A Few Days with My New Apple Watch

The news of me having an Apple Watch might surprise some of you because I’ve been a big fan of Fitbit for almost five years now. I’ve owned five different models of Fitbit in that time. Well on Monday, my new Apple Watch Nike + Series 4 arrived. I still love the Fitbit app and will likely continue to use it for tracking water and body weight at least for the immediate future.

IMG_0099Why the switch? I am so ingrained to Apple products is the main reason. I have a MacBook Pro, iPad Pro and iPad, iPhone XS Max, there are three Apple TV’s in my house and I subscribe to Apple Music. Trying to upload music to my Fitbit Ionic was a slow painful process so I gave up on it. I could use Spotify or Deezer music streaming services and I did use Spotify for a while, but why pay another streaming service when Apple Music has everything I’d want to hear? Fitbit doesn’t support Apple Music (or the other way around).

Another reason is I’m tired of carrying my iPhone around with me on my runs. My Apple Watch has GPS and Cellular so I can still have my running route tracked, send and receive messages and make phone calls without having my phone with me. Very important for me, easy access to Apple Music, Apple Radio, and most of my most important apps are all available on my wrist plus Audible audiobooks and Podcasts. The downside of not carrying my phone is no camera is available. There will be times when I’ll still run with my iPhone but only because I intend to take photos along the way.

It’s still a little early for me to decide how I feel about the switch from Fitbit to the Apple Watch but I thought I’d at least share some of my early impressions. The paragraph above already mentions a few of my likes about the Apple Watch. I’m finding I’m already picking up my iPad or iPhone much less often now that I have the Watch. For certain, the Watch can’t replace them and you can’t even use the Watch without an iPhone but the need to grab my iPhone or iPad happens much less frequently.

So far my focus has been on activity tracking and health. The Nike + Apple Watch has Nike Run Club built in, then you have the Workout, Health, Activity, and the Breathe health related apps. Overall, they are OK. I still like the Fitbit app better. To me, Fitbit is better integrated. The sleep tracking in the new Apple Watch is OK but not as good as the Fitbit. I even bought a third party Apple Watch app called, “AutoSleep” and it still doesn’t compare to the Fitbit’s reporting of your sleep. I prefer “Calm”, a third party mindfulness app over Breathe. To take full advantage of “Calm” you need to buy an annual subscription though.

The Nike Run Club is pretty nice. The Guided Runs feature is something I will use fairly often. The “My Coach” feature that is a part of the iPhone app isn’t in the Watch version but I’m Ok with that. For the past six weeks or so I’ve been using the “My Coach” feature but for the couple of weeks I’ve just about stopped using it. Not that it’s necessarily a bad feature but for me personally, it’s too focused on running pace.

My biggest beef about the Nike Run Club app (iPhone & Watch) is not having the ability for manual split times or the ability to change auto splits to something other than one mile. Another aggravation is if your last split doesn’t equal one mile, your split time for the segment isn’t shown. I still want to know my pace even for distances shorter than one mile. A minor complaint I have with the NRC app is when you have music playing during a guided run its sometimes hard to hear the coaches guidance–especially when you have vehicles going by. There should be a way to adjust the coaches volume over the music.

I have the 44mm version and I find reading the display on the Watch is fine. My version of the Nike + Watch comes with the Nike Sport Loop. At first, I thought the band was a little too small and I had a hard time getting it on and off of my hand. It didn’t take long for me to realize the Sports Loop is elastic and stretches some. The Sports Loop is very comfortable, easy to adjust the wrist size and has reflective material woven into the band which is a plus too. It will be interesting to learn the duribility of the Sport Loop. Removing the Sport Loop is easy. Just press a small button on the back side of the Watch and slide the end of the band out. To replace just slide the band back in until it locks in.

Conclusion:

Overall, I’ve very happy with the Apple Watch. I do feel like I’ve had to make a few compromises compared to the features of the Fitbit and Fitbit app but for me the advantages of the Apple Watch outweigh the disadvantages.

I’ll probably report back more thoughts about the Apple Watch and my switch from Fitbit in the months ahead. I’m sure my opinions will change some as I get more familiar with the Watch. Have any of you switched from Fitbit to Apple Watch? Have you upgraded from an older model of the Apple Watch to the Series 4? If you have done either, what do think? I’d love to hear your thoughts.

Keeping a Flexible Schedule

IMG_0081Maybe you’ve noticed my workout routines vary every week. Sure, the activities don’t change much but the day, duration, intensity of each week varies. I’m a type A person and plan everything but I also try not to be a slave of my schedule. I guess you need discipline as well because without it blowing off an entire week of workouts would be pretty easy to do. What I’m saying is, have a plan, have the disipline to stick to it but be flexible enough change it up a bit. Especially, if you are tired, sore or ache. You have to listen to your body. Sometimes a workout day becomes a day of rest and a day of rest sometimes becomes a workout day.

The past two weeks have been very busy. I’m the president of our homeowners association and it’s been a bit overwhelming lately. Life forced me into changing my schedule a bit. I did get out at least three times both weeks to do some running but they were a little shorter than I had planned. I didn’t get to the gym much either. Hurricane Michael had a bit of an impact as well. By the time it got to us it was a tropical storm with sustained winds of around 30-35 mph with gusts close to 50 mph. No damage at my house thankfully. Walking and running around the neighborhood on Friday I did see several large limbs down in a few places. I played golf on Saturday–which meant no running or gym time that day either. I saw quite a few large limbs down throughout the golf course. Golf courses around here are full of southern pine trees so seeing a bunch of limbs or down trees after a storm isn’t unusal.

Next week will be kind of the beginning of a new phase of training. Since starting back at running I’ve been doing mostly intervals of running and walking. This week will begin the phase where walking will not be a part of my training. At least on run days anyway. Sure, at first the runs will still be short but now it’s time to start building up my endurance instead of focusing on just building up my cardio and muscular fitness. I’m really happy with my progress since the triple bypass surgery. The people who know me are amazed by my progress. I’m not a amazed, but I’m pretty happy about it. 🙂

The past two weeks of workouts haven’t been anything exciting and skipping a week of posting on the blog is making me think about what I’ve done lately. I don’t know about you, but it doesn’t take long for my past workouts become a blur. Anyway, here’s what I’ve done the past two weeks. At least as well as I remember it!

Monday, October 1st:
Intervals: 3 minute run + 2 minute walk, 5 minute run + 2 minute walk x 2, 3 minute run + 2 minute walk
Run: 1.75 miles at a 12:26 per mile pace (those hills!)

Tuesday, October 2nd:
Weight Training

Wednesday, October 3rd:
Intervals: 5 minute run + 3 minute walk, 6 minute run + 3 minute walk, 5 minute run

Friday, October 5th:
Intervals: 5 minute run + 3 minute walk, 8 minute run + 5 minute walk, 5 minute run

Monday, October 8th:
Intervals: 8 minute run, 5 minute walk, 8 minute run
Walk: 2 miles

Wednesday, October 10th:
Intervals: 10 minute run, 5 minute walk, 10 minute run

Friday, October 12th:
Intervals: 10 minute run, 3 minute walk, 10 minute run

Saturday, October 13th:
Played in a charity golf tournament

 

 

Week Five: A Slow Start

This is the week my new iPhone Xs Max was scheduled to arrive. When it shipped I had a delivery date of Friday but at the last-minute I got a notice it would arrive on Monday. That kept me in the house because I had to sign for it. It would be my luck that UPS would show up early and I’d miss them while I was out running. He didn’t show up until after 2 P.M. but I had no way to know. Tuesday was already planned as a rest day because I had a bunch of stuff to take care of and I needed to get an early start.

IMG_0013
I look like I’m in pain! LOL!

It was Wednesday before I got out to pound the pavement. I started out with intervals: 3 minute run + 2 minute walk, 5 minute run + 3 minute walk x 2, 3 minute run +2 minute walk. Once that was out-of-the-way I ran three miles. Another post CABG milestone making it to 3 miles. Add the intervals it was probably more like five miles. My goal was to run the three miles at a 12 minute per mile pace but with the hills along the way 13:43 pace was the best I could do. And, it was pretty warm out too.

Thursday was just a short 1.25 mile run at an 11:05 per mile pace. That’s pretty fast for me right now. I was just going for under a 12 minute per mile pace. You know, I typically don’t worry about my pace and just run the way I feel. Using the Nike app has got me keeping track of my pace more. I’m not sure if that’s good or bad–just an observation. After the short run I headed over to Anytime Fitness to do some strength training.

When I got up on Friday I was a bit sore and unsure if I’d workout or not. In the end I decided to take a rest day. I turned on the TV to watch the Ryder Cup and I didn’t move much after that!

Saturday was a short workout. Intervals again. Almost exactly like Wednesday except the 5 minute runs ended with a 2 minute walk instead of 3 minutes. My split times were very consistent. The first split was a 10:37 pace, the next two were 10:40 pace and the last split was a little slower at 11:08. The last split had a little more incline that the other three. More Ryder Cup and college football on the TV was the main goal for the day.

I’m writing this on Sunday while watching USA getting stomped by the Europeans in the Ryder Cup. It’s starting to get painful to watch. I plan to head over to Anytime Fitness to get on the rowing machine at some point today. I feel like I should be working out a little more often but I’m still making forward progress every week. Guess I shouldn’t complain.

Monday, September 24th
Rest

Tuesday, September 25th
Rest

Wednesday, September 26th
Intervals:
3 minute run + 2 minute walk
5 minute run + 3 minute walk x 2
3 minute run +2 minute walk

3 mile run: 13:43 per mile pace

Thursday, September 27th
1.25 mile run: 11:05 pace

Strength training

Friday, September 28th
Rest

Saturday, September 29th
Intervals:
3 minute run + 2 minute walk
5 minute run + 2 minute walk x 2
3 minute run +2 minute walk

Week Four is No More

My fourth week of 10K training is complete! I’m starting to feel like I’m getting my running legs back again. I’m very happy with my progress so far but this week was a disappointment. Read further and you’ll know why. I wish I’d drop a few more pounds but I guess with the weight training I’m staying in a holding pattern. No major gains, no major losses. I should have taken a few profile photos after my bypass surgery. I think my overall appearance looks slimmer and more fit than it did back in May but I’m really not sure. People ask me how much weight I’ve lost so I guess that means progress.

Monday’s workout was the most difficult so far. I ran 2.75 miles which is a post CABG milestone. My goal was to keep it an easy pace and stay relaxed. At the same time I was hoping my average pace would be close to 12:00 minutes per mile. I finished at a 12:08 average pace. The last mile and a quarter had alot of hill sections. I was breathing a little harder but tried to keep it relaxed and mostly did just that. I think if the run had been on all flats, I’d probably finished under a 12:00 mile pace. I managed to get a blister on the arch of my right foot! Haven’t had one there in quite a while. Eventually,  I’ll get a callus in this spot and it won’t happen as much. Oh well, that’s just part of a runner’s world. I sure could feel the blister during the next part of my workout. Intervals: 3 minute run + 2 minute walk, 4 minute run + 3 minute walk x 2, 3 minute run + 2 minute walk. After running almost three miles my splits were about a 12 minute per mile pace.

IMG_4506Tuesday I made a rest day. Wednesday was suppose to be a more intervals and some short distance running but… the blister on my right foot is much worse than I thought. Since I’m retired now and yesterday was a rest day I didn’t have any reason to put on shoes. When I finally put on my running shoes Wednesday morning I realized the blister was “big time”. In March, I had a nice callus in the area of this blister. Not so much now. I’ve drained the blister several times with a sterilized needle but I guess I need to take a blade to lance the blister a little larger so it continues to drain. With shoes, I can barely walk. On the plus side I did go to the gym to do some weight training.

Thursday morning the blister was filled with fluid again. This time I made the drain hole a little bit bigger. Hopefully, it will drain freely now. Still sore on Thursday so no running on this day either.

On Friday morning I hit the road to visit my mother and my sister in Kentucky. We planned a surprise birthday celebration for my Mom who will turn 80 next week. Normally, I would take workout clothes to do some running while I’m there but with the blister I decided to not bother. I hated it cause running in Kentucky horse country is so beautiful.

I just returned home a few hours ago. My blister is much better now so it looks like I’ll be back on track starting tomorrow. Yeah! Actually, my back, hips and feet ache a bit from not doing anything most of this week. Spending 18+ hours in a car in just three days is a bit much for me. I’m ready to get out and hit the pavement.

 

Monday, September 17
Run 2.75 miles. 12:08 per mile pace.
Intervals: 3 minute run + 2 minute walk, 4 minute run + 3 minute walk x 2, 3 minute run + 2 minute walk.

Today’s Music to Push Me Through:
Nothing Better – Chris Lake & Chris Lorenzo
Ten Feet Tall – Afrojack featuring Wrabel
High on Life – Martin Garrix featuring Bonn

Tuesday, September 18
Rest day.

Wednesday, September 19
Weight training.

Thursday, September 20 Sunday, September 23:
Rest, recovery and travel.

 

10K Training and Almost a 5K Run

IMG_4493I did try to run a 5K race on Saturday but I came up short because the route wasn’t 5K. My Fitbit measured only 2.2 miles. It was a low-budget race. No bibs, no clocks, timing chips, etc. There was portion of the route you were supposed to run twice but very few understood that part. Oh well, I ran 2.2 miles and that’s the furthest I’ve gone since my bypass surgery and I got to run somewhere new. The route was hilly. My Fitbit showed 147 feet of elevation. I was hoping to average under a 12 minute per mile pace but with the terrain it ended up being a 13:22 pace.

Ok, that’s pretty much how the week ended so now let me tell you how it started. The week started with interval training. 1.5 minute run + 1.5 minute walk, 2.5 minute run + 2.5 minute walk x 2, 1.5 minute run + 1.5 minute walk. I’ve decided not to worry much about the split times. While I’m not running steep graded hills, they do have an impact on the times. Now I’m just focusing more on the level of effort. I finished with some weight training.

Tuesday was a benchmark run with the Nike Run Club app. After the run, I continued walking until I hit 5 miles.

Wednesday I started with a one mile warm-up before my intervals. The intervals were a repeat of Monday’s training. I had some things to take care of in the morning so I skipped by weight training. I took the day off on Thursday because I had a few appointments in the morning.

Friday started with a 1.5 mile run. My goal was to finish at an 11:48 per mile pace. I was close. I finished at a 11:49 per mile pace. Also, this makes the longest continuous run since before my bypass surgery. Next, interval training again but this time the intervals were: 2 minute run + 2 minute walk, 3 minute run + 3 minute walk x 2; 2 minute run + 2 minute walk.

Saturday was the 5K run that wasn’t but after the run I went to the gym to do some weight training.

Sunday isn’t over yet but I’m not sure what I’m going to do. Either take the day off or go to the gym for 30 minutes on the rowing machine.

Training Recap

Monday, September 10:
1.5 minute run + 1.5 minute walk, 2.5 minute run + 2.5 minute walk x 2, 1.5 minute run + 1.5 minute walk

Strength training at Anytime Fitness.

Tuesday, September 11:
15 minute benchmark run using the Nike Run + app.

Walk for 5 miles (counting run).

Wednesday, September 12:
One mile warm-up run at 11:21 per mile pace.

1.5 minute run + 1.5 minute walk, 2.5 minute run + 2.5 minute walk x 2, 1.5 minute run + 1.5 minute walk

Thursday, September 13:
Rest day.

Friday, September 14:
1.5 mile warm-up run at a 11:49 per mile pace.

2 minute run + 2 minute walk, 3 minute run + 3 minute walk x 2; 2 minute run + 2 minute walk.

Saturday, September 15:
5K Race

Weight training at the gym.

Sunday, September 16:
? I haven’t decided what to do. Maybe go to the gym for 30 minutes on the rowing machine or just call it a rest day. I’m leaning towards calling it a rest day. What do you think?

Oh Yeah, I’m Running in a 5K on Saturday

In my last post I forgot to mention at the very last minute I signed up to run in a 5K on Saturday. It should be no surprise when I tell you I’m in no frickin’ way ready! But it’s for a good cause. The Friends of Euchee Creek 5K Fun Run supports the construction of the Euchee Creek Greenway Trails. I believe this is part public, part private endeavor. Once completed it will be close enough for me to walk from my house to the trail. I wish I knew how many miles the trail will run but I don’t. I’m guessing 25 miles. At the trail end, it connects to another trail that runs along the Augusta Canal for another 12-15 miles. My house is probably close to middle of the trail. The trail will be constructed for walking, running and cycling.

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I have zero expectations for this 5K. It will be what it will be. I’m not sure how much of it I will run or how much I’ll walk. At this moment, I’ll say I plan to find an easy pace and run as far as I can before I start walking. After a triple bypass and only a few weeks of very short running distances I have no clue what the final outcome will be. I’m anxious to find out and I’ll let you know shortly after crossing the finish line.

Week Two: 10K Training

IMG_4483Monday started with a .75 mile tempo run. The goal was to finish in 10:05 but I came up a little short. My finish time was 10:13. Still pretty good especially considering the last quarter of a mile was slightly uphill. After the tempo run it was intervals. 1.5 minute run + 2 minute walk x 4 and 1 minute run + 1 minute walk x 2. Then I finished the workout at the gym lifting lighter weight than last week but did 20 reps x 3 instead of 10 reps.

Tuesday was a nice 3.97 mile walk and then some bodyweight core strengthing exercises.

Wednesday started with a half mile warmup at about a 10:55 per mile pace then the interval set from Monday was repeated. My split times are becoming a little more consistent but I still need some work in that area. I had intended to go to the gym after my run but I couldn’t work it into my schedule.

Thursday I did my first speed work session. I’ve never liked speed work and I can honestly say that hasn’t changed. I did 4 x 400 meters. The goal was to average a 9:25 per mile pace. I did it with a 9:18 pace. My split times were very inconsistent. Each split got a little slower and the last 400 meters came in at over 10 minutes per mile pace. I was sucking wind on that last one! After this short but intense workout I headed to the gym for the weight training I missed yesterday.

Friday was intervals using the Fitness22 10K Runner app. 1.5 minute run + 2 minute walk x 6. While not perfect, my split times for were a even more consistent than on Wednesday. I’m starting to feel a little more like a runner now. Not quite there yet, but I’m making progress. Afterwards, I should have done some core strengthing but I blew it off.

Saturday was a rest day. It’s college football season so my focus on Saturday is watching football. The Dawgs of Georgia beat South Carolina 41-17 so it was a good day for me. Drank too much beer and ate too much food but hey, once in a while you gotta let loose a little.

Sunday was a Nike+ Run Club app benchmark run. I don’t know if I’m doing something wrong or its just the way the app works but once I’m done, I don’t have the split time to know how fast I ran during the 3 minute benchmark. Anyone out there have any advice? After the benchmark run I went to Anytime Fitness and rode a stationary bike for 40 minutes. I haven’t been on a bike in a while and my butt hurt a little once I finished. I may have to wear my cycling shorts the next time.

Training Recap

Monday, September 3:
Tempo run at 10:12 per mile pace.

1.5 minute run + 2 minute walk x 4 and 1 minute run + 1 minute walk x 2.

Strength training at Anytime Fitness.

Tuesday, September 4:
Walk 3.97 miles and bodyweight core strength training.

Wednesday, September 5:
Half mile warmup at a 10:55 per mile pace.

1.5 minute run + 2 minute walk x 4 and 1 minute run + 1 minute walk x 2

Thursday, September 6:
Speed work: 4 x 400 meters. Averaged a 9:18 per mile pace but each 400 meters got slower and slower.

Weight training at the gym.

Friday, September 7:
1.5 minute run + 2 minute walk x 6. Running split times were: 9:56, 8:28, 10:02, 9:22, 8:51, 10:01. The splits times over ten minutes per mile pace had hills.

Saturday, September 8:
Rest day.

Sunday, September 9:
3 minute benchmark run and then 40 minutes on the stationary bike.