If you follow me on Twitter or Instagram you will have noticed I went for a run yesterday. Exciting I know! Well I have been trying again to help my bike fitness by adding some other exercise to my routine. Running is an easy one to fit in to short spaces of time and if I get fit enough, I am sure I will find some pleasure in trail running at some point.
So I said I needed to do a little something every day in June and today I did a little run.
6.1km after work took me about 35 mins. Doesn’t too bad but something was a bit dodgy about the first km as it looks like I had the Strava app paused for most of it!
I wore a pair of North Face cross trainers that I have had for a while, they seemed like they should be perfect for the job. I was wrong. While they are comfy to wear they don’t have enough bounce for running.
To add to the pain I climbed 90m over the duration of the run too – I really need to find some flat areas to run!
I have mentioned previously that my mountain biking came about by accident a few years ago. Having done various forms of martial art over the years (tae kwon do and shotokan karate), it had been a while since I had done any proper exercise so I decided I would try running. Even the smartphone apps and music couldn’t keep me interested longer than about 3 weeks, so I gave up.
It was going to be some time before I was going to notice any improvement in fitness or ability and I gave up long before either. I don’t regret it as such as I bought a mountain bike and my life changed, but looking back now I wish I had stuck at it a bit longer.
Different forms of exercise can compliment and benefit each other and a friend of mine recommended I gave it another go to help with cardio fitness. So a few weeks ago I dusted off the trainers and went for a run.
2 miles and the next day my quads were aching! I hadn’t really stretched so I suppose I had it coming, was this a good idea? This time with Strava and some automatically generated goals (best 1km, best 5km etc) and a new found love of stats and of course a desire to get fit I stuck at it.
Gadgets help me and I really like my Garmin Vivofit and the Garmin Connect App. These along with Strava are helping me record my activities and encourage me to get off my back side.
Now only 3 weeks and a handful of runs later I am running 5km under 30mins and I have set my self an adventurous goal of running 10km by the end of the month – that’s only 10 days away!
I have a cold this weekend so I’m not doing anything to make it worse, but 10k by the end of April is a must. While it’s not a cycling goal it’s a fitness goal.
The Garmin Vivofit is one of the latest in a growing selection of fitness bands / watches that are available from numerous manufacturers. What is it? Well its a digital watch and pedometer that keeps track of your daily activity by counting steps. I don’t usually wear a watch; I usually get bored of them and very rarely use them to tell the time any way – I am either in front of a computer, the TV or on my bike – all of these places tell me the time if I need them too.
Since starting a new job in January my car is right outside the office instead of a quarter of a mile away and I am on an industrial estate rather than a moderately interesting high street, not forgetting the lack of stairs in my new workplace. The result is I used to walk about 2 miles a day without even thinking about it, now I’m lucky if I walk half a mile and no stairs! Yes I have put on some weight!
With Winter my bike riding dropped and with the change of job my stair climbing and small amount of walking stopped – I needed to get fit again. I stumbled across the Vivofit by accident and being a gadget fan I instantly fell in love with the idea of a watch that was going to measure my activity levels. Pedometers are not a new invention but these new digital ones with accelorometers in them work really well and add a level of geek and tech to the boring step counting functions.
Vivofit links to your smartphone and synchronises with the Garmin Connect website, this means you can view all your activities together. Keep track of the steps you have taken (or distance you have traveled), along side your bike rides (mine are uploaded from my Garmin Edge 800. You can set daily targets or allow Vivofit to target you based on the previous days activity levels. Link it to a heart rate monitor and you are ready to go for a run also.
My fitness routine has changed and now I am running a few times a week, taking walks at lunch time and trying to increase my bike riding.
Visit the Vivofit website for the full details, but I will summarise by telling you that it prompts you if you have been inactive for an hour by displaying a long red bar on the display. Then every 15 mins it displays another shorter one until another hour is up. Take a look at your wrist and you will see you have barely moved and its time to take a break from the desk and go for a 5-10 min walk. Not only is this good for your health and fitness, its also good for your productivity at work and your eyes if you are a desk worker like me.
Displaying your steps taken so far today, calories burnt, distance traveled and the time its a mini personal trainer on your wrist. As I said above I don’t really wear a watch. but I have hardly taken this off for 3 weeks.
Vivofit wont be for everyone and I may get bored of it, but at the moment while I am trying to get some fitness back and lose some weight its a constant reminder of how inactive I really am!