Thursday, August 18, 2011

Garmin Forerunner 610...Part 1

I've said it before, and I'll say it again....I'm a gadget girl. I like data. I like technology. And when those two things are combined, its not longer a "want" ...its a need!

So, I found a 20% deal for a Garmin 610, and I'm very pleased with it. I did purchase the one that came with the HR Monitor, and I'm glad that I did just that. I also eventually found a deal on amazon for the footpod...again, the more data, the better! For me, I think the knowledge that this provides gives me insight into the sport, as well as allowing me to focus on some aspect of training to improve upon. Since running is such a solitary sport (e.g. you are always competing against yourself), its hard to determine where/when/if you should focus your training efforts. Sure, speed is always one of them, but thats usually the effect, rather than the need to focus on improving those 'causes' which will ultimately result in the effect of increased speed.

So, I suppose this review isn't your typical review...its not going to be about all the bells and whistles and how easy it is to navigate/learn, but rather why the data is provides helps me focus and keep working towards this unknown goal of mine.

I find that after a run, I slip in the little wireless USB into my laptop, and it syncs with garmin connect. I log into garmin to see everything that it collected:

  • Heart rate (average/max)

  • Cadence (average/max)

  • Speed (per split, which I left at the default "per mile")
But, the little graphs I find interesting (see upper right). These charts allow me to correlate my pace with the elevation gains, and my cadence. I've seen before that some of my runs have slow increases in elevation, and my cadence slows down...therefore, my speed slows down. But, in a perfect world, I should focus on keeping my cadence the same, even though my stride may be sure, my pace may slow a bit, but if my cadence stays consistent, I should be proud of doing that! Then, I can eventually focus on my pace on the uphill climbs!

In other words, it helps non-trainer people like me identify where my focus should be...where I'm not excelling. I do not intend or expect to ever run a 7 minute mile...but surely I can do better than where I am now! Its that incentive that this little gadget provides. Its knowing that there are some low-hanging fruits that I can improve upon rather easily. Its knowing that my lack of performance on some evenings is probably due to a few simple adjustments in my mentaility, run route, etc. Its knowing when elevation is encouraging and when its discouraging. Its knowing that bridges impact me and how they do just that...and its not always a bad thing! Its knowing that if I increase my cadence my 10%, I could become a 9min/mile runner...well at least when the weather cools down.

Its all of this. Sure, they are not easy things to adjust/relearn that I can incorporate in a few weeks, but they provide me with concrete mini goals to focus on. They provide me with the tools to measure and correlate and compare. And, if I can find that I'm improving even slowly on these little things, I know my overall performance will be enhanced. its not a "black box" anymore that some people are just better runners...its putting concrete reasons why some perform better than others. Now, I know what I need to do, and I know how to track it, and all I need to do is put in the time!


  1. I'm so glad I read this! I've just started running on a consistent basis and am looking into buying a Garmin, or something similar. I hadn't thought to look onto Amazon. Thanks! :)

  2. Amazon is great for great prices on older models. I purchased my garmin 610 at with an $80 off code. No shipping/tax, so the total was $319.99. A 15% code is here:


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