Well, I’ve fallen victim to my own advice, and started a blog then been too busy to post regularly.
This second post has also felt a bit like the dreaded second album. The first one seemed well received, and has set the benchmark for this one.
Well, to use the parenting adage: do as I say, not as I do. Why? Because I told you so.
In a few weeks, I’ll run my first marathon.
For years I ran on the gym treadmill. Listening to my iPod and watching television. Then I was encouraged to try running outside. I loved it. Now I run on a treadmill under sufferance, only if absolutely necessary.
I participated in my first official running event 2 years ago. It was a 6km run. Since then I’ve done numerous events, of varying distances up to 21km half marathon distance (of which I’ve done 4). But this one’s the big one. And it’s the New York City Marathon. The most popular marathon in the world. I can’t wait.
I think having a fairly sedentary, digital job has encouraged my passion for running. In many ways, it’s the exact opposite of what I do for a living.
Running uses the entire body, and allows me to focus on the physical me. I’m not a fast, nor natural runner, so it’s an ongoing personal challenge as well as to relieve stress and for general fitness.
It’s also mental. Particularly when training for an event. Not just the planning, preparation and motivation that is required between training runs, but the mental toughness that is required during a difficult or long run, bad weather, injury or event.
And I swear running outside is just so damn good for the soul! Being part of, and experiencing the real world, and having the ability and freedom to run is something I treasure.
So how fortunate am I that my 2, very different passions overlap!?
In addition to the ability to find, connect and communicate with other runners via various social networks, there is a growing number of applications available for digital running enthusiasts, and creative ways to combine the digital world with running.
RunKeeper is an online platform that allows you to not only track and record your fitness activities (not just running) but also connects with other RunKeeper users to form your own Street Team. This aspect is great for motivation, and especially if you are competitive and like to compare your distances, pace and activities against your teammates.
It’s integrated with a number of other platforms, allowing you to share your activities via Twitter and Facebook, but my favourite aspect is the Google Maps integration, which allows you to track and measure course routes, including elevation.
RunKeeper is also available as an iPhone and Android app, so you can record your distance and route in real time, but I don’t like running with too much “stuff” so use the post-activity mapping. Garmin and other sport watches also let you track your distance and route, and then integrate with RunKeeper
Unfortunately, there is no iPad app at this stage.
Nike+ and Slashsport offer similar tracking features and community element as RunKeeper.
Just on Nike, they are also doing awesome work around the work creating running and fitness clubs to encourage people to be active, and also use Twitter and Facebook to motivate and engage with their members.
Joseph Tame is a British ex-pat, now based in Tokyo, and refers to himself as a social-mobile tech creator.
I first came across Joseph’s activities in an article about this guy who was using GPS to map his very creative running routes. He plans courses that create images, and has run (and drawn) maps including Hello Kitty, his name, the Google+ logo, the Twitter bird, and most recently the Apple logo as a tribute to Steve Jobs.
Having a design background, and working in the creative industry, I love this use combination of technology and physical activity to create “art”. Well, pictures.
According to his website, Joseph has a:
“passion for mobile communication devices, heart monitors, GPS satellites, art and social networking services; these are all mixed with imagination and a desire to push both tech and my body to the limits, resulting in some interesting projects.”
ASICS first released the Support Your Marathoner program at the 2010 New York City Marathon. Since then it has appeared at a number of marathon events around the world, and they’ve expanded it for 2011.
The program was awarded “Most Innovative Communication Strategy” of the year by Promo Magazine, and leverages the power of social media to inspire and motivate runners.
The application allows friend and family to send pictures, texts, and video messages to support their selected runner. The runner’s RFID tag then triggers the giant video screens along the course to display the messages to that runner as they run past.
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