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Zombies, Run! (half price)

By ActionGeek. Posted in Action/Geek | No Comments »

I first read about this app a while ago over at Lifehacker.com and it sounded awesome, but at the time I was in the middle of a non-running workout schedule so decided to put off buying it.  Well this morning I discovered that the app was currently half price (from the normal $7.99) and I’ve just decided to start a new running schedule over the coming weeks so it seemed perfect.

The app’s downloading right now (it’s a few hundred meg) so I’ll post again once I’ve had a try, but from the reviews I’ve read in the past I’m sure I’m going to love it.  Basically it’s a fitness app along the lines of Runtracker but gamified around the premise that you’re trying to escape from zombies… There are a bunch of “missions” to choose from, and you choose one before each run.  Then you run with your phone in your pocket and your headphones in, and you hear a story as you’re running where you get prompts and feedback.

The game uses your phone’s GPS and accelerometers to track your run just like most other fitness style apps showing your route, speed, calories burned etc. but also gives you the game elements.  It really looks right up my street, and as it apparently integrates well with your playlist it means I can listen to my regular podcasts or music while I’m running/playing.  I can’t wait to give it a try, which has to be good since getting out the door in this weather sometimes needs a little encouragement!  I’ll post back with a review in a day or two…

The app is currently half price (not sure for how long) for iPhone and Android.

Zombies, Run! Website





Training Schedule For Half Marathon

By ActionGeek. Posted in Action | No Comments »

Well, after being told by my doctor to rest for several weeks I’m now feeling very gittery and itching to get back to training.  Due to being laid up for so long I’ve missed my chance at entering the Perranporth Triathlon, so my training will now me base building towards starting Ironman training in January, and aiming for a reasonable time in the Eden Project Half marathon in 13 weeks time.

The schedule below is based on the Sub 1:50 training schedule on the Runner’s World website.  I’m easing into the running gradually over the next few weeks, and will need to listen to my body and adjust accordingly.  I’ll most likely cycle on most of my rest days, and will probably switch the Thursday runs (or at least some of them) to cycling too.

My goal is 1:45 which I’d be very happy with considering that Eden is quite a tough hilly course.  If I can achieve that, or at least get very close to it, I’ll feel confident going into my Ironman training shortly afterwards.

We have a few commitments over the summer, including 2 weddings to attend, and a multi-day stag do which I’ll have ti work around as best I can…

Week Mon Tue Wed Thur Fri Sat Sun
1 3M Easy Rest 2M Easy Rest 3M Easy Rest 4M Easy
2 3M Rest Rest 4M Easy REST Warm up, 2M fast, warm down 5M Easy
3 4M Easy 3M Faster than Mon Rest 4M Easy REST Warm up, 4 x 400m, 3 min jog recoveries 6M Easy
4 4M Easy 4M Faster than Mon 5M with 15 mins of 30 sec fast, 60 sec jog 4M Easy , off road REST 1M jog, 5M fairly fast, 1M jog 7M Slow
5 4M Easy 6M Hilly 5M inc 16 mins of 1 min fast, 1 min jog 5M Easy REST Wedding Wedding (5M Slow)
6 4M Easy 6M Start slow, finishing faster 4M Easy Warm up, 8 x 90 secs fast, 90 secs slow Stag Do Stag Do 8M Slow
7 4M Easy 6M Fairly fast 4 x 3min fast, 2 min recoveries 5M Easy REST 2M Slow, 1M fast, 2M slow 10M Slow
8 5M Easy , off road 6M Start slow, finishing faster 3 x 5 min with 5 min recoveries 5M Easy (6 x 150m fast strides) REST Wedding Wedding (5M Slow)
9 5M Easy 5M (16 X 1 min fast, 1 min slow) Warm up, 2 x 2M timed at threshold pace 5M Easy REST 1M Easy, 4M Fairly fast, 1M Slow 10M Steady
10 5M Easy , off road Rest 8M Fairly fast 4M Easy REST 4M on grass (6 x 200m strides) 10K Race (plus warm up/down)
11 5M Easy , off road 6M Steady inc up hill bursts 3 x 5 min with 5 min recoveries 5M REST 6M (10 x 30 sec fast, 30 sec slow) 12M Steady
12 5M Easy 5M (16 X 1 min fast, 1 min slow) Warm up, 2 x 2M timed at threshold pace 6M Easy REST 1M Easy, 4M Fast, 1M Easy 10M Steady
13 5M Easy 7M Comfortable pace Warm up, 2M race pace, 2M jog 5M Easy (6 x 30 sec fast) REST 3M Eden Project Half Marathon




Race For Life Truro 2010

By ActionGeek. Posted in Action | No Comments »

While I’ve been resting on doctor’s orders for the past couple of weeks and unable to train, my wife has been out there pounding the streets, and yesterday entered her very first running event – the Cancer Research “Race For Life” in Truro.

She was a little nervous being that it was her first ever event, and due to being away at Glastonbury a couple of weeks ago she felt that she hadn’t trained enough, but on the day she was fine.

The weather was kind, if a little humid, and it was a really good turn out of around 1,400 runners, joggers and walkers all raising money for a great cause.  The oldest runner was an amazing 94 years young, and the youngest were several babies and toddlers in prams and pushchairs being pushed along by their mums!

It’s a really great event for anyone who is interested in getting into running but is wary of signing up for a 10k.  It’s an incredibly friendly and non-competitive event, and there really are all levels of entrant, from a reasonably speedy 22 minutes to the final entrants walking with pushchairs (and one lady pulling a trolly which her dog was curled up in!)

Best of all, Cress is now training for a half marathon with me, so it will be great to finally enter an even with her… and while the doc told me to rest for 4 weeks, I feel pretty good now so I’m going to ease back into training again this week ;)

If anyone wants info on the Race For Life and to find out where your nearest event is check out http://www.raceforlife.org/

Note – new this year there is also a series of 10k events, open to both women and men.  Check for your local event at here





Life gets in the way

By ActionGeek. Posted in Action | No Comments »

No matter how good your intentions, or how important a project is sometimes things happen and life gets in the way!  For the past week I’ve not managed to run at all due to a twisted ankle, and I’ve not had time to blog due to a crazy work schedule.  These last 2 days both of those 2 things have been stressing my out, and I’ve been worried that I’ll not achieve the goals I’ve set for myself but this morning I decided not to let it get to me, and just deal with it!

While I’ve not be able to run I did swim last week, and I went cycling on a very nice Cannondale tandem on Friday.  As I mentioned in a post last month, my father in law is going to be cycling from John O’Groats to Land’s End for charity in the summer, and since he is blind he is riding a tandem.  His partner for the trip is away on a climbing trip so I offered to cycle with him so he could keep up with his training.

It had been a long time since I rode a tandem, and since his new Cannondale had double sided pedals (flat one side, SPD on the other) I decided to wear flat shoes.  That was a good decision, since finding your balance when pushing off on a tandem takes practice, but after a couple of hours I got the hand of it again so next time I’ll wear clipless shoes.

I also made time to get out and about on Saturday.  It was our wedding anniversary so Cress and I went hiking on the south coast.  I was a little worried about my ankle, but in fact it wasn’t a problem and we did a new route starting at Rinsey and explored the cliff paths around there.  We climbed down to an isolated little beach for a picnic lunch, and generally saw several groups of climbers out on some great looking granite faces… Definitely a cool spot to explore any time you’re in Cornwall!

View Larger Map

Climbers and a kayaker near Rinsey

As for blogging, the reason for not having time to get on here is mostly due to launching a new product/service for my business – Speedy Websites.  I’ve been developing the duplicateable sites over the past month or so, and last week we did all the promotions and launched the site.  I think it will still be busy for a little while longer, but it’s not as crazy as it has been so hopefully I can find more time to blog from now on… but when I don’t have time, I’m going to try not to stress about it!





The hardest part of training

By ActionGeek. Posted in Action, Inspiration | 3 Comments »

Some mornings I jump out of bed, pull on my running shoes and I’m out of the door like a rocket. Other days, like today, I look out of the window to see the grey skies and mist and procrastinate.  I missed yesterday’s run due to a head cold, so today is a catch up, and even though I’m feeling much better it was still hard to get out the door.

For me, actually getting out of the door and taking the first step is the hardest part of training – once I’m going I’m usually fine, but I guess it’s just human nature to put things off.  I catch myself checking Wired or LifeHacker for the 3rd time, or logging onto Twitter or Facebook when I know what I should be doing is starting my run.

So it got me thinking – I can’t be the only one like this, so what tricks do other people use to get that spark of motivation and kickstart their day’s training?

Well, a quick Google search showed me I’m certainly NOT the only one!  In fact, if you search for “hardest part of running” you’ll soon find that most people do seem to find “getting out the door” by far the hardest thing.  I found loads of blogs and articles on the subject (and before you ask – I did do this after my run!) and here are some of the best tips I could find:

Tips to get you “out of the door” for your morning run

  • Learn to recognise the difference between apathy and real tiredness.  There’s no shame in taking a rest day if you really are overly tired but don’t confuse that with just wanting to stay in the warm rather than getting your training done.
  • Tell yourself that you’ll only do half the scheduled run. If you really are tired, then you’ll be able to tell in the first few minutes, after which you should go home. If you stay apathetic, maybe you’ll do the half run, which is better than no run. Most likely you’ll end up doing your scheduled run.
  • Mix up your routes.  Running the same 5 mile loop every morning gets tedious, so plan some more interesting routes that will inspire you and you’ll want to get out and enjoy the scenery.  A 5 minute drive to a local beach or woods might take up a little more of your day, but the run will be much nicer!
  • Pump up the volume!  Load your iPod up with your favourite running songs, and listen to a couple of tunes while you’re getting your running gear on – that should give you a little motivation and get you “in the mood”.
  • Have a goal.  This is the big one for me, if I don’t have a goal I can’t seem to get the miles in, but if I’m working towards something specific that I want to achieve then it’s much easier.  It doesn’t matter if it’s entering your first 10, doing the Ironman, or losing a few pounds, just make sure that it’s specific and has a time element (i.e. don’t just say “I want to run a marathon”, say “I want to run the London Marathon 2011 in 3:15″ – that’s specific and timely, and should help to get you out of the door in the mornings!

Any suggestions?  If you have a tip for getting motivated and taking that first step then leave a comment!





Map My Run

By ActionGeek. Posted in Resources | 1 Comment »

I tend to use the same three or four loops for my regular runs, I just plug my ipod in and go without having to think about the route.  But now that I’ll be ramping up my weekly distances I need to work out some new routes and I was thinking about this while running yesterday when I came up with a great idea – why not create a Google Maps mashup where a user could plot their waypoints and create a local running route which would work out their distance for them!

Well I thought this was a great idea and got quite excited, and by the time I got home I was thinking about how to go about developing the site, how to drive traffic, and how best to monetize it since it would certainly be a huge success!  So once I got home I sat down at my desk and Googled “run distance google maps” just to check there was nothing similar already, and lo and behold someone already had the idea and created a very decent implementation of it!

www.mapmyrun.com is far more than just a route plotter though, there is an iPhone app, public run searchable database, and a bunch of calculators and other tools.  The map tool itself is easy to use, allowing you to set start, waypoint, and end markers and calculating your distance in real time.  It will even plot the elevation for you, allowing you to easily plan flat or hilly routes.  Here’s a screenshot of the little 3.5 mile route I did yesterday, which took about 30 seconds to plot:

I found the site really easy to use, and I expect I’ll be using it a lot over the coming months for working out regular training routes for both running and cycling, and also for planning individual longer bike trips.

I already plotted several permutations of the above route, so I now know exactly what route I need to take if I want a 3, 3.5, 4, or 5 mile run.  Also, that triangle to the top right is 1.4 miles, so I can easily increase the distance in 1.4 mile increments without having to find a new route, and as you can see from the elevation plot that part of the route is fairly flat.

I’ll be checking out the other tools, especially the training goals and plans section and I’ll write another post once I’ve tested them out, but certainly for any runners or cyclists I would definitely recommend the site even if you only use it for plotting your routes!