Thursday, October 29, 2009

Garmin Forerunner 305, Suunto T3, and Polar RS400sd Review

The two most important variables that define any form of motion are distance and time. We can say that an object has moved if an object has traveled a certain amount of distance in a given time interval. Okay, enough with the physics lesson. Perhaps, one very useful tool for any runner is a watch. Nowadays, there are a variety of running watches each with unique features. Some runners depend on the biggest watch you see at the starting line. Others such like myself prefer to use a digital watch worn at my wrist. The amazing thing about today's technology is that many running watches go beyond just recording your time. With products like Garmin, Suunto and Polar, running watches have never been the same.

Running watches nowadays offer the ability to predict your running effort through the help of heart rate monitors. And since time and distance are important variables in running, they also have the ability to measure it. Some provide GPS capability, which looks cool when loading into Google maps. Since my blog has been dedicated to running and the gadgets the help runners achieve their goal, then I'd like to give my reviews between 3 running watches specifically Garmin Forerunner 305, Suunto T3, and Polar RS400sd.

Garmin Forerunner 305

If you are looking for just a training computer and doesn't mind not having to use it as a dress watch, then Garmin Forerunner 305 provides you the most important features any runner can get. It records speed and distance and plots your course so that you can upload the data to your computer and have it displayed even to Google maps. It also comes with a heart rate monitor. It also comes with a virtual training partner. So if you are up to the challenge of racing your virtual partner, then you can do this to motivate you. Accuracy wise, its pretty accurate. I almost always get the same distance on the same course I ran with it. The price is also quite cheaper compared to Suunto and Polar.

The problem with Garmin though, and perhaps to most GPS computer is that the pace wouldn't help much. The pace varies drastically, and you can get really frustrated if you simply plan to rely on this. However, at least using the average pace value could be more useful. I would suggest to use the average pace variable when monitoring your pace. Another problem is the fact that you can get the cheap monitors outside the Philippines. I got mine through Amazon, and I was just blessed that a colleague went to the US and had him buy the gadget for me. Now what I really hate about the Garmin Forerunner 305 is its really bad quality. I would have given the gadget a high rate, but mine didn't last a year. And the problem is I'm not anywhere near a dealer who can have the product fixed within warranty. My Garmin wasn't in fact an isolated case. There are many rants about the product on the Internet, all with the same experiences. Because mine broke and it didn't even last a year, then I'm giving the Garmin Forerunner product a grade of 2 out of 5.

Suunto T3

This was my first running watch and I had some sort of withdrawal syndrome when I shifted to the Garmin Forerunner 305. It has the capability to measure speed and distance using the foot pod. It also accurately measures your heart rate. Unlike Garmin, you can easily get the watch from any Time Depot shops that you can find in the malls. One particular unique feature of Suunto T3 is the training effect. The training effect gives a certain amount value stating how well you did your training. It can help you monitor if you trained well enough or not. Perhaps I can attest that the Suunto T3 has helped me improved my fitness level. I have no question whatsoever with the quality of this watch. It is almost with me for more than 2 years and the only complaint I've had with it is when the heart rate broke after more than a year. The good news is if you get this product, it is under warranty for 2 years. So I was able to replace the heart rate monitor easily without spending a dime.

When you look at the foot pod accuracy, it is fairly accurate, however I can see slight differences when changing shoes. However, this isn't really bad, because the difference is like +- 50 meters if it is well calibrated. What I hate about the Suunto T3 is that it is very expensive. When you get the watch, the foot pod, and the USB connector are not included. You need to buy them separately and their prices are really sky rocketing.

Polar RS400sd

This watch is quite similar to Suunto T3. It allows you to monitor you heart rate, and measures speed in distance. But what makes this watch unique is the ability to test your fitness using Polar Fitness Test, and the ability to also determine your fitness after you train via the running index. Now I am able to check and monitor if my fitness is really improving by doing. For the past weeks, I have been lacking training so my fitness level wasn't at its peek. In fact when I raced the Race for Life, I managed to finish the 5K race at a measly time. True enough, the polar gave me a running index of 57. But after the 21K run and continuous training up until today when I racked a 10K distance at 44 minutes without having my heart rate overshoot, the watch gave me an index of 59. What is cool about the indexes is that it gives you an idea of the trend of your fitness. If it is moving up, then you're improving. If it's moving down, then you're slacking. If it remains constant, then perhaps you're over training. This watch is fairly new so I cannot comment much on the foot pod accuracy. But as far as I've been using it, after calibrating it yesterday, its pretty much gives accurate values. In the Philippines, since Polar products can be found everywhere, then having the watch fixed if problem arises isn't much of a problem. You also get 2 years warranty. Unlike Suunto, when you get the Polar RS400sd, they will include everything such as the foot pod, heart rate, and USB connector and software that come with it. I got mine a lot cheaper than when I got my Suunto T3. Another plus for the watch is that it looks good. I am able to use it even when I'm not training.

Don't believe that when you get the foot pod out of the box that it is at the minimum 97% accurate. It can be far more inaccurate than that. When I got mine, its 5K was 500meter shorter than the actual 5K. After calibrating the foot pod though, everything seems to be fine. I will have to do more tests.

Saturday, October 24, 2009

I Survived the Adidas KOTR 21K Race

Woohooo! I survived the KOTR (Adidas King of the Road) 21K race. After 2 years of running, this was to be my first 21K distance race. I have tried one 42K last year but never have I tried running a 21K before. Since Adidas has been showing off its great looking singlets, I was lured into registering for the race. I registered on running the 21K event for the mere reason that I have always been missing any long runs. The truth is, for months already, my training only involved short distances of 5K in tempo pace. I don’t know why, but when I decide to do a longer run, I always end up doing short ones. The longest I had on one weekend was a 10K. I had to do something about skipping long runs. I knew my endurance have declined, and if I’m not going to put back those long distances, then I won’t be improving at all. Now here was my chance. At least I know I won’t skip a long run if I paid PHP500 to run it.

Now here comes race day. Like I said in my previous post, I was having race jitters. As we gathered at the starting line I bumped into El Kiyoshi. My goal for this race was to finish at least with a time of sub 1:50. But as the clock started ticking, I had fears of cramps or worse to get a DNF(Did not Finish). But I was psyching myself that I should finish the race. I’ve already set my heart rate to play around 74% to 87%, and my strategy was to keep my heart rate on those zones for the entire race. When the gun started I paced with El Kiyoshi running at a sub 5min/km pace. I was trying to listen to my body trying to find if there is anything wrong. I did not experience any problem so far not until the 10th kilometer as we were heading back along Buendia. I felt my left thigh burning, and accompanied by numbness in my left calves. This was the same experience I had during the Philippine International Marathon, the only difference was I was having it at the 10th kilometer marker. This was the time when I was questioning myself what in the world have I gotten myself into. Instead of getting panicky, I told myself that whatever happens I should try and finish the race. There are instances especially climbs when I had to stop and walk when I felt my left leg muscles felt to be giving up. I normally detest walking, but in this case it was the only strategy I had to finish the race. My finish time was no longer in my mind. It was just a question of finishing it or not. So I tried to slow down my pace, listened to my legs, then when it feels tight, I’d walked for a couple of seconds, and when it feels a little bit better already I’d run again.

At the 14KM marker, I was thinking of not turning right and just head to the finish. But again, that would be cheating. I told myself DNF is not an option. I’ll finish this race whatever it takes. I took a right turn, slowed down and held for dear life!

Time was fleeting as many runners overtook me. But it doesn’t matter anymore. All I wanted was to survive this race. I couldn’t any longer feel my feet. But the funny thing is I knew I was moving. And it was just a matter of time and I finally crossed the finish line. I felt I was the happiest runner alive. I was glad I survived my first 21K. I finished a time of 1:43, a PR to break on my next 21K.

After the race, my legs were cramping I felt like vomiting. Thanks to my officemate and co-blogger Ian who handed me a glass of water after the race. That helped a lot mate. :)

I think I should be incorporating long runs in my training. I still need to decide my next half marathon race. But I hope I’ll be back with a vengeance.

Btw, my wife broke her 10K pr with a time of 1:02. We’ll be celebrating a movie later for our PRs.

See you again on the next race.

Wednesday, October 21, 2009

Signed Up for Adidas King of the Road 2009

Although the claiming of the King of the Road race packets was a hassel, the good news is the race singlet is fantastic. To my opinion, this is the best looking running singlet ever in the history of races I've joined.

Its been a long long time since I've done a long run, so here I am registered for the 21K. I'm not so sure if signing for a 21K distance is a good idea knowing that I have been missing my long runs for quite some time already.

But hey, what best to start putting back those mileages than races like this. Though this 21K will be treated as an LSD, I'm sure it would be lots of fun. I'm actually quite nervous. Its been a long time since I've felt race jitters like this.

My goal is to finish the race at moderate intensity. My friend and pacing buddy Glenn is training for the Standard Chartered Marathon, and he has agreed to pace with me. He'll be doing 32K though. Glad to be finally pacing with you again mate!

See you all at the starting line this Sunday.

Monday, October 19, 2009

CWX Tights Review

Since running had become a favorite recreation for many here in the Philippines, a lot of technologies came out from the market. From GPS watches, GPS enabled cell phones, and recovery necklaces and bracelet, now comes a performance booster running tights.

Who said tights are just for women? The CWX tights, which can only be purchases at RUNNR at Bonifacio High Street has been claimed to help boost performance and assist a runner to recover.

I have read several reviews about the CWX tights, and so far, much of them are good feedback. I have been longing to try their tights wondering if it does really do wonders.

So for the first time I used the CWX pro tights and took it for a two 5k run this morning. The first 5K run is a tempo run and the next 5K run would be at moderate intensity. The first 5K will help me evaluate if it does help increase performance, while the second 5K will add strain to my legs as it adds more mileage, and will help me evaluate if it does aid you in recovery.

I ran my usual 5K route and I finished the route with a training time which is quite above my average training time. The time I got in finishing the 5K however wasn't the fastest from my training pace. However I can say that it can be categorized around the top 30% of all my training time 5K distances. So my verdict is not yet that conclusive. I still need to do more tests with the tights. So far though, performance wise, it lived up to my expectations.

I continued running another 5K distance, now at a moderate intensity. I got surprised that my second 5K was just 60 seconds slower than my first 5K distance. This made me wonder if the tights did help in boosting my second 5K at a moderate effort? Again, I still need to do more tests.

Now for the recovery part, after the run, my legs felt fresh. So far as of this writing, I felt I didn't run this morning. This I can say that perhaps the CWX Pro tights did help.

Thursday, October 15, 2009

Last Call on Adidas KOTR Registration on October 18

- Perks up for grabs when you register for the adidas King of the Road

- First ever Running Exposition on October 17 – 18 at SM Megatrade Hall

Registration on-going only until Ocotber 18!

Registration for the 2009 adidas King of the Road (KOTR) slated on October 25 is ongoing until October 18 only. Runner who wish to register can do so during the Running Exposiiton at SM Megatrade Hall scheduled on October 17-18. The King of the Road event covers three running distances, 5k, 10k and 21k and the fee is P500. It will be held at the Fort Bonifacio in Taguig City.

Running Expo on October 17-18

For the first time, adidas will conduct a Running Expo on October 17 to 18 at the SM Megamall Megatrade Hall from 10:00 A.M. – 8:00 P.M. for all KOTR participants! Carbo-loading, exhibits, seminars, distribution of singlets, race bibs, presentations and a lot more surprises await all KOTR runners.

Mi adidas discounts

Perks never run out once you register for the KOTR. Just present your registration receipt at the counter to avail 50% off your mi adidas. You can now customize your shoes according to your style using the high-tech software available at the adidas flagship store in Greenbelt 3. Hurry as there are limited coupons available!

Get the latest on King of the Road from Facebook and E-group

Get the latest from adidas about the King of the Road. Add us up in your Facebook accounts! Just search for adidas Running Philippines. Exciting prizes await you loyal King of the Road marathoners! Just add our e-group at

King of the Road for a good cause

The King of the Road is for a good cause as this year, the HOPE worldwide Philippines, Inc., an organization which upholds children protection and welfare will be its beneficiary.

Register now and experience the joys of running only with adidas.

Because every runner is different.