Monday, 10 September 2007

Running gadgets

Running gadgets have substantially helped my motivation to run. Perhaps it's because I'm male and I like gadgets, but I certainly seem to run more with them.

So what is my number 1 gadget? Very easy question - it's the Garmin Forerunner 305.

You will be able to read many other reviews of the Forerunner, so I'm just going to provide a brief description and tell you how I use it.

So what is the Forerunner?

The Forerunner is a GPS HRM watch. It is a watch with a GPS receiver built into it, as well as having the ability to track your heart rate through a chest strap. You can therefore use this watch to understand your current speed, speed since you set off, your lap speed (more on that later) etc. as well as making sure you are keeping your heart rate where you want it!

So how do I use the Forerunner?

These are the things I set up most on my Forerunner:

For training runs, I try to keep a relatively low heart rate - around 150bpm - which means I run far more slowly than I can run, but I also can run longer. The Forerunner allows me to set an alarm for when I go over a particular heart rate and reminds me to slow down.

For runs where I'm pushing myself to see how fast I can run a course, then I'll set the heart rate limit much higher - at around 170bpm. It's there just to make sure I don't run so fast that I'll need to walk part of the course. The other thing I'll do is to set the Forerunner's 'virtual partner'. This allows me to run against myself, the last time I did the course! There are two main screens I can use to see if I am running faster or slower than my previous time - but it's a great motivator to run against the best you've ever run!

Lastly, for both types of run, I set the 'auto-lap' feature. Again, the Forerunner gives you lots of different options for how it calculates laps. I set it to auto-lap every half mile, which means every half mile, the watch beeps and I can look down at it to see how long my last half-mile took.

Anyway, those are the ways I like to use my Forerunner - let me know your favourite functions too!