Sunday, April 24, 2011

April Update

In my first post, I laid out some criteria for the results of this test, and I think I should systematically address them.

  • Will I still be wearing these or other minimalist shoes? -Yes, I'm still wearing minimalist shoes.  They are not a cure-all, but I feel worse in regular shoes, and I have much better balance and coordination in minimalist shoes.
  • Will I have hip, knee, arch, or heel pain? - Some.  Hip pain is still there, but is less intense and I have exercises to combat it.  The pain is immediately relieved when I do these exercises.  I also do these before I run, as they loosen up the hip and knee joints.  I have no knee pain.  Arch pain occurs when I overdo it and don't take the next few days off.  Heel pain is still there, but is decreasing in duration and intensity after rising.  Sometimes I can get up in the night and not have any pain.
    • Tai Chi Stances, my version is slower, higher, and focused on control, a balance and weight bearing exercise: 
    • One Leg Balance and Squat:
    • A humorous look on the Asian Squat: 
    • Will I be able to increase my activity level without putting on arch supports? - Yes.  I'm still non-athletic, but I'm no longer toeing the line of disability.  I wear no arch support unless I've had a sudden increase in activity and need a few days to recover.  It usually takes overdoing it a few days in a row to cause issues.
    • Will my other fibromyalgia symptoms decline when I reduce this alignment stress on my body? - Yes.  Fibromyalgia is treated with mild exercise, which I am now getting regularly.  The introduction of a puppy to the bedroom makes it hard to test if it's now easier or harder to get up in the morning, I haven't much of a choice once Erin starts sniffing me.  I do sometimes go to bed really early to catch up on my sleep, but it's effective, I'm not still tired after getting a 10-12 hour night.  I only take my muscle relaxants when I've overdone it and can't work out the kinks in a day or two.
    • Will I be able and willing to walk the dog all the way around the block at least once a week instead of just walking him in the yard all the time? - Yes.  My dailymile records show I've done at least two miles a week for the last seven weeks.  I did four last week and regretted it, but I'm slowly improving.  I started with multiple 1/4 mile walks a week, and I can do a mile at a time when fully rested now.  If I incorporate running into the walk, I can go about a half mile.
    Overall, the experiment is going well.  The benefits are not just from the shoes, but the shoe change got me to the point where I could do the exercise that brought about the other changes.  I can feel the difference if I put my old shoes back on: I am more clumsy, have less balance, and after an hour of wearing develop more hip pain than usual.  The experiment officially runs for two more months, but if things continue as they are, I will be able to declare success with minor modifications of the theory at the end.

    Thursday, April 14, 2011

    Android DailyMile Apps

    I was recently given an Android phone for my birthday, so i'm playing with the available apps.  I've found two that are useful for updating DailyMile.
    DailyMiler is a simple app that lets me log into DailyMile, and provides a nice little interface for entering workouts. It doesn't do the title field, or the advanced features like equiptment, but handles basic run data well.

    Run Free integrates GPS and a timer to help you log the run.  While running you can cycle the screen to see lots of useful data about your run. It does not seem to have a lap feature, but it does allow repeats of previous tracks, with comparison to your last or best run on that track. You can upload your run data to Facebook, Twitter, or DailyMile. The upload is automated, but it only accepts the "How did it go?" field, autopopulating time and distance.  It doesn't upload the GPS track or any other optional dailymile fields.  The look/feel of the app is so professional, it's dissapointing that it is not fully featured, and the paid version doesn't list any more features than the free one.

    Overall, both apps are nice, but neither one replaces the functionality I get entering or editing my dailymile entries on the PC.

    There are lots more training apps not related to DailyMile, you might look into them.  I'm looking at some of them and wishing I had waited on buying my HRM, as there are bluetooth HRMs available that integrate with these apps.  The bluetooth HRM is a little more than the one I bought, but together with your android can run all the super-fancy GPS & data logging stuff the really high end ones have.

    Friday, April 8, 2011

    Crazy Busy

    Barefoot runners talk a lot about Too Much Too Soon (TMTS).  But sometimes in life "soon" isn't the factor, sometimes we just do too much.  Hopefully I can balance all the priorities I have this spring.

    The new puppy needs lots of training and exercise, and has had enough housebreaking issues that I need to get home every 5 hours to take her outside.

    Victory Gardens
    I'm starting a new community garden at church.  I've got a bunch of seedlings started, that will need attention over the next couple months, then they will go into the garden and need attention further away from the house.

    I've commited to making a wedding scrapbook for my sister.  I will be seeing her in July, so I should at least have major progress made before then.

    I've recently picked up this art and some new tools, and would like time to play with it.  The things I've learned so far have been useful in shoe making, and I'd like to make some more fashionable custom shoes, maybe a purse, maybe a fancy cover for that scrapbook of Darlene's.

    I have recieved an agricultural billhook for my birthday, and would like to aquire some skill with it.  At current I'm only skilled enough to maul bushes and saplings, but that's a start.  The end goal is to learn how to make pleachers, for hedgelaying.

    I've found some nice sales on books, and have accumulated a significant reading pile.  (Search by subject on amazon, then sort by price.  I found one vendor just trying to get rid of old books that wouldn't sell.  One went for $0.01, another for $0.03, shipping was the only significant cost.)  I also still have some balance left on my Amazon gift card, and a bunch of Kindle samples to sift through and pick which I wish to buy.  Some of the books relate to the previous subjects, and will be first to be read.

    I'm trying to slowly increase my capabilities for running and walking.  Luckily this goal lines up with the exercising Erin one, so it's less likely to be neglected.

    I've knocked minimalist running discussion groups off the list of things to do.  I think I have the basics, I just need time to implement them.  I have my Kindle if I need a break moment to read and learn.

    Friday, April 1, 2011

    I'm going to waste my money on an HRM

    A heart rate monitor, depending on who you listen to, is an indespensible piece of training equiptment, or useless deadweight on your run.

    Polar FT1
    I debated for awhile, as I don't think it's going to be a huge boost to my training, and I didn't want to spend $100, but I found the Polar FT1 has a chest strap, is highly rated for accuracy, measures current, average, and maximum HR in a workout, and is only $59.99 at a store near me

    Timex Zone Trainer
    Reviews critique the one button interface and the cheap wristband, but I'm not complaining at $60.  The $100 Timex with more buttons and a nice strap does not have a maximum HR per workout function, runs it's calculations a bit off, and has quality control issues.  (Seems every so many are just not put together right and have to be returned.)

    If you're not insisting on a chest strap/target zone training, there's a $20 finger contact one with pedometer included at Sam's Club in the vitamin/med/weight loss section.  I didn't consider this an option, as if I just wanted a fingertip test while not running, I can use the wall mounted one at the track for free.
    I expect to not use the HRM much after transitioning from run/walk to all running, but might use occasionally for pacing when trying to increase endurance.

    I dowloaded a book sample on heart rate training and couldn't stand the author.  He was making assumptions about me as an athelete that were not true, which led me to believe that buying the full book wouldn't benefit me much. 

    With no concrete training goals, I can adjust my HR target values based on preceved level of effort remembered after the workout.  My goal is to increase duration and regularity of my workouts.  If I need a day off after a workout, that's too hard.

    Several formulas that give me MHR from 177-189 (turning 33 this month)

    Helpful zone calculators