The ultra runners tool kit

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16/09/2013 at 15:53

Eeewwww... Marmite, nooooooooo!

On a separate note, I'm starting to investigate GPS watch thingys with the idea of putting one on my Christmas list. Main requirement is to have something to act as backup nav for when I'm out on my own in the middle of nowhere, so want it to display UK Grid. Would also like the basics of Pace, Elevation, Time, Distance, plus as long a battery life as possible. Don't want HRM.

At the moment I am thinking Garmin 310xt, but I will be paying for an awful lot of multi-sport features that I won't use. Any suggestions for others to consider?

16/09/2013 at 21:24

Garmin edge 800.  It's a bike computer, but will fit in the pocket on your shorts or in your pack with no bother, has a longer battery life than most of the watches, and displays your location on a 1:50,000 OS map.  You don't get instant pace info (gives current speed instead) but for ultras, who cares?  I've found mine invaluable.  

17/09/2013 at 07:56
Ok, so, Garmin edge . In a nutshell roughly ??250 for something that's designed for a bike . The results from it being clamped to a bike travelling at a constant speed on a pretty flat surface are going to be slightly different to those from running an ultra with it bouncing around .... Where? Not on your wrist that's for sure, so , in your hand ? In your pocket ? In your backpack ? Bit of a pain in the arse for 50 odd miles when you have to keep trying to look at it ? ????Also I'd wager that the movement from running holding it in your hand are going to knock the distance off somewhat . Added to that it doesn't give you distance In current its a lot of money to spend ! If its for ultra then I actually DO care !
Doner Kebab    pirate
17/09/2013 at 09:15

its not as silly as it sounds, theres a wrist strap available for it - well there is if it the same 90° turn fixing as the 500, the gps  only takes a reading every second and so your arm movement during running wont play a part in any distance discrepancies, it does give you current distance but not your minute miling - but will give you your speed. i use a garmin 500 - no maps though, for anything over 18 hours, i use a 910xt then change over, i have used them both at the same time for runs just to compare and the distance is the same. If you like to know your numbers it also can display 8 data fields at the same time.


17/09/2013 at 15:25

Thanks for the ideas, keep them coming. Had not thought of a bike computer, but they sound a bit pricier that I was after. Had thought of getting a handheld, but am guessing they won't be able to give me any pacing info and also I like the convenience of having it on your wrist...

17/09/2013 at 16:27

If your going to spend 250, you might as well get a 910xt (even last year when much newer I shopped around and found one under 300 - without HRM as don't need that), like the 310 does non-running things you probably don't need, but the extra running related functionality is good if you like stats - and been around long enough that bugs sorted. As DK says battery only lasts about 20 hours (I think I've had mine recording for 20hrs and 30mins when it was newish, before I stopped clock, battery wasn't quite dead). Think garmin and polar also do a longer battery life one now (garmin fenix?), but not sure if does all the things you want....

From what I know your not going to get all that you want in a wristwatch without paying for extras.

So for cheap option....
For 20+ hour ultra's I've used a basic garmin etrex, which were about £80 when I bought and the slightly sleeker new version (etrex 10) isn't much more. That did the nav stuff (following routes/trails, tells you how far gone, grid refs) and you just have to remember to change AA batteries from time to time and restart the recording if you want to get the route.

Now the celever bit Use a cheap waterproof watch so you know time and test if your brain is still working from time to time by working out how many hours you've been out using subtraction (more diffocult than it sound over multiple days when you knackered). And as you know the miles from cheap GPS you can even work out your overall pace... takes some thinking time..... but this is something the ultraist has plenty of.

17/09/2013 at 19:34

Donor, disagree,if you read the reviews on Garmin edge theres a lot of discrepancy found in them when used for running.

agree with DrunkenOE, may as well buy a Garmin top range and be done with it instead of faffing with umpteen bits of gadget.

17/09/2013 at 19:34

but, each to their own

17/09/2013 at 19:53

I haven't had a problem with accuracy (and, on occassion, I've used both it and a garmin 210, with the same results).  But I keep it stuffed in the rucksack.  For me, currect pace isn't particularly useful in an ultra, as terrain is constantly buggering with it (I might care more if I wasn't so bloody slow!).  Having the reassurance that I am where I think I am has, on occassion, been worth it's weight in gold, though.

But, yeah, if you want something on your wrist and glance-at-able, it's the wrong solution.

17/09/2013 at 20:09
All trial n error peronel ????I guess we are all still searching for the full set of perfect kit
17/09/2013 at 21:00

Ahhh, but if we found the perfect kit there would be no more shopping opportunities.  And that woud be sad.

18/09/2013 at 15:44

E-trex is definitely a possibility DE. Think I need to have a look at both and decide if I am fussed about the traditional runner's GPS functionality. Anyone actually got a 310xt and using it for ultras?

18/09/2013 at 18:43

Yep, me, and I live it, although I bought it when I was doing triathlons. It does everything I need it to. I've never used it to navigate though, so can't comment on that side of things.

Doner Kebab    pirate
19/09/2013 at 01:47

i got the 910 same thing as far as running goes, you can build your own courses and save them now via garmin connect. you can access grid ref on the 910 but it only has breadcrumb trail maps but its enough to guide you through an ultra

when i bought my 910 i considered the suunto and fenix but i bought the 910 from an unbiased viewpoint so heres my 2p worth 

suunto ambit2 : you have to use their software for up loading as far as i can make out which is a big negative for me as i use garmin connect and training peaks, seems like you upload using their stuff then have the possibility of exporting to another program - waste of time, the plus is upto 50 hours battery time if you dont mind the gps being transmitted every minute instead of every second - this will have an effect on your current speed reading and map trace

a proper review is below - i doubt you will find a better reviewer anywhere, that includes the makers sites

if you ever get into biking or swimming yuo have the added bonus of already having a watch will record that data too, the armbit is crap at open water swimming as it takes too long to re aquire the satelite signal when it loses it as your arm goes underwater.

just for giggles i'll do a run tomorrow with my 910 and my garmin 500 bike computer and you can see yourself the difference in data, theres nothing in it really




Doner Kebab    pirate
19/09/2013 at 01:58

i just found a 112 mile route that i recorded on both the 500 and the 910, the 500 has it at 112.8 and the 910 has it at 112.3 - some of the discrepancy is down to me not resetting the 910 until i was well under way. so maybe about a third of a mile,if that,   over 112 miles isnt really worth worrying about


Doner Kebab    pirate
19/09/2013 at 10:57

here you go, this mornings run,

the only reason theres a 0.03 mile difference in distances is that in the first mile i had the edge 500 in my pocket - then i remembered LLBs remark about your arm moving and giving a false reading, this however was not the case and once i had the edge in my hand it was reading exactly the same as the 910xt, the edge 500 can be found for about £130 now so to me it is worth having 2 gadgets if i want to cover 40 hour events plus i have been known to do the odd long bike ride which makes it invaluable 


19/09/2013 at 11:14

Talk about making running hard work.

Doner Kebab    pirate
19/09/2013 at 11:50

didnt really think of putting on a watch as hard work tbh


19/09/2013 at 12:28

Yet you have managed to write a number of paragraphs about it.

Just put the watch on and go running!

alternatively don't put it on and go running.

Its just running!

Edited: 19/09/2013 at 12:29
Doner Kebab    pirate
19/09/2013 at 12:55

it was 2am - i had nothing to do so thought i would try and be helpful to someones question

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