Friday, January 20, 2012

Use your sportswatch for ALL workouts!

So you remember, last month, I got my very first sportswatch: A Garmin 405CX.  I tested it, it worked out well.  Some of you may have seen the recent New York Times article about the inaccuracies of GPS watches.  For me, this isn't such a huge deal.  As of now, the maximum distance I cover in one run is 6 miles, and usually it's closer to 3, so any error might not affect such a distance. Further, I don't need it to be exact-exact.  In races, I'll trust the course planners' judgment, knowing that my own GPS may not be perfect.  It'll be good enough for logging my miles in 2012 for my resolution!

It was a great help in my training, helping me pace myself.  That's how I stayed strong during January's 5k Resolution Run.  You can see below, it wasn't perfectly steady (or maybe we can blame THAT on error?) but I continuously hovered around my goal pace: 10 min / mile.

HOWEVER, I've found tons of uses for my sportswatch besides the GPS distance-tracker for outdoor runs.  Since getting it, I've used my Garmin's heart rate monitor for...
  • Spinning Class.  I wore the heart rate monitor and watch to track my heart rate and calories burned.  It was exciting to watch my heart rate skyrocket during a sprint and slow back down during rests, and then rise again during difficult hills.  After, I was able to load the data onto my computer and see a chart of my heart rate rising and falling throughout the 45 minute class.  It told me I burned 429 calories.  GREAT!!!  (And, I bet I could've pushed harder than I did that day--now I've got a burn # to beat!)  I've never actually had a way to track how much I burn during my various workouts, and now I do! 
  • Sprint intervals.  On the treadmill, I turned off the GPS feature but turned on an "interval" workout, setting it to beep and tell me when to run and when to walk, according to my own settings.  This particular time, I made it say "run for 1 minute" and I'd go up to 8 or 8.5 mph, and then "walk for 2 minutes" at 3 mph.  How many reps? 10.  Total workout, 30 minutes. Perfect.  This worked out so well, and I could do that for ANY cardio workout:  intervals on the bik, elliptical, treadmill, or even running outside!  And, of course, I got to watch my heartrate go up and down, and get a calories burned total (308!) at the end. 
    • In addition to doing timed-intervals, I could also set it to do distance intervals (outside) or to set intervals based on my own target and recovery heartrates.  Will try those! 
  • Kickboxing.  I have a favorite cardio kickboxing class that I am completely obsessed with ("Body Combat"), and always was curious about how many calories it actually burned.  I never knew whether to call it "kickboxing" or "aerobics" when checking online resources, but now I have a more accurate measure.  60 minutes, including warm-up and cool-down: 473. 
  • (I even tested it in Pilates, to learn that I burned 160 calories and kept my heart rate around 100.)

SO.  Yes, the GPS is a marvelous thing and frees me up to run wherever I please, without worrying about finding the route on a map.  But it also serves a great function during my other regular workouts, and I'm STILL LEARNING what else it can do for me.  Will keep you posted!

What do you use your sportswatch for?


  1. I love having a GPS watch, and compared to my old Nike+ it's much more accurate. That thing was never close even after calibrating it a ton! Anyway, enjoyed your post about other uses for the Garmin.

  2. I used to wonder about Body Combat classes too, though I never actually got around to wearing my HR Monitor. I lost my Garmin a while back... I miss it so!

  3. I use my Garmin just for running but I use my HR monitor for every. single. workout. I am a new mom and monitoring how many calories I burn is super essential for calculating my nutritional needs. Love this post! Thanks for sharing :)

  4. Many females game wristwatch are not at all like the jeweler type timepieces that women like to wear throughout the day, they are often small editions of gents sports timepieces with a similar set of features demanding some technological information to use to their full potential.

  5. Sounds like a handy gadget....but sounds like one I might become a bit attached too!!


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