Friday Five – How Does a Distance Runner Do a 5k, Garmin, Magellan and More!


Happy Friday! As I noted, this has been a busy week and frankly between all the crazy stuff going on I am very much ready for the weekend! Everyone seems to be on the mend, AP tests are done, and the can begin the home stretch to the end of the school year (and hopefully get summer jobs soon!).

Cat Calls Need to Stop – On the picture above – I posted this to Instagram & Facebook yesterday, noting that in the warm weather I wore my compression shorts and got a comment from a couple of slightly younger women (~40) who were walking a dog ‘nice shorts’. Given my history I took it as a fun playful compliment, but had my boys said that to a woman runner I would have been REALLY annoyed.

And on Facebook in a local running group, a woman went on a rant about getting comments the other night when it was 80+ for wearing short-shorts and a running bra. There was a healthy discussion, then she revealed the worst comments came from … women. Regardless of source, this judgment and objectification needs to STOP. Now.

Ok, enough of THAT for today, on to the rest of the story …

1. Garmin FR-15 Arrives!

As I posted to Instagram yesterday, Garmin sent me a review sample of their new Forerunner 15 GPS watch. I have been very happy with the FR-10 for more than a year and a half, but there were a couple of limitations:
– Limited battery life (<5 hours GPS time)
– No wireless accessories (no foot pod or heart-rate monitor.

The FR-15 addresses all of this – and more! They sent me the package that includes the ANT+ (no Bluetooth) heart rate monitor, and also comes with the USB charge & sync cable. In my test run, the heart rate monitor paired instantly and tracked wonderfully.

There are a couple of great new features – better battery life and fitness tracking. The FR-15 now touts more than 8 hours of GPS battery life, and I can't wait to put it to the test. The other new feature is fitness tracking – as I write this the FR-15 is displaying the number of steps I've walked today, and by pressing one of the side buttons I can step through date, steps, goal steps, calories, and total distance. If you are sedentary for a while the tracker will beep and display 'Move!'

So what is lacking so far? Wireless sync. I understand that because this is their entry level device there are compromises, and for the price the FR-15 delivers tremendous value … but I would rather never have to use a computer for syncing my GPS again.

You can pre-order the FR-15 through Amazon with an expected ship-date of May 30th. I will have a full review in the coming weeks.


2. Magellan Echo Update

If you recall, I gushed about the Magellan Echo in my review, and it has been my primary running watch all winter. Then a couple of weeks ago there was a major update that changed the watch display and added a stopwatch for non-GPS activity tracking among other updates.

Upon installing the updates my display began acting weird, switching off, rebooting, and so on. Eventually it just stopped displaying or responding.

I set it aside and just used my Garmin FR-10 … but it bothered me because (a) I really liked it (b) it forced me to carry my phone on my runs and (c) I had recommended it so heartily.

So this week I started trying to dig deeper, including how to do a hard reset … and the procedure was to just remove the battery, give it a couple of minutes and then replace it.

Hmmm … replace the battery.

So yeah, I figured why not just CHANGE the battery?!? Of course first I did just take and put back the same battery and confirmed that nothing happened. New battery? BAM – everything was back.

So the ‘at least one year’ battery lasted less than 5 months – but the good news is that everything is back and functioning fine!

3. Garmin VivoFit First Thoughts

One thing I got Lisa for Mother’s Day was a Garmin Vivofit, which you can get from Amazon for $129.99. The Vivofit is similar to the Polar Loop (Megan had a review of the Loop), Jawbone Up, and so on – they are meant to be worn all the time to track your daily activity. Given how much I have loved my Garmin, I decided to give the Vivofit a chance.

Cool stuff:
– Tracks activities such as steps, etc.
– Sleep tracker
– Customize goals, challenges, etc.
– ‘Nag’ reminders to move
– Wireless sync

After a couple of days of continuous wear Lisa had a small reaction on her wrist (to the surprise of no one who knows her – she reacts to the ‘Livestrong’ style bands as well), so she only tracks alternate nights sleeping.

We have used the Vivofit along with Runkeeper (and last night also the FR-15) and they are all great for tracking steps and approximate distance. The Vivofit is also

4. Beware of Online Pace Calculators

As I get ready to run shorter races this year, naturally I start thinking about times – the last time I ran anything less than a half marathon, I still weighed over 200lbs and was really just starting my running journey. So I need to find a basis for comparison – and started looking online. What I found was an article at about why I shouldn’t be so quick to trust those pace calculators:

Using a half-marathon time to predict a 5K time becomes problematic because the race-specific training for these distances is so different. For instance, when you prepare for a half marathon, your training should include long runs and threshold runs, which are key workouts to improve fitness, but they’re not the 6 x 1,000m with 400m recovery workouts you should complete to get ready for a 5K. This type of workout does two things. First, it gets you grooving at race pace, and, for many runners, 5K race pace feels frenetic because it’s faster than their easy, long run and threshold pace.

I totally get what they are saying, which brings me to my last topic …

5. How Do I Run a 5k?

I have been dancing around it a little bit, but in the spirit of honesty and directness I talked about earlier this week I have to say – I am more scared about running a 5K than I am about running a marathon!

Ugh – I know that sounds ridiculous and stupid, especially since I haven’t run fewer than 4 miles on a normal run since April 2012, but let me explain.

So here is the thing – I have no desire to hit the track, do sprints and other things like that. Maybe I will, but my core desire is still to just go out every morning for my run, and to work on the 5K strategy ‘on the side’. I know things like tapering, fueling and so on don’t play into it … but I really don’t know how to approach pre-race fueling either.

I have an 8k and 5k coming up – and while I am honestly not worried about getting a PR in either, I have no idea on what I should set for a target time, how I should approach them (just go out fast and try to hand on, start slowly and build, even-pace?) … just no clues.

Any thoughts for me as I start to get ready for these races?

What are your weekend plans? What race distance scares you?

26 thoughts on “Friday Five – How Does a Distance Runner Do a 5k, Garmin, Magellan and More!

  1. Agreed on the cat calls! Not sure if this even falls in that category but I’ve had a guy talk to me from his car randomly for the past 2 years on a particular route, and even tried to get me to come over to his car by claiming he “bought me a hat with a light”. Creep.

    As for the 5k I can relate to not naturally wanting to work on speed. The good news is that your solid aerobic base has probably left you able to run faster than you realize in a 5k. You could test out what would be a tempo run pace and if you can go faster the last mile or so, let loose!

    As for the pace calculators, they seem to be accurate for my half & full times but not for my 5 & 10k (they think I should be faster) which is a reflection on my lack of speed training and smart pacing strategy, I think.

    • And if that guy only knew that you were THIS close to leaving your husband and kids until he overplayed his hand with the hat offer … 🙂 But SERIOUSLY – exactly WHAT do these people expect?

      And it is funny … I think ultimately that if I want to do my best in the races I need to focus on the right workouts. I just need to stop whining and suck it up and do it 🙂

  2. No I feel you on the scared of the 5k/10k distance. It is a different kind of ball game! I ran the 10k back last year and it was HARD! You push harder in a 10k even if it is for a shorter distance. Since I started following a 10k plan to work on speed and cut back my milage it has been a whole different ball game, one that my body isn’t used to! I don’t use the pace calculators instead I run based on effort. That can changed based on the day and how I am feeling. Seems to work better for me!

    • Thanks Sara – good for you following a plan! I just sort of realized I was not prepared, and enjoy my morning ritual … but also know that if you want the results you need to do the work! Good job for you coming back cautiously to running! You guys are in the pre-move home stretch … no injuries now!

  3. Catcalls went out with the Disco Era and when we started to pay more attention to EEO in the work place from any side of the fence.

    How is the FR-15 for quickly picking up a signal? That is the primary reason I moved away from the FR10 – it was taking 5-10 minutes to get GPS sometimes, which got to be too frustrating for me.

    I carry my phone on 95% of my runs so the Magellan interests me and when they get the Android version out, I might think about looking at it when my TomTom gives up the ghost.

    5K strategy – Like Michelle said, given your aerobic base you will run it better than you think, but i would do a couple of mile tempo runs at a very hard effort to get an idea of about where you are for pace. Then this is “do as I say, not as I do” go out hard, but at a pace that is sustainable and one you can hold for a negative split.

    Also when you finish some of your easier runs, do some short strides at 90-95% effort

    One thing about a 5K is that you have to warm-up more than for a longer run/race and your body has to be ready to run faster, from the gun to the finish, you don’t have time to take a half or mile at a slower pace to warm-up. The gun goes bang and you are hauling a$$. 🙂 Doing 3-4 50 yards strides just before the start is not showing off for the crowd, it is getting your body ready to run faster and is an important part of the warm-up.

    Good luck with the shorter distances an have fun with them 🙂

    • Thanks Harold! I think that all of you guys have given me great advice … and I really just need to decide if I am going to work for these or just go play around. If I plan to do my best, I need to put in the effort.

      Great advice on the warm-ups as well. I was thinking that, because I know it takes my body a couple of miles to really ‘feel it’.

      As for hte FR-15, I think it is essentially the same GPS chip as the FR-10. I have only done one day so far, and it took a while to lock on (one time-out warning), but then was fine. But that was true with the FR-10 as well in every new location the first run. THAT is also why I like to do a bunch more testing before a full review and a follow-up – because what impresses at first glance might not be the same thing after a week or a month or more. So if I find the GPS weaker … I will let you know. For me, the FR-10 was better at locking on quickly than the Nike+, Magellan Switch, and Polar RC3. And since Nike+ uses TomTom for GPS, I assume I’d have issues with your watch in my location as well. There are definitely geographic considerations.

      • Thanks for the info on the 15, my TomTom is usually getting signal within 30-60 seconds, even in a new location. When I went down to Portland (an hour away) and raced, it was within a minute. This one of the things that really surprised me about the TomTom.

        Race one and have fun at the other and finish with a smile at both 😉

      • Good advice – the one race is a little charity run for a school where a friend has her daughter … the other is a huge one attached to a big tourist weekend. I think I know which one to push 🙂

        And yeah, I think you are best off not bothering with the FR-15 as much as I like it – if catching GPS is a pain, nothing else matters!

  4. I agree with you about being scared of the 5k, I am more comfortable with longer distances, mostly because I don’t feel warmed up until 4-5 miles in, but I ran my first 5k last Oct and surprisingly, I was WAY faster than I thought I was going to be, I just put my head down and ran hard. I think all the distance running makes us stronger, which can lead to faster 5k times if we don’t go out too fast in the beginning.

    I have an 8k tomorrow, which scares me…I never thought I’d get to a point where “only” running 4.5 miles would be scary but I’d welcome a 15-20 mile run. HA!

    Your new Garmin sounds AMAZING, the wireless sync would be the selling point for me because I NEVER plug in and sync my Garmin on the Garmin Connect site 😦 I wish I would have waited to get this model, oh well!

    Have a great weekend!

    • I think that the most important think I can do is probably relax and stop over-thinking it with the shorter races!

      I didn’t know there were many 8K runs … seems an odd distance – but that is what the GlassFest race is as well!

      The Garmin is really nice, I had a ‘running all over the place in 3 different facilities’ day today, so it is nice to look down and see 14,000 steps on top of my morning run!

  5. How many data fields can you see on a single screen on the FR15? I want a new Garmin, but I’m trying to hold out another year or so because I’ve heard exciting rumors about a wrist HR sensor — I wear the chest strap daily but sometimes it is so uncomforable, especially when trying to fit in with a sports bra. Guys seem to have considerably fewer issues with the chest strap, so count yourself lucky there.
    I know what you’re thinking about why a 5k would be worse than a marathon. Running at a pace faster than your lactate threshold hurts! But I’m guessing you’ll enjoy it (and the speed workouts that lead up to it) as well. Harold’s right, strides are a good first step to 5k training and something you could easily start doing on your runs tomorrow. Gradual accelleration to full but controlled speed maintained for 20 seconds, then slow back down to easy pace until you’re fully recovered and repeat as desired! For me, beyond doing 5k specific training, the key is to do a good warm-up before the race so I’ve cleared the cobwebs and I’m ready to pace from the beginning of the race. I usually shoot for even splits, but it depends on the course elevation, and I usually end up with positive splits anyway, but if I’m well-trained, I can keep the splits fairly tight (about a 10 second spread).
    I line up fairly well on a pace calculator when I input lifetime PRs (including my 5k, which is now 2.5 years old), it shows distances at which I slight under- or over-perform, but for the most part, when I really work hard at a particular distance and PR there, it falls in line with other PRs. And it’s been nice over the last decade to see all of them improve!

    • BTW, to make my long comment longer, I had several 5k PRs (not my final PR, but races on the road to the PR) where I didn’t know my pace — I had my garmin but someone else carried it or I kept it out of sight. Didn’t want the “freak out I’m going too fast” moment at my first mile split. Kind of goes to your tracking/no tracking post earlier this week!

      • I had one of those moments on one of my first 5ks where I blasted out and was OMIGOD and then slowed way down … I am much better at managing my pace at this point and also know how to only have my Garmin display the time 🙂

    • Thanks for all of the great tips, Carina!

      The FR-15 has pretty much the same display as the FR-10, so generally 2 fields per screen, and multiple pages to see everything.

      Had to laugh about the chest strap / sports bra thing … I know it is true, but my laugh was more because while I don’t have to deal with a sports bra, if I don’t wear my band-aids … well …

    • I think it is not bad … wore it to work today, and have to say it is pretty geeky looking for a ‘day watch’. Not that is a problem for me. 🙂

  6. I enjoy reading reviews of other Garmin running watches, especially since I’ll have to try a different watch once my Forerunner 305 dies out….(which I hope never happens, but I don’t think Garmin even makes the 305 anymore?)

    I think 5K is the perfect distance to “go all out” and see how fast you can push yourself and give your best effort, even if you regret going out too fast and end up slowing down at the end. At least then you know where you’re at with your short distance running, and can use that info for future training. I’m currently training for a 10K (after years of only marathon training) and it really is a whole different world of running/training. Marathon training may take up more time with all of those long runs, but I honestly think 10K training is more work!

    • Thanks Jillian! I think you are right – I am loving hearing all the encouragement to stop worrying and just go all out. Sounds like a plan! 🙂

      I honestly don’t think that the FR-15 is going to be much of a replacement for someone who has used a 305! That thing is such a beast … but if you can step down to a fairly basic watch it is pretty solid so far.

  7. I really like adding a few 5ks into my racing a few times a year. I don’t necessarily train for them, but usually I will have done some sort of speed work for a longer distance race. I typically just kind of go all out and I’m dying by the end but its a short enough race that is over before you know it!
    I don’t really trust those online race predictors…according to some based on my 5k time I should be running a 3:27 marathon..ha I wish!

    • I had planned to keep running shorter distances but then with work travel last year I didn’t … now I am worried about it – which I know is silly to begin with! Oh well … we’ll see how they go!

  8. I am looking forward to your FR-15 review! That’s so cool! I never even thought about the possibility of a wireless sync, but now that I know it exists someplace, I wish I had it.

    I have run quite a few shorter races sprinkled in through my training. I’d say the thing that helps me the most when I’m getting ready to 5K at this point is to run around for a little while beforehand to wake my legs up. Since you are so used to longer distances, I think that will be your best bet. You are going to rock those races!

    • Definitely sounds like a mini-shake-out-run will be a good strategy – I really notice that I need 2 miles to fully get my mojo cooking in the mornings on my run.

      I would definitely like a full wireless sync – jealous of Lisa and her one-button sync from her Vivofit. I think they figure that people just using an activity tracker wouldn’t be bothered hooking up a cable – but us obsessive runners will do whatever it takes! 🙂

  9. Late to the “friday” game, but here goes. I’m right there with you, more scared of the 5k than the marathon. Way more. The 5k asks you to decide how much discomfort you want to tolerate today. You can physically push with everything you’ve got, it is much more likely your mind will break first because the discomfort is too much. Versus the marathon, my mind was fully ready to go faster but my body (due to my own stupidity and lack of fuel) couldn’t do it.

    My first race following the marathon will be a 5k. I have no idea what pace to choose. Possibilities include (A) try to PR over my most recent 5k official race, which happens to be this same race last year. This is pretty much a guarantee. (B) Use a calculator based on my marathon time, which as you said is rough because of the huge diference in workouts required. (C) Try to beat my fastest 5k as recorded by my Garmin, which was unofficial i.e. not in a timed race. This is a pretty fast (for me) time, so not sure. (D) Arbitrarily choose a time somewhere in between (A) and (C). I think I’m just going to try a few interval workouts to test out if (C) is an option and then just wing it.

  10. Pingback: Making the Transition to 10K Training | Loving on the Run

  11. Pingback: Making the Transition to 10K Training – Running Wife

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