Over the past year, I have been employing an ecosystem of apps and devices to help me become a more efficient runner as well as a lighter one!. And this is not my first “ecosystem” but one that has followed many failed ones during my lifetime. When I was going knowhere last winter (as the snow piled up outside my window) and my successes were not showing, this ecosystem almost ended up in the scrap heap though! Flashforward to today and such did not happen…it has succeeded…so far!
Let’s start in describing my system and its parts. In short, it covers my weight, my running and my daily fitness and health. It includes websites and devices. These pieces all seem to work well together. Here is a rundown
- Start with Activity – Fitbit: I had got a Fitbit flex for Xmas the year before and used it here and there to get myself out of the chair and walking around. The flex served as a great mechanism to do such and it also helped with my training for the RTB. But while I was getting active and getting more healthy, food tracking on the Flex was somewhat cumbersome and the information from the app was not exactly useful. Enter option 2!
- Weight – Lose It: With this option, I realized I needed to know what was beneficial and not so beneficial foods (more of the latter unfortunately) that were entering my system. I needed to address the amount of food I was eating and I needed to find out what was hurting and creating inflammatory conditions within my system. Enter Lose it! After a month, nothing special occurred but I was eating better. That was not enough though and I became a bit annoyed and lacking patience! I wanted it to work now or at least show progress. So that led me to find more options to accompany this app and what better than exercise.
- Running App – Runkeeper: So after dealing with the Flex app which was not great for running, I signed up for Runkeeper. This app had it all: maps, stats, numbers…everything that I was interested in and thought was needed for success – and it was from this point, in October of last year that I was “off” so to speak on the race for better health. I started running a few times a week and then I started running more as it got colder. I was at 235lbs near the middle of November.
Ok, so at this point of the story, things are moving forward. I was mapping out runs and keeping track of my distances and as the distances and number of runs increased, the weight began to drop. Through late February, I was under 220 (15lbs better) but felt I needed more!
That “more” was a half marathon in Newburyport, MA. In order to do that I needed better routes, more miles and more information. So how would I get to that point? Let’s call it phase 2.
- Starts with a Clock and heart rate – Garmin 220 and Mio Wrist HR: Leading up to the race, Runkeeper was keeping me in order but I did not “understand” my running. I needed to know Cadence, HR and pace as well as how I was doing against others (very important in measuring my success of actually finishing a race). These devices provided that information and made me a better runner. Improvements in Cadence and the resulting shorter strides helped with knee pain. The awareness of my heart rate helped me push harder and increase my speed. The competition against others gave me an idea of what goals to aim for.
- The Final Piece – Hoka Cliftons: I ran with Asics for much of my running life with the GT 2000 3s as my choice and used them throughout the summer. I tried the Gel Nimbus’ in September but was not impressed (the gel broke amazingly and Asics disputed such). The Hoka One One Cliftons though have changed my running for the “much” better! My pace is faster, my weight is moving lower, my health continues to improve and now I am seriously debating my next running move – a full marathon!
So there you have it. My “system” so to speak. Since I started the system, I am down 42lbs. My goal is another 20 because as my weight drops, my times have improved. Thus I continue on! In another year I will update you on my progress. Hopefully this is helpful for those looking to build their own ecosystem!
Thank you for reading.