My First GPS Sports Watch

Eddie Izzard does a great bit about technofear vs. technojoy:



I wouldn’t say I’m fearful, per se… but I am a bit impatient, which makes reading very technical instructions a chore. I sometimes get intimidated, bored or frustrated trying to learn new equipment or software, and often my response is just to avoid it.


However, I was given a Garmin Forerunner 305 for Christmas, and I’m trying to push myself to the technojoy side so that I can experience all the benefits provided by having super detailed data about my training. I have not yet paired it with the Polar heart rate monitor I already own, but I think once I do the info will be even more useful.


Check out my Monday night bike ride! I met up with Bec mid-city, and we rode through downtown out to South Pasadena via the (unlit and kind of scary!) Arroyo Seco bike path. We got caramel lattes and headed back to the start point, where I broke off and did another 5 miles out 6th Street towards Beverly Hills, so that I could meet my goal of logging 35 miles. Here’s what it looked like to Señor Garmin:




Kind of nifty!

What do you guys use for tracking workout data? What do you like about it?

8 thoughts on “My First GPS Sports Watch

  1. I actually use what came with my timex, trainng peaks. The free version is ok and has allot of useful functions and data. But it costs extra to plan and to normalize the data. For social sharing and free elevation normalization I use strava. Often I upload the same data to both sites so I get the best of both. Of course there is also the detailed spreadsheets I use to keep track of monthly and weekly progress. Its taken me a while to get this point I am currently at. The spreadsheets nicely sumerize my data. Here is a small piece of my summary page for my current training plan:

    • That’s a lot of data! Very cool.

      The Timex Ironman was the watch I bought (primarily for its interval timer) when I was marathon training. I love it.

      • I bought the timex global trainer because at the time it was 120 bucks. Yeah a little slow on fixing gps, but a watch with all that functionality, ill take it. That is just my main summary data. I also keep breakdowns by phase of my runs and my biking. I also have similar tabs for each 4 week phase that breaks each week down. Most of the data is pulled from training peaks. It really helps to figure out my monthly and weekly goals.

  2. I’ve got the Forerunner 205– which is the 305 without the heart rate monitoring capabilities– and I’m using the Garmin Connect site to upload data as well. It’s freeing to be able to run wherever and still be able to get a general idea of how far I went, even if the accuracy of a GPS watch can be a little off (usually long) based on height of nearby buildings, tree cover, hillsides, time of day, and other factors. (My goal in 2012 was to run 5,000 miles, and because I knew my 205 tends to measure a hair long, I calculated a fudge factor of 0.006 miles for each Garmin-measured mile– which worked out to 30 extra miles on the year!– just to make sure I *really* ran 5,000 miles.)

    Tip: When you’re viewing the data fields– elapsed time, pace, distance, etc.– on the 205/305, you can change some of those data fields to display other things. I have my watch set to show sunrise & sunset times on one of the data screens! Just go into Settings > General > Data Fields to futz with it.

      • I’ve tested out my 205 on professionally-measured routes, running all the road tangents so as to follow the shortest possible route and match the path of the original measurer.

        USA Track & Field-certified 5K courses (3.107 miles) usually come out to 3.11 or 3.12 on the 205 for me; 10Ks (6.214 miles) come out around 6.22-6.24; marathons (26.22 miles) around 26.30-26.35. Sometimes things vary a little more if a course has a lot of turns or tall buildings or tree cover.

        I’m also a little OCD, so most of the time I run with my 205 held in my hand (with the flat part with the Garmin logo [where the GPS antenna is] facing up to the sky and the screen upside-down) rather than on my wrist. When it’s on your wrist, more of your body blocks its view of the sky and the accuracy is slightly diminished. Not a big deal to most people, but you know me!

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