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GPS Watches and Road Racing

Posted by George Parker on
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GPS watches are a valuable training tool. However, when it comes to racing, be careful! There are few nuances you should be aware of.


 All right, five minute warm up. Welcome. Let's get started.

Today we're going to talk about GPS watches during road racing. And, look, I love my GPS watch, I use it all the time I use it in training I use in racing. I also live in the city. And most of the races that I do, are in the Atlanta area. And even when I travel, they tend to be in other metropolitan areas. More importantly, when you do races, they are usually more than one other person, there was multiple people. And a lot of these people were also using their GPS watches.

So should you use your GPS watching the race? Let me give you something to think about.

The GPS watches are great for setting paces, there's no question. However, when you are in a race, your time is computed from the start line to the finish line. It doesn't matter how much weaving you did and how many extra miles you did. The 10k or the half marathon and the marathon distance is determined by the mile marks and the beginning and the end of line. That's the only splits that matter.

Moreover, in a lot of big city races, such as the Chicago Marathon, New York, any any marathon, any half marathon happens in the city, you have buildings that can obstruct GPS watches, and it can give you inaccurate readings on your watch. That can also happen to there's a lot of people there can have buildings, tunnels, bridges, whatever, right? There can be obstacles that obstruct the signal, and can get you off the pace. So my advice would be when you are racing in a race and if you are already used to wearing a watch, wear your watch.

However, I wouldn't rely on the pace that GPS watch tells you. Instead, I would make sure to manually lap yourself at every mile marker that is going to be your true split. So every mile, you're going to get a true split for your pace, you have the intermediate knowledge from the GPS. But the only one that matters is that split that happens at the mile marker. And if the distance your GPS watches giving you is a lot further than or sorry, if you're hitting the miles quicker than what the race course is telling you. That's going to let you know that you're probably not running the race efficiently. Like you're not hitting those tangents, right. Maybe you're weaving a line that's good information to have as you go forward in the race to try to run those tangents better and weave around less.

The last thing I would say is a good pro tip is make sure you turn off the auto split feature on your watch. Nothing is worse than having your watch split early. Turn that off. Look at your GPS paces that's fine, but manually lap yourself when you get to the mile markers to get a true split and that's going to help you a ton as you run races.

Best wishes.


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