keeping track

I’m joining in with the Tuesdays on the run linkup party with April from Run The Great Wide Somewhere, MCM Mama and Patty from My No Guilt Life. Today’s topic – running apps.

I love being out on a run and, for most of the time, am lost in the moment. Thinking of whatever gorgeous place I’m running through, thinking of my breathing or thinking of how good/bad/tired/energized I’m feeling. However, towards the end of a run, I will admit that my thoughts sneak toward that moment I really enjoy – downloading my data from my Garmin to my various trackers of choice.

Garmin connect
This one is a means to an end – I only use it because I have a Garmin and this (along with Garmin Express) is how I get the information off my watch and into a useable form. The upload is temperamental but I can’t give up my Garmin because the watch itself is fabulous. So I persist. But I’ve never actually explored the features of Garmin Connect so can’t really comment on it.

I’m a recent convert to Smashrun, thanks to reading about it on a fellow parkrunner’s fabulous blog. While it has many features that are the same as all the other running tracking tools out there, I just feel like it does it better. And cooler.

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It panders to my inner collector/competitor gene with a range of badges to earn, complete with quirky descriptions and prizes of new backgrounds. It also has all the usual bells and whistles, allowing you to review individual runs, track progress over time and set monthly or annual goals.

I first started using Strava as it was necessary last year to participate in Run Down Under – a program allowing you to track your kilometres on a virtual run around the country.

It’s another one with a slick interface and simple design, yet enough details to track your runs and monitor your progress over time. I am a particular fan of the trophies that it awards you for achieving your best time of defined distances or marked segments (see, I told you I like collecting!).

The only quirk that sometimes annoys me is that it uses your ‘moving time’ rather than your actual time in a run to calculate average pace, etc, which then tends to conflict with official race statistics and every other program I track on.

I downloaded this to my Mac years ago and still like it as my catch all tracker – I tend to log runs, bike rides and swims on this so I can get a more complete picture of my exercise.

It also panders to my inner neat freak who likes things to be beautifully organised and set up (although I don’t always achieve that!) – sessions can be sorted, tagged and generally arranged how you like. Very flexible.

Best of all, it syncs with my Garmin connect account with one click so it’s easy to get the information in there.

What are your favourite apps?

parkrun launch – Toolern Creek

I made it to my first parkrun launch on Saturday – at Toolern Creek in Melton. Despite the warm, Summer weather, there was a very healthy crowd, with 212 finishers.

The highlight for me was meeting up with fellow five30runners. While I interact a lot with them online and get a lot out of the sense of community that develops, it really does add another dimension to hang out at an event in person.

The course at Toolern Creek winds its way along a concrete path by the river. The area is under development and a new Community Centre has opened just up the road, providing ample parking and toilet facilities at the start of the run. They had said the course had ‘undulations’ which I was concerned was code for ‘hilly’ but it really isn’t that noticeable (which says something as I usually notice the tiniest hill). The first half of my run was pretty good – felt strong, happy and healthy. The second half was not so good – I felt hot, thirsty and tired. Therefore I wasn’t surprised to find I got my personal worst parkrun time but I really didn’t care. It was great to have some fellow five30s cheering me over the finish line then hang around to do the same for others in the group.

This run also kicked off what I hope will be a year of parkrun tourism. This is now my third different event and I’ve been looking up a few others that could be woven into my schedule. I wonder if I can make it to all the Victoria ones by the end of year?

Looking tired, hot but happy on the return leg. Photo courtesy of Toolern Creek parkrun

Looking tired, hot but happy on the return leg. Photo courtesy of Toolern Creek parkrun

the perfect time of day for running

In the past, I’ve struggled with trying to figure out when the best time of day to run is. It’s a complete balancing act and there are always positives and negatives to whatever time I choose. Early morning runs, even for me who likes waking up early, are a challenge, especially in Winter when my bed is so warm and inviting. But running in the evening can be hard to fit in amongst the other list of things to do as well as being the time I’m least likely to have the energy. Continue reading