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NY Times article on GPS watches

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NY Times article on GPS watches

Post  Seth Harrison on Tue Dec 20, 2011 12:07 pm

http://www.nytimes.com/2011/12/20/health/nutrition/gps-watches-may-not-track-runs-accurately.html?ref=science

After reading this, I'll rethink ditching my ancient, but still perfectly functioning 205 for a newer model since the GPS technology will be no better.
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Re: NY Times article on GPS watches

Post  Dave P on Tue Dec 20, 2011 1:26 pm

My 405 Garmin never clicks off the 1st mile in the same spot on my regular run. It does seem to get better after that 1st mile. I use my watch whenever I go out, & I track the data very closely. However, I take it all with a grain of salt knowing that there's a small percentage of error.
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Re: NY Times article on GPS watches

Post  healdgator on Tue Dec 20, 2011 1:47 pm

Dave P wrote:My 405 Garmin never clicks off the 1st mile in the same spot on my regular run. It does seem to get better after that 1st mile. I use my watch whenever I go out, & I track the data very closely. However, I take it all with a grain of salt knowing that there's a small percentage of error.

That's interesting. I run largely the same route for my long run every week and my 405 always marks the 1 mile mark at the same place (+/- 10 feet or so) and my consistent turn points always measure the same 2.83-2.84 and 3.53-3.54. My 405 seems very precise, and I think the accuracy is reasonably good as well.
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Re: NY Times article on GPS watches

Post  Ben Z on Tue Dec 20, 2011 2:21 pm

I too believe in the accuracy of my GPS watch when running away from tall buildings and dense tree cover.

You know why I believe my 405 is accurate? Because in my last half marathon, on a course with only 4 or 5 sharp turns, my watch read 13.12 miles (note: I was very focused on running the tangents all course). And in my last marathon that I raced all out with very few turns my watch read 26.29 miles.

Until they come up with a better way to record mile splits and your average pace/mile I will continue to use my Garmin faithfully as a training tool.
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Re: NY Times article on GPS watches

Post  Michele "1L" Keane on Tue Dec 20, 2011 4:44 pm

My Garmin is pretty accurate and generally measures the mile pretty much at the same spot on my regular runs. I only replaced my older unit with the new one when the old one completely died.
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Re: NY Times article on GPS watches

Post  Chris M on Tue Dec 20, 2011 6:32 pm

I originally had a 205 and thought the accuracy was pretty bad. When I went to the 405 and now to the 610, I've been amazed at how accurate the readings are. The 405 and 610 seem to link with the satellites better and hold the signal more consistently which avoids the wacky results I would often see with my 205. Sure, there are exceptions like when you run in downtown Chicago or on a heavily tree covered trail but if you are doing a fairly standard run or race with good visibility to the sky, the accuracy is remarkable. Looking back at race images on Google Maps in SportTracks, I've even been able to see clear close-ups of when I veered off to one side of the course for a water station and then back into the middle of the road.
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Re: NY Times article on GPS watches

Post  Bob on Tue Dec 20, 2011 9:12 pm

A couple thoughts:

My 205 has been "pretty accurate" for my runs. I have a hard time believing that all of his tests were off by as much as a half mile for a 6 mile run.

And, are we to assume that GoogleMaps are as accurate as satellites can be? Or could it be that those might be a bit off?
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Re: NY Times article on GPS watches

Post  Seth Harrison on Wed Dec 21, 2011 8:51 am

Chris M wrote:I originally had a 205 and thought the accuracy was pretty bad. When I went to the 405 and now to the 610, I've been amazed at how accurate the readings are. The 405 and 610 seem to link with the satellites better and hold the signal more consistently which avoids the wacky results I would often see with my 205. Sure, there are exceptions like when you run in downtown Chicago or on a heavily tree covered trail but if you are doing a fairly standard run or race with good visibility to the sky, the accuracy is remarkable. Looking back at race images on Google Maps in SportTracks, I've even been able to see clear close-ups of when I veered off to one side of the course for a water station and then back into the middle of the road.

Based on Chris's experience, perhaps I will take a chance on investing in an new GPS watch.
At last month's Philly marathon, my 205 was consistently shorting my
miles, with the mile alert going off about 15-20 seconds before I'd hit
the posted mile markers. I ran the tangents reasonably well and the
second half of the course has very few turns. In the end, the watch had
me running over 26.6 miles. Based on my pace, I realized during the race
that it had been shorting the miles during training as well, resulting
in me thinking that I was faster than I actually was. By about 5 or 6, I
pretty much knew that my "A" goal was unrealistic.
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Re: NY Times article on GPS watches

Post  carleenp on Wed Dec 21, 2011 2:01 pm

Ben Z wrote:I too believe in the accuracy of my GPS watch when running away from tall buildings and dense tree cover.

You know why I believe my 405 is accurate? Because in my last half marathon, on a course with only 4 or 5 sharp turns, my watch read 13.12 miles (note: I was very focused on running the tangents all course). And in my last marathon that I raced all out with very few turns my watch read 26.29 miles.

Until they come up with a better way to record mile splits and your average pace/mile I will continue to use my Garmin faithfully as a training tool.

When I ran the Sandhills Marathon in the middle of nowhere Nebraska, which is point to point in almost one straight line (there are two turns total on the entire course) and where you can get just about the best satellite reception of anywhere, my 405 measured it at exactly 26.2!
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Re: NY Times article on GPS watches

Post  sobele on Wed Dec 21, 2011 2:23 pm

I currently don't have a GPS watch (in the market for one ) so I don't have much to add except that the DC Rainmaker posted this on his website in regards to the NY Times Article. I found his take very interesting:

http://www.dcrainmaker.com/2011/12/why-new-york-times-gps-running-article.html
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Re: NY Times article on GPS watches

Post  mountandog on Wed Dec 21, 2011 8:56 pm

sobele wrote:I currently don't have a GPS watch (in the market for one ) so I don't have much to add except that the DC Rainmaker posted this on his website in regards to the NY Times Article. I found his take very interesting:

http://www.dcrainmaker.com/2011/12/why-new-york-times-gps-running-article.html

This guy's reviews are awesome. I enjoy his other blogs too. Thank God for all the nerds in the world.
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Re: NY Times article on GPS watches

Post  Chris M on Wed Dec 21, 2011 10:36 pm

mountandog wrote:
sobele wrote:I currently don't have a GPS watch (in the market for one ) so I don't have much to add except that the DC Rainmaker posted this on his website in regards to the NY Times Article. I found his take very interesting:

http://www.dcrainmaker.com/2011/12/why-new-york-times-gps-running-article.html

This guy's reviews are awesome. I enjoy his other blogs too. Thank God for all the nerds in the world.

I always enjoy his posts and learn a lot too. It has been great that recently both the NY Times and WSJ have been doing so many articles on running (the demographics of those in this latest running boom have been noted) but I think DC Rainmaker is dead on that they really missed the boat on the GPS article.
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Re: NY Times article on GPS watches

Post  Seth Harrison on Thu Dec 22, 2011 12:33 pm

Chris M wrote:
mountandog wrote:
sobele wrote:I currently don't have a GPS watch (in the market for one ) so I don't have much to add except that the DC Rainmaker posted this on his website in regards to the NY Times Article. I found his take very interesting:

http://www.dcrainmaker.com/2011/12/why-new-york-times-gps-running-article.html

This guy's reviews are awesome. I enjoy his other blogs too. Thank God for all the nerds in the world.

I always enjoy his posts and learn a lot too. It has been great that recently both the NY Times and WSJ have been doing so many articles on running (the demographics of those in this latest running boom have been noted) but I think DC Rainmaker is dead on that they really missed the boat on the GPS article.

That was a great article, and broke down the Times story very well. It also confirms what Chris posted regarding getting better results with a watch that had newer technology (i.e.-a 610 over my old 210).

Regarding the amount of running articles in the Times recently, Gina Kolata, who writes virtually all the stories on running, had done a very good job in finding interesting aspects of our sport to write about. Whether you agree or disagree with the article on GPS watches, I appreciate that the Times is having such a nuanced discussion on a topic like this.
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Re: NY Times article on GPS watches

Post  ounce on Thu Dec 22, 2011 7:30 pm

I read his review and read another on the 305, which I have. I just found out Garmin makes a velcro strap packaged with a bike mounting kit for $18 on amazon. I ordered one to see how well the strap works.

That guy writes well.
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Re: NY Times article on GPS watches

Post  Michael Enright on Thu Dec 22, 2011 10:35 pm

My old 205 is remarkably consistent in how it marks the miles whenever I run something I've run before, with rare, but odd aberations. It is good enough for me.

It was funny that the one guy in the story suggested trying to run 5K on the track, and see what it reads - I did just that this past Saturday. Came out to 5.07K. Also, when looking at the map it creates on Garmin Connect, there is one lap where it looked like I cut directly across one quadrant of the soccer field inside the track, like I took a shortcut. And then, as usual when I run at the track, the laps are all over the place, even though I stayed in the same lane.

But generally I still love it and am still amazed by it.

I never thought I'd own a device that would come as close as this.

Which reminds me - when do we get the jetpacks???
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Re: NY Times article on GPS watches

Post  Ben Z on Sat Dec 24, 2011 7:13 pm

sobele wrote:I currently don't have a GPS watch (in the market for one ) so I don't have much to add except that the DC Rainmaker posted this on his website in regards to the NY Times Article. I found his take very interesting:

http://www.dcrainmaker.com/2011/12/why-new-york-times-gps-running-article.html

As usual, very well put:

Summary

The point here isn’t to say that GPS watches are perfect, because they aren’t (trust me, I’ve seen just about everything that can go wrong).  However, they are generally quite reliable, for both training and racing.

When looking at GPS accuracy like the New York Times article did, it’s incredibly important to speak to exactly which units were used, and the circumstances around them.  Sure, that may sound detailed for a newspaper article – but in the vast majority of other pieces I read from the New York Times (which I subscribe to) – I do get that level of detail.  Whether it’s a piece about technology or politics in Eastern Kenya – that’s ultimately why people read the New York Times over an article on CNN.com; For comprehensive and thorough analysis.  And that’s what disappointed me the most here, the lack of understanding of the subject, or the detail behind it.
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Re: NY Times article on GPS watches

Post  Dave-O on Wed Dec 28, 2011 4:28 pm

Its pretty simple really: When not interfered with, they're quite accurate. When interferred with *gasp* the accuracy is compromised. And that means in any big city marathon, such as Chicago, NY and even Boston once into the city, there will be signal interferance.
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Re: NY Times article on GPS watches

Post  pattyspangs on Thu Dec 29, 2011 12:06 am

Yeh, I read both the NYT article and DC's take.

My two cents is that GPS technology in the Garmin Forerunner 110 that I bought off amazon for $150 bucks is probably one of the best technological purchases of my life. If you really think about how advanced and affordable this technology is, it is somewhat unbelievable. My experience has been that the Garmin 110 is very accurate and at times more accurate than some of the courses I am running on. e.g. - When 20 dudes run a 5k and everyone is saying "didn't that feel a little longer than 5k"? And then everyone looks down at their garmins and it says 3.2 miles - I am giving that one to the garmins. I don't depend on the thing that much in a race for distance, but it is pretty darn accurate.

I think GPS has been huge for the running community. I for one can't imagine running without one. Flippin Ryan Hall uses one during races.
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