Wellocracy: What kind of tracker(s) (device/app) are you using and when did you start wearing it?
Emily: I wear a Garmin Forerunner 10 watch. I got it for a birthday present two years ago and I have been using it to track my runs ever since! I connect it to my laptop and use the Garmin Connect Mobile program to track my workouts.
Wellocracy: Why did you start using a tracker? Do you have specific health/wellness goals?
Emily: I started using a tracker when I signed up to run the 2014 Boston Marathon. I have been a runner for about seven years, but I started to get more serious about it two years ago. At that point I was tracking all of my runs with a generic watch, so I had no idea how fast or how far I was going. I knew this wouldn’t be sustainable for marathon training. At that point my goal was to finish my first marathon but now I am hoping to officially qualify for the Boston Marathon during my next marathon in June.
Wellocracy: What did you learn about yourself by using a tracker?
Emily: I learned that I was actually faster than I thought but that I was terrible at pacing myself. The tracker is very useful for improving pacing because it flashes your mile pace every mile. When I first started using the watch, my mile times would be all over the place! I have improved since then, but still have to keep working on pacing. I also learned that sometimes it is nice to unplug and run without a tracker. Tracking every run can take the joy and mindfulness out of running, so I try to run tracker-free at least once per week.
Wellocracy: What do you like best about your tracker? What do you like least about it?
Emily: I like the small size of the watch and the ability for it to store a long history of runs. I find it useful when it flashes with my run time at each mile. I do not like that the watch sometimes takes a very long time to find my location and start tracking. It is frustrating to have to wait around when I want to get out and run. I think this feature has been improved with the newer versions of the watch.
Wellocracy: Do you share your data with family or friends?
Emily: During marathon training, I often share data with my friends and family over Instagram. It’s motivating to post pictures of my long runs and to get encouragement from friends. I also have a running coach, so I share my data with him so that he can recommend workouts to help me improve.
Wellocracy: What advice would you give someone thinking about tracking or, do you have other thoughts you would like to share?
Emily: If someone is new to running or looking to improve, I would definitely suggest investing in a tracker. Although it is nice to run unplugged, it is difficult to improve without measuring your current capabilities.