Friday, April 9, 2010

Walking

Starting about a week ago, I've been taking a walk nearly every day. I've been using an online service called MapMyRun, and I like it pretty well; an acquaintance is using it herself, so I looked into it and was happy that not only was this a free service that would allow one to map routes and put together individual training logs, but there's a free iPhone app as well. (Of course, there's also premium content on the website that one can utilize if willing to pay for it, and a related iPhone app that one can buy, which has more features than the free app.) The app tracks the distance I walk in miles, how long it takes me, my average and current pace, and average and current speed. One can change the distance units between miles and kilometers, turn on (or leave off) the voice feedback, and what they call Social Update Settings: In other words, I can post any aspect of my progress to Twitter and FaceBook. (Yes, it's dorky, but I have the app set up such that when I'm done with my walk, it publishes all that data to Twitter.)

The app tracks the route I walk with my iPhone's GPS, which doesn't always work; on a few workouts my GPS took a nap and cut out about half my workout, so it's not perfect, so I've been fiddling settings like turning off my iPhone's Auto-Lock. In both previous cases when the GPS stopped being able to read my signal, it was at about the same point in the walk, so today I was very aware of keeping my Auto-Lock off (although the app locks itself regardless).

And of course, I know this entire blog post sounds like an ad, but I'm so pleased that I'm out walking. Ed's been taking daily walks for the past six months, and he's worked his way to (and is maintaining) 3 1/2 miles. I'm not quite there yet, but I'm working on it. There have been one or two days I haven't been able to - yesterday was particularly busy, for example, because of extra planning I needed to take care of for class; the only time I would have been able to take a walk was after I got home from class, at about 10:30 p.m., by which time it was raining pretty heavily. I started out at nearly a mile but soon mapped a route that takes me around the neighborhood and is just over a mile. Since the neighborhood is hilly (nothing like San Francisco, but hilly nonetheless), I wind up with a pretty good workout, with my heart rate up. I put techno or dance music on my iPhone, and off I go. I'm going to try walking a mile and a half - I've planned the route, mainly because I don't have a good sense of distance and if I hadn't planned the route, I wouldn't know how far to walk - but if I wind up being too tired, or if it looks like I can't maintain motivation, I'll slow down.

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