Friday, May 12, 2006

Running in Circles Part II

The other day I wrote about the Garmin Forerunner's trouble tracking on a 400m track. After posting, I was reminded by someone over at the Cool Running forums that in SportTracks, you can not only edit the distance and time of the run, but you can also edit the actual data points displayed on the map of your route as well.

It's a cool feature and so I decided to take a detour in the midst of another crappy morning run. Whatever ailment that is making me feel rundown the past couple of weeks is really getting old. I think I might just give in and take a couple of days off for recovering.

I ran a couple of laps at the other high school near my house and I made sure to stay in the middle of lane 1. FYI, The photos above and below haven't been updated by Google since the school put in a new track and football field last summer so I might have to try this experiment again at the other high school.

The above picture is of the two 400m laps taken from SportTracks using the original data from my Garmin Forerunner 205. If you click on the picture, it's easier to tell that the 205 didn't do a stellar job tracking the path.

And the distance calculated wasn't so hot either. The device said .24 miles for each lap and when I switched the units over to metric, the first lap read 390 meters and the second read 391 meters. That's not up to the Forerunner 205's usual high standard.

So I decided to play with the actual data points in the map itself. SportTracks has an editing tool in the map/route view, which allows you to click on the route and drag a data point to the correct position. After a lot of playing around, the above photo is the result. Now SportTracks reports the lap distance as .25 miles.

This feature is a lot of fun and if you're a data-driven, anal-retentive running geek then I can foresee wasting a lot of time playing with it to get the distance accuracy just right.

I also now know how I can get faster just by playing with SportTracks and extending the distances of the run without having to put in the extra effort. Who said I couldn't PR after 40?

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