Garmin, Strava; How do you measure your workouts?

If there is any common denominator among all runners, its the frustration in knowing just How Far did you really go?  On one arm is the phone dutifully recording everything via Strava, while on your wrist in the latest in tech that Garmin has to offer.  One would think the two devises would agree, as they are both completing the exact same run, while attached to the exact same body.  Alas, agreement is not in the cards.  It is important to note here that both devises should be attached to the same arm to eliminate the discrepancy caused when one arm takes the apex of the turn, while the other side goes wide; of course you already knew that.

Groups make the problem even more extreme, as we’ve all been running along only to hear the beeps signifying the completion of a mile occuring over a span of 3 or 4 strides.  Confusion reins.  After several miles of this nonsense, its like the group isn’t even running together.  In fact, some have stopped to re-calibrate.

Searching for alternatives, I may have found the answer during a run last week.  Now, I haven’t seen any reports on “Runner’s World” or “IRunFar” so I’m not sure if this is a developing trend or just one guy in my neighborhood. The first time I saw him, I only got a glimpse as he rounded a corner, so I wasn’t sure if I should believe my eyes; but I caught up with him the other morning as we were both running.  My curious mind was intrigued.  You see, he was running with a measuring wheel.

A measuring wheel?  Genius!

I just had to talk with the measuring wheel guy, questions ran through my mind.  Is it cumbersome to push the wheel?  What kind of ball bearings does it use?  Has is affected your arm swing causing a muscular imbalance in your core leading to potential injury?  Does it have an automatic counter or are you keeping track mentally?  Can I get it in carbon fiber?  Is this just the best, most useful peace of running tech EVER?

With excitement boardering on hysterics, I caught up to the mystery runner the other morning.  Rudely, without even an introduction I spouted off my questions.  I received a cool reception.

“Dude, don’t you see the vest, I’m just measuring for a paving project, you runners are weird.”

“Oh, I didn’t see the company logo, I thought the vest was just your reflective running gear,” I said, still hopeful.

“I’m not even running,” he muttered as he walked away.

The wheel had a counter.

Sometimes we all get blindly excited for the next new thing.  No doubt many runners are busy trying out their new Christmas tech right now, programming stride length, frequency, and breaths per minute into their electronic measuring devices.  As for me, I’m decided anti-tech.  I wear a Timex Ironman watch, it has a 10 lap function that I don’t know how to check, along with a really nice indiglo light which is tough to use when wearing gloves.

Its perfect.

I record all my runs down to the minute.  Left over seconds are tossed to the wind.  I love not being burdened by pace or distance.  Did I do 5.3 or 5.5 miles – who cares – its a rounding error in the grand scheme of things.  Plus, I’m back at the house, its time to stop.  I’m not running to the 3rd telephone pole just to end my run on an round number.

How did I feel?  Did I run easy on an easy day and hard on a hard day?

I’m in tune with my body.

Did my legs burn up small hills or were they fresh as I bounded along with an open stride?

Please don’t marry yourself to the technology as you’ll miss out on all the data the surrounds you naturally and is transmitted wirelessly between the environment and your body.

Learn to feel.

You may just find that sometimes your technology is holding you back with false limits on your abilities.  Go Run.

My stats for Jan 1 – 11

693 minutes spread over 12 runs for an average duration of 57 minutes and covering an estimated 7-8 miles each.  Elevation – even as I ended all my runs back where I started.


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