Tech: Endomondo Adds Events Sharing

http://www.endomondo.com/embed/event/hJDoQCTIYaY?width=600&height=400
For all those Endomondo users who use the events feature of Endomondo to build a calendar of events for the year or period ahead: Sharing is now available. Endomondo launched the feature today.

I’m doing a half marathon in May 2011 – Broløbet 2011 – and in this post you’ll see that event shared on the right. Pretty nifty feature for those hosting events who want to build their own live event map. Endomondo also have a demo available on their blog. I think I might actually be running with a live Endomondo tracker during that race…

Now all we need is that race organizers start to see the potential of having a live map with adds around it hosted on infrastructure they can use for free. Sounds like a no-brainer!! The new feature even includes an option for spectators or participants to comment on the event.

Running the Hills of Luxembourg

We’re spending the weekend in Luxembourg and that’s always an excellent opportunity to experience hills and train a bit differently than normal. Today I went for a training in the hills around Grosbous, Luxembourg.

Started out going uphill without any warm-up, so I relaxed a bit before starting to work hard. In this area it’s up, down, up, down – never flat. Running here is excellent – I really like running in the forest. Even though there’s a road nearby, it’s quiet so all you hear is the sound of your feet hitting the ground; wet leaves sliding under your feet; small sticks snapping… It’s really cold – winter has certainly hit north-western Europe.

Suddenly while I was out running the silence was broken by … snow falling and hitting the leaves and branches around me. No sounds in the entire forest except my breath, my feet moving forward, and snow gently falling on the trees around me.

It was a hard run, and I was wondering if I was maybe getting a bit ill. At least until I checked the stats for the run. On any given run in Amsterdam I have an elevation gain of about 20-40 meters at the most. Today I did 210m in almost 10 kilometers.

If you want more detail you can have a look at my Garmin Connect run:
http://connect.garmin.com/activity/57974242

Equipment Series: Cold Legs?

One of the great things about triathlon is that you get to have loads of gadgets and stuff, which is just all about doing the sport. In this update I’ll talk about my most recent visit to sports retailer Decathlon and what I got out of that.

So, I had a gift card for Decathlon more than a year ago, but since I don’t pass the shop all that often and generally prefer spending my time on other things than hanging out in a store, I just hadn’t used it until now. I had a pair of winter running tights already, but now that the temperature is heading for 0 degrees Celsius on morning runs I will train with them so often that I need another pair to train in clean clothes – and I like that.

At Decathlon they usually don’thave much for me. Odd, as they have equipment for pretty much any sport. Seem they always just miss it. This time, though, they hit it spot on!

I found a pair of Kalenji running tights that are exactly right and tight in all the places they need to be tight. At the same time they’re really warm, so a run in 0 degrees celsius is no problem. At the same time the price seems lower that most premium brands efforts, and I can’t say that I find my premium tights all that much better than my cheaper Kalenji.

So far I’ve had two or three morning runs in my new Kalenji tights and all have been excellent!

Swim practice

Just had a swim session at the local pool. Practiced another 2+ kilometers of crawl strokes and worked specifically on doing the stroke under water with the shoulder rather than the elbow – a problem I’ve had forever. Try to change a stroke from something you’ve done forever to something that’s different. Pretty difficult. At least I think so!

It will take many, many more kilometers before this has been practiced so much that my stroke is right. The question of whether it makes sense to put too much time into swimming starts popping up more and more frequently. A sprint triathlon is a 500m swim, 20km bike, and 5k run event. In olympic distance the percentage of swimming is slightly higher, but still it remains the smallest part of the event. In other words, it might make sense if I put more of my limited time into running and biking.

I’ll let you know later.

Intervals! That hurt!

http://www.endomondo.com/embed/workouts?w=nZaYV-UaV1U&width=250&height=450On Saturday I went for a run with a colleague of mine. We decided to head out on a slightly shorter route, but instead of doing a steady pace we were to do 4 intervals of a kilometer with a kilometer to rest between intervals.

I include intervals in my training because they tend to be excellent at improving speed. Earlier this year I ran these intervals at close to 4 mins per kilometer, and ran my fastest 5K in 20:48 or something like that. It seems to me that if I can run three intervals close to goal pace, then I’ll only slip by 10-20 seconds over the race distance.

It’s been a while since I’ve done this! All year I’ve been aiming at doing sub 4-minute kilometers and have not really cracked it. That didn’t happen today either, but it feels like it’s not far off. The max speed was certainly high enough at 3:24 and during the very first set I actually decided to go a bit slower as I saw we were maintaining a 3:45 speed – which I knew I would be unable to sustain.

Sunday interval splits:
1km (warm-up): 5m:23s
2km (fast): 4m:02s
3km (recover): 5m:29s
4km (fast): 4m:10s
5km (recover): 5m:35s
6km (fast): 4m:20s
7km (recover): 5m:49s
8km (fast): 4m:31s
9km (recover and finish):  5m:41s

As you see, the intervals got slower as did the recoveries as we moved through them. It was a rough start to the afternoon, and I really enjoyed pushing it to the very limit. Besides this I tried to watch how Brett was doing with his Ironbaby and I took our daughter for a swim, which she absolutely loved. It just keeps getting better and better. It won’t be long before she’ll ask me to just stay away (*snik*). You can see the full workout to the right and here.

Time for some swim training tonight. That will be a shorter distance than last time, and I’ll try to do a few “fast” sets as well.

Wanna Run Faster?

Jakob tracks his first fore-foot run session using Endomondo. Check here to see what the findings were!

Yesterday I spent some time with a colleague at the BlackBerry Innovation Forum at Hotel Okura in Amsterdam. It gave me the chance to catch up with some good people I haven’t spoken to for years. One of them was Stephan Derksen, an inspiring entrepreneur who’s involved in several projects, which are all really interesting. He has a blog too at http://salesgurunl.blogspot.com/.

Over the past months I’ve been discussing fore-foot running with a bunch of people who I think understand running pretty well, and I have been trying it a few times when I had to run bare-foot.

Yesterday, however, Stephan and I got talking about fore-foot running and after going through some of the basic physics of why it might make sense, I eventually decided to do a few (really) short intervals on the front of the foot this morning. The results are interesting! See the run here and comments below: http://www.endomondo.com/workouts/v7a5sl1c_hs

Before going I had a look at a few videos, like this one:

Armed with my newly acquired knowledge I went out on today’s morning run. Upper body feeling really sore from the swim on Monday and yesterday’s event (standing up all day without moving much simply takes it’s toll on my back), so I ran at a really slow pace. After Sunday’s run I had a bit of soreness in my legs, and as previously said, I just want to train injury free!

Strong head winds motivated me to wait a bit with the intervals, but after about 22 minutes I picked up the pace and shifted to the front of the foot – uphill. Right now that I just really got back to training I don’t want to push myself too much, but without pushing my heart rate into the dark red and without going all out, it felt fairly easy to push my pace below 4:00 minutes per kilometer. As you may remember, that’s my target time for 5 kilometers. I did this a number of times even pushing it as far down as the 3:00-3:30 minutes per kilometer range.

So, in conclusion I will be seriously considering getting myself a front-foot running shoe when I change shoes later this winter, and start focusing on getting my calfs up to strength so they can take that consistent pressure fore-foot running provides.

The Importance of Swim Technique Training

Just returned from another excellent coached swim technique session. Improved swim technique should help me in triathlons next year and things are moving forward.



Phew! Just returned from a 1-hour training session a the nearby pool. I’ve started taking technique training lessons once a week to improve my self taught crawl stroke. In the four times that I’ve been the coach has managed to tear my stroke apart and swim in a new way. All he’s now missing to completely change how I swim is adapt my legs as well.

What I wanted to mention, though, is that what those four sessions have given me in return feels so important, and that’s the reason I wanted to recommend taking lessons.

With a swim coach, I want to:

  • swim faster;
  • swim using less energy / have more energy left after the swim;
  • be more confident in the water;
  • enjoy swimming more;
  • learn quickly;
  • achieve my race goals faster.

I’d say I’ve reached all of the above after just four sessions plus a few training sessions.

To the right you’ll see my most recent swim sessions.

Man, this is well worth the money and it’s fun to see how much better I get from just knowing how it should be done right. Not saying I’m doing things right, OK – just saying I am practicing in that direction.

And now that I’m done with my post workout food, I’ll go crash. An hour of swimming does take its toll – especially in the evening. Good night!

Finally Back in Training!!

After an irritating 10 days after my dental operation last week, today was the first day that I was back in training. And how very nice that was!

http://www.endomondo.com/embed/workouts?w=i-uFXe4mjXE&width=250&height=350A colleague of mine from LogMeIn extended the courtesy of sharing some of his fitness and pulling me around an 11km route in the area. During the past 10 days my changed eating habits caused me to loose some 2-3 kilos – they’ll probably come back on pretty fast – and I didn’t train, so some loss of fitness is inevitable.

He kept me in the red during most of the run, but it was just nice to be out and about moving around again. The weather was nice and sunny – very much unlike Amsterdam in the fall – so it was pretty easy to enjoy. We ended up doing 5:04mins/km, which you’ll also see in the training content here, so nothing to brag all that much about. Right now I just want to start again extending that by 10% weekly, so I get a nice and steady build up to 21,1km – the half marathon distance.

That’s the only race that has been set up for next year – this route takes runners across one of the highway bridges in Denmark. I’ve done it once on rollerskates and what you don’t see when you drive it by car is the constant incline to the mid-point of the hang bridge. I bet many runners will be surprised at this. That actually makes me think that I need to work lunges and squats into my running to have excess strength to take on “Broløbet 2011“, as the race is called on May 28th 2011.

Oh, and I have to work on my rest as well. Get in as much sleep before midnight as possible, seems to be the advice. Do they mean the same day or the next day? 😉 Jakob signing off at 23:59…

6 Months without Coffee

Today marks the day that I’ve been off the coffee for 6 months and I thought it might be a good time to talk a bit about it. I’ll tell why I quit and what that brought me both in work, private life and endurance sports.

I’ve been speaking to a number of people recently about the pros and cons of coffee and have come to the conclusion that at this stage of my life it just isn’t wise to make coffee a part of my diet.

The main perceived benefit of drinking coffee are that it kickstarts you in the morning and keeps you more sharp during the day.

Well, let me tell you – that just isn’t so. There is contradicting scientific evidence – at best – that supports those claims. You might as well be chewing bubble gum – it’s all in your mind.

That dawned on me, as I kept experiencing caffeine-interrupted sleep, digestion issues, and elevated heart rate and blood pressure. These things impact all other areas of how I function as a human being and how I perform in those areas.

I listen to a podcast and read a blog by coach Brett and he’s spoken from time to time about his love/hate relationship with caffeine, and how it took a bit of experimenting on his part to find out about the impact coffee has on him specifically.

And so I decided to see what it would be like to not drink coffee.

After the first few weeks of headaches from not getting my coffee shot I started to see improvements.

  • improved nutrition and digestion, especially since the time where I used to drink coffee now has been replaced by drinking less negatively impactful drinks;
  • improved well-being: I just wake up and Go! No coffee needed to kickstart this engine;
  • improved sleep…
  • …which leads to improved sharpness during the day, so I don’t need the perceived benefits of coffee, and don’t need to go for one more cup;
  • no jittery feeling of having slightly increased heart rate or blood pressure after the 5th cup of coffee and too much caffeine.

Also shortly after I quit coffee I dropped 5 kilo’s to arrive at my early-twenties weight, but much fitter than then. I can’t explain why that should be attributed to coffee as the calory count for even several cups of coffee is limited. Still, it strikes me as odd, that it happened at the same time.

The whole experience made me feel more healthy and reinforced my motivation to be consistent about my training. The thought was along the lines of: “I’m doing something which is good for my body and it feels good. Let’s give it some more”.

Now and then I will have to turn an invitation to drink a cup of coffee down and get a glass of water or whatever else is available.

You might be thinking “why didn’t he just scale back”, but that would have never worked. One cup a day would have become a two-cups-just-today-exception, which would quickly become the new limit. That would soon move up to three, four, and five cups a day at least putting me right back where I started. 0 is easy to measure. There’s no “how many cups DID I have today, OK I can have one”. It’ just “none”, which works great for me.

Only problem I have now is what to change inmy diet next…