Garmin failed me for my scientific experiment

Y’all this morning I went back to the treadmill.  Can I just say that currently I am in love with it.  When it comes to 100% humidity and temps in the mid 90’s the treadmill becomes your best friend.  I ran 5 miles at a 1% incline.  The first mile was the slowest at 9:57, the second was 9:31 and then I went down from there and I ran the last mile in 8:40.  I finished in 46:20 with an average pace of 9:16.

Currently I’m sporting this look.

crazy hair

Don’t hate, it took months to nail this style.

I always try to run at a 1% incline or higher to simulate running outside as closely as I can.  In case you’re wondering how the treadmill compares to running outside, here’s a great treadmill pace conversion chart that tells you.

Because I’m a bit analytical and somewhat of a geek, I wanted to find out how accurate the treadmill and the treadmill conversion chart are as compared to my Garmin 620.  The Garmin 620 is supposed to also work with the treadmill and since I’ve never tried it, I decided to test it out on Sunday.

I ran 4 miles and then checked the Garmin…..

garmin fail

And it looked almost like this…..

Except my Garmin said that I ran .33 miles in 39:10 minutes.   POINT 33, Bastard!

So I went to the Garmin website which for some reason always confuses me.  I seem to have more luck in the forums.  Anyway, from what I could surmise, you have to wear the heart rate monitor for the Garmin to work on the treadmill.

Since I haven’t worn the HRM in a while I decided to test it out.  Yesterday when I went for a three mile run in the neighborhood, I wore it.  It still works, and quite well I might add.

So, this morning, I ran those 5 miles on the treadmill with the garmin and the HRM so that I could determine how accurate the treadmill and the pace conversion chart are.  As soon as I finished my run I hit the button to stop the watch and after getting off the treadmill I checked to see what it said.

nene

                            .38 WTF?

So this entire post that was supposed to be a scientific finding based on the measurements of the treadmill versus the pace conversion chart and the measurements of the Garmin  is a total and complete wash!

If anyone has any idea how to make the Garmin 620 work while running on the treadmill please feel free to leave me a comment or email me.

Until then I guess will just have to leave the scientific experiments up to the experts.

science

How often do you run on the treadmill as compared to outside?
Which do you like better?

Focus on Five, fix your form, finally get faster…

In case you didn’t know, it’s ridiculously hot and humid in Florida pretty much 8 or 9 months at out the year but summer is the absolute worst. I got in as many long runs as I could this summer but I also took the time to focus on getting faster and I knew I wasn’t going to get any faster if I didn’t first, fix my form.

Something clicked for me this year because I did manage a couple of PR’s and I was running in the 8’s and sometimes the high 7’s which NEVER happens to me in the summer. I can only hope that I will improve throughout the winter and really hit some major PR’s this fall and winter. A few people emailed me and asked me what I was doing so I thought I would share with you, the five things I focused on to get faster.

Cadence

The more time your feet are on the ground, the more energy you need to go forward. If you increase your cadence, you’ll increase your speed. Focus on the amount of times your foot strikes the ground and not on your stride length. Optimally, you should be at around 180 foot strikes per minute. When I started this my foot strike was around 145 and I though 180 was cray cray, it’s now around 170, still room for improvement but I now see that 180 is doable.

No Heel Striking

Heel Striking can sometimes lead to injury and it also contributes to a slower cadence. When I started focusing on where my feet were landing, I was able to increase my cadence and therefore, my speed. Wearing minimalist shoes (Brooks Pure Flow 2’s) has helped me with this. You can also run on the grass for a short distance to get an idea of what your natural stride is. I ran on the beach a little bit and that helped me too.

Mobility + Momentum

Increasing mobility can be achieved through stretching. There are two things that I have been focusing on. First, you can practice yoga. Yoga is extremely beneficial for runners. I don’t always have time to go to the yoga studio but I do have a wii fit with yoga and it’s a great alternative. I was also fortunate to learn about Phil Wharton’s Active Isolated Stretching method. This has been invaluable for me. You can learn more about this method and watch one of the videos here. I highly recommend it especially if you, like me, are prone to injury.

Practicing forward momentum was a tough one for me and I’m still struggling with it. The idea is to lean forward from your ankles and keep your head level and avoid bouncing. I watch videos of some of the best runners in the world to help me learn this but I continue to struggle and I still bounce. If you have any ideas, I’m open to suggestion.

Relax the body!

Practice running relaxed. I know it sounds kind of silly but it was really hard for me to do, probably the hardest. I tend to have really stiff posture and running relaxed and fast has never been easy for me. I watched videos of Paula Radcliffe to try to learn how to relax and understand her form but the thing that worked best for me was practicing the following:

Keeping my elbows bent at 90 degrees, even in the back swing. Much to my surprise, this was hard, and something I still struggle with but I’m about 80 % better than I was.

Jogging with my hands on my head to learn to keep my core straight. (My neighbors already think I’m an idiot so I wasn’t worried about doing this one but you could do it in your backyard if you’re concerned. I wouldn’t suggest trying this on a treadmill though because I think it would be dangerous).

Shoulder raises at certain intervals while running. (You basically raise your shoulders up to your ears for a few seconds and then lower them). I started off doing this every ½ mile for the first few weeks and then every mile. Now I do it every 2 or 3 miles.

Practicing Speed

I accomplished this by adding in at least one speed session each week. It can be anything from running hills to fartleks or even a tempo run. Speedwork will definitely help you increase your speed.

I’m still working on it and I hope that with time and practice I’ll get better and better. Of course this would all be much easier if I had the new Garmin 620 which is like a Coach on your wrist. (Another shameless plug for #Garmin, are you listening Garmin?)

Do you have any suggestions for working on running form? Do you think better form helps increase your speed?