Went on a longish run today, 14.5 miles. The first for a while, except the half marathon eight days ago, of course. Wanted to give my new GPS gizmo a spin (forerunner 305). Set it to auto lap every kilometer so I could get the splits, to analyse where I was slowing or speeding up etc. Ran one of my standard routes. From David Lloyd along the tow path, up past Leigh Court, across to and through Lower Failand to the main road then back into Failand and over to the Ashton Plantation before heading into Ashton Court by the Quarry entrance and back to David Lloyd. It is a pretty hilly run with five good steep hills.
The GPS coped really well on the whole. It lost signal only once on a short section of the run in very dense tree cover. The run took in quite a lot of tree covered sections so I was expecting it to loose signal more than once. As a training tool I found it very useful, especially on the hills because I could monitor the lap pace for the current kilometer and push hard to try and maintain somewhere approaching the average pace. It really gave focus to work hard on the hills and then continue to work hard afterwards to bring the average pace back to where it was before the hill. Finished in a time of 1:43:03 which is good time (for me) on such a hilly route and far quicker than I normally go on the route. So, I give the GPS a thumbs up. Hopefully it will help improve the quality of my long runs. I feel that I normally go too slow/easy and end up not getting the full benefit that I should get from a long run. I believe that the forerunner 305 will enable me to get more from my long runs by running more accurately at my goal training pace.
Also, I found a piece of software on the Internet called SportTracks. It downloads the data from the GPS and then displays the route on google maps and charts all the vital stats; pace, distance, hr, weather, the list goes on. I could spend almost as much time analysing the charts and reports as I could running! My only negative comment about the GPS is that the elevation data it records is way off and next to useless. The distance seems pretty much spot on which I guess is the most important thing.
Finally, I will racing the Bridge Inn 5k tomorrow evening. I plan to go for an easy morning run followed by a session on the weights down the gym. As long as I go sub 19 I will be happy. I have ramped up training and the race is not a priority. Training comes first for the next few weeks. I want to get in some quality work, focused towards the Stroud Half Marathon, where I intend to knock a minute or two off my Bristol time.