Garmin vs. Robin
One of my great running buddies is sooooo attached to his Garmin, he is known to all as “Garminowitz” (Hi Rich!).
On July 10, 2011 I bought myself a brand-spankin-new Garmin 310xt GPS watch for running and tri training. I posted a picture on the facebook with the caption “Forget diamonds, Garmins are a girl’s best friend!” I was psyched to track my progress and use the tool to get faster. This thing does everything. It gives real-time min/mile and mile/hr pacing, splits, mileage, calories burned, and workout reports uploaded to the computer to share with (brag to) friends.
I learned quickly that my competitive/ego-driven brain did not get along with this tool. I got angry with the watch. When I raced, I usually averaged around 7:30 miles running depending on distance, and 20 mph biking. Granted, I was well aware that I trained at a considerably lower speed, but I wasn’t prepared for how MUCH slower.
I took the watch out to play for the first time on a 15 mile SLR (Saturday Long Run with the DCRoadRunners) around Battery Kemble Park in DC. At the end of a great run with friends in the awesome July heat/humidity, the watch told me I averaged 10:15 min/miles…… What the heck? My first thought was: “THE WATCH LIES! Or it’s broken. Man that’s sloooooow.” It was a punch in the face. Jeez, what was I doing out there, smelling roses?!? Did that even count as a run? On subsequent runs, I paid close attention to my pacing, checked the watch frequently and sped up when I didn’t like the numbers it was telling me. Basically, any time it registered over a 9:30 mile, I sped up…out of vanity. Haha…but seriously, for real.
So round 1 in the “Garmin vs Robin” event goes to the Garmin. I think that new obsession with pacing contributed to the injury I suffered a few months later. There was no such thing as “slow jog days”. I upped my tempo runs and speed work and tried to maintain a “decent pace” (whatever that means) on long runs. Instead of listening to the body for feedback, I let the Garmin dictate my pace…let it drive me into the ground and into an injury.
Since I’ve been healthy again, I have chilled out on using the Garmin. I’m almost ready to try it again. This time I will have a different mindset and game plan. The “decent pace” on long runs is one that feels good to my body – not LOOKS good on the report. I now know myself. If I feel good, I will push, regardless of what a watch says. If I feel crappy, I know I need to chill the heck out and relax. I will try using the Garmin as a “restrictor plate” on long runs or easy runs. Instead of speeding up when it tells me I’m going slow, I will use it to slow down on days I’m supposed to be taking it easy. I’ll try taking it to the track for short bursts of speed. If I don’t like the “results” the watch tells me, it’s getting turned off. There’s a balance out there somewhere that will allow me to take advantage of the spiffy shiny GPS toy… I know it, just gotta find it. Mark my words: Round 2 is going to Robin!