Five for Five

So back in November I decided I was going to run 5 marathons in 5 months since I  was not going to make my triathlon in 2013 (well I could have done a sprint but I do nothing small!). The plan was to go for 2 full marathons and 3 halves. Looking at the schedule I originally believed there was a half marathon in between the two full marathons but I was wrong and they were back to back. This led me to running one full and four halves. This is something I am quite content with considering, on the finishing end of these five races, I have already started full out training for a half iron man and my body feels great. While I probably will not choose to go through the stress of so many races in a row due to travel and dealing with packet pickup in combination with work and kids… these 5 competitions provided me with some valuable experience  and key lessons moving forward:

  1. Whomever said that natural running was a hoax has never tried it the right way. I went from not being able to run for almost a decade to averaging 70km a week.
  2. 6 weeks is not enough time to ramp up training for a marathon. 8 weeks is the perfect amount of time for my physical condition to be able to get in a couple of 30km+ runs along with a rest week in between.
  3. I had a hypothesis that I tested out. Running should be enough to train for running. So for about a year I only ran with interval training and didn’t lifted weights / cross train. There was definitely a gradual decrease in my speed which showed when I was running a half marathon in about 1.45. After one month of full body tabata training I hit 1.33 on my last half marathon and felt like I could easily break 1.30 with continued training. (well at least I had a theory!)

Luis Guilamo

Bringing in 2014

2014

First off happy new year!

As I generally start off my days… I started 2014 with a run, then complimented it with some yoga with my wife. With 2013 washing away, today’s run was a good opportunity to reflect on 2013 and contemplate what I want 2014 to be. The conclusion I came to was that 2013 was the year of success just not what I set out to succeed in. Both in and out of my running shoes I worked hard to achieve a goal and my efforts resulted in achieving something different but just as good and in many scenarios even better. One great example is that I set out to complete a triathlon really focusing on my swimming and ended up running a half marathon then a full marathon 3 weeks after. Now I am well on my way to the next marathon just weeks away.

In 2014 I will be looking to explore. I would like to explore different training methods, explore my nutrition and even explore different gear to fine tune my efforts and enhance efficiency.

Good luck in 2014!

Luis Guilamo

TomTom Multisport GPS Watch Reviewed

tomtom-multisport1

What I love:

  • Price
  • Design
  • Battery

What I love less:

  • Software
  • Charging / Syncing

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

With all my training in the warm weather I got to a point where I really disliked having my phone strapped to my arm. Its truly uncomfortable and I don’t listen to music anyway, so I wanted to get a watch which allowed me the freedom of just throwing on my shoes at 5am in the morning and running out the door. I also wasn’t ready to dish out the $500 to get the consensus favorite Garmin Forerunner 910XT. At $169 from Amazon this watch accomplished just that.

Design

tomtom-multisport2

This watch is pretty sleek. Its not everyday that I would say you could get away with a runner’s watch while wearing a suit in a business environment. Getting the black and grey version accomplishes just that. It’s very discreet when compared to a lot of the oversized GPS watches.

The Runners perspective

The functionality for running handles all of the basics and enough when it comes to more advanced features. You can easily change the face settings of the watch to see your current pace, average pace, distance, calories etc. There is the optional heart rate monitor as well. There is an option to enter training information like intervals and goals, although its less useable since this needs to be entered directly into the watch.

It’s worth noting that while you have great battery life compared to the competition at around 10hrs; using the external sensors will reduce battery life. Furthermore, if you are a morning runner like myself night mode will destroy your battery life down to about 2 – 2.5 hrs. I’m all about efficiency and taking the extra energy to tap the face of my watch to see my stats is something that I would prefer to avoid. This has led to my watch running out of juice a number of times as my average run length is 1.5 hrs these days and if you forget to charge one day it will not last. Not to mention that I had my watch in night mode while running a marathon and was extremely frustrated when at mile 22 I felt the vibration from the watch signifying that it was out of battery.

The Swimmer’s / Biker’s Perspective

To be updated.

Challenges

The major problems with this watch come on the software side. There are options for creating workouts like intervals or setting goals. However, who wants to spend time punching this directly into the watch. Since TomTom already is forcing me to connect the watch to my computer daily (also for the gps fix) why not give me the ability to make all changes to the watch from the computer and sync.

It’s also worth to point out that the computer sync is far from flawless. I am yet to understand when the gps fix will happen. I just need to reconnect the watch several times until it actually updates the gps fix. There is also problems detecting the watch itself at times.

Furthermore, to get a full charge the manual clearly states that you need to connect the watch to your computer and not to an outlet… why?

Finally, the online application for viewing your activity details and statistics is currently unusable. This is a non-issue for me as it allows you to upload all your activities to other programs like runkeeper and mapmyfitness.

Conclusion

This watch is beautifully designed to the point that one can even get away with wearing it in a business setting. From a cost to reliability / functionality perspective there is no competition. While there are still a number of software challenges TomTom regularly releases updates to address them and I can see it only getting better over time. So if looks and price are just as important as functionality, then I would definitely recommend this watch.

Luis Guilamo

*Note: I will update the review with the biker’s and swimmers perspective once I have enough training with this watch.

UPDATE 1: 

One of the benefits of this watch was that TomTom regularly releases updates to its watch. This has happened recently with update 1.6.13. Now there is an iPhone application which allows you to automatically sync your workouts as well as getting the gps quick fix without having to take off your watch every day which was the biggest hassle.

UPDATE 2: 

I have started to bike with this watch and it mounts very easily and is everything that you would expect from a cycling computer. Even better than the standard. The only thing I have a problem with is that it is not a quick process when going from watch mounted to bike mounted. This is potentially problematic if there was any thought of using this watch during an actual triathlon race and not just for training.

Tin Man

Happy December! I spent an amazing Christmas with family and running through the elements with my wife in a ski mask looking like a ninja…

After my last fun run I decided that since I was forced to put my triathlon plans on hold due to unforeseen circumstances I needed a goal to maintain my training intensity. Being the all-in kind of guy I am I decided to push my body and go for 5 marathons in 5 months. That would be 3 halves and 2 full. Two months in and I completed the first half marathon in November and earlier this month on Decembers 6th I completed my first full marathon. I took one week off and got back to running last week which was interesting. I felt like a tin man and each mile I ran was like working out the kinks and knocking off the rust. My first mile back was even forced into a run-walk approach. I am finally back to 100% and am looking forward to applying my experience in these first two races!

Luis Guilamo

The ‘Infamous’ Fun Run

Fun Run!

Fun Run!

Every runner wants to run fast. This includes me. However, sometimes you get caught up in all that comes with excessive monitoring of training statistics.

This past weekend I ran 6 miles in 1hr 15min and it was great. A lot of people don’t do this because it “interrupts” their training schedule but it’s something that I try to do as much as possible. In this instance I was on a beautiful beach stopping to take photos and enjoy the environment. Plus I was running with my big sister on one of her first runs since finishing the Chicago Marathon (congratulations by the way!). We had a blast. Other times (quite often) I race my kids on their bicycles but running backwards and they love it…

Everyone’s training regime should consist way more of these!

Luis

Sharing the beauty

Morning run

Morning run

There is definitely something to be said about running in the winter and hearing the footsteps of animals in the darkness of the forest. However, the last couple of months I have been waking up, stepping out and enjoying the sunrise over the endless ocean. I could never get myself to stop and take a photo. However, today running 18 km with my pacer (My wife on her bicycle) was the perfect opportunity to stop (just for a moment) and enjoy the beauty.

 

Luis Guilamo

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