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echo “fat” | sed s/a/i

More of a personal post this time; the post title(*) is about as geeky as it gets, if you’re only here for the tech then you may want to skip this one :)

I’m a geek (no surprises there), and thanks to too many hours hunched of the keyboard in the dark coding away into the small hours I’ve come to resemble the stereotype; overweight, four-eyed and (preferably) in black. I always assumed that this was me, and was happy with that; but towards the end of last summer there appeared to be an increase in geeks and hacker-types pushing to get fitter: Hackerrun came and went, and a couple of my clients participated in a local 10k run. So I thought I’d see what all the fuss was about and join in.

Running

At the time I came across the Couch to 5k program, which claims to be a nine week training program that will take you from zero fitness to being able to run 5k. Three workouts a week, no more than 30minutes a workout; even I can find time to squeeze that into my routine when I try to. I can definitely vouch for the zero fitness aspect of the program, the very first workout has you running for only one minute at a time (and who can’t run for a minute?). Well, it turned out I couldn’t…..

I’m still not running 5k yet despite being training for more than nine weeks, but I’m definitely getting there and I’m now completing training sessions that would have killed me 6 months ago without complaint.

Strength

Running has been going well, but I wanted to round out my training to get stronger as well as fitter; but as I don’t have room at home for large and expensive weight machines and don’t want to get locked into paying a gym for the next 12months or more I was struggling to find a way to incorporate this, until I came across the 100 pushup challenge.

The theory and training programme are similar to c25k, which I’m already comfortable with, follow a training plan and in eight weeks you’ll be able to do 100 consecutive pushups. Starting with an initial strength test of ‘how many pushups can you do without collapsing’ (I managed a meagre 6) you find a column on the training programme, and again have three workouts a week. This takes even less time than the 30minutes needed for the running sessions, I completed each of the week 1 sessions in ~5minutes each.

I only completed the last workout session of week 1 this morning, and already I managed a total of 44 pushups, with my last set being 12; twice what I was capable of at the start of the week. How’s that for progress?

IT Angle?

So, why am I sharing this? For one, I’m hoping that by throwing the fact that I’m training out in the public domain I’ll generate some peer pressure to keep going. It’s harder to stop if you have to explain to everyone why you’ve gone back to being lazy and unfit. Secondly, I wanted to share some of the apps, tech and services I’ve used so far in the hope it might help someone else.

I track all of my runs (and longer dog walking sessions) with RunKeeper. With the Runkeeper app on any GPS enabled smartphone it will track your route and pace of any run. Personally I find having stats, maps and other geekery tracking my progression helps keep my attention overtime. It’s also very simple to program the c25k workouts into runkeeper so your phone will beep when you’ve reach the time to switch between running and walking. Security warning: runkeeper doesn’t enforce HTTPS at login or elsewhere on the site, make sure your protected when you connect.

One word of caution, I found the GPS antenna on my phone becoming flaky so I recently upgraded to a dedicated sports watch, Garmin Forerunner 110. Not cheap, but still far cheaper than my outlay would have been if I was pounding the treadmill in a gym rather than the pavement for free.

On the pushup front, I’ve been using the Stronger app for tracking strength training and integrates nicely with RunKeeper to keep everything in the same place. The app works well, but I’ve found it to be ssssllllllloooooowwwwwwww at times.

Peer pressure time; if you’re a RunKeeper user my profile is here, feel free join my street team. If you’re not a RunKeeper user you can still use the same link to track my training progress and give me a friendly kick if I stop being active ;)

Never thought I’d say this, but I’m actually enjoying doing physical exercise now. And losing 10% of my starting body weight so far doesn’t hurt either; if I can do it, anyone can.

–Andrew Waite

(*) for the none ‘nix geeks reading this, the post title is a Bash one-liner. With the sed command changing the eventual output from fat to fit…..

Categories: Uncategorized
  1. coletarbet
    2013/03/11 at 03:51

    Cool man, good luck! I went through the same thing – only coming from the tiny weakling side of geek. It took a lot of diet and habit change, but a 5k canyon run is nothing these days. Salmon + olive oil + broccoli and you’ll be a BEAST! :)

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