Tag Archives: triathlon

Review: Jeff Galloway’s Ultimate 10K app

You see that? That is the look of a man who has managed to just barely outrun death at the end of an Olympic triathlon. After that dismal run I decided I really should put some effort into run training. To that end Libby and I have decided to train for a half marathon. I know, I know, ridiculous. But I figure if I can finish the 40+ miles of an Olympic tri I can get my body in shape to run 13.

If you’ve not heard of Jeff Galloway he is the guru of a run/walk method for endurance running. His claim is that by taking regular walk breaks during a long run you save on your body and recover faster without really sacrificing much time overall. ANYthing that adds walk time in the run, as part of the plan rather than as an alternative to dying is alright with me.

The app I am using for training purposes is Jeff Galloway’s Ultimate 10k by lolo. (I really couldn’t find anything that purported to be a “couch to half marathon” app so I had to star somewhere.) At $2.99 from the app store the cost isn’t prohibitive.

The app allows you to use your own music or the dozen or so tracks that come with it.

Aside from allowing you to set run walk interval, I’m using 3 minute run with a 1 minute walk at the moment, what I REALLY  like about this app is that is matches the tempo of the music to the pace it wants you to run. (Because of that you probably don’t want to load anything too slow or it will wind up sounding like the Chipmunks version when it speeds up.)

The other option I added, at no additional cost, was the extra coaching tips from Galloway. While a lot of them are common sense it works out nice to have him reminding you to keep your posture upright, or not lift your knees too high every once in awhile. Just providing something to think about during longer runs helps.

The interface is easy to read but there isn’t really much reason to read it while you run because you’re given time updates at each interval. Since the workouts are time based turning on the GPS function helps to let you know exactly how far you ran. I’m finding it tends to track a little short (at least by comparing to the odometer on my car) if you have significant sections where you run up one side of the street and back down the other.

The whole program is 13 weeks. I’m currently in week four running two short (2.5-3.5 miles) runs and one longer run (4.5-5.2) miles in a week. The first week the app had me running just under an 11 minute/mile pace. This week it has me down to right around a 9 minute pace even with a three minute warm up walk on the front and another one to warm down on the back. Because the workouts are time based rather than distance based I wind up running longer distances than the estimate for each work out but that probably has more to do with stride length than anything else.

Overall I give this app two thumbs up. The only thing I think I’d change would be to allow someone to set a specific mile pace and have the app adjust to that but the way that it has reduced my per mile time in the first four weeks we’ll see what it gets me to by the end.

With great tools like this one to help you get from the couch to the finish line in a variety of distances what, besides you, is still holding you back?

 

You’re going to try WHAT?

For the past four years I have contemplated attempting an Olympic distance triathlon: 1 mile swim, 25 mile bike, 6 mile run. On August 20th, of THIS year, I going to give it a go. There is no way that I am really ready for it!

My training has been such that I can get through a sprint, have done so twice this summer, but stringing together three Olympic distance events seems truly daunting. Why? I swim a mile fairly regularly. In a pool. Completely different than open water. I have only ridden my bike 25 miles or more three times in the last three years. I have only run 6 or more miles in one go 4 or 5 times in my LIFE.

But I’m doing it. I’m doing it because I’m getting a little weary of my own excuses. I’m doing it because I like the challenge or the thought of it anyway. I’m doing it because I think I have come up with a plan for attacking something that I am not fully prepared to attack…and it has three simple parts:

Part One: Assess the Challenge

Jumping into something about which you have NO clue is foolish. I’ve done two sprint tri’s this summer and several in the past. I’ve put in a couple of 10K runs, did 32 miles on my bike the other day, and did an open water half mile swim a couple weeks back. This doesn’t mean I can do all three together but it does mean that none of the three should kill me. Having given each event a go on its own I believe I now have enough understanding as to how each one feels. Breaking the whole thing down into its components allows me to assess each piece individually. That assessment leads me believe I can finish the race.

Part Two: Mitigate the Risk

A triathlon is simply a swim, a bike ride, and a run which, if need be, can be turned into a swim, a cruise, and a stroll. The swim is the shortest bit, and the most overwhelming.

My first open water race experience was a nightmare when my heart rate elevated to the point where I was exhausted in the first 100M. I floated on my back, side-stroked, contemplated clinging on to the marker buoy, and floundered my way to a 13 minute 500M. A distance that should have taken my about 8 or 9 minutes.

My second race experience was a comedy: swimming into the tether between a blind athlete and their sighted guide (everyone was ok), treading water to encourage a guy who was having a race like my fist one had been, then my goggles broke and I had to swim the last 200M with my eyes closed. But it was a half mile swim and I finished it and I felt great.

The upcoming race is a mile swim BUT it is comprised of two half-mile loops. In between those loops is a quick jaunt, BACK ON SHORE!! Woo-hoo!! I’m pretty sure I can do the full mile in the water but by picking an event that affords this rare opportunity, something that is almost never done, I lessen the risk of bonking in the water, the only part of the race that holds risk.

Part Three: Establish the Goal

In thinking through my average swim times, bike speed, and slow run times, and counting time for transitions, I think it is entirely possible I COULD finish the race just under 3 hours. My goal is to do it under 3:15. I want to set a goal that feels attainable based on my assessment of the challenge, but one that is something better than “just finish” and still holds some room for “never done this before”.

One could easily argue that finishing would be good enough for a first go. But by setting something more aggressive I can’t get by with a cruise and a stroll. By making sure the goal isn’t TOO aggressive I have a decent chance at feeling a significant sense of accomplishment at the finish line which will serve to motivate me towards the next effort.

What challenges are looming out there for you? Are there some you’ve been putting off?  Can you assess the challenge, mitigate the risk, and establish the goal? Let me know how your “race” goes and I’ll get back to you with the results of mine.