Runstreak Day 11

Time flies when you are having fun. It’s been 11 days already since I started a little experiment with running every day.

In those 11 days, I’ve run 78km. The longest run was the first (15km at the Midsummer Night’s Run). The shortest was 4.5km with Lindsey on day two.

It’s Fun!

Streak running is really quite enjoyable. It turned out to be a lot less difficult to get out for a run everyday than I would have anticipated, and a lot less of a grind than marathon training (since the mileage is less per run).

Running 5km or so takes me about 25 minutes and I can almost always find time for that at the end of the day.

I’m also starting to get a bit more repetitive with my routes. I’ve got a fairly flat 5km from the house that is my nightly run if I don’t have other plans.

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I’ve also started running more at work (twice so far). It’s not all that tough to get 5km in at lunch since we have a shower at work and the Martin Goodman Trail is just down the road a bit. There’s also the possibility of a pre-work run that I haven’t done yet and then the run commute option.

“How are your legs?”

My body is holding up fairly well. That was my biggest fear going in, and it continues to be something I’m keeping an eye on. Having never run more than four days in a row, the prospect of daily running made we wonder how my legs would react.

Stretching and rolling has kept things in check so far, and outside of some IT band soreness and a bit of a tired lower leg on the right side, I’m doing fine.

How long will I go?

My initial goal was seven days. Now I’m looking at 30 days. After that, probably a calendar month (September). Once that’s done, I’ll probably start thinking about 100 days and the end of the year. From there? Who knows.

I can see how these things get started…

Run Streaks

I’ve never been much for run streaks.

But seeing a few friends take on the challenge of daily running recently has inspired me to try something different this year.

With no race on the horizon, and no real training schedule to follow right now, it seems like a decent time to string together a run streak.

For a runner who rarely ever ran on back-to-back nights until this year (and then only ever three days in a row), the idea of stringing together weeks of daily running is a bit scary. I wonder whether my legs will hold up, and whether I can find the time on a daily basis to fit in a run.

Why now?

I didn’t intend to start a streak now. It’s probably a dumb time, actually, considering that a really hard, fast 15km run in the Midsummer Night’s Run race was day one. I guess everything has to start somewhere.

Day two was an easy run with Lindsey. Day three was a 6km recovery run around the neighbourhood. Day four was the first run I did simply to continue a streak and . I had no reason to run tonight, but I went out to keep it going.

Fitbit’s fault

I also blame my Fitbit for this. As happened yesterday, I was about 2,000 steps and two kilometres short of my daily goals of 10,000 steps and 8km of moving. I’ve got a Fitbit streak going as well – 15 straight days meeting my daily steps, distance and activity minutes goals.

Those daily Fitbit goals are pretty strong motivators.

The rules

It’s probably worth putting some streak rules in place. Streak Runners International uses a literal “daily mile” – run at least one mile (1.61km) each day to continue the streak.

I’m going to aim a bit higher than that and try to run 3km or more. For me that’s about 15-17 minutes a day. I’ll define running as a pace of 6:30/km or faster. That gives me some leeway in the event of a minor injury that slows me down.

I guess that makes it official!

Back to Racing

I’m running the Midsummer Night’s Run 15km race this evening.

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It’s a fairly unique summer race that takes place down in the Cherry Beach and Leslie St. Spit areas of Toronto every year in the middle of August.

What makes this different from other races is the theme, and also a commitment to sustainability that extends through all aspects of the event.

It’s less of a serious race, and more of a fun, fast run. It’s chip timed and people take it seriously, but there are also tons of people who run it in fairy costumes and other whimsical garb.

On the sustainability front, the race organizers do things like limit the amount of paper and other disposable stuff in the race kit. At the end of the race, rather than getting water in a plastic disposable bottle, you get a Planet Forward stainless steel bottle with delicious Toronto tap water.

Proceeds from the race benefit the Hospital for Sick Children in Toronto.

My race plan

I haven’t been pushing things since the BMO Vancouver Marathon in May, but I have been getting back into the four or five runs a week groove of late.

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I’ve never run a 15km race before, so it’s a guaranteed personal best for the distance tomorrow night. I’d be happy with a time of 1:20 for the 15km, and super ecstatic with anything close to 1:15.

Whatever the time, the primary goal is to run well and have fun.

Back to Physio

I finally got sick enough of this lingering ankle soreness to go to physio to see what I can do to get rid of it.

The diagnosis was what I expected – tendonitis across the ankle. The problem was tightness (as usual). However, this particular muscle is very tough to stretch out.

The treatment is some deep massage and rolling along with icing after running and the usual acupuncture.

I’m hoping this clears things up so I can continue to build up my weekly mileage and maybe take a run at 1,800km for the year.

Aggregating Health and Fitness Data

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I recently picked up a Fitbit Flex to add to the data I’m collecting about my health and fitness.

That means I have some insights into how much physical activity I’m working into each day. It also tracks the quality and duration of my sleep.

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We also recently added a Fitbit Aria scale to our household. It sends weight, BMI and fat percentage information into the Fitbit dashboard via wifi.

Add in a Garmin GPS and heart rate monitor that I use when I run, and I’m starting to aggregate a fair amount of data about myself.

Silos everywhere

One of the frustrations of this category of devices is that the data generated ends up inside individual silos. Garmin Connect stores my heart rate data along with pace, distance, cadence and other running metrics. Fitbit stores steps, weight and sleep data.

I use a service called FitDataSync to copy the weight data from the Aria scale into Garmin Connect. It also copies a bit of the running data into the Fitbit dashboard.

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But there’s not one place where I can bring everything together, and that’s frustrating.

Will Apple’s Health app be the solution?

I’m hoping that Apple’s new Health app that’s part of iOS 8 is a service that brings that data together in a way that allows me to look at everything in one place.

I also hope that it brings some context to the data. Is the sleep I’m getting good? Is my weight healthy for a person of my age? Do I get enough physical activity?

Here’s hoping someone starts taking all this data and starts answering some of these questions.