I came of age as a runner in my teens in the ’90’s. That’s when I learned how to run intervals, hills, tempos, long runs, and arguably, to race. I refined my knowledge and experience in my 20’s early in the new millennium. Then I had a couple of kids and ran haphazardly, but by the early 2010’s I was ready to see if I could match what I’d accomplished in my previous running years. One obvious difference between my earlier running years and my “come-back” was the technology. Specifically, gps pace/distance tracking capability. I had learned to run by going by time and feel. Apart from intervals on the track, everything was time and effort based, and an estimation of pace/mileage would suffice for log books.
Now you could have a watch which told you exactly how far you ran and give you your current pace at every glance. Great for newbies, I thought, but I already knew what I was doing. I was now just trying to replicate what I’d already done, and I knew how to get there, so why did I need something new?
But every now and then I’d be curious about a hard effort I had to do, and I’d borrow my husband’s gps watch – just to make sure my mind and body were giving me the accurate information. Borrowing his watch once a week during a marathon build was enough for him to think I needed one of my own. So I am now the happy owner of a Garmin Fenix 5 – or as I call it: “the white and gold one”.
What has changed? Well, now I’m painfully aware of how slowly I actually run on recovery days – holy cow!!! Also, since it’s not as perfect about timing track intervals with recovery times (you just need a stopwatch) – I still use my trusty old Timex for those sessions. So now my watch thinks I’m a lot slower than I actually am. It’s constantly buzzing at me to “MOVE!” (even in the middle of a yoga class). Sometimes I hear a little buzz during a warm-up or recovery run and I look down to see: “Performance: -4. Fair” Thanks for your input – Geesh! Its predictions for my race times are way slower than my actual race times. And I can’t help but notice that if I were concerned at all about calories then I wouldn’t be doing the right things to make myself fast. For instance, after a very tough interval workout (1600m, 1200m, 1000m, 800m, 600m) which left me proud and exhausted, it said I’d burned 200 calories. That’s ONE BEER! Almost not worth the effort. Then after a very humbling and slow slog of a recovery run the next day, it said I’d burned over 500 calories. I don’t track calories, and have no idea how many I burn or consume, but I think if they are viewed as a measure of effort put out then my watch is way off.
The one thing I’ve become obsessed with however is my footsteps. Yes, it tracks these. And as I reach my daily goals, it raises them ever so slightly – to keep me on my game. Recently my daily footstep goal (as set by my ever-adapting watch) has been set to 14,000 steps. On days that I know I won’t hit it, I’m not ashamed to admit, I put the watch on one of my kids and get them to run around. That always does it. Two can play at this game Garmin Fenix 5!
So what’s the verdict? Will this fancy watch aid my training? I’m not sure. It definitely gives me more data, but whether that translates into faster running times is to be determined… Stay tuned!
(also, it IS pretty)