2022 Year in Review

A quick look at a few new habits I worked on in 2022 and hope to continue into the future.

It’s hard to believe but it’s that time of year when we take stock and review the year that was.

2022 Year in Review

I’m sure all of us have things we tell our selves that we should do, stop doing, do more often or try to do less often.

I wouldn’t call them New Year’s Resolutions. Most of us realize we need to make changes throughout the year.

Most of the things I tried to do more of or less of this year are things that I’ve been thinking about for a while.

Sometimes you just have to stop thinking and start doing.

One of the Life Lessons I learned in college is that, nothing gets done unless someone does something. It’s a long story for another post. But basically it means you can’t sit around and expect other people to get things done, or trust that they will.

Often you have to take action.

Here are a few things that I took action on in 2022.

More Standing in 2022

It’s pretty easy to find news articles or blog post about the benefits of standing. 1

The term ” Sitting is the New Smoking” has become common parlance. 2

Several colleagues in my office have standing desks. Some got them for actual health reasons and some got them because they were cool to have.

Most ended up like your treadmill: the most expensive hanger you ever bought.

While the guys aren’t hanging their clothes on their desks, the standing part of their fancy desks goes unused 99% of the time.

My PT suggested one, and I started asking about one in January. My boss was unhappy that most standing desks in the office go unused, and suggested that I swap desks with one of the guys who has one.

In February I moved to the cube with the standing desk and next to the windows. Double win!

Standing all day or even for a long time doesn’t come naturally. We have become accustomed to sitting on our glutes for most of our day.

You have to consciously decide to stand. You have to do something.

Standing Desk at work, in the officeTo make sure I stand as much as possible, I raise my desk every morning when I come in. I usually stand for about three hours. Often I will raise the desk again for an hour or so in the afternoon.

I haven’t lost any weight and I don’t feel different, but it is easier do quad stretches or heel raises during the day. I’ve even done squats a few times.

Since I’m not slouching at my desk, my posture has probably improved.

More Walking in 2022

The benefits of walking have been documented extensively over the years.

It is exercise so people can loose weight, improve their blood sugar, cholesterol, muscle tone and even their sleep.

The current “standard” is 10,000 steps per day. It sounds like a high enough number to be challenging, have positive health effects and be scientifically proven on both counts.

The origins of the number go back to 1965, when a Japanese company made a device named Manpo-kei, which translates to “10,000 steps meter.” 3

So 10,000 steps is marketing. It seems high enough to be challenging which should lead to improved health, but it was dreamed up in a board room in Tokyo.

Dr. I-Min Lee, an associate epidemiologist at Brigham and Women’s Hospital, and a professor of medicine at Harvard Medical School conducted a study to test the validity of the health effects of this claim.

Dr. Lee studied 16,741 women ages 62 to 101 (average age 72), between 2011 and 2015. Her research revealed that the women in this study who walked 4,400 daily steps had a 41% reduction in mortality.

The research showed that mortality rates progressively improved before leveling off at approximately 7,500 steps per day.

The study was of elderly women but I think it validates that any walking is better than none, and that up to 7,500 steps has a positive impact on mortality.

So don’t worry about the steps you take every day, but try to be more active: on your feet and moving.

My Garmin fenix 6 came programmed for 10K steps. Fortunately, it adjusts my daily goal down when I miss the previous days goal, and even then it’s a challenge. I find my self walking around the kitchen in the evening trying to get closer to my daily goal.

I don’t run every day, but I do walk. And while 10K may be a dubious goal, it give me something to shoot for.

Less Processed Food in 2022

I had planned to talk to a dietician in 2022. I have been thinking about this for the past few years. As I get older it’s easier to add the pounds and much more challenging to get rid of them.

We all develop bad eating habits over the years and acquire tastes for things that we should avoid or consume less of.

I’m sure there are changes that I could make that would have both short-term and long-term health effects. Ways that I’ve been eating for years that just seem normal to me.

We thought I would be discontinuing PT in the spring, but when I started increasing my miles, it became clear I still needed some help.

There are only so many hours in a day and I decided to continue focusing on PT.

During sessions, my PT and I talked about diet and ways to improve what I was doing.

With less running, my weight has gone up over the past few years.

Two things she recommended were cutting back on sugar and processed foods.

I stopped drinking soda and putting sugar in my coffee about five years ago. That was the low hanging fruit.

McDonald's, Corona VirusDuring COVID, staying away from sugar was very difficult. More than once I stopped at a McDonalds for a chocolate shake and even bought a candy bar a few times. But I’m getting better now.

At work they have a display case full of muffins, croissants, etc. I used to get one every morning until I had that conversation with my PT.

Now I get fruit and yogurt most mornings. Steps in the right direction.

We don’t have chicken patties or fish sticks in the freezer at home anymore. When my kids were young we ate that stuff probably 1-2 times a week on average. Just a bit of guilt there!

Like walking, any amount is better than none. While my diet isn’t where I’d like it to be, I did make significant improvements in 2022.

Maybe in 2023 I’ll get to work with a dietician.

More Running in 2022

It seems crazy, but I’ve been dealing with a series of running injuries for about two years. One thing just lead to another.

I felt better in early 2022 and started slowly getting back to running.

In April I got to 28.5 miles but the aches and pains came back. So in May I only ran 22.4 miles and didn’t get back to regular running until August.

In September I was able to run 50.6 miles with very little pain. In October and November I ran just over 57 miles each month with very little pain.

I know this seems like a crazy goal to most runners, but for 2022 my goal was to run 365 miles for the year. I’m at 370 as of December 21st.

My goal for 2023 is to finish The Boston Marathon!

More Stretching and Yoga

A good part of my physical therapy has involved stretching and Yoga.

Kettlebell weights, cross training, weight liftingStrength training is the other component, but stretching is a daily activity.

All runners should stretch and probably everyone should do regular stretching. All of that sitting and our sedentary lifestyle leads to stiff joints and tight muscles.

Over the past ten years I’ve added a few Yoga stretches to my repertoire. They made a huge impact on my running.

Before I added Yoga, my hips would get very tight late in a marathon. For the last five or six miles it felt like my femurs were hammering into my hip joint sockets. Like hammers on anvils.

My PT has worked out a daily yoga routine for me. Some days I add a few positions, depending on where the aches and pains are.

In 2022 this practice became routine for me. Many stretches are part of my morning or evening routine now.

I also do more stretching before and after each run.

As I train for the 2023 Boston Marathon, stretching, yoga and strength training will be integral to my training program.

Better hydration

I think that runners and athletes of all kinds understand the importance of hydration. Your body just can’t reach peek performance if you are dehydrated.

As athletes, we’re not just talking about how much water your body needs to function day to day.

green tea, anti inflammatory foodsWe are talking about replenishing ourselves during and after strenuous exercise. While most people need 8+ cups of water per day, I often consume twice that amount.

With my new Garmin watch, I am able to track how much I have consumed and how much additional hydration I need as a result of my activities.

Dehydration can cause you to feel tired or even sick. As an athlete, dehydration can cause performance issues including muscle cramps.

I enjoy drinking iced water, so increasing my fluid intake has not been one one of my biggest challenges this year. But I am paying closer attention.

Supporting local Journalism

This has nothing to do with running. But it has a lot to do with the communities that I run in.

Local newspapers are folding faster than the sports section.

Large papers like The Boston Globe or The New York Times serve their purpose. But they are not going to cover your city council or school board meetings.

The big papers are not going to write about the local rash of catalytic converter thefts and what local officials are doing about it.

They may talk about issues at the national level and use local examples, but probably not from your town.

Personally, I feel that it is important to support local journalism. And this year I made a conscious decision to buy the local paper when ever I stopped into a local corner store.

The papers are thinner than they used to be and that is because they are starved of our support. Far too many copies remain on the news rack.

I urge you to look for your local paper when you stop in to buy a gallon of milk or pick up a lottery ticket on the way home.

If no one is watching our local boards, who will hold them to account?

Water, water, no where

The most dramatic droughts in 2022 were out west with Lake Powell, Lake Meade and the Colorado River hitting record lows.

But many areas of the country experienced water issues as well.

Here in Massachusetts, most of The Commonwealth was in a state of drought for most of the year. Even in December most of The Commonwealth is still “abnormally dry” with Martha’s Vineyard and Nantucket still in level 1 drought.

We didn’t have any water restrictions, but all of this talk about drought and how we use water got me thinking.

Early in the summer I began to realize how often I wash or rinse my hands. If I am cooking or cleaning up the kitchen, I may rinse may hands 5 times in half an hour.

Every time I came inside from doing anything outside. Anytime I came home. Before and after I made lunch.

My hands weren’t filthy and I wasn’t so much worried about there being COVID on my hands. It was all routine handwashing.

You cut a tomato for a sandwich and your hands and the knife need to be rinsed. Things like that.

And all of that water went right down the drain.

I started placing a bowl or empty plastic container in the sink to catch this “gray” water. Often I would rinse my hands without soap, so this was “light gray” water at best.

As I became more diligent with my water collection, I was soon collecting over a gallon a day.

Not enough to change the world, for sure.

But it was enough to keep the flower pots on the front steps from drying out in the sun and heat. Often I used this water in the vegetable garden.

As the summer went along I noticed other times to collect essentially clean water such as:

rinsing vegetables
rinsing the coffee pot
water left over from boiling potatoes or pasta

A little caffeine or starch from pasta or potatoes wont hurt most plants.

On the days that I worked from home, I was saving about two gallons of water per day.

Even in the heat, most plants don’t need to be watered every day. I was able to rotate around the garden with the water I saved and left the garden hose on the patio.

New habits in 2023

I’m hoping most of these will become new habits in 2023.

None of them are that difficult or hard to do. Continuing to cut back and keep sugar out of my diet will be my biggest challenge.

There are many things that would be easier to cut back on than sugar!

Hopefully my running will continue to progress and I won’t need physical therapy any more.

I think New Years resolutions are a bit of a joke. People like to brag that their resolution lasted 1 day or one week. Their resolve is so weak that they can’t possibly be held accountable for any of their bad habits.

The gyms are always the busiest in January!

Did you develop any new good habits in 2022? Are there any habit you are looking to develop in 2023?

Happy New Year my Friends!

Andy

  1. https://theheartfoundation.org/2019/08/10/is-sitting-the-new-smoking/
  2. https://www.betterhealth.vic.gov.au/health/healthyliving/the-dangers-of-sitting
  3. https://www.health.harvard.edu/blog/10000-steps-a-day-or-fewer-2019071117305

150000 views and counting!

Keeping a blog going for 8 years is no easy task. COVID, injuries and dealing with the loss of family only added to the challenge.

My blog has finally reached 150000 views!

I reached 100000 views in April of 2021 and wrote 100000 views and counting! on April 30th.

It took this blog 8 years and 2 months to hit the 150000 views mile stone, and it hasn’t been easy.

Reaching 150000 views

Like many bloggers, I started out with a lot of enthusiasm and a lot of ideas. Some ideas worked and a lot of enthusiasm has wafted away like smoke in a stiff breeze.

Some people have the talent for writing and coming up with good ideas. Some people are great at SEO, which means getting eyeballs and clicks on their posts.

I see bloggers posting everyday. I see bloggers posting consistently every week or two weeks.

It takes both talent and enthusiasm to write with some consistency in terms of quality and frequency over eight years. Even for a single year.

The Long way to 150000 views

The folks who write well and post consistently are able to build a large following which generally translates to a high volume of views.

I tried blogging once a week, twice a month and once in a while. Blogging twice a week was a lot of work and didn’t really grow my blog the way you might think it would.

Blogging once in a while has lead to a slow and steady growth in people checking out what I write.

Blogging when I have something to say seems more genuine, and that’s what I look for in a blog.

As my enthusiasm waned over the years, I found it harder to maintain my enthusiasm for a topic as I wrote about it.

Most blog posts take a few hours to write. Some have many revisions. Often I would find that after an hour, I just didn’t feel it anymore. The post I was writing was not worth the effort.

My low volume of output made the road to 150,000 views that much longer.

Reaching 150000 views was challenging

In the early years I was learning how to blog and was finding my voice. The newness and the learning experience kept me engaged as much as the writing did.

The past 18 months have been right in the middle of the COVID-19 epidemic.

My blog is focused on running and when races were cancelled my source of material dried up.

I did write about a few virtual races. They’re not the same as in person races but they were convenient and I learned to enjoy running in my area.

But I only wrote about a few of them. Without going somewhere and spending time with other runners, a virtual race feels just like another training run.

In addition to my source of topics drying up, I dealt with many of the same challenges you did.

Between biology and politics, the past two years have been a grind.

Does anyone know what day it is? Does anyone really care?

Well, now that we are back to the office, the day of the week has become important again and has added some much needed structure to our lives.

I found it hard to focus. As I mentioned above, my enthusiasm for a post often waned before I could hit the Publish button.

When I found something to write about, it often felt trivial compared to what was going on in the world.

And while I wasn’t clinically depressed, I was depressed like everyone else.

Every day the numbers kept going up. Stories about hospitals bringing in refrigerator trailers to hold the bodies. And then there was all the turmoil when we finally got two vaccines.

About two years ago I also injured my Achilles. This was about six months into COVID. Just when I really needed regular running to keep my head on strait.

That cut back on my training and recreational running.

My recovery has been an up and down road. And I can’t say that my attitude was always rosy.

And with people dyeing by the thousands every day, I couldn’t bring myself to write about my own trivial aches and pains.

Reaching 150000 in spite of my self

Over the past few years several of my posts have been generating more than half of my traffic.

Omni Running blog post views by post. Blog traffic

What Distance can me child run went from 13,476 total views in 2021 to 39,672 total views as of October 28th, 2022. That’s almost triple in one year.

With people spending more time at home, working from home and having fewer activities for their kids, interest in this post just took off.

It was nice to see the click throughs to the resources I provided to help parents figure out how far their child can run at any age.

No one has ever commented that this really helped them out, but I have to believe that a few people book marked those other sites and went for a run with their child.

The next most popular post is New England Marathons Fall 2021 or 2022 now. That post went from 18,079 to 26,430 in one year.

Those two perennial posts did most of the heavy lifting to get me from 100,000 to 150,000 views.

Reaching for 200000 Views

With in person running and my ability to run coming back, achieving the next milestone should not take 18 months.

We all know that running improves your attitude and makes you more energetic.

I’m also looking to run the 2023 Boston Marathon. That journey will give me plenty to write about.

As the malaise of COVID-19 dissipates (hopefully), my energy and enthusiasm returns and interesting stories present themselves, you should be hearing from me more frequently.

Here’s to the next 50,000 views and the many good stories everyone will enjoy to help me get there.

Run well my Friends,

Andy

2022 InterSystems Invitational 5K

This week we are in beautiful Seattle Washington for the InterSystems Global Summit 2022.

After two years of virtual summits we are are thrilled to be here in person, enjoying each other’s company and having a bit of fun along the way.

InterSystems Invitational 5K

This year we didn’t plan an “official” 5K, but since many of us are runners this run sprung up spontaneously like a shoot in the warm spring soil.

Our ring leader was Don Woodlock who gathered us together at 7AM Pacific Time in the lobby of the Hyatt Regency.

About a dozen of us headed out of the lobby for a fun run in the cool Pacific air.

Some of my colleagues from Brazil were bundled up like they were going out for a February run in Boston. They thought the rest of us were crazy to be wearing shorts!

The Old Man in not Down the Road

Don said he was going to run about a 9:20 pace. Normally that would not be a big deal for me, but I’m dealing with a never ending string of issues. The past few months has been a calf strain that I got going down a flight of stairs!

Hey, I’ve heard of people breaking their leg getting out of bed in the morning! So stop laughing. 😉

They tell us that they are pretty strict enforcing the J-Walking laws here in Seattle, so we stopped at all of the lights.

This allowed me to keep up with the crew for the first half-mile. At that point my left calf started to cramp and I had to walk. A colleague from Brazil stayed with me to make sure that I was alright.

I assured him that I was and that this was an old injury that I knew how to deal with.

At this point I had to give up my dream of a nice morning run along the water front in Seattle.

It was a little disappointing, but I was close enough to the Public Market that I was able to play tourist and take a few selfies.

 

After I took these photos I limped my way back to the hotel.

I took my phone hoping to take some additional photos and possibly a group shot, but everyone else continued on what I am sure was a great run.

Normally when I travel I go out for a run or two to see the city. Running is a great way to discover a city and get a feel for the vibe and energy.

It was fun to be part of this run and I’m glad that I at least gave it a shot.

The BAA 10K is on Sunday and this makes me worry just a little bit!

Run well my Friends!

Andy

Taper Tantrums

Taper Tantrums

Originally posted April 1st, 2016 while training for the Boston Marathon. Updated September 24, 2021.

Def: Emotional roller-coaster, feeling bloated, fat, slow and lazy. An endless urge to eat everything in sight, and to seek out food not in sight. The constant feeling like you should be doing something else right now, like running or stretching or checking on the weather three weeks away.

This Saturday we had our longest run of the season: 21.5 miles, or twenty-something depending on how many times you stopped your watch or forgot to re-start your watch.

Taper time hasn’t even really begun.

Boston Marathon, taper tantrumsI ran 5.91 miles Tuesday night and cranked out negative splits on the last three miles. It just felt so good. I pushed up the hills and cruised down the hills.

Thursday the taper tantrums really set in. Something set me off in the morning and I was just kind of pissed off all day. I thought I was just pissed. It’s way too early for the taper tantrums.

As the day wore on and on, it dawned on me what was going on. I was in full blown taper mode and I had barely recovered from my long run. What is going on here?

Running with cinder blocks

Now that I’m in the early stages of mid-life, I’ve come to understand mood swings. We all have them; runners have them in spades. When I was younger I surfed the waves of emotion with little control or awareness. If I was running high, whoa! I went with it. If I was in the valley, knife was in hand. Don’t cross me. Metaphorically, of course!

Being older and wiser I can feel the engines ignite. I know what to expect and where this rocket ship is going and that no one else really cares. It’s my freakin ride, step off.

I can also feel the cold dark ugliness of the valley. Nothing is good and everything is bad. If you cross me I’m liable to cut you down in a sentence. You won’t deserve it but I can’t help it.

In full blown taper tantrum, a runner’s mood swings can be sudden, extreme and long.

I think I dove right into my taper tantrums this time because I’m running with cinder blocks. I freely chose these weights and the responsibilities are all mine.

I chose to run a marathon under-prepared and take on a fundraising commitment. I chose to start a business and try to figure everything out. I chose a demanding job. I chose all of this and take full responsibility.

I’m feeling under prepared for a marathon that so many people only get to run once. I worry I’m not showing the respect due a renowned race such as this. The Boston Marathon is not a race to be taken lightly. It is more than a race.

But each commitment and exhausting activity weighs on me. I don’t have time to be bored. Barely have time for lunch or a relaxing drink.

Running with cinder blocks amplifies and intensifies my moods and reactions. I don’t have time for bull shit.

Runners tend to be very focused. We need to get in our training and try to eat right and avoid injury. We are like a guided missile locked onto our targets. Don’t get in our way.

While people around us are tossing idle banter we are calculating the total distance we ran for the week, so far. How to get in a 7 mile run at lunch between meetings and calls. How to avoid a box of Girl Scout cookies in the kitchen. How can I get my work done and get to what matters, running, when everyone keeps bugging the shit out of me?

I love you all and everything you have done for me. But expect me to be in the valley with my cinder blocks a lot these next few weeks.

Run well and please excuse me.

Andy

I Like to Run

Some conditions are better than others, but I can find a reason that I like to run in most any condition.

I Like to run in the cold

While I’m not a big fan of being cold, there are some things I really like about running in the cold.

There are a lot fewer people around

With the COVID-19 lockdown there are a few rules we have to follow.

If you are within six feet of another person both of you are supposed to wear a mask. Even if you are outside.

During the summer our parks were very busy when they weren’t closed.

And neighborhood sidewalks were busy with dog walkers and people out with their kids.

Everyone was tired of being cooped up and wanted to get outside.

Wicked Half 2020, running 2020For most of the Summer and into Fall I had to wear a mask almost the entire time I was out for a run.

People seemed to be everywhere!

As the temperatures cooled I saw fewer people in the parks and on the sidewalks.

With fewer people out and about I didn’t have to wear my mask for the entire run.

Now that it is winter I like to run in the cold because I have the streets to myself for the most part.

I like to run in a mask

Most runners who run year-round have used a mask at one time or another.

It’s how we persevere in tough conditions.

Here in New England it’s hard to avoid running at least a few sub-zero days.

Before COVID, most of us only wore a mask when it was really cold. And most of us never really figured it out. Especially those of us who wear glasses.

I Like to Run, mask, J23Now that I have been running in a mask for almost a year, I know how to make them work. For the most part.

And once you figure out how to deal with your glasses fogging up it’s not so bad.

In fact, wearing a mask all the time helps eliminate the “It’s too cold to run” excuse.

My nose and face don’t freeze and the air going into my lungs doesn’t seem as cold either.

So running in a mask actually makes winter running more comfortable.

I like to run with pockets

Most runners need to carry a few things with them.

This usually includes a house or car key and usually a phone.

Many runners use their phone to track their run and for music or podcasts.

For longer runs, most runners will carry a gel and something to drink.

I always run with a key and usually my phone and some cash. You never know when you might need a bottle of water or even a bite to eat.

Just the basicsIn the summer time I often use a running belt since most running shorts have only one tiny pocket.

But when it’s cold out I often wear a running vest or a jacket.

In addition to keeping me warm all those pockets are a great place to stash a phone, keys and anything else I want!

I like to run in the dark

It’s cool to run in the dark

In the summer when you run after dark you avoid the intense summer sun and the heat.

Even when it’s cloudy, UV rays can still damage your skin. Runners spend a lot of time outside, so it’s important that we pay attention to our exposure.

If it’s really hot or you are on a long run you could also experience heat stroke. Heat stroke is nothing to fool with and it can kill you.

In July and August I often wait until after dinner to go for a run. In the middle of the summer sometimes even the setting sun cannot break the heat.

Of course, people need to be aware of their surroundings and possibly not run in the same areas they might during the day.

I like to run in the dark to avoid the summer heat and experience the peace and quiet of the evening.

There is something about the warm summer air in the evening.

I like to avoid the crowds

Philadelphia Marathon 2019Avoiding crowds seems to be the best way to avoid contracting COVID. Mask or not.

All businesses are required to keep the number of people in the office or dining room to 25% of capacity.

All mass gathering events such as concerts and ball games have been cancelled or played without anyone in the stands.

I like to run after dark to avoid close encounters.

Only in a park in the summer time would I see a crowd. But I have close encounters on the sidewalk all the time.

Some people are good with their mask but some people don’t even have one.

So to avoid the all to frequent encounters, I like to run at night and avoid the crowds.

I like to run in the morning

MRC Relay, let the sun shine, I like to run in the morningRunning at night is great, especially in the summer.

But running in the morning has it’s own advantages.

Just like evening running, morning running let’s you avoid the mid-day summer heat.

And the crisp air lets you know you’re alive.

Run towards the light

One advantage of morning versus evening running is light.

It seems that it’s easier for cars to see you in the light than it is in the dark with flashing lights and reflectors.

I’ve had more close encounters at night even when I’m lit up like a Christmas tree.

Maybe drivers don’t expect to see people out at night?

Down for the count

I’ve seen plenty of people fall during a run. I’ve done it a few times my self.

Most of these falls have been in the evening or at night.

And many of these falls have been on familiar roads or sidewalks.

As the shadows get longer, dips and heaves in the pavement become harder to see.

Also, the light from approaching cars can turn a sidewalk into a black abyss. In these situations you have to be very careful.

It’s very easy to step into a hole and wrench your back or twist your knee. And the sidewalk just has a way of reaching up out of the dark and taking you down.

When you go out for a morning run the light continues to improve. And this improving light makes it less likely that you will go down for the count.

We get more done before 9AM

Years ago The Marines used to run an add. The tag line was “We get more done before 9AM than most people get done all day”. I may not have the quote exact and it may have been The Army.

But when you go for a run in the morning all day you have the feeling that you got something really big done. It’s just this nice feeling of accomplishment that lingers and sometimes I forget why I feel so accomplished.

It’s easy to forget that you ran when you do it all the time. But that nice feeling can last all day.

When I don’t like to run

I guess I can find a good reason to run just about any time of day and in any conditions.

The only conditions I don’t like are in the cold and wet.

Boston Marathon 2018, marathon runningI can run in the snow and manage to stay comfortable. I can run in the heat and avoid dehydration.

When it’s cold and raining eventually you become miserable.

The 2018 Boston Marathon comes to mind!

Over time, the rain always seeps through whatever you are wearing. And when that cold gets to your skin it always sucks the heat out of your body and makes you miserable.

If you are in these conditions long enough you will suffer hypothermia. I’ve seen it happen.

I don’t know anyone who likes to be cold and wet.

I can deal with one or the other, but not both.

What is your favorite and least favorite condition to run in? Are you a morning or evening runner?

Run well my Friends,

Andy

Garmin Connect Mobile App and Achieving Goals with small data

Garmin Connect mobile app and small data can make a big difference in achieving goals. Focusing on a few pieces of data enables you to focus on goals.

I’m not a huge fan of installing apps on my phone. It seems that every event I go to has their own “cool app” to help me make the most of the event and connect with other attendees. Often it’s just app litter.

One app I’ve downloaded since the New Year and actually find useful is the Garmin Connect Mobile App. Often I find my self adding treadmill runs or gym workouts as manual activities in Garmin Connect when I get home.

Sometimes I forget to do this and I’m sure that a few workouts have gone missing. With the app I can add an activity at any time from anywhere.

Since I often run on a treadmill at work, this app has been handy.

Garmin Connect Mobile App and Small Data

Since The New Year my goal has been to run 3 miles per day on average. As such, I’ve been paying more attention to Garmin Connect at home and my Garmin Mobile App.

Garmin Connect Mobile AppThe opening screen gives you details of the past seven days. How many miles run, how many runs, how many calories burned and the last weight measure you added.

This screen shot shows how someone could use all of the features. But like most people I focus on what’s most important to me: running.

When you go to the Activities tab, you can look at your activities by the week, month or past twelve months. If you do different activities you can look how each activity is going for you.

My activity is running of course so that’s what I track.

This past week I’ve run four times for a total of 30.6 miles and achieved a daily average of 4.4 miles.

Over the part four weeks I’ve run 108.8 miles over 13 runs for a daily average of 3.9 miles.

I’m happy to be running ahead of my 3 miles per day goal.

For anyone who’s ever looked at their GPA as a Junior or Senior on high school or college, you understand how challenging it is to move the needle on a number tracked over a long period of time.

Last year my goal was recovery, running a few choice races and having some fun.

Since my daily miles were not a focus I didn’t really pay any attention to this number, My casual goal was to hit 1,000 miles but I only got to about 875 or so.

Small Data makes a big Difference

The Garmin Connect Mobile App gives you a 12 month view of your data also. Since it is a mobile app with limited screen real estate it drops the oldest month as a new one is added. So all numbers are a moving average.

My daily average has been stuck at two miles per day since January. I figured it would take months to get it to move.

After my 6.8 mile treadmill run Thursday night my number moved to 2.1 miles!Can you use small data to achieve your goals? Click To Tweet

While 0.1 miles isn’t that much it is a movement in the right direction. It’s exciting that I’ve been able to move that number at all. I didn’t expect to see it change until later in the year.

Moving a 365 day average over two months and a few weeks is very encouraging. I’m sure it didn’t hurt that as lower mileage months from 2018 fall off and the higher mileage months of 2019 take their place, this number will increase velocity toward my goal of 3 miles per day.

But at this time last year I was also training for Boston and my monthly mileage was about as high as it is now. So the movement that I have been able to make is mostly attributable to my actual running and not a change in the data set.

Later in the year as low mileage months from 2018 drop off, my daily average should really pop up.

It will be fun to see the 2019 average to date and my annual moving average improve.

Everyone is talking about Big Data these days and everyone has their own definition. I consider big data to be the process of combining data from different sources to find insightful relationships among the data points. Collecting petabytes of data that you can do nothing with is useless.

Sometimes focusing on a few key pieces of data is more insightful. In my case focusing on daily averages over both short and long periods of time gives me the insight into my progress that I need to achieve my goals.

Run well my Friends,

Andy