A number of years ago, out of the blue my husband gave me a Garmin Forerunner 201. Knowing how compulsive I was about tracking my running miles, as well as my IT background, he knew it was the tool for me. Nirvana! Was he ever right!
No more spreadsheets. No more driving my running routes to estimate mileages. No more guessing. This gadget that I could wear on my wrist did it all. Not only could it track time and miles for my runs, it could tell me my pace, auto-pause when I stop, and calculate my splits. Even better, I could download the data to my PC and analyze it ad nauseum. I fell in love with GPS! Never mind that it was big and clunky on my petite wrist. Never mind that it regularly lost its satellite signal in the north woods. I could no longer go running without it.
Time marches on, and as always technology changes. I’m up to the Forerunner 205 now – not exactly the latest and greatest, but it has all the features I need. And with my aging eyes, I’m reluctant to move to one of the newer models with smaller displays. (sigh) It is still my favorite piece of gear, only now it’s also a necessity for cross-country skiing, cycling, hiking, snowshoeing – any activity that involves moving.
Here are some of my favorite uses:
- Tracking everyday workouts – it makes sure I don’t cheat on distances. And I can tell how far I’ve gone so far mid-workout.
- Tracking my pace – am I on target? Do I need to speed up?
- Running in unfamiliar places – I can tell by the distance when it’s time to turn around, or if I should have been back by now…
- Pacing for races – particularly marathons where they provide balloons at mile markers but not time clocks. Great for both splits and time per current distance.
- Training partner – it shows a graphic of me and another runner at a specified pace. At a glance I can tell if I’m ahead or behind.
These features are useful during my workouts. There is even greater value when paired up with software to store my workouts, track them over time, and provide infinite levels of detail. But that’s a topic for another post.