Runners who want to improve on their personal records know the importance of hitting the right pace in every training.
Whether you’re doing tempo runs, interval training or threshold workouts, if the goal is to run six-minute kilometers in a 10-K race, measuring that kind of precision will involve a lot of math. And math is the last thing you want in your head when you’re running.
This is where the GPS becomes useful. Its real-time feedback on your pace (minutes/km) and speed (km/hour) can help you train properly so you don’t waste time wondering if you’re doing it right.
Elite runners can calibrate their “internal speedometer,” but if you’ve had problems measuring and calculating your pace, it’s time to invest in a GPS watch.
Last week, Asics, the Japanese athletic footwear and sports equipment company, launched its first line of GPS watches in the country.
Asics is an acronym of the Latin phrase “Anima Sana in Corpore Sano,” meaning “a sound mind in a sound body.”
For its GPS line, the brand partnered with Seiko, the Japanese watch company backed by a 100-year-old watchmaking heritage.
Quality and workmanship
“What the Japanese technology means is that quality and workmanship of the watches are both good,” said Judith Staples, head of sales and marketing for fashion and sport at the Lucerne Group of Co.
“Asics, as a Japanese brand, really rely more on technology, and perform more scientific approach testings compared to other brands.”
The Asics GPS (P7,950 SRP) measures distance, speed and pace with a highly visible liquid crystal display. It also has a 10-hour GPS operation, with a dedicated application for data management. You can also record split times, lap times, lap running distance and calorie consumption while running.
The GPS watch stores up to 500 laps in non-volatile memory, meaning data is retained even without a power source. Nothing gets deleted unless you delete it.
It is water-resistant—you can take it to the shower and run under the rain without damaging the device, but you can’t wear it when swimming.
Like all Asics sports watches, the button layout is easy to operate. The Start/Stop button on the lower left side is large enough so you won’t miss it even while running.
The information display has a wide liquid crystal display so that a quick glance in the middle of your run gives you all the information you need.
At the heart of this watch is the GPS. The technology hasn’t changed much through the years, said Staples, although GPS measurement is still superior to accelerometers. Satellites track your routes through a series of plotted dots. Many studies have pegged the GPS watch to be within one percent of the true distance of a run.
Data transmitted in accelerometers can be “noisy.” Distinguishing a runner’s foot strike from, say, the device simply moving inside the runner’s pocket can be tricky, and often sends out the wrong measurement.
“The downside of the GPS watch is that it can become too technical. Some people find it a little too complicated to use, but once you get used to it and you get to toggle it more often, it becomes more intuitive,” Staples said.
You also can’t use a GPS watch indoors. It needs to be used outdoors, where the satellite can access it. When it’s cloudy and there’s signal interference, don’t wear the watch as you do your stretches before a run.
Remove the watch and set is aside in a safe place, or you can stop moving. After a couple of minutes, you’ll get a locked signal.
“People always think that they need to train harder to improve their running speed, but that is a mistake,” said Asics watch ambassador Mary Joy Tabal, 26, the fastest long-distance female runner in the country to date and the silver medalist at the 28th Southeast Asian (SEA) Games.
Lose extra weight
Lose the extra weight, she said, before lunging toward speed-oriented goals. The lighter the body, she said, the easier it will be to train for speed. When you get down to your athletic weight, the speed will come naturally.
“Everybody wants to improve on their time right away so they train for speed. And they get injuries because their bodies are still too heavy for all that stressful training,” Tabal said.
When you’re used to running, she said you must aim to run six times a week, with two days dedicated to interval training. And rest on the seventh day.
If you’re joining a race, do the same training but make it an active rest day instead. So swim or bike or cross-train on days-off.
“If you’re aiming to become an elite athlete, join full marathon races once or twice a year. But if you’re a recreational runner, you can go for three in a year, depending on how your body recovers,” Tabal said.
Asics also rolled out its line of LED night watches (P3,950 SRP), with a continually flashing LED light so you can see the liquid crystal display even in pitch dark alleys. The flashing LED will also alert drivers to your presence. This is also ideal for long-distance runners whose races normally start at 3 a.m.
There’s also the slimmer, lighter and fashionable entry-level line, SPM (P2,950) that comes in colors matching the footwear and apparel of Asics.
“This will give you the basic measurements. It has been stripped of some features, so you don’t pay for anything you don’t need,” Staples said.
Also launched was the Asics heart rate monitor line with chest strap, so you always stay within the safe heart zone during training (P5,950 SRP). It stores up to 300 laps, has dual time capabilities, target zone training, auto-HRM, interval timer, and ATHR presumption (Anaerobic Threshold, the point when your body transitions from aerobic to anaerobic exercise as intensity increases).
The Asics watch is available at all Asics and L Timestudio Boutiques.