Garmin vs Robin


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!

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