I was abstaining from working out when a cool opportunity came my way… I was offered a free entry to a the Collabeeration 5k hosted by Shoes and Brews in Longmont, along with the chance to demo a Tom Tom Runner Cardio GPS watch. All they asked in return was that I stop by the Tom Tom table after the race and let them know how I liked the watch. I did not receive any compensation for this post.
And though I did stray from my commitment to resting when I did this run, it was just one little run. It did not lead to uncontrollable running the same way a promise to try just Soft Batch Cookie might find you bloated and licking the empty plastic sleeves in a desperate search for the last crumb, just minutes after you began your innocent cookie tasting.
The race was well-organized and almost all on a concrete bike path. It was nice to see some new scenery. It started at Lefthand Brewery and ended just about a half mile from the brewery at the Shoes and Brews store. There was free beer for race participants afterward and a swanky limo if you wanted a ride back to the start line and parking.
This was the first 5k I have ever run just for the sake of running a race eg) not trying to run as hard and fast as possible. It was out of my comfort zone in a totally different way than I am used to. I admit I couldn’t help but get
mad inspired when a dude with a double stroller passed me. I tried to catch him, but I couldn’t. He was a machine. When I saw him at the finish line I congratulated him and asked him how fast he normally runs a 5k. His response? “Oh, I don’t really run.” Of course not.
I wouldn’t have even worn a watch (actually I wouldn’t have even participated!) except I had the opportunity to try the amazing Tom Tom Runner Cardio, so I had access to all kinds of data. My average pace was 8:34/mile. I was pretty pleased with this, considering my effort level was moderate (except for the last half mile, trying not to let Stroller Guy get too far ahead of me). My average heart rate was 130 bpm, which was consistent with my perceived effort. I have used different heart rate monitors in the past, only to finally decide I am better off without one. It’s maddening when the thing thinks you your heart rate is 170 during an easy jog, or 125, despite the fact that you’re running at tempo pace. And don’t get me started on the chafing the heart rate strap causes. The Tom Tom doesn’t have a heart rate strap! It’s amazing!
I agreed to try the Tom Tom and run the race just because it sounded like fun. Since trying the watch, I decided to buy one. I liked my new Garmin 220, but I don’t love it like I love the Tom Tom. Having used used my Garmin a total of about 3 times, I did not feel bad about returning it.
Things to love about the Tom Tom
It comes in lots of colors (not just a “female” version and a “male version” in traditionally feminine and masculine color schemes.
It lays very flat against your wrist and is comfortable to wear. The holes in the rubber straps mean it’s probably going to be very breathable in hot, humid weather.
It finds a GPS signal ridiculously fast using something called QuickGPSFix Technology It was able to pick up a signal in under 20 seconds and the rep told me that if you pair it with your phone, it can find a signal even faster.
It was user friendly. Setting it up and using it was so intuitive, as far as figuring out which buttons to press to access the various functions.
The display is fantastic. On the default screen are three fields- one large one, and two smaller ones at the top. You can customize these, as I understand it. I believe the default setting was to display your current pace, total time, and total distance. It was really nice to be able to see all of these at once, at a glance. Meanwhile, just by pressing one button, you could scroll through and the large display would show you
The default was set for it to record a lap every mile. I didn’t change that function, since that is how I like things set up anyway. At each mile marker, it vibrated.
As I mentioned earlier, I thought it was accurate in measuring my heart rate, with the added bonus of not requiring me to wear a heart rate strap. This is genius. Now that the Tom Tom has come into my life, I look forward to burning my old heart rate strap, which come to think of it, I don’t even know why I still own.
This puppy lets you pre-program a workout from the watch itself. No plugging the thing into the computer or synching it with your phone required. Not only that, but you can mix up your metrics any way you want. For example, a typical workout for me might entail a 15 minute warm up, followed by 3 mile repeats. Between each repeat I would do an easy 3 minute recovery jog. After the final mile repeat, I’d cool down with an easy jog for 10 minutes. I used to look down at my watch a thousand times as I covered the last tenth of each mile repeat or the last minute of a rest interval. With this convenient function, I would be able to put all of my energy toward actually running, since I could set it up with no fuss and let it beep at me without having to look down and press buttons to record my splits.
It has a long long battery life… They boast up to 10 hours of GPS-mode use.
It charges fully in just 2 hours.
It has a treadmill mode, whereby it can calculate your mileage and pace when you’re running on the treadmill.
The Only Bad Part…
The only negative thing I can say about the Tom Tom is that you can’t view the pace or time of each lap on the watch itself. While you can see the information about the run as a whole, if you want to know your lap splits or paces, you need to pair the watch with your phone, and get this information off of your phone. According to the rep, many people share this complaint, and it may well be remedied by a software update. He said software updates are available every 8-12 weeks.
Do you use a GPS watch when you run? Which one? What do you love about it? What do you think could be improved?
PS I have been working my tail off, co-producing Boulder’s Listen To Your Mother Show, which is on May 9th at the Dairy Center. To purchase tickets, go here. To learn more about the show and to find out if there is a Listen To Your Mother Show in your city, go here.