Do you know how fast you are going when running outside? On a treadmill, you can pick a certain speed with a few presses of buttons. But you can’t tap any buttons on the roads or in the parks to determine how fast you are running and, unless I’ve been missing out, you can’t automatically program your trainers to carry you at a specific pace either.
If you’re just running for fun then maybe this doesn’t bother you. It is a nice feeling to run in the open air without a care in the world and if you know how far you’re going and you know how long you’ve stayed out then you can sort of work it out at the end. However, I feel compelled to write this piece as wearing a watch for four weeks to prepare for the Istanbul marathon has been the biggest improvement to my running since I started running in 2008. I seriously wish I’d invested in one earlier.
The watch I used was the Garmin Forerunner 10, so keeping on the 10 theme, here are 10 reasons why I will never run without a Garmin again.
(1) If you’re training for a PB in any distance at all it’s vital. My aim was to get between 3 hours 30 and 3 hours 45 in Istanbul which meant I needed to run at approx. 5. 25 minute miles. There were no clocks at the side of the road in Istanbul (unlike marathons I ran in London and New York) and it’s not easy to keep adding 5 mins 15 up each kilometre and then run and remember what number you were previously on at the next kilometre marking. A Garmin works out exactly what pace you’re on at all times.
As well as displaying the time and date, you have two other screens at your disposal with two pieces of info on each one and you can choose what info you want from a list available in the settings menu.
(2) It makes it easier to fit in exercise around your schedule. If you only have 45 mins to go running then you can plan your distance and your pace and know that you will finish your run in 45 mins. In the past, I’ve said I’d go out for 45 mins and then got an endorphin rush and stayed out for 1 hr 15 or I’ve got tired and slowed down and taken 1 hour. If you can’t control how long you run for, it’s easy to use the excuse that you can’t possible go running because you don’t have the time. You do have the time, if you program your watch!
(3) You know exactly how many calories you burn. Sometimes it’s not as many as you think it is, so it helps you stick to your nutrition plan. You can’t get away with saying ‘I’ve exercised so I deserve it’ all day long…
(4) If you are really pushing yourself, it can become your own little personal trainer. You can set it to beep if you go too far away from your target pace.
(5) You can track your progress! The watch fits into a holder, which you attach to your laptop / PC by a USB cable
Automatically, the watch connects to the Garmin website, syncing all the data from the watch. You can track how far you’re running, how many inclines you’re running up and see how your pace improves over time.
(6) You can share your progress with your friends. This was useful for me as I was training for Istanbul with a group from my running club, London City Runners. Some of them had Garmins already and if they posted something on Facebook about how much they’d done it motivated me to go out and do better.
The Garmin Connect screen automatically detected that I had ran the marathon and displayed the accurate time – 3 hr 41 – and the course map. This was better than you got on the Istanbul marathon’s official results page!
(7) You can try variations on your existing routes without getting lost, going too far and accidentally running for longer than you thought. Before I had a watch, I had a 6 mile route that I liked to do. One day, I tried to extend it by running a bit further. I ended up running 2 miles more and 2 miles back, which meant I’d run 10 miles. If you only wanted to do 8, you could use the watch to measure when you’ve gone an extra mile and then come back without leaving it too late
(8) It’s really not as expensive as you think it is. The RRP is £99.95, but different websites have different deals meaning you can get it cheaper. A decent pair of running shoes cost more than £100 (mine cost £120) and running shoes only last 500 miles while the watch will last forever.
(9) I set it up in less than 5 minutes. Unlike other watches, which have tons of functions, it’s so simple to use! There are two screens that each display two stats and you can choose if you want these to be distance, calories, pace, time since the start or lap time. Then you choose if you want to measure it in km or miles and that’s it. Because it’s GPS the time/ date function works automatically.
The only downfall is it doesn’t have a heart rate monitor, but do you really need one of those? As long as your heart hasn’t stopped and you’re running to pace then you’re fine.
(10)It’s available in pink! Pink is my favourite colour so this excites me. However, it’s also available in purple, black, orange and green and I’d be happy with all of them.
What do you think to running with a watch now? Tweet me @livelikeavip if you have any questions!