Reach Your Personal Potential By Run Training With a GPS Watch

When runners are looking for ways to improve their performance and fitness levels, there are many approaches they can take. At first, real, measurable progress comes easily. Improvements in nutrition, clothing, and simple repetition can help runners see immediate and substantial gains in their times and overall fitness. After a while, however, runners that stick with a training regimen quickly reach a plateau where gains come in tiny increments instead of big leaps, and they begin to search around for more subtle changes they can make to get faster or improve stamina. Not all of these changes are physical. Increasing performance quickly becomes as much of a mental exercise as a physical one, and runners usually turn to statistical analysis as much as dieting and workout advice.

GPS Running Watches Can Take The Place Of a Running Coach

One of the best ways for runners to keep track of their progress is to employ a GPS running watch. GPS running watches make it easy to keep close track of progress over long periods of time, and the information they gather and store makes it easy to drill down and answer almost any performance question you might have about your progress.

Runners report that GPS devices help them shave minutes from their time while they increase their fitness levels, but running watches have become such complicated and sophisticated devices that some runners have a hard time getting all the possible benefits that running watches offer users. Used to its fullest capability, a GPS running watch can act as the equivalent of a personal trainer, so it’s well worth a runner’s time to learn exactly how to use one. Here are some simple ways you can use a GPS watch for run training and unleash your full potential.

Which GPS Running Watch?

Nowadays, there are several manufacturers of GPS watches although there are a few major players on the market. The most popular brands and models are the Garmin ForerunnerTimex Ironman, Suunto, Polar, Magellan Crossover and Nike+ SportWatch.

Some models are useable for triathletes since the watch is waterproof, others are very basic and simple models for running outdoors. Of course the more features a GPS watch has, the more expensive it will be.

First, Establish Your Resting Baseline

How to train with a GPS watch? Training for running using your GPS watch makes it easy to keep track of variations in your workout routines and your performance. While that’s useful, it’s infinitely more useful if you know exactly what your baseline information is. Many GPS running watches keep track of your heart rate as one of many bits of information it collects. In order for you to have a solid sense of your heart rate during training and recovery, you really should know your resting baseline heartrate first. If you activate your heart rate monitor and lie still and relax for about five minutes, you’ll measure your true resting heart rate as measured by the device that you’ll be using to track your heart rate during exercise, which is much better than using information from other sources like a medical exam. Even if your GPS watch is off a little, both the baseline and the other measurements will be off by the same amount, and the difference between them will be an accurate reading.

When you’re training, your resting heart rate can stay elevated well after your workouts, and you may need to adjust your workouts to allow your body to recover fully before running again, and tracking baseline heart rate is a great way to determine whether you’re overdoing it.

Baseline Heart Rate Is Only Half The Story

Runners, especially long distance runners, know the importance of tailoring their training regimen to keep their heart rate in a particular zone. Interval training for runners especially depends on it. Before you can determine whether you’re in an appropriate heart rate zone for the workout you’re attempting, you’re going to need to know your maximum heart rate as well as your baseline. That way, you can correlate your heart rate to appropriate levels for things like recovery training, endurance training, aerobic training, anaerobic training, and your ultimate limits. To get your maximum heart rate, warm up for at least 15 minutes, including plenty of stretching, then find a challenging incline and hit it hard for at least two solid minutes running as fast as you can without running out of steam. The rate at the top of the hill will be entered as your maximum heart rate in all calculations.

Make a Training Diary

GPS running watches really shine at this kind of statistical data gathering and collation. Depending on what model and brand of watch you use, you can set up your watch to monitor your daily performance, and then upload the info into web or desktop analysis tools to track your performance over time. Running apps can be very data-intensive, but if you’re afraid of information overload, you can opt for simply tracking your time, distance, heart rates, and perhaps a short note about how you felt during your workout. As you become more accustomed to using the GPS watch, you can always add more parameters.

Stay In Your Zone

A lot of running watches have programmable alert functions that let the user keep close track of one or more aspects of their workouts, and make it easy for runners to stay within predetermined limits of pace as well as heart rate. Not only can constantly glancing at your GPS running watch make long runs tedious, the motion of holding your arm up to read numbers on the dial can actually affect your gait and pace. By setting vibrating or audible alarms before you begin your run, it’s easy to keep track of whether you’re pushing too hard or going to slowly to get the maximum benefit from your workouts.

Make Interval Training Easy

Almost all run training regimens rely on some form of interval training. Interval training means splitting a workout session into different periods, or intervals, with each period having a different intensity, pace, target heart rate, or some other parameter. It can become extremely tedious to keep track of intervals on your own, and one of the most useful functions of a GPS running watch is the way they allow the user to set up and keep track of interval session automatically. That way, the runner can focus their attention fully on achieving great results instead of counting laps or monitoring their pace constantly.

The Whole World Is Your Track

Another handy function of run training with a GPS watch is using the device to create custom distance measurements anywhere you want to run. Runners were once limited to running laps on closely measured laps with a defined finish line to make counting laps easy. GPS running watches can be set to measure out any distance you want over any terrain, so you can run laps without going in a circle.