A Running Partner upgrade – A new Garmin 220‏! Guest post

I have had a number of Garmin GPS watches and consider them an essential part of my training. Knowing where I’ve been, how far I went and what speed and elevation I achieved gives me a great sense of accomplishment. It also pushes me to go further, faster and do more hills than I ever would have without it.

Currently I am using my fourth model the forerunner 220. I have also had the forerunner 110, 205, and 210 models each of which worked very well. I feel like none of them really compare to the ease of use, looks and lightness of the new 220 model though.

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The 210 was my previous model and it weighed in at 52 grams whereas the 220 weighs only 40.7 grams… “Big deal,” you may say. “A difference of only 11.3 grams is hardly noticeable.” If you are a distance runner though think of it this way, when you are 20 km’s into your long run and you go from an asphalt surface to a concrete surface the difference is huge!! The same can be said about the weight of these two watches, I notice an incredible difference. Just the way the watch sits on your wrist and the flexibility of the band is a huge improvement as well.

I like the fact that the touch bezel is gone as well. For every action you want do, a button must be pressed so you are less likely to switch screens or have some other mishap.

Many of the other functions are very similar to previous Forerunners. Navigating the screens I found to be very easy.  In fact, from getting it out of the box, setting it up and being ready to go for my first run, it only took about 10 minutes.  My favorite improvement is the Bluetooth connectivity. Once you download the Garmin connect app to your phone you get some very cool new abilities.  For example, when using it for the first time on a long run (with Jackie), we returned to the house to recover, she went over to her computer to upload her run and see the results on Strava only to find mine already there! (note from Jackie: Like I wasn’t already jealous enough…) When you get close to your phone it automatically uploads it! That is the coolest feature, I was able to start looking at different parts of my run immediately, even without access to a computer.

I also like the addition of the accelerometer which calculates your cadence and can track distance when GPS is unavailable. Another improvement that I like is the addition of vibration alert. Normally I run listening to music and I had a difficult time hearing the tones or alerts from the watch. Now I don’t have to hear it.  I can feel it.

If you are a new runner or someone who has been doing it for a while if you don’t have a GPS watch I would highly recommend it especially the Forerunner 220. Overall, I am extremely satisfied with it. Do I rely on it too much? Probably…. Is that going to change? Never!

Tyler

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Tyler and his old Garmin (and his wife)

The Outrunningblog Crew love their Garmins!

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December Favourites

Inspiration:

I saw this image on Pinterest about a week into our 31 Day Running Challenge.  I thought about it a lot when all I could fit in was a mile long run.  With the snow and ice, I was definitely working twice as hard.

Gear:

This is the Nike Allover Flash running jacket.  I don’t have this jacket, but I had to include it.  Although it’s way out of my price range, I’ve been pining over it for about a year.  It’s just so cool.  It would be nearly impossible to go unseen at night when you’re wearing this jacket.   If you haven’t seen the Nike Flash fabric in action yet, check out this video.  Believe me, you’ll be impressed.

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Blog of the Month:

This is an awesome blog with great information on foam rolling, stretching, and strengthening.  If you’re hurting, there’s a good chance that you’ll find a post on how to help yourself.

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Healthy Recipe:

I’ve made this oatmeal bake twice now, and it is delicious.  It is perfect for those mornings when you feel like having something special for breakfast.  This is warm, sweet and comforting.  Like recipe says, on lazy mornings, you can quickly whip this up, put it in the oven, and go back to bed for an extra half hour of slumber.

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Baked Oatmeal for Two recipe

Incredible Appetizer:

My mouth waters every time I look at this recipe. Can’t wait to have an opportunity to try it!

Grilled Soft Cheese Thyme Honey and Fresh Figs recipe

Video of the Month:

If you haven’t seen this T-Rex illusion, make sure you watch it!  I’ve been showing all my family and friends, so I may as well share it here too.  The music, the slow panning camera, and those T-Rex eyes…it’s all so calming.

Contest Link!

Don’t forget to click here to enter our Runners World Daily Calender Giveaway!

I’m a Master Runner! Graduating to the Masters running category

Running as a “masters runner” can be a bit of a difficult transition to make. I only began running when I was 37, but now at 42 I’m figuring out that there are modifications you need to make as you age. Like, for instance, I learned the hard way this past weekend that you can’t sprint 1.5km down a snow covered mountain (-87m elevation) without spending 2 days not being able to move your neck and back. Here’s a few of the things that I’ve had to change or focus more on over the last few years:

  1. Gear is even more important – Running in “expired” shoes wasn’t something that I used to worry about, but now I notice right away when my gear is past its’ prime. Since it seems to take longer to recover from injury now, I make sure I’m wearing the proper shoes. Plus, I just think we should totally have the hottest gear. If you spend all that time running and you look great for your age, you should definitely have some nice tights, a cool running top and some flash shoes that you look great in.
  2. Form is important – This is something I still have to work on. Proper posture and keeping your core strong will help keep you injury free and help you be a more efficient runner. I have to work on my core, because as I run I tend to hunker down earning me the running nickname of Truckasaurus – yep. I love this picture from the Laurier Loop this summer because, first of all, I’m in full “Truckasaurus mode” and secondly, everyone in the picture is a masters runner. In fact, the lady in the green shirt was in my age group and blew past me at the finish line finishing second in our age category and giving me the third place medal. Fun race!                                                                                     lauriergroup2013
  3. Being a masters runner doesn’t mean you can’t get faster – I ran a couple of 10k races in the fall, one where a lady in the 60-69 category came in ahead of me, and the next where I came in slightly ahead of her. The second race I was wise enough to stay close to her and I found that she ran a perfect negative split race. Each km got progressively faster and at the end I had enough steam to run my last km under 5min. Now, I already knew that this was a good way of doing it, but doing it my own way first, and then doing it her way and getting a better time was what I needed to decide to focus on it. I also found out from her that she is still getting personal bests. That is very encouraging to me because I enjoy improving, even if only by seconds.
  4. Modifying training schedules is important – I’ve run a couple of marathons in the last year and a half and I tried following schedules that had me running 5 – 6 days a week. I found this very difficult to do. Recently I started reading the book “Run Less Run Faster” that encourages 3 key runs a week and 2 days of cross-training. Although it is geared to runners of any age, I think that this could be beneficial for Masters runners who find that during training they are having trouble recovering, are getting injured or are just plain exhausted.
  5. Use your energy for important training days – If you are finding you are more tired use your energy wisely, perhaps on your long runs, speedwork and hills, so that you are getting the most out of the days that you can run.
  6. Going to smaller races is fun as you age because you have a better chance of medaling in your age category. I don’t care if there are only 3 people in my age category, coming home with a medal is cool no matter what. 😉
  7. Try new things – When improving your time isn’t as big a goal, changing up the kinds of races you do can be more fun. Doing trail races, races with huge hills, relays and difference distances can keep the sport from getting stale and can keep you from getting discouraged if you are slowing down a bit. When you are not so concerned with getting a PB every time you go out, it opens up a bunch of new races to enjoy.

Being in the masters category has made me even more happy that I am running. When I look at some of my non-runner friends and think back to my parents’ health at my age, I’m glad that running is a regular part of my life. I feel pretty good for 42, and sometimes I forget how old I am and that there are things that people my age don’t do. (Like running – or as my husband imagines, flailing – down a mountain in the snow). Making a few adjustments has made me less anxious about trying to reach some speed goals before I’m “too old”. Instead I’ve switched my focus to the long term and how I can enjoy running for the next 40 years.

How has being a Masters runner changed you?

– Jackie – Jackie