Friday, May 7, 2010

How accurate is accurate?

I don't have a Garmin.  I don't know if I even want one.  I like just going out and running.  I usually know the distances of all my routes by heart and I just go.  On the chance that I do run a new route I use Gmaps Pedometer to find out exactly how far I ran.

But is that program really that accurate?? 

Yesterday I was trying to map out a 2 mile loop and the lines that Gmaps was mapping just didn't seem right.  I run on the sidewalks...not down the middle of the road.  So I remapped the 2 miles manually and found that in fact the distance previously mapped was a little short.  Now I am questioning if in fact all my distances are actually what I thought they were! 

This morning I may have run 5.1 miles...not sure how accurate that is!!

5.1 miles/40:35/7:58 pace

This is my last run before the Pink Ribbon 5k Run Sunday for Breast Cancer.  I will be racing this and my mom will be walking it!  We have done a few races together and I really like it!

Hope everyone has a great weekend! And Happy Mother's Day to all the moms out there!! 

26 comments:

Lisa from Lisa's Yarns said...

I have a Garmin and absolutely love it. But I am a data junkie so I love being able to download my runs & see my pace graphed out. They are a bit of an investment but worth the money for me!

And re: your comment yesterday - I would totally be your running buddy if we lived by each other. Although you would totally leave me in the dust since you are so much speedier than I am! :)

teacherwoman said...

I too am a data junkie! I can't wait to get out there and use my new garmin!

Good luck this weekend!

I Run for Fun said...

Have fun at the race!

I felt the same way as you do about the Garmin Forerunner, until I got one. Now, I can't imagine running without it!

marathonmaiden said...

i struggle with the whole accuracy thing because i crave exactness but am wayyyyyy too cheap to buy one haha! i find that the distances i map can vary even if i'm mapping the same route on the same site. annoying. so i tend to do a short lap around my building (which takes 45 seconds or so) to "make up" for any potential shortness

James said...

I use mapmyrun.com. It has a great google maps interface where you can map it using the satellite imagery so that you can follow the sidewalks vs the street. Depending on how detailed google maps is where you live, you can get extremely accurate measurements. Gmaps is similar but I think mapmyrun is easier to use and you can choose to follow the roads or turn it off and follow exactly where you went.

Kim said...

Like you, I don't have a Garmin, don't know if I want one, and use gmaps-pedometer. I've also tried Mapmyrun. This is what I've discovered - none of them (INCLUDING the Garmin) are 100% accurate. Garmin will lose its satellites, and all of the methods will have trouble with hills. When you're running up a hill, it might seem to a satellite or map interface that you're running less distance.

I tested both Gmap-pedo and mapmyrun out near my house. I ran a route, then mapped it and found they both came up with differing amounts. It was a VERY hilly area. I went out and drove the car along the route and discovered that gmap-pedometer was closer to the right distance and mapmyrun was WAY short (by about a third of a mile on an 8 mile run). So, I stick to gmap-pedometer now.

You just have to remember that they all have their issues, and unless you hand measure with one of those rolling things, nothing will be totally accurate, but they'll be close enough.

HurdlingHam said...

i've always been a usatf route mapper girl, i definitely have had a few issues with accuracy in the past - once i did a run for time and the "distance" i mapped when i was done had me running like 6:15 miles...hmm...not so much. but generally it seems accurate to within .1-.2 of a mile...which really is good enough for me. i actually do the same thing as marathonmaiden with the random lap around my building at the end. :)

have a great race! i would love to do something similar with my mom one of these days!

RunningLaur said...

If I don't have my Garmin with me, I freak out, but I'm a totally numbers obsessed engineer, so I'm sure that skews things. As long as you're getting in running is the most important part.
I say if you have a particular time/distance in training that's really important to you (maybe like mile repeats) I'd map it out a few different ways and take the average. Drive it in a car, google pedometer, map my run...

Have a great time at the race this weekend! 5ks are over quickly, so push through! :)

shellyrm aka jogging stroller mama said...

I am totally hoping for a Mother's Day Garmin. I miss having one since mine got sweated to death in TN.

I stress about new routes too! I like to KNOW that my distance is correct so I know my pace. I usually know the distance is off if I have dramatic different in pace when I know I wasn't pushing or slacking.

Enjoy your weekend! I will hope for a speedy 5k for you.

misszippy said...

Have a great run on Sunday. I say don't sweat the mileage--in the ballpark is all you need.

kilax said...

I don't think the Garmins are that accurate either! And sometimes, races really aren't measured correctly!

Have fun at the 5K :)

Jess said...

Maybe Gmaps isn't perfectly accurate but neither is a Garmin. My feelings are that if I'm training and I'm off by a couple tenths of a mile it's not the end of the world. As long as you're runs are progressively getting longer, it doesn't matter that they're off by a little bit.

Christy said...

I use USATF and run with a Nike+ and they're always compatible. If they're off, it's by .1 or .2 of a mile, never more than that! The Nike+ was $20! Way more affordable than the Garmin!

runkerarun said...

I looooove my Garmin. I've found it to be pretty accurate, and I now like using it as a tool in races to make sure I'm taking the right tangents (I didn't in my half and ended up running 13.3, blah!). It can be a pain to get it to sync with satellites sometimes, but I really like having it with me.

I have a Nike+ sensor, but it was WAY off for me... by more than a mile by the end of one of my runs.

But, I too am a data junkie. I study my Garmin charts like you wouldn't believe, and have a training spreadsheet to envy all spreadsheets ;)

Marlene said...

I've noticed this before too. Since they have the "for runners" option, you'd expect them to at least trace the route along the correct side of the road. I use it as a guide only.

Either way, excellent job on your run!

Holly said...

I think it's really difficult to find any tool that is 100% accurate. I do not have a Garmin. I just track my time with a watch and then map a route on Dailymile.com

However, it sounds like from what some of the Garmin users say -- at races the Garmin is not even accurate. Showing a distance more or less than a 5K or what not.

X-Country2 said...

I like my Garmin, but I certainly don't NEED it. I haven't worn it since becoming pregnant, and it's been nice to just run.

Good luck this weekend!

Molly said...

I'm the type of runner who just likes getting out there, I barely run with a watch. That said, I think now that I'm going to tackle 26.2, I'm going to need a Garmin. I use Map My Walk, and the odometer on my car to figure out a route, but it's much harder to figure out when I'm on a trail.

Julianne said...

I used to use the Gmap Pedometer, too... Until I got the Garmin! I love my GPS watch but there's so much freedom and fun running WITHOUT one!! Once a week or so I just go out there and run, withtout my fancy gadget!

Jamie said...

While I love garmy he's not always very accurate. Nice job on the run. Good luck at the 5k.

ajh said...

Have a great race with your mom! That is the best.

onelittletrigirl said...

I thought I might be the only person who didn't own, and didn't plan to own a Garmin. The only reason I would is too track distance, because like you, I think I come up short or long in most cases. I try not to let it bother me. Since it is the only reason I want one, it doesn't make sense to spend that kind of money.

Nicole Orriƫns said...

I've been coveting a Garmin, but I'm not sure either whether it would contribute much to my runs. Also I'm worried I won't be able to figure out how it works.

I had lots of trouble with my iPod...

http://www.momshomerun.blogspotcom

sunapeegirl said...

This is basically why I decided to get a garmin. I have this thing that I really need to know how far I ran haha, if not at the time, at least after. It's probably because I'm so used to running on the treadmill. Plus I need to know so I don't increase my mileage too fast and get injured

chris mcpeake said...

As long as you know your close to your mileage thats all you really need... or a garmin ..lol

Mel-2nd Chances said...

Data and gadget junkie here too, sorry ;)