Timing is everything with the Fitbit

Little bit, lots of Fit

Today’s run (street): 4.3 miles

In life, timing can make a big difference. The big news that I’m leaving my company after 20 years was followed two weeks later by the yet to be confirmed news that my company is in talks to be sold. I’m unbelievably glad to be leaving before that happens. At the other side of the good timing scale, my company is (once again) offering staffers the opportunity to purchase Fitbit trackers at a sizable discount (80%). If I’d left a few weeks earlier, I wouldn’t have scored that discount.

The first time they’ve offered this, I bought a device and gave it to my wife. The Fitbit One is simple to use and it captures a copious amount of performance data. Among the metrics are steps taken, staircase climbs, calories burned and it can even track your sleep patterns. My wife uses it daily to track both her workouts and her daily steps. It provides fun feedback and motivation on its little display.

I decided to try using it because I’ll no longer be in an office where I am constantly moving from place to place. My wife pointed out that, even though I’m good about doing my morning workouts, I risk falling into a sedentary lifestyle the rest of the day. I’ve learned in business that tracking indicators (of things you can control) helps to optimize desirable outcomes. So there you go. I hope to see my new device some time next week.

This morning I went outside for a run for the first time in two weeks. I couldn’t believe that was the case until I checked my Garmin Connect logs and saw all the treadmill (and a couple of elliptical) workouts dating back to February 2nd. After checking the weather, I dressed for the cold and made my way outside. I had a slight concern about the residual snow that covered my main escape route, the sidewalks. I figured that if I felt any concern for safety, I’d do a dive into a nearby snowbank.

It turned out to be a very safe run with very few cars. The cars that were on the road maintained a respectful distance and drove slowly. Still I was hyper-vigilant because I don’t trust drivers under even the best conditions. I wore a bright orange outer layer on top to maximize my visibility to drivers. I probably could have done with one less layer underneath, but I was fine overall.

My run went well and, despite 14 MPH winds, I managed to beat my average training pace by about 10 seconds per mile. If not for the winds, I may have improved that by another five percent or so. As I ran, I thought about next Saturday when I’ll be racing in Long Beach. Last year the temperature was slightly above freezing and there was a mix of sleet and snow falling. I wore my ultra-minimal Hattoris and my toes went numb. But I still ran my fastest 4 mile race that day.

10 degree running is still better than the treadmill

Today’s run (street): 4.6 miles

It was important to me to get outside for my run this morning. The weather had kept me indoors since last Sunday, including yesterday’s treadmill session. I always feel a little cheated when I miss the opportunity to run outdoors on a weekend day. I switched on News 12 while I got my running gear organized and the temperature at the bottom of the screen showed 10°. I grabbed a few extra layers and got ready to go outside.

Despite the cold, the skies were sunny and that made it extra frustrating when it took over five minutes for my Garmin to acquire a signal. The roads were much clearer than yesterday and, once on the street, I settled into a comfortable pace. The first half mile is a gentle uphill slope and I was dealing with headwinds for most of that section. The chilly wind made my eyes water and it was uncomfortable where my glasses touched my face.

Once I made a change in direction, the sun (minus wind) made it more tolerable. I didn’t push too hard because my layers were keeping me comfortable. I targeted four miles for my run and set a route that would get me to that distance. Around the forty minute mark I saw that my performance was tracking below target, so I stepped it up a little. 

After yesterday’s hard effort I didn’t care all that much about running fast today, but I was still a little disappointed with my time. Despite the high treadmill frequency this week, I managed to cover my distance goals, including nine miles this weekend. The weather is supposed to get warmer next week so I’m hoping to get out at least once in the morning. The elliptical should be arriving soon, so I’ll finally have a cross-training option for my morning workouts.