Friday, November 15, 2013

Love at first split

I was actually kind of excited to go out and run eight miles this morning, thanks to my new Garmin that arrived yesterday! I didn't even procrastinate; just headed out right after the kids left for school. It was pretty nice out this morning--a great morning for a run.

The first thing I noticed about the watch right out of the box was how light it is. It weighs next to nothing. When I got ready to run, I was a little frustrated at first, because I couldn't get the heart rate monitor to read on the watch. The manual says that the heart rate monitor is already paired with the watch, but when I turned on the watch, it just wasn't picking up the signal. I wasn't sure what to do about it, and I was pretty disappointed. I was about to just grab my old Garmin and go run with that, but I tried one more thing: "Add a device" on the watch, and it picked up the signal immediately. I guess the two weren't paired by the manufacturer. Now, there shouldn't be a problem.

The HR strap has a built-in accelerometer, which I am super excited about. It eliminates the need for a foot pod while using the treadmill or when GPS is turned off. It's extremely accurate, because it uses your outdoor data to automatically calibrate it for indoor use. The more you run, the more it "learns" about you and can predict your performance.

Anyway, once I got the heart rate monitor paired, I headed out. I pushed the start button and ran. I didn't have a goal pace or anything for today; my only plan was to run eight miles. I kept looking down at the watch, because it's so pretty and has so many cool numbers! ;)  I'd set up all four screens yesterday, so it displayed all the things that were important to me: distance, time, pace, average pace, lap pace, heart rate, etc.

The touch screen is going to be hard to get used to, I think, but I like it. I didn't have any problem using the touch screen with my gloves on. The screen isn't SO sensitive that an accidental bump would throw anything off; the only way to start and stop the workout is to push an actual button on the side of the watch.

Less than mile into the run, I heard a beep and a message popped up on the screen: "Recovery check: Good" or something like that. I wasn't sure what that was about, but the manual says, "The recovery check provides a real-time indication of your state of recovery within the first several minutes of a run." It's based on heart rate, and there is a "Recovery Advisor" that appears when the run is over. It tells you how much recovery time you should need after the workout you just did (anywhere from 6 hours to 4 days); it doesn't mean I shouldn't run in that time, it just means that is the amount of time I should wait before another "hard" run. Mine was 72 hours after today's run (I took the pic a couple of hours after running):


So after I ran the eight miles, I stopped the timer and then sat on the porch to go through the data. There was a cat sitting on my porch (not my cat!) and he was very friendly. He's been hanging around for several months now, but I think he belongs to someone. He was rubbing all over me while I was sitting on the porch, so I took a few pics of him:


I was really excited going through the data on my Garmin. First, a bunch of "records" popped up--my fastest mile, my fastest 5K, my fastest 10K, and my longest distance--because this was the first time I used the watch, I had a bunch of PR's ;)  So, for example, the fastest mile is shown below. When I run a mile faster than that, it'll show a new record.


Then I saw the basics of my run:


Distance, time, pace, calories, the usual... I was bummed to see the calories, because that seems so low to me! That's only 70 calories per mile. I'm going to see if I can find some more info online about how that number is calculated.

There was a ton of other data that was fun to look at:


The average heart rate and max heart rate are self-explanatory. The "TE" is "training effect", which is the impact the exercise has on your aerobic fitness, shown on a scale of 1-5 (based on heart rate). The cadence is the number of steps per minute--ideally, it would be around 180. Vertical oscillation is the amount of bounce while you're running, measured in centimeters--mine was 10.5, which is average. I was curious to see how the cadence would compare with the data from my foot pod. It was identical! So the accelerometer inside of the heart rate strap is just as accurate (if not more so) than the foot pod.


I love that the Garmin shows your VO2 Max. VO2 Max is a number that defines your body’s maximum ability to transport and utilize oxygen during exercise. Basically, higher is better. For a female, 30-39, 44 (my reading) is "excellent", so that's pretty awesome! But this was just based on ONE run, so that could change pretty significantly after I've run a few more times. I guessed it was around 39-40, based on some online calculators, which is in the "good" range. It's hard to see in the pic, but there is a band of different colors around the edge where the VO2 Max is shown. The colors represent Poor, Fair, Good, Excellent, and Superior (from left to right); you can see the white line is where mine falls.

The VO2 Max is used for the Race Predictor on the watch, also, which I am excited about! Again, this was just based on ONE run, so it's probably not accurate yet. After I run a few more times, the watch will "learn" more, and it will be more accurate. But here are my race predictors based on today's run:


It's pretty interesting, because those are very close to the goals I have set for the spring! My 5K goal is sub-24, my 10K goal is sub-49:23, Half goal is sub-1:50 (and I have no plans for a marathon).

My watch was connected (via bluetooth) to my iPhone, so all of the data automatically uploaded to my phone! There is a Garmin Connect app that displays all of the data (with cool charts, of course).



Because the info was uploaded onto the Garmin Connect app on my phone, when I logged into my account on the computer, the info was already there. So easy! With the Garmin 910xt, I would have to use a little ANT+ stick in the USB port on my computer to download the info from my Garmin (that was the thing I lost in Key West, and had to buy a new one!).

There is a new little section on the website that shows the Running Dynamics:





It even shows ground contact time (the amount of time your foot is touching the ground) in milliseconds! I have no idea what to do with that information, but it's fun to know ;) 


So, it's safe to say that it was definitely love at first split with my Garmin 620! I'm super excited to get some more runs on there so I can see how it affects the VO2 Max and the race predictions. I'm also really excited to try it out on the treadmill and see how accurate it is. There is WAY too much info to get into a lot of detail in here, but DC Rainmaker did a VERY in-depth review of the watch. I always learn new things when reading his reviews! (Also, he has a coupon code for 10% off, just FYI; I ordered mine through his link).

23 comments:

  1. Eeeeee!!! I'm so excited to buy this!!

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  2. So cool! You should have been a scientist with all of that analyzing data talk ;) I'm a physicist and that's pretty much what we do all day!

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  3. That's awesome! I still use just a phone app to keep track of all that info. It works out well except it kills my cell phone battery! This watch has a lot of features I don't think I'd use, but I'd love to get a Garmin some day :)

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  4. I think the accelerometer is in the watch and not the heart rare monitor so you don't really need the HRM on for pacing. I really want a new one. I have the 310xt now. What made you decide on the 620 vs 220? I see a few more functions(wifi, for example) but I'm not seeing where the extra $150 goes to.

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    1. The VO2 Max, the running dynamics, and live tracking! I love that it has live tracking :)

      The accelerometer is in the heart rate monitor; it's what measures how much your body moves up and down and can tell how many steps you take (as well as the length of your stride) based on that.

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    2. Just checked, and the 220 has live tracking also--it doesn't have the VO2 Max, the race predictor, the recovery info, or any of the running dynamics. Since I'm a numbers nerd, I wanted that stuff!

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  5. That looks VERY entertaining. I have to admit that the elevation graph about made me die of laughter. You have said that it is very flat where you live, I don't think I have been somewhere that flat. :) I'd love to know what the elevation change in my normal 3 mile walk is, but I know for sure that just getting to the stop sign, two houses down, would be more than 11 feet! (That is what happens when you live in the mountains!) I feel better about completely uneven paces now. Up hill is so much harder than down hill!
    Thanks for sharing. I enjoy the details, I'm sure you are going to have fun with the new watch.
    -NNMSunshine

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    1. Hahaha, I know! I don't think people realize that when I say it's "pancake flat" I mean PANCAKE FLAT ;)

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  6. Glad you're enjoying it! I thought you hated carrying your phone with you... I dislked how it needs to be paired

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    1. It doesn't *have* to be paired... but I like having it paired to my phone, because then all of my workouts are right on the phone. You're right, I don't like carrying my phone with me; but the watch doesn't need the phone to work. I just grabbed my phone when I got back to my house.

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    2. Oh that's nice. But to send your location out so others can see you (like jerry) you need to carry your phone during your run?

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  7. 70 calories per mile does not seem right. That seems way too low. I'm not a numbers person...been running so long I just like to get out there and run...that being said, new gadgets are fun!

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  8. Maybe someday if I ever feel like a runner... I'm making an effort!
    Enjoy your new gadget!

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  9. Well, I now know I must have that watch. Thanks for the great review!

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  10. I've been checking out the 220 and 620 to replace my 110. The 110 works fine and I don't need a new watch, but.......I had to order the 620 after reading your blog. I ordered it today but have to wait until next month before I receive it. Bummed about that, but excited to get it. Thanks for the review. I read all of DC Rainmaker's but yours adds a nice extra bit to his review.

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  11. Wow, love this post. Read every word and looked at each of those graphs for a while. I'm getting the more basic model, so hopefully I don't get too jealous. ;)

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  12. Ooh. So awesome! It's even cooler than I thought. I saw the guy at the expo the other night wearing one (they had them for $400) and it looked SO nice. Now I reallllly want one. haha

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  13. When I first read the title for you post I thought is said spit not split. I am so slow LOL for a few minutes I was trying to figure out how something could be love at first spit. I will go back now and actually read you post.

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  14. That's awesome! It'll be cool to see how it helps you with your new goals :)

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  15. I have the Garmin 910XT & between you & my husband, I am really wanting one of these new Garmin's now!! My husband rec'd his & I can't believe how light it is. I took it out & tested it for him. hahaha! It was so light, I forgot I had it on. love, love, love it!!!

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  16. AHH! I want that so bad and reading all of the things it does makes me want it more!!!

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  17. I have been eyeballing the 220, I need to do more research to find out the differences between the 220 and the 620. I am a bit concerned about the touch screen though so I appreciate you addressing it!

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I'd love to hear from you! I read all of my comments, and if you have a question, I do my best to respond; sometimes, however, I get busy and forget to go back to reply, so if it's important, just email me! :)