Fit Friday: Fitness & Social Media

Nearly four years ago, one of my friends on Facebook posted a link to his run on a website called Dailymile. At that point, I had no real idea how long my runs were (sometimes I would drive my route to get an idea) or my pace. It seemed like a cool idea and so I signed up.

Since then I have become a “runner” in the fact that I run a ton, race a lot, and track probably too much information about my runs. While lots of things contributed to me becoming more committed to my running, Dailymile was definitely one of the most motivating factors. I didn’t want to see blank days piling up! And slowly, I made friends though the site. And now, I also use Strava. (At some point I’ll need to consolidate to just one but I’m not ready for that yet.)

Strava and Dailymile are great sites that allow you to post your runs (and if you use a GPS watch, you can also upload the data from your run to their site). This works because its a way to track your progress. Tracking your progress is important part of improving as an athlete. But if you’re like me, writing down things in notebooks doesn’t last long because 1) my hand hurts after writing 2 words, 2) I have no idea where I put my notebook last, and 3) there is no immediate reward for writing down my workout. Social media sites are awesome at solving all 3 problems, especially that last one. After you post your run, friends can give you “kudos” (Strava) or comment on your workout (Strava & Dailymile). Strava even has “segments” where you can “compete” against local runners on a given part of your run!

Dailymile Pro training page

Dailymile Pro training page

Strava and Dailymile aren’t your only options. Both Garmin and Nike have awesome sites to track your runs and both have a social media component. Nike’s is a little flashier for sure (and Nike has all sorts of challenges and virtual races which is pretty cool too). And then there are a TON of smart phone apps to track your runs and use as a GPS. (Strava and Nike both have great apps. Dailymile has a good mobile site (no GPS element but several apps do sync up to it) not sure about Garmin.) This means you can super lazy with recording your run: as long as you have your phone on you when you run, it will do all the work for you.

Strava Profile Page

Strava Profile Page

Whenever I have friends who ask me for tips to get into running, I always suggest joining a site like one of these because accountability is what will get you on track. I have a few friends who use Facebook the same way. Whatever keeps you committed to your workouts is what is important. And even better is when you can watch your progress, see how you improve: long runs, quicker paces, etc.

Do you use a website to track your runs? Which one and what do you like best about it?

Marathon Training – The Last Long Run

This past Saturday I ran the final 20 miler in my training for the Asics LA Marathon. It was originally scheduled for this coming weekend, but I signed up for the San Diego Women’s Half Marathon as part of the X-1 Audio Headphones team (with Elise), so I rearranged a few of my training runs to make this work.

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This training run was not easy. This was my peak weak, at the end I ran just shy of 64 miles. My legs were tired and I was running late to meet the group. But off I went. I left my house and with a little bit of a convoluted route, met up with SCE runners at Verve. Their run was 16 miles, so I had tacked on 4 miles before I started with them. Thankfully they had waited for me and we were off. We started with 5 runners, added 2 more a few miles into the run, and then added 1 more for the last 6 miles. I love these kind of runs, adding new runners makes the run feel new and helps break up all those miles!

The plan was to run 4 miles easy, 12 miles at goal marathon pace (GMP) and 4 miles easy.  I was not loving this run for the first half and keeping around that GMP was hard! At mile 15 I decided to go ahead and drop to the easy pace (but then I picked up another GMP mile at 19!). But even though I hurt and was tired, it was not nearly as bad as I thought it would be. I was ready to be done when I hit mile 20, but I didn’t feel overly fatigued and in fact, almost felt better than when I started! What!? This was a great feeling to have and made me feel like the last few months of training was really paying off. I thought back to how I felt after my last 20 miler in my CIM training cycle. I was tired, defeated, and a little concerned about the reality of running 6.2 more miles come race day. Saturday’s run was a totally different experience! Come March 17, when I’m running streets of LA, I just need to keep this in my mind!

After finishing our run, the remaining runners treated ourselves to some serious caffeine from Verve. (I swear, if I could be sponsored by Verve and The Penny Ice Creamery I’d be in heaven!) Starting and ending runs at coffee shops is the best idea, and its so nice to drink that coffee with good friends.

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So, how is your training going? Are you ready for LA or your marathon? Will you be taking on the LA/SF Challenge??

Sharing Blogs: Monika with K

Ok, I just discovered this blog but after finishing my first marathon yesterday (more on that in an upcoming blog) – I just had to share Monika’s little place on the web!

Why do I need to share it? 3 Reasons: 1. She’s a runner and has great posts about her ups and downs in the world of running. 2. She’s from SD – represent! 3. This post: “26 Reasons I Love Marathons

I love whenever bloggers have a positive spirit and have something to share. We can’t all relate to running or marathoning, I know, but just reading about someone else’s experiences makes me want to go for a run (even though my legs are so incredibly sore right now). In a world where fast food is easy to come by and finding motivation to get out there and run, a blog like this is just fantastic!

Even when Monika has rough races, her blog posts are useful. Check out this post, “Dealing with Disappointment.” Runner or not, we have all felt bad about a performance at work or school, in a race or competition, etc. I love when I find someone willing to share those difficulties in a way to learn from them – both for the blogger and the reader. She writes in this post “Distance running gives you a lot of time to be with yourself. Distance walking gives you a lot more time. I mean a lot. Its uncomfortable and interesting, and in the end there is no downside to talking to yourself, reflecting, and getting to know yourself.” How true – and how important to share.

Finally, I have to share Monika’s wonderful blog because I have support my other dailymilers. While distance running being with yourself, dailymile is not.

Thanks Monika for the great blog!

Sharing Blogs: Accomplishing Motherhood

I’ve decided that I need to share my favorite blogs here in a semi-regular fashion. I’ve listed nearly all of my favorite blogs in the column to the right, but just seeing their names isn’t nearly enough. I mean, why would you click on any link without having some idea of where it might lead you?

My first recommendation in this series is a newer blog, but one I’ve quickly fallen in love with. I found the blogger through my favorite running site, dailymile. The author always had such positive comments and sometimes even ran the same races that I ran. She had a link to an earlier blog that focused on her athletic interests (since incorporated into this blog recommendation), and then I found her on twitter and instagram (have an iPhone? download this app!). Through her I discovered the February Tights Challenge and am regularly inspired to break out my barely used sewing machine.

But she is also the author of one of my new favorite blogs and the focus of this post: Christina: Accomplishing Motherhood, Sewing, Fashion, & Fitness. (I should also point out that this blog has an awesome layout! Something I wish I had more time to incorporate into my blog). I love this blog because, like most of us, it has multiple interests. Christina shares her experiences as wife, mother, fashionista, seamstress, and athlete all in one place. Her writing is conversational and easy to follow. Her style is cute and (seemingly) effortless, her ideas make me want to dig into my closet.

But my favorite part of the blog and why I’ve decided to make it my first recommendation is her foray into sewing. I’ve always wanted to sew and have had two sewing machines, both of which haven’t seen much use. But Christina has also been learning, and creating (sometimes recreating) some great looks! I mean look at this dress transformed from a thrift store oddball. What?! I have to do that! And because I’m envious, I bought a how-to book from good ol’ Amazon.

Check out her blog (and she has some great links too!). And Christina, if you read this, thanks for entering the blogosphere!

The End is In Sight!

I know, I know… it’s been a long time since my last post. Over a month, in fact. Since then I ran another 10k (and despite not making my goal and running in the rain, still got my personal record!), went to a Padres-Giants game (Padres won!), spent some time with modern art with my of my oldest friends, went to a David Sedaris reading, and am seeing one of my current favorite bands She & Him, tonight. But mostly I’ve been reading, grading, and writing.

I had hoped this quarter would less stressful than last quarter since I didn’t have nearly as much reading assigned to me. But I didn’t take into account that I had enrolled in two research seminars (meaning I have two research papers I’m writing). I like the projects I have been working on, but have been exhausted all quarter long. But the end is in sight, the quarter (and my first year as a PhD student) ends in just two (hopefully short but productive) weeks.

Other than that, my life has been mostly consumed with running. I have been wanting to push past my current longest run (13.4 miles) and start working toward my goal of running a the Big Sur Marathon in 2011. However, my bad habit of not stretching enough has really been haunting me and my legs have been so sore lately. Today I am taking the day off, hoping to get a long run in tomorrow (if I get my school work done today). On my sidebar there is a link to dailymile. This has been a lifesaver for me! You track and log your run and other workouts, along with following others workouts. This helps me for two reasons. One, I hate not being able to post a run because I decided to take the day off and knowing that helps me push myself to run five days a week. Two, I love reading other people’s posts and running tips. It’s especially great for me since I don’t have a running partner (and Sami’s runs max at about 3 miles, although sometimes she goes a little further).

I’m looking forward to pushing myself further in both running and school work this summer. I have a convention presentation in June (look forward to a blog post about that in the future) and hope to read some of the books I’ve had to shelve during the school year. I also have another half-marathon in August. I also hope to be a better blogger over the summer!