Monday, June 25, 2012

An Off Day For The Garmin

This was an out and back run - oops!
Some days we have "on" days and some days we have "off" days.  For me, this was neither - it was a run that was more "meh" than anything.  Hot, humid, and sunny usually doesn't make for great runs, so I'll just chalk it up to a decent run on a not so ideal day.  This run was more about my Garmin than anything else and I am convinced it had an "off" day, which is fine since it works perfectly nearly 99% of the other days.


Pretty sure I wasn't running down mountains
So what went wrong, you ask?  Well, I was just uploading some of my files from the past week and happened to notice something that stood out - my watch said that I had an elevation gain of 551 ft and a loss of 1,211 ft.  Strange, since this was an out and back run on a paved trail that is typically a 1% grade with a few occasional climbs, but certainly nothing that would give me those readings.  It is also interesting that it registered close to double the loss than gain.  Not sure why the math made it come out to that, but it is interesting.  Look at the profile above - doesn't look like it should for an out and back, does it?

Just a simple out and back route
Not sure why it happened, since the pace and distance readings were spot on, but it is always interesting to see how the gps takes in data and formulates it into something we find meaningful.  Well sometimes I guess, it isn't quite as meaningful. 

Lessons to be learned

We just have to take what these watches (or cell phone apps) provide with a grain of salt, whether it is a funky pace reading or something else.  We all have to remember that these watches are to supplement the data our body provides.  If it feels like you are running an 8:00/mile and your watch is showing 11:00s, don't just keep trying to speed up till it reads 8:00.  Let your body dictate what you do and your watch will be there to confirm things for you (usually).

And when it comes to a race especially, it is important to know what your goal paces feel like, so if you want the data, do some pace driven runs where you cover up the face of the watch and let your body dictate the pace.  See how close you can get to your goal pace.  Its a great way to mix up your regular runs and can be a fun game to play.

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