I’ve been enjoying the Garmin Fenix 5+ and, indeed, the entire Garmin universe. I’m fully sold on the Garmin Connect platform and have the Index Scale to feed data into my Garmin Connect profile along with the watch. The amount of data that I have access to thanks to those two devices alone is incredible with everything from sleep patterns to the weight of my bones to the number of steps I take in a day to the amount of calories I expend doing whatever it is I do.
And in the last couple of weeks I’ve added a couple of other devices to the mix: the Tempe and the Running Dynamics Pod.
The Tempe is a pretty cheap solution to an issue that was annoying me perhaps more than it should have. I like to track the weather when I run and I usually note down if it is too cold or too hot to be comfortable in a Strava note or here on the site. However, ‘hotter then normal’ or ‘cooler than normal’ are nit really great descriptions of the weather a year after the event, and the mind can play tricks when you try and recall whether it was warm, hot, or just hotter than the week before had been.
Enter the Tempe which is a small pod you clip to your shoes, sync to your phone, and…that’s it. You get a reading on the temperature that syncs with Garmin Connect and, through that, Strava, and just about anywhere else you share that data. It’s been great at tracking temperature and takes about 2 or 3 minutes or 500 meters to get accurate readings. I’m very happy with it and it’s better than Garmin and Strava combining to suggest that my mid-winter run was in 20°C spring weather because, well, I don’t know why. It’s accurate data, and I like it.
The Running Dynamics Pod takes that data gathering to a whole new level. It tracks and reveals a whole bunch of data points that the watch doesn’t record, and which might be used to teach me a little about how to improve my form, an injury I am unconsciously blocking out, or a bounce in my step that I should work on. It tracks:
- cadence (the watch does this, too – better to be higher)
- ground contact time (how long your foot spends on the ground – better to be short)
- ground contact balance (whether you are favoring your left or right foot – better to be even)
- vertical oscillation (how high you ‘bounce’ off the ground when you run – better to be lower)
- stride length (this is self explanatory)
- vertical ratio (the ratio fo height or bounce to stride length – with the idea that its better to have a low ratio)
Today was the first run with the Running Dynamics Pod, and it worked a treat – and I have so much new data to consider now!
Here’s what I learnt from today’s run:
- my average cadence was 169 steps per minute, but included a couple of steep climbs where the cadence dropped way down
- my average ground contact time was 275 ms which Garmin suggests is good for an experienced runner, but could be better
- my ground contact balance was 50/50 which is spot on
- my vertical oscillation was 7.7cm which is pretty damn good
- my stride length was 1.08m and lengthened on descents while shortening on climbs
- my average vertical ration was 7.1% which Garmin suggests is pretty efficient
And it was a lovely 11.3°C on average throughout the run home!
So that’s the data…what about the run?
It was essentially the hilly way home.but with an extra loop at the start through the Parc de Gerland. I headed out of the office, got the Tempe and Pod dialed in (happened in seconds automatically – nice syncing, Garmin!) and then made a loop to the park and down to the Rhone. Crossing over the bridge to the Museum and then crossing the Saone to Saint Foy, I started up the climb that switches back a few different times before I summited the climb and started across the fall flat towards Lyon.
After the smooth, gradual descent to the edge of the fifth arrondissement, I took the steeper descent half way down the hill until the final very steep climb up to Saint Just. A fast descent, a duck across the Saone once again, and I clicked stop on the watch and closed things out just before stepping into the corner store to grab a post-run drink…and get started on checking out the data!