Archive for August, 2009


Saturday, August 22nd, 2009

When running, I like to use the Android App CardioTrainer on my G1 phone. It keeps track of the distance I’ve run and the time, but what I really find useful is the “voice prompt” feature that uses a synthesized voice every minute that tells me the current distance time and pace of my run. This feature makes it easy to follow the clock so that I can change from running and walking at the right time.

The app also has music integration so that I can listen while I run. This feature works less well, but it seems to be a shortcoming of the phone hardware rather than the app. When the app is running (querying the GPS for my position every second, playing the voice prompts etc.) the music sometimes breaks up. This state will sometimes persist for as long as 20 seconds and is very annoying. It seems that there isn’t enough CPU to do everything at once. This problem exists whether I’m using the apps built in music integration, or playing music in the background. It’s possible that they will make the app efficient with future updates, but there is a limit to what they can accomplish.


Sunday, August 16th, 2009

I’ve started running as a supplemental exercise after my experience with heat exhaustion.  I tried running when I first returned from New York because I was exercising so much less but I ended up with a knee injury. I’ve been determined to avoid injury this time. My mistake the first time was that my cardio conditioning was better than my leg conditioning so my heart let me run further than my legs would. This isn’t a problem now or I wouldn’t need the running.

I decided, after a little reading, to alternate running and walking to allow recovery during the exercise. The first time I alternated every minute, which allowed me to go about 35 minutes of exercise. I’m sure that I could not have gone nearly that long if I tried to run the whole time, even if I kept the pace very slow. Since that time, I’ve extended the time before changing so that I’m running and walking in the same proportions but I now run five minutes before  I start walking. My plan is to start increasing the running time while leaving the walking time at five minutes to increase the intensity. I am now running/walking about four miles which I do in about 45 minutes.

When I started running, I had a lot of soreness in my lower legs and I worried about getting shin splints. I tried getting better shoes, and while they are very comfortable they didn’t help the soreness. I did some reading about shin splints and found some articles on the web that said that they are caused by heel to toe running. I had read some in the past about pose running, which appealed to me because of the connections that I see between it and martial arts training. I hoped to connect my understanding of correct posture I had gained from Aikido to better running and the idea of conscious running (by which I mean focusing on form during activity as a type of meditation) might help my Aikido in return. My first attempt at focusing on form was to concentrate on the alignment of my feet during running. My right foot has a tendency to point outward in comparison to my left foot. I thought that this misalignment might have caused the knee injury from my first attempt at running. This concentration may have exasperated my leg soreness by causing more tension in the muscles. Pose running talks about meeting the ground with the feet mid-sole instead of heel to toe running and concentrating on using the hamstring to raise the feet up and down as the most efficient way of running. Part of the reason that heel to toe running causes injury is that you tend to pull the toes up to put the heel down which causes more strain on heel impact. Then you tend to push off with the toes engaging the calf muscles. Pose running teaches that this action decreases the efficiency of running. I found that by changing my gait to mid-sole contact and concentrating on relaxing the muscles in my lower leg throughout my gait gave me immediate relief from the leg soreness that I had been experiencing. This gave me immediate feedback on my running form.

I see a connection between this and the “unbendable arm” in Aikido training where the arm is kept relaxed in natural as a way to accept force. When running down hill I try to avoid reaching with my feet to the ground, but instead keep the knees slightly bent with the lower leg muscles relaxed just like with shomenuchi ikkyo you shouldn’t reach with you hands but keep the arms curved and relaxed at contact. Pose running has more to teach, but from what I see it has connections to some of the same universal principles that are used in Aikido.

I’m exercising in the morning on the off days from the Aikido morning class so now I’m waking at about the same time every day during the week. I usually sleep in one morning on the weekend so that I’m running three days a week. I’ve already noticed some benefit to my endurance on the mat, but I consider the first real test will be the Fort Lauderdale Winter Seminar (for which I’ve already bought my plane tickets). I’m worried about maintaining this schedule when the weather gets colder. Ill have to get cold weather running clothes.