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Do I Need My Garmin – RunLog 8-19-19

Yesterday, I tested out my theory about wearing my old Timex Ironman watch versus my Garmin GPS w/heart rate monitor.

So what was my theory?

That I was too concerned, worried, preoccupied or thinking more about what the data points were going to show me at various points in my run (in real-time and after) than I was thinking about running.

Today’s Run

Yeah, I didn’t think that I really obsessed over the data that a GPS/HR watch can provide during and after a run, but when I ran without one yesterday, it became readily apparent that I was tuned into what the Garmin was giving me more than I thought.

I really started to figure this out at the first mile marker, I waited for the mile buzz, so I could look down to see what my time/pace were. There wasn’t any.

Then when I was going down the hill and hit the tar, I “knew” that the pace picked up and wondered how much I had picked up the pace after the first mile split. Then I remembered that nothing was being recorded for future use.

When I got to mile 2, there wasn’t any buzz again and I had to look about 10 steps past that point to see about what my time was. Yes, I could have hit the split button and looked at the split times after I got done, but I had forgotten that feature, since I was so used to it being done automatically.

At the Notta Road turn-around, I did hit the split button to see if the return trip was any faster than going out. It was, but I don’t have a clue about where/when I made up the time.

When I hit the flats down on Tiffany I did pick up the pace a little and then realized that I wouldn’t have a clue about what the pace was and shut it down. This was actually a good thing since this was supposed to be an easy/recovery run.

The only data points that I got out of this easy run were the turn-around split and the total time. During the run, I could have done mile splits, but I was used to the watch doing it automatically that none of them would have been semi-accurate. For this kind of run, I now feel that is probably more than enough.

I gotta admit that I missed being able to go back and look at the data during the run and see how my pace changed in various portion, in relation to how I was feeling during that section. How close to a segment did I get without trying, what my heart rate got up to going up the hills and all those other things I tend to look at after a run is over.

The reality is that

The more I thought about it, the more I realized that my running is not really about what the data points are, it is about running well, being healthy and enjoying my running.

I didn’t realize how data point driven I had let my runs become. I was constantly thinking about what the graphs would like after the run and I noticed myself peeking at the watch to see my time/pace/heart rate, etc. Then there is the whole issue of populating different websites with data from my running and giving them all that data in return for graphs and participating in social media. The more I thought about it, the more I realized how much of a distraction my GPS/HR watch actually is to me during a run.

After the Tiffany Road flat area, I stopped worrying about what data points I was missing and just relaxed. Which is what I am supposed to do during a recovery or easy run. The rest of the run, I was able to focus on how I was feeling, monitor how a couple of issues were behaving and just enjoy the run.

So I learned a lot about how much I actually rely on my Garmin during each run and how much I tend to attempt to run faster when I wearing it. After all there are so many segments that I can sneak a faster time on around the house or on other courses. The purpose of easy and recovery runs are just that – to not worry about the times so much and wearing my Timex allows me to run more by feel, but I still have a pretty good idea of pace when I get done.

I am pretty sure that as a result of this little experiment and how it opened up my eyes on this issue that my Garmin will become more of a tool to measure certain workouts or when I run a route/place I don’t have a clue about the mileage. It doesn’t mean that I won’t use it, but I plan to use it more judiciously and not for daily wear.

Unfortunately, my Timex Ironman has an issue that could make it useless pretty quickly. The seal is shot, so I have ordered another one and will use that as my daily wear watch and the watch I use on the majority of my runs.

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8 Comments »

  1. I try to remember that for the first 23-24 years of running, I used no technology whatsoever aside from my clock inside the house at the start and end of the run! And I was just fine. Of course, when I started ramping mileage and trying to hit specific goals, having metrics was great and so I was happy to have the great technology available.

    But – it is so easy to let it take over your life, and I know that at certain times that has happened. But for me, I know that once I am wearing gloves I stop looking at my watch until the following spring … and honestly I am pretty crappy about ever looking at my data because I just don’t care that much anymore. I still use the ‘mile beep’ as a marker, but even now during summer I try to not look at my wrist to see the splits on the mile chime (I always page to the time for my main screen so I never see pace or mileage when I look at my watch.

    What really got me was when ‘fitness tracker’ features got added into GPS watches, and even worse when SmartWatch features became mainstream. Ugh. So after having a watch that I would toss in a drawer after my run, suddenly I was wearing a watch all the time … and buying new gear way too often (who, ME?!?). I am back to the Garmin now (the FR245), and really love it – it tracks everything but isn’t ‘in your face’ like the Apple Watch with those rings, or too many smartwatch notifications and interactions turning into yet another screen that dominates my life.

    So I think it is great to find a way to detach from metrics and just run and really focus on feeling that run. Especially one that doesn’t leak! 😀

    • Yeah the fitness tracker stuff really got me and while I like some of the notifications like the phone number of who is calling. While I am tempted by the Apple Watch at the same time is it just too much? Well I will have a new Ironman watch probably tomorrow 🤪 and hopefully the seal works

      • I would say that the Apple Watch is definitely too much! I am STILL loving the Garmin FR245 (almost 4 months old now, haven’t taken it off other than to charge – unprecedented) … and one of the best things was I turned off the ‘MOVE’ annoyance. I like having a watch again, and have minimized notifications, and it is nice to have the GPS stuff available … compromise that works for me (for now)!

      • Yeah, that seal on the Timex toasted the watch the other night while doing dishes (of all things), so have to wait until my new Timex gets here today/tomorrow to start the transition and withdrawal from the continuous stream of data, notifications and the rest. Actually looking forward to it.

      • For sure! I only have my phone to use right now and keep looking for a watch so I can see my pace during my run, but then I start to wonder if it is perhaps better that I don’t know anything until I get home

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