Garmin vs Nike+: A Test of Accuracy

Monday, 12 November 2007  |  Gear + Gadgets


NOV. 3, SATURDAY. This was the first time I used my Garmin on a long run. Our goal with Annie, my running buddy, was 15 km around Ayala Alabang. We agreed on taking our usual 12 km route and just let our feet carry us an additional 3 km anywhere from that point. Boy, were we in for a surprise.

At the 12 km mark (according to Nike+ in the past), the Garmin recorded a distance of 9.5 km. “9.5?!” Annie shrieked in disbelief. I was likewise stunned at the awfully large discrepancy. At the very least, I was expecting to hit over 10 km by then.

Which gadget was telling the truth? Had I been logging less kilometers than I actually ran for the past 5 months? Should I have followed Nike’s directions and calibrated the kit before using it? All these questions were floating about in my mind as Annie and I plodded on with an unxepected 5.5 more kilometers to run.

[ TEST ]

NOV. 10, SATURDAY. At the risk of looking like Inspector Gadget, I wore both the Garmin and Nike+ on my next long run last Saturday.  Our goal this time was 18 km.  Again, we ran the same initial 12 km route then ran halfway through that same route making our way back to the starting point.

At the onset, both gadgets recorded the same distance.  At least, that’s how it was at 2 km.  But, as we increased our distance, the discrepancy increased as well.

For the pace, there was a significant 30 second difference too; the Nike+ giving me a faster pace than the Garmin.

At the same 12 km mark (based on the Nike+ in the past), the Garmin, much to my delight, registered the exact distance as the past week’s run: 9.5 km.  I pretty much knew which gadget was more accurate at that point.  And, sadly, our once favorite 12 km route needed an immediate name downgrade to “10 km route.”


Here are the actual data from both the Garmin Forerunner 305 and uncalibrated Nike+:

GARMIN: Time 2:01:15/ Distance 18.2 km/ Ave pace 6:4/ Calories 1028
NIKE+: Time 2:00:08/ Distance 20.5 km/ Ave pace 5:5/ Calories 1148

I get goosebumps thinking of what could have happened had I used the Nike+ to train for my upcoming marathon.  I would’ve been led to believe that I trained at my maximum 32 km when it might have been only 30 km or less.  Scary isn’t it?

* Note: At 8 km, I accidentally ended the Nike+ workout when we paused for a water break.  I started a new workout and added data from both workouts.


I predict my Garmin Forerunner 305 will be my new best friend.

I predict my Nike+ will gather dust at home.

I predict I’ll get death threats from Nike+ fanatics who are running 2 kms less than they actually are.  (Please don’t kill the messenger.)

Roadtesting The Garmin Forerunner 305

Saturday, 10 November 2007  |  Gear + Gadgets

I took my brand spanking new Garmin Forerunner 305 out for a spin at the Mizuno Run Club and boy did it impress me yet again. I’ve used it a couple of times already, but it was only during this run that I had the opportunity to utilize its lap feature.

For this run, I used the default lap screen of the Garmin and pressed the lap button at every round. There was one lap where I forgot to press the button (darn it!), so it’s good to know there’s an autolap button screaming “Try me! Try me!” for my next run.

I ran 7 laps of what was supposed to be a progressive run around the inner circle of Bonifacio High Street along with other beginner/intermediate runners (such as Renz, Totoy, Tina, Mandy, Gelo, Pablo…hey guys!) while the elite, as always, left us eating their dust even if they ran the larger circle around the same area. There were quite a few friends who were itching to run but couldn’t, so they ran vicariously through us: Ben (injured), Tricia (colds), and Marga (smoked two sticks!)

After the run, I eagerly downloaded the data to my mac. For the first time in my life, I welcomed information overload with open arms! Clearly, I saw the time and pace at which I ran each of the 7 laps (Lap 2 to 7) and the consistent distance for each (Lap 2 is a combination of Lap 2 & 3). I was also thrilled to discover that when you click on a lap, it is automatically highlighted on the map below. So cool! (If you look close enough, you might even see Starbucks there!)

Well, now you all know that I also failed miserably at my attempts at a progressive run.

Garmin Data

Before I go, here’s what I love about my Garmin so far:

  1. Accuracy. I’m pretty confident about the accuracy of the Garmin. Garmin users I know can attest to it. Personally, I’m impressed with the accurate readings of the laps above. I’ve also taken it on two long runs and it registered the EXACT distance when I hit the 9.5 km mark (which the Nike+ recorded as a whopping 12 km! More on this in the next post.)
  2. No interruptions. There’s a lot of talk about satellite interruptions with the Garmin, but I never experienced any stalls/ glitches/ breakdowns so far. Well, I don’t really run in shaded areas anyway.
  3. Readable screen. It is easy to see my data while I’m running (just don’t let the sweat drip down into my eyes!) I particularly enjoy using the backlight during night runs. It just makes me feel cool. Hah!
  4. Lap feature. I am overjoyed that I finally get time and pace readings for my laps. The Nike+ will show pace for a certain distance in each run, but one couldn’t specify at what point you wanted a reading.
  5. So easy to use. I haven’t gone through the entire manual so I’m sure I’m not fully utilizing all the features of my new little toy. Despite this, I’ve been able to use the Garmin with ease during my past runs. It literally takes seconds for me to put the Garmin into its dock which I attach to my mac via USB and it automatically syncs with the Garmin Training Center.

What I don’t like about the Garmin:

  1. Comfort. The first time I used this, I got scared. It slid down my wrist and hit my bone almost every 10 minutes. I thought I made a big mistake buying it. Turns out, it takes some getting used to. It wasn’t comfortable for me at the onset but I’m slowly finding the perfect wrist adjustment for it. I think it must be Extra Tight.
  2. Useless indoors. The downside to a GPS unit is that you can’t use it on the treadmill. I run twice a week on the treadmill so I have to resort to my Nike+ to get a pace reading.
  3. Attracts too much attention. No one saw me that night. They only noticed my Garmin and befriended it. God, I thought they were my real friends! (I’m kidding, Happy Feet!)

Ben and Garmin

– Do you think Ben will trip me, stomp on my wrist, and grab the Garmin in the Milo race next week? –

Next post: Comparing the Garmin and Nike+ data during a long run. Who’s telling the truth?

Christmas on Halloween

Wednesday, 31 October 2007  |  Gear + Gadgets

On All Hallow’s Eve, Christmas is foremost on my mind. Why so? My Santa Claus (aka Husband) has delivered his special gifts for me in advance!

So, as I took the kids trick or treating this afternoon, I was eager to get home and play with my new Christmas loot:

( 1 ) GARMIN FORERUNNER 305. Yes, I am a proud owner of a Garmin! Can you believe it?! I feel like I won the lottery! Uh well, not really, because had I won the lottery, I would have a million Garmins in my hand. Or, I would’ve dressed a full-time personal running coach with a Garmin and hired him to train with me while an assistant spritzes my sweaty face with Evian and feeds me orange slices whenever I purse my lips. Okay, my point is I am ecstatic (ecstatic! aaah!) over the Garmin. I almost burst into tears when I held this new baby in my arms. I was dreaming about the Polar RS 200 for the longest time but after getting a consensus from veteran runners (most especially from Patrick C.), I decided that the Garmin was a better choice. Oh Garmin, I am in love!


( 2 ) AMPHIPOD RUNLITE 4. Again, I was eyeing something else, the Nathan water bottle carrier, for months but after noting the better features of Ben‘s Amphipod (it’s customizeable—you can tip the bottles horizontally or vertically and you can choose the number of bottles to carry), I went for the Amphipod instead. I’m still not sure if I’ll be comfortable running with this belt around my waist, but I’m sure glad that I don’t have to carry water bottles when I start racing 21k’s.


How was your Halloween? I hope it was as “merry” as mine.

Traitors In The Team

Tuesday, 18 September 2007  |  Gear + Gadgets

Not too long ago they were my best running buddies. I could depend on one as I would a Coach; he would tell me if I was running too fast or too slow or if I should run a little farther or stop for the day. The other friend would make long runs feel shorter by keeping me entertained all throughout the run. The three of us were a team. We were inseparable.

Until one day, they both betrayed me. It was during the Run To Bring Hope that they stabbed me in the back, took my heart and stomped on it till I was numb, and left with no explanation nor apologies for their cruel actions. Why did they do this to me? I stood at the end of the finish line with a new PR feeling victorious yet alone.

Who were these running buddies?

My ipod Nano and Nike+ Sports Kit. Er, who did you think?

Some of you know the story. After running my best 10 km race ever during the Run To Bring Hope, I pressed on the Nano to end the workout only to realize it had hung on me. Worse, when it finally shut off 30 minutes later, I learned that it did not record the entire run. The jerk. I cursed it for over a week. He retaliated by hanging three more times; each time when I ran over 10 km. Crazy fart. So, I exiled the Nano and his partner in crime, the Nike+ Sports Kit, to Power Mac in Greenbelt almost a month ago. Dumb fools. (Can you tell I was pretty calm about all this?)

A couple of weeks later, I called Power Mac and asked how my ex-buddies were faring. The technician said they did not hang on him. The evil hypocrites, I thought. I informed him that they only show their bad side when you take them out for a 10 km run. Caught unaware the technician replied “Er, maam, we uhm don’t have running shoes so uhm since we noted that there is an intermittent hanging while browsing your ipod and connection problems with the sports kit, we will replace both items.”

Woohoo! Just what I had hoped for! Good riddance to those two traitors!

Last Monday, I purchased new flowers, cleaned our home, and bought a cake to welcome my new running buddies. (Okay, I’m exaggerating, but I did do my best to make them feel welcome by washing the little pouch they would be living in.) It was a bit difficult for me in the beginning as seeing these two brought back all the hurt from the ex-friends who looked identical to them, but after a few minutes, I knew these were new and improved running buddies.

So far, so good. I’ve run thrice with my new ipod and sports kit and I hope this is the beginning of a beautiful friendship—no skipping nor hanging please!

New Ipod and Sports Kit

To Power Mac Greenbelt, I commend you for the excellent service provided by your personnel from the receiving station to the technician to the SMS message informing me of my items being ready for pick up. Keep up the great work!

Choosing Your Running Attire

Wednesday, 8 August 2007  |  Gear + Gadgets

One thing great about running is that it doesn’t take much for you to do it. You can jump into whatever outfit you choose—jogging pants, biking shorts, tank top, or sando—and end up getting a great workout like any other runner donning the most fashionable or high-tech get up. Still, it doesn’t hurt to occasionally get your hands on some new apparel to look your coolest while you’re sweating it out.

Here are TBR’s 5 tips for buying new apparel:

  1. Go for moisture-management fabric. Choose light-weight, breathable material that can wick sweat away from your body. Please stay away from cotton or other heavy material unless you want to return from a run looking like a human condom that’s as heavy as an elephant.
  2. Check for chafing. Before you purchase a shirt, shorts, or sports bra, look at every single seam or knot. These tiny little nuisances can ruin your run as they rub against your skin a hundred times over. Ouch!
  3. Consider the weather. In Manila, we are fortunate (or maybe not) to only have either of the two: rain or shine. So, a runner’s wardrobe would consist of ultra-light clothing (I opt for sleeveless tops and shorts) and maybe shades and a cap for summertime and jacket and cap for rainy days.
  4. Know your needs. Do you carry your keys, powergel, or lucky charm around with you? Then you’ll need shorts with a pocket. Do you run at night? It’s best to choose clothing with reflectors. If you go mountain climbing or cycling, you may want apparel that can be used for those sports too.
  5. Invest in socks. When purchasing socks, go for quality. You can also bring your running shoes along so you can go for a brief test run in the store. Don’t scrimp on socks unless you find joy in popping blisters or murdering your toenails.

Speaking of apparel, I was fortunate enough to receive manna from heaven—or more like Hong Kong—a couple of weeks ago. The Adidas regional head office sent me two new Adidas ForMotion(TM) samples! Both are white Supernova tees: one with classic Adidas lines in red on the sides (92% polyamid, 8% elastane) and the other with orange lines running down the sides (100% polyester).

I was saving the shirts for a special occasion and I thought the Run To Bring Hope was the perfect event to sport the one with red lines for three reasons: 1) I love it’s smooth fabric (I prefer it over the slightly see-through polyester. I’m very conservative, you know?) 2) It looks more like a shirt with oomph! 3) The red lines bring out the blush in my cheeks after I beat my PR. Yeah!

Adidas Tees

– “You’ll never want to run in anything else. This ventilated ClimaCool(R) running tee uses ForMotion(TM) technology for improved comfort when you run.” From –

What can I say? This running tee was a delight to wear. It was superbly comfortable and light. The fabric was as smooth as silk yet it was breathable. It moved along with me through the entire race despite the sticky sweat. I don’t usually use shirts with sleeves in a race because I find them bothersome, but these tees have completely changed my views about it.

To Adidas: thumbs up to your ForMotion(TM) tees! Thank you for the gifts. By the way, one small request: could you please put pads in your sportsbras? Pretty please?