Number crunching.

I’m a huge number geek, and one of the things that seems to appeal to me about running is that there are a lot of numbers that you can look at.

My wife and I bought Garmin watches a while back, well before I started running; among other things, it includes a step counter, so that I know how far I have walked each day. (As I write this, I am on 4451 steps – this isn’t a running day today.) Each day, the watch sets a goal number of steps, mostly based on how far you have gone lately; if you make your goal, your watch generates a little shower of fireworks on its screen. Woo-hoo!

The watch became really useful when I started running, as it would keep a record of all sorts of stuff, thanks to its built-in GPS. For instance, here’s the main page for the run I did on April 11 (which was the last outside run before the ice storm hit on the following weekend).

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This is full of useful information, including time, pace, distance, and route covered. If you tap the tab that looks like a bookmark, you get more detailed speed information:

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This includes my steps-per-minute count and my average stride length. (I tend to run with short, choppy strides.) The next tab gives my average pace per kilometre, which is extremely useful:

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I wanted to maintain a reasonably slow and easy pace throughout the run, as my goal was to get my body used to running for a long period of time, not to maximize my distance. In this run, I started a bit more quickly than I wanted, which meant that I slowed down a bit too much on kilometre seven.

The last tab provides graphs. Graphs are fun.

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I scrolled down here to the fun graph: elevation. As you can see, my training run ended on a bit of a hill, though not too much of one.

I have an entry similar to this for virtually every run I have done ever since I got up to 5K. It allows me to keep track of how I’m doing and, most important, shows I’ve been making progress. Progress is good.

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