Comparing race times is easy but results are confusing.

A tale of three races

Today’s run (street): 5.25 miles

This morning I downloaded my recent runs to Garmin Connect. I noticed a feature that compares selected runs, allowing users to see performance data by split (click above picture to read). The difference between this year and the last two year’s times are easy to see. One thing that puzzles me is that the times on split 4 are really inconsistent. This year I covered .11 miles in 50 seconds at 7:55 pace, Last year it took me one second less but the pace was 7:18. In 2011, it took one second more to cover that distance, yet the pace showed 23 seconds per mile faster than this year. Very strange.

Today my thoughts were on recovery rather than performance. Due to my tapering, I covered far less than my normal 18-20 weekly miles since last Sunday. I took it easy and aimed for five miles. Although the temperature was a moderate 54°, it felt colder. I wore a light running shirt with 3/4 length sleeves and shorts, along with a pair of light running gloves. It was a good combination to start, although by the end I was wishing for shorter sleeves and no gloves.

I ended up running faster than I planned, but not all that fast. Recovery runs are a strategy to facilitate muscle repair and eliminate the built up lactic acid that causes soreness. I wish I’d taken it just a little easier. I’m looking ahead to November 10, when I’ll be running the Hope for Warriors 10K. It’s a great event (although the course itself is only so-so). My prep for this weekend’s 5K fell short, and I want to do better. 10K means more base runs as well. Better get started soon.

2 thoughts on “Comparing race times is easy but results are confusing.

  1. Hmmm. I've learned that I just can't trust my equipment, even though i REALLY want to. What's amazing to me is how your garmin is so close to the actual times of your races. Wow. It looks like it was off the most in 2011 (to compare with athlinks) PLUS – that you remember to turn it off when you get to the finish line! I don't have an explanation either, other than gps error?


  2. Warning: geek talk…GPS will usually under-count distance because it literally cuts corners. GPS works by pinging its radio off a satellite. The time between the transmission and the the next ping are correlated to the specific location of the transmitter. The TOB 5K distance was fairly accurate because the course is so linear. Twists and turns distort results and the GPS unit vectors out curves through triangulation, under counting true distance.Turning off the Garmin is definitely an issue. I forget to do it every once in a while often. But the Garmin's accuracy is no better than any other unit. It's really dependent on the NAVSTAR satellites.


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s