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Storm Runner

5 Myths of the Marathon by Hal Higdon

Are some of the assumptions about our favorite race flat-out false?

Several weeks before this year’s Boston Marathon, an editor at a large East Coast newspaper approached me with an assignment to contribute to the paper’s weekly “Five Myths” feature: Five Myths About Easter; Five Myths About Mount Everest; Five Myths About The Oscars, etc. The editor wanted me to write: Five Myths About the Boston Marathon Bombings.

The assignment would have provided good exposure for my latest book, 4:09:43but I did not feel enough legitimate myths existed around the bombings to justify a “Five Myths” feature. The Oscars have been around forever, but the bombings happened only last year, too recently to develop a mythology. And quite frankly, focusing only on the horror of 2013 bothered me. I suggested to the editor that he broaden our approach to include all marathons. The editor said, no, and assigned the article to another writer.

Fair enough, but given the opportunity to select five myths about the marathon, not merely about the bombings, here is what I might have written:

  1. Pheidippides was the first marathon runner. Despite the popularity of the story of a single warrior/messenger running into Athens after the Battle of Marathon in 490 BC with news of the Greek victory—then dying—it never happened. The story only appeared in history books several hundred years after the battle. Pheidippides is part of a legend, albeit one that runners now happily embrace.
  2. 26 miles 385 yards was the length of the first Olympic marathon. The Greek shepherd Spiridon Loues probably ran around 24.5 miles, or 40 kilometers, in winning the first Olympic marathon in 1896. Three Olympiads later at London in 1908, organizers moved the starting line back to Windsor Castle so the Queen’s grandchildren could see the race. That odd 26.2-mile distance somehow became the accepted standard.
  3. Boston is the oldest and biggest marathon race in the world. Technically, the Olympic Marathon is one year older, but is only held every fourth year and in different cities. In the fall of 1896, New York hosted a “first” marathon, but that event failed to survive. Boston is the oldest continuously held marathon, although eight other marathons, including New York and Chicago are bigger.
  4. Women will never be able to run 26.miles. A long since disproven myth, but rules once prevented women from running more than 2.5 miles. Then in 1966, Roberta Gibb ran the full distance at Boston followed in 1967 by Kathrine Switzer. Today, women dominate many long distance races. According to Running USA, in 2013 61 percent of the 2 million finishers in half marathons were women.
  5. The Boston Marathon bombings were a hoax, never happened. Yes, this myth seems ridiculous, but conspiracy theories abound around many major events. The Moon landing was staged in a TV studio, right? Within a week after the bombings, a “book” appeared on Kindle suggesting that the Boston Marathon bombings were a hoax staged by the Federal Government.

While all the questions about the terrorists have not yet been answered—and may never be answered even after the trial—this is the saddest marathon myth of all. I was happy to have turned down the assignment from the newspaper editor. The marathon has enough legitimate myths without making up others linked to the bombings.

Hal Higdon is a Contributing Editor for Runner’s World. His most recent book is 4:09:43: Boston 2013 Through the Eyes of the Runners, available in bookstores, online and (autographed) through www.halhigdon.com.

Hal Higdon Marathon Intermediate 1 and 2

We’re building more plans to fit your training style. Hal Higdon Marathon Intermediate 1 and Hal Higdon Marathon Intermediate 2 are available in the iTunes App Store.

Here’s the breakdown between the two new marathon apps.

Intermediate 1

26.2_I1_1024_RFor the experienced runner, this app offers yet another step up. You’ll go from 4 days of running to 5 days per week. The main difference between the intermediate programs and the novice programs comes on the weekends: a pace run on Saturday followed by a long run on Sunday. Plus you finish with two 20-milers, not just one. If you are serious about your running, Intermediate 1 may be the perfect program for you.

Intermediate 2

26.2_I2_1024_RThe gradual increase in difficulty continues. The simplest difference between Intermediate 1 and Intermediate 2 is more mileage. The app not only asks you to run somewhat more miles through the week, but you will run three 20 milers at the end, rather than two. Sound tough? It is.

 

No matter what your skill level, training for a half or full marathon shouldn’t be a stumbling block. Get your hands on a Hal Higdon app and you’ll be confident and prepared to run no matter what your starting fitness level may be. For details on all of Hal Higdon’s apps visit http://halhigdon.bluefinapps.com/

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Your Year in Review

Your Year in Review

For Connect members, we’ve made a special page highlighting your 2013 training! Check your inboxes or log in to your Connect account online to see your “2013 Year in Review” page.

We hope this year you’ll reach new distances, conquer new goals, enter more races, burn more calories, and have fun while doing it. Your successes inspire us to keep working towards creating new products to better your training experiences.

Not a Connect member? Create an account today and start the 30-day free trial. Upload all your workouts from within the app and we’ll send you your very own 2013 Year in Review. Sign up here.

Thanks for choosing Bluefin apps for your training.
Keep up the good work in 2014!

Alex, Tanya & the Bluefin Team

Introducing Forums

One of the reasons we developed RunHelper Connect is to enable our customers to connect with each other and share their running experience with the community. We are thrilled to announce that we have added Forums to our apps where you can do, just that.

To access the forums tap on the Connect tab in your app, then tap on the Forums button. As they say a picture is worth a thousand words, so here’s a screenshot that introduces the Forums and how to use them:

Example Forum Post

 

See you at the Forums!

The 5-Minute Stretch app

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The wait is over! Download the 5-Minute Stretch app and put an extra spring in your step. Stretching is a cinch with the 5-Minute Stretch app. Open the app, select a routine, and let the app guide you through the stretching session.

Why Stretch with an app?

The app will show you how to perform each stretching exercise, tell you when to switch to the next one, and let you know when you’ve completed the stretching session. It’s like having a coach right next to you. The 5-Minute Stretch app has 18 stretches specifically chosen for walkers/runners, targeting key muscle groups used while working out.

WHAT YOU’LL GET WITH OUR STRETCH APP:

  • Beautiful animations show you exactly how to perform each exercise.
  • Pre-workout and post-workout stretching sessions.
  • Dynamic and static stretching exercises.
  • 5-minute sessions with 10 stretches each.
  • Integrated with all our training apps.
  • Shuffle exercises to avoid getting bored.
  • Add multiple rounds to extend your stretching session.
  • Alerts tell you when to switch exercises.

Congratulations to the 50 Giveaway Winners!

We’ve notified the winners who have received a free app as part of our launch giveaway. If you won you should have received an e-mail with instructions on how to download your app for free.

 

Three new GPS tracking apps

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I’m happy to announce that we are adding three new GPS tracking apps to our suite of mobile apps: Run Tracker Pro, Cycle Tracker Pro and Walk Tracker Pro.

Since the beginning we have been focusing on developing running apps based on training plans, but we’ve always had customers ask us about having non-training plan based apps as well. When our long time partner Peaksware approached us with the possibility of acquiring their suite of GPS tracking apps we jumped at the opportunity. Adding a Cycling app to our offering and more choices for non-plan based tracking apps is something we’ve always wanted to do.

I’d like to take this opportunity to welcome all Tracker Pro users  to the Bluefin family. Other than a few logo changes you won’t notice anything different about the apps now. In the future we plan on adding new features and continue making the apps one of the best GPS trackers on the market.

Here’s a link to the press release announcing the purchase.

To Stretch or Not to Stretch

When it comes to running, stretching is all to often a confusing subject. There are conflicting arguments on whether or not we should stretch, what type of stretching to do, and when to stretch. We’ve done the research and hand picked a selection of dynamic and static stretching exercises that target the muscles most used during a run.

According to Nikki Kimball from Runners World “…dynamic stretching, which uses controlled leg movements to improve range of motion, loosens up muscles and increases heart rate, body temperature, and blood flow to help you run more efficiently.”

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Walking Lunges

Here are three reasons why you should include stretching in your workout routine.

Wake up your body. Dynamic stretching is the best way to give your body a wake up call. Dynamic movements help get your blood pumping and your nervous system enough time to respond to the upcoming workout you are going to be putting your body through. With each stretch you are warming up your muscles and steadily increasing your heart rate. Before you know it you’ll be heading out the door more than ready for your run.

Post run recovery. Some research suggests that you can skip the pre-workout stretch, but a post workout stretch shouldn’t be missed and here is why. According to Greg Strosaker  stretching “provides recovery benefit, perhaps by improving blood flow to sore or tight areas or by helping to work out scar tissue adhesions. Since injuries often begin as “tightness” or accumulation of scar tissue in a specific muscle or tendon, it is possible that the process of exercising this muscle through flexibility work provides benefit.”

Help reduce the risk of injury. The important thing here is to do stretches that are specific for the sport you are doing. Tight muscles lack the needed elasticity to provide joints and muscles the right amount of push and pull with each running stride. Getting the specific muscles you’ll be using during the workout ready for action will help you maintain the needed flexibility necessary to help prevent injury. 

Adding a new stretching routine to an existing workout schedule should be painless and easy. We’ve select stretching exercises that are tailored for runners and split them into pre and post workout sessions.

OUR Stretching app will:

  • Integrate with our existing running apps
  • Contain stretches that are specific for runners
  • Include a Pre-Run session which includes predominately dynamic stretching exercises
  • Include a Post-Run session which includes a mix of dynamic and static stretching exercises
  • Show you how exercises are performed with beautify, realistic, hi-def animations
  • Time your stretching session and let you know when to switch exercises

give stretching a try! Sign up below to receive an email when our stretching app is released. You could also win a free copy of the app!

You’re going to love Stretching

Let’s face it stretching is boring, tedious, and requires some guesswork into which stretches to do and how to perform them correctly. Plus, most of us only have time to get out, run and get it over with.

We at Bluefin have set out to solve this and get you to start stretching, but better yet, to stretch properly. We’ve designed an app that will take the guesswork out of stretching and show you exactly what stretches to perform.

The app has two sets of stretching routines specifically created for your pre-run and post-run stretch. The app will guide you through a 5 minute  routine that will get your muscles ready for a run. After your run select the post-run stretching routine to release built up muscle tension and prevent soreness and fatigue.

Sign up below and we’ll let you know when the app is launched. You will also be entered to win one of 50 free copies on launch day.

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Bridge – great for opening up hip flexors and quads. Helps improve posture and back flexibility.

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7 Minute Workout App Available on iTunes

7 Minute Workout App available in iTunes

7 Minute Workout is a quick and easy way to get a workout in when you are away from home or don’t want to go to the gym.

The app contains 12 scientifically selected workouts that target all muscle groups. The 7 Minute workout was introduced in an article published by  New York Times in May 2013. The author suggests that, “Those seven minutes should be, in a word, unpleasant. The upside is, after seven minutes, you’re done.”

The idea behind 7 Minute Workout is that you target certain muscle groups for 30 seconds, give them a 10 second break and continue with a different muscle group. High Intensity Circuit Training (HITC) has proven beneficial for those looking to break up their workout routines. HITC workouts have shown promise in reducing flab and increasing metabolism for maximum fat burning.

Our 7 Minute Workout lets you listen to your own music, or listen to the included sound track. Once you’ve mastered the 12 exercises increase your workout time by completing multiple rounds. The app also lets you shuffle the exercises to decrease boredom.

Once you’ve gotten yourself hooked to HITC workouts you’ll be asking for more.  Our Bootcamp app has 40 different exercises and 5 built in workouts: Cardio and Core, Sculpted Arms, Killer Quads to name just a few. You can start with these or mix and match exercises to build your very own custom routine.

Make time for a quick 7 Minute Workout and reap the benefits now. Download your copy today to get started.

Help Us Beta Test Our New App

We are looking for 50 customers who are willing to help us beta test our new app: RunHelper Plus.

RunHelper Plus expands on our RunHelper Free app and brings 4 new workout types:

  • Timed workout: Select workout duration and the app will let you know when you reach the goal.
  • Time + Run/Walk Interval: Select workout duration, and duration of your run and walk intervals. The app will repeat the intervals until the workout duration is reached.
  • Distance + Run/Walk Interval: Select workout distance, and duration of your run and walk intervals. The app will repeat the intervals until the desired distance is reached.
  • Calorie Burn: Select how many calories you wish to burn and the app will let you know when you’ve reach the goal.
Time + Run/Walk Interval

Time + Run/Walk Interval

Here’s how to join:

If you …

  1. Have an iPhone 3GS or later with iOS 4.3 or later
  2. Are able to run with the new app at least once a week
  3. Are willing to send us feedback about the app

To join send us your device’s UDID. The UDID  will enable us to create a special version of the app that you can install on your iPhone without having to download it from the App Store. The easiest way to do this is to download the Free UDID Finder app from the App Store and tap on the “Send Email” button. Send the UDID from the UDID Finder app to: support@runhelper.com

Once the beta version is ready for testing we’ll send you an email with the app and instructions on how to install it on your device.

Thanks so much for your help!

Alex, Tanya & the Bluefin Team