RubiTrack vs. Runkeeper

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This entry brings good news, bad news, and more tech-talk.  First off, a big “Thanks!” goes out to Lillian for suggesting the RunKeeper app as an alternative to Rubitrack.  RunKeeper is another GPS-enabled iPhone app that, like RubiTrack, maps my runs, lets me know my pace and estimates how many calories I’ve burned.  With the Pro version, which I have not tried yet, it also includes coaching encouragement during exercises and built-in iPod support.

I mentioned last week that while Rubitrack was accurate and easy to use, it was also pretty expensive.  I had only downloaded the free app, but if I wanted to sync the activities to my computer I needed to shell out $14.99 for the Pro iPhone App and then a whopping $39.99 for the desktop app.  Considering I’m not at the point where I’m completely gung-ho about running I really wasn’t ready to make a $55 commitment.  RunKeeper is only $9.99 for the Pro app, but even the free app is able to wirelessly sync with their easy-to-use website.

I also have to give RunKeeper props on their GUI, both in the app and on their website.  It’s easy to use and consistent with the Apple-app feel.  It’s prettier than Rubitrack, includes more workout types and seems to be much closer to the feel of the Nike+ app but is both easier to use and has more character; I felt both Rubitrack and Nike+ were a bit stale/sterile feeling.  The activities also auto-sync with the website and I can easily view the map of my runs and elevation, with each mile clearly marked and compare my activities.  I also really love their elevation vs. speed chart.  I found the accuracy to be identical to Rubitrack.  All-in-all, I’m sold!

So that’s the good news; I found a new app that I love.  The bad news is, I really struggled in my runs this week.  Out of the blue, I’m having breathing issues.  I’ve mentioned some breathing issues in humidity here, but this was worse.  Just a few minutes after beginning to run I found myself struggling for air.  I tried to power through, and in many cases did, but I had to walk occasionally to catch my breath.  Friday’s run was even worse as I was getting intermittent sharp pains in my back that seemed to be from my right lung.  I still ran, but only made it through 2.18 miles.  FRUSTRATING!!

It was such a bummer because Thursday night I had awesome dreams about running very fast through a forest.  It felt great!  I’ve also watched my speed naturally improving and it feels so good to run faster without feeling like I’m pushing myself.  According to RunKeeper, my fastest pace was close to an 8-minute mile and my average pace was around a 10-minute mile.  But, if my breath can’t catch up with me there’s obviously an issue.  I tried to be good and slow down, sometimes quite a bit, but even then I was getting those stupid pains in my lung.

To make things more frustrating, I saw the acupuncturist yesterday and she gave me bad news.  I explained that the fascial issues on the bottom of my right foot had greatly diminished, but I was still having fascia problems in the top of my foot (though it was better than it had been) and was now noticing pain in both joints of my big toe.  I also had stiffness on the medial arch of my left foot.  She poked around for a bit, tightening her jaw at times and nodding her head.  I could tell she wanted to tell me not to run, but instead she told me she thought I should, “Run less” at least until the foot heals.  She’s also not a fan of barefoot running, but again she won’t outright tell me that.  Instead, she told me I will make my own decisions (true) and I should do what my body tells me to.  She did also say that the first acupuncture treatment often brings up illnesses within the body from the past.  I used to struggle with exercise-induced asthma, so she thinks that could be why I’m having new breathing issues even though I’m actually running less than I did during the nine weeks of Couch-2-5k.

I had a Thai massage later that day and the massage therapist also noted that maybe running isn’t for me.  Argh!  I’m finally enjoying running, for the first time in my life.  I’m enjoying being outside with my dog, connecting to the Earth with my feet, and exploring the gorgeous trails near me.  I really don’t want to stop!  I also don’t want to hurt myself.  I’m even more dismayed because heart issues run in my family and I constantly struggle to find a cardio routine that works for me.  I love yoga and weight-lifting, but cardio and I struggle to get along.

For now, I still intend to try to run three days a week.  I’m not going to shoot for three miles, I’m just going to shoot for being active for 30 minutes even if that means walking for a bit.  I might also try fast running (since I find that fun) mixed with walking and see how that goes.  Honestly, when I run faster I feel like I run lighter, but I suppose my feet will tell me for sure.  I’m very open to advice/feedback here.  I’d also love to hear other ideas for outdoor dog-involved cardio that would be lower-impact than running.  Ideas?

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  1. Emily  June 13, 2010

    You know, I’ve had multiple people tell me not to run, running is terrible for you, oh I’ll hurt myself, a smoker’s heart is going to explode on a run, et cetera. from all manner of people – a doctor, a masseuse, various nosy coworkers, my mom – but the opinion of a sports med doctor was the only one I trusted, and he said to RUN RUN RUN. Even when I walked in there already injured. “If the pain isn’t sharp you can always just slow down,” and “If your lungs can’t keep up you can always just walk for a little bit.” He also told me that most non-sharp pain will just get better with more training. (He also told me that “everybody’s got an opinion” about different kinds of exercise.)

    Fast running mixed with walking is close enough to a proper HIIT routine (some runners that I’ve chatted with consider it the safest and most efficient way of getting cardio). I’d talk to a sports med doctor or even a sports podiatrist if you can – both’ve really been a huge help in getting me back on the track after being told by two GPs that I should only ever do yoga for the rest of my life or my knees would probably fall off. It’s worth it. 🙂

  2. BarefootInVermont  June 13, 2010

    Awesome, thanks for the encouragement! It’s nice to hear that my idea doesn’t sound crazy, especially from the person who pushed me to do C25K to begin with. Btw, freakin’ thanks! I can’t believe I finished it. Are you back to running now?

  3. Emily  June 13, 2010

    I got to swap shoes with a triathlete friend of mine and got two sweet pairs of kicks for overpronators, so yes, I just finished week 1 yesterday and I’m loving every second of it. (It’s also driving me to kick smoking, woo!) I get to start weight lifting soon, too. 😀

    Reading your updates really helped keep my running rabies at full-steam while I was resting up, so many thanks – you rule for finishing and providing all this advice and experience, too! Maybe we can run a race together sometime!

  4. Lillian2611  June 15, 2010

    I’m so glad you liked RunKeeper! I find it an inspiring tool on days when I’m not sure I can run 5km; I have it count down ever 1/2 km and that lets me tackle the run a piece at a time.

    I’m really concerned about your breathing difficulties and I want to encourage you to see a physician. There’s been a lot of pneumonia in my world lately and I’ve learned it doesn’t always manifest in a day-to-day way. Better safe than sorry!

    I’ve also had the nay-sayers try to discourage me from running. I won’t speculate about their motives but if you’ve ever tried to diet you know how people seem to enjoy sabotage. 😉 Listen to your body and you’ll be fine!

    Good luck!!!

  5. Sid  May 26, 2012

    Note that the free RubiTrack iphone app does allow sync with your computer. You’ll still need to pay for the Mac application though.