Weekly Mailbag – April 17th, 2010

imageWhile I was sitting on my flight back from Seattle a few weeks ago I was working through the small pile of questions from folk just like you (well, actually, specifically – some of you).  While doing this I realized that I actually write up a ton of ‘advice’ each week to people.  Some technical in nature, some sport related, and sometimes all sorts of other randomness.

When I find time (very rare) I occasionally go back and update relevant reviews/posts with the information I sent back to the e-mailer (e-mailee?).  But, most of the time it just piles up in my Sent Items folder, a mass of hundreds – if not thousands of e-mail responses – all pretty much just sitting there in some magical Gmail datacenter.

So, in an effort to be digitally green, I’m going to start recycling some of those questions back out here.  I’ll still be answering all the e-mails as usual, but this way other folks might benefit from the answers as well if they seem applicable or interesting to a larger audience.  We’ll see if it’s something people find useful or not, a bit of an experiment per se.  So without further ado, here’s this week’s mailbag:

Question #1:
From Wayne-

“All that aside the question I had for you is something I have not seen covered on your blog.  I know you did do a lot on your bike [hydration] mounts but nothing on running and hydration, just how do you do it during training? I have a fuel belt that rides up and annoys me on long fast runs or Tempo runs, I don’t like carrying something in my hand during my runs, what are my options?”

Hydration is tricky, and it varies quite a bit based on specifically when and how long I’m going for.  I’ve been using the Camelbak when I have really long runs and need to keep hydration up – especially in the summer.  I talked about it a little bit last June and actually ended up using in a few races last year including Ironman Canada and Ironman Florida.  Personally I can’t stand the Fuel Belt.  I have a whole closet shelf full of them…hate them.  But, I do use the little bottles in my CamelBak.  Kinda like recycling…

For shorter runs, or track runs, I’ll just bring a simple water bottle with me and do loops (if outside).  On my hill repeats, I just leave it about half-way down the hill.  And on my interval runs I do larger 1-ish mile loops and have it stashed on the side of the road.  So basically I’ll carry it during the warm-up to the ‘training area’, and then do my loops there, and then carry it back home afterwards.  In general though, I try and go through about 24oz of water per hour in the summer/heat.

Question #2:
From Neil-

“Could you answer a question about how the foot pod works outdoors?  If I’m using the footpod outdoors with a 310XT, is distance measured first from the GPS and then if there is no signal (say going through a tunnel) it uses the footpod as this is more accurate than the ‘drawing a line’ you mentioned in your review. I ask this as the first 1km or so of my daily run is surrounded by tall buildings so the GPS signal may be a bit intermittent.”

When outdoors and and the signal drops (like tunnel), the footpod automatically takes over and displays pace/speed on the FR405 and 310XT.  The pace and distance are recorded inline in the data file, and when GPS communication is resumed, it switches back to GPS.  You can also manually switch over to the footpod if you’d like at any time, if you don’t want the GPS to track.

Also, for those interested in the reverse scenario – check out this thread for a bit more detail.  Specifically the note from the Garmin product folks about this related scenario:

“If you are wearing your footpod while driving in a car, the unit will display the speed of the car regardless of what the Speed Source setting is. If the footpod speed is 0 and the GPS speed is non-zero, the unit will ignore the Speed Source setting and display speed from GPS.  If you would like to test this feature, I would suggest setting your calibration factor to something very inaccurate such as 2000. If you do this you should see a speed that is approximately twice your actual speed while running.”

Question #3:
From Jean-Eudes-

“I was wondering whether you intended do a review of WKO+ – that would be really cool.”

As for a review of WKO+, I’ve considered it.  Also looked at doing a review of Training Peaks.  I see WKO+ as being sorta end of life, with virtually all the functionality being offered in TP these days (very little isn’t offered in TP).  And the trick to reviewing TP is that stuff changes soooo often.  I think with TP they have such a backlog of cool features to add that they couldn’t add until they cutover the system back in mid-February, so I expect a ton of changes to keep on coming.  I try and feature Training Peaks in all my device product reviews – so it’s a bit of a snapshot of what they look like at that review time.  But I actually go back and frequently update those reviews, even some of the screenshots on some of them.  That said, for a dedicated TP post, I’ll keep it on my bucket list of things to look at though.

In one last item related to the Boston Marathon on Monday (remember my epic post from last year?) – check out this crazy training video with Ryan Hall doing 3 x 5 miles on the course itself…just astounding how fast he’s moving.

Thanks all for reading!


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  1. Great idea to fill us all in on your answers to these questions, very helpful!
    You could streamline it by letting people not email you, but post their questions on a kind of forum part of your site, you could then answer on this for all to see.

  2. I agree with Caspar about how helpful/informative this is. Very cool, Ray!

  3. Great post and here some same problems with waterbelt.
    I’m running in a short with 2 outside mesh pockets.Up to 4/ 6 gels
    link to raidlight.com

    Maybe a water solution is the next one ….link to camelbak.com ….. until now we still keep on using a normal Camelbak.

  4. Holy Crow!
    A 3 mile warm up with 3 x 5mile repeats with a mile recovery between each one. That is a 21 mile “interval training” run.

    Good night he is fast. Damn, I feel slow. :0(