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Make Running Fun Using Technology

Month: May 2016

Weekly Internet Finds – May 29, 2016

During the day I work in technology (Systems Analysis, Software Engineering) and follow most things that have to do with science and computers. When not at work I am often involved in running related activities as well working on my computer and playing with my electronic toys.

As I travel the Internet, whether for work or at home, I stumble upon tidbit of information that involve both technology and running. These may be product announcements, advances in sports, improvements in technology, bloggers opinions, etc.

Below are some of this week’s (May 23 – May 29, 2016) interesting tidbits I have collected and think might interest others:

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Marathon Running Series

When I first started running and decided to run in Nashville’s Country Music Marathon the following year, I learned that it was just one stop in the Competitor Group’s Rock ‘n’ Roll Marathon Series. This is a running series that I have become very familiar with, having run in 16 of their races in numerous cities. As I’ll describe below, no matter where you decide to run one of their races you can be sure you will experience a large, well organized, meticulously planned, race – some might say a entertainment package where you sweat a little. You know what you are getting. This however is an advantage for some, while a disadvantage for other because it is commercialized and maybe lacking “individualism” (I am not one of those).

A running series is of course a group of races that have a common owner or collaborate together. Sometimes you will compete in the whole series during a season, but in most cases, you will simply pick and choose which ones to run depending on the date or the location. Occasionally by participating in more than one stop in a series you will receive some sort of recognition (possibly an additional medal, some extra bling in your race bag, or some clothing).

Generally with an established series you know the producing company has staged a race before and is familiar with all the planning necessities and possible pitfalls. They may have some local representatives, but they also have a corporate team who assist with planning, logistics, marketing, legal, and finance which can make things run a little smoother.

With that said, they don’t always have the “local” flavor that a non-series race has. Sometimes what sets a non-series race apart is the way they go out of their way to make sure the finishers medal is definitely one-of–a-kind, or they put something different in your race bag.

It had been a while since I looked to see what series are out there, so when I recently did a search I was excited to find that there are great number of them (I stopped looking as there were so many). Many look fun and I think I might start planning on participating in some of the races.

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Weekly Internet Finds – May 22, 2016

During the day I work in technology (Systems Analysis, Software Engineering) and follow most things that have to do with science and computers.  When not at work I am often involved in running related activities as well working on my computer and playing with my electronic toys.

As I travel the Internet, whether for work or at home, I stumble upon tidbit of information that involve both technology and running.  These may be product announcements, advances in sports, improvements in technology, bloggers opinions, etc.

Below are some of this week’s interesting tidbits I have collected that I think might interest others:

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Math Formulas for Runners

Running logs are on my list of topics I am planning to write about. Whether you use a paper log, an electronic version, or an online source, there are lots of options. Until I have an opportunity to write that post, I thought I would put together some basic and useful math formulas. These can be used for your running logs or while doing some calculation. Later in this post I’ll show you how to use some of this math in your spreadsheets.

The information in this post is very easy to follow but I am assuming nothing and will start out very simply (explaining everything) and bring everyone up to the same level where I discuss the spreadsheet formulas. If you are just looking for the formulas, jump down a little bit past the explanations. This post is sort of an “all in one place” cheat sheet.

Time / Distance / Pace

These are probably the most basic, and important pieces of information that we runners record. Whether it is to measure progress or to take a snapshot of where we are, every runner wants to know how fast they ran (pace), how far they ran (distance), and how long did it take them (time or duration).

If we have any two of these values, finding the third is no more difficult than using the corresponding forms of the following formula (these three are the same formula but in different forms):

pace_time_distance_formulas

Let’s begin by making sure we understanding what these formulas mean, how to use them, and finally how to implement them in our spreadsheets (ex. Excel or Google Sheets).

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Does Running Get Easier?

Originally the title of this post was, Running Does Not Get Easier. Having finished the post and going through a number of revisions I don’t know if that is true – it might actually be easier as you will read (but I won’t admit it and I’ll deny if asked).

Since the first days I started running I have gotten faster, can go further, don’t get winded, and my muscles no longer hurt, but damn it seem like running isn’t getting any easier. If you told me when I took up running about the gains in speed, endurance, and strength I would have just assumed that that also meant that running would become effortless – a breeze or a “walk in the park”. NOPE, it is still hard. I am no longer worn out as much after I finish a run and recovery is almost immediate, but I am still sticking to my belief that running is not getting any easier.

I think when you start out running (as a beginner) it is always hard so you just push through; you knew what you signed up for and you tough it out. When you are an experienced runner and you happen to have any difficulties over a particular level, you are surprised and perceive it as being harder.

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The W’s of Weight Loss

A very important disclaimer: I am not a doctor.  Everything written below is either from my personal experience or gathered through research.  I make no medical claims.

Seven years ago I was overweight; a lot overweight. To lose the weight I tackled the problem scientifically and lost 50 pounds in a short period of time (two to three months) – there was no magic pill or secret potion. Basically, I needed to burn more calories than I consumed. I also had to make sure I gave my body the nutrients and basic needs it wanted so it did not feel like it was under attack (by my diet). Those last two sentences are the facts of weight loss; the only valid facts. When someone you know loses weight, the only reason they do so is because their body burned an excess of calories. No matter what you see on TV, read on the internet, or hear from your friend’s aunt who has finally found the best wonder diet (this being her 4th – this year), weight loss can only be accomplished one way.

The only way to lose weight: Burn more calories than you consume.The Law of Weight Loss

Some of you are thinking to yourself, if it is that easy then why are so many people unable to lose weight? Many things are easy to do if you are trained properly or have the right information, but you will fail horribly if you do them incorrectly.

For many weight loss can be hard to do, and it does not happen at the speed we would like; it can (and will be) frustrating at times.

For the remainder of this post I am going to give you my W’s of weight loss so you can assist your body in burning extra calories and create a caloric deficit.

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Race Review – 2016 Rock ‘n’ Roll Nashville Marathon and ½ Marathon

Just the Facts
Date: April 30, 2016
Location: Nashville, TN
Participants: 30,000
Weather: Cloudy/Rainy, mid 60° F
Races: 5K, Half Marathon, and Full Marathon

About the Race

For the previous 16 years this race has been known as the Country Music Marathon. This year however, to conform with the naming of the other Competitor Group’s series races, it is now named the Rock ‘n’ Roll Nashville Marathon (actually the full name is the St. Jude Rock ‘n’ Roll Nashville Marathon and ½ Marathon).

RnRNash16LogoIn its 17th year history, this will be my 7th consecutive year to run it; six years in the half marathon and one year where I mistakenly thought the full marathon would be fun (I would like to blame it on my youth, but it was only last year and I’m not young by any definition). This is generally my last race of the season as racing in the south after the end of April is difficult due to the heat. Not that you can’t race in the heat, it is simply tough mentally and physically to train in the heat and humidity – the races are easy since you only have to motivate yourself for under 2 hours early in the morning, but training sucks when it is hot and the humidity prevents the sweat from evaporating.

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