Ecosystem Update

 Each year around this time, there is one thing common to all of us – the New Years resolution! We may not formally state that we want to eat better, exercise more or aim for a more healthy lifestyle but one way or the another, when the calendar flips to a new year, most take it as an opportunity to start anew and aim for a new goal. For me, I use the change as an opportunity to evaluate what is working and what needs improvement as it relates to my running (and life as well). The first major change I made was away from being Mr Roboto! Today’s change (and teased in the previous post) is to my Ecosystem!

Before going into my new system for 2016, let’s quickly review my old one from 2015. 

  • Many Devices: As I wrote in Roboto, I was running with four devices: A Garmin 220, a Mio HR, a Fitbit and a Garmin Footpod (for the treadmill). This would cover all my exercise and daily movements but I looked stupid AND I had information gaps. I was taking running numbers and putting them into Fitbit. I was taking exercises with my Fitbit and putting them into Garmin’s connect site. This creates gaps and inaccurate information. 
  • Multiple Website: I had one site for my food (Loseit), four for running and some others for diet advice. Too much!
  • Diet: With the Lose it website and app, I was confining myself to a given number of calories each day – when combined with my workout calories, I  could get an idea on how much I could eat each day. Problem with such a process though was at times I would see a gap in my calories and eat more because “I could.”

Ok, so that was the gist of my old ecosystem which did help me in losing some weight and feeling healthy. BUT did it really help me or hurt me overall? I ran 950 miles from April to December. Was the weight loss from the running (and not from my dieting) and would have it been more if I was not eating extra food because I had room to do so in my calorie counter? My answer right now to that question is yes…thus the “new” ecosystem!

Echo II

Remember the Ghost Busters? They had an Exto-1…well I have an “echo 2!” With this new approach, I have simplified things and removed some bad habits in the process. Let’s evaluate the key pieces of Echo 2.

Devices: As I have posted recently, I purchased an Garmin 235 watch which tracks all of my activities and my heart rate (plus links to my phone for texts!) in one place and location. This immediately took the place of three devices – the Garmin 220, a Mio HR and the Fitbit flex. (I still have a footpod for the treadmill but that is out of the way on the laces of my shoe – out of site, out of mind). With the one device tabulating all of my activities, things are more uniform now, flowing  directly into the Garmin Connect website providing me all the information I need to evaluate my health stats. This eliminates what I think were gaps from the old system.

Improved Eating Habits: One of the benefits of counting calories over the course of a year is that one will try many different combinations and types of foods to hit the calorie goal daily taking into account carbs, proteins she fats. From this “testing” I gained a great understanding of what helps me and what hurts me. For example, removing gluten helps me fight PsA (Psoriatic Arthritis). Gluten raises the level of inflammation in the body and by removing this and the accompanying inflammation, PsA’s attacks on my body are slowed. 

So now with the diet removed, my goal is to take all of this “new” found knowledge and habits to become more healthy and a better runner. I believe that dieting and running cannot coexist. Eating better more healthy food and running can coexist!  The foods that I have added to my healthy side include the aforementioned Chia seeds, kale, many vegetables and the removal of Fried food (plus gluten). So I proceed through 2016, let’s hope that I maintain these new habits!

Water consumption: This was not an original part of Echo one per se. But over the course of the year, it became a major part of my day to day health. I consume at least 4 20oz bottles of water each day. This is very helpful for running because I never get dehydrated! In addition, each day I put 2 tablespoons of Chia seeds and an 1/3rd a scoop of Endura into one of these 20oz bottles. This mix had given me a noticeable energy boost and has helped drive down my minutes/mile pace. 

Training Improvement: Last year my training was largely distance based. My goal was to increase the distance so that I could run an half marathon comfortably. I realized with the help from a close friend that I should be doing other things within my training. And 2016 I will be doing a wide range of new training actions!

  • Fartleks: I will be incorporating a bunch of these each week. Goal to expand them to 400 yards in nature near sprint speed level. This should help with hills that I don’t encounter on my rather flat routes in Boston. 
  • Hills: MORE OF THESE! Enough said.
  • More Long runs: I run on average about about 6 miles per pop. I need more runs in excess of 10 miles. Further, I need a 2+ hour run each week as well to get ready for the marathons I hope to run this year.
  • Have fun: I need to enjoy the running this year and focus less on how fast I ran the give route. 

Running for a Cause: In 2015, I ran some miles for @charitymiles. This year I will be focusing on the charity that is personal to me: @racinforacure. My running is done to fight back this brutal disease. And I believe that the more movement I do through running and cross training, the more likely I will beat this disease back! If you battle arthritis, consider @racinforacure! 

So there is my 2016 version of the ecosystem. While it will not find and trap ghosts like the Ecto 1, I hope it helps me as I develop into a good runner and be an much healthier individual. 

Thanks for reading


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