Try jump rope

Jump topeJumping rope is such a great cardio workout that you can do in such a short time that I wonder why I don’t see more people do it in gyms.  Probably because it takes timing and coordination.  Many probably also believe that it is more of a kid’s play-toy than a serious workout tool.

I can’t last for more than a minute without tripping up.  I can’t do any of those fancy tricks like criss-crossing the rope or jumping on one leg.  I tried the latter but I find I can’t get through more than two reps before the rope snags on my ankles.  I suppose with more practice I can, but admittedly it’s tough.  Maybe soon, with more effort and more practice, I can get to the level of this guy:

Here are some tips, courtesy of www.builtlean.com.

1) Jump on the Balls of your feet

When you jump rope, try to softly jump up and down on the balls on your feet. Your heels should never touch the ground, which is one reason why jumping rope is a serious calves workout!

2) Don’t Jump too High, Relax

Many people who try to jump rope jump so high it’s like they don’t realize the rope is an eighth of inch thick. If you’re trying to get in a rhythm and jump rope for more than 30 seconds without burning yourself out, keep your jumps as small as possible without tying up the jump rope. Just relax and don’t worry if you trip up the rope.

3) Don’t Swing your Arms/Shoulders too Much

Jumping rope is all in the wrists. Watching someone who doesn’t know how to jump rope reminds me of how some people will try to swim really hard, but barely go anywhere. Then you see another swimmer who is barely trying yet flies through the water. Just as swimming is all about the efficiency of your stroke, jumping rope effectively is all about the efficiency of the revolutions. If you are using your arms and shoulders while jumping very high, jumping rope becomes a VERY difficult cardio activity. Just use your wrists in a circular motion as I describe in the video.

4) Use the Correct Rope Length

How long should the jump rope be you ask? If you bisect the jump rope by putting it under your feet, the handles should reach your sternum. Much higher, or lower will affect the rhythm and make jumping rope much harder. The jump rope should tick the ground each revolution, which also makes it easier to count reps and get in a rhythm.

5) Hands Slightly Above Waistline

Hand position is important and this is also dependent on the length of the rope you have. Your arms should be comfortably bent, hands placed about a foot from your sides and about waist level.

6) Get in a Rhythm

You can really jump rope as fast as you want, but getting in a rhythm can make jump rope easier and more fun. It’s kind of like hitting your stride as you jog, so you can do the same thing jumping rope. I like to complete a certain number of revolutions, or reps in a certain amount of time, let’s say a pace of roughly 150 reps per 60 seconds. It’s really up to you what feels comfortable and what type of workout you are doing.

7) Practice, Practice, Practice

This is by far the most important tip of all! Most of my training clients do not know how to jump rope properly at their first session. But after their 4th, or 5th session ,they are jumping rope like a pro. How is that possible? First, start out with the rope behind you, then:

a) Do one jump rope rep then stop

b) Do two jump rope reps, then stop

c) Keep on going

This progressive strategy helps prevent, or unlearn the dreaded “double hop”, which is when you hop twice in between every revolution. In addition, the main reason I created the preceding video is so you can watch how I do it and just follow along. Then, it’s really just a matter of putting in maybe an hour, or two of practice, next thing you know, you’re jumping rope like a pro boxer and you’re burning fat like it’s going out of style.

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Updating Twitter and Facebook via Siri

So the new iPhone 4S was launched in the Philippines about a week ago. What does that mean to us runners?

For one thing, you can use the new iPhone 4S’s Siri to update your social networking feeds! This means that you can update your Facebook status and tweet while running . While this may not be appear to be such a big thing, consider this: you can keep your friends, family, and other supporters updated in real-time of your racing status. You can post something like “Just passed the 10 kilometer mark and still going strong!” or “I’m exhausted, cramping, and I still have 3 kilometers left!” What’s more, after finishing a race, you can review your posts and relive the experience.

But first, a slight caveat. You actually can’t directly update Facebook or Twitter using Siri. But since you can send tweets and update your Facebook status through SMS, you can use Siri to send SMS to Twitter and Facebook.

The instructions below apply to Globe subscribers. Sorry, SMART and SUN users, I am only familiar with the Globe text commands, but I am sure the other providers have something similar.

Twitter

1) You first have to register your mobile phone to Twitter. For GLOBE subscribers, send TWEET REG to 2363.

2) Then create Twit as a contact in your iPhone’s address book and enter 2363 as the phone number. (Don’t create an address book entry with Twitter as the contact name. For some reason, it confuses Siri)

Now you can tell Siri to send an SMS to Twitter. For example, you can tell Siri “Send SMS to Twit. Tweet I’m tired” and the tweet “I’m tired” will appear in Twitter!

Facebook

1) Go to your Facebook page and go to Account Settings. Click on Mobile.

2) Register your mobile phone. Facebook will send you a confirmation code to your phone and asks you to enter that confirmation code

3) Create Facebook as a contact in your iPhone’s address book and enter 2933 as the phone number. This is Globe’s Facebook number.

Now you can tell Siri to send an SMS to Facebook and it’ll appear as your status.

(Photo Credit)

Run for Pinoy Glory

Run for Pinoy Glory poster
So I signed up for the Run for Pinoy Glory 21K run. This run is part of my training plan to accumulate mileage in preparation for the Condura Skyway Marathon on February 5.  I actually wanted to run the PSE Bull Run on January 8, but I have a high school reunion the night before and I may not get enough sleep for a 21K.

While the Run for Pinoy Glory says you can do online registration via Paypal, take note that it really isn’t a web-based registration process.  I did pay via Paypal and Paypal did send a confirmation mail, but because there isn’t a web form I emailed the race organizers (the email address is included in the Paypal confirmation email) asking how to complete the registration process.  I got an email response after a few days saying that I still have to fill up and email back the registration form (which you can download from their website).

Condura Skyway Marathon

Condura Skyway Marathon 42K map

The date: Feb 5, 2012.  This will be a momentous event for me.   My first marathon!

I had chosen the Condura Skyway Marathon because I had run the 16K last year and I found the race well-organized.  And the route, as pictured above, is a simple route.  No weaving around Makati or Bonifacio Global City.

Aside from the fact that this is the only running event that takes you on the Skyway, the marathon will start at midnight!   At least I don’t have to worry about the heat.

Assembly Area : Condura – Filinvest Village. Entrance is at the corner of Corporate and Bridgeway Avenues. Major landmarks : Festival Mall and Vivere.

Race start : All race distances will start at the Skyway Alabang Tunnel along Alabang-Zapote Road. Major landmarks : Alabang Depot, Caltex and South Supermarket

Finish line : All race distances will finish at Spectrum Midway Extension, Filinvest Alabang. Major landmarks : Wilcon Builders and Condura-Filinvest Village

More info can be found at the Condura Skyway Marathon site.

My Vibrams survived Corregidor

Despite the advice of the race organizers (they advised to bring running shoes and not racing flats), I went ahead and used the Vibram Five Fingers KSO for the Corregidor International Half-Marathon.  These babies went through hell and back! I sloshed through mud and puddles, pounded on concrete roads, climbed up steps, navigated through rocky terrain, strode through grassy fields.  

Thoughts on headphones

For me, headphones are an essential accessory for running, especially for runs lasting more than an hour.  With music piping through headphones, they relieve boredom.  And I use an iPhone app to track things like pace, time, and distance.

But I’ve always struggled with headphones.  If they are a poor fit, they fall off.  Those damn cords tangle easily.  Some headphones are uncomfortable.   Many breakdown after a few months.   There are headphone  that have “angel wings” attached to the ear buds, there are those whose headbands wrap around the nape of your neck instead of the top of your head, there are those that have some strange indentation on the ear buds so that they don’t fall off.  Of all of these designs, I prefer those wherein the headphones are one complete unit and not having separate unattached ear buds.   It truly irritates me when one ear bud slips off.  I hate it when I am in that zone when my pace matches the music and then everything abruptly goes out of whack.

I was looking for a headphone that also has a microphone.  I could use voice commands to SMS or update my twitter feed or my facebook status (yes, there’s an app for that and it’s called Vlingo!) .  It would be useful to record thoughts into my iPhone, have it tagged by GPS location or by time, and then review it post-run.

Anyway, in my quest for the headphone-mic accessory, I came across two products which were priced at close to—wait for it—P12,000!  Geez, P12,000 for headphones?!

I am no die-hard audiophile so I wonder, do these headphones really give crisp, quality sound?  And, even if they do, is it that important while doing some sport activity?   I can imagine that pristine music will be important if you wish to relax and meditate, but is that level of excellence really critical when you are huffing and puffing?

I also noticed that both headphones tout the “Monster” label.  Every self-proclaimed audiophile is aware of the Monster Cable product.  But it has it’s share of controversy.  There was some scientific analysis to show that there is no difference between the expensive Monster Cables and ordinary lamp cord.  There is also another experiment that showed that so-called audiophiles can’t tell the difference between the Monster Cables and coat hangers!

I use the Philips SHQ4000/28 Neckband Headphones.  I bought it not because I expect quality sound.  I just wanted it not to slip off.  It’s one-third the price of those supposedly high-end headphones, but it gets the job done.

Teaser poster for Condura Skyway Marathon

Condura Skyway Marathon poster
The above poster was taken from the Facebook page of the Condura Skyway Marathon.

The poster hardly answers any of the nagging questions.  The organizers have long hinted that the run will take place entirely on the Skyway, so that’s hardly a surprise here.  But what time does the race start?  Has it been decided that the 42K will start at midnight?  And what is the race route?  One of my fears is that the run will not end at the starting area. Someone commented that the Skyway from Alabang to Buendia and back to Alabang is 30K, so are we assured that the runners will start and end at the same area?

C’mon Condura, bring out the details!