Thursday, January 04, 2007

How do YOU use your Garmin?

Since I got my Garmin 305 earlier this fall, my display of choice has been that I set up that shows average lap pace, lap distance, and total lap time. Then I would set the auto lap feature to 1 mile and pace myself according to lap pace. The problem with "chasing" average lap pace this way is that after every mile, you're starting fresh and the pace that you ended the last mile with is the starting average pace for the new current mile.

Let's say you start out on mile 1 and you're watching your average pace. Let's say you're shooting for 12:00 pace. So, it takes a while for the average pace to "settle down." So, let's say you're a little fast and towards the end of mile 1, you're at about 11:50. So, you slow down, then when the lap hits 1 mile, all of a sudden you see your average pace is 12:15 or 12:20 because you slowed down at the end of mile 1. So, you speed up to try to hit 12:00 for mile 2 so at the end of mile 2, your pace is 11:40 or something. Chasing this average lap pace can get be a problem. That's why I tend to ignore it and often find myself off pace by the end of the run.

Well, yesterday, while visiting the best little barber shop in Texas, Matt suggested something that should have been completely intuitive to me but that I have never thought about. He said set the display to show average pace for the whole race. So, a constant average over the entire run. Well, that makes total sense to me. If I average 13:45 for the whole marathon, that is 6 hours. So, rather than chasing lap splits, I'm chasing a very smooth average pace over the entire distance. And, get this. It's very hard to move the average at later points in the race. Once, you've established a 13:45 pace for 20 miles, that's a lot of data and even drastic changes in pace only effect the average by a second or 2.

I practiced this last night on a short 4 mile run at Memorial park and it worked great. I didn't feel so confused at the end of each mile like I usually do when I'm "chasing" mile splits. I even stopped for water just after mile 2 and kept the clock running. Normally, on a lap average, I'd see myself behind goal pace after a water stop by 10 or 15 seconds. With the average over the whole run, I only lost 3 seconds. With 3 seconds, I didn't panic and try to take off after the stop. I just eased back into it and after a half mile or so, I was down to 13:47 and by a little after mile 3, I was back to 13:45 average.

So, my splits were: 13:40 / 13:43 / 13:48 / 13:45.

After my run, I stopped over by the Aquatic Center for a little trash talking with the Striders who were getting ready for a run up to Jackson Hill. Great to see Bill out giving the wheels a test drive. I offered him a creme pie but he wouldn't bite. I'm not worried. Hey, Bill, the registration fee for the Flying Pig is $60. I'm cutting you a break by registering early so you won't have to pay full price, ok?

So, how do others use your Garmin?

16 comments:

David said...

Matt and I had this same conversation earlier this week. Him and I agree to disagree on this one! I think one's decision is based on what their mantra during your run is. I keep it on "lap pace" and auto lap every mile (except for races where I manaully hit lap at every mile marker). My mantra every run is "run this mile as good as your last". I have said that to myself millions of times over the last season. If I am at the end of a long run, current lap pace keeps me honest to my mantra, whereas "total lap pace" allows me to get a little too complacent when things start getting tough! To avoid "chasing your pace" at the end of and beginning of each mile, do NOT look at your pace for the 1st ~.25miles of your new lap. The pace shown during this time is mostly "instantaneous", which we all know can bounce around. Just keep things steady during this time and let the Garmin do its thing! However, if you find yourself caught between these different ideologies, simply program one screen to show your "total average pace" and another screen to show "average lap" and you can toggle between the 2 during the run!

Vic said...

Absolutely, Dave, I still have the lap screen on another display. Fortunately, I have a screen I wasn't using so I use it to set up what I described.

I hear what you're saying and I'll bet as I gain more experience, I'll think more along those lines. I can definitely see your point on training runs. Definitely, on a training run, I see a goal to be to finish each mile as well as the last. For me, for this race (the marathon), I just want to finish in around 6 hours. My one strategy on this first attempt is to run a steady pace the whole race. I think Matt's advice is going to work well for me this time. Thanks for the advice.

Humble Runner said...

Currently I use my garmin as a paper weight. It's not much good for anything else!

Barbara said...

I don't look at my watch while I'm actually running; I use it to download the data to review after I'm back home.

But when someone asks me a question while we're running, invariably they want to know what our average pace over the run is, so if I were to set it on one particular view each time, it would make sense to have it on the average pace over the entire distance.

Anonymous said...

Vic,
When I am finished with a run I hit stop but I don't turn it off. Then I drive home at a high rate of speed. I have been able to clock 40 seconds per mile. That equates to about 90mph. I am hoping traffic thins out a little so that I can test it out over 100mph. Is that the answer you were looking for with your question?
SteveS

jamoosh said...

I've got pace and average pace on one screen. I try not to look at it too much though.

You've got a great idea. I hope it works out for you.

J~Mom said...

Wah, I don't have one yet. Soon though...soon! Birthday is coming up soon! I will look back and find this post if and when someday.

Pony said...

Hey dude...this sounds like a great idea! Can you tell me the steps to set my Garmin for overall pace? I want to try it out too!

I do the same thing David does...I don't believe anything it says up to 1/4 mile, then I start paying attention.

And I WON'T be testing out SteveB's pacing! hahahahahahahaha

Pony said...

oops...guess that was SteveS's pacing...

TX Runner Girl said...

*Sigh* Some of us don't have a Garmin yet. Hmmm...maybe a certain hubby will think turning 35 in a few weeks is worthy of one. :-)

Anonymous said...

Vic, wow! Sounds like you have struck a cord with these runners lap pace, average pace...I prefer "Thick & Chunky Pace" with a big bowl of Tostitos!

Seriously, my Matthew has done it again. I hate it when he's right:-) however, in all honesty who do you think taught him about his Garmin, huh, who??? TELL ME!!!

LOL, I love my Garmin and use the average pace on long training runs and marathons. I use the lap for speed and tempo runs. Sounds like you are being given very sound advice from both David and Matt. I think the faster you re the more lap pace comes into play. Find what screen works the best for you on that Garmin and use it. My preference? A big screen, preferably in HDTV, I think Garmin will come out with that early summer...let's put our order in now and eat cream pies until it gets here.

----

Oh, almost forgot...Regading your weird dreams about your marathon. A couple of nights before my first marathon I dreamed that during the marathon I was trying to follow Matt and somehow we got off the course. I was desperate to keep up and just went wherever he went in an attempt to find the course and other runners again. We were climbing fire escape ladders on the sides of buildings and climbing through open windows of houses, running the wrong way on the route and not understanding why people would not turn around and go with us. I found my old university campus and ran up throught it but things had changed and I didn't recognize any of the buildings. I was paniced in my dream to just find the course again. All I wanted was to just find the marathon route and run with all the people preferably going the "same" direction. It all worked out on the real marathon day and I managed to follow "well" behind Matt and stay on the route...so will you!

BW

JustJunebug said...

I think Bessie just started a blog on your comments section!! hee hee!!

The year of the bling!!

Sorry I got nuthin on your Garmin posts because for some reason all that rattle and hum just confuses me and I really dont care except for what the final time is at the end of the run!

Cheers!

Anonymous said...

Stone age rocks! No Garmin for me. I track time and generally know my distance in advance or can back into it using google maps. This forces training by perceived effort, which I think is a good thing. For racing, the most important data for me is the split for the mile just completed.

Steeeve

Jill said...

I just might have to try that. I think it already on one of my screens - I just don't look at it all the time! I am always flipping through my screens though, love to see what my heart is doing and what pace I am at, and ......

L*I*S*A said...

I'll have to remember that when I get ready to use my Garmin!

Pony said...

I think maybe my question got lost in all the comments...how do you set the Garmin to do overall pace? Is this feature just on the 305 or is it also on the 301? Help!

Thanks = )