Thursday, July 14, 2011

Farewell Nike + and Hello Garmin Forerunner!

I haven't posted much about running lately.  When I returned to work in May, it didn't leave much time for running during the week and I was mostly just trying to survive.  I did run on weekends and am a bit embarrassed to say that I was truly a weekend warrior there for a while.  I haven't been too hard on myself though...I was proud of doing anything at all and managed to keep up enough fitness to run an hour.  It has really helped me now as I train for a couple races this summer.  I don't have to start from scratch and can just build on what I did.  I had been planning all along on doing the Queen City Half Marathon which falls on September 11th this year.

With that in mind, I knew I'd have lots of time to work up to 13 miles.  I had also planned on doing the 15km YMCA road race but there was a glitch in that plan as the race has been cancelled this year.  So, I looked into other races in August and have decided to do the River Run in Saskatoon on August 14th.  I will also be participating in the half marathon distance for the River Run and am a bit concerned about this.  I have decided that I will look at the River Run as a good practice race and motivation to train towards the Queen City Half Marathon.

The River Run also features quite a few hills (for Saskatchewan) so it has prompted me to add some hill training to my weekly workout schedule.  Curt, if you're reading this, you should do hill training too.  I did the full marathon in Saskatoon way back in 2005 using a similar (the same?) route and was rather surprised by how hilly the race was.  It made the race more difficult than I had expected and it was a good thing I had trained really well for that race.

So to the main topic of this post...I am tired of the Nike + for many reasons and don't plan on using it anymore despite the pretty charts.  Here's why:
  • Doesn't allow for manual entries - that's right..if you forget it at home or fail to charge the battery by mistake, you can forget about logging that run into your training log.  
  • Calibration is sketchy.  I tried calibrating on the treadmill where it should be accurate and could never get it right.  To make things worse, it changed on its own somehow.  My times got faster and yet my miles and progress were shown to be lower.  You don't have to be a math teacher (even though I am) to know that isn't right. :-P
  • The sensor that goes into the IPod is really, really small.  I lost one and never did find it.  
I could put up with the calibration faults and be more careful (which I have been) with the sensor but I can't get over the fact that Nike won't allow manual entries.  Their argument is that they have "Challenges" and people could cheat.  Hate to break it to them but people can just as easily cheat by setting their calibration incorrectly in their favour so it appears they have accomplished a lot more than they actually have.

The Garmin Forerunner 405

I can't truly evaluate this beast yet because I am still trying to figure out how to use it.  What I do know is that it's accurate and I love knowing my exact pace and distance for once.  I can do some real training with that sort of information.  I have yet to figure out all the features but am excited to use it more and see how it can improve my running.  I'll post more about it after I've had more time to see how everything works.

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