Mini Training: Week 5

Four runs this week since last Saturday was a short one. I was dealing with some knee pain last week, also, that made me a bit careful this week. Bought new shoes–Brooks Adrenaline 18s–that I took for the first run on Thursday, and for the long run on Saturday. They felt great. I loved my Ghost 10s, but I needed more support.

3.07 miles, 43:26, 14:08 pace
A sunny and mild evening for a run. Had some soreness after the run, but not as bad.

3.03 miles, 44:14, 14:35 pace
The first run with the Garmin Fenix 5S. Also the first time I attempted formal speed work, and with the newness of the Garmin, being on my own, etc, I goofed everything up. So a bit slower than it would have been if I’d done things right. 😀

3.11 miles, 44:16, 14:08 pace
The second run with the Garmin (getting a little better with it), first run with the new shoes–Brooks Adrenaline GTS 18. I love the Garmin!! I discovered that it has an interval setting that both beeps and buzzes for the interval changes, and announces them in my ear. Just love it!

6.2 miles, 1:24:43, 13:39 pace
Longest run since I strained my groin at the end of September. Felt fantastic to have done. Knees behaved, feet behaved even in the new shoes. (I risked it.) No lingering pain after the run. Fantastic! Garmin is awesome! It actually measures moving time separately from total time, and that pace was around 13:20.

If I wake up in the morning feeling as good physically as I do now, I will be ecstatic. This is the time last year when the injuries started piling on: first ankle pain, then foot pain that lingered straight up to the mini. My main goal this year is to get to the mini healthy, and train injury-free.




Running with Garmin

Hi, I’m Kira, and today we’re going to talk about some Garmin products…..

I received my Garmin HRM-Tri and my Garmin Running Dynamics Pod on Monday, both useless until I received the Garmin Fenix 5S on Tuesday. I spent part of the day setting the watch up and getting familiar with the buttons, hoping to take it on a run Tuesday night. First of all, the watch is huge. I have tiny wrists (5.5-inch circumference). The smaller AppleWatch Series 2 is large on my wrist. This watch is the size of the larger AppleWatch. It’s also a bit thicker, more like a FitBit. I thought I might try wearing this full-time, but it’s just too bulky for that. But it’s more about how it tracks fitness than how it looks in the office. That’s why I bought it.

Connecting the HRM-Tri and the Garmin Running Dynamics Pod to the Garmin was a piece of cake. It was pretty straightforward, and I managed to get it set up before I went for a run in the evening.

I was especially eager to see how well the GPS did. I set up the same workout on both Runkeeper–the app I trusted most for time/distance accuracy on theiPhone–and the Garmin, and started them at the same time.

I had a couple of issues with the connectivity of the RDP, it disconnected and then reconnected. I never got a notification of a problem with the HRM, and I got HR data that seemed accurate (compared to my experience with the Apple Watch). But there’s no way I can see for certain whether the HR data came from the HRM-Tri or the wrist-based HRM. After the run, on the Garmen Connect site it appears to tell you the gear that was used on the run, and it lists the RDP and the Fenix 5S, but not the HRM-Tri. So I’ll have to take a closer look at that.

But the GPS! It matched Runkeeper to the 1/100th mile! I was more than pleased with this. While my pace is slower than I’d like, at least I know now that’s it about as accurate as possible.

The RDP tracks far more information than a casual runner would need, and even with the connectivity issues it seemed to be tracking for most of the run.

The only issue with the data that came up after the run was my weather data. It had me running in 80 degrees F, and I live in Indiana! It was almost 50, tops. I assume there was a location setting that I missed somewhere.

All in all, I am more than pleased with this device. It’s really nice to not have to have the phone with me, or at least be using the phone to track. It is strange, after so long, to be starting the workout on the watch with the phone completely uninvolved. The only thing I did not get to test on this run was an interval workout, to see how it would alert me to interval changes. I assume it will be much like the FItBit (a lot of the data tracked reminds me of the FitBit). That means it might just buzz at you for an interval change, which might be an issue. I’ll have to try it on my next run and see.


Running Apps

I have been on the hunt for a running app that tracks my workouts more accurately. I started running with a Fitbit Charge HR in October 2016. I found the GPS woefully inaccurate, and I had to have the phone with me, of course, when I ran. I was having trouble at the time with a bad iPhone 6 that liked to shut down in the cold, and I lost more than one workout because of it. Fitbit also breaks heartrate data down into only three zones, and I didn’t find that very helpful when an entire workout was all in the uppermost zone, but may not have really been that hard. So in January of 2017, I broke down and bought the new AppleWatch Series 2.

I bought the Nike+ edition of the Series 2 and used it on the Miler Series 3-Miler in February of 2017. I used it without the phone (since that was a major attraction of the Series 2, and my phone was still shutting down randomly in the cold). The watch tracked my 3-mile run as 2.8 miles. I was not happy. I was using the Nike+ app until then. I went back to MapMyRun instead, which did require the phone, and instead of 6 miles on the 6-Miler, I tracked more like 6.2.  And then the Half-Marathon in May was 13.7, and I did not start the workout until closer to the start line.

So, it’s been a bit of a headache. I did a lot of reading and it seemed the opinion was that it was the device, not the chosen app, that was the problem with the GPS accuracy. I don’t know how true that may be, I only know my experience, but different apps do track differently on the phone. I have used the phone rather than the watch since then, only using the watch as a display rather than the actual tracker. MapMyRun still doesn’t have a watch-only mode, and I’ve used MMR for so long that I like to keep my data there anyway. I also like the way it tracks heart rate data (and splits it into the more-normal 5 zones). However, MMR consistently tracks my distance high, and therefore my pace low. And I’m at a point in training where I really need more accuracy.

I run with a partner now in training, and she uses Runkeeper. When we ran in Avon a couple of weeks ago, she tracked our run at 2.8 miles when I was at 3. I went around another loop, then went home and measured the same distance on a new course on Lo and behold, Runkeeper had tracked it right. I didn’t know at the time that we had the same phone. Instead what I did is when I ran 5.1 miles the following Saturday, I used Runkeeper. I then went home and again measured the route using a new course on It matched to the 1/10th mile. It’s the app, not the device.

Problem is, I don’t entirely care for the Runkeeper app. It doesn’t play very nice with the AppleWatch, it doesn’t even track heart rate unless you start the workout with the Apple watch. And then when I try to end the workout on the watch (as I need to in order to get the heart rate data), I end up with two workouts saved in my history instead of one–one with heart rate data, one without. Also, while using that app and getting my heart rate data, my heart rate is reading much higher than I think is normal. I don’t 100% trust the accuracy of the AppleWatch heart rate data, to begin with, but this seems even more skewed than it was when I was using MapMyRun.

What I DO like about Runkeeper (besides its incredibly accurate GPS tracking) is how it breaks down splits, especially since I run with intervals. It tells me my pace for each interval, so I know just how fast I’m running when I am running. It’s nice data to know. I also much prefer to know my real pace and real distance, rather than wondering just how accurate anything is.

Another major issue with running apps is whether a person can download/export her data in order to work with it somewhere else, and in what format that download is. Runkeeper only exports to GPX format. Much more preferable is TCX format. So even if I get heart rate data into Runkeeper, it will not export that data with the other workout data. That means I can import it into MMR, but I won’t get the heart rate data at all, not even average and max, not to mention time in the various zones.

I did more looking, and I found an app called iSmoothRun. I had some hopes for this one, but it proved during Saturday’s 3-miler to be as inaccurate with the GPS routing as MMR was. It also failed to read my heart rate at all, so I lost that data. It does save in TCX format, though, and it automatically uploads the data wherever you tell it to. But it tracked a 3 mile race at 3.3 miles, and Runkeeper (my running partner’s app) tracked it at 3.1-something, which turned out to be very close to accurate when I then went back to map the route on, especially counting the fact that she did not start or stop the app exactly at the start/finish lines. And it turns out she and I do have the same phone, an iPhone 6.

Back to researching. I don’t trust the mapping of the AppleWatch or the iPhone. I don’t entirely trust my phone battery to last through a 13.1-mile race, either, especially if I have to use a waterproof case rather than a battery case. I don’t like Runkeeper enough to use it exclusively, especially since it only exports the workout data in GPX (or CSV) format. (At least you don’t need a premium account to export your data to CSV with either Runkeeper or iSmoothRun, as you do with MapMyRun.)

I decided to shop for a Garmin. I really like the AppleWatch for a lot of other reasons (and I am Apple loyal), but it’s just not designed to be a running watch. There doesn’t seem to be an app that works on it well if it doesn’t have the phone nearby. Granted, I’m likely to have my phone with me regardless, but I don’t want to have to have the phone, nor do I want to worry about the phone battery dying mid-run, especially on a long run. More than once now I’ve had to call my husband for help when I’ve been two or more miles from home: once with what turned out to be a stress fracture in my foot, and once with a nerve issue in my foot. Not to mention the time I got hit by a car while bicycling to an organized bike ride that started four miles from home.

I’m going with a Garmin Fenix 5s. I’ve read some reviews of the 5 that weren’t so good, I can hope the 5s has improved with the GPS accuracy. I like the running metrics that it appears to keep, especially when paired with an HR monitor and a Running Dynamics Pod. This all may be overkill for someone at my level, but it should at least give me what I want. I’m a numbers-girl, love charts and graphs, so it should be interesting to see how this goes. The main things I want at this point are cadence tracking, HR tracking, and accurate-enough GPS tracking. If I’m running a 5-mile run at a 13:15 pace, I want to know that’s at least close, not a full minute (or more) off-pace. That’s important as I’m working up to the half-marathon in May.



500 Festival 3-Miler

Race #1 in the training series. Was a little bit concerned with the weather, but it turned out to be a pretty good day. A bit cold, overcast but no active precipitation, and the roads were not slick (though we were careful wherever we encountered brick). Took this easy, with our original 1 min run/2 min walk intervals. The pain in my knees was pretty bad on Friday so I was a bit nervous. Took it slower, I concentrated on my steps and foot strike, and it turned out to be a good race. Nice course, and Pan Am Plaza was a nice location.

Official Results: 3 miles, 42.26, 14:09 pace


Mini Training: Week 4

Short week this week with the 3-miler on Saturday

Day 1:
4.01 miles, 57:01, 14:06 pace
Dealing with some knee pain after the 5 miles on Saturday.

Day 2:
4.3 miles, 57:24, 13:13 pace
I feel confident on this pace since it’s with Runkeeper, but I’m frustrated with some of the behaviors of that app. Doesn’t work well with the AppleWatch, and the heart rate readings are not accurate. Still dealing with knee pain. 😦

Race schedule

I have registered for all the same races that I registered for last year. This year I hope I get to actually complete them all!

500 Festival Mini-Marathon Miler Series (training races)
Feb 10: 3 miler
Mar 10: 6 miler
Apr 7: 10 miler

500 Festival Mini-Marathon and 5k
May 5: 5k and Half Marathon
Completing both of these races on race day satisfies one challenge. Completing these as well as all of the training races completes the “Greatest Spectacle” challenge.

I am leaving this one up in the air as to whether I do both races. It will really depend on how the training goes and if I feel physically ready. The Half Marathon is the more important to me.

Indianapolis Women’s Half Marathon
Sept 29: Half Marathon
This is the race I injured myself in in 2017.

Indianapolis Half Marathon and 5k at Ft. Ben
Oct 6: 5k
This is part of IndyThon. I will be going for the IndyThon half again this year. I considered going for the full, but doing the Women’s the week before this had me opting for the half again this year.

Monumental Marathon and Half Marathon
Nov 3: Half Marathon
This completes the IndyThon Half for me.

Mini Training: Week 3

Some nicer weather this week, but still the sun goes down so early it feels like we’re racing the clock to get a run in before dark. It will get better slowly.

On Thursday I ended up running at home with Kody rather than at the Y. Tuesday and Saturday were with the group.

I also downloaded and started to use Runkeeper for the runs, so they should be more accurate.

Day 1:
3.22 miles, 42:46, 13:16  pace
Intentionally tried to make this one faster, while continuing the same intervals.

Day 2:
3.1 miles, 43:32, 14:02
This one didn’t feel all that good. Ran with Kody and he had to stop a lot. The wind was very cold. But I got it done.

Day 3:
5.1 miles, 1:12:04, 14:07
This one felt good, so I was a bit disappointed in the pace. But it was my longest run in quite a while. I started out with a couple of people slower than my normal pace, so that did slow me down. I made up for it after they turned back before I was ready to. No groin pain at all in this one. Felt great.

Mini Training: Week 2

Week 2 of the Mini Marathon Training Program with the YMCA. Still keeping the pace slow, keeping my 2 min walk/1 min run intervals. We have only about an hour of daylight left after work to run, and it’s been wet. This week I got to bring the dog along this week since I had to stop by home before heading to the Y. He loved it. Took him some time to get back into the swing of things (not trying to go after all the people and especially the dogs), but he got the hang of it by the end.

Sunday we ran at Avon Town Hall Park instead of in Plainfield on Saturday. Sunday was looking to be such a beautiful day for a run, and Saturday was cold and wet, so we opted for the nicer day.

Day 1:
3.3 miles, 46:09, 13:58 pace

Day 2:
4.86 miles, 1:08:14, 14:01 pace
Since I brought Kody for this one, I got started early and didn’t meet my running partner until almost two miles in. She then went three, so I just stayed with her. Felt great, and Kody loved it.

Day 3:
3.47 miles, 46:23, 13:22 pace
I am getting frustrated with MapMyRun, the app I’ve been using for years to track my runs. My running partner is consistently measuring a couple of tenths of mile shorter, and slower pace, than I am. When I measured our route on a map today, I found that hers was closer to accurate. 😦

Some hills on this route, and felt a bit in my groin afterward from that downhill. Need to be careful there.

Mini-training season is here

First training run of the Mini Marathon training program. I’m still working on the Back to Run program that the physical therapist gave me. There will be a bit of overlap, but the distances work out.

Today’s run was in Plainfield after a couple inches of snow. We didn’t brave the snow-covered trails, but the roads were clear.

3.3 miles
14:37 pace
Fastest mile was 14:25.

Intervals of 2 min walk, 1 min run with a run partner who was just getting back to running, so it was a good match. Felt pretty good. Kept the cadence for the runs right at the 180 spm. This seems to be a new habit. Legs felt pretty good. Some soreness in the groin, but nothing that lingered. So far so good!

Back to Run: Week 5

This Saturday’s run is going to be the first of the Mini Marathon Training Series runs with the YMCA. The two programs blend pretty well in with each other. I don’t want to go too fast yet, and while I can go further, the training plan is going to have me scaling back, and that’s probably not a bad, either, as I work on getting some of my pace back and getting used to running outside again. Finally!

Day 1:
3.78 miles, 1 hour, 15:52 pace

Day 2:
3.1 miles, 49:37, 16:00 pace