Tuesday, July 17, 2012

Don't Be a Tri Nerd!

I have been looking at purchasing a new GPS watch since I lost the charging cradle of my old watch. This time I am wanting to add the HR monitor on to it because I think I would benefit  from training that way. I have read many reviews of GPS watches and done some research on different models. But there is always one person I always talk to before I buy anything triathlon related because I know he will give it to me straight.

We will call him Ted cause that is his. Ted is a very accomplished triathlete and endurance athlete and he is actually the one person that got interested in this hobby many years ago at an 80's party attended by our friends from college! Anyways, Ted has also been a great source of information for me, whether it is about training, equipment or going into a race with the right attitude. So I do value his opinion a lot. So who better to call and get input on the best GPS device than Ted right? I thought so too, so I texted him. Here is our conversation:

Names have been blacked out to protect the innocent.


So after that text message conversation, I really got to thinking. Do I need a new GPS watch or is this just another device I think I need. So I posted that question on the FaceBook page of the Brooks Fanatics and the Target Triathlon Team page. I got a lot of answers ranging from I love my Garmin to, I am a numbers nerd and like the data, to even some people saying they never look at it until after their run, which is hard to believe.

So my conundrum is this, do I need a GPS? What do I really use it for anyways? Honestly, I like it to tell me how far I have ran, and secondly I like to see my pace I am running. However; it can frustrate me to look down and see that I am going a lot slower than I think I feel like I am going. I am not sure the benefits outweighs the cost of buying a new one. Maybe I should just get a heart rate monitor and learn to utilize that while running, or learn to manage my engine as it has been said to me.

So I have been thinking about this and I think I am going to forgo using a GPS and focus on actually running. I trust Ted completely when it comes to training and racing advice, he knows what he is talking about. So I am willing to try it and will look into getting a decent heart rate monitor and start learning to use it, especially for the marathon coming up in December. I will keep you updated!!


 

12 comments:

  1. There is no right or wrong here. If Ted had a Garmin but never used the data to track performance then it would be useless for him to have a garmin.

    Some people are better at training using RPE over HR and/or pace data. Some are better have more data.

    It just depends on what type of person you are?

    Personally, I like to have the data for tracking volume. I can go back and look at my levels of volume and see how my performance was in relation to the volume. This becomes important as you start moving into the longer races.

    For example: I am in wk 20 of my Ironman training plan and feel like absolute shit right now. My body and mind are both exhausted. Since this is not my first go at this type of training I went back and looked over last years data and compared it to this years data and the volume in all three sports was pretty close. Then I went and looked at my comments - at the beginning of wk 20 last year my comments were, "I feel like ass".

    By having this data I was able to ease my mind and this gave me confidence in that I am not overtraining and that this is to be expected. I know how I felt on race day and the data from this year is hopefully a direct reflection on how I will feel this year on race day.

    Now, all that being said, if I trained by just RPE I still could have left a comment in my logs that said how I felt.

    But, I know what type of person I am and seeing the data made everything all right!

    So figure out who you are.

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    1. All valid points, I just do not want to be a slave to the device, but yet I love knowing what distance I just did. I am going to try it for a couple of weeks without it and see what happens, then I will decide. Thanks for your input though

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  2. I used to be a freak and look at my garmin 34653457365 times while running but after my injury I stopped caring about anything but enjoying putting one foot in front of the other and repeating. Don't get me wrong, I sometimes look at the mile beeps or if I am trying to figure out if I'm almost done but otherwise I just go and don't look at it til the run is over. I must be doing something right, because I've PR'd every race I've trained for since I came back. All that said, I still love my garmin and am glad I have it to look at the data later. Good luck in your adventures of training naked!!!

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    1. I tend to look at my Garmin alot also and I wonder if I would just be trading in looking at the Garmin to looking at the HR monitor. I so want to be a runner that just runs!

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  3. I don't wear a Garmin or any other type of gps device to run or ride. I just go. Sometimes I'll wear my trusty ol' digital watch, if I need to be aware of the time for work or an appointment.
    It's different for everyone. Some people rely on the numbers to get them to their goals. I like to stay away from the numbers because I tend to get obsessed with them. Without a gps I concentrate on the run or the ride…and it has always worked fantastically for me.

    Good luck :)

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    1. I think I can go without the Garmin, but there is no way I could let go of my bike computer I don't think.

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  4. I think a lot of us a "nerds" about the data. I didn't even have a watch until after my first tri. Picked up a waterproof cheapo watch for $7 at Walmart. Totally drooling over the 910xt though. My husband made a lot of the points your friend Ted did though. The data is just stuff to mess with our heads - sometimes for the better of our training, but often not. So maybe I'll put off dropping the $$$ too. The $7 watch was what let me know I was close to my 2 hour goal during my last tri so that I could pour it on and finish with 43 sec to spare. Maybe that is just good enough. Hard for an engineer to do anything without data though. :)

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    1. I use the word with lots of affection because I also love to look at my training numbers! The 910 is sweet but not sure I can convince the wife to drop $300 on one right now! lol

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  5. hmmmm, I don't use one. Why? can't justify the money. If I did have one I'd probably become addicted in a second though. I think training by feeling is GREAT. Your body doesn't lie, however I have found (especially for tonights speed work) that not having one makes things hard. I have to use a track or the treadmill for speedwork when I'd love to just RUN!
    I'll be interested to see what you do and/or which one you buy!

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    1. Right now I like running naked, so I mught get a HR monitor, but it is not something I am rushing out to get.

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  6. I just have a hr monitor and I haven't been wearing it for several months. I get the urge to get a 910xt but like you said, they aren't cheap. Plus I want a tri bike. Too much expensive gear in this sport!

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    1. My wife reminds me of that alot! LOL

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