I have a problem. It is the Garmin. The Garmin is my problem because, I’m told, I should be doing a couple of “easy” runs each week. I should be able to keep up a conversation on these easy runs. They are recovery runs, and they will help me get stronger. But when I run with my Garmin, I like to go fast. I can see how fast I’m going and I like to keep pushing myself to go faster. Where I used to be excited about an 8:00/mile pace (as calculated, however imperfectly, by the time on my phone when I started and ended a run), I now am ecstatic every time I see a sub-7:30 pace on the Garmin. But if it’s wrong to go faster, I’m not sure I want to be right. And such is my relationship with the Garmin.
I really like it. I really, really like it. I like that we can set goals by it (like our “No more winter slacking” goal). I like that the minute I walk in the door it syncs with our computer to give me the stats. I like that it can tell me my pace instantly, that it beeps every time I finish a mile, that it tracks my distance and maps my run without me having to drag and click and undo and whatever else. I like that I can pace myself with a virtual partner. You may have realized that I enjoy a little competition here and there, and the Garmin provides it right on my wrist. I like that.
Which is not to say that it doesn’t have some downsides. For example: it sometimes takes a. long. time. to sync with the satellites. I’ve literally waited 8 minutes for it to finish locating the satellites. I could have run a mile in that time. And it’s no fun standing out there in the cold watching the “locating satellites” bar to fill up so I can get running. It also can take a bit of getting used to. It took me several runs to realize that I didn’t have to be looking at where I was in comparison to my virtual partner all the time. I could switch screens with a touch of the bevel. But that was just me being silly. I honestly haven’t read the manual. Micah did, set it up, and now I’m learning as I go. It is not difficult or complicated, but it probably helps to know what your options are. Like, do I want to go to the training or settings menu, and what is in each of those? It is also a little annoying in the winter when you are wearing gloves because the bevel doesn’t do well with gloves. You have to take them off if you want to switch screens or change your settings mid-run.
I do find the Garmin extremely motivating. Not only because it keeps me going faster (darn you Virtual Partner! I mean, I love you, Virtual Partner!), but because it keeps me going out more frequently (nevermind that both Micah and I took last week off . . . we were sick, it was wet, we were prepping for our trip). And even though we are not in training for any specific race right now, I’m pretty sure it is going to be a big help to us as we work towards specific goals simply because it gives us a lot of information without us having to do the calculations.
I would recommend investing in a Garmin if you are interested in improving your running (pace or distance or frequency), if you want to start seriously training for events, or if you are motivated by knowing your statistics. But if you are happy being a recreational runner, running at a constant and comfortable pace, and are able to motivate yourself to run as much as you would like to run, then it may not be worth your money. But if you are crazy about pushing yourself to the puke point and really want to know just how fast you can run a mile and you never get tired of having a little device tell you that you just ran 6.2 miles at a 7:20 pace (just like you did last time, and the time before that), and you can’t wait for it to tell you that you just did the same thing again (!) only maybe 1 second faster (!) then it may be totally worth it.