch.  

I think it loves me… 

I setup mapmyrun with a playlist and selected my shoes so that it was all ready to go, then put my phone away. 

Once outside and ready to go I dialled up the mapmyrun app on the Apple Watch and hit the running button.  

The app started up first time and I could hear the countdown starting. I had decided to run long today now that my muscle aches have all cleared up since replacing my shoes. 

While I was out there I received a notification that I had passed the Move goal for the day. This is part of the general activity tracking in the watch. I also checked my pulse at one point: 167. It was the crest of a hill though. 

As I got home I had to scroll to the right most panel to find the pause/stop button. 

So, it worked well. My Apple Watch battery level is at 88% and my iPhone 6 is at 85%. I had music playing the whole way on my phone too. Muse kicked ass for me. 🙂

I did 16 miles at 8:00 pace and feel pretty good. I ran from my home through Evansburg State Park and almost all the way to the Perkiomen Trail. I turned around at the eight mile mark but the join was only another 3/4 of a mile away at that point. 

I’ll post more about the watch as I use it but it worked well for me yesterday and the battery was at 48% remaining at the end of the day. I don’t have many notifications set as I find them distracting so that’s probably why it lasted so well. 

Pounding the Trail and Zagster Bike Share

I rode to work this morning and then went out for a nice six mile run along the Perkiomen and Schulkyll River Trails. It was rather brisk riding down in shorts at only 36F but I didn’t want to have to carry too much in my backpack for the ride home. 

On my run I went through a local suburban park and, for some reason, they have introduced a new bike share scheme out here.  

Zagster appears to be a bike rental system through apps on your phone, similar to the CityBike schemes around the world. 

However, I would question the logic of putting these at a park.  Who are they expecting to use them? People that come to the park to bike will bring their own ‘real’ bikes and not these lumps. Other people at the park would be there to walk or run or with their pets. The basket on the bikes isn’t big enough for most dogs so… I just don’t get it. 

Are they expecting people to know about the bikes and head out deliberately to use them? (“I don’t have a bike but I heard there are some in the park… I think I’ll go for a ride”). Maybe some people will do this…

It seems doomed to failure. 

The trail was a mess this morning following strong winds overnight so I cleared a lot of sticks and junk as I ran. Feeling good, but hungry. 

6 miles at a 7:31 pace was an excellent result. 

In other news, I received the shipping notices for our new iWatches today. Hopefully they’ll arrive tomorrow! Both my wife and I are excited about it. It will be fun to have a new tech toy. I noticed that the mapmyrun update today had an iWatch app included in it, too; hurrah! 

New Legs

The difference from running on old and new shoes is like running with a new pair of legs! It is incredible how much bounce is returned to you in each step when the foam is new. 

All the aches and pains of the previous couple of weeks have evaporated and my knees and glutes feel great. 

I went out for a quick three miler and was enjoying myself so I extended to 4.7, despite the April showers that started five minutes into my run! 

Feeling great and ready for the running season. 

Congrats to all those that ran in the Boston Marathon yesterday. I know several finishers from FastTracks running club and they got impressive times (better than I could do, for sure).

Twelve Mile Program

I broke my new Brooks Glycerin shoes in with a gentle twelve miler today. It was a sunny day in the mid-fifties and the Perkiomen trail was in perfect condition, with a lot of people out there. 

The shoes worked out really well with no rubbing at all and I even took along a new water bottle. After eight years we replaced our original Ultimate Direction bottles with nice new red ones.  

 It worked a treat but I’ll need to get used to running with a bottle again as I haven’t done t for such a long time. 

12 miles at 8:00 pace. Hard to get going but I stayed the course. 

Nu Shooz: Brooks Glycerin 12

“Baby, I can’t wait.”

Enough of the cheesy old 80s band references. Yesterday I hit the stores to hunt down a new pair of neutral shoes for the next 400 miles of running. 

My last pair were Brooks Dyad 7s and they lasted well. They got a hole in the toe box at about 350 miles and they started to give me muscle aches at around 450 miles, which is about usual for Brooks shoes with my running style. 

The wear patterns on my shoes show a slight rubbing on the outside edges of both shoes, especially at the heel, but also apparent all the way up the toe box. 

The advice from the shop was to stick with neutral shoes. This is interesting to me as when I used to be a heel lander I was told that I needed shoes to correct my stride. I had Brooks Beasts for years and they served me well, but since transitioning to a mid-foot strike I’ve moved through Brooks Adreneline (slight correction) and onto Dyads (neutral). 

I also tried on some Mizuno Wave Riders that were pretty good, but as soon as I put on the Brooks Glycerins they felt fabulous! They are much lighter than my previous shoes and they have nice styling.  

  Not only are the shoes light but they are airy as well. They feel well ventilated around my toes.  

With that bright orange leading edge of the sole, cars and people will see me coming on my early morning runs. 

At $150 they are not cheap shoes but again my FastTracks club membership comes to the rescue with a 15% discount (that more than pays for the cost of membership). 

It also turns out that the chap serving me at the Valley Forge Running Company was in my running group at track on Wednesday night too; small world and excellent service, yet again. 

I’m looking forward to using these new shoes tomorrow for my long run. 

Btw, I’m not sponsored by Brooks in anyway whatsoever, I just happen to have always found their shoes to be good. 🙂

Early Morning Shower

With my calf and leg still aching from what I suspect is over-used shoe syndrome, I decided just to do a short run today without any fast sections. 

So a simple 5k at a pace of 8:10 was what I did!

There was a light misty rain in the air of the sort that will most up your glasses even if you are wearing a running cap with a brim, so I took off my specs partway through the run. 

There were a few deer out there today too and one annoying newspaper delivery person driving in circles in their Toyota with their hazard warning lights on. This seems ridiculous to me as with the hazards on you cannot tell which way they are going to turn next which is more dangerous than them going slowly. 

Any way, running done, week almost done, time for a pancake breakfast with the family.

One more week until Apple iWatch day. Can’t wait! I have ordered them for my wife and I. ⌚️📲❤️ (New Apple Emojii). 

Track Season Begins Again

It is once again the start of track season for the Philly suburbs FastTracks group. That year seemed to pass very quickly. There were some new faces present and about 25 people overall, so not too large of a group. 

First up, a couple of laps at a gentle jog to warm up. Then our coach started us off easily with 10x 150 yard runs where the first 50 is at 80% effort, the next 50 at 90%, and the last 40 is all-out running. You then jog back to the start and repeat again. 

It sounds easy but by the time you hit the fifth repeat you will certainly feel it. 

The recovery from track was fine and today I ran 6.6 miles this morning after cycling to the office. 

I have an odd niggle in my right calf and I suspect it is just time to replace my shoes. I’m over-distance on both my pairs at this point (just shy of 500 on one pair; oops). Perhaps I’ll go and get some new Brooks this weekend. 🙂

Enough, Already

Today I bailed on my run. There, I said it. After a late start and the temps creeping up from 36F to the mid-fifties, I started out but my heart wasn’t in it. 

Perhaps it was latent dehydration from a Friday night out in the city to see Marc Maron (an excellent comedy show) and the inevitable rounds of cocktails that followed, the lateness of the start, or the suddenly warm temperatures that I haven’t had a chance to adjust to, but after 2.5 miles I decided to turn around rather than keep trucking along. 

I’ll probably feel better for it tomorrow but I feel that I cheated a little today. Oh, well. 5.5 miles at 7:55 pace. 

This afternoon is my daughter’s first scheduled run of the season; five weeks of Healthy Kids Running Seties. I’m looking forward to seeing how she’s improved compared to the others. 

This will be her third year in the pre-k group as she was so little the first year we put her in. She has a couple of friends running with her today so it will be interesting to see how she does. Keeping her focused on the race is the main issue; she gets distracted by bugs/flowers/kids/dogs (delete as applicable).  

Giving it some ‘Sass’ warming up for her run last season.