Reservations about GPS Watches (Read 1795 times)

    I am not ashamed to admit to being a data junkie. In fact, I think it is under-rated.

     

    For me, one of the most challenging parts of running is learning how hard I can push myself. Using training plans, a running calculator, and tracking my runs with my Garmin are helping me to push myself toward my potential. I run by feel too, but sometimes my mind starts to wander, my feel starts to go numb and my pace fades. One quick glance at my current split pace and I remember to focus and push harder.

     

    --

    Nashville, TN

     

      My cheap Timex broke a few months ago and I haven't bothered to replace it. I've found I can usually guess how far I went within 1/2 mile if I do measure my route afterwards. Sometimes I'll take my phone with me if I'm on a trail and upload it here to my log, but I haven't worn anything on my wrist in some time.

       

      Meanwhile, I've had some of my best, most consistent running in a long time; not sure if a garmin or new watch would fix this or not.

        I own a Garmin Forerunner 110, which is supposedly one of the most basic GPS watches available (I don't think it's even made

        anymore). I've read a lot of reviews where people complained about the fact that the 110 only displays average, not current pace. I personally don't mind, because average pace is all you ever get to see on race results anyway, and it forces me to gauge by effort rather than time. That said, the longer your run is, the harder it becomes to resurrect your goal pace once lost, because the watch is constantly re-calculating using the entire distance run.

         

        I haven't run a race with mine yet, and I'm not sure that I will. I suppose that it might be a good way to check up on courses that just feel long or short. The GPS seems fairly accurate, though it disagrees with the route mappers here on RA, and on the USATF website occasionally - sometimes by as much as a tenth of a mile. For tempo runs and the like, that could cost me anywhere from 30 sec to a minute. 

        I tested it against 5000m (12.5 laps) on a track and it came up 100m or so short, so when in doubt,  I just go long (add a little distance to whatever it is telling me).

        jimmyb


        port-a-bella-potty

          I've flirted with purchasing GPS watches on a handful of occasions now, but have never pulled the trigger. I convince myself each time that the simplicity of being in the moment, listening to my breathing, my body, and running by feel would be compromised by having a GPS watch.

           

          I run a loop when I'm targeting specific paces as I know where the mile splits are (i.e. second telephone pole between 13th and 14th, etc). And, I enjoy the routine of seeing the same places on a regular basis. For tempo runs its great for gauging my effort.

           

          But, when it comes to my long runs, I can imagine how nice it would be to take off without a set path and just watch the pace on my wrist.

           

          Anybody have similar reservations before getting a GPS watch? Are my fears that the GPS would "take-hold" of my attention unfounded?

           

          I guess it's a bit of a philosophical issue more than anything else - and, furthermore, different for each individual.

           

          I love my heart rate monitor GPS Garmin 305 and the training center software. Great tools.

          Adds to my experience, and doesn't hurt a bit.

          I don't race with it, though.  Like to be as light as possible

          in a race. Every ounce I shave off helps.

          --JimmyCool

          Log    PRs

            I own a Garmin Forerunner 110, which is supposedly one of the most basic GPS watches available (I don't think it's even made

            anymore). I've read a lot of reviews where people complained about the fact that the 110 only displays average, not current pace. I personally don't mind, because average pace is all you ever get to see on race results anyway, and it forces me to gauge by effort rather than time. That said, the longer your run is, the harder it becomes to resurrect your goal pace once lost, because the watch is constantly re-calculating using the entire distance run.

             

            I haven't run a race with mine yet, and I'm not sure that I will. I suppose that it might be a good way to check up on courses that just feel long or short. The GPS seems fairly accurate, though it disagrees with the route mappers here on RA, and on the USATF website occasionally - sometimes by as much as a tenth of a mile. For tempo runs and the like, that could cost me anywhere from 30 sec to a minute. 

            I tested it against 5000m (12.5 laps) on a track and it came up 100m or so short, so when in doubt,  I just go long (add a little distance to whatever it is telling me).

             

            110 is still being made and does average lap pace if you set it to auto lap.


            Interval Junkie --Nobby

              I've flirted with purchasing GPS watches on a handful of occasions now, but have never pulled the trigger. I convince myself each time that the simplicity of being in the moment, listening to my breathing, my body, and running by feel would be compromised by having a GPS watch.

               

              Your fears are warranted.  Unless you have an unseduceable  will, the watch will become ever-present in your runs.  If you like the luddite simplicity of your current runs, I'd stay away from the watch.

               

              That being said: I find the watch takes a lot off my mind in the way of doing cave-man math late in a long run, or simply remembering which split I'm on.  It has added to my peace of mind.

              2014 Goals:  sub-3 Marathon 

              Current Status 06/19: Pelvic stress-fracture = 6-weeks of no running.

                I'm on the anti-technology side, which is interesting because I'm a data junkie at home and at work, and I love playing with post-race data.  My runs, though, are my time for clearing my mind.  Meditative time.

                Well at least someone here is making relevance to the subject.

                  I got a Garmin 610 for xmas, and I can honestly say that it hasn't negatively affected my running one bit.  I've always run by time, and often just run around wherever my feet take me.  The only difference now is that I don't have to map out my runs when I got back (which wasn't all that time consuming), and I have more data to look at in my log.  So no, I wouldn't say that I am a slave to it, or that it is (psychologically) ever-present in my runs.  

                   

                  I have found it a helpful tool for some workouts, and it definitely makes trail runs easier to log.  Other times it functions just like my Ironman, except that it saves stuff.  Is it necessary?  Hell no.  But it certainly hasn't had the evil effect that I was, like you, once concerned about.  

                  "Because in the end, you won't remember the time you spent working in the office or mowing your lawn.  Climb that goddamn mountain."

                  Jack Kerouac

                  Christineruns


                    spam
                    MrH


                      I wear a 305 on most runs. I only look at it for time elapsed during the run because I know the instantaneous pace is meaningless.

                       

                      I upload the data afterwards but usually only look at it when I run intervals and I'm curious about consistency, or if there was a progression at the end, or for the map when I run somewhere new and interesting.

                      The process is the goal.

                      Men heap together the mistakes of their lives, and create a monster they call Destiny.

                      Julia1971


                        I've said before, I'm amazed that people who demonstrate such self-discipline in their training can be so helpless to resist constantly looking at a little screen.  The Garmin has no special powers to enslave you.

                         

                        +1.

                         

                        I think having a Garmin has slowed me down.  I think before I had one, I was actually more pre-occupied with pace in that I was constantly worried I wasn't running hard enough.  I was a new runner, didn't really have a good feel for pace, so I think I would err on the side of going harder to make sure I was getting in a good workout.  The feedback from the Garmin allows me to chill and slow things down.  For that reason, I should probably stop racing with it.  Smile

                        The best time to plant a tree was 20 years ago. The second best time is now. – Chinese Proverb

                          A different and certainly new angle on this debate for me this year.

                           

                          My work, for a long while, has had a "wellness" program. It has always offered annual health screenings, vaccinates, health advice etc...

                          This year the company changed providers for this program and the new provider allows you to earn points for doing healthy activities.

                          These points add up and, the more you earn the more they discount your monthly medical insurance premium.

                          This maxes out at a $40 saving/month (and that would be pre-tax too) but still... it's way better then nothing.

                           

                          The reason that's relevant here is that one of the ways you can earn points is by running with your GPS watch!

                          ....and then uploading it to mapmyrun.com Sad ssshhh!

                          ... finally a justification for being a Garmin data head and wearing it on every run!

                           

                          Based on the point scale they've laid out, and my fairly pedestrian 100 miles/month (compared to many of y'all) I should save enough this year to replace my 3.5 year old 405 with an new shiny new 610! Big grin

                          2013 Goals
                          1) Break 1:50 in a HM (PR 1:52:19)
                          2) Break 4:00 in a Marathon (PR 4:20:39)

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                            Just don't do it.


                            Doc, my tooth hurts

                              I've had one for pretty much my whole running life I had a 205 then a 305 and now a 210 (I think). I used to pay attention to pace A LOT on everyday runs.  Now even though I use it for every run, I don't pay attention to how fast I'm running, especially on easy days. Usually I run by time or run to a landmark and then run back type of run.  I run by feel on easy days and use my average pace to see how maybe the hard workout the day before affected me. I also use it to find out of my body is "tricking me." If I feel like I'm crusing on a run but am running 9min/mile obviously something is up. If I feel like I'm going slow and doing 8 min/mile then I feel like something can be said about that. It's also nice for doing intervals on the road and/or tempo runs. I use it to get an idea of how fast I can go on a treadmill for long runs or how I progress on the road on a tempo/progression run and try to simulate it when I can't do any of those outside. I'm not good at running by feel on a treadmill, but it's a necessary evil.  None of the data I collect is law, but more of a guideline. I don't ever think "My next lap pace has to be this certain time" but more use the data collected for future runs.   This has been especially helpful for me on long runs and seeing where I have felt strongest and why. Maybe I went out too fast, maybe I could have picked it up sooner.  Everybody is different, but this works for me.


                              Are you a Heartosaurus?

                                You control your own pace, thoughts, and destiny. A GPS watch in my opinion is essential. I finally broke down and bought the Garmin 910XT after years of using either nothing at all, or at the very least; a simple stopwatch. After running with it a few times I have no clue why I didn't just buy one a lot earlier. It is absolutely amazing; it buzzes on my wrist at each mile and I just look down to see my pace, it has instantaneous pace, swim tracking, bike functions, ....the watch is insane, but ANY gps watch; even the lowest model adds a real focus to your training. Personally I feel like it allows your mind to be more relaxed rather than distracting it. It does everything for you; no more pace bracelets for marathons, no more jumping on map my run to measure out routes, and lastly I'm able to simply log on to RunningAhead.com, upload the workout from my watch within seconds, and have all of that historical data analyzed. Unreal..........just a great purchase if you don't have one. I highly recommend it even if you're stubborn and traditional. It's a great tool.

                                bjc

                                Heartosaurusnoun [heart-o-sau-rus] 1. An inspiring online reference for open heart surgery patients. 2. A heart patient with an inextinguishable desire not merely to survive, but to live life to its fullest. 3. A doctor, caregiver, or anyone who makes a profound difference to the cause.