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Running Hacks

I hit the treadmill yesterday for my second post-orthotic run, with much the same results as the first: overall, the run felt good; no problems whatsoever with the left foot/ankle/leg; minor complaining from the right foot. So far, so good. I’m having to discipline myself a bit, though, to keep my mileage super-low, to stop well before I’m tired, and to take plentiful rest days, as I’ve been laid off for quite some time. It would be awfully easy to add injury to insult right about now.

So I’m keeping myself amused and motivated by playing around with a series of running hacks, little tools designed to track your progress as a runner in different fashions. Running lends itself quite well both to the obsessive in me (there are many records that can be kept and statistics that can be tracked) and to the part of me that’s always trying to escape obsession, to achieve a more zen-like calm in the midst of chaos, to still the mind and focus on the thump thump thump of the moment.

For the former, my two favorite hacks: David Hays’s Running Log, a multi-sheet Excel workbook that calculates things that even I never thought of tracking. This was originally recommended to me by Dave, just as I was beginning training for the LA Marathon, but for whatever reason, I didn’t fiddle with it much at that point. Somehow it seemed overwhelming to me, almost too much information. Perhaps the enforced restriction of my running now, however, has opened up space for me to test out what’s available here: all of the expected distance and pace trackers, of course, but also a weight tracker, a comparison of actual running with planned running, a record of all your races with times and paces and personal bests, a slew of calculators for paces and times and heart rates and more, and charts and graphs galore.

The second, which Joe emailed me about after I posted about my first post-orthotic run, is a hack of Google Maps that creates a pedometer useful for both finding the mileage of completed runs and planning future runs. From the linked page, click on the “click here if you don’t live in Hoboken” link (unless, of course, you live in Hoboken), use the usual Google Maps double-clicking, dragging, and zooming to zero in on your location, and then click “start recording.” Double-click to set your starting point, and then double-click again at each turn, to mark your course. “Create permalink” or “tinyURL” will allow you to bookmark the results so that you can return to them or create new courses.

All of this of course has me itching to run — and contemplating future goals…


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