Welcome back to Tuesdays on the Run with Patty from My No-Guilt Life, Erika from MCM Mama Runs and yours truly! Today’s topic is Favorite Running Product/Gear. I decided to revisit my love for one of the four things I just won’t run without, my Garmin Forerunner 10 (the other three being my Altra Torins, my Sparkleskirts and my sports bra).
Back in the 90’s, I figured out my route distance by driving it in advance and using the odometer. Then, while running, I used a digital watch with a timer setting (or sometimes just looked at the clock when I left and when I got home). While it worked ok for tracking my overall pace in general terms, it did mean that it was difficult to change my route up often or to know if I was keeping a steady pace throughout the run.
Fast forward fifteen years and the GPS options for tracking your run are dizzying. When I first got back into running a few years ago, I downloaded a cheap (or free, I actually can’t remember) app called Runtracker for my iPhone to give me walk/run interval alerts, distance, time and overall pace. It did a great job as long as my intervals were equal (two minutes walk, two minutes run or three minutes walk and three minutes run). The GPS was accurate and it uploaded my run statistics to a website so I could have a complete history which really helped me see how much my speed had improved over the year.
What it didn’t do was to allow me to see my current pace and distance because I just can’t stand running with my phone in my hand or on my arm. When I decided to invest in a running watch, I went with the Garmin Forerunner 10.
1. It is pretty affordable for a GPS watch, selling for $130 new.
2. It comes in attractive colors (green, pink, orange, purple and black). When I got my first Garmin, they were only available in green and pink so I went with green, but once I had my watch mishap at Princess 2014, I
had got to replace it with a purple one. Purple is my FAVORITE color!
3. It has a very reliable and accurate GPS. My friend got a Nike+ and it seemed to be overly generous on pace and distance compared this watch and my iPhone app. The last thing I want is for my watch to make me think I’m faster than I am or that I’m going further than I am. That’s a recipe for an unpleasant surprise on race day.
4. It can be set to beep for intervals and you can set the walk and run intervals to be different. When I choose to do Galloway intervals, I use a five minute run and one minute walk set of intervals and this watch accommodates that perfectly. It’s easy to switch between interval settings and straight run settings at the beginning of any run directly from the watch.
5. I use the lap feature when I do speed work so I can track my distance and speed without having to drive to a track. And the current pace display helps me push myself to meet my speed goals during repeats or tempo runs.
6. The display can be set to show any two of the following on the primary screen and two more on the secondary screen which you can see during the run by pushing the bottom right button:
– Current pace (I use this on my primary screen)
– Distance (I use this on my primary and secondary screens)
– Time (I use this on my secondary screen)
– Calories (I don’t use this at all)
I love the current pace feature, it really helps keep me on track during a run. If I’m suddenly feeling really tired, I can glance down and quickly realize I’m running too fast and need to slow it down a little.
7. It tells you when you’ve set a PR for the mile, 5k, 10k, 1/2 marathon, marathon and when you’ve exceeded your longest run. It’s been a while since I’ve seen those PR notifications, which is another indication that I need to get serious about my nutrition and training.
8. You can upload your runs to the Garmin website and see your pace throughout the run, your route on a map, your mile splits, elevation (in Florida that’s usually pretty darn flat), total distance, and PRs.
I’m sure there are more features I’m not aware of, but the Garmin Forerunner 10 gives me everything I need in a GPS. The only downsides to this watch are that sometimes it takes a while for the GPS to fix on a location and that the battery life is on the short side for a GPS watch at about 4-5 hours. I am not planning on running a full marathon until 2016, so hopefully I’ll be fast enough by then that the battery life won’t be a problem for me. This version also does not have a heart rate monitor.
Setting up the Forerunner 10 takes a little time just playing around with the watch. I taught myself how to use it by Googling it and watching a video. Basically, you use the top right button and bottom right button on the watch to navigate through the menus to do the setup. None of the setup needs to be done on the website, it can all be done right on the watch.
What do you use to track your distance and pace? Do you ever just go out and run without a GPS?