"If you’ve raced with men on foot and they have worn you out, how can you compete with horses? If you stumble in safe country, how will you manage in thickets by the Jordan?" (Jeremiah 12:5). Our journey is intended to be more than simply "stumbling" through the days while the world "wears us out.” We are made to experience the thrill of "running with horses” and to navigate life amongst the "thickets." The RWH blog focuses on both the spiritual race of which Jeremiah speaks, and the physical act of running that I absolutely love. In short, it's where "the miles meet the Message" to provide insight, perspective & encouragement that might enable you & I to successfully run either of the races set before us. May our course be purposeful and may we be passionate in our pursuit of the abundant life He desires for us.

Saturday, April 16, 2011

The Best Running Investment I Have Ever Made

On April 12th, 2010, I was walking through a local sports store in Iowa City, Iowa.  I hadn’t been on many runs to that point in the year and really needed some motivation.  Little did I know that I was about to come face to face with the best piece of running gear I have ever purchased.  One that would assist me in racking up record mileage, taking on new challenges and most definitely providing that missing motivation.

Just a week prior I had been in a very informative conversation with some guys at work regarding GPS watches.  The pros and the cons.  The capabilities and the hype.  Additionally, my brother had long tried to convince me to try a Garmin.  He had raved about how it helped him complete his first marathon the previous year.  He went on and on about the training advantages of pacing, as well as how it generated routes and controlled speed work parameters.   At this point, I had no intention of running a 26.2, but I did want to be a bit more disciplined, and quite frankly, I was tired of always mapping the mileage on line or driving back over courses to determine distance.

My one year report card!
As you might guess, the stars aligned.  It just so happened that my browsing past the Iowa Hawkeye collectibles led me to a one week only, rebate special on Garmin 405’s.  My destiny! “So show me how this thing works.” “I’m not from around here, what if something happens?” “Guaranteed to make me run faster, really?” “I’ll take it!” (Actual transcript).

Well today marks the one year anniversary of my first run with this new toy, er, high tech gadget.  I have not been disappointed for one single minute (of the 169 hours that it functioned this past year).  The freedom to just go run, whenever and wherever, is very liberating.  It is literally the greatest breakthrough development since those big plastic combs you could keep in your back pocket in middle school were invented.  I would love to show you every screen shot, but I’m not sure there is enough blog space to copy the many, many, many tools that are synced to the online training program.

Obviously, I highly recommend a GPS watch to anyone getting serious about the training.  There are several good tutorials online and several good models.  I personally think the Garmin 405 series is the most user friendly and wearable. Check them out or leave me any questions.  All I know is that 184 runs and 1,104.36 miles later, I don’t leave home without it.  Go run!
My favorite route, 8 miles of Salem Lake. By the way,
it worked very well in Brazil.  No difference than at home.  (click to enlarge)

The basics, which then transfer to reports and calendars.  Cool stuff! (click to enlarge)


  1. I could not imagine training without a GPS watch. Think how good Pre could have been? Or Salazar? Seriously, it's a great tool. Another thing that is great is when you are so tied down to wearing it and obsessing over paces and distance, then on the occasional day when you run without it, you feel so free!

  2. “on the occasional day when you run without it” .... Yes, I know they say it is good for you to take off without time and distance on occasion. A more relaxed run that takes you mind off training plans and mileage. I just start to get withdraws just thinking about it. One of these days I’ll give it a try.

    And speaking of Pre, I wonder if it would have mattered. From everything I’ve read he never thought much of pacing anyway. It was basically 100% from “go”. Salazar and Rodgers, definitely. They were already in 2:09’s +/-, probably could have trained to a 2:05 and not much different than Hall or Khalid.