In order to really appreciate the huge jump that I’m in the process of accomplishing, you must first know that since 2007, I’ve been using my trusty Ironman Timex watch. It’s waterproof; it can hold 50 laps’ worth of memory; and everything I do on it must be manually-done… in other words, it doesn’t “sense” when I’m stopped, it doesn’t know how many miles or laps I’ve done (unless I indicate it so by pressing the lap button), and it definitely couldn’t tell me anything about my average or real-time pace or calorie burn. It’s pretty bare bones, but that $25 investment has lasted me through 16 marathons, about as many halfs, and of course, thousands of training miles since 2007. Granted, the Indiglo feature hasn’t worked since last winter, and I think I rendered the sound option inoperable the last time (the only time) I changed the battery, but for the most part, this little guy has been my savior.
Initially, though I asked for the Forerunner 405, I was dubious about how much I’d really enjoy using it. I consider myself one of “those” types of runners that likes to run uninhibited by loads of gadgetry. In fact, a couple years ago, the Nikes I was wearing got upgraded to the Nike+ line, and so I bought the $50 or $60 low-key watch/pedometer thing that Nike made to go along with its +line shoes. After I figured out that I couldn’t run in the +line model anymore, due to some unnecessary cosmetic changes Nike had made to the shoes (that gave my foot all sorts of random pressure in places where it wasn’t, before), I’m pretty sure I donated that watch device about a year later. It left its box maybe one time.
I’ve been running with the Forerunner for about two-to-three weeks now, and while the learning curve was a bit dramatic at first–again, because I was in the stone ages with my old Ironman watch–I think I’m getting the hang of it. Dare I say that I am even enjoying it. I’ve calibrated the watch so it shows my distance, real-time pace, pace from last lap (or last mile), and caloric burn at the end of each run, and while I’m on a run, it shows my real-time and last-mile pace and current distance. Knowing these statistics has been especially helpful because, while I’m not trying to break any records RWP, I am becoming more attuned to how my body “feels” at certain paces, now that I have a real-time pace-measuring device at my wrist. I know a lot of people learn how their bodies feel at different paces from running on treadmills, but since I haven’t touched a treadmill in over a year, and don’t want to anytime soon, that’s not an option 🙂
There’s still a lot I haven’t done with the Forerunner, like upload my statistics online, and I know there are some things that I could do if I wanted to shell-out some extra cash–read: heart rate monitor–but I’ll get there when I get there. For now, I’m pretty satisfied with the watch and its many bells and whistles, though they still sometimes get the best of me.
One final note: as I’ve been learning (and re-learning) how to use my Garmin, I’ve consulted the instruction manual and the quick-guide book time and again. Where those fall short, however, the training videos–short, 1-2 minute clips–at the Garmin site fill-in the gap and are also super user-friendly. Check ‘em out here. I found them to be super accessible and super useful.
Happy snowy winter running!