Cool Running

As you know, for the last eight weeks I’ve been using the Couch to 5K (C25K) app on my Android to run three times a week. My partner did the same program on his iPhone. I’m not totally up to speed on the differences between the two versions, but it’s obvious to me that the iPhone app is vastly superior to the one I have on my Android.

For reasons I’ll never understand, I have to limit the number of apps I download to my Android to avoid running out of room. I had to delete several apps to add C25K. The Weight Watcher’s app is too big for my phone, no matter what else I delete. Consequently, I keep my phone stripped down to just the apps I actually use.

When I run, I like to listen to NPR.  I’ve learned that listening to music doesn’t keep me as engaged as talk radio, and if I’m less engaged, the run is more difficult. Since my Android is maxed out, I use the radio on my iPod Nano. That means I listen to my Android with one ear (to know whether I’m supposed to be running or walking) and to the radio on my Nano with the other. This requires two sets of earbuds and leaves half of each set flopping around on my chest.

It’s not always possible to time my run when something I want to hear is on NPR. And if I do my run on the treadmill at the gym, I can’t pick up the radio signal. Lately I’ve been down-loading podcasts to listen to when I run. Yesterday, after I’d selected several podcasts to download, iTunes asked if I wanted to update the software on my Nano. Of course I said yes.

I’m so glad I did! The update for my Nano includes a new feature called Fitness.  I enter my height and weight, select whether I want to walk or run, how far or for how long, and then pick whether I’d rather listen to one of my playlists, the radio, or a podcast. When I’m done it gives me my total time, my pace (time to run a mile), and the number of calories burned.

Yesterday I ran with C25K in one ear and my Nano set to 5K in the other. The Nano provides much more information. It lets me know when I’ve run another kilometer, when I’ve reached the halfway point, and during the last half a kilometer, counts down every 100 meters. All while listening to either a music, the radio, or a podcast.

Today I left my Android at home and ran with just the Nano.  I’ve reached the point in the C25K program where there are no more walking breaks during the run. Now it’s just increasingly long runs. I didn’t miss the program at all, and loved having just one set of earbuds and sound in both ears.

Best of all, the ability to track both time and distance allows me to compare my performance from day to day. Yesterday it took me forty minutes to run five kilometers (about three miles). Today it only took me thirty-nine minutes.

Even though I haven’t finished all nine weeks of the program, I’m through with C25K. Now I’m using the Fitness app on my Nano to improve my performance. Eventually I’ll add distance and may even work up to a 10K. My partner and I never dreamed there would be two runners living in…

My Glass House

2 responses to “Cool Running”

  1. I can’t say enough good things about the couch to 5 k programme – I started that from running nothing and have just started writing about my journey toward my first half marathon 🙂 Keep up the great work

    • Thanks, and I couldn’t agree with you more! I remember when I thought those one-minute runs would kill me and now I’m running for 30 minutes or more without a walking break. And good luck with your first half marathon. I’m gearing up for my first 5K.