I wore my new Garmin ForeRunner 305 to the indoor track today so that I could make use of the heart rate monitor. That aspect of my workout was a failure, but I learned quite a few things about my new GPS watch and running on an indoor track.

When I got home, I was amazed to discover that the GPS worked inside!

Not particularly well, since it thinks that I was running around the infield at an average pace of 42 minutes per mile instead of 4 minutes per mile, and it thinks that I ran through the walls a few times, but the map was great:

GPS route of an indoor track workout

The point of the workout was to get my heart rate elevated so I could get an idea of what my max heart rate is. After a 3+ mile warm up in the beautiful weather outside (and horrendous rush hour traffic) I came inside and met a man doing a 200 meter workout. Since chasing somebody down is always preferable to running alone, especially when running intervals, I did 200 meter repeats instead of the 4-6-8 ladder I had planned on.

The workout was more fun, but I’ve had my heart rate elevated higher just by starting a run in the cold by going up a hill than I did from running this series of 28-31 second 200 meter repeats. I decided to run a pair of 400 meter repeats afterwards, but on the last turn of my first 400 I tweaked my calf. Going from marathon base training to 200s on a small track isn’t usually the best idea, after all, so I called it good and cooled down at that point.

While I was working out, I discovered a few things about the Garmin. First, the chest strap doesn’t bother me on long runs or tempo runs, but it was very constricting after a 200 meter sprint. It wasn’t so bad after I loosened it a little but I think that it will be difficult for me to actually wear it unless I am trying to do a workout based on my heart rate.

I also discovered that having a lap button next to a start/stop button is going to take a little getting used to. I didn’t hit the wrong button during the workout, but I had to really think about what I was doing at the end of each repeat. That is a learned behavior, though, and can be fixed.

It was very nice to have the tenths of a second spelled out in Garmin Training Center for me when it came time to record the workout. That was much easier than trying to flip through my normal watch on each lap to record my times.

All in all, it was a successful test of the Garmin as a heart rate monitor, but a failure in terms of what I wanted to accomplish. I had fun, though, even though the workout reminded me why I hate running indoors. (full workout)