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I'm curious about others' experiences of racing with a Garmin. How does it help or hinder you, those who have? I know several runners who do this, and am thinking about it because I am pacing myself in my next marathon (no group or partner etc) in which I plan to attempt a BQ as long as training keeps progressing ... and pacing is not always shall we say my strong point.<br><br>
My gut is that the Garmin might take my head out of the race as I would be checking my pace too much -- but maybe it would be helpful to always know about where I was at pace-wise, instead of wondering and wondering each split?
 

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I raced once with my Garmin 305 (I train with it religiously). I wore it to get an elevation profile for a particular course (the Hatfield McCoy Marathon). Overall, I didn't like it. I felt like it did take my head out of the game. I felt like maybe it had me pushing a little too hard at the beginning (when I shouldn't have been). I probably won't race with it again - or if I do, it won't be very often.<br><br>
I think my trusty Timex, and a well marked course keep me in the game pretty well.
 

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I like having the Garmin for the ability to analyze data after the race. Here's the caveats.<br><br>
I do feel like I get a pretty good read on my pace during the race. I seem to be a minority in this. I more and more believe it is important to run by feel. If you feel like you can go faster or should slow down, then you mostly likely should. I still wear the thing; we all have to live with our contradictions.<br><br>
The Virtual Partner tool can be very cool, but it has its limitations. I used it for this last half marathon. I knew there was a hill - 1.5 miles worth - at the end, and I wanted to bank some time. The readout on the VP let me know I was about .25 miles ahead of where I needed to be at mile 10. I gave back huge chunks of that time going up the hill, but it still worked out. You have to remember that while using the VP you can't use the "lap" button, so your data after the race isn't as much fun (Auto Lap still works, but you won't get as "accurate" mile splits). Also, you have to set the VP run farther than the race distance because of inaccuracies in how the Garmin measures and, more importantly, your (or at least my!) inability to run perfect tangents. So, I set the VP to run 13.25 miles. I ended up only going 13.2, and I met my time goal.<br><br>
Hope that helps,<br>
Billy
 

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I've used a 205 in trail races, but it's usefulness is limited because of the 10 hr battery life. Mostly I use it to keep my speed down in the early miles. A negative (for me) is if I let it get me too emotionally tied up in my per-mile pace. "Dude you were 3 seconds slow that last mile - you're SUCH a loser."<br><br>
I've wanted to be able to use one late in a race to help me suck it up and grind ot the last miles. While running JJ on Sat, it occurred to me that you might be able to get one of those portable cellphone charger things and charge it in your fanny pack while you run .
 

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I use mine in races as well, but just so that I have the data recorded for my own purposes later. I'll generally switch the display so that I'm not looking at time or pace while I'm racing.
 

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I've only used mine in a race once. I wasn't a big fan. First (as we all see on training runs) the instant pace is junk, that's meaningless. As far as watches go, it's pretty bulky and I didn't like the heft while I was racing.<br><br>
Also I found that the 2% or so that the watch is off would mess with me mentally - i.e. I'd be expecting a mile marker and it wouldn't show up until long after the Garmin said, etc.<br><br>
I did not use the HRM. I might try it again with the display off (good idea divaleh) and the HRM out of curiosity.<br><br>
Normally I will just race with my Timex and do my own splits at the mile markers.
 

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I used it once in a half. I switched it to miles per hour rather than pace had a range set in my mind and if I went below it was time to push. It was a pretty lonely 13.1 miles. I saw my partner at the exchange and saw people at 4 aid stations, and one guy in a pick-up passed me and asked "are you a relay???" I think it kept me pushing my pace when there was absolutely not another soul for me to even feel like I was racing.
 

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I really like the average pace feature. Helps me stay on target for how I want to finish. Also like to be able to see if I'm slowing down....is my body starting to unravel, etc. And of course the post mortem stats on the race etc. It is also important for me to stay within HR zones especially in the early part of the race to avoid a blow-up and this would be harder to gauge without it. I would be reluctant to race without it. I wore mine yesterday for my first marathon and I was glad I had it.<br><br>
First race with it was my first HM about a month ago and it totally helped me manage pace and HR exactly as I wanted them to be.
 

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I used mine a couple of times and hated it for many of the reasons above.<br><br>
If I'm serious about a race (and I haven't been in a couple of years) I will go over the course and mark off hard or easy areas and write down the splits that will take more time or less time. I put them on a wrist band and use the trusty Timex and the mile or km markers on the course.
 

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Use mine and love it. Have it set to lap pace (instantanous is junk) and it doesn't bother me at all that the distance is off - I just know that in a race it's going to tell me I've run more.<br><br>
Used it this past weekend in Grand Rapids for the HM and it kept me totally on pace.
 

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Yes, I agree with Billy. The most important thing is to run by feel and not be a slave to your gadget or the data that it's showing you.<br><br>
I have run 3 marathons this year. Two with the Garmin and one without. I did all of my pace training kinda by feel for the first marathon. The Garmin is a great training tool because it gets you accustomed to various paces and how they feel. I got to a point to where I could guess what the garmin would say based on how I felt. That was true for both pace and HR. During the race, I use the garmin only to get pace data (lap avg and total average) and HR data (current and avg). I leave it on autolap for mile splits, but I manage the race off of my timex ironman and manually hit the split button at the actual mile markers on the course. That combination along with a pace band with times on it has allowed me to run my race plan to near perfection on all three of my outings. Hey, it works for me, might not be the same for others.
 

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yes, i use my garmin-equivalent (polar 625) in races.<br><br>
here's the main thing: i've been racing long enough (ummm, 28 years, yikes!) to know that races are magic. that's why we do them. so many times during my pre-race warmup i'm doing some slow pace and just don't feel that i'll be able to hit race pace in just a few minutes. then i get to the starting line, gun goes off, wham! magic!<br><br>
so while i do check my pace and heart rate during the race, i leave plenty of room in my head for the magic race factor. in a marathon, i use the pace up through mile 18-20 or so, and then i let the magic happen. but mostly i record my race data for later analysis, and it's helped me to learn a lot.<br><br>
what have i learned? during 2006 i tracked my average (well, median) race heart rate and found that it varied in a predictable way, as the logarithm of the race distance. there's plenty of scatter, i.e. since that time i've raced 5ks at 172bpm, but the fit predicted a marathon median heart rate of 154bpm. in phoenix this year i ran starting with 144 and going to 160bpm, and the avg. was 152bpm... close enough for government work.<br><img alt="" src="http://www.noao.edu/noao/staff/mpenn/personal/race_hr.jpg" style="border:0px solid;"><br><br>
what else have i learned? in three marathon bonks, i found that at exactly 2 hours, plus or minus 5 minutes, i bonked. my heart-rate started a slow decline as i slowed down and resorted to run-walk survival shuffle. i struggled with training, pacing, etc... but looking at the comparison and how uniform each bonk was, it freed me from thinking it was poor training or lack of mental toughness: the data convinced me there was some real physical thing going on in my body. after talking it over with some people i started using gels, and since then i've set two (bonk-free) marathon prs, and now i'm looking for the third.<br><br>
by looking at your race data, you can make predictions for future races. maybe more importantly you can look at bad races and learn something valuable. so use your garmin, but don't abuse it.<img alt="" class="inlineimg" src="http://www.kickrunners.com/forum/images/smilies/smile.gif" style="border:0px solid;" title="Smile">
 

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I really like running with my Garmin in races, from 5k to marathon. It gives me pretty good feedback plus when I download it to my PC I have a pretty map of the course, splits, heart rate (when I wear the HRM) as well an elevation chart. It may not be perfect in a race but it's close enough for me.
 

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I use my garmin on race day to try and control and my race start surge. I have a horrible tendency of getting sucked into some paces that normally can't handle and by the second half of the race I am sucking wind and (and other things <img alt="" class="inlineimg" src="http://www.kickrunners.com/forum/images/smilies/smile.gif" style="border:0px solid;" title="Smile"> ) I use it for training just to help me confirm that what I am feeling matches what the watch is telling me. Otherwise I just use it for time keeping and just for some of the cool things I can do with the exported data.<br><br>
Good Luck and keep on racing.
 

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Does anyone else have problems with the interface contacts on the inside of the watch causing huge deep sores on their wrist?<br><br>
I've gotten this more than once, didn't realize what it was at first. It appears to be an electrochemical reaction to my skin (and later the tissue beneath) because the severity is not explained by the abrasion and later the contacts are plated over with a hard dark oxide layer.<br><br>
I'm going to have to start taping the buggers every time. The last sore was bone deep and really nasty.
 

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Interesting, Hippo. I've never had a problem and I've used my Garmin contacts on the skin, having used it through a couple of 4+ marathons now and a few halfs. Maybe you need to loosen the strap by one hole? If the contacts continue to react to your skin you may want to try the Nike system. There are inexpensive secondary markets so you can use the Nike system without having to buy Nike shoes. You can simply put the ipod in your short pockets if you don't want to use headphones during the race. The Nike system doesn't give you as much feedback as Garmin but it does pretty well with mile splits and pace as well as the battery life is longer and you can use the Nike system on trail runs.
 

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I typically only use my Garmin on long races like 10 miles and over. If I've driven the course and checked for mile markers beforehand, then I might just use my regular watch and record my own splits. I do like the feature on the Garmin where you can put in a target pace and know if you are ahead of or behind the pace.
 

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A couple of more comments:<br><br>
My problem with the Garmin on my wrist is not chafing: it's specifically electrogalvanic. It only happens when I'm sweating a lot, and typically not in less than 5 hours. It leaves a wound that is very odd - small but deep and no real hole, just a sore. I think the easiest answer is a mechanical barrier, I may look for or make a very thin lycra wristband.<br><br>
The other possible answer to the 205/305 problem is to use one of the cellphone "emergency chargers." Wear the Garmin 9 hours, then slip it in a waistpack on the charger for two, then wear it again. That's a huge hassle so...<br><br>
I also have a Polar 625sx with footpod. My personal experience has been that on technical trails the accuracy leaves something to be desire. BTW on a rainy day, in the trees with steep terrain I've had great trouble with my Garmin losing lock too.
 
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