Getting Competitive with your GPS Training Device

For several years now we have had the option of carrying high-accuracy devices on trainings. In recent years various types of GPS devices have become increasingly popular. Especially among endurance athletes like cyclists, runners, and triathletes. I too have trained with such devices for what must be almost 10 years now – but it is not until today that I’ve truly discovered the value of using the routes feature.

In short the routes feature of devices enables you to pick a route, copy it to your device and train on the route trying to beat the time of anyone that tried that route prior to you.

Routes features can be found here:

Devices that can be used include:

  • Garmin’s devices, like the Edge-series and the Forerunner-series can be used with Endomondo;
  • Smartphones, Garmin and other devices can be used with Endomondo, Nike+, Runkeeper and other services.

Some of you may have Polar heart rate  monitors. Those are not included automatically on Endomondo at least. Given my own experience with Polar (which dates back about 10 years), I wouldn’t be surprised at all if they try to keep things proprietary.

So, how did I get on today??

Well, first I saved someone else’s workout as a course on Garmin Connect. Once that was done, I could easily copy it to my Edge 705 and my 910XT (yes, they both come along for the ride). It was pretty easy to follow the route using the Edge 705 and I’d recommend that, the Garmin Edge 800 or a smartphone to follow the route. Worked really well!!

Especially beautiful is that while you’re out racing the route, you can follow exactly how far ahead or behind (in my case) you are.

All done, the route was easily saved in Endomondo once I had uploaded the workout to my profile: http://www.endomondo.com/routes/72761401. Now others can go knock themselves out in order to beat my time.

It’s time to get competitive – Have fun !

Challenge: Garmin 910XT vs Garmin 310XT

This is a quick write-up and by no means a product review.

For a truly comprehensible review of the Garmin 910XT go here: http://www.dcrainmaker.com/2011/10/garmin-forerunner-910xt-in-depth-review.html
For an excellent 310XT review from the same source, visit: http://www.dcrainmaker.com/2009/09/garmin-forerunner-310xt-in-depth-review.html

In this post I’ll briefly try to cover my experience from a run done with both devices. As you can see on the image to the right this covers an approximately 5K run with both watches on the same arm.

Here we go:

  • Looks like they pretty much measure the same kind of distance. 90 meters out of 5040 isn’t much at all…
  • You’ll notice that the 310XT has been active for longer. It takes the 310XT longer to register non-movement, so it doesn’t pause as quickly. In fact “elapsed time” on Garmin Connect tells me that I was out there for a total of 27:31.
  • Pace is an odd one. It was rarely the same on both devices at the same time. I guess the Smart Recording on the 910XT is just a bit smarter – records a bit more frequently than the 310XT…
  • More on pace: the 910XT seems to be more spot on in general. The 310XT would have moments of 3minutes and change per kilometer, which is way faster than I can run right now – especially with a backpack.

I guess that’s pretty much it. The run isn’t really the reason to change from 310XT to 910XT anyway – the 310XT is still an excellent piece of hardware. No… the main differences come in swimming and cycling.

Of course later this year Garmin will come out with the Vector pedals that measure power and integrate with the 910XT – not with the 310XT. In addition – and I’ve been enjoying this so far – the 910XT can measure your swim like I did this morning.

I still need to perfect that. Generally I get distance which is about 100 meters too long on 1250 meters. That sounds like about 8% error to me. That’s a bit high and I’ve heard about worse for the 910XT. Potentially this can be fixed in firmware later on…?

In case you’re in doubt, the 910XT is the clear winner so far. For the multi athlete it’s simply version 2.0 of what was already a very good experience.