Tuesday, March 29, 2011

Garmin Set up

I managed to get out on Sat afternoon after a game of golf in the morning. Carrying a golf bag round Langness probably does not qualify as too much training but it is better than nothing and stretched the legs out. In the afternoon I did 8.5m with the dog which I think finished him off for the rest of the weekend! It is a good hilly course round West Baldwin so got the heart pumping and managed to keep a reasonable pace.

Unfortunately undid some of the good work with a meal out and late night at new restaurant in Port St Mary called Sabri - worth a try good food and very friendly staff! Anyway less of the restaurant critic and more to relevant blogging; went out tonight (in nice bright conditions) and did a quick 5.5 miler (without dog this time). Took time to review my Garmin settings and work out the ideal set up for the watch on Parish day.

Many of you may have the forerunner already if not it is worth thinking about; I find it really helpful both in training and on the big day. Training I tend to set a goal for each mile and try to keep the walking in the zone that works for me. During parish training, uphill if not too steep try to keep around 4.8 to 5mph (12min miles) downhill around 5.5mph on the level around 5.2/5.4. Last year I reckon I was about .3 slower across the board so hopefully the speed training over the winter will pay off this year? Anyway back to the Garmin - I think the best set up is to have 1 display split in 3 showing the 1mile lap speed that resets each mile in the big box at the top; bottom left an average overall speed and bottom right lap distance. That means on one page you can check speed (where you are on each lap as early on in the lap the speed is not necessarily that accurate) and how you are getting on overall. If you have your mind set on time to get to say Peel or the end you can work out what overall average speed you need to stay at and then just keep it around that for each mile - easy!?!

The second page has overall time top box, overall distance and elevation. Tend to flick to this every couple of hours or so on the day mainly to see how long I have been going - but don't want be reminded too often as you then realise how long is left!

Final page dont use too often either but I set up with 4 screens - time of day, heading, calories (makes you feel really good burning 5 figure calories in a day!) and instantaneous speed.

Having said all that, the 305 battery life proved to be about 10 or 11 hours so first Parish I ran out of battery. Second time round my physio Wendy Shallcross very kindly lent me her watch too so I swapped it on half way round. Towards the end though I was way past looking at average speed - just wanted to keep going!

I believe the newer 310 version has a 20 hour plus battery life (the 305 is rated as 8hr I think) so if you are thinking of getting one that might be the one to go for as it would probably last for the event.

Must sign off again its getting late...


  1. Long since fell out with my Garmin.

    Don't think I've used it this year and find it to be very inaccurate over distance (worst was showing over 52k in a 50k race) and get very fed up with it telling me how slow I'm going, then it fooling me into thinking I'm faster than I am. There was a case this year of someone refusing to do an extra lap despite the lap counters having down the times for each one. Dangerous to set too much store by them.

    Are you doing Sara Killey? Apparently organisers are a bit concerned over lack of entries.

  2. Hi Michael,

    Interesting to hear your problems. I have not had any real issues with mine. There is a setting on it to take a position check more regularly thus making it much more accurate as it does not have to guess so many turns etc. It is under settings data recording and you can set it to check position every second rather than smart recording which I think adjusts itself to what you are doing. Having said that I have left mine on smart!

    Yes I am doing the Sara Killey - just keep forgetting to send the form off as you can't enter on line. See you there - I reckon it is a good last long race before the Parish...

  3. I waited for the 310xt for the 20 hour battery and was glad I did. It is accurate enough, although the current rate fluctuates, the lap times (1 mile is 1 lap) is much better and gives you a mile rate every ten minutes or so depending on speed. During a recent test it lasted 22 hours despite leaving on all the beeps and buzzers, so should last me the race. Given that, the recent National 10 miles eventually came up as 10.32 miles so I feel a little cheated!
    It has helped me a lot, keeping my concentration up and with all the information it gives afterwards to analyze, and the great feature is uploading a past route to set as a training partner to race against yourself. It gives you something to race against.
    Considering the alternative, which is nothing, then ithey can only help.

  4. Whilst these devices are brilliant, a much cheaper option is to use any modern smartphone (loads of people have iPhones or Android phones now) with software such as Endomondo or SportyPal. The built-in GPS on these things works well and, if you do want the heart-rate monitoring as well, there are bluetooth heart-rate straps that will connect with most of the android phones. If you combine a heart-rate strap (£75-ish) with something like the San Francisco phone (£99) you can have a full setup, easily as good as the garmin but for a lot less money and it doubles as a smartphone, MP3 player, radio etc the rest of the time.

  5. Thanks for all the comments. The garmin may be a bit of a luxury but the problem with the phone is the lack of convenience actually reading it. Certainly don't want to be trying to pull it out to read it and a strap or holder again prevents it from being read.

    Whatever options are chosen I find it easier to have something to check my speed against to try to keep a fairly steady pace and not go off to quick or slow!