My First Run with Garmin Forerunner 405CX

Yesterday was my first run with my Garmin Forerunner 405CX. It’s an expensive wrist computer, to say the least, but giving me a new dedication to properly training.

It was difficult finding a GPS heart rate monitor that fit my tiny wrists. At first, I wasn’t going to get the Garmin because at it’s tightest it still was loose on my wrist. Luckily, it comes with a fabric strap that cinches down tighter. The weight on the 405cx (and the 405) is more evenly distributed than the 305, and the more blocky models, which makes me more comfortable running with it. It syncs wirelessly to my computer (another huge plus!) and gives me great graphs for both my route and heart rate. Seriously, the amount of data that I get is unbelievable.

Yesterday I went for my four mile training run in the neighborhood. I wore my Nike + SportBand as well, to see if I could properly calibrate my steps. The run was challenging (especially in the midday warmth which I haven’t experienced this year.) I got through it, though, and every day seem to be running faster.

I’m really impressed with what the Garmin has to offer. It’s definitely an investment, but I think that if you’re serious about training (and I dare say I am), it’s worth it. I still love my Nike+ SportBand, and believe it’s the best $60 you can spend to start running and getting some stats.

Rock Riot Run 5K and New Toy

I did the Rock Riot Run 5K today, despite not getting enough sleep, and barely finding the starting point. It was a small run, I think the first ever, and is part of UW on-campus events to reduce dating violence and address domestic violence issues. I was definitely a decade older than many of the organizers and participants.

I completed the 5K in 33 minutes and 58 seconds. I couldn’t believe I actually did a 5K, because my Nike+ SportBand was telling me that I only did 2.79 miles. Then it occured to me – it’s not calibrated right! I barely really calibrated it, and really didn’t properly do so when I first got it. I’ve been actually runnning MORE than I thought I was, meaning my actual times are really better than I assumed.

I said to myself, “That’s it, I’m getting a GPS.”

I checked out a few places, and finally settled on the too-big for my wrist (but just good enough) all the bells-and-whistles I want (ooh! touch sensitive bezel!) in the Garmin Forerunner 405CX GPS Sport Watch with Heart Rate Monitor. I’m looking forward to trying out this bad boy come Monday (or tomorrow, if I can’t wait that long.) It’s hard to find a user friendly GPS and HRM that also syncs to the computer. I’ll still be wearing my Nike+ SportBand, but I’ll at least be able to properly calibrate it.

Over all, a very successful day. I’m pumped to start signing up for my next race challenges. Whose gonna join me?

“May I ask a simple question – how did you start running?”

I got an email in my inbox recently, which prompted me to respond to the question of how I started running. Here’s my updated (and long) response.

I started running as a sort of “what the hell” kind of thing. I figured I’d give it a try. I picked up the Runner’s World Guide to Women’s Running and read through the first few chapters. Then I got my gear. I weighed about 195 lbs at the time, and at that point had been easily able to walk 3 mi or more (and often did on a regular basis.) I don’t think that the answer is putting on shoes and going out – it’s actually a bit more complicated than that. Here’s my
personal list of how to approach starting to run:

  1. Know your current skill level. Can you walk for 30 minutes to an hour at a reasonable pace?
  2. Get fitted for running shoes. Expect to spend $85-100. Go to Super Jock and Jill (near Green Lake) or another running store that specifically fits you for your running shoes. They should sit down with you, watch you take a few strides, and have you try on (and take a brief jog) in 4 or so pairs of shoes. Expect to spend about 30 minutes doing this. You will learn about what type of runner you are, and what kind of support you need when running. Don’t pick a shoe because it’s pretty or popular. Pick the one that feels the best, and gives you the support you need. This can help prevent injury.
  3. Invest in a good sports bra. The Moving Comfort bras are my absolute favorite. I recommend Title Nine for fitting if you don’t know what size you are, which is also near Green Lake.
  4. Get a heart rate monitor, preferably one with a chest strap. I use the Polar F11 Women’s Heart Rate Monitor WatchThis will allow you to keep tabs on your heart rate, and will basically tell you when you’re over-exerting yourself, and when you could step it up a bit. This is your best defense against turning red and having someone call 911. That, and getting to know your own limits.
  5. This is optional, but I truly believe it helps – get fancy tech fabric moisture wicking shorts and shirts. I like the Nike Women’s Pacer Running Shorts and Nike Women’s Short Sleeve Pacer Baselayer Shirt. The tech fabric helps lessen chafing, and keeps you cool and dry.
  6. Browse Runner’s World – don’t bother with a subscription. They have some great training programs and tips to get you started.
  7. Optional: Invest in a cold pack for your knees or other tender areas for your post-jog.
  8. Optional: I love my Nike+ Sport Band. It doesn’t do everything I want the gadget to do, but I love the Nike+ website, and I love the gadget. It’s also a low price for such a nifty tool.
  9. Set a goal. Example, “In 12 weeks, I will go to a 5k walk/run (aka “fun run”)”

Disclaimer: Talk to your doctor about starting any training program. This is what I did, your milage may vary! The method I started with was to do my training in a 30 minute block. For the first week, I did 3-4 days of 10 minutes walking at the fastest pace I felt comfortable, then 2 minutes jogging, 2 minutes walking (alternating) until I reached the 20 minute mark. Then, I spent the last 10 minutes walking. This is an 8 week program that gradually brings you up to jogging the full 30 minutes. Another option is to use your heart rate monitor, and find out what your optimal cardio zone is (the monitor should come with this information). Then you go out and walk/run depending on where you are in the zone. If you need to boost your heart rate, you jog, if you need to lower it, you walk.

I did all my run/walking in the neighborhood I lived in, which at the time was basically flat for Seattle. Now I’m in a more hilly neighborhood, so it’s a little tougher to find a good flat route to start on, but I found one that mostly works. Green Lake has walkers and runners of all fitness levels. It can be crowded and intimidating, but you’re not alone. There are people just like you, some even at lower fitness levels, out there doing their thing, going around the lake. Even the fastest runners had to start somewhere. I would think to myself when I’d get self-conscious, “Oh yeah, I know you d think I’m slow, but I’m awesome, I’m out here doing it!” I’m still a really slow runner, but this blog is a testament to my goals. 🙂