Posts Tagged ‘GPS Watch’

This evening I decided that for my 5 mile run, I would watch my pace.  I know I can do the distance.  The question is, can I improve?  After reviewing my past two months of runs, my fastest pace for a 5 miler was 10’28”.  I changed a couple settings on the watch, and I was off.

To track my running, I use the Nike GPS Sportswatch.  Its giant screen makes it easy to see my stats.  Every few minutes I glance down and check my progress.  The plan was, if my pace was slower than 10’30,” I would speed up.

After the first mile I cramped up.  I had eaten a Powerbar Energy Bite before leaving, and my body just does not like these things.  They will now be for post-run snacks, or WAY pre-run snacks.  Well, you can’t give up on a race after only one mile.  I checked the watch for my pace, which was still good.

Pushing through the pain, I kept moving.  For the first three miles I didn’t have any problems maintaining a sub 10’30” pace.  Then I met mile three.  Why hello mile three, how are you doing?  You have a gift for me?  How nice of you to bring the cramp back, and with a vengeance too!  No matter what part of mile three I was on, I could not reach my goal.  I needed be able to get back on pace.  But with every step, the cramp worsened.

Turning the corner on mile four, the cramp washed away.  I don’t know what made it disappear, but I’m glad it did.  No time to question, time to run.  I picked up the pace to make up for lost time.

On the last mile I pushed to catch up.  I knew that it would be close, but I also knew that I had a chance if I pushed hard.  I had forgotten to add the statistic “average pace” to my watch for the run, so all I had to judge my progress was “elapsed time” and “current pace.”  Time for some quick math!  Rather, time for some rough guessing.

My run ended in my driveway.  I hit stop in mid step, not wanting a full stop to mess up my time.  My final pace was 10’21”.  That’s right, a new PR for my five mile run.  For all my short to medium runs, I plan on using the pace screen.  I am still going to use the distance screen the long runs for now.

Now it was time for a post run smoothie.  I decided to mix it up, and concocted a chai tea smoothie.  I am not sure what inspired this, other than the box of chai tea mix in the fridge.  I decided to make it simple, since I could always alter the recipe later if it wasn’t right.

Chai Tea Smoothie:

1 Cup Greek Yogurt
1 Cup Chai Tea Latte Concentrate
1 Cup of Ice
1 Scoop Vanilla Whey Powder
1 Tbsp Honey

Step One) Put everything in a blender
Step Two) Blend
Step Three) Enjoy

Easy!  A new PR and a new smoothie… all in all not a bad day.

Question:

When you run, do you run to do a distance, or beat a pace?

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Two weeks are down, and only twenty six remain in my marathon training program.  I would say that I am feeling good, but I am not.  I am more satisfied than anything else.

Game of Thrones (soundtrack)

Game of Thrones (soundtrack) (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

It has been a rough week for running.  Tuesday went well.  I was scheduled for four miles, and I did four miles.  On Wednesday I was scheduled for two miles, and for some reason I failed to read my schedule correctly and I ran four miles instead.  Of course, an extra two miles is not a bad thing.  Each of these runs was on the treadmill.  I got to enjoy a nice episode of Game of Thrones for each.

The trouble began on Thursday.  I got home and headed upstairs to get changed.  Prepared to run, I sat on the couch to put on my shoes, and nodded off.  That’s right, I fell asleep in my running gear.  Not my most proud moment, but it happened.  All day Friday I kept promising myself I would run that night, no matter what time I got home.  I got home at 10.  The call of my bed was far stronger than my desire to log another 4 miles or watch an episode.

On Saturday I got my miles.  The kids napped, and I ran.  It was another treadmill run, but the miles got logged.  What is the point of all this?

The Sunday schedule had me running eight miles.  Not a crazy run, but not an easy one.  I woke up that morning and made breakfast for the family.  The entire meal had an oatmeal theme.  They had oatmeal pancakes, and I, merely oatmeal.  Well, oatmeal with dried apricots, honey, and flax seed.  After letting that settle, it was time to hit the road.

An entire week had passed since my last outdoor run, and every run since then had been interval training on the treadmill.  I put an episode of SWIC on my iPod, and stepped out onto the road.  The first three miles were miserable.  My calves and inner thigh muscles screamed.  They were tight and unyielding.  Did I not stretch enough?  Are my legs no longer used to the impact of the road?  Maybe I shouldn’t have run the day before?  Either way, I needed my eight miles.  Mile 1…mile 2…mile 3…  Each passed, and was more painful than the next.  As I moved further away from home, I thought maybe I should turn back.  Just one more mile…just make it to the next corner…  I kept giving myself little milestones to take my mind off the pain.  After the third mile, the muscles were loose, and the pain washed away to numbness.

I completed the run as planned.  The only two issues I have are why I had the initial pain, and why my pace was so poor.  I have lost about a minute off my 8 mile pace since the sprain.  My unscientific analysis is that I believe it is due to the treadmill.  I have spent the majority of my runs on the treadmill in these past few weeks.  The machine is designed to reduce impact, and my legs have become spoiled.  My friend, Keith, thinks it might be due to over training with the interval sessions.  My legs may not have had the necessary time to recover.  Of the two of us, he knows quite a bit more than I about running. Either way, I need to reduce the treadmill sessions and increase the outdoor trips.

This entire week I have not been following my diet.  Throughout the week I have tried to maintain a limited caloric intact.  I have eaten small “meals” every couple hours.  The problem is I get near the end of the day and I feel dizzy.  I can’t focus and my mind starts to drift.  It makes me think it is a blood sugar problem.  I eat and the issue goes away.  Since I have eaten more than scheduled, my weight hasn’t gone down.  Better luck next week.

My last frustration of the week is Nike Plus.  I currently use the Nike Plus Sportswatch with GPS.  Don’t get me wrong, I still agree with my original review.  Their site has been having some issues and I can’t review my runs.  They keep promising to fix it, but I am still frustrated.  I love watching the little green dot run around the map showing my speed and heart rate.  I hope they fix the problem soon.

This week my running schedule changes.  I am going to drastically drop the amount of treadmill work.

Tuesday: 4 Miles – Interval Training on the Treadmill

Wednesday: 2 Miles – Race Pace

Thursday: 5 Miles – Long Run Pace

Sunday: 10 Miles…

Now, Sunday should be interesting.  I signed up for a 5k for the same day.  The question is, do I run the 5k, and then add 7 later that day?  I think I will first wake up and run 2 to warm up.  I will then do the race, and round out the day with a 5 mile run.  Sound good?  By reducing the treadmill work, and increasing the outdoor work, I hope to gain back my outdoor pace.

Though it was my idea to get the office to do the 5k, I might end up being the slowest of our group.  Oh well, it’s about the charity, right?  Nah, I’m going to haul my sorry butt over that finish line as fast as I can.  3rd out of four would be good.

Question for my readers:

What do you use to track your runs?

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Nike Plus GPS Sports Watch

MRSP: $199
Weight: 2.33 oz

This is the watch I am personally using for my training. It has many benefits over others on the market, from simple design features to pragmatic ones. There are some flaws in the design as well.  Let’s take a quick look at the features presented by Nike:


No, there are no holograms.

First, the look of the watch is quite sporty. When it’s on your wrist, there is no question that this is a running watch, or at least sports related. If you are looking for a watch to wear with a suit to dazzle others in a meeting, this is not it. The only color combination is comes in is black and volt green.  The screen is large, as are the numbers on its face. This makes it easy to read while running and an interesting time keeping piece when you are not. It was designed that if you tap the face of the watch, the backlight turns on for an easy read while running at night. This feature can also be set to mark laps as well, a feature I have not used much. I prefer the static lap indicator. This light can also be set to go off during interval training or a lap has been completed. I run primarily at night, so looking at the watch constantly while running can be dangerous. To have the bright backlight turn on when the interval ends or begins is great.  You can customize the watch to have a primary stat showing, and a loop (auto cycle or static) of customize statistics.

Statistics you can see while running:

  • Pace
  • Average Pace
  • Distance
  • Time Elapsed
  • Lap Time
  • Calories
  • Clock
  • Heart Rate
  • Clock
  • Heart Rate

The watch links up not only with satellites to compute your location and pace, but also uses an optional shoe sensor. This is to gather additional data for shoe strikes, pacing, and a back up if the satellite link is lost during the run. There is no other watch on the market using a shoes sensor as well. The watch will also link up with a heart sensor to gather even more data. Given the number of devices that it is attempting to synchronize, there is a small delay before the run. People have complained about the long link up time. How long is long? It has taken a couple seconds to a couple minutes for me.  I have seen complaints from people who say that it will not link with satellites until about a mile into the run.  I found from reading the manual, the support forums and personal experience, that if you synchronize to your computer before the run, it will update the current location of the satellites and the start time is drastically reduced.  In addition, you are not supposed to move until the watch is linked up.  This can be done in advance of a run and can wait until you are ready.  I spend those couple minutes getting in a some extra stretches.

At the end of the run, you get instant feedback. You get your statistics, and if this is a personal record, it informs you with a digital set of fireworks and celebration. The display varies. After seeing it after a long run, it is very refreshing to receive that instant gratification.  In addition if you have not been running in five days, the watch will remind you it is time to hit the pavement.  The battery life is very extensive as well.  Personally I have taken it out on a two and half hour run and the charge was still well over 50% remaining.  The controls are simple to use.  There are only three buttons, yet it carries a full suite of features and data.  It is most likely one of the easiest to use models on the market.

There are two parts to every GPS watch, the road and at home. This watch must be plugged into your computer to synchronize. There is no wireless connection, and some  people have complained about this. Personally I don’t mind since it recharges at the same time, and stepping out to have a run and seeing your watch needs to be charge is disheartening. This forces you to stall your run by a few minutes and recharge.  The charge time is rather quick.  The watch can hold 14 runs before it must be downloaded, not bad if you are traveling. Normally it should not be a problem for most people to upload before their 15th run. Recently there has been some reports of downloading issues. In response Nike has issued an update to their software and firmware for the watch. This seems to have solved the issues.  The watch is supported by vast website full of programs, running history, and fellow runners.  Since this website works with all the Nike Plus products, I will look at it under a separate review.

At the end of the day, the watch is a nice piece of hardware.  Given how varied pricing is on GPS running watches, it lands in the sweet spot at just under two hundred dollars.  You can pick it up from Amazon.com or your local retailer.