Posts Tagged ‘miCoach’

What else do I want from this app?

August 3, 2011

The iPhone is my little running computer, I like the idea of owning my data in it. It’s so handy at times to tease a friend by showing him/her my logs. Don’t laugh, I’m still working on my weight!

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The pace and heart rate cues I hear are average figures for the most recent lap (I picked per distance 400m), now with “Workout Ave Pace” I know how I was doing overall. I turn off “Cadence” as I’m still wearing the expensive Garmin 410.

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There are a couple more new features I noticed. This “Heart Rate Zone Change” feature is important to me since I have used miCoach before. One of miCoach’s killer features was heart rate zone training. I just feel great seeing a high score after each run knowing that I ran within the zone I targeted. The app shows me in the log what percentage of time I ran in a zone now in real time it’ll tell me when I cross zone boundary, i.e. I may be trying too hard or too relaxed.

I also turned off the “Units in messages” to get cues out of the way as quickly as possible.

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The app uploads automatically to Daily Mile for me and I manually upload GPX file to RunKeeper. RunKeeper, for some reasons, won’t show heart rate data if I let iSmoothRun to upload directly to it.

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What else do I want from this app? Yes, another one, let me have my data on every Apple gadget. I wish my data on my iPhone is sync’ed with the iCloud server and a companion app is available on my iPad such that I could view my logs, make changes to setting, schedule a run and view runs by my friends there.

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miCoach app

April 21, 2011

I started using miCoach pacer a year ago. It looks like I need new excitement every year, iPod Nike+ gadget combination came March 2009.

With the GPS feature on most smartphone everyone in the market rushed to do an app for your workouts. Nike got one which I tested, I was very disappointed. There must have been updates on the app since last October but I have not yet tried it again.

My new toy Garmin arrived last December so miCoach pacer retired.

I haven’t really tested miCoach app for iPhone it’s now at version 1.0.15 so yesterday morning I gave it a go. First of all I linked the app with my miCoach account at their website. After that there isn’t much setting to do at the phone. At first use the app fetches data for your “working out history” and “achievement” etc. It tracks what shoes you are wearing for your runs a feature that both Nike+ and RunKeeper Pro don’t have at the moment. Other features are pretty standard stuff such as audio cues (select what to hear such as time/distance/calories/pace/target pace) and heart rate/pace based training. Since there is no HRM compatible with this app yet so heart rate based coaching is meaningless.

Its mapping is on par with RunKeeper Pro in terms of accuracy and usability. It’s better than Garmin as it’s Google map not Bing.

The social feature needs improvement. The app doesn’t let you share your run to Facebook or Twitter from your phone, you got to do it by logging into the miCoach website. miCoach doesn’t automatically post any stats of your run to facebook as well, you’ll see just a thumbnail of your run chart (heart rate or pace), so your friends have to do one more click to see details in a broswer (2nd image below). It seems that you can’t share the route yet. For social features RunKeeper is a lot better.

One design differentiates miCoach app from RunKeeper Pro, in my view, is that GPS doesn’t automatically turn on when the app is activated. Once you have selected which favorite workout you want to do, click Next, then it starts searching for GPS signal. You’ll hear positive feedback “GPS is found” at the “Ready, Set, Go” screen then you can tap “Start workout” to start your run.

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When you hear “GPS found” you’ll see this

Tap the icon on the left top corner you’ll see where you are on the go, that icon is a bit small to me. Icon on the top right hand corner is your music control.

I didn’t use RunKeeper Pro yesterday morning so I imported Garmin GPX file into RunKeeper Pro, now I have heart rate curve as well.

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Will I use miCoach GPS app to run, of course, as it’s easy to set up interval training like below. At the moment both Nike+ or RunKeeper Pro can’t do this yet. I need the audio cues to tell me when to speed up. Garmin 410 couldn’t do this, my music will not let me hear the beep anyway, I also doubt if I will upgrade to latest model 610 which has vibrating alert. I won’t consider unless Garmin goes back to Google map.

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Garmin v miCoach

April 13, 2011

The HR spikes caused a research project and this goes on until I know my heart is not to blame for the scary spikes while I run.

During the Sunny Bay hikerun my friend used my Garmin HRM below shows no spikes, he wore the belt high up in the chest and used gal to wet the contacts.

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I used miCoach and there were no spikes. I did walk-run intervals (0.5k walk, 0.5k run) at the 2nd half of the run. It’s apparent that my heart needs 3~4 minutes to slow down and ramp up. I could have the entire run within yellow zone if I didn’t do intervals. The conclusion is that if HR spikes are of short duration, say 1~2 minutes, those must be signal spikes.

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In the Garmin’s manual

If the heart rate data is erratic … you may have to tighten the strap on the chest or warm up for 5-10 minutes.

Heart Rate Monitor Tips

  1. Make sure the HRM is snug against your body
  2. Reapply water, saliva, or electrode gel to the electrodes. Clean the electrodes, dirt and sweat residue can interfere with HR signals
  3. Wear a cotton shirt or wet your shirt if suitable for your activity. Sythetic fabrics that rub or flap against the HRM can create static electricity that interferes with HR signals
  4. Move away from sources of strong EM fields and some 2.5 GHz wireless sensors … sources of interference may include very high voltage power lines, electric motors, microwave ovens, 2.4 GHz cordless phones, and wireless LAN access points.

Putting their HRM together I can see (not that obvious from photo below) that miCoach’s strap has the plastic continuously built into the fabric from the left to the right electrodes (contacts). The Garmin HRM electrodes are two plastic contacts on both sides of your chest.

Nothing is better than side by side comparison so today I put both miCoach and Garmin HRM on during my morning run.

The miCoach chart looks fairly typical with HR max at 165, I walked home after 5k and left the miCoach on.

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The Garmin HR pattern looks the same with HR max at 164.

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I wore the Garmin HRM high up in the chest and adjusted the length of both to be the same such that their tightness is the same on my cylindrical chest.

So what’s my conclusion? I think the Garmin HRM could be too slag and it wasn’t a snug fit after 4 months use. I’m pretty sure I wear it correctly although Garmin manual doesn’t tell me how, the miCoach manual has a figure showing where the HRM should be worn.

I know by now the HRM works either way, e.g.


from this site.

or


from this site.

Garmin HRM

March 27, 2011

I have done another experiment to prove that it’s the HRM and not my heart which caused the scary spikes. Today I deliberately ran slow with a target strike rate of 80. I have lots of experience that at this stride rate my HR should be near 150 or so, this proved to be correct for the first 7k or so. Ignored the pace I followed a tall guy who was just brisk walking in front of me.

At around 8k spikes came again as can be seen below it peaked at 190 so I cleaned the chest belt then I dropped to 164-175-149. My heart just won’t slow down that fast. I then ramped up my stride rate from 80 to 90 …. wow my pace was near 6 min/k while HR was steady at 160.

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From below it’s very obvious that HR reading started to look weird near 8k and steadied down even if I run faster.

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The key findings are:-

  • RH is low say 50% or so
  • Windy that could dry out sweat quicker
  • Not hot, not sweating enough
  • A layer of dried sweat can be formed at 8-9k

I think Garmin’s HRM is more sensitive than miCoach’s as I never had to wet the contacts after putting the chestbelt on even if weather is dry. I only had a few cases of HR spikes so far when using miCoach.

By the way I felt very easy bouncy and light at the last km running at high stride rate.