West Cork

Running apps, beach walking and angry shoulders

Hi everyone! I hope you are doing well. It’s Sunday and I’m joining Kim and Deborah in the Weekly rundown link-up, to talk about the week of fitness and training. I enjoy doing this, to document my own fitness journey and to get inspiration and input from others.

This was the week when I wanted to start a structured get-back-to-running program, using an app on the phone. The success has been… mixed. The actual running has been good! The apps, not so much.

Here’s the summary of my week. I didn’t take any photos during my runs this week. Oops. But I had nothing new to show, I guess.

  • Monday – Running & walking, 3,84 km in total
  • Tuesday – Gym day
  • Wednesday – Rowing 15 mins
  • Thursday – Running & walking, 4,68 km
  • Friday – Gym day
  • Saturdayshould we call it rest day? Yes and no.
  • Sunday – a fabulous core, ab, and glute strength session


Today was the day I’d get started with a structured running program. It almost happened. I downloaded the Galloway app for walk-run-walk intervals a while ago, but couldn’t get it to work, and thought maybe the app didn’t work as I thought it would? I ended up deleting it and installing another app instead. That new app looked good, you could choose between different programs, start one, and get sound instructions when to start walking or running.

But… the beginner program seemed a bit to rough for me to begin with. It started with 5 minutes walk, then 1 minute run, but then to 1 minute only walk before running 1 minute again, and so on. I decided to switch it off and do my own intervals because I felt I wanted to walk a few minutes before getting back to 1 minute of running.

I chose a distance between a spot down the hill and a specific crossroad, it’s about 3 km to get there and back. But some more structure would do me good, so in the evening I downloaded the Galloway app again on which you can set your own interval lengths, and it turned out I’m just having problem with the sound on my phone. Better luck on Thursday?


Tuesday was gym day as usual, and it was a very good session.

  • Squats with barbell, increased weight to 35 kgs – yay! This felt good.
  • More squats – this time combined with overhead shoulder presses, 5 kg dumbbells. Hard work.
  • Tricep pullovers, 1 dumbbell 12,5 kgs
  • Flyes, 7 kg dumbbells
  • Dumbbell row, 12,5 kgs
  • Inclined chest press, 9 kg dumbbells
  • Shoulder front raise, 4 kg dumbbells

You know how I wondered on Friday if I possibly could have done another rep of chest press? Today I really pushed myself but still I could only do maybe 6-7 (of 12) reps. I wasn’t happy with that. On the other hand, after heavy flyes and dumbbell rows, I was quite worn out, and at least I did my very best. My coach was happy with it, so maybe I should be too.

What made me happier were my 35 kg squats – just yay! Last week my quads felt tight and sore around the knees so all squats, deadlifts and the likes were tough. It started getting better on the Sunday after a lot of stretching, PT exercises, and warming up, and today my legs were back in action.


I was sore all over the place, but started the day on the rowing machine. Always a good start of the day! This time instead of listening to Gillian Welch, I started an old concert with the Tony Rice Unit from the 1986 Strawberry bluegrass festival on YouTube. Tony’s guitar style certainly was something! I didn’t particularly enjoy it in the past because of the jazzy influence. But about a year ago, I joined a guitar class on Zoom to study Tony Rice just for the challenge. Then I discovered more of it, fell in love with many elements of his style and I’ll go back to practising those tunes soon. Listening to Tony’s playing while rowing gave a major inspiration boost!

Just for the craic… here’s the guitar solo I’ll re-start working on (just FYI, I do NOT play it at that speed). Even if I don’t get into my previous practice routine, playing this piece alone will give me practice of both technique, fretboard fluency, timing, and whatnot.

Flatpick guitar is my other 100% passion in life and that’s that! I’ve started collecting John Henry themed songs, and this is one of them – I consider all “Roll on buddy” “steel-driving-man” sort of songs in that category. Yes, I’m geeky and I’m proud of it.


The weather had turned cold again. Around 10 am it was warmed up to 5C, and I went out for my run/walk session. This time I used the Galloway app, which was more to my liking than the other one. However, I didn’t find the UI helpful when I wanted to change settings in the middle of the session. I ended up switching it off and do my own thing. Seems familiar? LOL. My next plan is the guided beginner program on Runkeeper.

It was a lovely run and walk, I went down towards the beach but turned around before the very steep decline. In total I did 4,68 km and felt good. While I followed the app, I realised 30 seconds is VERY short. Most beginner programs start at 1 minute running, and I can certainly do that. The Runkeeper beginner program starts with 1 minute running and 3 minutes walking, so I’ll try that next week.

In the afternoon I went with my camera club friend to a nearby beach that I had never heard of until a few weeks ago. I couldn’t help but think “why are people keeping quiet about this place?” It turned out to be the most stunning beach I’ve seen. I’m not particularly interested in tropical beaches with perfect white sand. Instead, this is the type of beach that tickles my fancy. Fascinating rock formations of all shapes and sizes scattered around, waves rolling over smooth rocks, shells, patterns and textures on exposed rocks (this is low tide), etc etc.

The best thing of all – this beach is at walking distance from my house. Why didn’t we know about this before? Unbelievable. This will NOT be the last time I talk about this place!


Another Friday, another strength session in the gym.

  • Sumo squats, barbell 30 kgs
  • Romanian deadlifts, barbell 30 kgs
  • Good mornings, barbell no weights
  • Tricep pullovers, 6 kg dumbbells
  • Flyes, 7 kg dumbbells
  • Inclined chest press, 9 kg dumbbells
  • Seated shoulder press, 5 kg dumbbells

Today again I didn’t do great with the chest press, and my shoulders had some trouble too. Can all my body parts ever work properly at the same time? Very frustrating, but my left shoulder has always been troublesome from time to time. It’s a guitar disease, I think. I’m not worried about it (only annoyed) and it will certainly get better with more training and with better posture during my work hours.


This was the first weekend since October that we don’t go for a long walk. We simply didn’t have the time, with a big load coming from IKEA. We shop most of our furniture and similar from there, like true Swedes.

This is the reason I’m hopeful about my shoulders:

Stand up desk

I finally have a proper stand-up desk in my home office. I’ve wanted this for months but didn’t want to spend the money. But when I’m in the office in town where I have a stand-up desk, I feel great and I miss it when I work from home. And yes, that’s the cat litter box just next to where I work, lol. I told you this is a very imperfect house! The cat barely uses the thing anyway.

Although I really try to keep a good posture when I sit down working, since my eyesight is really bad (I need to get new glasses asap) I’m too easily tempted to get too close to the screen, crunch my back and tense my shoulders. All bad. I’m going to love being able to stand up and move around in my home office.

So was Saturday a rest day? Not exactly. Along with this desk, we also received countless Kallack shelving units for the bedroom, and spent all day assembling and organising. And that’s not all, we need to get more! But it will be fabulous when we’re ready.


Since my foot injury I have this pleasant habit of doing a bodyweight strength session at home on Sunday morning. Like last week, I did plank variations including my big favourite side plank with a twist, single leg glute bridges, leg raises, push-ups, Russian twists, reverse leg lifts, squats and more. I threw in some lower leg exercises for runners. My husband noticed that my push-ups are getting deeper so that was a very positive thing to hear after this week of unhappy shoulders and poor chest press performance.

And generally

If all goes well (with the pandemic still with us alongside other nasties going round, I don’t believe anything until I see it) we’re going to Spain soon. My in-laws have a house there and we haven’t visited them there since 2017. I’m really looking forward to it and I’m keeping all my fingers crossed we’ll get there as planned. I don’t expect the weather to be fantastic, but who knows? It should at least be a bit warmer than here. Their weather forecast for the coming weeks says it could be 18+ degrees C some days. More fingers crossed…

How was your week? Do you have any fun plans coming up? Have you used any running apps for guided runs? Which do you prefer and why?


32 responses to “Running apps, beach walking and angry shoulders”

  1. Lindsay avatar

    It’s so frustrating when apps don’t do what you were hoping, right? Before I got sick, I checked out the Galloway app, but decided to use an interval timer I already had because it seemed more customizable (which I think I’ll stick with once I get back in this spring). Yay for having a standing desk at home – it’s made such a difference for me. Have a wonderful time in Spain!

    1. Susanne avatar

      Yes, very annoying! Galloway is probably good once you have intervals you’re happy with and don’t need to fiddle with settings. Today I tried the First 5k program on Runkeeper and it was perfect so I’ll probably stick with that. I actually checked out some pure interval apps, but didn’t really find one that would do two different tasks (run + walk) with different timings.

  2. Marcia avatar

    You are killing it in the gym! Nice work! Your beach pics are gorgeous. Have so much fun visiting your in-laws in Spain. It’s been a few years since I’ve last been there.

    1. Susanne avatar

      Thanks Marcia! Yes, I’m very happy with my work in the gym – except the chest press lately but at least I push myself to failure and that’s the most important thing. And I really enjoy my Sunday ab/core sessions.

  3. Wendy avatar

    Oh my goodness, that beach is breathtaking! My parents used to have a lake house in northern Wisconsin and the bluffs along Lake Michigan and Green Bay rival any tropical beach. A few summers ago, my son and I took our paddleboards into some caves along the bluffs–truly an amazing experience.

    Don’t apologize for your musical tendencies–I love when people geek out about music. Because I’m one of those people… :p Nice work on the strength this week. Take your time with running. It will come to you.

    1. Susanne avatar

      Oh I can imagine areas along those big lakes can be stunning with a lot to explore. How cool to explore the caves, although I wouldn’t dare to do it!
      I’m glad to have another music geek among us too. 😀
      Regarding running I’ve become a lot more relaxed with it – I was a lot more impatient before and rushed it a bit until I realised how much in the body needs to be stable and in good form. I’ll keep it slow and steady now for a bit while doing a lot of PT work with feet and lower legs. My #1 focus will probably remain strength training (and endurance on the rower) and then I’ll see how my body handles the running.

  4. Coco avatar

    Wow, what an amazing beach to discover so close to where you live! Gorgeous.

    I tried a Cto5K app when I was coming back from an injury a year or so ago and while the first few days worked for me, I didn’t like how it increased. Have you thought about using a time app? I have one that lets you program simple hard/easy intervals (with different sound effects for each) and more complex workouts. >> https://apps.apple.com/us/app/interval-timer-hiit-workouts/id406473568

    Fingers crossed for your trip!

    1. Susanne avatar

      Thanks Coco, I’ve downloaded that app now! Today I’ve tried the Runkeeper program and it seems very good but for customisable intervals, this app looks like it will do what I’m looking for!

  5. Jenny avatar

    I LOVE that beach! I agree- I live in a tropical area and the white sand and palm trees get old. I’d much rather see interesting rock formations like your beach. You’re lucky!
    My Garmin has a feature where you can program in your run/walk intervals, and then it alerts you when it’s time to run and walk. It would be kind of a pain to reprogram in the middle of a run, though.
    Your strength sessions sound great! Glad everything is going well. I’m looking forward to hearing about the trip to Spain!

    1. Susanne avatar

      Yes, this was such a lovely surprise and I’ll spend a good amount of time there in the future! Now I just need to keep track of low tides.
      I can imagine Garmin has some function like that! I use Fitbit and only wanted something to track distances and speed so I bought the cheapest possible. When/if I get into running longer distances and to train for races, I might look into Garmin. Races would seriously be so much fun, but I’m not there yet, until I can run injury free for a longer period of time.

  6. Kimberly Hatting avatar

    I’m stuck in the middle of Iowa…any beach looks fabulous to my eyes 😉 Great job on the strength workouts this week! Chest presses are tough for me as well, but I guess that’s why I should keep doing them. Same with push-ups, LOL. I have never done a true run/walk program, but have kind of done my own thing. I don’t like the structure of “someone else” telling me what to do without them actually being there with me to know what is too far/too long, etc. for the intervals. Hopefully, all will work out for you as you continue.

    1. Susanne avatar

      Thanks Kim, at least I’m not alone struggling with the chest press and push-ups! The only way is to keep doing them as you say! I get your point about knowing what is too far for run intervals, my problem though is that when I thought I was fine with my running intervals, I got another injury! Perhaps not related to the intervals, it’s so hard to know. Now I’ve tried the Runkeeper program and was very happy with it at least this first session. I’ll finish that program and if all is well I’ll do my own thing after that.

  7. Deborah Brooks avatar

    Wow those beach photos are fantastic! Keep those coming. Have a fantastic time in Spain!! Looking forward to seeing and reading about your travels

    1. Susanne avatar

      Aw, thanks Deborah! Yes, I might actually do more photo posts.. I have a photography blog (somewhat on hiatus at the moment because I have barely been taking photos all winter, except some snapshots of my running/walking routes) and want to keep that but perhaps for more geeky things (like, trying new techniques, new gear, and full galleries) and post my photos from more everyday life events here. I’m really looking forward to the trip to Spain!!

  8. Jessie avatar

    oh nice, where in Spain? We are looking at a beach vacation, but probably will end up with a few more “cold” places (i.e. next is Paris with my sister/Dad/her kids, then Vienna, then the Lakes District.) Spain and Italy are definitely on the list! We were in Bath this past weekend and it was pretty chilly!

    1. Susanne avatar

      We’re going to Torrevieja (near Alicante), where loads of Scandinavians decide to spend much of their retirement. I think for warmer weather in Europe you might want to wait a few weeks, later in March and onwards Spain will probably be nice, for Italy you’d want to wait a bit longer although very southern areas (Sicily, Calabria) can get good temps in April but spring in Italy in my experience can be anything. We used to go to Italy every year until we moved to Ireland, we hope to go back this year. We have a favourite place there we always go to, which is quite off the beaten track and in my opinion much more interesting than Venice, Florence and those places (although I understand if you’re coming from the US you might want to see those too).
      The Lakes district is supposed to be lovely, hope you’ll enjoy it. And the Vienna marathon of course!

  9. Darlene S. Cardillo avatar

    Walking distance from the beach? Heavenly.

    Hope your running continues to go well.

    My friends all run with intervals. Each has their own preference so it depends who I run with.

    Mostly do 2:45 esp with long runs.

    1. Susanne avatar

      Definitely heavenly!
      I also hope the running continues to go well. I was out this morning again with Runkeeper. I have some small pains and aches but I know what to do with strengthening and mobility exercises to prevent this and that.

  10. Melissa Carney avatar

    Ooh Spain! I hope you have a wonderful time. What a great trip to look forward to! I don’t typically follow a running app for routes – I should sometimes but I haven’t. I love your beach photos – they make me really wish I wasn’t stuck in winter/the Midwest!

    1. Susanne avatar

      I’m sure it will be a lovely time! And I’m so sorry about the long winter where you are… I had the same in Sweden and that’s one of the reasons I left.

  11. Michelle avatar

    Your beach photos are gorgeous! And so close to you? What a bonus!

    I use run/walk intervals but have never tried any of the apps – I just program my Garmin and it cues the intervals. I hope the Runkeeper app works for you.

    Have a wonderful time in Spain!

    1. Susanne avatar

      Thanks, Michelle! I’m so happy to have found that beach! What a treat especially since I always go to the sameish places. I tried the Runkeeper app yesterday and was very happy with it!

  12. Jenn avatar

    Have so much fun in Spain!

    I’ve never used the Galloway app. I do intervals but I am pretty happy with run 2/walk 1. I also really like the couch 2 5K app.

    Love that standing desk!

    1. Susanne avatar

      Thanks, Jenn! I can’t remember now if I tried the Couch to 5k app but the Runkeeper program is basically the same.

  13. Chocolaterunsjudy avatar

    I am sure you will be in Spain tomorrow! I hope you have a fabulous time. Speaking of fabulous, that beach! I would love to live near the ocean, but my husband worries about Hurricanes too much. A legitimate concern but maybe we’ll end up somewhere where it’s not so long a drive.

    Sounds like you had a fantastic week, really! It can take time to progress with weights. Give it time.

    Your office looks really nice! Our litter box in the end ended up by our dining room table (which we actually eat at). This was towards the end of my cat Gizmo’s life — he was 17 or so and could no longer go up & downstairs to use the one in the laundry room. Being an indoor cat and in kidney failure, yeah, he used it. What are you going to do? It was that or he would pee on the floor!

    1. Susanne avatar

      Not in Spain yet but thank you, I’m sure it will be fabulous! I can relate to the concern about hurricanes, here we have the North Atlantic storms and they can be bad enough but nowhere near what certain areas of the US can get (but climate change could change that in the future).
      And thanks for your encouragement about the weights – I’ve had more success this week and as my trainer said, we’re not robots who can be up to the same standard every single day!
      That was so heartwarming about your old cat. Of course you needed to make life easier for him by moving the litter box!

  14. Debbie avatar

    How wonderful to discover that beautiful beach and so close to your home – it’s gorgeous!

    Keep up that great work at the gym and as you build back up toward running. You’ve got this!

    I hope you made it to Spain and are having a fabulous time.

    1. Susanne avatar

      Thanks, Debbie! Although I had some bummers with the chest presses last week, I’m very happy with my achievements in the gym so far.

  15. Lisa @ TechChick Adventures avatar

    Oh wow, what a beautiful beach! I could live at the Ikea showroom. Our closest one is about an hour away, and every time we go there I am just mesmerized by how pretty it looks in there. I am clueless when it comes to home decor. I’m glad they give you ideas there! Hope you are having fun in Spain!

    1. Susanne avatar

      Oh the IKEA showrooms! I love them too. Now if I could get my rooms as tidy as there.. 😀

  16. Anne avatar

    Susanne, I am seeing your persistence coming through in every post you write, recently. It’s wonderful to read. In your running and exercise in general, your determination to get stronger, your music, your photography (that beach! oh, heaven), and well, just your LIFE. I hope you have THE most fabulous time in Spain, my friend. You deserve every moment of happiness, sunshine, and joy that comes your way. <3

    1. Susanne avatar

      Life is so much better on all levels since I started focusing on fitness and training. Perhaps not when it comes to photography, because at the moment, my photography is non-existent. I hope that’s only because of the winter, and that I get some inspiration back with warmer weather. Recently I’ve felt that higher level photography feels very uninteresting! Like it’s only to please “experts” and their opinions. So I hope to re-learn to just enjoy it and do it to please myself.

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