Walking, Jogging, and Running
After a particularly brutal Chicago Winter the cold weather lifted for the first time this weekend and so everyone, including your humble narrator, was out and about. I’ve been trying to be more active, but it’s hard when the cold weather makes your whole body hurt. I’ve been having issues with muscle contractions and overall tightness in my muscles and joints all season, so it was nice to get out and walk in the (relatively) warmer air. The temperature reached a high of 55°F on Saturday.
The warmer weather came at a very opportune time for me, as I was >this close< to hitting the 700 mile milestone since I’ve been keeping track of my walking (other than incidental walking at work, in stores, etc.). I figured I’d probably be able to get out and walk the nine miles I was shy of this milestone over the weekend. Since the weather was so nice, and I’d been cooped-up for so long, I actually crossed that milestone on Saturday alone, walking a little shy of twelve miles in about four hours (an average of 3mph over that length of time is pretty good for me – it means I probably started out at closer to 4mph for the first mile or two).
I was exhausted at the end of my long walking. I also walked another mile home after meeting some friends, putting me at 704 total since the end of July. To put that into perspective, that’s about the distance from Chicago to Philadelphia, or like walking from my new home to my old home over a period of six months.
One of the tools I’ve been using to track how far I walked when I don’t start out with a pre-fab route is Walk Jog Run, run by (excuse the pun) a couple of friends and co-workers. I had checked out their site when we first met, and then didn’t really use it again until I started on my exercise routine and wanted to see how far my walk to work was (it was ≈ 2.5mi). Now I find it invaluable for logging my progress and seeing how far I’ve walked, which sadly is never really as far as it feels while I’m walking it.
An early Google Maps mashup, Walk Jog Run incorporates Google maps with custom pins and overlays to allow you to place markers on a map and show the route you’ve travelled (or are planning to travel) along with a tally of the distance of each leg and total distanced walked, jogged, or run.
One of the things I love about it are the mile markers (the yellow diamonds on the map) that make it really obvious exactly how far you’ve traveled. You can save a route you travel often (like I do with my walk to and from work) or take a look at other people’s public routes to get an idea from other users of the site. I’ll definitely be taking a look at more public routes in the future. Right now I like to just go to a new neighbourhood and get my wander-on. I’m still relatively new to Chicago, so it’s nice to get to know a place by walking around it. I also have my iPhone to keep me from getting too lost when I’m in a new place.
Walk Jog Run doesn’t really work on the iPhone unfortunately, but there is a native iPhone app in the works according to the site’s Twitter stream.
Another feature I like is the overlay at the base of the map showing you how long your current route will take to travel given your velocity (I pick an average of 3mph) and how many calories you’ll burn (approximately) based on your body weight. I know the caloric data isn’t that accurate, but it’s pretty close, and good enough for a quick evaluation.