Too Much Information

Is there ever such thing as too much information? Or should I say too much data?

I'll know shortly.

It seems that I have dived headfirst into the world of athletic data accumulation on account of my new Suunto X6 altimeter watch. When running track in college, I never timed myself on a distance run. I was an excellent judge of pace (and still am, although the pace is much slower these days) and never really cared what my time for one of our daily 9 mile runs was. Later on in life, when training for triathlons and marathons, I started obsessing over the watch. I blamed it on the whole "tri-geek" phenomena. But even then, I refused to train with a heart rate monitor (despite my coach's urging) as I was still very capable of listening to my body and interpreting its signs.

And now it comes to this. I went for a brief run last night with my newly-calibrated toy -- a run of only about 3.25 miles or so -- and I can not only tell you what my time for the run was, but I can tell you my total ascent, descent, as well as my average ascent and descent rates for the loop. I can also scroll through the watch's graph at 10 second intervals and tell you that at exactly 4 minutes and 10 seconds into my run, I was running up a hill at a rate of 68 ft/min (ascent rate, not distance).

And the funny part is that I was only using the watch's more basic "chrono" feature. There's another mode that also stores weather info and allows for the user to mark points in the log and later download the elevation profile to the PC. I'll save that feature for lengthy mountain bike rides. For now, I just want to know how long it takes me to run my little local routes.

And my total ascent, the time at which I reached the highest point of the run, the ascent rate, cumulative elevation gain, etc., etc...

Come to think of it, I'm really glad I didn't get a GPS system instead.

Oh, and if you're wondering, I started running again a few weeks ago after taking several years off. My little neighborhood gallop last night took 21:25, contained 190 feet of elevation gain, and involved mildly gusty winds and freezing rain. I've always loved running in foul weather.


Criscipline said...

You ran 3.25 miles in 21:25 and up 190 feet of elevation?

My record time for 3.10 miles at zero incline is 37:01. Yeah, I know, I'm ashamed too. But that record was set yesterday after beating my previous day's time by a whole 17 seconds. That 17 seconds made me a very happy woman. The plan is to beat the time every time I run NO MATTER WHAT! I'm pleased with my progress.

Cool watch!

Doug Walsh said...

LOL! You'd be surprised how quickly small little hills and slopes add up. There's probably only two spots on the loop I run that I would even mildly consider hills. It just adds up, that's all.

Now, when I was running sub-16:00 on hilly cross-country courses, that's worth being surprised over. Just remember that the best way to get going a little faster at that distance is to mix in an occasional longer run so that the 3.1 suddenly "feels short".

Criscipline said...

Tomorrow my goal is to run/jog/walk 5 miles. I'm sure I'll hate it, but I'll do it.

Does a stretch exist for shins? I've been trying all day and can't get it. I finally just decided to rub them. Call me if you know of anything.