Wednesday, September 15, 2010

training partners: 4-legged and virtual.

Besides my amazing running friends, I also have some new training partners.  The most fun is Jackson!  I haven't taken him for more than about 2 miles yet, but he's a great running friend.  He trots along with that happy hanging tongue.  Besides the sudden leash jerks when a cat or another dog comes into view, we're in perfect sync.

The other new training partner is virtual. {BORING ALERT.. if you aren't a runner, you probably don't care about the rest of this}.  On my new Garmin (love it!) there is a setting for a virtual training partner.  You give your "partner" a pace, and then your watch tells you if you are ahead of or behind said partner. 

When mine came out of the box, the virtual training partner was set at 9:15 min/mile and I tried to change it to 9:45 but I guess I didn't save it properly.  So, it reverted to 9:15.  I just told two people at work yesterday about this, and how it's annoying because I can't run 9:15 pace, so I'm always behind. 

The screen with the virtual training partner looks like this:
Except that mine was always saying:  "you are behind by..."

Until Monday, when by some miracle of miracles, I set out for a run, and after a mile I looked down and it said:  "you are ahead by..."  So I kept cruising along, and I stayed "ahead" and ended up BEATING my virtual training partner by finishing almost 4 miles at 9:13 pace.  Mile 2 was 9:04. which is to say, the Garmin also has magical powers and makes me run faster than I might have dared to dream.  And it wasn't a race, and I wasn't dying at the end, and I could have kept going.  (by the way, it occurred to me that the Garmin could be wrong, but I checked the averages against the overall time, and it all matches up.)

Please remember I was a 12 minute miler for about a year, and then an 11 minute miler for another year, and then last year I started to sometimes just barely crack the 10-minute mile barrier, and now this.  It makes me very happy.

I think it's the power of information.  I can't let myself just plod along at any old pace when right on my wrist I can see how fast I'm running.  This might get me into trouble in the race this weekend.  I'll need to tell my virtual training partner (is it a she or a he?  should it have a name?  discuss) to chill out and just let me run my own race.  I'm pretty sure I can turn him/her off altogether.

See, all that running data geek talk makes me love Jackson all the more.  He doesn't beep if I'm not working hard enough.  He just smiles the whole way.

16 comments:

ajh said...

Love the virtual training partner. What garmin do you have? That would inspire me!

Emilie said...

garmin 405. it's fun!

lee said...

I wish I could get my dog to run with me. We'll be running along and then he'll get a whiff of something and abruptly change direction which causes me to trip over him. Not so fun. I gave up!

Carly said...

Most of the bloggers I know have named their Garmins. Personally, mine is called Carmen because 1)it rhymes with Garmin and 2)it reminds me of that PBS show Where In The World Is Carmen San Diego.

There was also a great article in Runner's World this summer about running with your dog. Not sure if you're a reader, but your post made me think of that article. It had some good tips. :-)

Anonymous said...

That's really significant improvement! Good for you!

SNW said...

good boy, jacksy!

Kim Oldenburgh said...

I think you should definitely name that virtual running buddy! I also run with my 2 dogs. The only way I can do it is down that dirt road that's right across the road from me. What I've discovered is I can run without much knee pain on that road (just as my Dr had told me)! I am totally with you with the whole gadget thing. I bought a heart rate monitor in January and it really motivates me when I'm riding, running or doing cardio in my "dungeon". I can no longer dog-it because the numbers are right there! Good luck this weekend and get a name for that partner.

Nancy said...

Male or female? Human or some other species? Your Garmin could be "R.J." short for Robot Jackson, or it could be the Roadrunner (as in Wiley Coyote and "meep beep!"). So many possibilities...

Danielle Frottier said...

wow! that is amazing improvement. I really don't think I could ever get away from my 12:00 minute miles...but, you never know, right! I am seriously considering getting a garmin...everyone loves them! Also, I can't wait until Molly is old enough to run with me!

Cat said...

I am so glad to hear that you ran 12 min miles at first! I find my pace depends on the day. Reading Murakami's book What I Talk About When I Talk About Running, I am trying to remember to focus on my breathing, which I believe you mentioned in your swimming post. Today, I owe my breathing to getting easily though 4.07 km in 27:48. I just tried to keep it steady and it worked. I do wonder if it will work next time as my feeling is rather volatile. Anyway, CONGRATS on your improvement and if you have not yet read Murakami's book, I really recommend it.

Angela said...

So cool and awesome job on the pace!!!!

It should sooo be a male name and then you can feel like your kicking said guys butt! You are, after all, hardcore!

Sarah Woulfin said...

I named my garmin, Garmalade :) Awesome job on those 9 minute miles!!

Erin said...

I just bought a Garmin, but made a last-minute switch from the GPS I thought I wanted to the one with the foot pod. Can I ask what made you choose the GPS model?

Emilie said...

Hey Erin,
Based on my research, the GPS is just more accurate than the foot pods. I had read that the foot pod is thrown off by hills because your stride changes so much. I also just think it's cool to download my data after a run and have my GPS know exactly where I was and map out my route so I can show my husband. So in the end, I was won out by accuracy and cool tricks. :) Hope you have fun with the one you got too!

Anonymous said...

"...how it's annoying because I can't run 9:15 pace, so I'm always behind..." Sucks to be wrong, eh? Call me crazy, but I'm thinking you could probably whittle that down to about 8 minutes per mile. Never underestimate the Power of the Garmin!

Sarah Woulfin said...

Have a great race this weekend!!