DIY Nike+ Battery Replacement

Nike+, Technology, Tips, Tutorials 3 Comments »

Is your Nike+ Sport Kit battery kaput?  Don’t want to spend the $20 necessary on a new sensor?  Why not check out this handy, do-it-yourself article, “Replace battery in Nike+ receiver for under $5.”

The steps should take 10-15 minutes to complete and require tools that you probably already have around the house.  You’ll need to buy a new battery, of course, but the required CR2032 battery is easily found at many online retailers and at your local RadioShack.

Via Instructables.

Feeling Hot, Hot, Hot

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While I was training for the half marathon last year, I was fortunate I didn’t have to experience any extreme temperatures or humidity. The day of the race I think it got close to 70 degrees . . . in December.

This time around I’m having to experience extreme Memphis heat and humidity. It doesn’t matter if it’s 6 am, 12 noon, or 8 pm, it’s always hot and muggy. Even when I’m done with my run and get cleaned up I still can’t seem to stop sweating for at least 2 hours.

I completed a 5 mile run last week and I felt as if I’d run a marathon. Even with all the Gatorade and water that I carry with me on my runs, the hot weather is a formidable adversary.

In order to keep up with my training obligations, I’ve been reading up on how to run SAFELY through the hottest parts of the year. Here are some tips that have come in handy:

  1. For long runs that are held on Sunday, preparation should begin on Saturday. Eat light and drink LOTS of water.
  2. Slow down. When it’s extremely humid outside, sweat won’t evaporate as easily.
  3. If you’re new to running in the heat, start in the hottest part of the day, and start slow. Take a short walk or run a few easy miles a couple of times a week for the first few weeks. “Spending all your time in air-conditioning and then expecting to run well outdoors in the heat is not going to cut it,” says William Roberts, M.D., former president of the American College of Sports Medicine and the medical director of the Twin Cities Marathon.
  4. Wear socks made of synthetic fibers that wick moisture away from your skin to help prevent blisters and athlete’s foot.
  5. Drink adequate fluids 30 - 45 minutes before you exercise and then a cupful every 10 - 15 minutes while exercising. After exercising, drink more fluid than you think you need. Sport replacement drinks are superior to water, especially if you’re running longer distances and times (over 60 - 90 minutes). The electrolytes and carbohydrates in sport drinks will help speed your recovery from the stress of fluid loss and your long distance run. Sport replacement drinks also taste great, encouraging you to drink more than you otherwise might.
  6. Dress lightly and wear light-colored clothes. Avoid cotton t-shirts, which will become soaked, heavy, and prevent evaporation, which is how your body cools itself.

Winning the War on Smelly Shoes

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Smelly shoes are an occupational hazard for all runners. While it’s generally acceptable for your running shoes to smell a little less fresh than the rest of your footwear, no one likes to have a pair of rancid sneakers hiding in the closet. The problem is even worse for guys like myself who don’t own a second pair of casual athletic shoes. I’ve got a nice pair of boots, some dress shoes for work, and then my running shoes. Let’s just say I have to think twice before wearing my running shoes to work on casual Friday.

So how does one win the war on smelly shoes? I’ve scoured the internet for solutions so that you don’t have to, and I’m listing my favorites below.

Invest in a Shoe Dryer

A shoe dryer is a nifty device that uses thermal convection to dry out your footwear. I picked one up years ago when I purchased a nice pair of boots, but I’ve found that it works just as well with any pair of shoes I throw at it. A shoe dryer is one of my favorite ways to keep all of my shoes comfortable and smelling fresh.

Cat Litter and Knee Socks

Sure, this sounds a little weird, but isn’t cat litter intended to kill odors and soak up wetness? Why shouldn’t it work just as well for your smelly shoes as it does for it’s other smelly chore? Simply grab yourself some long socks, fill ‘em with cat litter, tie off the ends, and stick ‘em in your shoes overnight. When you get up the next morning you’ll find that your shoes are nice and dry. Just make sure that you find a scented litter with an agreeable scent, as you’ll likely be catching a whiff throughout the day.

Also recommended: dryer sheets and baby powder.

Put your Shoes in the Freezer

This one sounds weirder than kitty litter in a sock, but think about it for a second. Bacteria is what makes your shoes smell, and bacteria doesn’t survive long in the cold. Grab yourself a large Ziploc bag, seal your shoes inside, and place them in the freezer overnight. Kids, get your parents permission for this one. Mom probably won’t look too kindly on shoes in the freezer unless you’ve given her a heads up first.

Other tips: antibacterial insoles, drying shoes in the sun.

Wicking Fabrics for your Feet

We all know that wicking fabrics are a lot better than cotton for outdoor sports. Using wicking fabric in socks can help keep your feet a lot dryer than they would be otherwise. I picked up some New Balance socks a while back and, while they’re not perfect, they’re a lot more comfortable for exercise and daily wear than 100% cotton socks. And, if you’re not into synthetic wicking materials, try out these bamboo socks. Wicking socks won’t solve the smelly shoe problem, but it does help, and it makes things much more comfortable for the sweaty-footed among us.

Have any of these tips helped out? Have I missed a tip that I should have included? Head down to the comments and let us know!

Lost and Found: How I Recovered A Missing Nike+ Run

Nike+, Technology, Tips 13 Comments »

The Case of the Missing Run

I went out for a quick two mile run this weekend, running with my Nike+ Sport Kit as always. When I went to upload my run data, I plugged in my iPod, launched iTunes, and nothing happened. Nothing! iTunes never gave me the “Your run data has been uploaded . . .” message, and my latest run didn’t show up on the Nike+ website. I knew that the run was recorded in my iPod - I could tell by viewing the Totals data listed in the History section of the Nike+iPod menu (Nike+iPod -> History -> Totals) - but no matter what I did, I couldn’t get the run to upload.

I tried the usual tricks: Close and open iTunes, unmount and mount the iPod, relentlessly Google the symptoms. While my Google searches turned up a lot of great tips, nothing seemed to match my particular situation. Thankfully, I was able to learn enough from the troubleshooting steps to resolve my problem and upload the missing run.

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Map Your Runs With An Online Pedometer

Running, Technology, Tips, Websites 2 Comments »

Back in the day, if you wanted to map a running route by distance, you had a couple of options: drive a route and track mileage with your odometer, grab a map, a ruler, and a calculator, or pick a route that was measured by someone else and hope their calculation was correct. Thankfully, with the advent of online mapping, that’s no longer the case. Route planning, mapping, and distance calculation is now a simple matter of a few clicks of the mouse.

So, what’s a pedometer anyhow? According to this Wikipedia article, a pedometer is “a device . . . that counts each step a person takes by detecting the motion of their hips” in order to calculate distance traveled. I guess that means an online mapping tool that calculates distance traveled isn’t really a pedometer, but now I’m just being pedantic.

Seeing as how each of the three online pedometers below is a Google Maps mashup, the “best” tool becomes a matter of personal preference.

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A Change of Pace

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Ever since I purchased my Nike+ kit I’ve been relying on the collected data not only for motivation, but to track my training as well. I’m currently on hiatus from any serious training until June, when I start training for the St. Jude Memphis Marathon. My fellow bloggers and I have all expressed the need to train smart. Part of my “smart” training strategy is to give my body a break - especially my knees.

My current regimen now consists of three types of running:

  1. Up to 4 miles outside
  2. Running to the gym (~1.12 miles from my house), working out, and then running home
  3. Up to 4 miles on the treadmill

This has been my routine since early March and it feels great. My knees are holding up and I haven’t had any problems with motivation due to the fact that each workout is different.

This change of pace is helping keep me on track.

Insights on Training from ‘Get Fit Slowly’

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J.D. of Get Fit Slowly has decided that he wants to run a marathon, and he posted this past weekend about his first day of marathon training. J.D. is a great writer and the post was a lot of fun to read, but what struck me about the post were the important lessons about training I learned by reading between the lines.

Seek Guidance from Those in the Know

Have you set a training goal for yourself? Awesome! Do you know what it’s going to take to accomplish your goal? If not, don’t be afraid to do a little research and to ask for guidance when and where you need it.

“To meet this goal, I need help. I need a coach. Fortunately, Mac’s wife, Dr. Pam, is able and willing to offer her help. She’s Coach Pam to me now.”

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Zen and the Art of Running

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Last week I was talking to a friend of mine who pays $120 an hour to a psychologist in hopes that the past, present, and future frustrations of his life will go the way of the dinosaur. Not to sound too much like Tom Cruise, but I told him that maybe he should try running.

Granted running isn’t for everyone, but it definitely isn’t as expensive as most forms of therapy. And, many people, yours truly included, receive the same results - the same clarity and relief that most professional psychotherapists offer. All you need is a good pair of shoes and the time you want to spend. Whether you want your “therapy” sessions to last half an hour, an hour, four hours, etc. is completely up to you. You can go any time of day that best suits your schedule. If you need to reschedule, no problem.

So, if you’re looking for the best form of meditation to help in all of life’s troubles and transgressions, lace up your shoes and hit the pavement.

The doctor will see you now.

Clean your Running Gear with Lemon Juice

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Clean your Running Gear with Lemon Juice
Do you have a pair of trusty running shoes that used to be white? Perhaps a pair that looked great in the store and beautiful out of the box, but after a couple of hard miles aren’t quite as pretty as they used to be? Try restoring that “new shoe” look with lemon juice and sunshine.

You might also try freshening up those old sweats, t-shirts, and specialty running shirts with this handy tip:

Remove unsightly underarm stains from shirts and blouses simply by scrubbing them with a mixture of equal parts lemon juice (or white vinegar) and water.

There are 25 more lemony tips at 27 Household Uses For Citrus Fruit (via Lifehacker).

Running and Weight Loss

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There’s a book review in this week’s New York Times entitled “The Worst Foods in America” that reminds me of how hard it is to lose weight with exercise alone. While there’s a lot to be said for integrating exercise into a well-balanced weight management plan, if your only weapon against the flab is exercise, you’ll likely be in for some serious disappointment.

Bear with me now, I’m going to throw a couple of numbers at you. If you want to lose one pound of fat, you need to get rid of about 3,500 calories. If a new runner burns 1,000-ish calories over the course of a week (three runs of thirty minutes each, burning about 350 calories per run) they’re about a third of the way to losing their first pound. Not bad, right? Well, that depends.

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