Zap Zap Zap

on Thursday, February 19, 2015 at 8:13 PM

Training has been going okay so far. Weather hasn't been too great,  so a lot of my runs this time around have been at the gym. 11 times so far since I signed up and all of them at a distance of 9 or more miles. I've been doing my recovery runs outside, come hell, high water or blizzard just so I won't be considered a running wuss.   There's a big 20 miler on tap for this weekend and as much as I would love to do it outside, the people in the know are forcasting snow for this weekend, so it's looking like three or so hours at the gym on Sunday. 

Running at the gym has brought up another point that I've completely forgotten about and that's the static electricity build-up.  Sometimes when I run at the gym, whenever I touch the HR electrodes on the treadmill, I get a little bit of an electric shock.  This could be due to my electric personality or maybe it's my static personality. Ha, Ha, I made a joke. Yes, I know it's static electricity.  Now since I'm not normally in the habit of touching the electrodes, it normally wouldn't bother me, but the charge build-up causes my chest HR monitor to go berserk as you can see below.

Static Running w/ Polar
Beginning is a bit wonky until my body starts generating some sweat. Feedback is okay up until 1:15 mark when the HR monitor starts going crazy.  My HR isn't actually jumping up and down which I know since I've been wearing my Fitbit device on these runs as well which records HR optically and it shows the HR as follows.

See, nice and normal looking.  The slight drop in the middle is from when I had to stop to restart the treadmill and the little spike at the end was when I tested out a sub 7min/mile pace for about a quarter of mile.  As for the fitbit, I'm liking it so far. I'm still not entirely sure how accurate the HR is. I've been running with both the chest strap and the Fitbit and there are times when I swear, the fitbit is cheating by reading the signal from the chest strap since it's exactly the same and there are other times, I think WTF, why is it so different?

Towards the end of this particular run, I would touch the electrode every couple of strides and zap, zap, without fail. I've always thought that this was due to the static build-up created by technical polyester running clothes rubbing up against my skin, but I was reading up on it a bit more today and it seems that the static build-up can also be treadmill specific and that the act of the rubber track constantly whirring around can also create static electricity.  I don't run into the static problem on every treadmill run, so maybe this is the case.  I think I'll do some experimentation on this.

I think I'm going to try washing my clothes in fabric softener which supposed remove static cling.  I normally hang dry my technical clothes and don't wash them with liquid fabric softener. I've always been under the impression that the fabric softener destroys the wicking properties of technical clothes, but I'm not really sure. Maybe something else to test out.

Secondly, I think I'll have to try testing the various treadmills at the gym to see if there's any pattern to it. I haven't run there enough to have run on the same treadmill twice yet, so I have to try that.

Thirdly, I suppose humidity and weather it another potential issue. Dry air leads to more static electricity. I can't really control that so that's a bit of a wild card. 

Anyways, who says science can't be fun!?

Yes, I'm a nerd.