Questions for Runners

September 13th, 2012 | Posted by Erica House in Fitness

As Matt and I have been getting more into running lately I’ve ran into a few issues that I’m hoping some of you running vets can help us out with!


(1) How accurate is Runkeeper?

Specifically, how accurate is their calorie counter. I did some digging online and found forums where people discussed using runkeeper and their garmin at the same time and the resulting calories burned number was similar. However, based on heart rate, my calories burned is dramatically different!

Exhibit A.

Runkeeper shows that I burned 331 calories during my run. If I plug in the same time spent with my average heart rate during the run (160) to various calculators online I get a huge range of results:

ShapeSense calculated 546

– Triathlon Training Blog calculated 684

Other random site calculated 537

I know Runkeeper calculates calories burned based on my weight, distance ran and time. I wonder though if my Heart Rate is significantly higher than the normal runners which would lead to the other calculators showing higher numbers. I am terrible at running. Really. I still fight vomiting up my breakfast sometimes and struggle to run more than a few minutes at a time.

(2) Is there anything I can do to help my breathing out while I run?

As previously mentioned I am struggling some with getting into running. Maybe it’s normal, since I’ve only been running since February, but for someone who works out as much as I do I’m surprised I still can’t run more because of needing to stop for air. Physically, my muscles are strong enough that I could keep moving but my breathing is what forces me to walk for a few seconds. I usually try to take somewhat deep breaths, in through my nose and out through my mouth, but is that correct? I just read an article today on the debate over mouth breathing vs. nose breathing and they basically said it’s whatever is most comfortable. Problem is: Neither is for me right now!


(3) This is for all fitness lovers: how on earth do you keep your dirty workout clothes from stinking up your hamper?

This is probably an over share but our hamper is starting to assault our sense of smell. Unfortunately, our hamper is also stored in our closet so I’m tired of going to look for something to wear and being reminded that we are stinky pig-people. We don’t have a washer and dryer in our place so we usually save all of our clothes to wash on the weekends. That means there are 6ish days of workout clothes either (a) drying on the back of our chairs if they were just used or (b) spreading their sweat cooties to our other, less dirty, clothes.


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28 Responses

  • Donloree says:

    The stinking problem has an answer! Hang them up to dry before you put them in the hamper. If you have a hook on the back of your door in the bathroom, hang your sweaty clothes to dry and air out a bit and THEN put them in the hamper. It should help. :D

  • I never go off of Runkeeper’s app for calories burned. I always refer to my heart rate monitor! Unless you have one of those that pair with Runkeeper.
    For breathing I always start out breathing in and out through my nose. But after a mile or two, it switches to breathing out through my mouth. As I get more tired I have to focus more on breathing in through my nose. I think it helps me avoid cramps too.
    It’s funny that you ask question #3…cause I just started wondering the same exact thing! :)

    • Erica House says:

      I also start out breathing in nose/out mouth but that turns into me just panting after 2-3 miles! Have you ever worn your heart rate monitor and used Runkeeper at the same time?

  • Kelly says:

    I can’t help with the heart rate as I haven’t used a monitor, but I would say the HR monitor is more accurate.
    On the breathing, it could be how fast you are running? Maybe slow down and try to build your endurance up a little at a time. Your lungs need some Conditioning! Or maybe see a dr and have him listen to your lungs?
    Dirty clothes, I would rinse them out really well after your workouts if you can’t wash them within a day. You probably need to lay them out to dry too. In 6 days you could be giving time for mold to grow and that could make you really sick and ruin your clothes.

    • Erica House says:

      I think I should focus more on long, slow paces instead of always racing to top my last time. We’re planning to take it easy on our next few runs since we’ve been caught up with trying to get our 5k time down and we are probably neglecting good form.
      I read on a forum that some people will shower *with* their clothes on to rinse them out and hang them up to dry after!

  • Mai-Lis says:

    You should give a heart rate monitor a try, they are a little pricey but well worth it! Once you get an idea of your middle & high heart rate range, you will be able to check it while you are running and see if you’re in a good range or if you’re maxing out. I also think that the calories are more accurate since it has you enter in all of your weight/height/age information and is actually measuring it off of how much energy you’re exerting. Good luck with the running, I’m just getting into it myself and it’s not easy!

    • Erica House says:

      I keep trying to convince people that I’m just not built for running. When I run with Matt I have to struggle to keep up with his leisurely pace and I’m sure some of it has to do with the fact I’m 5’2″ and he’s 6’1″! I should get some sort of vertically challenged handicap :)

      I think I’m officially putting a heart rate monitor on my wishlist for my birthday next month! I really want one for when I’m working out at home as well (which is the majority of the time). I feel like my usual workouts aren’t challenging me enough and having a monitor to look down at would keep me motivated.

  • 1) I never believe devices or websites that measure calorie burning because they only base themselves on the “average”.

    2) I try to breath in through my nose and out through my mouth. If you’re exclusively mouth breathing it can be a sign that you’re pushing too hard. Especially if its occurring early on in your run.

    3) Apparently running clothes with silver strands absorb moisture. However I’d you’re not a lululemon fan, just leave your sweat clothes to dry first before putting them in the hamper this helped me.

    • Erica House says:

      Thank you for your input! I haven’t heard that about clothes with silver strands. I’ve wanted to try something from Luluemon for a while and that seems like a justifiable purchase!
      I’ll pay more attention to my breathing on my next run and slow down the pace if I start exclusively mouth breathing.

  • RunKeeper doesn’t take into account the age, gender, height, weight, etc. of the individual does it? I think it might be a general guesstimate based on the average calories burned per mile. As for the distance tracker, I think it is probably right. I’ve used it before, and it has always seemed to give pretty accurate results.

    Have you considered changing your form? I always used to get in trouble at cross country for being too “closed” while I was running, and the result of it was issues with my breathing. As for the nose/mouth issue, I always just breath through my mouth; I always feel that I don’t get enough air if I’m breathing through my nose; however, it really is just what makes you comfortable.

  • By the way, don’t let your height be an excuse! I’m 5’0″, and I beat a lot of the boys on my team when I ran cross country; it just takes a lot of willpower.

    • Erica House says:

      Lol fine I’ll stop using that as an excuse. I’m still going to pull the ‘I used to be a smoker!’ card every once in a while :)

      I’m not sure what closed form would look like but I’m going to do some digging online. I do know I stay very tight when I run – to the point my shoulders and upper back even hurt after. Maybe I should call around town and see if any of the gyms/universities offer a running clinic.

  • Nancy Francis says:

    I struggle with breathing as well. I generally focus on breathing in through nose and out through my mouth and then take a few mouth breaths if I’m struggling, the combo seems to work for me. I also think speed is a huge factor – a run around the same pace as you (like 36-38 mins per 5k, just ran 8 in an hour) and I can tell how much more I struggle on the k’s where my speed goes up . Im hoping that with more practice my breathing will improve along with my speed :)

    I despise smelly gym clothes so I wash them every two days!

    • Erica House says:

      I can’t WAIT until the day we have laundry in our house again! If I could I would do the wash at least twice a week but I suppose I’ll have to make do for now. I’m looking forward to holding off our trying to beat our PR anytime soon and focus more on longer runs to help improve endurance/stamina. I’m hoping I will tell a huge difference in my breathing during the short runs after.

  • Rachael says:

    I’m also an awful runner, and I started in 2010. Ha! I hear you have to break the first 2 miles until it gets easier. For me, I have to get my body ready by walking first–probably at least half a mile. Then I start my jog (I don’t consider jogging the same as running–I’m a jogger). I’m 5’7 and Ryan is 6’4, and he runs a lot faster, but my slow jog always wins as far as distance and stamina. I also feel I’m not built for running. Short, stubby, thick legs. Sure, they’ve slimmed from jogging, but I’m just not long and lean. Strong, but not like a horse–more like a bear haha!

    I also suck at breathing. All I do besides in nose/out mouth is slow down when I feel out of breath. Like realllllly slow. Like a jog so slow that a walker might pass you. It keeps you in jogging mode, but you kinda look like that geriatric man running down the road really slow. Thankfully, I don’t care. ;)

    And just lay your clothes on the dresser or a hook like others said. They don’t smell as bad then. I sometimes jog in the same shorts like 3x, which may sound gross, but I take them off immediately after working out and shower. Just don’t sit around in the sweaty clothes and stew in it. ;)

    • Erica House says:

      I don’t even want to tell you how many times Matt and I will use the same pair of shorts before we wash them.
      Hint: It’s more than you.

      I like your idea of a sloooow jog when I start to get out of breath. I find if I break to walk for a moment it’s harder to get back in a stride again.

      I’d rather be strong like a bear than like a horse any day.

  • Amanda says:

    Can’t say that I’ll be of much help here, especially with the breathing since I have asthma and what not. But I have found that just slowing down and taking it easy on my runs makes it easier to breathe, and more enjoyable. Also I think interval training can help with that.

    And, no lie, I wear my running close several times before they make it to the wash. Febreze Sport with Tide is my best friend. That stuff works great. I usually spray it on my clothes after my run and then hang them up to dry/air out. I also occasionally spray some on my clothes in my hamper (or just regular Febreze fabric spray) to keep it all from making my closet stinky.

    • Erica House says:

      I had no idea Febreeze even made a Sport product! I will look for it next time I’m out. We tried to just put regular air fresheners in the closet and that failed miserably. We need to attack the source!

  • 1. I never go by the site’s hear rate- I recently purchases a heartrate monitor and love it. I think it’s from Pyle on Amazon…around $25 I believe? It’s awesome. I’m starting to wear it everywhere to see my calorie burn. lol.
    2. I match my breathing with my steps and my pace. So I breathe in through my nose for three steps and then out through my mouth for three steps, it starts to develop a rhythm and it really helps me. When I’m starting to huff and puff the breathing becomes in for two and out for two always matching my pace.
    3. I agree about airing out the dirty laundry. :)

    • Erica House says:

      I’ll try the counting breaths! I think that developing a rhythm will help and I already count excessively in my head as I run as a way to keep track of paces/times and distract myself so that would work well for me. I’ll check out Amazon for the heart rate monitor.

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