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2131 Views 12 Replies Latest reply: Jul 20, 2009 11:01 PM by morkelkey
NH Road Runner Rookie 27 posts since
Oct 8, 2004
Currently Being Moderated

Sep 23, 2006 5:38 AM

GPS for marathon PR?

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.

  • Jim24315 Legend 1,987 posts since
    Dec 14, 2007
    Currently Being Moderated
    1. Sep 23, 2006 7:02 AM (in response to NH Road Runner)
    Re: GPS for marathon PR?

    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

  • rbbmoose Pro 324 posts since
    Oct 12, 2007
    Currently Being Moderated
    2. Sep 23, 2006 8:34 AM (in response to NH Road Runner)
    Re: GPS for marathon PR?

    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...  


  • Kevin E. Stroud Rookie 511 posts since
    Oct 27, 2007
    Currently Being Moderated
    3. Sep 23, 2006 11:37 AM (in response to NH Road Runner)
    Re: GPS for marathon PR?

    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.


  • SportiGrl Pro 470 posts since
    Jul 22, 2004
    Currently Being Moderated
    4. Sep 23, 2006 1:49 PM (in response to NH Road Runner)
    Re: GPS for marathon PR?

    kestrou ... that multi-wristband thing is exactly what I am planning on for pacing my first marathon ... along with my $6.00 velcro band wristwatch ...

  • eggnite Expert 167 posts since
    May 4, 2005
    Currently Being Moderated
    5. Sep 23, 2006 2:25 PM (in response to NH Road Runner)
    Re: GPS for marathon PR?

    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.

  • formationflier Rookie 974 posts since
    Oct 13, 2007
    Currently Being Moderated
    6. Sep 23, 2006 8:51 PM (in response to NH Road Runner)
    Re: GPS for marathon PR?

    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.


    MyRunningLog[/URL" target="_blank">
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  • runninlaw Amateur 983 posts since
    Mar 13, 2006
    Currently Being Moderated
    7. Sep 23, 2006 9:11 PM (in response to NH Road Runner)
    Re: GPS for marathon PR?

    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. has some great ones.[/URL" target="_blank">

    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!).

  • LeftRightRepeat Pro 1,452 posts since
    Aug 16, 2007
    Currently Being Moderated
    9. Sep 24, 2006 6:36 AM (in response to NH Road Runner)
    Re: GPS for marathon PR?

    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.


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    Founder of the
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  • AndyHass Rookie 1,368 posts since
    Dec 14, 2007
    Currently Being Moderated
    10. Sep 24, 2006 8:20 AM (in response to NH Road Runner)
    Re: GPS for marathon PR?

    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.

  • mainerunnah Legend 897 posts since
    Aug 14, 2007
    Currently Being Moderated
    11. Sep 25, 2006 2:16 PM (in response to NH Road Runner)
    Re: GPS for marathon PR?

    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.


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  • morkelkey Rookie 3 posts since
    Jul 20, 2009
    Currently Being Moderated
    12. Jul 20, 2009 11:01 PM (in response to SportiGrl)
    Re: GPS for marathon PR?


    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.






    Glow in Dark Wristband

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