Thursday, July 25, 2013

Watch out

Up until now I've been using the Nike+ running app on my iphone and apart from a few glitches every now and then I've been pretty happy with it - especially how you can connect with other running friends and see who's run the most kilometres each month.  It's fun and allows you to connect with social media, share your runs and generally see all of your past runs.  Lots of nice graphics and good for the not insanely serious runner.

Having started this Hansons Marathon Method (recommended to me by the speedy and stylish Alice of Forestbound) I was really in need of something more to help me keep an eye on my pace.  A lot of people I know have Garmins but it's definitely quite a commitment of a buy - especially for your first one.  I wasn't too fussed about committing to a brand and storing all of my data, my main concern was starting with something that kept track of my pace and was relatively easy to use and not expensive so it was a nice coincidence when the nice people at Soleus sent me one of these Fit 1.0 GPS watches to try.

This particular watch averages about £90 which in my opinion is a fair price; good for someone who's never had a GPS watch before.

I've not completely left my iphone at home yet on my runs.  I have been using my Nike+ app alongside this watch, just to log my miles as to not creep back down the leaderboard against my online running buddies.  But as I've been listening to music less and less during my runs I've not had the Nike lady speaking in my ear telling me my pace per kilometre, instead I just run to the thoughts in my head and every now and then, glance down at my wrist to see my pace. (Does this mean I'm becoming a *real* runner?)

So, this watch.  On first impression - I really liked the packaging! Charging it was easy, through my usb port on my mac.  The first charge needed about 4 hours but after that it's only taken about an hour to charge from 0% to full.  And since having it about a month I think I've only charged it once or maybe twice.  Setting the time, date and other bits took a little bit of figuring out mainly because the instructions inside the box are very minimal but there are plenty of youtube instructional videos to show how to do this.  Going for my first few runs as a complete newbie GPS watch wearer I didn't understand that I just had to stand outside and hold my watch still to zoom into the satellite.  Once I figured this out it's easy and even some of the runs I did in France amongst farmers fields where sometimes the wi-fi and phone can be dodgy I had no problems getting signal on the watch.

It does what you need it to do - tells you your pace and mileage.  I must admit I'm used to my iphone's colour screen, self explanatory instructions and moron-proof interactive touch screen user experience. Going back to using a watch with four buttons, one which says 'light/save, one which says 'start/stop', one which says 'mode/exit' and one which says 'lap/enter' - is still baffling me and I'll be honest and say I've stood on my drive before a few runs just pressing random combinations of buttons until I get to the screen where I can just press 'start' and go on my run.  This could be because I've not done lots of online reading to figure it out and I've not tried any other GPS watches so I'm not sure if it's just me not being patient with the technology.  Other than that though I've enjoyed taking the step up to using a GPS watch.  My training plan contains some speed work and I'm already thinking it'd be cool to be able to setup specific speed sessions which I'm aware other more advanced watches do - but I think for investments like this there isn't any point in buying something until you realise what you need it for so unless you were wanting to do speed sessions, plot routes, etc this watch does everything you need it to do.  (Well, within reason... I still can't even get my fiancee to make me a brew some mornings so I don't like to ask too much of an inanimate object)

What technology do you use for running?  Now I am craving a cup of tea...


  1. I laugh everytime I open your blog and "I hate your shoes" comes up on my chrome tabs.

    Looks like a good watch but for that price I'd really recommend going for the Garmin Forerunner10. It retails for £99 but I've seen it other places *ahem sports pursuit & ebay* for as cheap as £79.

    It does all that Soleus does but also keeps track of data on Garmin Connect and produces cute maps of your route on Google Maps. A plus when you do an especially cool route.

    I'm so glad there are options out there for cheap & cheerful runner GPS watches though. For so long they were big ugly and klunky.

  2. I use Strava on my iPhone - I can't bring myself to spend £100s on a Garmin when the app is under £5! But I have noticed it's much harder to do any kind of training as you either have to hold your phone in your hand (risky for a klutz like me) or keep taking it in & out of your pocket (riskier for a klutz like me). Maybe the Soleus is the way forward....

    1. There are armbands to hold your iPhone while running, have you tried those?

  3. Good to know about this, though I have my trusty Garmin (a cheaper version given to me as a present) and will stick with that until it falls apart, methinks!

    My fave bit: not getting your OH to make you a cuppa. Shame on him, you tell him I said that! ;)

  4. I have the Garmin Forerunner 110 and I love it! It was £99 & looks pretty similar to the one you got :-)