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Monday, January 10, 2011

I kept the Garmin.

This week I used my new Garmin 305 for the first time. My thoughts? I will probably use to map longer runs or to accurately pace speed work. Haha! As if I'll ever actually do any speed work! I just like to talk about it because it makes me feel like a real runner.
I strapped it on - it's bulkier and heavier than my old Walmart stopwatch, but it doesn't annoyingly catch my loose shirt like my Velcro watch band does  - and stood outside waiting for a satellite. It seemed like an eternity while I was waiting, but it was probably about 2 minutes. However, this is a major issue for me. I don't like waiting and I'm not very patient in general, so simply because of this 2-minute factor, I can't see myself bringing this on a lot of runs.
I did my regular 5 mile run: from my corner to St. Charles Ave, to Audubon Park; twice around the park, then home. I wasn't really sure how often to look at my pace. I was curious, since this was my first time seeing my pace while running, but I didn't want to veer into obsessed territory. I looked down about once a mile, when the Garmin beeped; I was doing 7:20 or 7:30 something every time except once, when I was doing 29:12 (???).
I had pre-set the auto-pause function to pause when I came to a stop, thinking this would be smart for street crossings. However, I had a little bit of an issue with it. I stopped to cross and the time kept ticking until my "pace" reached 59:59. Then the time stopped. My problem was that this took so long that I'd already crossed the street and started running again by the time it stopped, then it had to restart! I need to play with that to stop when my pace drops below a certain point (an alternate feature); say, 12 minute miles. Or I guess I could just use manual pause. Or I could just deal with it. It was about 15 or 20 seconds gap, so if I use the Garmin on longer runs I doubt it will affect the results.
When I got home I laughed out loud - the Garmin beeped at 5 miles the second I stopped; it read exactly 5.00 at my corner. In other words, the 5-mile route I use - based on estimates, car odometer readings, and the theory (nobody knows if it is true) that Audubon is 1.8 miles around - is exactly right.
I scrolled through my run history, eager for information that would change my running. I've always fretted about my fast starts and late burnouts, but to my surprise my splits were no more than 3 seconds different (This probably would not hold true for a longer run, though).
Now I realize that this post is beyond useless and outdated. I mean, everyone and their brothers use Garmins already, and probably have a newer model. Therefore while I am giving my conclusion below, what I really would love for you to do is to pass on suggestions for use - do you use the HR monitor?  Is it useful for interval training or long runs? How's the GPS? Has the software been helpful, or do you still track runs in Dailymile or the Thinman's Excel spreadsheet?
Now as for my conclusion - The Garmin will no doubt prove beneficial on longer runs in examining my pacing; perhaps I can also see the effects of calorie consumption or drop in temperature. A good blogger would have a report on this for you, but since it was rainy and ugly today...and the play-offs were on... I didn't run at all, let alone a long run (I'm a really lazy gal lately). I also have no concept at all of how fast I can run - like, a mile time-trial - so I can see the Garmin being really useful for speed work. Which I will do. Someday. Soon.
Until then, I will continue to eat king cake in front of the TV wrapped in a snuggly blanket.
Happy Monday!


  1. The first time the Garmin has to find a signal in an area, it takes longer... So I would expect that it shouldn't take that long in the future... Hopefully... I am impatient, too. Also, I seem to have better luck finding a signal if I put the garmin on the ground (v having it on my wrist already).

    I don't use the pause function... If I am running in an area where I will have to stop fo stoplights, I just use the 'start/stop' button... I think it's easier/more accurate that way...

    And I don't pay attention to the pace during the run because sometimes it will show odd things if it loses contact w/ a satellite - but the mile splits should be accurate.

    I hope that you like your Garmin - I love mine! It's just nice to see how your splits break out - and to make sure you are running as far as you think you are. I don't use my HR monitor but would like to start using that this spring/summer so I can see how I am doing in relation to my target HR...

  2. I have to use the treadmill for speedwork. I just got a Timex running watch from my brother and SIL for Christmas and I have to figure this out, I have no idea how I would ever figure out a Garmin. From what I hear, you are probably eventually going to really like have it!!! Your monday sounds like mine, I took a PTO day because of the weather and roads that are awful.

  3. I bought a Garmin this year and I have only used it a handful of times. I've decided I'm just not that into all that feedback. I'd rather run by feel and my regular Timex. I know I'm in the minority though!

  4. I always set my Garmin outside the front door to find a signal while I'm putting my shoes on in the mornings. It's usually found one by the time I leave the house :)

    I LOVE my Garmin, especially when I'm running somewhere new and don't know the exact route.

  5. I've done Heart rate training before. I think it's bogus. Resting heart rate can be helpful but I don't buy into the aerobic, anaerobic stuff the heart rate monitor companies sell. But I know lots of people that love their HR monitors. To each their own.

  6. Honestly, I don't use my HR strap anymore bc I don't train according to that number. I also don't use the computer software. I prefer logging my workouts (which aren't all running) on dailymile and enjoy the Garmins stats for each run as I go. I guess it would be cool to have a record of how my pace and such has varied over time, but just not worth the time to me. I think it's a personal choice.

  7. umm i think you know more about garmin's features than i do already! lol. i've used an hr monitor in the past but not in awhile... it started irritating me (to wear) on runs so i haven't worn it in awhile. i used to be really good at keeping my various runs in their appropriate hr zones when i did use it though.