Monday, May 17, 2010

miles, shmiles

I think I ran five kilometres.

In fact, it may not have been the first time.

Saturday I officially finished the Couch to 5K program. I ran my last 30 minutes with guidance from Get Running, my favorite C25K app. It was a good run, though a little cold.

Sunday I decided to run again. I thought it would be good to get in the habit of running as close to every day as I could manage. There are people who do that, right? I'm sure I've read about people who run five miles or five kilometres every day....

I learned I wasn't anywhere near being able to run every day when I hit the 17-minute mark and had to start walking. My legs were so tired.

I tried running again after a minute or so, but it was a no-go. I walked for another two or three. Then I was able to get back to running. I finished the last kilometre or so that way.

Because I wasn't relying on Get Running anymore, I decided to try a new app. I've used Map My Run a few times online and had intended to get the paid app, but after I read some reviews at the iTunes store, I went with RunKeeper Free instead, and I had a fantastic experience with it.

In fact, I learned something significant: I was much closer to running 5k than I'd ever believed.

My route, according to Map My Run, was 1.44 miles long. I had clearly indicated that I'd gone in one direction for a length of time and then returned the same way, and that's the distance Map My Run gave me.

RunKeeper not only clarified that I'd done more than 1.44 miles, it showed me each kilometre there and back. Just check out the map above to see what I mean, then compare it with this one.

Holy crap! That's five kilometres on there! w00t!

Yes, I walked some of it, but damn, I'm close! I thought I had ages to go before I hit the 5k mark.

I'll be buying the 'pro' version of RunKeeper soon, but I'm pretty impressed with the free one. Even the RunKeeper Web site is worth a move from Map My Run; it doesn't have that horrid advertising all over it and it gives me clear maps, elevation representations, speed and pace information, and practical options to configure. Best of all, every user gets the same experience; a fee will get me more detailed reports about my fitness activities but I'm not nearly anal enough for that, yet.

By the way, the app isn't the only new technology I've added to my running experience: I dug out a heart rate monitor I'd purchased when I used to cycle regularly. It needed new batteries - and changing the one in the watch portion almost caused my head to explode - but it's given me a good idea of how much work I'm putting into the running. It's also given me a desire for a better monitor, one that can track calories - RunKeeper Free told me I'd burned 423 calories on Sunday, which sounded very familiar - but I've spent quite enough money on this activity in the last month. More gadgets and gear will have to wait.

Oh, and so will another run. But my legs will thank me for that.

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