Sunday, 30 August 2009

And the winner is....

Following on from my last post, I have decided to go for a Garmin Forerunner 405cx. It just seemed to make the most sense out of all the options.

Given its accuracy, the ease of storing, transferring and recording data and the convenience of it also being a decent watch, it was actually a pretty easy choice in the end.

I don't think blowing £250+ on a (prospective) brand new iPod when there is absolutely nothing wrong with my current one would be the wisest move. Plus at most it would be half the capacity of my current one - meaning I would need to be selective about the music I put on there.

I was tempted by the Nike+ but it just seemed a bit half-assed compared to the Garmin for me. You know, if you're going to do something, do it wholeheartedly - the Nike+ just seemed like a cheaper and probably less accurate alternative to the Garmin.

And for the phone...well I need a phone anyways and I have settled in on one, which does also have GPS. But it is less accurate and the data transfer charges to upload my running data would be ridiculous.

So there you have it...I have just ordered mine, and I will keep posting how it goes.

Monday, 24 August 2009

To GPS or not to GPS...

One of the things that annoys me about my running at the minute is trying to track my progress. I have approximations of my times and speeds to go on, but I want some good solid numbers to work from.

I am a bit of a data monkey I guess - Number crunching is my banana. Yes I am aware of how immensely profound that sounded.

So I was thinking if I get some sort of GPS device which comes with the relevant software it will be a major aid to me tracking my progress - to track improvements, see where I am struggling, how much my speed varies...and so on and so forth.

This of course raises the question of what device to get...and hence my predicament.

I think there are realistically 3-4 options here - both GPS, and other:

1) One of those funky GPS watches which Garmin produces, costing something like £250 minimum.

2) Nike+ - which doesn't work with my iPod classic and therefore would also require investment in a new iPod.

3) A phone with integrated GPS - Nokia, Blackberry, iPhone and a few others all have such phones and you can get run-tracking software for them.

4) Potentially a new iPod touch - there's rumours afoot that this will be out in mid-September and might have GPS.

Ideally the iPod touch I am hoping for will come to fruition. Means I can be in possession of an extremely cool device, an iPod which has not been out of production and for which plenty of accessories are still produced, the GPS device I need and...did I already mention the coolness?

It means I can stick with getting a cheap-o phone as well. I really don't have great luck with phones so spending a load on one and locking myself into a contract for 18-24 months is a bit of a risk.

The Garmin is not a bad option either - seeing as there is as such nothing wrong with my current iPod and its still in pretty good condition. Only thing is its a pretty big investment for something I will probably only use specifically for running!

Anyways that's a bit of a brief overview and completely inconclusive. I think I will sit tight and wait and see what Apple brings along in its music event in September. Watch this space 09/09/09!

Tuesday, 18 August 2009


If like me previously, you have not heard of tabata training before it is basically in a nutshell:

Total 4 minute workout - that's right, 4 minutes!
In those 4 minutes you have 8 'sets' of 30 seconds each, consisting of 20 seconds of your absolute maximum effort followed by 10 seconds of rest.

The mistake I made (and you may make while reading the above) is that it sounds pretty easy.

The key word there is 'sounds'. And I say that because when I actually got around to trying it today after about 3 'sets' I realised the complete inadequacy of both my mental and physical preparation for trying this out. I am sure someone watching me would have thought I was having an asthma attack at this point while I puffed and heaved my way through another 5 sets of absolute agony.

I also realised that this method of training can have an adverse effect on one's ability to control their own legs (and their ability to stand) - I just wish I had worked that out before I got off the machine and found myself in a heap on the floor.

On the plus side, my lungs have felt cleared out all day - its a pretty cool feeling, a bit of a burning sensation if you will. Not really sure how else to describe it, but you'll probably know what I'm talking about if you have felt it before.

My heart rate was definitely higher for a good few hours afterwards as well - which I think means I was doing it right.

I gather the purpose of tabata is to improve your aerobic and anaerobic capacity at the same time - and quickly. And I can definitely see how it works.

Hopefully next time I will be a bit better prepared so I don't end up needing to pick myself up off the floor afterwards.

Til next time...

Sunday, 16 August 2009

Day 1 (Sort of...) - 16 August 2009

6 weeks until my first ever race - 10km for Cancer Research UK - 27 September 2009. First step on the way to my goal of the 2011 London Marathon.

I did consider 2010, but I figured I want to do it in a time which I wouldn't embarrass myself at - so under 4 hours - and at a fitness level which wouldn't require me to be carried home. So 2011 it is. I will be signing up for lots of other runs between now and then - 5km, 10km, half marathons. As well as my normal training and practice in between. Expect regular updates, mood swings, rants and so on.

I signed up back in April and the time is going by way too fast. On the bright side, I have managed to steadily improve my fitness levels over the last few months.

Back in January I could not run at all - on the treadmill in the gym, I considered brisk walking to be an achievement - and worked up quite a sweat!

By April I had managed to get together a bit of momentum and stamina and I signed up for this 10km. I decided to go out for a training run that weekend. I did manage to complete about 10km - took me about 90 minutes and I thought I had done well - until I got up the following morning and felt like someone had taken a hacksaw to my legs...

Anyways I think I have passed that stage - I managed to improve my times alot - second time I went out I got to 1hr 10min, then down to 1hr 6min and recently 1hr 3min!

I am getting closer and closer to that magical 1 hour mark - within touching distance - but there is still plenty of work to be done to get to that comfortably by the time race day rolls around.

Over the next few weeks I will be trying to get in 3 more 10km runs, a few interval runs and a few free sprints. Time to get a grip on the diet (woohoo!) and try to build some muscle as well.

To infinity and beyond..... well to 10km anyways.