Running gear

Training for my first marathon continues. So far, so good. I did 21 miles last Saturday and am now in the final “taper” period where mileage decreases for the next three weeks before the big event. Now with a 20+ mile run under by belt I feel that I am ready. It’s been quite an accomplishment just to get to this point.

When I did my first 10 weeks of base training I just used the “equipment” I already had (cotton t-shirts, cotton shorts and cross-training sneakers) not wanting to make an investment in it until I was sure I would stick with it. The most cutting edge thing I used was my cell phone with a built-in pedometer and fitness application for tracking time and distance, though, it was not always 100% accurate.

It just so happened that my birthday was around the transition from my 10 week pre-training to my 18 week marathon training program. I used it as the opportunity for an upgrade in just about everything. It has really made a difference to have proper clothing and running shoes.

The most extravagant thing that I asked for and received was a Garmin Forerunner 405 GPS watch. This helps feed my inner geek. I was previously entering and tracking my progress in a spreadsheet. Now my data is wirelessly transferred from my watch to my laptop after each run. A fitness application calculates distance run, average pace, average heart rate and so on. It also plots my route on its built-in map as well as into Google Earth.

Run Superimposed of Google Earth

Run data on Google Earth

GPS may seem like overkill but, for me, it helps with motivation. Part of keeping motivated is varying the routes that I run in order to avoid monotony. Now I have the precise mileage I have run right on my wrist at all times and can run with confidence on routes I have never run before and can make adjustments so I won’t finish with too much or too little mileage for the day. It also helps later to look at the maps of where I have run in order to plan out more routes as extensions of those. This is especially true since I do most of my running off of public roads on trails where using a traditional map for planning is difficult.