Wednesday, October 04, 2006

To Garmin or Not to Garmin

That is the question.

Tonight on our recovery run (and by recover I mean total recovery at +10min miles 50:14 total) Jason and I were talking about whether or not I should wear the Garmin during the marathon. I think we decided that it has the potential to be a bigger pain in the ass than helpful. I worry about signals being lost and miles then being totally off. Much of the race is through downtown Chicago where the watch could have potential problems. I worry that I will worry more about the watch than about the surroundings and my actual running.

I think I will wear my $30 Timex watch and just hit the lap button every time we get to a mile marker. This is not like a training run where none of the miles are marked so it's helpful to have Garmin at your side. Of course in the marathon all the miles are marked and so I think it will be easier to just hit the "split" button on Timex and see how I am doing on a mile by mile pace rather than being frustrated because the miles on Garmin aren't lining up with the miles on the race course. I did this during the Indy 1/2 and it worked just fine.

That's my opinion for now anyways. What are other Garmin wearers planning on doing. I realize that if you have the attached heart rate monitor it's a different story.

Taper on. Taper. On.

17 comments:

Firefly's Running said...

I don't have a Garmin myself so I don't have that issue. I ended up using my watch as well during the marathon to time myself. Enjoy the taper.

Frank said...

I'll be wearing my nike+ Like the garmin it can be off by <5% or so, but the benefit of getting the instantaneous pace information and the powersong on the ipod are so worth it :) And the graphs that come out at the end are just so darn cool. As a physicist, I'm sure you appreciate all the data you can pull off the garmin :)

Full Metal Lunchbox said...

I've thought about it and I'm torn.  On the one hand, I do get frustrated by the inconsistent signal one gets downtown.  But Frank also has a good point about the instant pace information; For someone like me who can't keep a steady pace, it may be worth the hassle.

For me the question is, will my battery last for what is likely to be my 7 hour finish time?

Dawnie said...

I never race with my Garmin, for the exact reasons you mentioned. The miles will be marked, just wear a plain old watch and take splits manually - it'll be a lot less of a pain than dealing with the inevitable mismatch between Garmin miles and course miles.

Nicole said...

I think go for the Timex because with the buildings downtown who knows what the Garmin will do.
Taper on

Arcaner said...

In regards to your question, I don't actually import my garmin data into my computer. I manually add lap times to my Polar HR monitor and I import that. i use the software that comes with the polar.

In regards to your garmin question, Garmin's are quite inaccurate for giving out instantaneous pace information, but they're fairly accurate for measuring distance, which you won't need on race day cause the course is marked. Heck you probably don't even need a watch. The website says that they have timers at every mile marker, so all you really need is a pace band to let you know what what time you should be at as you pass each marker.

Bob said...

I am wearing it for sure. But like you I will likely turn off the auto split and just lap it out at each mile marker.
I plan on downloading the course of of the MB website (if they ever get it up) and play with that.

I have not had reception problems in tree covered trails so I am hoping that the city won't present to much of a problem. But remember the Garmin can work just like a regular watch.

Plus if it holds signal I want that map. I want to be able to go through the race. View it on MB you know all of that fun stuff you can do with the Garmin.

So in a nutshell hell yea I'm wearing it. :)

Running Jayhawk said...

I'm in the same camp as you right now. I want to track my progress and splits, but know that garmin will crap out in the loop.

...where can one find one of these super cool inexpensive Timex watches to track splits?

Andrea said...

I don't have a garmin, but I ran the first half of my PR marathon with someone who did. It was good for those early miles, he kept me reigned in when I was overly enthusiastic.

I do have a Fitsense, which is one of those footpod speedmeter things with an HRM. I tried using it in Boston a couple years ago, and the distance was off, my HR was too high, blah blah. It didn't HELP my race, so I haven't worn it for a race since.

It's a tool, so if it will help, go for it! But don't expect it to run the race for you, and find yourself relying on it too much. I read an article just yesterday about how people who rely on their HRMs not to run too fast in a marathon often end up being TOO conservative in the later miles.

Summary? I'd bring it, use it particularly in the early miles to make sure you're not being too aggressive, but not worry about it too much in later miles.

Hopefully the weather is nice for us in the windy city!!

LeahC said...

...where can one find one of these super cool inexpensive Timex watches to track splits?

Target :-)

Haight said...

I'm thinking the Timex would be just fine. You seem to be pretty consistant with your splits. The course is very accurate so no need to split hairs over a few seconds. Get it? Split? I'm such a dork.

Being a physics kinda gal, I'm sure you have great math skills to figure some of this in your noggin.

david said...

I used my Garmin when I ran Chicago last year. I did not have any problem with dropping the signal and I found it helpful with pacing. There were several times I had to slow down because I seemed to be carried away by both the crowd of runners and spectators. Also, I found it very helpful to look at the data after the race. Good luck wish I was running Chicago this year.

Josh said...

I've been trying to decide the same thing. Such a difficult decision to make, but in a way, I think it may be a bit liberating to run without the Garmin.

Dave said...

I am gong without my GPS and relying on the pace group and just manually hit the lap button each mile - one less piece of equipment to worry about...

Running Jayhawk said...

Target? I am soooooo there this weekend. It's on. Wanna come?

Running Rabbit said...

Never thought of that. But I know I would be LOST without it. Will it really not work in downtown Chicago??? Great I will freak the fuck out if that's the case!!

Ry said...

Funny, I debated this very issue this week. Like others have said, the biggest benefit that I see to wearing it is Garmin's instantaneous readout of pace when the auto-lap function. This is a huge benefit, and I may wear it for this reason alone. Doesn't matter that the splits won't line up. Hope your taper is going well.