Tuesday, October 7, 2014

Help Wanted

Dear Technology Geek Wizard,

I am writing you for some advice for my "friend" friend who is too embarrassed to write herself himself.  I have (oops) He has been running for decades, starting as a child on the CYO track team to multiple marathons and shorter distance races as an adult.  As experienced as he is in running, he is completely inexperienced with most of the gadgets and accessories out there.  He is what you would call cheap a purist.  He does not have any kind of GPS device to track his routes, mileage, and paces.  This is kind of odd for someone who is always tracking his routes, mileage, and paces.  Instead of a Garmin, he times his runs with his Casio wristwatch, then maps them out on the computer when he gets home.  Although this method may have a couple of advantages (ex., ability to estimate miles just from the clock; pause timing easily for bathroom breaks -- this advantage should never be underestimated; not being mentally influenced by the constant reminder of the GPS), it also has its disadvantages (the extra time on the computer after each run; some routes are not possible to track online; my his psychic odometer is not foolproof; and maybe he just wants a cool, new gadget dammit!).

So...this person is now ready to catch up with the rest of the 21st century runners and invest in a Garmin or a Garmin-like device.  What do you suggest for a technologically inept, deficient, simple unadulterated newbie?  Nothing too complicated.  Just the basics to help with mileage, pace, and heart rate.

Thank you for any kind of input.

Yours truly,

"A Concerned Friend"
Mata Hari

The
"purist runner".


(courtesy of dreamstime.com)

22 comments:

  1. Mata,
    Tell your "friend" that GPS watches are great for capturing lots of data but they are often off by 2-3% in terms of distance accuracy. If "he" can live with that, then it comes down to what you, I mean they, want to get out of the watch. There are a number of relatively inexpensive GPS watches on the market (i.e., Soleus, Timex) in the $99 range. They do the job, but there's no way to take the run data off the watch to look at it on the web.

    I bought a Garmin 210 GPS watch about three years ago for under $200 and it's great. It captures pace, distance, time, elevation, heart rate (with HRM ) and cadence (with foot pod). I can upload the data to my laptop and look at the data and the route I ran on a web browser using Garmin Connect.

    Garmin's entry level GPS watch is the Forerunner 10 which is about $130. It captures pace, distance and time and connects to Garmin Connect but doesn't work with a heart rate monitor. For $170 there's a Forerunner 15 that does work with HRM. The 210 that I have is selling for about $199 and has a lot more features but it may be discontinued.

    I hope your "friend" finds the perfect watch for him/her/it.

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    Replies
    1. Is Garmin Connect similar to Map My Run? I happen to love the calendar feature on Map My Run where I can look back at my workouts from past months/years.

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    2. Connect has something called Activities that lists every run by date, along with all the data points from your watch plus other fields that you can fill in (i.e., route) plus pull downs to categorize the run (i.e., street, trail, treadmill...) and type of training. I use this history to compare current performance against history. I also categorize all my races so I can just search "races" and they all come up together. The Activities list can also be viewed as a monthly calendar.

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    3. Dude -- couldn't disagree with you more about the women's races. If any women are encouraged or emboldened to run and to adapt a healthier lifestyle as a result of these races, then they have served a worthwhile purpose. Many women lack the confidence to hit the streets for fear of being judged and humiliated by others, and women are the victims of much more "fat shaming" than men. You and I don't have to worry about some asshole in a car commenting on our appearance (good or bad) while out running. Nor do we have worry about being attacked, beaten or raped by some predator while out by ourselves on a trail run. Women do. If some women feel more comfortable toeing the line without worrying about competing against and being judged by men, then so be it. And women do in fact remain disenfranchised in so many ways -- both professionally and personally. Until we can give them equal pay for equal work and stop judging them in ways we would never judge a man, I see nothing wrong with giving them a sanctuary to run without us. Hell, look at the BS our female senator has to put up with (from men) over her appearance and weight. So long as men continue to do terrible shit to women, I have no problem with women choosing to do stuff without us.

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    4. Um, you know this isn't my blog, right?

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    5. Yes. But I've just never registered to comment anywhere for some reason and wanted to get my two cents in as my opinions on such matters have evolved over the last few years. Didn't intend to hijack this thread. But you, SIOR and TPP are almost like one united blog now, so I figured my reply would be OK. :)

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    6. Ha. I like the United Blog concept! Less pressure for me.

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    7. We are practically triplets.

      Regarding the subject matter of my post, I would be horrified to think that anyone would view me or my opinions as disrespectful to women. I support true gender equality and that's my real point in that blog post. You can't have real equality if there are still special accommodations that tacitly suggest the opposite.

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    8. You didn't come across as sexist or disrespectful towards women, and I did not mean to imply so. I was simply suggesting that your opinion failed to consider a primary purpose of these races -- to attract to the sport women who are intimidated at the thought of competing with and being judged by men. These races provide a more comfortable and supportive atmosphere for such women, and if they encourage any newbies to sign up and to begin on a healthier lifestyle, then they are a good thing IMHO. And I don't think that they represent a special accommodation that suggests that women can't compete. These races are more about sisterhood and fun than competing (hence, the outfits and shirtless firemen). They can have fun at these events while attracting more women to the sport, and then they can sign up for any race they want and compete against whomever they please.

      "Group blog" might have been better than "united blog" since you guys do group runs. :)

      Have a good weekend. And lets get that Sunday long run up into the 10 mile range! It is the foundation of running performance.

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    9. I just read on my local moms' Facebook page that a man tried to drag two women, whom he did not know, out of their cars as they were driving along in the neighborhood. This made me question my run today. Luckily, Mother Nature made the decision for me.

      Ten sounds good to me!

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    10. That sucks. But that's my point. Such news wouldn't make me question my run.

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    11. Why isn't this criminal act all over Newsday and News12? People need to know of this danger. I hadn't seen or heard anything about it until you told me yesterday. This person needs to be caught and made accountable for his actions. A face full of pepper spray would also give him some good perspective.

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  2. Forerunner 10 is perfect for a techno-phobe. Very user friendly. Virtually idiot proof.

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    Replies
    1. Thank you! I will look into it. I don't know if he necessarily needs an "idiot" proof watch, per se. Just something that is good for people who are so incredibly smart, they need more simplicity in their lives because their brains are too busy thinking about other smart things......... ;)

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  3. Plus, the forerunner 10 is not huge like most, so "he" might like the feel and look on "his" wrist, and it comes in all sorts of colors. I got black. "He" might prefer something more colorful.

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    Replies
    1. http://sites.garmin.com/en-US/forerunner10/

      No heart rate monitor btw. But I have never understood the need for one. Run by effort. Not by some formula based upon a generic number which may or may not apply to you. Running is hard enough without worrying about your heart rate imho.

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  4. I love my Garmin Forerunner 220. I took the plunge at the beginning of the summer and have never looked back. Eventhough this will come up as anonymous - it's Freighbor. I will lend you my watch (promise to wipe it down from my sweat) and you can test it out on a run or two and see how you like it. It's a pretty purple and white. Some may say it's a little big but it fits my small wrist well and I actually like the larger screen.

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