I’ve been using the RunKeeper Pro application from a few months (since May exactly) to log my sport activities and see how I go improving (or not) over time, and thus to motivate me when I run.
With this method of logging the training you need to bring the phone with you, which is a bit annoying when you run, I have an armband to wear it on the arm, but it’s still a little uncomfortable. Furthermore, the mobile GPS doesn’t work as well as you would wish, and sometimes it loses the signal, or log your route wrongly, so that workout data will be incorrect. Another drawback is that at the place where I live, it rains a lot, and depending on the weather here, you can finish your workout with a nonfunctional, and completely wet phone. And with the price of these modern smartphones it’s not pleasant.
For these reasons, I was looking for a GPS + heart rate monitor watch, it endures the rain, and has a better coverage of GPS signals. In addition, I previously ran without a heart rate monitor, and sometimes it’s interesting to know the heart rate while doing sport. I was looking at different options, and taking into account quality, comments from people, and price, my preferred choice was a Garmin Forerunner 305. So I bought it.
The only drawback I saw was the connectivity. With RunKeeper, the mobile application automatically synchronize with the web service, it was to save your workout and everything was done. With the Garmin, you need to connect it to an USB adapter to get the data. You need some drivers and a Garmin plugin that only works on Windows/Mac, while the main operating system I use is GNU/Linux.
So there was a small dilemma: I wanted to use the Garmin to log the workouts, I wanted to continue using RunKeeper web service because I think that RunKeeper guys are doing a good job and are providing a great service, plus I have a paid RunKeeper Elite account, and finally, I also wanted to continue using my favorite OS, GNU/Linux.
Fortunately it’s possible to combine all three.
The first thing to do is to copy the training data from the Garmin to the computer using GNU/Linux. To do this, I found a great reference at braiden.org and I did everything, more or less, following the same steps, but our goal is to upload the data to RunKeeper.
To copy data from the watch you need several things:
- Garmintools. You can use the upstream version, or for example, if you use Ubuntu (like me), just install garmin-forerunner-tools from Synaptic.
- Java. You can find it from Synaptic too (sun-java-jre).
- Some scripts from braiden.org (you can download the latest code from the SVN: svn co http://linuxnerd.net/svn/trunk/projects/garmin-dev)
After you have these requirements met, the following thing to do is connect the Garmin Forerunner to the USB. I think it must be turned on, before transferring data, but it could work being off too.
- Run the following command: garmin_save_runs
- We go into the directory where you placed the scripts from braiden.org, and run: ./gmn2tcx /path/year/month/workout.gmn> workout.tcx
- Now with the .tcx format will be possible to upload it to RunKeeper. To import the workout to RunKeeper, follow these steps:
This will copy the training data in the folder where you run the command, with a folder hierarchy similar to year/month/workout.gmn
This data is in a binary format, and RunKeeper won’t accept it, so you have to convert to .tcx format.
The data will be converted to the appropriate format and will be saved to the run.tcx file (or the name you want).
In your RunKeeper profile press “Post New Activity”, select the right sport, and in the screen “Add map”, press “Import Map” button. Then, select the right file using the chooser from the left side of the screen, “Import from a GPX or TCX file”. And if everything is correct, all data from your workout (even heart rate data) with the Garmin will be available on RunKeeper.
It’s possible to automatize this process further and do it much easier, even with a small graphical application using simple steps. If the RunKeeper guys publish an API of their service, probably I can create something for that.
As the only drawback I’ve found so far is that RunKeeper doesn’t differentiate the total time from the elapsed time. Sometimes you need to stop at a light traffic or something else, and the Garmin watch auto-pause . That time is token by RunKeeper as training time. But hey, it’s not something very important because the pause time is usually very little. By the way, this is my RunKeeper profile, if you want to check my workouts.
Let’s do a small introduction to this very interesting technique in Analytical Chemistry. In this post, I will explain the basics, for a better and more complete information, please read the references.
Microchip Capillary Electrophoresis
A microchip or integrated circuit is basically a very small device on which electronic circuits are fabricated.
In the case of the microchips for Capillary Electrophoresis, our electronic circuit is a conductive liquid solution, so the microchip instead of a printed electronic circuit, will have small channels where the liquid solution is placed.
Capillary electrophoresis is a separation technique based on the differential movement of charged molecules in a conductive medium to which we apply an electric field. Each specie will have a different migration velocity depending on their charge/radius ratio, hence the different species will be separated. The Electroosmotic flow also influences the separation.
Therefore, Microchip Capillary Electrophoresis will be the implementation of the Capillary Electrophoresis technique inside one of these microchips.
The main benefits of this technique are several, such as: low cost, small size (it’s a microchip!), fast analysis times (seconds or minutes), microchips consume only picoliters of samples, can be added other techniques in the pre-sampling phase or after it (for example, PCR (Polymerase Chain Reaction) can be coupled, or even solid phase extraction, etc.).
As the most important problem is the control of the surface chemistry of microchips CE devices, since this surface chemistry is not very well known.
These microchips are highly related to lab-on-a-chip devices, but we’ll talk about it in another post.
Most used materials for manufacturing these microchips are glass and different polymers. Polymers are cheaper.
The injection of the sample and the mobile phase is integrated into the system. There are different ways of injecting the sample into the separation channel, but we will not comment about it in this short summary. Check the references for more information.
The separation of the different species occurs in the same way as in capillary electrophoresis, being able to apply one of these techniques (adapted to the microchip format):
- Micellar electrokinetic chromatography (MEKC).
- Capillary electrochromatography (CEC).
- Capillary gel electrophoresis (CGE).
- Capillary isoelectric focusing (CIEF).
The most common detection modes are the following ones:
- Laser-induced fluorescence (LIF): very sensitive but not every analyte is fluorescent. Also, the equipment is expensive.
- Mass spectrometry (MS): Expensive, and large size equipment. But, well, everyone knows the MS advantages.
- Electrochemical detection: in my humble opinion is, generally, the best option (I’m biased for Electroanalysis). It’s cheap, easy to miniaturize and can be integrated in the microchip. Moreover, many molecules are electrochemically active. Of course, not everything is perfect, and sensitivity can be a problem for some applications.
There are many applications for the MCE, and each day new applications are being researched, with an increasing use of these microchips and the related miniaturized techniques.
Among the most important applications, but not the only ones are:
- DNA separation.
- Protein analysis, aka Proteomics.
- Many biological, environmental, and industrial application.
- Microchip capillary electrophoresis: methods and protocols By Charles Sherman Henry.
- Microchip-based capillary electrophoresis: sequencing and beyond by Anthea Hammond.
- Microchip Capillary Electrophoresis: Progress Toward an Integrated Forensic Analysis System by Susan A. Greenspoon, Stephanie H.I. Yeung, Jeffrey D. Ban and Richard A. Mathies.
- Polymer Microchips for Capillary Electrophoresis and Electric Field Gradient Focusing of Biomolecules by Ryan Thomas Kelly.
- Capillary electrophoresis on microchip by Vladislav Dolník, Shaorong Liu, Stevan Jovanovich. Electrophoresis, 2000, Volume 21, Issue 1.
- Capillary Electrophoresis in Wikipedia.
Well, it was a better week than the last two ones. I did four sport sessions, two times swimming, one running, and one cycling. The ideal week would be six sessions in total, with two of each sport, and one resting day. But, anyway, I think I’m back on track after the last month where I’ve been lazier.
These are my workouts for the past week:
- Monday 13th: Resting
Rest day, for not special motive.
- Tuesday 14th: Running – 8.18 km – 47 min – 5:46 min/km
I was a little hasty, and I didn’t want to get very tired today (I ran at 7:30), so I did a little less than the last times. Good feelings, I didn’t run as fast as I could, but ended quite proud with this run.
- Wednesday 15th: Swimming – 2.0 km – 1h 04 min
First time in the pool after 2 weeks (or practically third time in the last month), so I didn’t feel very good. I got tired pretty soon, and the rest of the workout wasn’t as productive because of this. Anyway, I managed to do 2000m, combining series of 50 and 100 m. Most of them to crawl, but about 500m in backstroke and breaststroke.
- Thursday 16th: Resting
I did want to go to the swimming pool today instead of Friday, but finally I didn’t go, so I decided to rest finally.
- Friday 17th: Swimming – 2.8 km – 1h 24 min
I felt very good this day. 500m crawl as warm up. I’m starting to swim more important distances without stopping, which is a good sign. After that, I did series of 100m, crawl, backstroke and breaststroke, and some series of 50m crawl at a faster speed. To finish the workout I swam again 500m crawl. That’s great, because I was tired after 2300m, but anyway I was able to swim the last 500m without stopping.
- Saturday 18th: Resting
Some sleeping is good occasionally.
- Sunday 19th: Cycling – 38.30 km – 2h 31 min
Good cycling day. It was cold at the start, even if I started at 9:30 today, and the sun was shining. I think I need to wear more clothes, because I’m not comfortable with the cold, specially, cycling downhill. The route was to La Reigada, from an altitude of 7m, to about 530m, and back. I felt very good, with good legs, and after the workout I wasn’t very tired.
Total week 37: Swimming: 4.8 km – Cycling: 38.30 km – Running: 8.18 km
Next week I’ll try to improve further in the swimming pool, and run two times a week (probably Monday and Thursday). Let’s see if the periostitis doesn’t return even doing these two running sessions.
Again, a week with very little sport movement. Just two sessions. I like to do sport during the mornings, and if some morning I can’t, then I fail miserably. Also, I’m sleeping very bad during the last days and I wake up tired and without desire to do anything.
These are my workouts for the past week:
- Monday 6th: Running – 10.20 km – 55 min – 5:24 min/km
I got up at 6:45, and after eating some light food (fruit and some juice), I was to run about 7:15. Well, I started running a little later after heating and stretching, but it was earlier than other days anyway.
The run was from a slower pace to a faster pace. I ended up happy with what I did, a little over 10 km, but at a pace high enough to my conditions. I did the 10k in about 54 minutes, not bad for a training and running at that hour. I think I could do less than 50 minutes easily, having rested and preparing it a bit better. This gives me a good feeling to do a good San Silvestre race (December 31th). Race that will be my first competition. It is 6.5 km, and I can probably go at a pace of 4:30 min/km considering that distance, and with a bit better training than I do now. That’s my goal for December 31th.
- Tuesday 7th: Resting
I had to do some administrative tasks in other city, therefore I lost the morning, and I didn’t anything later.
- Wednesday 8th: Cycling – 31.93 km – 2h 15 min
Not very much to say about this bike ride. Climb to Pulide, non-stop, it took me less time than other times, even taking into account the windy day and the difficulty to ride in this way.
- Thursday 9th: Resting
I had to be in home for some stuff, so I couldn’t do any sport today.
- Friday 10th: Resting
I didn’t do any sport today, but I walked like 7-8 km in the morning. It should count
- Saturday 11th: Resting
Well, today, I didn’t even listen the alarm to wake up. Surely, it played, and I turned off it without realizing it.
- Sunday 12th: Resting
I got up very tired, I wanted to go for a bike ride anyway, but it was raining enough to turn me back. Fail.
Total week 36: Swimming: 0 km – Cycling: 31.93 km – Running: 10.20 km
Next week I will start my Master classes and I’ll have a better understanding of my schedule during the coming months. It will be difficult to ride with the bike in weekdays because when I come home (or very early in the morning) it is very dark. So, biking will be done during weekends (Friday, Saturday, Sunday), probably I am not going to have class the Fridays. Considering these circumstances, I will be running more than one day a week, during weekdays, and also I hope to find some time for going to the pool in weekdays.
I’d like to move forward in my sports training and not lose everything I’ve achieved so far. Let’s see how it goes.