My Garmin died. It was a slow passing. The battery just wouldn’t charge anymore. Thankfully, before it got into this state, it hd a full charge, so I was able to use it for a few days, fully aware that the end was nigh. I kept trying to plug it in, in hopes that it would charge again. That didn’t always help; one time the plugging in got it to turn on while I wasn’t around so that all that happened was that the battery drained. But I’ve had it since 2013, eight years, so I can hardly complain.
I ordered a new watch via Amazon, so I had to improvise for the few days I was between Garmins. Thankfully my Apple Watch can track me, although I prefer a dedicated appliance. But for a temporary basis, it was fine. It did mean I had to work a bit more to transfer the data to my online tracker, but that was hardly a deal breaker.
Eight years of scientific progress has changed Garmins. There are a whole bunch of new features that quantify aspects of my runs. And I am a complete junkie for statistics.
Unfortunately, I think the new watch is interfering with my Apple Watch. Not via electronic communication, but through the statistics. My Apple Watch trusts the information from the Garmin over its own data. And the Garmin track calories burned differently than Apple does; it separates active and resting. This wouldn’t really be a problem, but my Apple Watch gives me a pleasant reward animation if I can keep the calories burned above 1000 each day. And it keeps track of the running total. So on a day when I ran 25km, I only did 900 calories worth of effort. I think I’ve fixed that, but I worry about the future. You shouldn’t change your measuring system in the middle of scientific research.
One of the new measurements from the Garmin is my cadence; the number of steps per minute. I’ve been told that I SHOULD try and have a cadence of 180 steps per minute as this encourages shorter strides. I’m usually around 170. If I try to increase the cadence, it is quite visible on the charts. Initially for 500 metres in the middle of the run, I did my best to increase my step speed. However, I didn’t really seem to perfect the shorter stride and instead I just vastly increased my speed.
So the idea of fartleks has come around. I now try and do more short sprints within my run. I also have tried to change my Saturday runs to be as blisteringly fast as I can go, although for a shorter distance. My goal is to increase my speed so I can do the Sun Run in April in under 40 minutes.
Well, since I’ve tried doing that I have learned more about my body. Since I run every day, my body has no time to recover. So if I do anything too strenuous, it can add up quickly and start causing real pain. It is why, when it is colder out, I make sure to wear more than shorts, even though I can withstand the chill; but my knees degrade quickly if I do it too many cold days in a row. And now I’ve learned that these sprints are hard on my feet as my left foot is starting to hurt from the pounding.
I’ll try to build up speed again after the pain goes away.
But this recovery time is applicable to more than just running. I used to have a runner’s body which means I have huge leg muscles, but nothing above the waist. For the past few years I’ve been trying to do push-ups as well; usually in the evening before bed. It has been working out well, and I’ve gotten compliments on my upper body. The only problem is that I have not been able to increase my numbers. I’ve been plateauing at just below fifty for about a year. It’s made the exercise frustrating.
But last month, because of back issues, I took a break from the push-ups. When I got back to it, my limit had not degraded. And for whatever reason, this month I started only doing the push-ups every second day. Since then, I have been almost consistently above fifty, and even making new records.