Lessons learned from a habitual outdoor runner

Tag: tools Page 1 of 2

Useful tools @ Original Strength

A friend told me to check out Tim Anderson over at Original Strength and I am glad I did. I am still checking out the videos over at YouTube as there are tons of useful resources available to introduce some very helpful tools.

The concept of a “reset” is an underlying theme and one key routine is rocking. At first I was thinking that is too simple, however, when I started I quickly realized how much work my knee still required. These resets are great physical therapy!

The knee is getting better. While it’s not ready for running, flexibility is improving and pain intensity lowering. Riding the bike is not a problem for it, for which I am very grateful. I have been able to walk two to three miles a day. I wish I could say the walks are pain free, but not yet.

Weather Tools by NWS

Thank you, National Weather Service, your tools are very beneficial for an outdoor runner!Screenshot from 2018-12-14 04-07-54

I often post the weather summary image to share what my run was dealing with outside that day, but there are several other tools I use to help determine what to wear and which route to take, plus how I may need to adjust based on forecast conditions.

Consider this chart data:

Screenshot from 2018-12-14 04-04-36

When I first saw this chart it was overwhelming and a bit confusing, now it’s like a breath of fresh air. Why? Because it tells a story. It’s like a psychic telling the present and future. While this data cannot be 100% accurate to my 10-mile radius, it certainly provides data with a greater than 80% probability.


Getting the 10,000-foot view (or more). I like these radar/satellite maps as they provide a perspective of what is happening around the area and what is coming. Place the map in a “loop,” and you get a sense for the direction of weather pattern travel.

I have two outdoor thermometers reporting the temps from the North and South sides of my home. I use these as a local cross-check to the online NWS reports. However, I live in a suburban area with houses around me, this can create a vast temperature and windchill variation versus the open fields when I get out of town. It’s all part of being prepared!



Garmin tracker use

A brief personal review of the Garmin Forerunner 10 and 25.

Since Christmas 2015 I’ve been running with a Garmin Forerunner 10. During those 1070+ days, it has worked well. However, there were a few quirks. The only real problem the watch has is that it occasionally goes blank and basically needs a reboot which happens when attached to the USB cable. This problem has become a bit more frequent and prompting me to consider a replacement, just in case.

The Garmin Forerunner 25 arrived on December 6th and went into service on Friday the 7th.


A few things that jumped out at me about the 25 were the band and the larger display.

The band is replaceable like a watch where the 10 was a molded unit. I cannot say I like the band better than the 10, just that it is different. The molded band on the 10 made it a comfortable fit and easier to manage.20181209_091248

Fortunately, the button functions are basically the same between the models, which makes upgrading a lot easier.

The 25 obviously has additional features like Bluetooth and an activity/step tracker built-in.

I use my Garmin Vivofit 2 for tracking my steps, I prefer the low profile of the Vivofit. Vivifit2

This is where I’m still figuring out the 25. I have disabled the activity tracking features on the device and in the connect software, yet it keeps recording steps along with my run, so it looks like I’ve done a lot more steps than I do.

Two features on the 25 that I am enjoying is that the display is easier to read while running and that the battery life seems to be significantly better. The battery life on the 10 looked like it may not make a full marathon at my pace.

The 25 also includes some new stats in Connect. Cadence and Dynamics have been added to the activity details. The data is interesting, and I’ll see if I use it.

Overall, I’m enjoying the 25, even after just a few days of use. I plan on using the 10 as my backup device.

Dealing with critters where you run

I really do like dogs, just not the ones chasing me down the road, blocking my path, or of course, biting. Sadly, I’ve been bitten twice by pets that “don’t bite” according to their owners. I no longer trust the word of the owner as they shout out “he doesn’t bite!” above the bark and growl of the rapidly approaching dog.

We do have the freedom to be in a public place without fear of harm from a residential animal, so I do carry and have used, non-toxic pepper spray numerous times. When I am in a rural setting, I also carry a BB Gun. It doesn’t have enough power to do permanent damage, but it would sting enough to get a dogs attention and hopefully slow it down.

Windy days create problems for pepper spray use as it could end up with more in your face than in the approaching animal, the BB gun provides a greater range and resilience against the wind.

Other creatures I have seen on country runs include Coyotes, cats, skunks, opossum, fox, and deer, plus a horse and a cow out of their fenced area. I have heard there are some bobcats in the areas I run, but I haven’t seen any. Here again, the BB gun may provide some additional leverage and time for sprinting away.

If there is an Animal Control Department where you run, be sure to reach out to them if you have been chased/attacked or to report repeat offenders who let their animals roam free. One county I run in regularly does not have such a department, but I have emailed the Sherriff’s office to address some particularly aggressive animals, and it has resolved some issues.

I also have a knife and a cell phone with me at all times.

From LoseIt to MFP

You may have read the post where I mentioned using the LoseIt program when I first started trying to control my input and output. So why did I switch from LoseIt to My Fitness Pal (MFP)? The primary reason is that I started using Garmin devices which do not connect (or sync) to LoseIt but they do connect/sync with MFP.

I believe there are several features with LoseIt that I prefer. In general the two apps have similar features for nutrition and exercise tracking. MFP has more ads to deal with, but works great as a free program.

If your not using a device or not using a Garmin, I would start with LoseIt.


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