I wanted see how various minimalist shoes affect my ground contact time, stride length, vertical oscillation and stride rate.
Garmin 920XT is a huge improvement over the Garmin 620
A few key features:
- Daily activity tracking
- Sleep tracking (with built in accelerometer)
- Smart watch features (see emails, text and other notifications)
- Indoor run tracking through accelerometer
- VO2 max estimates
- Race predictor based on last runs HR and pace
- Large easy to read screen
- Vertical Oscillation tracking (with HR monitor)
- Ground contact time tracking (with HRM)
- JayBird BlueBuds X Sport Bluetooth Headphones didn’t fit well, see above video for review
- VO2 Max estimator
- This is a really cool feature that estimates your VO2 max. It can even estimate this when running at sub VO2 max speeds. You don’t actually have to run all out. If you know your max HR, the watch uses math to estimate based on your speed and %HR
- Race predictor
- It can predict your current race fitness without making you run a time trial!
- It takes your HR and speed of any given run and uses fancy mathematics to give you a prediction of your current race fitness, amazing!
- My race predictions were fairly accurate
- Recovery Adviser
- Based on things like heart rate variability, it gives you an estimate of how long it will take you to recover from any given workout. I ran a 10k time trial yesterday and it told me it would take 72 hrs to recover. I then went for a run today and it gave me an update on how well I was doing on my recovery; it told me I still need about 40 hrs to recovery from the effort
- Run Dynamics
- Uses and accelerometer in the HR monitor to tell you info about vertical oscillation, ground contact time, and gives you a real time score during your run to help you adjust your stride
- WiFi: the watch has built in WiFi, so it can upload as soon as you step inside
- Internal watch accelerometer: keeps track of your distance while on the treadmill. The watch will become more accurate after it calibrates automatically from the GPS data of an outdoor run (220 has this as well)
|There are a lot of similarities between 220 and 620|
|620 uses magnets to hold watch in cradle|
|620 is only slightly thicker and a little heavier|
|I found the new Garmin HR monitor to not have erratic HR data as the old ones did, it now has 3 sensors on the the strap plus a built in accelerometer to measure run dynamics such as vertical oscillation, and ground contact time|
|Both cradles can charge and upload data. The 620 uses magnets to hold watch in cradle, 220 use a snapping lock-down|
I’ve been using the ithlete heart rate variability app to monitor my HRV. The theory behind it is that the higher your HRV, the more rested and recovered you are. This can help you monitor when you should do a hard training session and when to back off. So far I’ve found it to be somewhat useful and have actually made adjustments to my training based off the feedback from the app. The app gives you 3 key colors to monitor your training:
- Green: you’re recovered, ideal conditions to do a difficult workout
- Amber: take an easy day or do something moderate
- Red: take a day off or easy
I’ve found the ithlete finger sensor to give more consistent results when taking my HRV as compared to a bluetooth heart rate monitor. I also find it easier than having to put on a HRM and moisten the contacts.
The Viiiiva 4iiii HR monitor is a really cool concept. It connects via Bluetooth with your iPhone to send HR data from the strap itself, but also collects data via ant+ and sends data to iPhone from your Garmin footpod, cadence sensor, or Garmin power meter as well. I was hoping that for $80 it would overcome the limitations of the Garmin HR monitors, where they don’t work great until you start sweating, but alas, it has those same limitations. I mainly used this with my heart rate variability app called ithlete and occasionally with my Garmin 310xt when running. I have since started using the ithlete app with the ithlete finger sensor; it gives better, more consistent results.
- The Garmin 220 is by far my favorite running watch to date
- Actually feels like a regular watch
- Aquires satelitess in seconds
|220 vs 310xt: Almost exactly the same distance 5.60 vs 5.61 miles|
|Actually feels like a regular watch|
One of the benefits to using a Garmin GPS watch to track your runs, is that it records all of your run data, which can then be uploaded to Garmin Connect, Strava, or other websites for further analysis. As the weather has gotten colder and the roads icy here in Minnesota, I’ve been doing most of my runs on the treadmill. By using the Garmin Foot Pod, you can keep track of all your indoor runs on the treadmill.
|Place Velcro on the back of Foot Pod to use w/ VFF|
|Click image to buy velcro on Amazon|
You could manually enter all of your data, but this can be tedious, and doesn’t track things like laps and changes in pace. This is where the Garmin Foot Pod comes in. The Foot Pod is a device with a built-in accelerometer that measures cadence and acceleration to estimate stride length and thus pace & distance.
A more accurate speedometer
In addition to being used to estimate the pace and distance while running on a treadmill or indoor track, the Foot Pod can also be used while running outdoors to keep track of stride rate and pace. But why would you use a Foot Pod to track pace, when GPS already does that?
GPS is notorious for giving runners erratic readings for instant paces. If you are like me and want to know how fast you are running, RIGHT NOW, then the Foot Pod can help. You can set the Foot Pod to show up on your Garmin GPS watch to give you the instant pace reading, rather than relying on GPS. The distance and average pace will still be tracked by GPS, but your instant pace will be estimated from your Foot Pod. Some runners find the Foot Pod to be more accurate and consistent.
I am obsessed with trying to find out exactly how far and fast I ran. I like to know how fast I am running to see if I am making progress. Can a little Foot Pod really be accurate?
To get the most accurate calibration, go to a track and calibrate your Foot Pod. You could also use the built in GPS on your watch to calibrate the distance, though this will not be as accurate. Alternatively, you can calibrate using the Garmin Foot Pod Calibration Tool, which allows you to use longer distances to calibrate more accurately.
I tested the Foot Pod accuracy on a 2 mile run. I used a measure wheel to verify the distance. I initially calibrated the Foot Pod using the measure wheel, while running at about a 10 minute pace (which is the pace my dog likes to run). My dog and I then went for a 2 mile run with my Garmin 205, Garmin 310XT (GPS off and Foot Pod enabled), my iPhone 5 with the Garmin Fitness App, and the measure wheel. The run has about 75 ft of elevation gain and involved several stops with my dog.
|Measure Wheel to Verify Accuracy|
- Measure Wheel: 2 miles (3218 meters)
- Garmin 310XT w/ Foot Pod: 1.98 miles
- Garmin 205 w/ GPS enabled: 1.99 miles
- iPhone w/ Garmin Fit App: 2.10 miles
As you can see, the Foot Pod was extremely accurate. Measuring 1.98 miles gives a percentage error of 1%. The Garmin 205 using GPS give a percentage error of 0.5%, and the iPhone with the Garmin Fitness App gives a percentage error 5%.
|Garmin gives various colored lines based on stride dynamics|
|Garmin gives you averages, max, and stride length|