Is my iPhone 5 GPS measuring my runs wrong?

I had an awesome run with Neill ( @BigBigGeek ) yesterday around the same lake as a couple of weeks ago.

I don’t generally trail run because there aren’t any trails near me to run, but I really enjoyed getting on a surface that wasn’t asphalt.  Up and down hills, around roots, over rocks, it was great.  It is also fun to be able to run with Neill.  He and I have a lot in common as he works for Dell and I buy from Dell. 🙂

One thing that bothered me though was the way my iPhone 5 measured the distance.  By the time we finished Neill’s Nike watch said we had run 5 miles under a 12 minute pace.  My iPhone said we ran 4.58 miles at 13:11 pace.  This really made me think.  Last weekend on my long run I was running with my iPhone in a belt and though I should have been able to keep up with the goal pace I set, it was like I was behind the whole way.  I ended my 13 mile run having to run 1/2 mile further than I thought I had too.

I guess it is better to have my phone measure me as going slower and less distance than I actually ran since in a race the distance and time are correct, but it is frustrating that I might be running a minute a mile faster than I think and not know it.

Maybe a Nike+ Sportwatch is in my near future.

Not much more to report today.  I am a bit behind since I didn’t get to this last night.  I hope everyone has a great weekend.

How I’m getting used to running in the heat…

Running in the heat isn’t fun.  I have found this out by experience this year.  Last Summer I was running 2 miles a day at 11:00 pace and it wasn’t as big of a deal. This year I am running 7 miles at 9:00 pace and it became a big deal.

I say this to say that yesterday I ran in what is, compared to last week, cooler weather.  it was 82 degrees with a heat index of 85.  It felt hot, especially as the heat came up from the street.

I ran well anyway.

Notice the images below.  One is from June 5th when the heat began to kick in.  The other is from yesterday.  Both runs were around the same time of day and exact same temperature.

photo 1      photo 2 copy

I remember the June 5th run.  It was hot and I was running with TJ over a newer area we had just started running.  I felt good in the beginning but by the end I didn’t think I could continue.  My legs felt like lead and I was thinking, “What is wrong with me”.

Yesterday I didn’t feel perfect, but it felt good.  I ran faster at the end of my run than at the beginning.  I was tired when I was done, but not exhausted.  Both runs finished in almost the exact same time, but the run yesterday was much better at the end.

What was the difference?

I read somewhere that it takes 2 weeks to get used to the heat while running.  Your body has to get used to using all that energy (that produces heat) and also cool itself down at the same time.  So I think that considering yesterday was 10 degrees cooler than our runs last week and it has been a couple weeks of warm weather really helped.  Also I ran for the first time in my new Columbia running shirt that is made of material that cools when it gets wet.  So as I sweated, the shirt actually cooled me.  It didn’t cool a huge amount in the sun, but one time I was in the shade and a breeze blew and I actually felt a little cold!  Crazy.  These shirts cost $50 at Dick’s Sporting Goods so it will take some time to purchase more, but this one was a gift for Father’s Day from TJ and it really helped.

Today, I hope to run with Neill (@BigBigGeek) around the lake again.  If all works out and we can run, it will be a lot of fun and a nice change to my daily routine.

Keep running!

Life is cyclical and so is running – Yesterday was a good day!

Life is cyclical – that is something that I have been realizing lately.

If one of my kids come to me and say that they are having a difficult time with work or with a friend, I say, “life is cyclical; if today is a bad day, a good day is coming and, unfortunately the same is true in the other direction.”  There are good days and bad days.  If you can’t see beyond today, then you believe everyday will be the same as today.  That can lead to depression or to exhilaration; both are bad if you can’t see past today.  The key to life is to understand that you can learn from good days and bad days.

That was a bit of my philosophical side coming through there, but it applies to running and to my blog.

I have found out over the past 14 months of running that there are great days and horrible days running.  In between those days are just normal days.  I have been having a bit of a difficult time lately because of the heat.  I have gone from running an average of 8:30 pace to getting excited to hit 9:30.  To me that has been a bit depressing.  I have been telling myself, it is the heat.  It is the Summer setting in (of course we are still in Spring).  Still, to go through 3 or 4 weeks of slowing down and just being happy to finish and meet my mileage goal rather than my pace goal has been difficult.  Even on my Run Plan tab above, I have changed the emphasis to mileage and not pace.  What really worries me is that in September I need both mileage and pace.

Then there was yesterday.

It was a little cooler and overcast when I went out to run.  I have a reduced week of running this week to recover some from the higher mileage I have put in, so that is also a help.  I began my run and it began to rain.  It rained hard!  Then the thunder hit about mile 1.5.  I decided to head home and hope it passed by.  After about 10 minutes the thunder stopped and it was still pouring outside, but I decided to go back to my run anyway.  I had to stay close to home so I could go inside if lightening started, but it was still fun.  The rain made it cool and my run went great.

I began running at about a 9:00 pace.  The next two miles were near 8:30 pace.  The forth mile was near 8:00 and my final mile was 7:55!  It was soooo nice to be able to run faster for a change.  Of course 7:55 is going to be my marathon pace so that one mile will be my average for 26 miles, but who is counting.  I am just ecstatic that I ran well and had a great time in the rain.

Life is cycular.  I know there will be hot, humid days ahead where I’ll be glad to hit my 9:30 pace.  But today I am so thankful for my run yesterday.  It gives me hope and keeps the fire burning.

How many pair of shoes does it take to get to a marathon?

I love my running shoes.

I wear Saucony Fastwitch 5 and they are the one shoe that has gotten me through my achilles problem and allowed me to keep running.  Saturday I put on my old Kinvara’s and after 2 miles was in a moderate amount of pain.  So I went by the house and switched to my Fastwitch and felt much better and finished my run.

All that to say, I just bought 4 pair of Fastwitch 5’s from Running Warehouse. Being more of a built up racing flat, I can only get 200 – 300 miles out of them and my current pair feel like they are getting worn.  So I did the math and 4 pair will get me through my marathon in September.  I wanted to make sure I got them so that I would not be having to use a different shoe by the time of the marathon.  They were $38 a piece at Running Warehouse (after discount)  so all in all I got 4 pair of shoes for $150 and they are sent 2nd day air for free!  Tomorrow will be like Christmas!

As I pondered getting all those shoes it makes my marathon become more and more a reality.  It is like I am on a path to Pennsylvania and it is a straight path, an unalterable path.

Last night TJ said he really believes that I can run the Lehigh Valley Marathon and qualify for Boston.  That was the first time I can remember him saying that to me so directly.  I have  also had  bloggers say the same thing, like Runningtoherdreams said yesterday, “I have no doubt you will rock the Lehigh Valley Marathon!”.  I am going to print that statement out and put it on the wall of my office so that I look at it everyday!  Many other bloggers have given me encouragement as well over the past few months.

Each day I wake up, work, run, see the family, eat dinner and go to bed.  Some of this has gotten a bit tiring to be honest.  But I have a goal.  I have to do all within the power that God gives me to make it to my goal!  Now that I have 4 new pair of shoes, it has become more real.

This week is a little break in my training.  I am cutting back 25% on my mileage to give my body a break.  TJ has helped me with my plan and I am thankful as I couldn’t figure this out on my own.  So now I am running 5.25 miles a day rather than 7.  That will be nice.  And this week is supposed to be cooler than last week.

Gotta run (literally).  Have a GREAT day!!!

Achilles fix? Maybe!

93 miles in 2 weeks.

43 miles last week.

13 miles on Sunday.

That is a lot of miles for a 50 year old who has been running just over a year.

Many of you know that I have suffered with achilles issues for some time now.  I haven’t been writing about it because my ice baths for my foot after running has been keeping the problem in check, but it has still been difficult at times.  One bad moment was when I was getting up from sitting and hit my heal into the back of the chair I was in.  That sent me through the roof.  An hour later I was out running and the run was okay, but I had more pain.  That was Friday.

I had been thinking about the logic of stretching my calf to relieve the pain in my achilles. Everyone says to stretch by leaning forward with the foot on the ground.  Yes I can feel the stretch in my calf, but I also feel the pull on my achilles.  Then I thought, many people will tell you to take time off from running and let it rest to get past the issue.  So why am I stretching and pulling against it if it needs to rest?  Finally I got a foam roller to roll on my calf.  I am to roll until I feel a knot and then hold the knot until it releases.  This I did.  But it is hard for me to spend more than a few minutes doing this along with other stretching, running, family, work, dog, etc.

All that to say, I did something Saturday night that allowed me to begin my run on Sunday with NO pain in my achilles.  I ran 8 miles until I began to feel a little pulling.  It was amazing to me.  It is like when it is hot outside for weeks and one morning you go out and it is cool.  Wow, what a difference.  You notice it right away.  That was my run yesterday.  Zero pain.  Ahhh.

So what did I do?

I laid in bed while TJ and my Lovely Wife and I watched the first Spirit of the Marathon.  I put my left knee up with my foot on the bed.  I took my right leg and set my calf directly on top of my knee.  Then I dug in.  I could apply as much pressure or as little pressure as I wanted.  I finally found a spot on the outside of my calf that hurt a lot, so I worked that area for over an hour.  It hurt, but it was easy to continue.  I just watched a movie and did about 20 minutes on and 20 minutes off of allowing my knee to massage and kneed my sore calf muscle.  That was it.

The next morning (Sunday), I got up out of bed for the first time in a long time with no pain.  I knew I did something right – finally.

I’m not saying that I am fixed.  After my run yesterday my achilles was pretty sore, so I did some more work on it last night, but not much.  I feel asleep too fast.  Still, I now know an answer that I hope will permanently fix my achilles.

Time will tell.

It was a good long run by the way.  I did well until the 12th mile and then stated to fade.  Much better than last week.  So I am making progress.

12 weeks until the Lehigh Valley Marathon!  I hope I’m ready.

My virtual coach – a big help running

Yesterday’s run went well.  It was a bit tough since I had run so late on Friday, but not too bad.  No walls which is good and since I ran early in the day, it was cooler.

I have been really trying to follow my virtual coach’s instructions on my run (from the iSmoothRun app).  I think this will be a huge help in my marathon.  I have issues with starting too fast and then burning out quickly.  Since I have been using it the past two days, I not only start slower, but I keep a fairly consistent pace throughout  my run.  This has helped me conserve energy and be able to finish much stronger than I used to.

Today will be a good test.  I am going for my long run of 13 miles (TJ did 21 yesterday – wow!).  I am going to do the first mile slow to warm up (especially my achilles) and then try to keep about a 9:30 mile.  That has been my pace as the heat has hit.  I did get up early so that I can get my run in while it is still the cool of the day, but in the South, mornings can be hot even before sunrise.

Anyway, I will use my virtual coach today and see how it goes.  I hope to finish my 13 miles feeling good and get my confidence up for longer long runs as our marathon is just 12 weeks away.

On a side note, the cooling shirt that TJ got me for Father’s day that I was so excited to use for the first time on my long run was way too small.  Very strange as I got a large.  It wasn’t even a comfortable tight.  So I’ll take it back today and hope they have an extra large.  I am disappointed, but at least I am running most of my run before the heat kicks in.

Happy Fathers Day to all you dads.  Go for a run and everyone have a GREAT DAY!!!

5 reasons my run went so well yesterday

No walls!

It was a much better run yesterday and I never had the moment of, “I can’t go on”.  It felt so good to me and was the first time in weeks (other than my trail run last week with @BigBigGeek) I had such a great run.  What made the difference?  I think it was several factors; some changes I made and some circumstances.

1) The weather – It was about 5 to 10 degrees cooler when I ran, but still humid and felt hot to me.  Though going from mid 90s to mid 80s must have made a difference.

2) My virtual coach – I have written before that I use iSmoothRun as my running app.  It really is a great app and I have stopped looking further for anything else.  One feature is that a pace can be set for each mile (I chose 9:30 since that is the average pace I have been keeping in the heat) and the app will tell you during that mile if you need to speed up, slow down or run steady.  I tend to start slow to warm up and then go too fast if I feel good and then I have nothing left after 3 miles in the heat.  This app kept me in the 9:30 – 9:15 range, so I never went too fast.  I think it really helped!

3) My cool hat – No not cool as in looks, though it isn’t bad looking, but cool as in temperature.  It is made by Columbia and really works.  As I got into my run and started sweating I felt much cooler. I then felt my hat and it felt like someone poured cool water over it. It is supposed to lower the heat by 5 degrees.  I’ll take that!  I think it made a huge difference.  TJ is getting me the shirt for Fathers Day – I can’t wait to try it!

4) Eat half a Pemmican energy bar. This bar doesn’t taste good, but does seem to keep the energy going without peaking like gels do.

5) I am just an awesome runner Not there yet, but I am trying. 🙂

So all in all it was a really good run.  I kept waiting for that “feeling” of not being able to go on, but it never came.  It was such a relief.

This morning it is cool and 75 degrees outside so I need to hit the road.

Thanks for reading.