I’ve started running again, as you might have noticed from some of the tweets that RunKeeper has produced. It’s going better than last time, and I’ve even signed up for a 5k in April.
Here are some neat things I’ve discovered this time around:
- Born to Run: A Hidden Tribe, Superathletes, and the Greatest Race the World Has Never Seen [affiliate link] is a very good read, exactly the kind of running book I needed right now. Along with a gripping story that was a little slow to start there are a few digressions into shoes, nutrition, and other running topics. I found the arguments for vegetarianism and barefoot running pretty compelling.
- I don’t think I’m ready to swear off meat – and those who know me know how much I love red meat – but adding more beans and veggies to my diet to displace some of the lower-quality meat in my life would be a good idea. Heck, last night I even ordered fish while out with my father for dinner. I’m usually not too fond of finned food, but the mahi-mahi was very good.
- As for barefoot running, I had already been a bit unhappy with my old running shoes, and based on the comments in the book I decided to try the cheapest shoes I could find. The theory is that the excessive padding in higher-quality shoes is actually causing injury. I found some $15 Jacek shoes at Target, and they do exactly what they were supposed to: Discourage heel strikes, and promote mid or fore foot strikes. It worked like a charm. Yesterday I ran faster and farther than I had before, and today I have the pleasant mild soreness of muscles that are being productively reawakened. One run doesn’t make a conclusion, but so far it’s encouraging. $15 isn’t so much to experiment.
- I’m oogling a pair of Vibram Five Fingers, and when I can get to an REI I think I may get a pair. My wife will enjoy another ‘I told you so’ moment, as she’s always enjoyed going barefoot, and I’ve been the one saying she should wear shoes. I think I will start wearing my thinner-soled dress shoes to work to provide whatever foot conditioning they can.
- RunKeeper and Runmeter are two neat iPhone apps that track runs. RunKeeper is more polished, a bit more beginner friendly, but it’s also apparently not very reliable. I’ve had it get very confused about locations, and others in RunKeeper’s forum seem to have the same problem. Runmeter is more techie, so far is more reliable, and is more iPhone centric where RunKeeper is really an interface to a website. Both are cool, and I wish I could use both simultaneously.
- I’ve been tracking my weight with Track Your Weight, which seems unique in its ability to track % water and % body fat, which I like to keep track since my scale measures both. I find that when my weight is unexpectedly climbing, it can be traced to changes in water and body fat.
- My wife bought me a Brooks Men’s Nightlife Vest , which is about as visible as anything can be. My running time is usually in the evening, when it’s dark this time of year. It’s got a nice pocket for stashing my iPhone, and it blocks the wind nicely.