Category Archives: fitness

Looking to run a marathon or half-marathon? Then you need my race schedule spreadsheets to plan out your training runs

If you are planning to run a marathon or half-marathon this year, then one of the first questions you will ask yourself is: do I have enough time to train for it? Two things that can help you answer this question are here: blm849/Bernie-s-Race-Scheduling-Spreadsheets: My Race Schedule Spreadsheets to plan out my training runs.

With my spreadsheets, you enter a date, and it will give you a 16-20 week schedule you need to follow to get ready for a marathon or a half-marathon (or a 21K, as I like to call it).

Since they are spreadsheets, you can adjust them in any way you see fit. Add weeks, change the mileage, etc. If you have any other changes you would like to see, let me know.

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In praise of the 5K and other (non-marathon) races

The marathon is great race, and if you are aiming to run your first in the new year, it is a great thing to accomplish.

That said, you can also get a great sense of accomplishment out of running races less than 42.2 kilometers. To see what I mean, I highly recommend these two articles that praise the 5K:

  1. The 5K, Not The Marathon, Is The Ideal Race | FiveThirtyEight
  2. 10 Reasons the 5K is Freaking Awesome | Runner’s World

After reading them, I had a much greater appreciation of that race. (I think the same argument could be made for the 10K.)

As for me, I am a fan of the half-marathon. The only thing I don’t like about it is the name: it implies you haven’t done something great, when you have. Perhaps it needs to get rebranded as a 20K: not half a marathon, but twice a 10K!

Regardless of the distance you run, and how often you run it, enjoy your athleticism and take pride in it.

(Chart is a link to the image from the FiveThirtyEight article)

Should you take St John’s wort for depression, and other advice on supplements

This is a wonderful interactive chart that shows you how worthwhile (or worthless) certain supplements are, based on evidence (as opposed to anecdote or worse): Snake Oil Supplements from Information is Beautiful.

If you are a fan of a certain supplement, you can use this chart to discover what it is good for. And if you have a certain health concern, you can use the chart to determine what may work and what’s a waste of money.

If you like this, check out more of the charts on the information is beautiful site. They have lots of good charts.

Are you in terrible shape? Not so terrible but bad enough shape? Do you need help? Here you go

Like most people — for instance, me — , you may need to get in better shape. In doing some research on it, I came across the following links that I found interesting, inspiring, and useful. I hope you do too:

Some links to support your new year’s resolutions

If you’ve decided to become more fit, work better, or be better generally, then consider these resources to support you as advance towards achieving your goals:

Good luck!

Thinking of getting fit this summer? You need my fitness link pack

Are you thinking of getting fit this summer? Or do you like to read about people getting fit while you drink your favorite cocktail and sit under the shade? Either way, here’s a bunch of interesting links you’ll want to read

Runner’s World | What Will It Take to Run A 2-Hour Marathon: fascinating. Right now men are closing in on this number, but this article shows how hard it will be to achieve that time. Even people who don’t run marathons will find this worth a look.
Weight loss and habit forming — Let’s not pretend we have it all figured out — Medium. For those of you struggling with their weight, this will be of some comfort.
Your Body is All You Need: The World’s Oldest Training Method (and a 1% Workout) | Arnold Schwarzenegger. Do you think you need fancy equipment to get fit? Think again and listen to Arnold.
Take off that Fitbit. Exercise alone won’t make you lose weight. – The Washington Post. Not just for fitbit users, but anyone trying to lose weight. You need to cut back on eating to make gains (though with enough exercise over time, you can lose that way too).
Dwayne ‘The Rock’ Johnson Eats About 821 Pounds Of Cod Per Year | FiveThirtyEight. On the other hand, here is an extreme example of what massive amounts of exercise can do to your diet. The Rock eats alot. ALOT. See for yourself.
The Rise of the Spornosexual. Finally, this post is a good one on anyone who wants to go from blah to fit. (The image above is from this piece.) It’s a spartan life to get that way, but it is within the range of the possible for anyone dedicated. Like you, perhaps?  (And yes, they use a bunch of tricks to make the After photo look fitter than the Before photo, but still, the dude is fitter.)

 

The pros and cons of FitBits and other wearable fitness devices (plus my own thoughts)

Here’s two recent pieces on the pros and cons of wearable fitness devices.

Pro: Wearables and Self-Awareness (Personal) – NYTimes.com.

Con: Science Says FitBit Is a Joke | Mother Jones

I tend to agree with Krugman’s pro views in the NYTimes.  In a nutshell, Krugman’s view is that having a tracker like a FitBit makes it harder to lie to yourself about your fitness. A FitBit will let you know and help you track when you are active or sedentary, just like a scale will tell you when you are eating too much or too little.

The Mother Jones article has good points, too. FitBits have limits. They aren’t for all kinds or exercise, they may not be precise, and some apps on a smartphone can do just as good a job. That said, their title is a joke and their article is misleading. For example, trackers start at much lower than $100. As well, for people walking or running, carrying a smartphone is not always a good option. FitBits are more accurate than the article let’s on, and the readings that they provide is a reasonably close measure of your activity. The limits to wearable fitness devices are real, but Mother Jones overstate their case.

Do you or I need any of these devices? No. Based on my fitbit, I can walk a mile in about 2000 steps. If I were to sit down with a free service like Google maps, I could easily plot out a 5 mile walking route that, if I walked daily, would mean I would  hit at least 10,000 steps a day. (10,000 steps is my daily goal). Or I could just go for an hour walk and not worry about a route at all. (It takes me around that time to walk 5 miles if I walk it at a good pace.) Either way, a map or a watch can easily replace a wearable device. If you can’t afford or don’t want a wearable device, just use a map, a watch, and a log book, and you will get similar benefits.

Why I like my FitBit is that it does the work for me. I can walk anywhere I want, for as long as I want, and it will keep track of all that for me. Plus it keeps a ongoing record I can look up when I want. Finally, like Krugman noted, it prevents me from lying to myself about how active I am.

A wearable device is an aid, and like any aid, it helps you achieve your desired outcome. If you don’t need such an aid, don’t use it. As for me, the fitbit helps me meet my fitness goals and I am glad I have it.