Monday, January 10, 2011

No, There's Not An App For That!

Okay, what is it with people who don't want to wear watches anymore? I get it, you've got your Palm/Droid/iPod/Blackberry/iPad with you all the time so you don't have to have a watch. But seriously folks, if you're going to be an athlete, a watch really does come in handy. Really. It does. You'll have to take my word for this.

So Julie, from Chubby Mommy Running Club is training for a half Marathon (go Julie!). I'm setting up a program for her based on the awesome book Run Less, Run Faster (I highly recommend it). This program will have her running only three days a week, but all three workouts will be quality. An interval run, a tempo run, and a distance run.  The paces are all based from your 5k time, so I want her to run a 5k for us to base her intervals on and she emails me this morning and asks if there's something to make it easier to count laps, like maybe there's an app for that?

You might not have guessed this about me, but I'm a bit of a technological Luddite. Yeah, I know I took computer science back when I actually programmed on the college mainframe. Yeah, I used one of the first Macintoshes (I can still remember having to swap out that little floppy disk a thousand times to do anything at all cuz the poor thing only had like 128k of memory. Yeah, I said "k", not "m" or "g")Yeah, I worked for Microsoft for 10 years. But I don't have much in the way of tecchie toys. I'm writing this on a computer that's running Windows XP. I don't even have a smartphone. And hell, I'd probably love to have a GPS, Droid, iPad, and Nike footpod thingie, as well as a Powertap and a few other techie tools at my disposal. But the truth is, they're really not necessary, they're just fun. And I can't justify spending the money unless it's actually necessary. Especially when I'm just about taking out a second mortgage to write a check for my daughter's dance costumes this year.

Now Julie is the opposite. She's a high-powered techno kind of gal. Her droid beeps, bloops, sings, and talks to her non-stop. She's conversant with more TLAs than anyone I know (that's Three Letter Acronyms for those of you who know even less of them than me). I sometimes have to stop her just to have her translate. She makes me feel like I'm stuck in the stone age. So I have to be able to laugh when she asks me about an app for counting laps at the track. An App.

You see, there's this thing called a watch. And they have lap timers, and if you press the little button on it, it gives you not only what lap you're on, but how much time it took to do it! So I recommended that Julie get one. If she was the only one who trained without a watch, I probably wouldn't be writing this. But it's such an endemic problem that last year when I was coaching a group at the track, I had to bring a bunch of my old watches just to make sure that everyone had one!

So for the record folks, a good little Ironman watch that's water proof, counts laps, gives you your splits, and has an interval timer is only about $30 these days. Even better, Ironman makes a really nice women's heart rate monitor watch which is what I've used for the last six years for my triathlons. At $99, it's all I need for my training and racing data. Just get one already.


Marv said...

Good post Robin. Understand completely. I know enough tech to do just fine but I haven't thrown out a lot of useful "old school" things like watches. My son also speaks and writes in the acronym dialect often, and has all the little gadgets and grown up toys ...but he didn't have a watch. I gave him my old HRM and it had a watch feature. He wears it all the time now and loves it. Sometimes he can't find that blackberry, blueberry or whatever, but he always has his watch.

Caratunk Girl said...

I will not get rid of my watch. Someone told me this past weekend that people will stop wearing watches because of phones/etc. WHAT? How are they going to know their lap times? :)

juliejulie said...

Ha! Okay, now I'm laughing at myself for a couple of reasons: I haven't owned a watch in years, and I do not consider myself technical, so I've obviously faked you out. The truth? Pressing a button on the touch screen of my Android phone is easier than setting up the watch, I think. Although I've never set up a watch, so how would I know? I usually get people to help me set up the tech. People like Robin.

tinaparker87 said...

Funny you brought this up. I ran the other night with the Garmin. I did not take a phone. The next day Scott had downloaded an app for the phone, Race Me, and said take the phone. It will give you time, elavation and something else. i looked at him and said the Garmin does all that too. He just wants to be able to get me. I reminded him sometimes in the hills that does not work. I do have a Timex Ironman Watch (50 laps), the Polar Heart Rate and The Garmin with Heart rate. My problem is always going over the information. I'm tired to do it right afterwards. I must say though the graphs are really cool.

Robin said...

Yeah, that's probably why I don't have more gadgets too. I'd know that they could do all this cool stuff, but I'd never download it and look at it. I have a habit of not using 95% of the cool features on anything I own.

Robin said...

@Juliejulie, you sure did fake me out!