About a year ago I decided to ditch my GPS watch and train the “old fashion way”. Before I ditched it, I had a Garmin Forerunner that I trained with for about seven years. I swore by that thing! I honestly wouldn’t leave the house without it.
If I was so obsessed with this watch, why did I make the decision to change to a basic watch last year?
The reason is quite simple. I was in a transition period.
I was training much differently than I ever had in my entire life. My easy day recovery runs were much slower than they ever had been and I was getting frustrated. On top of that, I was having trouble hitting some of the faster paces in my workouts. I simply didn’t want to see these things on my watch because they made me feel like I was failing.
The truth is I was just tired from training. However, I was still using my GPS watch in December 2017 leading up to California International Marathon. My easy day paces and workout paces were all over the map, so I had no idea what kind of shape I was in. I didn’t go in to 2017 CIM with much confidence, but I surprised myself by running a 2:36.
As I reflected on CIM at the end of 2017, I decided I was going to start using a basic watch in 2018 in order to get to know my body a little better.
I wanted to run easy days easy and workout days hard. I didn’t want to always be staring at my watch and worrying about what I could and could not do that day. I had proved to myself that even though my paces were all over the place in my training I was able to execute on race day.
This leads me to today. As I trained over the 2018 Christmas break I could feel myself wanting to go back to knowing my paces and how far I was running. So (after much deliberation with myself) I finally decided to go back to using a GPS watch.
- As I get into Boston 2019 training I want to know exactly how many miles I’m running in order to avoid overtraining.
- I want to keep my recovery day pace honest. I make it a goal on my recovery days to run as slow as my body needs. This pace will vary from recovery day to recovery day, but I still want to keep track of the pace! Most of my recovery day runs are around 8:30/mile.
- As the season progresses and I get a little more in shape, I want to keep track of the pace on my every day runs. I am curious to see how my pace changes as I reach peak shape.
So what’s different this time?
- The difference is that I know my body better now than I had in the past.
- I know that pace and distance doesn’t matter on every run. I am simply just curious to see these fluctuations and when/why they happens.
- I now know to expect training ebbs and flows and to not think too much about them.
Finally – which watch did I choose and why did I choose it?
I decided to go with the Garmin Vivoactive 3 with music. I liked how the watch looked, it has all of the things I wanted to track, AND it stores music!
Side story – I never want anything, so when I said I wanted this watch Tyler jumped on the chance to get it for me for Christmas. It was a very sweet gift, and I started crying when I opened it. (I cry like Kim Kardashian – it’s FINE)
This watch tracks my steps, sleep, heart rate, stress levels, calories burned, active minutes, floors climbed, and much more.
For a type A person like me, this watch is a dream. I look forward to checking my stats at the end of the day as well as my sleep every morning. Tracking all of these things is not completely necessary for training, I just like numbers.
I am a terrible sleeper, so it gives me a confidence boost in the morning when I see that I actually got eight full hours of sleep. I am also a highly stressed individual, so I like to see when throughout the day my stress spiked (and figure out why!).
There aren’t very many cons with this watch for me. The only thing I can think of is that Spotify isn’t compatible with the Vivoactive yet (only the Fenix and Forerunner). Hopefully it will be compatible soon!
Is a GPS watch right for you?
It’s all personal. Having a GPS watch is far from necessary to be better runner. It all depends on your personality and how you (and if) you log your training!
Here are a few things you can ask yourself before getting one:
- Do I live in a location where GPS signal will be strong? (I say this because my watch does not work very well at ZAP. It works fine in Blowing Rock and Boone, but not in ZAP’s remote location!)
- What will I do if paces are slower than expected? Will I get frustrated or understand that it’s part of training?
- GPS watches are not always cheap. Am I willing to make an investment in something I might not end up liking?
- Why exactly do I want one? Do I want to track training? Steps? See my running routes? Or connect with other people.
- It doesn’t matter what your reason is, but having at least one is incredibly important!
Training with a GPS watch by no means necessary to improve your running. Depending on your personality, it might not be a good thing for your training at all. I decided to get one because I like to keep track of every detail of my training. It’s entirely personal, and the choice is entirely up to you! I just wanted to share the experiences I’ve had training with as well as without one 🙂
I am currently looking for a pair of bluetooth headphones to use with my watch. If anyone has any recommendations PLEASE let me know!!