Wednesday, July 29, 2015

New Garmin, New Data

In another post I will explore my annoyance with my old (but not that old) Garmin 910 and why I just replaced it with the newer Garmin 920.  Short version, GPS died and it stopped pairing with the heart rate strap.  I should ask them for  a free new one, but before the NYC Tri I broke down and threw money at the problem.  

I will say, I like the new model a lot better.  It moves more easily between functions.  The Triathlon setting worked smoothly during the race.  It uploads to my phone using bluetooth without me having to do anything.  All pretty cool.

The thing I wanted to mention was that it also comes with a bunch of new running data that may or may not be useful.  I'm just figuring out what they are, and I thought I'd share.  The main thing is that they seem to have taken the instrument that measures swim strokes and laps in the pool by measuring momentum and adapted it to running by putting the same sensor into the heart rate strap.  So it now takes the jiggles and wobbles along your run and tells you about them.  Here are the new features:

1) Cadence -- This is proving to be quite helpful.  Just as in bicycling, there is a lot to be said for maintaining a quick smooth cadence.  On the bike I try to keep my pedal strokes between 80 and 90 RPM.  The Garmin now measures footfall.  The common wisdom seems to be that you want to aim for 180 footfalls per minute.  My natural cadence turns out to be around 170 but bringing it up does seem to help.

2) Vertical Displacement -- This is how much you bounce up and down while running  Less is better.  I seem to be at the low end of the range -- sometimes as low as 6.5, but generally averaging 7.2-7.5.

3) Ground Contact Time -- This is how long your foot is on the ground each step.  Less is better.  As far as I can tell this doesn't tell you anything more than cadence.

4) VO2 Max -- It seems to create an estimate while running, based on weight, speed, heartrate, etc.  Who knows.

Anyway, after running with no data but time and distance for several months, my old data obsessive tendencies are coming back fast.

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