Nov 13, 2008

Running with Data: How data can inspire

Today I took advantage of the sunny weather and went for a run around the water front. It was nothing short of amazing. Crisp Autumn air, leaves changing, and Portland for a backdrop. It all helps distract from the searing pain in your lungs and the acid in your veins.

Of course, I am not a runner. I've been taking better care of myself for the last few months mainly by going to the gym and playing soccer, but I am not a runner. In my opinion, I'd rather play a sport than run on a treadmill. However, I've gotten in to it lately.

My new perspective on running started when I started running with a friend. My good friend Ryan Russell and I started doing intervals at the local park every now and then. Torturing yourself... er, training with a partner really changes things up. You can't slack off, you push yourself harder, and you learn new challenges. The difference is amazing.

Another factor is my new Nike+ wristband (bought with a gift certificate from my awesome soccer team). It is a little wristband with an LED display that hooks up with a sensor in your shoe to tell you pace, distance, time etc. It plugs in to your computer to sync up with the Nike+ web site. The web site has all kinds of useful data about your runs, coaching programs, and ways to train with your friends and community.

But the tech is just the beginning. The real beauty is what happens when you run. It is like having a partner their to push you. Glancing down at your pace tells you that you need to pick it up. Stop lights and slow pedestrians become the enemy. Picking up the pace might help make that walk signal. Knowing you've only got a few more yards to go to get a 3 mile run in gives you the added motivation to keep running.

When you upload the data to your computer and comparing it shows you are making progress You start thinking about how to fit your schedule around the next run. You may notice the little smurf lookin' guy to the right. That's my "mini" and although he is yet another online avatar, he gets pretty amped when I upload a new run.

Right now running is a great way to release energy. I'm hoping I'll be this pumped in a couple months.

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