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Forerunner 610 vs 410

May 16, 2011

Just replaced my forerunner 410 with the forerunner 610. Why would you probably ask? The main reason is one feature I miss in my 410 … vibration. I love to run solo with music. But I also program a lot of training into my watches, beeps are not always very loud.

But I must admit there are a few more improvements. Here is my comparison.

610 vs 410

better form factor
Feels more like a watch on your wrist. Sounds a bit weird but the 610 is much slimmer then the 410 thanks to its metal back casing. This allows the 610 to sit on your wrist like a real watch, hard to explain but anyone would feel the difference right away. The 610 is very capable as a day-to-day watch!

4 datafields
410 only had 3 a screen. Great! More info per screen means less switching between pages.

Touchscreen, it works great!
This is the way to eliminate buttons!! Screen response is very fast and consistent. Tested with water and trough clothing it just works. Allows very fast browsing trough pages and settings. Don’t expect this kind of menu action from button pressing.

Custom workouts
Thanks to the touch screen you can now program custom workouts on the watch!! Normally you would need to make these on your computer and then send them to the watch. Now with the 610 you can create custom workouts and edit existing ones. Very handy if you made a workout programming mistake or just not able to visit your computer.

Vibration
Never understood why a running watch doesn’t have this feature! You easily miss a beep and when you run solo you probably take some music with you.

1 second recording
Forces the watch to take a sample of all data (hr, gps, time, speed) every second! Makes an even more accurate gps track.

Virtual racer
This is the kind of virtual competition you always wanted! Previous virtual partner (also still exists on the 610) allowed your to race against the computer with a fixed pace. Now virtual racer allows you to create an opponent based on any course! So you can race against your previous runs pacing. The coolest thing is that it’s not bound the course. You can choose to re run the same course or run another course.

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Today’s fartlek and workout programming

April 22, 2011

Just returned from a fartlek exercise. Not a very easy workout. The goal is to improve speed and fitness at higher pace.

FARTLEK 6,44 km PZ3 with 6 x 30 sec. PZ10

The speed intervals are ment to be ran at pace zone 10 … which is basically you max speed. This is done a few times for 30 seconds at any given time during the workouts distance. Fartlek is a swedish name and means “speed play”, Wikipedia has a very nice detailed page on fartlek and it’s history.

While such a workout is impossible to pre program completely on a Garmin device I found a very well working solution. It is very important that you enjoy your run and focus on the workout itself rather that struggling with you device during your workout. Since the advanced workout programming on Garmin devices can be a challenge I’m keep on adding detailed instructions, tips and tutorials to my blog the next couple of days. Hopefully this will inspire you to use benefit from your speed and distance device.

I also made a list of al the tools I currently use. If interested you can check it out here.

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Success

April 21, 2011

Yesterday’s hill exercise went very well, my planning was a success! It wasn’t perfect just jet but sure is now. Major mistake was that the bridge I selected for the uphill workouts was too short. While my training asked for 400m uphill the bridge only gave me 200m. Since there is no 400m steep slope anywhere around this is the best I can do. The exercise asks for 4 x 400m so I just doubled the number of runs with half the meters to 8 x 200m. Easy as that. Also pre programmed the workout in my forerunner, works very well. With a programmable speed and distance device it’s like having a personal coach running with you that guides you trough the whole exercise. I’m planning on doing a full “guide” on workouts with Garmin near future.

Speaking of Garmin.

DCRainmaker started another giveaway over at his blog. If you’re in the market for a to be released Garmin Forerunner 610 you should definitely head over there right now!

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Hills? … which hill?!

April 20, 2011

I’m trying to put my training plan online but google isn’t working with me. Created my training plan in google docs. Google doc has the option to save the document as HTML. This allows me to copy/past the table on the blog. For some reason this feature isn’t working. To be honest this is the first time something google made isn’t working for me. Was hoping it was only temporary, but two days have passed now. Have to figure out another way to post my training plan online without the need of re-typing the whole plan. In the mean while I just show some bits and pieces I’m talking about.

Here is what this week’s training looks like.

  • Yesterday, “BASE 5,63 km PZ3 plus 1×10 sec. HS PZ10″
  • Today, “HILLS 2,41 km PZ2 4 x 400m PZ8 (AR = 400m PZ2) 1,61 km PZ2″
  • Friday, “FARTLEK 6,44 km PZ3 with 6 x 30 sec. PZ10″
  • Saturday, “BASE 6,44 km PZ3″
  • Sunday, “BASE 9,66 km PZ3″

I’ve programmed these workouts into my Forerunner. Did this in such a way it’s like having a personal coach running with you. Another part of my preparation is google maps. Google maps is a very handy tool to measure your local area for training routes. For each training I’ve figured out a route that is approximately the training length. The best approach would be to plan a different route for each type of exercise. Plan this in such a way that you can expand this route easily when your training distance increases.

Here is another fine example how to plan your routes for training.

Today I have to do hills training. The idea of this exercise is to do a couple of fast runs uphill. This is a very good exercise to do in the early stages of your training plan. It’s to develop running strength and also benefit from the speed of the exercise.

This is a problem … in my country is flat. Solution would be to use something like a bridge. Luckey we have plenty of those here. For the next couple of weeks every second training of the week is “hills”. The warmup and cooldown distance is the same for all exercises, only the number of hill reps are different. So I used google maps to measure a nice 2.41 km route to a suitable bridge. This bridge will be my hill to do my reps. And measured a 1.61 km route back home. Perfect!

You could also use bing maps for this purpose. Be sure to check out both google maps and bing maps. It is possible one of these two has a better resolution of you local running area then the other.

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First training plan & Why I use the PZI

April 19, 2011

There is a first for everything. For a while I thought about planning my training sessions, but this was impossible because I didn’t know how. Even now I’m not completely sure but at least I found a way of planning while maintaining full control over my training. Thanks to the book “the runner’s edge” I learned a lot on training with numbers. More important I learned how to use the numbers I was already seeing during my “just go run” training past months. While I was already training by “intensity zones” but wasn’t until I read about the pace zone index to realized things could be even better.

Hearth rate Zones

I’m going to assume you already know about training with hearth rate zones. If you don’t know how this system works check out the site of Polar – why train with a hearth rate monitor. The hearth rate is used to tell us the “current intensity” of our training. While this system proves to be a pretty good indicator there are a few reasons not to base your training on hearth rate zones.

Hearth rate can be raised or lowered by “stress” alone. Stress can be fear, excitement, worries and many other mental or physical (such as illness or pain) factors. This makes hearth rate “not a constant factor”. You would not be able to measure properly if your ruler kept changing the length of a meter.

Hearth rate is also very difficult to calculate. You have to determine your maximum hearth rate which you will need to set your personal hearth rate zones. This can be a major problem. There a many formula’s to calculate your maximum hearth rate. Some of these come pretty close, but not a single one will give you an exact match. Only way to determine your maximum hearth rate is by undergoing a test. Then you will have to do such a test regularly, these tests aren’t very cheap.

So current hearth rate zone is influenced by “stress” AND “wrong maxHR”.

PZI – Pace Zone Index

Now here is where the pace zone index comes around. Instead of hearth rate zones you base your training on “tempo”. At a few given points during your training you do a test and based on this result you can set tempo values for different pace zones. The pace zone index system is an invention of Matt Fitzgerald and used by trainingpeaks.com. A full detailed summary on the Pace Zone Index system can be found right here. A detailed explanation of each Pace Zone can be found right here.

Wil this make hearth rate and there zones absolute? No! This still remains a very good indication of your fitness and the intensity of your run. Even better if you are interesting in knowing “how intense” your past or next workout is going to be it’s best done on hearth rate data. You can compare hr data against other training sessions to see if you your hr got lower or higher … if you got fitter and better.

Summary

I hope I explained a bit why you should base your training around “tempo” rather than “HR”.

In upcoming posts and pages I will explain more about the tools I’m using to train, analyze and plan my workouts. How you can benefit from such tools and how they can tell you what your training status is. How these tools can tell you if your working too much or maybe not hard enough!

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Race results

April 17, 2011

I did it! I set my goal at sub 55min and hoped for 52/53min. I’m very happy with the result of 48:19!! Race was lots of fun and support showed up along side the road. Tried not to focus too much on running and also enjoy the surroundings for a bit. Run itself was trough the city and we passed a few sightseeing locations. Support along the road was amazing. People everywhere! Cheering and shouting. On my race number they printed my first name. Brilliant idea because unknown people where cheering for me.

Extremely happy with my 10k time. This sets my Pace Zone Index score at 36. Wich is 2 points better than it was. In the upcoming week I explain a bit about the pace zone index system and how it works.

Wrote a bit about running tech tools. Mainly about the two platform options you have, a smartphone or a dedicated device. They both have their pro’s and con’s. It doesn’t matter what you use as long as your able to know its limitations. Check it out here. Section is far from finished but at least you get where it’s heading. Decided to write and go as it comes.

Time to put my legs up!

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First post, first race

April 16, 2011

10km route

Tomorrow I got my first competition! I’m very exited, mainly because I have no idea how this goes down at al. Going to be a totally new experience. The competition itself is a 10km city run. Check the map on the right. Looks exiting huh?!

I’ve set my goal to sub 00:55:00. I’m expecting to do slightly better. The current strategy is to take it easy for at least the first 5km. Then evaluate my current time and pace. If all goes well I can step it up a notch and then have some energy left over to go to the last gear shortly before the finish.

This 10km competition will also be the start of a new training era. I’ve learned a lot since I started running in january. I decided to do a half marathon in october and train specifically for this race. This race will be my “test run”. This 10km race should give me a solid number to start my marathon training. I’m very curious what my “race speed” is going to be on the 10km. In many posts to come I will explain all about my newly found methods of training.

So … ready to race?

  • forerunner 410 charged? … check
  • race number … check
  • official race shirt … check
  • pre race liquids … check
  • positive TSB? … check

TSB? That stands for Training Stress Balance. It’s a number that tells how “ready” you are. I will explain TSB and many more running mathematics in posts to come.

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