Pace bands > Garmins.
That's right, I said it! If you run with a Garmin you are probably constantly glancing to see your current pace (so not helpful) or maybe your average pace (a bit more helpful) but you aren't seeing the big picture. The big picture tells you how close you are to your goal, and for that you need a pace bracelet. At a glance you can see if you're going to make your time, if you're moving too fast, or how many minutes you need to make up in the last 10 miles to hit your goal.
I'm on team pace band.
You can order snazzy pace charts and bands pre-made, but it's much smarter to make your own since presumably you'll be changing pace over the years (at least I hope so).
Please feel free to link to this post on your blog or share via email. Here is why: when you Google "print pace bands", etc., a TON of malignant, virus-containing sites pop up. I have carefully navigated this morass after being warned by my friend Bj who clicked on one accidentally (luckily he uses Apple!). So to save some poor fellow runner from virus-land, I've done all the leg-work for you :)
Here are the best pace bracelets out there:
Cliff Bars: I like that the band has larger print than most, but the smeary colored background at major miles makes it hard to read. Not my favorite.
Marathonguide: I like this band because you can create different distances. I printed one up for a 30k this year. Then I left it at home. Awesome.
Runner's World: Don't use this one. It creates a PDF with a black background, so when you print it you waste a gallon of ink.
Taper madness: Simple, clear, easy to read.The basics.
Katy fit: Super extensive Excel spreadsheet that lets you really play with your times; you can choose to negative split and the band will adjust miles accordingly; your pace per mile will be shown to the right. Two different sizes to choose from.
Running Room: Prints in bold so it's good for people with who are too vain to run in glasses (Abe? are you reading?) and has a variety of distance options.
My marathon pace: For an important race, download the paceband created specifically for your marathon! These bands actually take into account the terrain and course of several big name races. The full version you have to pay for. Just the band is free to download. There is A LOT of info here: even the "generic flat marathon" pace band has options; you can choose to "fade" at the end or "slow start". If you choose a specific marathon, your band will be adjusted to account for hills, trails, etc. You can print in a variety of sizes.
Runner's Toolbox: The most distance options, but the bracelet has remarkably small font. It might still be helpful if you wanted to create one for an unusual distance. If you hit "get splits" instead of "make a wristband" you can copy and paste the splits into Word and adjust the font and size to your own liking.
Fellrnr: This gentleman created a triple-pace band that adds in two safety cushion columns in addition to standard splits. In other words, if you know you fade at the end of a marathon, or if you expect late hills to kick your booty, you can build in a 1 or 2 minute cushion.
So there you have it. The best printable pace bracelets online! Enjoy and happy racing!