TICKR X & The 7 Minute Workout Accessibility

I am always looking for simple and effective ways to make workouts more accessible. It can often be difficult to monitor and track workouts so I was very excited when Wahoo sent along the TICKR X. The TICKR X is a very capable device that can track a whole multitude of stats, from HR, to body movement and more, but the data point I was most interested in was rep counting.

Utilising the TICKR X along with the Wahoo 7 minute workout app on my iPhone, all my reps could be automatically counted. No more writing it all down in an app afterwards, assuming I could remember how many reps I performed on each exercise.

What is the 7 minute workout

The 7 minute workout is a collection of 12 body weight exercises that you can complete anywhere with no equipment needed. It has been shown to give results comparable to longer running or weights sessions. It comprises of 12 work sets of 30 seconds each followed by a 10 second rest. It is a quick and highly effective HIIT workout.

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A great day out!

I arrived at the Buxton Adventure Film Festival shortly before Heather Dawe was due to speak. I snook into the theatre a little early (its amazing where a guide dog can get you!) and found a seat. I sat down a few seats away from Jez Bragg and was introduced to him.

Jez was at the event talking about his 3,054km run of the Te Araroa trail covering the entirety of New Zealand including multiple water crossings. After a quick chat and swapping our list of events for the following year it was time for the first talk.

Heather Dawe was talking about her amazing running and cycling career. She has achieved some wonderful things and returned from adversity after suffering what sounded like a terrible accident while riding her bike. A car hit her at 50mph and she was thrown over the car. Her talk was captivating and covered everything from running to painting! After the talk there was a little Q&A.

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A Call for A SmartTreadmill

I currently own a NordicTrack T14 treadmill. What makes this treadmill so special is its iFit Live system. The iFit live system allows a route to be plotted online through google maps that is then sent to the treadmill. So any inclines that appear on the plotted route are automatically changed by the treadmill. It basically allows you to practice running the inclines of any given route.

This really is a nice system, you can even hook up a TV and navigate to the iFit website and it will display the google street view of your current location. However after using this treadmill for a while I can see a number of areas it could be improved to make a truly great treadmill.

The Smart Treadmill as I envisage it would be controlled by an iPad this is for a number of reasons.

1. Reduced cost for developing the console. The consoles are usually terrible on low to mid level treadmills. With the high end treadmills simply gaining features such as television. Utilising an iPad for a console would give great access to technology.

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A Reminder of What is Possible

With a fantastic diet of: 2 pancakes, a chicken sandwich, protein shake and a slice of toast, I was under fuelled and ready to run. After a quick conversation with my guide runner he was unable to make it. Dammit I wanted to hit the tarmac.

Near my house there is a small strip of tarmac around 1.6 miles long that is perfect. Wide path, no lampposts and more importantly no pedestrians. I decided without my guide runner this strip of asphalt may be possible. After persuading my wife I wouldn’t die she reluctantly dropped me at the far end.

With no assistance apart from the thumping beat of Jay-Z I began my run. The first mile I had to hug the curb to avoid a few trees, after a long curve to the right time to swap to the left of the path. Reaching the end of the first mile I had a rush of excitement, for the first time in over 2 years I was running on my own.

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A Mile Too Far..

My return to running has been far more difficult than anticipated. The ankle pain has gone but taken my stamina alone too.

I figured a couple of runs and I would be back at full strength, instead nearing the 3 mile mark yesterday I felt my lungs collapsing. Where did it all go wrong? A month ago I was happy with my goal of a 100 mile run next year. Now the thought seems impossible; I can’t even run 3 miles!

My guide runner graciously stopped running during my injury in the hope we would stay at the same level. This didn’t pan out as hoped, as he seems to be coping with the return far better than I. As I struggle on the familiar home straights he stretches out and runs ahead.

Starting so far back in my training programme is incredibly demoralising, 2 months hard work wiped out by an awry foot strike. Damn you Bawtry Road and your crappy paving!

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Slow Recovery, Slow Posting

While my ankle continues to heal I find my blog posts have dropped off. Until my injury I hadn’t realised how important and reliant I had become on my running. With my vision difficulties and my wife working through the week, I rarely leave the house. So my main outlet for fitness and socialising was my running.

My guide runner has been coming round to visit in the day times, but it simply isn’t the same. Venturing out and running the local streets gave me the freedom I strive for. The injury is having a serious impact. In an effort to hit the streets quicker I have ordered a Vulkan ankle brace. This should allow me to run through part of the recovery period.

This also means I will miss my first ever competitive race. It was schedules for next week, I am confident I could complete the small distance, but the prospect of further injury and a slow time is not appealing. So regrettably I will miss the race in the hopes of coming back stronger later in the year.

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Race For Life

On the hottest day of the year I began the long walk to the start line. My sister was running/walking in the Race For Life 5km. With the closest parking being just over a mile away it was the first test for my ankle. Pain free we arrived at the staging area.

My sister was already in the starting area so we were quickly trying to make our way to the front so her 2 boys could see the start. Hoisted above my head we caught a quick glimpse of my sister as the race began.

Knowing the competitive women would post great a time we made our way over to the finish line. 18 minutes had passed and not a runner in sight, I put this down to the heat and terrain as in local races the competitive women usually post around 16-17 mins.

Around the 23 minute mark the first competitor reached the home straight, with a rouse of applause they crossed the line. It would be another 1 minute 30 before second place. As the time ticked by many of the more athletic women began to collapse and vomit a mere 50m from the finish line. The heat and dehydration seemed to be affecting a number of the female competitors.

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On my last run I was nursing a painful foot/ankle. After resting for over a week I was still unable to put my full body weight on my right ankle. Begrudgingly I headed to the Dr’s.

A quick diagnosis of an ankle sprain seemed simple. Thankfully nothing was broken I was happy and assumed I would be back on the road in a matter of days. Turns out I had no idea how serious ankle sprains can be, up to 3 months recovery. Upon hearing the news my heart sank, 18 weeks of training had come to an end. I would miss my first ever race and may even be out the entire summer.

On the way home from the Dr’s I bought a couple of ankle supports and sat down for some internet research. All the information I found confirmed what the Dr had told me, a long recovery time with little chance of a speedy recovery. I did manage to pickup a few tips, so hopefully with the use of the RICE method and a good 1-2 week rest I should be back.

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Performing as a Blind Runner

Increasing performance is something that you work on over time. Changing a few methods here, fiddling with the diet there, a change of equipment, a whole host of changes contribute towards increased performance.

For myself it works slightly differently, as my performance is not dictated by my own actions, but by the joint performance of me and my guide runner.

If I feel particularly fresh I cant simply sprint ahead and put in a faster mile or even do a sprint finish. I move along at my guide runners pace. Which of course in turn means my guide runners pace is also dictated by my performance.

This makes for a very interesting and unique relationship, we can only perform better as a unit. This is proving especially difficult as I am currently injured. This was highlighted in our last run where our pace was the slowest to date.

With our performance being so dependant on the other, failure is not an option. Stopping mid run means letting the other person down, not to mention a long walk home. So regardless of pain, exhaustion and dehydration the runs are completed.

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Summer Schedule

With the summer in full swing its time to up my workout schedule. Not only will I be increasing the miles but introducing a number of CrossFit workouts and sprints. The schedule is as follows:

Monday – Pull-ups, CrossFit
Tuesday – Run
Wednesday – Pull-ups, CrossFit
Thursday – Run
Friday – Pull-ups, CrossFit
Saturday – Sprints, CrossFit
Sunday – Run

This schedule does seem a little packed but with a lot of sleep and great nutrition I am confident I will see gains.

I will be following a Hal Higdon schedule for my running and aiming to be at half marathon distance in around 6 weeks time.

I will be utilising CrossFit and also a CrossFit playing card deck for the strength training.

For pull-ups I will be following the 20 Pull-Up Challenge.

So thats the schedule I post mainly to open the doors to any friends, friends of friends, random readers of the blog that would like to team up during the summer months. Be it by training in person or simply keeping track of each others progress online.

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