Sunday, March 28, 2010

i have to run for HOW long?

I can't help but laugh at a recent post of my own, the one where I complained about how long 30 seconds can feel when you're running and you want it to end.

Tonight, as part of the continuing saga that is my progress with Couch to 5k, I ran for three solid minutes. Twice.

Talk about "ouch". I still can't really believe I did it, but I did. I totally didn't bail or slow my pace or vomit. I ran three whole minutes. And then I did it again.

(I also walked for five minutes and for three minutes and for 90 seconds and then for five minutes again. I even ran for a now-relatively light 90 seconds somewhere in the middle of all that. That's C25k, childrens.)

I also fired up a new app. This time I tried Get Running.

Before I get into my impressions, I'd like to point out that before I even started the program, when I was investigating apps and trying to settle on just one that would give me all the best features, only the developer of Get Running replied to my tweeted inquiries on the subject. As a consequence, I approached my experience with a different set of expectations, though I can't fully articulate those at the moment. Suffice to say, I hoped I'd like it.

Not knowing what I was in for, I started the app setup process while cooking dinner. I didn't want to be stuck fumbling with my iPhone on the treadmill.

There are three decisions to make when configuring the app: 1. Whether or not to display the back light during the run; 2. What to do if a run is interrupted; and 3. What kind of audio cues to receive. Only the latter appears on the other apps I tried, if I recall correctly.

I made my selections - including rejecting the 'coaching and encouragement' cues - and moved on to setting up Status Updates (via Twitter). Get Running let me write my own update and promised to post it as soon as my run was complete. I've just checked my stream and sure enough, the update I wrote is there ... with a little piece tacked on at the end committing me to run again on Tuesday. Presumptuous, but I like it. Thumbs up on that feature.

I'm glad I didn't go with the coaching cues; the woman's voice is lovely and not intrusive to the senses at all, but there was more talking than with the other apps because she insisted on encouraging me a little anyway. Again, I liked it, and not just because of the English accent. She gave me gentle advance warning about the upcoming three-minute run, she gave me permission to slow my pace during that portion (I didn't), and then she congratulated me each time I made it through. She even pointed out how I'd tripled my run time in just two weeks. I felt like a hero. Even better: I felt like someone else knew I was a hero. Seriously, that's awesome.

Most important of all, Get Running let me skip the two weeks of runs I'd already done. It was just a matter of selecting the run I wanted to do and clicking the Run! button. Now, on the Home Screen, the app has inserted dates (with polite question marks, mind you) for all the other sessions in the nine-week program. It even jumps Fridays and Saturdays like I do!

I think the damn thing's psychic.

The only thing I've found so far that it doesn't do as well as the other two apps is handle my workout playlist internally. I have to start the playlist on the iPod app and then go back to Get Running for the workout. Not a huge deal, but there you go. At least I can choose to shuffle the music, something I couldn't seem to do with Couch to 5k. That app played the tunes in the exact order I'd added them to the playlist, which made the experience a little predictable.

I won't deny it. So far, this one is my favorite. I even like the way the interface illustrates the session and each run/walk period. That surprises me because when I was researching the apps I had found the screenshots of the interface dull and uninspiring. Now that I've seen them in action I feel they're plenty heartening. Watching seconds count down is one thing - even less fun than watching paint dry, to be clear - but watching a little arrow get closer and closer to the end of one of those scary aqua-coloured bars (those are the running bars) is definitely encouraging.

I'm a little sleepy now - most people are energized by workouts, I hear, but that's never been me - and that's a relief because it's soon bed time. I hate getting up in the morning and the only way I manage is by going to bed really early most nights.

Besides, Dad came home from his visit with Dotty with a box of Timbits. It's much easier to resist them if I'm not conscious.

1 comment:

  1. Hi,

    I'm extremely glad to hear you liked Get Running, and relieved after being so keen for you to try it!

    I decided to not add music control to Get Running because as far as I can see, the iPod app does an excellent job of doing that already. I'll grant that I like the idea of being able to automatically start up my music when I hit the run button: that would be cool! However, I think most people change the music that the run with each time, so they'd have to go through some kind of music picking step anyway, which greatly devalues having it automatically start. The way I see it, I'd just end up adding a lot of extra interface (read _bad) to create something not as good as Apple's own player.

    A top tip music tip – in any iPhone application, _if you have music playing already_ you can access a mini iPod controller from the current application. Just double press on the home button. This is pretty useful for Get Running, it lets you skip any tracks that aren't so good, for example. Remember that you must already have music playing though (otherwise a double press on the home key will perform the action that you have assigned to it, such as run the camera).

    Top marks for keeping on running. You are a hero :-)

    Happy Running,