Wednesday, April 21, 2010

I Do Not Understand Quantum Theory

In which the author’s already tenuous grasp of reality is put under further strain.

My attitude to running technology is conflicted: ideologically I like the idea of running with as few encumbrances as possible - just getting out there and not worrying; but I also like toys.

The only tool I have consistently used is a heart rate monitor, which I principally use to manage my effort on slow runs. Adding speed and distance has been great for keeping records and has cut the time spent on Google maps working out distances, but I have never used the extra information on the run (as everything is about effort level). My engagement with speed and distance has therefore been at the lowest level, I bought a Garmin 50 very cheaply on Amazon, but it has been just fine. Importantly I have never worried about its accuracy. I measured it at the beginning, was happy and have trusted it ever since. This means it has never occupied much of my brain: all I have to do is put on the hrm and watch, which is second nature, and I am out the door.

As I said I like to run with as few complications as possible

That has now changed as the Adidas micoach has introduced a degree of confusion. When I first got it I ran with both it and the Garmin to compare the distance measurement and as I reported the micoach registered a shorter distance. No problem I thought, it is just a matter of adjustment and all I need is a calibration run at the track.

Yesterday I managed to organise myself and run the test (Hemel has a nice track but its opening hours are quite limited). Garmin on one foot, micoach on the other, over three runs (1600m, and 2x800m).

The Garmin was pretty good, 1.67, 0.825, 0.829km (especially as because of some cones I mostly ran in lane 2). The micoach was however way out: 1.88, 0.94, 0.99km. A longer distance!

Today I went for another normal run with both sensors for a further test and again the micoach showed a shorted distance. This is too confusing.

The only explanations I can think of are that either my running style was slightly different on the track and the micoach was more sensitive to the change, or on my normal runs, over longer distances, the micoach suffered some signal interference.

But I am puzzled as I now have something that records distance as both longer and shorter. Truly it must be a quantum device.


Adele said...

I put it all down to volcanic dust clouds.

Phil said...

The track is rubber or some other sort of substance. Would that count for the change?

warriorwoman said...

I haven't properly calibrated mine yet (that's next week) but I also get the sense that the miCoach swings from recording a longer distance than garmin to a shorter one depending on the terrain I run on. Calibration isn't going to help me here. Now that I'm using the same footpod linked to both the micoach and the garmin fr60 I find it all a little odd.
I'm tempted to not worry too much about the distance because i love the freedom of running within the specified heart rate zones.