The Daily Nerdism

Running: recap of last week running and workout activity

Over Holiday Season 2014 there was no way for me to take a few days off so I decided to take some days off last week.

As there is winter in Germany, I couldn’t really use this freetime for DIY projects or to work on my cars.
So what’s better than using this time for more sports, more running and more workout sessions?

In one of my former posts from last week I mentioned my wished mileage of 50Ks in this week and how I planned to make this mileage come true.
All in all I really made it, I did sports every day, mostly running but also some Cross Fit workouts and mountain biking.

Here a short overview:

  • Sunday: 15K –> done. I ran 16Ks on this day
  • Monday: 5K –> done.
  • Tuesday: 10K –> done.
  • Wednesday: 5K –> done.
  • Thursday: rest day –> I ran additional 10Ks
  • Friday: 5K –> done. I ran 16Ks
  • Saturday: 10K –> I took a rest day
  • Sunday: rest day –> I ran 13Ks on this day.

So summarized I ran a mileage of 75 kilometers this week. Every second day I added strength training or workouts to my running routine.

IMG_0516On my last vacation run yesterday I was really happy when I finished the 13K. My knees hurt because of the trail runs on Thursday and Friday but somehow it felt really good that I did it and that I could run so much more Ks than expected or planned.

In case of nutrition I radically reduced my sugar consumption.
I ate absolutely no candy, no ice cream, no nothing. Instead I replaced it by fresh fruits, vegetables and a here and there a steak ;).

To be honest, this week wasn’t easy and sometimes I really had to think about it and ask myself if it’s really worth but I feel ways better, totally relaxed and I can’t wait to hit the trail tomorrow.
Even my pace got so loads better thanks to some shorter runs which I used to run mostly hills and interval running.

So, whenever you plan a few days off and you don’t really know what to do in these days – try it!

Happy running 🙂

Running: easy 5K and some delicious tuna steaks today :)

OK guys, it was really hard to get up this morning. Grabbing my running shoes and motivating myself to get out and run. Weather is just great here but somehow I didn’t feel the need to hit the trail. Another 5K on my schedule was waiting for me.

These are the days where it’s highly important to have running buddies who pull you out on the trail. So after a long and enjoyable breakfast with pancakes, toast with peanut butter and some fresh food is was time to meet the guys and hit the trail.

After the first few meters I wondered myself where my issues with this run have been because it’s just a 5K, 26 mins of running.
We joined a trail where we had to run up and downhill constantly which was a great workout to better my pace. When we arrived back at the cars I even felt a bit sorry the run was almost over.

When I arrived back home I still had this feeling that I need to do something. So the best thing to do was some Cross Fit workout. I spent there a whole hour to work out my shoulders, chest and back and to be honest, a hot shower after it felt like a reward for doing something for fitness and health.

At home it was time to choose something for lunch. A tuna steak and some vegetables waited in the fridge, ready to get cooked.
It was the first time I had a tuna steak and to be honest, it was good but it’s not exactly what I would call “steak” :).

Tomorrow there is a rest day on my schedule but to be honest, I’m not sure if I wanna rest tomorrow.
I have a service appointment for the car at the garage on Friday so maybe I will use this day to rest :).

Happy running, folks 🙂

Running: 3rd day, right on schedule and how important it is to eat

Today was my 3rd day in a row running according to my schedule.

After I got up this morning it already started to snow… again! But as I posted a while ago, this is no reason not to go on a run.

My legs and knees felt pretty good this morning so before the run I had a tiny breakfast to get some energy but no filled up stomach. I ate two toasts with honey and jelly and a cup of coffee.

About an hour later I went on my planned 10K run. It was freaking cold but thanks to the right clothing it was no big deal after the first 2 kilometers were done. To be honest, between K 3 and 4 my body let me feel that it’s the 3rd day in a row I’m on the trail and the longer I ran the more my pace dropped.

Thanks to my new music playlist which gave me some extra motivation I finished the 10K within 56:21 but with some pain in my knees.

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After I came home and was done with taking a shower and preparing for the day it was time for some lunch. I had some paprika, mushrooms, goat cheese and rice. It was prepared in about 10 to 15 minutes, tasted really delicious, had not really many calories and all my starve was gone. I found this recipe on a running blog and I really like this kind of meals :).

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When I started with doing more sports I believed, as many other beginners, that I can eat as much and what I want when doing sports. This isn’t really true. If you eat the wrong stuff or at the wrong time, it really influences your performance. Especially on Sundays I go on runs without any breakfast, just a cup of coffee. This works for short runs but if I want to run a long distance run it’s just pure torture. My body screams for food to generate some power and my pace is down the toilet.

The opposite thing isn’t much better. When I ate too much my stomach is too full to run and bring performance. It feels like I’m running in slow motion and there is no way bringing my body to perform.

So as the day isn’t really over I’m packing my stuff for some cross fit right after this post :). My legs don’t really feel that well but there is still so much energy I want to power out, I can’t wait 🙂

This was my short status for today, hopefully there is some more I can tell you guys tomorrow :).

Happy running to you, guys 🙂

Running: tracking your runs – GPS watch vs. Smartphone app

We all remember the time when there were no smartphones out there using GPS to track your runs. We all used some heart rate monitors on our wrist and wrote the mileage down on a notebook.

When I started with running again, I installed the Nike+ Running app on my iPhone to track my runs and listen to music simultaneously. But especially when running longer distances I don’t want to carry too much stuff with me so I thought about using a GPS watch instead of my iPhone.

I ordered the Suunto Ambit3 Sport through Amazon and used it for 3 runs. Amazon asked € 349,00 for the Ambit3 including the HR strap.

By connecting the Ambit3 to your smartphone by using the Suunto app for iOS was just too easy and I was really exciting taking it on the first runs to get a comparison running with a smartphone app or a GPS watch.

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Reasons using the Suunto Ambit3 Sport GPS watch:

1) Size, weight, accessability and features
Of course, the Suunto Ambit3 is much lighter than the iPhone 6. I don’t really feel I wear the Ambit3 on my wrist even though it’s a pretty big watch. Wearing my tracking device on my wrist means that there is one more free pocket for my keys.

When running with my iPhone 6 I carry it in an armband or in one of my pockets. This means whenever I want to check my mileage or pace I need to wrist my arm or find my phone in my pocket. Wearing a watch on your wrist nothing is as easy as checking your heart rate, distance, pace, etc.

Another thing I really like about the Suunto Ambit3: it delivers a whole bunch of features like a coaching function, interval training, records, etc. You can also sync it with the Suunto online portal which delivers a social portal for runners using Suunto products.

2) Battery life
When using my iPhone 6 as tracking device + MP3 player my iPhone lasts for about 4 hours. Honestly, it never died while being on a run but this is because I always charge the phone to 100 % of battery before going on a run. The battery of the Ambit3 lasts between 9 and 10 hours with one single charge. But let’s not forget that there is no music player in it. Something I would miss really bad.

3) Accuracy
In general the accuracy of the GPS sensors in watches are much better than these used in smartphones. Of course this differs from phone to phone. The iPhone is pretty accurate compared to the Blackberry Z10 for instance. You don’t really notice this lag of accuracy on longer distances but when running short distances and running in the woods where GPS signal isn’t always as good you will notice the difference.

4) Waterproof
As well as the Suunto Ambit3 sport, almost all GPS watches on the market are water proof. Especially watches with triathlon tracking functions they need to be waterproof. You’re not doing any triathlon? Well, don’t forget that you’re running in the rain, too! OK, this is possible using your iPhone with a waterproof case but let’s be honest. Do you trust these cases when going swimming?

5) Ruggedness and replaceability
Let’s be honest, did you ever drop your smartphone? If you did you know how expensive it can be when the display breaks, etc. This doesn’t really matter when you drop your GPS watch.

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Reasons using a smartphone with tracking app

1) Price
Compared to the price for a midrange GPS watch a running app like Nike+ Running is a bargain. Most of the running apps costs between nothing and about € 4.99.

The Suunto Ambit3 Sport HR costs € 349.00 through Amazon which is a huge price difference.

2) additional app features
As I mentioned I use Nike+ running to track my runs. It delivers a few nice features which kind of motivate me to run a bit more or to run longer. It doesn’t only track your runs. You can attend to Nike Challenges e.g. “fit for XMAS” where you run against your “Nike friends” which the social component of the Nike+ app brings with it.

You can also win trophies e.g. fastest 10K, fastest mile and a hundred more trophies. It’s definitely a big motivation for me to break my own PRs and win virtual trophies on this app 🙂

4) other features your smartphone delivers
For me it’s one of the most important issues that I can listen to my running music playlists while being on a run. It helps me with staying in my breathing rhythm and time just flies by when running for 2 hours or longer.

Another thing I really appreciate is that there is always the chance to use your smartphone for calls in case of emergency. 

In general I think it always depends on how much you run and what your plans and goals are. If you hit the road to power yourself out and to use it as a stress reliever you’re good to go with the smartphone app.

If you’re training for a marathon or a half marathon or even a triathlon, I’m sure you’re better on a good GPS watch. It delivers you a bunch of great training and coaching programs but don’t forget you need to spend a bit more money on these 🙂

So, happy running to you all 🙂

Running: increasing speed on the trail – trying out some harder training schedule

Yesterday, I tried out another nice trail right here in the area around the place I live.

There are several woods, hills, mountains, etc. and a fantastic scenery, even in wintertime. When a friend asked me on last Thursday to try a new trail with him, I immediately agreed when he told me where this trail is.

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This 15K trail offers everything you expect from a trail in the middle of the mountains here: wood, muddy and slippery trails, some creeks to cross and up- and downhill all the time.
I heard a lot about this track and knew that there is no way running this trail without some good footwear. I used my ASICS GEL-Fuji Sensor 2 G-TX. These shoes are just perfect for this kind of terrain because it’s waterproof and thanks to it’s “heavy duty” sole it offers you all the grip you need.

Most parts of the track were covered with gravel which was sometimes really challenging, especially up- and downhill but this was nothing compared to the muddy parts. It was really hard to get enough grip there and the mud filled up the whole sole pretty fast which made it more slippery.

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It was really important to make much smaller strides compared to run on asphalt. This lowers the risk of injury a lot and you care much more what’s on the ground.

I did this 15K trail run within 1:32:08 and my legs didn’t feel sore at all until I woke up this morning. My legs and toes hurt pretty bad, although I took magnesium right after the run and shortly before I hit the rack.

When I was in this workout and boxing thing years ago I learned that it sometimes helps to work out the sore muscles the day after a hard workout just not as bad as the day before.

This was my motivation to get up this morning and start for a nice and easy 5K run after having some breakfast.

After a short stretching warm-up I hit the track. The 1st K was – as always – the worst but then it got better and better.

The result was that I smashed my 5K and fastest K records at Nike+ again! I never expected this after yesterday’s run.

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I’m off this week so let’s see if I’ll be able to run tomorrow, too. My plan was to run at least 50K this week :).

My planned schedule for this week is:

  • Sunday: 15K or more -> done
  • Monday: 5K or more -> done
  • Tuesday: 10K
  • Wednesday: 5K
  • Thursday: rest day
  • Friday: 5K
  • Saturday: 10K
  • Sunday: rest day

I never tried to run that much in one week and let’s not forget, there are some cross fit workouts I want to do but let’s see how this challenge will feel to me and my body 🙂

So happy running to you all 🙂

Running: increasing your speed brings extra motivation

Since I got infected with the running virus and run on a pretty consistent basis it was really interesting to see how fast I could higher the mileage from run to run.

My greatest issue with long distance runs was to start with a lower speed compared to my usual 10K runs.
I worked out this issue pretty fast and just love it to grap my running shoes on a Sunday morning and run for 2 to 2.5 hrs without the fear I might be more dead than alive on the upcoming days.

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But there is a flip side of the coin. The more I increased the distance the slower I got and the more long distance runs I ran the slower my pace got even on 10Ks!

It’s time to get faster and to higher my pace no matter if it’s on a 10K or longer distance. I read a lot about increasing my pace and got a few really great tips from another runner. I test this since several weeks now and my pace got much better. Yesterday, I even smashed my 5K and 10K PR.

Here the tips which helped me a lot:

1) interval training
My usual weekday running distance is a 10K.
I use the first kilometer as a little warm up.
Between K 2 and 4 I start with the first interval. This means that I sprint for a minute at full speed (100%), then lower speed for another minute down to 80%, another minute to an easy pace and then back to a sprint minute.
Kilometer 5 to 6 is there to run in my regular speed which I use it to relax before the next interval starts between K 7 and 9.
The last kilometer, K10, is there to cool down.

2) run hills
Integrate hills in your running route.
There are three hills on my track and I enjoy the uphill parts much more than the downhill parts. To increase my speed uphill I use my arms more. By increasing speed of my arms it works like a pendulum that pushes me forward (at least it feels like it does) :).
It’s more exhausting running uphill but use it to power out yourself and remember: after the uphill part there is a downhill part waiting 🙂

3) strengthen your core
Never thought this is true but since I work out my core every second day, it feels like this gives me an extra boost.
As a consistent runner you know running helps a lot to better your core muscles but if you work out our core specifically and on a regular basis it gives you more support and more speed.

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These 3 tips helped me a lot and within a short time I was able to smash my PR several times by 7 minutes.
And don’t forget, it motivates a lot to be a bit creative with your running routine and breaking some PRs 🙂

Happy running :)!

Apple to release iOS 8 update next week

BGR

We’ve been told that Apple is planning on releasing an iOS 8 software update sometime next week. Whether it’s a beta seed or a public release, our source couldn’t confirm, but the company is currently planning on making a move around Tuesday or Wednesday.

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Running: running at night use bright clothing and a head lamp

I’m sure there many runners out there, having the same issue like me. We run after work in the office is done and especially in fall and winter time it gets dark outside pretty early so we need to run in the dark.

For myself, I love it to run in the dark. On my track there is a distance of about 2.5 K without any street lights, it’s completely dark through the woods. I enjoyed this part of my track the most because it was so silent there, the perfect part of the track to get my head clean and just enjoy the run.

Running at night absolutely enjoyable but also kind of dangerous. It happened to me more than once that somebody came along the track with a  bike or a scooter and they had issues to see me running there.

So there is one rule to run in the dark: make yourself visible to others while running on the track or on the street.

This is why I really care now, to wear cloths in bright and sometimes neon colors with lots of reflector applications on it. This makes it much easer to get seen on the track and prevents you from getting run over by others.

Another gadget I can highly recommend is using a headlamp. It makes you visible for others and it helps you to stay on your track in the dark.

I have two headlamp in my running gear arsenal:

  1. SIGMA SPORT headLED 5 LED –> my primary lamp
  2. McKinley Spectrum 40 –> my backup lamp

I used them both and they work pretty well but there is one thing I don’t like about the McKinley: it’s really sensitive in case of using it in really cold and wet weather. It switches itself off and it’s just a mess. So I just use it when it doesn’t rain or snow.
This is why I love the SIGMA SPORT headLED. It’s a very reliable lamp which is even waterproof and doesn’t matter if it’s cold outside. I use it since more than a year now and never had any issues with it.

Both headlamps are absolutely light weight, but they McKinley is a bit lighter. The main reason is that it needs just 2 AAA mignon batteries. The SIGMA Sport needs three of these but because of more power under the hood the batter lasts about 20% longer.

Both lamps offer you three lighting modes:

  • bright, using all 5 LEDs by 100 %
  • dimmed, using all 5 LEDs by about 50 %
  • flashing

Especially when running on the streets I use the flashing mode.
You can change the angle of the light pretty easily while wearing it on your head. So there is no extra button to push to change the angle which is something I really love.

Same with the on/off switch. It’s mounted on top of the light and it’s easy to reach. Use need to press this switch, to turn the lamp on and off or switch between the above mentioned lighting modes.

The headband of both lamps is adjustable an the light holder is padded that there is no plastic directly pressed on your skin. I have to admit that I never used the lamps directly on my head. I always wear a cap or a beanie and use the lamp on it.

Price of both lamps is on the same level between $15 and $20, depending on where you buy it.

So, get your running shoes on and hit the track, no matter if it’s in bright sun light or darkest nights.
There is always a way to make your run enjoyable with the right gear 🙂

Running: get a runner, it’s not as difficult as it might look like

This morning I was out shopping and to pick up a pair of new running shoes after I retired one of my Asics.
In the store, there were three guys discussing about how hard it is to go on regular runs, starting a running routine.

To be honest with you, running was one of the sports I hate. I started several tries but canceled the planned runs after a while because of several excuses like “running is not my thing”, “there isn’t enough time for running”, “the weather isn’t great for running”.

While I restored the house there was no time for sports or going to gym on a regular basis and I stopped doing sports completely. This worked fine even a year after I finished the restoring project.

But stress level at work got much higher, I had worked out some really bad habits in case of eating the worst food known on this wide planet and I gained lots of weight.

So I was looking for a sport that doesn’t take too much time but offers me the possibility to power myself out and use it as a stress reliever. In June 2014 I gave running a new chance.

In the internet you will find tons of web sites and blogs with mostly great advices how to start with running, how to stay motivated and how to hang on and train for races.

I used some tips here and there and this is how I started with running:

I started with my first runs in the middle of June 2014, so weather was just perfect to start.

My first run was on a 4K track in the woods and it was eye-opening. I wasn’t able to run this distance without a break. I didn’t use one of these heart rate monitors, just my iPhone with the Nike+ app to get some time and distance.
The speed factor was another thing that worried me. In the past I mostly ran too fast which was so exhausting that I didn’t finish the wished distance and on the following days I wasn’t able to move because of sore muscles.
So running as fast that I still can talk was just perfect. I repeated this for the following next 5 days. Running every morning 4K.

At the end of the week I had no more issues to run the whole distance without a break and it started to bring me loads of fun and motivation. I took the weekend off and you can’t imagine how much I was looking forward to do another run on upcoming Monday.

In the second week I switched to a 5K track with the strategy.
1st –> try to run the track without breaks
2nd –> getting faster and get a better pace

The following weeks I added a further K every week until I reached the 10Ks. Finishing my 1st 10K was just an amazing feeling. I never thought I might be able running such a distance without feeling like almost dead on the next day.

When Winter started in Germany I switched to another running track where I could run up to 30Ks on asphalt.
I was surprised how much faster my pace go there on asphalt compared to the trails I ran before.

Since I switched to the new track I totally fall for long distance runs. It’s pure enjoyment getting my running gear on and just run, thinking about nothing else than the landscape around me and the music I’m listening to.

After running on this new track I changed my running habits.

I run on every second weekday between 10 and 14Ks. On the weekends, mostly Sunday morning I do a long distance run of at least 18Ks and more. The longest distance I ran in since then is 27Ks. This was the toughest run I’ve ever made but the feeling when I crossed the imaginary finish line was just priceless.

And exactly this feeling keeps me running run for run.

So my resolutions for 2015? I want to run my first half marathon this year. I’m already signed in to a half, so let’s see how this works out 🙂

AT&T will soon sell an even sexier version of the BlackBerry Passport

Thank you AT&T for selling the sexier version of the BlackBerry Passport. These guys changed exactly these parts of the device which I don’t like that much and which make it pretty awkward to use.

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BlackBerry’s Passport is a beast of a smartphone but now it looks like BlackBerry has been working to smooth out some of its rough edges. AT&T announced on Wednesday that it will soon start selling the BlackBerry Passport, which arrive on the carrier with an exclusive new design that features round corners instead of the sharp ones featured on the original device, as you can see in the picture below.

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