Wednesday, September 19, 2007

The Watch

5.61 Miles, 38:40, 6:54 pace, Avg HR = 162, Max HR = 170

I used a function on my watch today that I seldom use . . . the virtual partner. But I'll digress a bit and explain the watch first.

First of all my wife is usually right, especially when I don't really want her to be right. She believes that my running took off when I purchased my Garmin 305, whereas I believe it has more to do with the joy of running, blah, blah. She's probably more right than I am, yet again.

You see, I'm an engineer at heart, and I like electronic gizmos and data analysis. The watch satiates those needs. It has a GPS, so I can track distance, pace, speed, number of laps, and any combination of those aspects over any interval of the run. After downloading the data to my computer, I can compare that run to any of the other runs I've ever done while wearing the watch. I can also overlay the route onto google maps or even google earth. But like an infomercial, there's still more! It interfaces with a heart rate strap so I can monitor my heart rate zones and beats per minute both during and after the run. And it has on-screen mapping, so I can use it to return to my starting point if I get lost during a run.

And if you call right now, I'll give you more functions! The aspect I used today is called a virtual partner, which you can program to pace you. It shows a stick-figure graphic of your competitor and tells you in real-time how far ahead (or behind) you are to "him". (My watch is male, but yours can be female if you want it to be.) So, in addition to being a cool electronic gadget which provides plenty of numbers to crunch, it also strikes a chord with my competitive nature -- which brings us to today's run. I missed Kenyan Way this morning (too tired) and this evening (work), but I did the workout at Memorial Park by myself. The goal was a 5 mile threshold run at a 6:51-7:01 pace. I had my doubts about completing at that pace, but I thought I'd stick it out for as long as I could before I had to slow down. I programmed my virtual partner to run at a 7 minute pace, and I wanted to keep him in sight as long as I could. So I started out a little quick to build up a lead on him which I expected to evaporate around mile three. In reality my competitive streak took over and I wasn't about to let him beat me. I worked my lead up to 400 feet by the end of the run, and finished the five miles 37 seconds before he did.

6:40, 6:58, 6:51, 6:54, 7:00, 4:17 (.61 miles for 7:01 pace)


Anonymous said...

Jon, your motivation is inspiring. Best wishes for your continued training, and congratulations to your wife on the victory.

- DRC guy

Cory said...

I've recently found the Virtual Parntner to be a good training tool too. I particularly like using it over the last leg of tempo runs. It's annoying to have that little stick dude in the lead. Good work on your training efforts!

Jonathan said...

DRC -- "Democratic Republic of Congo"? My readership has now gone international! Do I have a long lost relative that willed me a boatload of money?

I'm just kidding, of course. To my reader(s) who don't know what DRC stands for, it's the Dynegy Running Club, of which I am a proud member. It's on my list of future topics to discuss on this blog, so stay tuned.

Jonathan said...

Thanks for the comment, Cory. My two virtual partner complaints are:
1) The quick workout automatically ends (data collection stops) once you've run the prescribed distance and 2) You can't view any other data field (like time, heart rate, or even pace) when you're racing your "partner." But all in all it's a great workout tool, and I have you to thank for re-discovering it.