Your GPS Watch – How Much do you Rely on it?

Hi, I’m Ellie And I’m A Garmin Addict. Sound Familiar? 

Well actually, recently I gave up the Garmin addiction. I’ve started using a (rather fetching) bright green Casio watch for all my runs bar those on the track and it has utterly transformed my running. For me, training using time and feel (easy, steady, hard) rather than miles and pace has made running so much more fun and I really feel I’m training harder and better. I may not know my weekly mileage exactly, but is that really all that important?

The Real Benefits of Training Runs

Using ‘easy’ runs as an example, the pace of these runs will vary day to day depending on factors like fatigue. When I used a GPS watch for these runs, I would try to keep at a pace I knew that I was capable of, but wasn’t necessarily ‘easy’. At the end of a run I’d struggled on, not only would I be angry at myself for giving a weaker performance, but I’d neglected an important training run – my recovery run! Meaning my hard run the following day was compromised.

Using a Casio watch (ultimately a stopwatch) I am clueless to my pace and distance. On easy runs I focus on form and have seen brilliant results there. On steady or hard runs I can focus on listening to my body and pushing myself more consistently (not just sudden bursts when my pace drops off).

The Lost Art of Pacing

My experience is echoed in this article ‘The Lost Art of Pacing’ by Runner’s World with quotes such as:

“We become less efficient at running pace with a device because we’re always bouncing back and forth at what our watch says instead of what it feels like” 

The article also focusses on a different element of relying on a GPS watch; looking into how using, sometimes inaccurate, GPS watches can mean that we don’t know our pace or that, worse, we race at the wrong pace. Very helpfully, it also suggests times a GPS watch is important, and times it isn’t. There’s also a brilliant race mentioned where winners are those that get closest to their predicted time without using a GPS watch…I’ve still a way to go to be in with a chance of winning that, but thanks to my green Casio I’m getting there!

Read the full article – The Lost Art of Pacing – by Ashley Rodriguez from Runner’s World.