Well, it’s a half-marathon to be exact (and if you want to get REAL specific, we’re talking 13.1 miles or almost 21 km. Eep!). If you’ve known me for a long time, you’ll know very well that I’ve never been a runner. At all. But a few months ago, my fabulous publicist friend, Caroline Lennox, asked me if I wanted to train for the Niagara Falls International Marathon with her, and I rather spontaneously agreed! Key motivators? I wanted a new challenge to overcome (especially something that would let me work my body and fitness in a way I never had before) and I knew that I would be much more motivated to train for a marathon with a friend rather than on my own. All in all, it seemed like the perfect opportunity at just the right time.
This marathon has also opened a door for me as a new contributor for Woman.ca, an online women’s magazine that calls itself “the web’s first ’social magazine’.” I’m really pumped to be writing again. And yes, my first article has a bit of that endearing geeky Nat flavour (you DO find it endearing, right?:)
Here’s a link to the article. I’m also posting it into my blog, just to have it here. Cheers!
Running 2.0: iPhone Apps
“Pocket-Sized Personal Trainer”
I’m a woman in my mid-20s and a few months ago I made the decision to become a runner. I have never been an athlete. In fact, I used to avoid breaking a sweat whenever possible. Frankly, the only type of athletic activity I’ve ever enjoyed involved 90s dance music and aerobics. I’ll shamelessly admit this often included dance parties for one in front of my bedroom mirror.
Why running you ask? It seems that training for a 5K run or marathon has become one of those rites of passage to becoming an adult in the 21st century, right up there with “establishing a rewarding self-made career” and “buying a home”. I realized I was at a point in my life where I wanted to try something that not only was going to challenge my body in a completely different way, but my mind as well; something that required an incredible amount of self-motivation and focus. And let me tell you, training for a half-marathon (specifically the Niagara Falls International Marathon in this case) is exactly what the doctor ordered.
As a gal who loves her technology, I immediately decided to scour the iTunes Apps Store for any gems that could help me with my training. I’m happy to report that there are a few options to explore. Here are some of my personal favourites:
1) RunKeeper by FitnessKeeper, Inc. - This is one I’ve enjoyed using the most so far. It enables you to track duration, distance, pace, speed, total rise, elevation vs. speed, and a map of your running route. It’s very user-friendly and can be used concurrently with your music (bonus!). On top of tracking the history of your stats within the app, it also records your runs on your personal web dashboard on the RunKeeper website. Being able to see your progress is especially useful while trying to keep yourself motivated. The major difference between the paid and the free version seems to be the audio cues you get with RunKeeper Pro. Although not mandatory, audio cues are incredibly convenient and somehow help to keep you going.
2) Trainer Lite by AppLabs.nl - Although not as fancy as RunKeeper, I found this to be a great tool for a running newbie like me. It’s simple but to the point and does everything it says it does with barely any glitches. Not unlike RunKeeper, it tracks your time, distance and speed, as well as maps your route. However it also comes with a “Training” mode that eases you into running, complete with audio cues prompting you when to switch between running and walking; it’s like a personal running trainer in your pocket!
3) Runner by DeltaVee - As with the previous apps, Runner covers the basics like tracking your distance, time, speed, pace and even energy consumption. The really unique thing about this app is it lets you customize your run based on whether you want to fulfill a distance-based goal or a time-based goal. It also uses the internal GPS to track your route on a map display and it provides spoken feedback during your run, even on top of your music. The is the latest one I’ve been using, so I’m still familiarizing myself with it, but it’s definitely one of the more detail-oriented applications out there, which is KEY with keeping your motivation up.
Aside from the slew of applications out there, the internet has a wealth of running-related websites to help you with your progress, many of which I’ve explored and will be sharing with you in part two of this series Running 2.0.