Garmin, Strava, app?


One thing that I really like about running is keeping track of my progress.  Am I getting faster?  Am I going longer?  What’s my pace?  I’ve been using various devices, and apps to see what I like best but somehow I can’t seem to just use one method.  How do I choose?

I like my Garmin Vivosmart HR+ and it really makes sense that this be the one that I concentrate on.  I like it because it measures everything…my sleep, my heart rate, steps walked, my activities, calories burned, pace, etc.  It also alerts me when I have a text message or an email or phone call; which is nice.  It’s a little bulky around my wrist but I feel like that’s part of the price to have all of these things at my fingertips.  I do know one thing, no matter what, I’m sticking with this one.  I really love the pace feature so it tells me if I’m ahead, behind or on my pace.  So why do I need anything else?

The Runmeter app is one I came across after I began running using the 5K Runmeter to help me start running and preparing for my first 5K.  So as I started running more, it made sense for me to try Runmeter.  I like Runmeter because I’m able to enter my half marathon training plan ahead of time.  Note that Runmeter also offers its own half marathon and marathon training plans, but since I joined my running group, I’m sticking with their plan.  So, when I begin my run in the morning, my goal is already set up and I just need to look at it and go without having to figure out what I’m doing that day.  Runmeter shows everything about your run like distance, pace, mapping, elevation, heart rate (if you connect a heart rate monitor), it keeps track of your gear, etc.  Lots of good stuff.  The main thing I like is the pre-planned run and that’s hard to beat.

Strava is the newest addition to my running measurement.  I like that it just tracks my running.  I found that I don’t even have to start it, it starts on its own if it senses that I’m running.  It gives me all pertinent info about my run like pace, time, distance and I like that it compares it to my history so I know if I’m getting faster.  I like that it easily helps me share my stats to my social sites.  This seems to have the least bells and whistles, but I like that about it.  It just gives me facts about my run and running history.

If you’re reading this, yes, as I begin my run, I hit my Garmin, and switch between Strava and Runmeter to “turn them on.”  What’s interesting is they all give me different pace information and distance information.  I wish I knew which was most accurate but I’m not sure how to do that.  I’m thinking I may compare their readings to that of my pacer of my running group and then pay attention the most to that device/app.  Or I suppose I could go to a track and start there.  It does seem kind of ridiculous using three different means, but right now I’m unwilling to give at least one of them up.  I’m thinking that when I’m not training for a race that one may be less meaningful to me than another and I may make the break then.  How do you decide what to use and why?

First Day with LA Leggers

So it was my first day running with the LA Leggers.  I got all of my stuff together last night so I wouldn’t have to worry about forgetting anything in the morning.  Well, I forgot my running hat of course so that was a first for me.  I also put out my pre-run nutrition which was a few fig newtons and some apple sauce.  I read somewhere online that they were a good pre-run food.  I brought a Clif Builder’s Bar for after my run for the protein.  I had my water bottles filled in my hydration belt and managed to fit my phone and my ID in its pocket.  My keys were kind of bulky but I made them fit.  Funny thing is I saw someone else running this morning with my same belt on and she had her keys looped into the belt, doh!  So I will do that next time.

Today seemed to be a lot of firsts for me.  My first time running with a group which meant (obviously) following someone else’s pace, lots of things being called out that I had to pass along to others, no music, eating before a run and no hat.  Let’s start with following someone else’s pace.  I like this.  For the last year and a half I’ve been trying to run faster to get a new 5K PR.  Now I’m concerned with endurance so this pacing thing makes a lot of sense and, again, helps me just focus on my form and breathing.  We did a combination of running and walking.  I understand that this aids in injury prevention and building endurance.  I’m doing what they tell me to do and I like it.

Now the stuff that’s being called it is mostly for our safety and helps us run with others like pedestrians, walkers, bikers, etc.  So I have a different awareness for my surroundings than I would have if I were just by myself.  I like this too.  We’re being courteous to others so we can all use the same beach harmoniously.

Running with no music is really interesting.  I love music.  It takes me out of my head and gives me motivation while I run.  I really want to participate in this group experience so I am leaving my earbuds at home.  It’s ok so far.  I chatted a bit with my running partner and that kept me occupied.  I’m not sure how I will do during a race on my own or on longer distances, but for now it’s ok.  Again, I think running without music gives me a new awareness while I run.

So I usually don’t eat before I run simply because I tend to run first thing in the morning and I don’t want to take the time to eat and then immediately go out and run.  Since I have to drive to Santa Monica and it takes me around 45 minutes, now I have the time.  I’m going to try different types of food before my runs so I know what works for me by the time my race comes up.  Please give me suggestions if you have any for pre-run, during run and post-race foods.

I think the best part of today was enjoying running along the beach.  It sure is nice to look up and see the ocean and even smell the ocean breeze.  I’m looking forward to running around Santa Monica and seeing it from a different view.


I’m looking forward to continuing my training and learning along this journey.

I’m Committed 

Today I went to check out the L.A. Leggers running group to see if it was for me. Mind you, I’ve been stalking several running groups online to see how their groups operate, what my level of commitment needs to be financially and physically, how are they going to help me, and do I think they can help me reach my goal overall.

I chose L.A. Leggers because they had an updated website and Facebook page where I could easily find information like time, place, activities, cost, benefits, training plan, and overall philosophy of the group. On top of that they’ve been around 29 years and have helped tons runners and walkers achieve their goals.

Today I attended the second of two available orientations. I registered with the group, got my shirt and a cool goodie bag with good stuff. Then we had to figure out the pace group that I will be training with. Everyone ran (or walked) one mile and based on that time they added 2 to 3 minutes to suggest a starting pace group. I ran a solid 10 minute mile and decided to go with the 12.5 minute pace group. I will begin training with this group every Saturday morning while I follow their training plan during the week.

I have to admit, I was a little nervous thinking things like will I be the slowest?  Will I be the oldest?  Will I be the least experienced?  But right away I was greeted by friendly and smiling faces and it was obvious that we all came from various walks of life, experience, goals and ages. So I immediately felt comfortable.

Another concern of mine and I think I still need to figure this out is that I will be running with other people. I’ve never done that. I run alone with my ear buds and my thoughts. So it will be an adjustment for me to get used to running with others at a certain pace without my music.  I could use my ear buds but if I’m going to have a group experience then why would I cut myself off from others?  So I’ll have to check in at a later post about this.

So, today’s the day I made the commitment. My first half marathon will be on Sunday, October 8th in Long Beach.