Wednesday, May 11, 2011

First run with the Garmin 210

Now it's just me, the road and 10 satellites
Today's run (street): 2.5 miles

Last night UPS delivered my new Garmin 210 and I was excited by the prospect of doing my morning run free of the foot pod and calibration concerns. The foot pod wasn't necessary but after the watches' first use I do question the overall accuracy. I bought the watch online this weekend -- the basic 210 without the foot pod/HRM bundle. I got a great price and free delivery two days later. I un-boxed the watch and plugged it in to charge the lithium battery. Setup took seconds and the watch automatically acquired the date and time via satellite signal.

This morning I was excited to try the watch. My only experiences with GPS tracking were with various GPS apps on my iPhone (bad) the QStarz Sports Recorder (worse). I stepped outside and activated the satellite receiver and the 210 grabbed its connection in seconds. My iPhone usually takes minutes to get a GPS signal. I hit the start button and off I went. My knee is still bothering me but after getting the "okay" to run from the doctor yesterday I accepted the mild pain. Three minutes into the run the pain disappeared and I was able to focus on my form. I think my stride was a little unbalanced at first but I managed to pick up my pace without a problem.

I passed mile one a short distance after my known benchmark but it was close enough to think the GPS's accuracy was in the ballpark. I covered the first mile in 9:27, mile 2 at 9:01 and the last half mile at an 8:50 pace. Those were my calculations based on careful retracing of my route on Gmaps. The 210 recorded my distance .07 miles (2.8%) less than that. I'll be curious to see if the accuracy varies consistently. I'm hoping that an examination of the GPX file overlay on Google Earth will show where the 210's GPS cut corners to end up short. Unless of course, it's actually Gmaps that's off...

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