I’ve mentioned before that I’ve been doing some running over the past couple of years, and thankfully I’ve managed to keep it up over the summer despite my naturally lazy personality. I’ve been going out pretty much consistently baring illness, which fortunately only kept me sidelined for a couple of weeks, hitting around four runs each week.
The last time I posted about running was after a 5k race that I took part in, and while that still remains my personal best over that distance, I am definitely fitter and quicker now than I was then. One reason why I haven’t beaten that pb is the simply fact that the course is almost entirely a gradual downhill run, with only a couple of very short uphills along its distance.
One of the regular routes I do is around where I work and I tend to go out with some of the guys I work with. In early September a group of us decided to do a staggered start 5k race each Wednesday, given all of us motivation to push ourselves a little more than normal with the aim of everyone finishing around the same time. The route is lovely, but the entire third kilometer is just horrible – it’s got a bitch of a hill that has a 20 meter climb, with one part so steep that I walk it, and die doing so. After that hill there’s a long stretch running across grass – equally grueling when my legs are exhausted from the climb. Before September my pb on this route was around 30:30, but I’ve since managed to get that down to 28:44 (this past week was a 29:28). I feel much better for it, and know that, given more time and effort, a 25 minute 5k is more than achievable.
So, since I’ve been enjoying running so much and getting my times down and pace up (despite not losing any weight), I decided that for my birthday this year I would see about getting a GPS watch. I didn’t want anything fancy or expensive, just functional and easy to use. After much umm-ing and ahh-ing I got myself a Garmin Forerunner 15 – pretty much an entry level GPS watch that also has a step counter.
I’ve had it a few weeks now and have used it on every run I’ve done since then, and I must say that it’s really helped me. The ability to check speed/pace, distance, and time with just a glance at my wrist makes my runs more enjoyable, and gives my the instant feedback I need to know what I must do given the goal of that run. It’s more or less entirely accurate with distance – certainly so far – and hasn’t caused me any issues while out and about.
Despite Garmin having their own website to give details on the data the watch records, I much prefer linking it to MapMyRun.com – I think the interface is better and stats easier to view. Here’s a couple of my recent runs. The first is a 5k route I do at home, the second my work one:
Having this data has reaffirmed the one thing that I already knew – I go out too fast. However, I do manage to keep the pace relatively steady for the rest of the run, so I’m happy with my style as it is at the moment – I don’t think I could maintain a quicker overall pace even if I went out slower.
Now comes the hard part – to keep on running over the winter. Last year I went out here and there, but this year I’d really like to keep going out a couple of times a week along with a treadmill run or two. I really don’t want to get to spring and having to build my fitness up again…