Go Go gadgets


It had to happen, right? The Garmin watch I received as a gift from Kathy several years ago has proven instrumental in my training exercises over the past few years, providing detailed information on my running – from time and distance to pace per km. That is a key component of the interval and speed training I have done (albeit, not enough as prescribed by the Pfitz 18-55 plan).

It developed into an important element of my running, which gave me lots of time to analyze what was right, what improvements were required and exactly when to begin and end tempo or long runs.

The devices are hugely popular in the running world, as many know, with nearly every competitor sporting a GPS device of some sort at the start line, one they check religiously throughout their runs.

Call me guilty of checking it too often on nearly every run.

This leads into some problems which developed after I went to charge it. Seems Garmins can break down inside as tiny port holes absorb water and sweat and over time, wires can get corroded or separated and ultimately, they fail to function.  That apparently is what happened to mine. For a fee, Garmin farms out repair work in Canada to a company in Quebec and so, after consulting with them, I sent the device to La Belle Province, where they will refurbish it and send it back.

Hopefully, I get it in the mail before the P.E. I. Marathon.

But with a month to go, I guess I am not exactly sure (They estimated two weeks to turn it around). When you factor in shipping time, it could be dicey.

On Saturday, for my long run of 29 km, I wore Kathy’s watch – yes the one with the pretty pink colours. However, I had been searching for a substitute, especially with a half marathon test slated for this weekend in Fredericton at the Fredericton Fall Classic.

Then I stumbled upon Nike+ apps, which is  free for iPhones. I have seen others use it, so I downloaded it and, unsure of how much data it would register, I gave it a test for an 18km effort Wednesday night.

I am still figuring it out but my initial impressions were very favourable. It alerts you to the pace at regular intervals – every .25, .50 and 1.0 kilometre are the options -, it plays your songs from your music file or a designated playlist, displays your distance brightly throughout the run so it is easy to check and when you reach the final stages, there is a voice of encouragement to urge your to ‘finish strong’.

When finished, it recaps everything a Garmin does – lap times, overall speed, distance travelled as well as option to post to social media and an overall Nike website, which collects your data (also stores info on your iPhone).

I haven’t figured out a few things but I plan on testing it in race conditions on Sunday.

With that, it’s been a very good training week, with a solid long run. While not at marathon pace, it was a relaxed 6:09 pace for 29 km on Saturday in the nice afternoon conditions. I took Sunday off and went 8 km on Monday and 10 km on Tuesday, both in the 5:55 range while on Wednesday, armed with the new app, I went 5:46 for 18 km on a run characterized as cool, crisp and highly relaxing. Today, Thursday, is off and I am on a mini taper for the Fredericton effort on Sunday.

That means two short runs on Friday and Saturday between 7-10 km at slow, slow pace.

Sunday is the second of two fitness tests for the Pfitz plan. The first was the Hampton 5 miler two weeks ago. The second is the half marathon in Fredericton. I have great memories of this course, the same one I ran a 1:42:53 in May, 2012, shaving more than 4 minutes off my previous best.

Not sure what to expect this time but I am aiming for at least a 1:45 and change clocking, which amounts to 5 mins per km. I am not sure if I have enough endurance to last at that pace for 21.1 km but I am going to give it a shot. The course is fast and flat and if it is not too hot – or too wet – maybe that goal is achievable. If not, I’ll try to see how many kms I can get in at that pace, which is about 35-40 seconds faster than marathon pace I have planned for PEI.

Also, hit the scale for the first time in a bit and it is under 180 for the first time in a  long long while – 179.5, another encouraging sign.

Until next time.

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