Honesty in 3 Letters

I was disappointed and frustrated that my race times were so pathetically slow this year. I thought I trained well. But obviously I didn’t. So I asked myself what did I do last year that I didn’t do this year?

The answer was clear. Last year, I used my GPS for every run. It kept me honest. Every time I hit the streets or trials I knew exactly how far and how fast I was running. This year it was all guesswork. For instance, I added a “10 mile” trail run to my schedule. I estimated the mileage by the Upper Salmon River  signs and by feel. When I wore my GPS watch  on the run last week, I discovered that the trail markers were correct, but my estimates were wrong. My “10 mile trail run” was only 8.97 miles. The miles felt  longer because the trail has some steep, technical spots that slowed my pace considerably. Because I used this “10 mile run” as the basis for other mileage (I looped the route to get in my 15 and 20 milers) all of my training mileage was off. I was also running the route much slower than I should have.

This year I learned that honesty can be spelled with just three letters: GPS. For now, I’m still using my ancient Garmin Forerunner to track my mileage. But here some top of the line models that are in my wish list. These watches are perfect some of the longer ultras that I’m planning next year:


How to Fine Tune Your SmartPhone GPS App. for Accuracy

GPS watches & Smartphone Apps can miscalculate distances. Try this experiment. Run around a track and then download the map data to your computer. Your laps will rarely overlap; worst of all, they may not even appear as ovals.
Unless, of course, you get a high end GPS unit like the ones below:

How to boost the accuracy of your GPS data on a smartphone.

How can you improve the accuracy of your GPS App.?

There are a few key settings that help you keep tabs on your accuracy:

The most important one of these is the “time interval”. Time interval is the shortest distance between two recordings of your position. You want this value to be as low as possible.

Another important setting is the distance interval. If your path is filled with switchbacks or just a lot of winding roads, lowering this setting will boost accuracy. Again, make the interval as low as possible.

A third setting that helps you keep track of your accuracy, but can also turn your run into a living hell, is the “GPS accuracy” setting.  When your  distance from a decent satellite signal is 200 meters (default distance for most GPS apps) or less, your position will be calculated and tracked. You can decrease the radius and thereby improve accuracy, BUT MAKE SURE YOU HAVE A GOOD SIGNAL because your phone will stop recording your workouts when the signal gets too weak. If you’ve refined your radius to 10 meters, then there will be MORE spots where the signal is weak, which means your phone will STOP tracking your distance. You might want to try a moderately smaller setting, such as 180 meters; although you can shrink the radius to 10 meters, it’s unlikely that you’ll be in range, especially if you live up in the mountains, like me.

A GPS App with Tweakable Settings:

My Track (Google)



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Barefoot, Captain Kirk Style Teleportation

Space Age Barefoot Technology

I am not a mega huge Science Fiction Fan or reptilian humanoid, but I appreciate, Star Trek style, “beam-me-up” technology when I see it. Case in point, GPS. Although there’s something inherently spooky about having the eye of a satellite on you at all times, it’s handy–literally.

I bought a wrist GPS from Amazon to help me easily track my “stone-age human teleporation” mileage. The GPS works great, but it’s klunky as heck to use. I have to know how fast I want to run and how far I want to go. It doesn’t easily allow me to just take my naked ass feet to the streets and track my barefoot mileage as I run, which is kinda why I bought the thing.

Another runner told me about his Garmin Forerunner 405. His has a heart rate monitor (which I would never use, I hate tracking that kind of crap). The feature he likes most is the ANT+Sport wireless technology. Like a Star Trek teleportation, it automatically transfers data from the wrist GPS to his computer. Completely wireless: no cables, no hookups. He also reverses it, sending workouts from his computer to his Forerunner. He’s into speed and distance training. We hardly ever run together. I freaking hate competitive running; I’m much more for a Zen/Chi runner. I run for the fun of it, not to pit my stone-age human teleporation skills against someone else.

Whether you’re a soul runner like me or competitive freak like my friend, the Garmin Forerunner GPS is hard to beat. Best of all NO SHOES REQUIRED.

Yes, that WAS A SHAMELESS AFFILIATE PLUG, you’re welcome.

How to Use Google Maps to Plot Running Routes

It’s easier just use a free smart-phone app called RunKeepr. But for historical reference, I’ll leave the info about Google Maps intact. It’s also worth knowing that Google Maps tends to UNDER ESTIMATE MILEAGE. I thought I was running 3 miles, but my GPS showed that I was actually running 4!
(BTW, if you’re going to run with barefoot shoes, these Invisible Shoes are hard to beat.)

You don’t need to use a fancy, custom running route APP to plot your course and get your mileage. Google has done all the hard work for you. All you have to do is learn a little about how to create custom maps. It’s easier than you think. Plus, you can add images and share your routes with other barefoot runners:

Step By Step:

Use Google Maps to Plot Running Route

First Make Sure you Enter Your Start Address

Use the “My Maps” Link

Click the “Create New Map” Link

Enter a Snappy Name for Route and write a clever description of it. Also decide whether you want the route to be public or private.

If you entered your start address the map should be at your start location. Use the LINE TOOL to DRAW YOUR ROUTE. The LINE TOOL is BEST because it DOESN’T LIMIT YOU TO STREETS. The LINE TOOL also CALCULATES DISTANCE.

Hit “Save”. You’re done. Not too bad was it?

If none of that made sense, don’t worry. This video will show everything you need to know:

Top 10 Barefoot Running Resources

  1. Daily Mile

    Track Mileage, Compete with Friends, Find Routes

  2. Barefoot Legend “Barefoot Ken Bob’s” Epic site

    Barefoot Running Resources. His book is the THE BEST BAREFOOT RUNNING BOOK ON THE MARKET.

  3. Classy Harvard Professors Who Run Unshod

    Bio-mechanics of Barefoot Running. Also has Barefoot Running Tutorials

  4. Walk Jog Run

    Track Mileage, Find Routes

  5. Runner’s World Barefoot Runner’s Community

    Connect with other Barefoot Runners. Great place to ask questions.

  6. Barefoot Gymnastic Games

    Things you didn’t know you could do with your Feet like “Foot Art”.

  7. Barefoot Living

    Barefoot Lifestyle & Radio

  8. Barefoot Allliance

    Barefoot Lifestyle with a Touch Cultishness, but really very opened minded

  9. Barefoot Shoe Reviews

    Reviews for Barefoot Running Shoes.

  10. Born to Run Store

    Born to Run Marketized: clinics, shoes, etc.

Pray, meditate, for Me

Going into the doctors today. May have ruptured my Achilles. Been running too far too long barefoot with aches. Hope it’s just a strain.

Doctor said it’s partially ruptured. Gave some pills, which I probably won’t take unless I’m in agony. I’ve been treating it with good old hot and cold compresses, relieves the pain and gives me some mobility.

Find Barefoot Running Routes with Walk Jog Run

Walk Jog Run

Do you want to find a running routes in San Francisco, Santa Cruz, or some other location? What about a 5,6, or 7 mile route in Portland, Seattle, or even in your own neighborhood? This video will show you how. (It doesn’t show you how to create barefoot running routes with Walk Jog Run, it shows you how to how to search and filter existing routes.)

Barefoot Running Routes with Walk Jog Run (Link for Mobile Phone)