I wore my Garmin Forerunner 110 GPS watch for the Spring Blast Half Marathon on May 11 (race recap here). I had fun uploading the data to Garmin Connect online and analyzing the race splits. As you might recall, my target race pace was 8:35 per mile, and I came in overall at 8:40 per mile. The chart below says I came in at 8:37 due to a 3 second difference between my Garmin running time and the race official’s stopwatch, and between the 13.1 miles on the course and the 13.17 I actually ran as I navigated the course and dodged people on the path (I didn’t think I did much of that but obviously enough to add 0.07 — a little over a football field in length — to the course):
Overall I’m happy with how it went. In analyzing these splits, I can tell that wearing a GPS watch helps me a lot. If I don’t wear one and don’t pay attention to my average pace for the current mile, I go out way too fast in the beginning of the race when I feel fantastic, and I don’t push hard enough when I start to lose steam toward the end. For the half marathon, knowing my mile splits helped me keep more of an even pace. In fact, when I checked to see if I negative split the run, I found I came in at nearly even splits, taking just 15 seconds more to run the second half of the race than the first.
You can tell by the mile splits above that I felt really good through about mile 9, then started to lose steam at mile 10 as I was going up the slight incline, then picked up speed on the way back down for mile 11, slogged through mile 12 at about 15 seconds behind the goal pace, then gave it my all for mile 13 at 6 seconds ahead of pace, and sprinted to the finish at 40 seconds ahead of goal pace.
Don’t get me wrong. I don’t obsess over my race splits or beat myself up over what I could have or should have done. It’s simply interesting to look back over it and see how the splits compare to how I felt during the race.
Do you wear a GPS watch for training runs and races? I love my Garmin and I wear it most of the time, but I make sure to take it off occasionally and just run naked.