If I am serious about qualifying for Boston, pacing is an area of preparation that will require intense focus. In order to finish the marathon strong, I need to make sure I am familiar with the pace I must hold for the duration – no matter how good I’m feeling on race day I can’t go out too fast and risk breaking down near the end. On the other hand, if I go out too slow I could face an insurmountable deficit in the last few miles.
However, I feel a little helpless and lost when it comes to pacing. You see, unlike many (most?) serious runners, I don’t use a GPS watch. I’ve been using my trusty Timex Ironman watch for almost six years, timing my runs and certain splits (by hitting the lap button at landmarks along the way) and then mapping it out on MapMyRun or Daily Mile when I get home. As much as I love running, I’ve never felt like I was ready to go out and spend $200+ on a GPS watch. I already spend enough on shoes as it is (four pairs of Kinvaras in the past six months).
But to hit my marathon goal, I can’t just go out on race day and wing it. Looking at my paces after the fact won’t help at all. I’ll need real-time feedback to make sure I’m hitting my marks. And in the next nine weeks I’ll need to make sure I’m training at the same pace I’ll hope to match during the race, logging mile after mile at 7:15 so, hopefully, my body becomes comfortable and familiar with that effort.
*rant* Complicating matters is the fact that Shamrock is not offering pace groups for times faster than 3:15. I’ll try to contain my growing frustration that a major race that touts its status as a Boston qualifier doesn’t offer pace groups for all qualifying times. It offers a pacer for 5 hours, but not 3:10 or 3:05, the two fastest qualifying times?? Worse yet is their refusal to respond to multiple inquiries by email and on their Facebook wall. Other runners have also inquired about the pacing situation on the Shamrock Facebook page and there has been no response. Even a simple acknowledgement might make me feel a little better. *end rant*
In any case, I am in possession of a somewhat hefty gift card to a bicycle shop and am prepared to use it toward a GPS watch. I may be wrong, but I see the watch as one of the more important tools to help me toward my current goal. But the more research I do, the more helpless I feel. How do I know which model to get? I first looked at the bottom-of-the-line Garmin 110 but noticed that it doesn’t provide current pace. Once again, I would be analyzing my runs after the fact. Other watches have more features but are, predictably, more expensive.
So I’ll pose it to you – What model of GPS watch do you use? Would you recommend it? Are there features you wish you had but didn’t? Thanks in advance. I’ll consider your input and hopefully make a decision within the next week.Bike: 20.5/130.1 miles Run: 16.1/105.4 miles