Saturday, November 26, 2011

Running and Tech Part 3

Gear that Gets You Going

Runkeeper v2.9 Review

Anyone with an  iPhone or Android based phone can attest to their "swiss army knife-iferousness" they can call, surf,  play, snap, and many other one syllable verbs. After getting a Sprint HTC Evo last may I found that there is one application no Android ( or iPhone) should be without. This lil app is called Runkeeper. It sounds simple enough, but the wealth of information the app coaxes out of your smartphone is awesome.

Activity Type

Activity Type is where you set Runkeeper's calculations for your workout - there are many activities to choose from that set Runkeeper up to accurately calculate the amount of work done ( i.e. 30 miles of biking burns less calories than 30 miles of running)


Google Maps, Google maps that you can draw on, Google maps that you can draw on that save the drawings and tell you how far you've drawn. Is this cool or what? Everybody has their old comfy routes that they know like the back of their hands, why not document them so you can share them with others? I've found this feature useful now I can tell friends that want to go running with me exactly what they are in for. 

Real Time Data and Feedback

Real time data, without having to look at your device. This is a nice feature and in Runkeeper it is VERY configurable - You get to choose the audio data and when you hear it. Pace, speed and distance can be provided at the specific interval; you choose if you want to hear it every 10 minutes or every 2 miles. On a personal note, I really like hearing the cues, I have mine set for every 5 minutes. Runkeeper delivers them seemlessly - it will operate transparently with any other audio you have running.  The info is nice and allows you to focus on the activity, not checking your watch every moment or so. Depending on the speaker phone power of your device, you may be able to hear the cues without too much difficulty while doing other activities as well. It's pretty much a non-issue, but can be an issue if you keep it in your pocket on bike rides

The Website
From the webpage, all the information is at your fingertips, a very nice way to show pace and elevation. Breaking out the split times in mile intervals is helpful in building consistency and seeing the effects of adjustments you make during your run.

I did not have a heart meter for this review, but I am looking into them - heart rate is a very important stat in training.


Runkeeper does one thing well - it is an awesome app for measuring fitness progress, but even smarter than that, they leverage the 200 ton gorilla that is Facebook to increase their networks reach and leave the "social" to the experts, but you can also link directly to your friends within a feature called Street Team.

The folks at Runkeeper realize that everyone is social on twitter and facebook - you can choose  to let built in connectors post your activities to  the social networks.

Runkeeper was not satisfied just to let you tell folks what you have done, they want you to be able to tell them what you are doing, right now without having to fumble for your keyboard on a long run

This is so techy-cool, your friends can track you live, They will see if you fall down a well, Lassie is now redundant

Well, Doesn't That Just Frost You!

Knee pain is a quirky, stupid, and aggravating thing!
Sometimes the waiting game doesn't pay off, some times it does. This time it turned out to be the waiting game that paid off. I waited until the pain was a memory and started again, first 4 miles, no pain. 6 miles, no pain. Another 6 miles and a little warning pain. ARRRG!

Frosted Flakes fortified with Essential Insights!

Then came the fateful Sunday morning, I wanted to get a run in before church, it was a foggy, icy, frosty, cold November morning. You could tell the sun had grudgingly rose by the slightly less dark 50 meter circle of world the fog permitted you to see. The thermometer in my truck read 27 but the ashpalt running trail appeared only slightly damp I'd have to test it, but the path did not look to slick. I was running a 5 mile course Auburn to Kent and back. The start of a run in always a time to check out your body - before I get started I usually stretch out Achilles, but since I'm not going too fast I let the beginning of the run serve as warm up. The trail is not slick at all, but I notice white patches of frost in the distance. there is no chance of  measurable precipitation, but the occasional flake falls through the fog, condensing in the 500-1000 feet of fog above my head. I hit the white patches of trail carefully, not too slippery. I see other prints in the frost trail off ahead of me. I wasn't the first one out? wow, early runner! At least there's only one set of prints, I feel like less of a slacker. Crossing the train tracks just past 277th  I exercise extreme caution, the hardened rubber plates dividing the track are slick!

The run feels good, but I'm starting to feel the tell tale twinge in my right knee as I'm crossing the green river bridge - I'm being really careful as the bridge was covered in a thick coasting of frost. The frost is pretty much covering the trail - I take this time to critique the preceding runners tracks - great form, straight steps, but the stride is way long, either he's 8'5" or he's setting himself up for problems, or he's sprinting the whole way.
I reach the turn around at Willis and head back. My knee is telling me it's hurting, but not to intensely. as I look back across the path to the now two sets of tracks in the frost. My stride is an easy 8-10 inches shorter, then EUREKA!!!!!!

You Run Like a Penguin!

My stride may be perfect for maintaining the proper cadence ( 180 steps per minute) but I'm running like a PENGUIN! I just figured out why the inside on my right knee is hurting - GAS PEDAL FOOT! While you are driving, your right heel tends to sit between your brake pedal and the accelerator but the top of your foot rests off at an angle - over time that becomes an accustomed rest position for the foot, and when you are running, if you maintain that position the end of your right stride puts additional pressure on the front inside of your knee joint.

The rest of the run I concentrated on the now unnatural feel of straight in line footfalls, it felt wierd, but NO MORE PAIN!