Sunday, March 1, 2009

Nerding Up Running

So... The title of this post is courtesy Mr. Steve.  Steve's question, at about 5 minutes into our discussion, was simply "So, does Nerding up running make it more fun."  The simple answer is, how else do you expect me to approach a new hobby.

I've been looking at lots of of fitness watches, that are really way more than a watch.  This has become a part time addiction.  There are infinite combinations of goodness and badness.  Thankfully I don't feel too alone as 'people who really run' aka the writers at Runner's World, also share some of this OCD.  Here is their latest tome on the subject.  Now truth be told, I don't have one of these magical devices, yet... but it's where were headed... sort of.

So you need a watch for running, right?  Because ya' know, the clock on my cell phone that sits in the left hand cup holder of the treadmill certainly doesn't do functions like tell time :).  Or the TV news that is usually on in the morning (on the TV's in front of the treadmills) doesn't have a clock, or the clock on the wall behind me...  This is all not mentioning that the treadmill itself keeps relative time from when I start.  So one can only conclude that I need another timing device.  Now this device should be made for exercise, keep laps, and count things, functions that I can't imagine ever using...

So you need to know your heart rate while exercising, correct?  And the treadmill's heart rate monitor is something you have to grab and hold onto.  We all know that this completely ruins the running experience.  Additionally, you cannot hold this for the entire time, so the accuracy of an average heart rate from a few random samples is inherently flawed, and it's weighted towards the end of the running experience, so it is inherently flawed data... Or at least that's the plausible excuse for getting something else that monitors your heart rate.  

Then we have the issue of how far did I really run each day.  So there are pedometers and there are GPS systems.  99.99% of any running I've been doing is on a treadmill.  GPS systems aren't exactly great in-doors and I really don't run outside.  Now it's in my plans to do that, With the upcoming 5k in Davis Square (March 15th), and I'm even thinking about running in the Marathon Sports 5 Mile race on April 5th, but needless to say most of my miles are inside.

So there are a bounty of interesting products to look at (nerd research) .  It took me ab out three weeks of endless searches for yet another review, realizations that GPS is very cool, but almost useless because I really don't run outside....  and that when I am running inside I need something with a pedometer.

I decided on the Garmin Forerunner 50.  It's cheap (comparatively), it gets great reviews, it has the heart rate monitoring, and a pedometer.  Additionally to increase the nerd factor, it syncs automatically with your PC, uploads your runs, and charts all the stats either using PC software or a web based program.  Cool!

If your shopping for one of these items, or a GPS'd model, check pricegrabber... Prices vary wildly (basically between 105 and 210 dollars.  Make sure you select the bundle your interested in as there is a bundle with just the watch, the watch + heart rate monitor, the watch + foot pod (pedometer), and the bundle I got with the watch + heart rate monitor + foot pod.

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