Thursday, July 18, 2013

Lies, Damn Lies, and Garmin Data

 How many times has somebody said "My official time was X, but my GARMIN measured the course as 13.3 miles, so my REAL TIME was Y."?

It's more than once, which is too many.

People: Your Garmin isn't perfect. It doesn't know where you are to within 1 centimeter at all times. It works off satellites. Which move. While you move.

Also, if you think the calorie count output gives you license to eat five desserts after your long run, think again.

I present: Lies my Garmin told me, just in one day (Saturday, at the Diamond in the Rough Tri):

513 calories swimming a mile in about 24 minutes? Hardly. I regularly swim about that pace for 3 miles at a time. This happens several times a week. If this were accurate, I'd weigh about 40 lbs less than I do now.

And...no, Garmin, I was not below sea level during the run. Especially not 300 feet below sea level.




14 comments:

  1. haha, that would be some run!

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  2. UGH. Garmins. My worse peeve with them is when people subtract time and then that is their "official" time, Such as well the GPS measured my race as 3.3 and my time was 20 minutes exactly so my real 5k is 19:00...or you know whatever they said.

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    1. I completely agree with this peeve - they're only lying to themselves at the end of the day.

      xxx

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  3. haha! Love this. I always love when people tell me they would have been faster if the course wasn't as long as it was.....huh? RUN STRAIGHTER LINES. SWIM STRAIGHTER LINES. CYCLE STRAIGHTER LINES. Yes, courses are long but by fractions and not by 1/2miles.

    Great post!

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  4. I always post my Garmin data alongside my official time, but I never count the former as my 'real' time. No way. It always overestimates course distance (not helped by my awful ability to take the widest path around every single corner) and, as you say, if I burned what my Garmin says I do I'd weigh under 90lbs. Sadly not.

    I've never seen that elevation quirk though! Makes me think of trying to run underwater :P

    xxx

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  5. Hah! I totally write my Garmin time in my blogs but I clearly count my chip time from the official results as my PR or race time. However.... it does piss me off when I run "long" and of course if I ran "short" I wouldn't care. :) I don't use Garmin for calories or elevation gain/loss because it's not too accurate - probably shouldn't always rely on it for pace accuracy either for that matter!

    I remember when I found out the elliptical lied about calories burned - I was so sad. In college I'd read a book and do the elliptical for 45 minutes and it'd tell me I burned 800 calories. Then I wondered why I wasn't losing weight!

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  6. Oh god, I hate that. People are ridiculous about how their Garmin distance is the real distance. No, your real distance is the race distance. Obviously, I'm a huge Garmin fan, but I'm well aware that it's not fully accurate. It's good enough for me in training, and on race day, I pay attention to the mile markers and how "off" I am from them.

    Only once did I look at Garmin results and think "Hey, maybe that course was off," and that's when I had a half measure at 13.75 miles. But it wasn't much more than a fleeting thought. Lo and behold, a few days later, the course was remeasured and it was long. But that's the exception, not the rule.

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  7. Yes, yes, yes! One thing that some people forget to take into account is that courses are measured by the tangents on the curves. So, unless you run the tangents exactly and never veer at all, you are going to run a longer distance than the course. Passing people, water breaks, taking turns too wide...they all add up to additional mileage. Great post. :)

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  8. LOL! And the second installment of "Lies my Garmin Told Me" should be "Lies the Keiser Spin Bike Told Me." Seven-hundred-plus calories after 75 minutes in the saddle? Mmmm ... no.

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  9. THIS!

    For a run in the woods, you can always feel justified adding a mile to your actual run total ... especially if there were a lot of sharp turns in the trail.

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  10. Ha, I love it when people actually believe the treadmill readouts for calories! You need to run LPM, the RD starts the race by basically threatening to kill anyone who tries to tell her the course is off. For real, she's scary. I do eat five desserts after a race, but not because I think I actually burned that many calories, because I'm like the honey badger and don't give a shit.

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  11. I also wonder if these people who claim that a race is long also claim a race is short when their Garmin says it is. And, if so, do they keep running after they cross the finish line in order to complete the distance?

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  12. You know, my garmin recorded a *too short* distance on both the bike and run at TryCharleston. I chose not to believe that data, fo sho. ;)

    Also, i love the calorie data that my garmin records when I don't wear my HR. It will say that I burn like 3000+ calories on a 3 hour ride. Oh man, that would be f-ing awesome.

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