This post is going to be directed mostly at physical fitness and connecting with others in the process. The first two paragraphs are about my own progress as of late and what I plan to do going forward. Later on, I will get into ways of connecting with others through fitness social media.
I mentioned in my last post that I was considering the Mickelson Marathon. Well, I did it! I’m signed up for the run on June 2nd. My heart was pounding when I hit submit for my payment! I have been sitting on the couch for most of my adult life, watching Netflix, playing X-box or laptop games, and my feet kicked up. My co-worker’s inspiration led me to sit on the couch less and start running. For six weeks I trained for my first 5k. Now, I’m no speed demon only running between a 12 to 13 minutes mile pace, but I am not on the couch…as much *sheepish grin*. After the 5k I started extending my run to 4 miles instead of 3. I went with my co-worker on a Saturday and ran 8 miles, the week after 9 miles, and tomorrow I will be doing 10! I could not be doing this without the strength of God! I can tell you with absolute certainty that much praying goes on after mile 4. This pretty much sums up my running experience over the last two months or so.
Now that I have pulled the trigger and have paid my entry fee into the Mickelson Marathon, other aspirations have been added to my mind. I have decided I will start to use my cross training days to start learning and doing what is necessary for a triathlon. I started with swimming today with my ultra running co-worker. I was shocked to find out that a person can sweat while swimming! I drank my 64-ounce daily fluid requirement in pool water until I figured out how to breathe air instead of water. It’s all in the form with free style swimming. I only swam 300 yards and I was done! I plan to add the swimming three days per week so I should see improvement over time. I will add the bike riding at some point, but I know how to ride a bike, I definitely need more work on swimming. Some people will think I’m crazy for doing this, but I also plan to start a low carb, high fat diet while I train for the marathon. Keep in mind I am looking to complete long distances, not short intense workouts. If I can get my body to burn fat efficiently, over the long haul I will be able to maintain energy. I read from an article in Runnersworld.com about a man who did this kind of diet over the course of his marathon training, so I know runners can eat this way and still maintain if not improve performance. Here is a link to the article: https://www.runnersworld.com/nutrition-weight-loss/a20858231/can-eating-more-fat-make-you-a-better-runner/ I, however, am planning to “complete, not compete.” If you plan to try a diet such as this and you are not sure if it will improve performance, do some research. There is not much out there yet. I plan to give a lowdown on my progress as I train on this diet, so if you are the type that likes to analyze data, have at it!
Connecting With Fitness Social Media Applications
I can only speak about four Fitness Social Media Applications. These are the four I have used and my thoughts on them are as follows:
This is my favorite so far. I use it on my cell phone and it tracks my runs with or without GPS, depending on if I am running on the treadmill or the road. GPS tracking is extremely accurate. It tracks my time, splits, elevation, and distance. You can add, follow, and encourage friends as they log their workout times. It will also track achievements and personal records or “PR” on segments or total distance times. Strava will track Running, biking, swimming, and other types of workouts. I am always looking for more people to follow and encourage so connect with me, Kevin Shepard, on this app if you wish to join me. This app has a free version.
I purchased the Fitbit Ionic for my first fitness tracker. It’s pretty good, although I may go with a Garmin for my next one. What I like about the Fitbit is the social aspect. You can friend others, create challenges, set goals, track food, water, and exercise, and customize the watch face with apps. If you have friends who own a Fitbit, it is easy to connect with them as well. Feel free to add me on this one too, however, at some point in the future I plan to switch to a Garmin, so Strava will still be my most used program. I also like how my workouts in my Fitbit can transfer or upload to Strava. The data does not go the other way, however. It seems redundant to have Strava on my phone and my Fitbit going at the same time, but I am able to determine the accuracy and keep up with two social programs at the same time this way. Plus, I can’t call for help on my watch if I get injured on a long run, but I can if I have my phone, so I will not likely run without it. This app is free with the purchase of a Fitbit.
Nike Run Club
This is the one with which I started. I liked that you got badges and audible encouragements for a job well done. I may have stuck with this one if I didn’t switch to Strava. It seemed pretty inaccurate when I was running on a track or treadmill, off sometimes by a half mile giving me 9 minute splits when I know now that I’m running more around 12 minutes per mile. If I indicate I am running outdoors, it tracks by GPS making it quite a bit better on accuracy. Whether you choose Strava or Nike Run Club, it will likely come down to how many of your friends are using it and which one YOU feel does what you want it to do. This app has a free version also.
I liked this one because of the game feel that it provides. You basically go on your run and throughout you have a story going in your headphones about making it to certain locations, avoiding herds of zombies, and picking up items toward your mission destination. Don’t worry, the app uses your route and does not tell you where to run. This app also has a 5k trainer that I used, however, you can only go so far before you have to pay to unlock future missions. I am not certain about the social aspect of this app either as I did not look for anything about adding friends and tracking progress. Running with this app was just fun! When I am trying to log my runs, analyze progress, and encourage others along the way, it is just one too many things to add to the mix. If you are just out running for the fun of it and not currently training for an event, I recommend trying it at least once. I mean, it’s running from virtual zombies. How fun is that!
Finally, if you are not tech savvy, don’t like to use apps like these to track your fitness, or just simply want to encourage others with your progress because you still have a flip phone and not sure when you will ever get a Smart Phone, then you may comment on this site to encourage and inspire the readers to engage in healthy lifestyle choices. I look forward to connecting with you all!