I have been using a Garmin 205 for much of this training cycle for next months Chicago Marathon. I am hoping to run Sub 3 for the first time and I just wanted to get your opinion on whether you would wear this watch in a marathon where you are trying to set a PR. The disadvantage of this watch is that it is somewhat heavy and uncomfortable. The advantage is constant feedback on pace.
I also have the 205 and really like it--it is one of the most accurate of the GPS's. It comes amazingly close, but that's not good enough. It can be off up to .02 per mile according to tests I've done running with it on a 400-meter track. That's almost 8 seconds per mile at 6:30 pace. I will be wearing my sports watch with lap timer in all races. I want accuracy to the split second, something that Garmin cannot deliver. The same goes for intervals on the track.
In a world class event like Chicago, especially, you can probably count on accurately placed mile markers. It is amazing to me how many people think that their Garmin's are atomic clocks, even using them as the basis for PR's. If you want to have a good idea of how far you are going without measuring the distance with a wheel, and many of the other great features that Garmin has, you can't go wrong. It is amazing that they can do so much by bouncing signals off satelites hovering above the earth. However, when you need precision you can forget about it. Use a stop watch.
Good luck in your race
I'm going to use mine and have used it for a couple other long races... for me it is worthwhile to know average pace and whether I am faster or slower than goal time - Jim makes a good point about big marathons having accurately placed markers, but I've found it difficult to do the math in the latter miles. I don't think the weight is enough to matter at all...
Quick note regarding "doing the math" - print out a wristband - print out two or three of them with your goal time, that time minus 5 minutes, and that time plus 5 minutes.
I have the 301 so Im not sure if they have the same options, but I would use the "avg lap time" as one of the windows on the screen. That way even if the gps was slightly innaccurate, I could just press "lap" at each mile marker and the "avg lap time" window would give an exact average pace.
Unless you're running your marathon course on an Olympic
qualifier course that actually shows the measurement line
painted (or if your course is single track), there's a slim chance you'll
hit exactly 26.2 anyway, so I don't see a reason for pinpoint accuracy.
Run it on something like the Marine Corps Marathon course where the
roads can be 40 feet wide at times and you have to dodge walkers
and joggers all over the place no matter where you line up and you'll
be lucky to run less than 26.7.
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I plan on taking mine as I am not sure how well marked the miles will be (it is a relatively small marathon - I believe 900 last year - and it is on a trail) and am planning to do the "lap" thing as needed.
I also plan to do the wristband thing for my own gauge. MarathonGuide.com has some great ones.
I love my $6 velco stopwatch too, but for this one I am taking the 305 along (if for entertainment value alone on those long trail miles without spectators!).
Perhaps I should clarify a little bit ... I am not overly concerned exactly where the mile markers are because i am sure that the race will have clocks at every mile and will be accurately marked.
The advantage that i see by wearing the gps watch was one of knowing your pace per mile. I planned on hitting the lap button at every mile marker and would like to know if i start to slow down or speed up too much ... this would give me the advantage that i would not need to wait until every mile marker to see how my pace is for that particular mile.
I've worn my old-fashioned 201 in several marathons. Turn off the auto-split and the auto-pause. Keep the display on "lap pace" for that constant feedback you want. Hit the split button at each mile marker. This way, you get pacing feedback AND accurate splits.
I think it's a little too much info....checking my lap splits and maybe a wrist band for overall pace has always been sufficient for me. But if it helps you, do what's best for you.
I have been wearing my 201 for over three years and have become quite accustomed to it. I now have the 305 and it is much smaller and lighter. Even better it has never lost the signal yet and the info I gather from the runs afterwards is proving very helpful which is why I will continue to use it even when running marathons. The info that can be gained by downloading to the motionbased or sport tracks web sites is invaluable and should be able to help you trouble shoot your runs, especially those where you may have trouble etc. While running my marathon next week I will pretty much just keep track of my average pace and the overall time during the race. I have also printed out a couple of pace bands with my goal time and one 5 minutes over (still a BQ) I then folded them in half and trimmed them and laminated them so that I could carry them with me without them getting all crappy.
Some think it is too much info to have during a race others like it, basically to each their own. Do what works for you.
Hi dear friends,
More than one wristband of any design may also be provided on the same sheet, and multiple wristbands of the same or different design may be.