Running a doodle

I know a lot of runners say that running without any gadgets sets you free and allows you to enjoy the run. I am not one of those runners, unfortunately. I need my iPhone with me for music and for the regular announcements on my progress (distance every 1km, time every 10mins). I run with the Runmeter app and having tried various different ones including MapMyRun and RunKeeper, it is my favourite. But even the best fail sometimes… Or maybe I should blame my iPhone for this epic GPS fail…

photo (1)No, I wasn’t chasing after butterflies or cute personal trainers. I was running around the track doing my tempo run (15 min warm-up, 20 min fast, 15 min cool-down). Not entirely sure what my phone thought it was doing. The map is supposed to be my tracking but instead looks like a kid’s doodle. It was my first run post-up where I focused on trying to go faster and I am beyond annoyed that I cannot actually check what my pace was.

Heart rate as in Runmeter app
Heart rate as in Runmeter app
Heart rate as in the online view of Runmeter app
Heart rate as in the online view of Runmeter app

The best I can do is look at my heart rate which quite clearly shows the increase after the 15 min warm-up when the fast run started. I am a complete novice when it comes to understanding any of the science of running (I am a doer, not a thinker..) but 180 bpm strikes me as a tad high. From the bit of googling I have done I have come to the conclusion that I am probably a high/fast beater – my heart rate is always quite high even when I am doing a “comfortable” run.

The track I did the run on, is at the local Recreation Ground. It is free to use and available for everyone. There were a few runners doing their training, some walkers and even a woman pushing a pram (not sure why you would go to the track for that). And then there were two separate schools doing PE lessons with secondary school aged kids. One school had a mixed class of boys and girls doing sprints (“Sprinters”) and the other school was all girls doing running (“Girls”). From the snippets I could understand running past, I gather the Girls were asked to run/walk for 15 minutes. To reveal my true colours as the grumpy old woman that I am, I was annoyed by the lack of respect these kids had for the other track users. The Girls took over the whole width of the track before their lesson had started and the teacher didn’t seem to give a toss. Cue a very dirty look from me after which they were herded to one side. The Sprinters however were constantly being shouted at to stay out of the way of other people using the track and I felt like waving my thanks to the guy in charge. Ok, moan over I will now get to the point (which is actually also a bit of a moan).

These kids were so unmotivated/unfit/uninterested. Most of them had no PE kit on, they were running in their school uniforms and their normal shoes. They must have been lovely and fragrant for the rest of the day… And out of the group of maybe 20+ Girls, there was only one who seemed to actually be able to run. The rest spent their time moaning and bitching and doing short jogs of 20 seconds before having to walk again. By the end of the 15 minutes the track was littered with lost shoes, girls in tears or on the verge of vomiting.

I am the mother of a 13-year old and I know how hard it is to get her interested in exercise of any kind. I know she loathes the idea of running or doing anything that might make her sweat. But witnessing the PE lessons made me even more determined to get her interested in something that would get her out of the house and off her arse. I am afraid that being forced to run around the track like that is going to make every single one of those girls hate running. I know from experience, having been forced to ski at school in the winter, how easily that can happen – I would never ski voluntarily now. Wouldn’t it be much more beneficial to teach these kids that running is first of all about the head as much as it is about what your body can do. Take them off the track and bring them to the park. Let them run with their music on . Explain that it isn’t about how fast you can go or how far, it is about enjoying it and finding out that your limits can be stretched. Running in groups can be a great help, except when the group is toxic and not motivated by helping you keep going. Β Change their attitudes and you will have kids who will actually want to do exercise rather than associate it with the pain and humiliation.

And hey, I don’t think it would hurt to get these teens out there to run their anger and frustration out voluntarily rather than have them venting it at home.

12 thoughts on “Running a doodle

  1. Funny data collection… up to the beginning of march I used Nike+ running together with my iphone and got some funny results… and it is truly annoying if half the data is useless… πŸ™‚
    Point though is… you were out there and that is what matters most…

    1. I know I should look at it thinking that my body knows the effort that was put in, whether my brain knows the full stats or not but it’s hard! I want to compare my rund to the previous ones, see if I have improved, gotten faster etc. What are you running with now?

      1. Garmin 310 XT… it is the business – coming from Nike plus this one is as accurate as you can get it… I can only recommend it… however to track progress any old thing will do… as long it tracks distance and time… fact is you’re out there… πŸ™‚ happy running…

      2. Uuuh…. I lust after a Garmin but keep distracting myself with other purchases like heart rate monitor etc. πŸ™‚ The Runmeter app is usually very good but every now and again goes “wonky”. Happy running to you too! πŸ˜€

      3. The Garmin comes with a heart rate monitor… it is a good investment if you have the spare cash… Runmeter I have no idea about… Nike plus is good – not as accurate but it does the job… you lose about 200 – 500 mtr. a run… sometimes you gain some… πŸ™‚ Nike is free I think… you have to check it out… it supports the heart rate monitor… some but not all – as far as I know…

      4. I think for me it’s a case of either keep using the RunMeter or graduate to a Garmin. The Runmeter is brilliant and works with the heart rate monitor so for now it is probably adequate.

  2. Love the doodle…my hill repeat run “draws” a dog complete with a tail (starting off), 4 legs (the 4 hills which are side by side) and a head (where I do a loop to “make” 5 miles). Fun.
    I’m with you on the “how to make exercise fun for kids” thing. When I was a kid we played outside all day (school being an interruption) and into the dark. Of course, it’s a different world now.

    1. How funny that you actually end up drawing a picture with your run! I love little things like that. I know what you mean by things having changed from even my childhood to now. Though I grew up in a small town in Finland so it was very different to the Central London we are in now. I was also out all day on my bike or rambling in the woods. You didn’t need any exercise on top of all that. A very different world…

  3. i use garmin. i have the garmin forerunner 305. i’ve had it a couple of years, so it’s not the newest model, but it’s withstood the test of time… rainstorms, snow… miles and miles of run time. it has a heart rate monitor with chest strap that some find annoying but i find to be so accurate that it is necessary. (you know, with my heart…) it has all the data at your finger tips. i think the best way to determine where your heart rate lies is to know what it is when you are at rest. if it is high when you’re just lying around, it might not be too high when you are exercising. however, if you are in the lower range at rest… 180 seems like a lot of work. for me, rest is somewhere in the 40 bpm. sometimes 50. working hard i get my heart rate to 160s. so 180 seems like a full on hard sprint… being chased by tigers. for you, if you are normally on the high end — maybe it’s not so much work.

    i’d take your heart rate when you first wake up… like before you get out of bed.

    1. I still need to check my “rest” heart rate as well as my max. My average bpm on my long runs is around 176 bpm and usually this feels pretty comfortable – I assume that I must be a fast beater. I need to do an interval run soon which will probably push my heart rate sky high. πŸ™‚ I use a Polar heart rate monitor and it’s been pretty good so far but I do so lust after a Garmin!

      1. i know a lot of people who use polar and like it a lot. that’s a good one. you must be a high beater. if it doesn’t feel like a lot of work, then it isn’t. i know when i’m working hard, and if i look at my watch, i usually know where my heart rate is… and i can see that it is above the usual range. i’m sure you can do the same. there is just a range where it feels uncomfortable. some people train completely by heart rate. i find it kind of intriguing. maybe one summer… plagued by boredom… i’ll give that a go. πŸ™‚ right now, i’ve got my hands full just keeping my lungs from exploding.

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