Tag Archives: running aids

Product Review: TomTom Runner Cardio GPS Watch

22 Feb

I’ve always been a Garmin girl and have a 405CX and an Edge 500 for my road bike. But after having my baby I found that with the issues I had with my wrists that the 405cx was way too heavy on my wrist – actually to the point of hurting and becoming really uncomfortable so I started looking for a new watch.

RunStopShop came to my rescue and asked if I would like a TomTom Runner watch. I wasn’t 100% sure as to be honest I hadn’t really heard about TomTom as a running watch – more for their GPS – but I figured both TomTom and Garmin now do both so maybe they were ok.

I looked up some reviews and they were good so I said yes to RunStopShop and my watch arrived in the mail. It came in a  fancy plastic cube box and I loved the colours – red and black and it looked kind of cool with its square shape rather than a boring circular face!

Set Up

TomTom Runner watch - The Girl that Runs

The watch arrived with a small cradle that you plug in and into your computer to charge. Very small and compact.

The set up was pretty straight forward. I literally took the watch out of the box, plugged in the charger to the back of my computer , went to the TomTom sports site and then a wizard took me through everything and I set up my account/watch entering my height, weight etc etc. Then ready to use – how simple is that!

TomTom Runner watch - The Girl that Runs

The packaging is kind of cool. I was very excited when it arrived.

Useability

One thing I love about this watch is there is an optical sensor so no need to wear a heart rate monitor strap which is a definite plus. I used to chafe and find the heart rate strap really uncomfortable especially being a woman and wearing a running crop top or bra.

You simply put the watch on and it measures everything in one go. The downside I guess is if you like to wear your watch loose – you can’t really as for the Heart rate Monitor to work it needs to be tight on the wrist so no light is exposed. When you are ready to run you literally click the button to the right – choose whether it is treadmill or run (outside) and away you go – very simple.

I am not one for massively over complicated especially when I got caught out a few times in races with my Garmin and ended up either spending half the race trying to sort my watch out or not having any splits etc or knowing my time –  as I left the watch and got on with running.

The strap itself on the watch takes a few goes to get it right as it has little holes that you slot the clip into but I am used to it now. It hasn’t given my wrists any major grief so far unlike my 405cx.

Functions

When running you can set up the watch in a number of ways. You can choose for example to run a certain distance or to burn a number of calories off and it will then vibrate when you are 50% through, 90% through and 100% done which would be handy when wanting to run a certain distance or a race (although not all races are 100% the distance they advertise!

You can also set the watch up to race a route that you run regularly so you know if you are faster/slower than last time – a little bit similar to Garmin’s Virtual Trainer. I don’t tend to use things like that.

When running with the watch you can flick through easily to see information such as distance gone, calories, heart rate and pace which is great. I used to get so paranoid touching my 405cx as it was so sensitive whereas this is all a simple button that you press down so not much chance of messing it up.

The stats that the watch records is basic such as heart rate, distance

Stats from TomTom Cardio Runner - The Girl That Runs

The stats on the TomTom app are not that comprehensive but you can sync with Strava and MapMyFitness which gives a lot more detail. It depends how much information you want.

Accuracy

The GPS part of the watch is very accurate and it all syncs with Map My Fitness or Strava as well as TomTom Sports app – their app though to be honest is quite poor in terms of stats so I use Map My Fitness/Run and it gives lots of comprehensive information including elevation, route, heart rate, even lets me pick which trainers I have run in and I can decide to retire them when I have run a fair few kilometres in them. Please note I did pay for a Map My Fitness upgrade which I’d recommend as you don’t get access to much with the free version.

I did used to like Garmin Connect but using Map My Fitness/Strava is not massively different and when I used to wear my Garmin I always used to bring it together under Strava anyway so I am not really that fussed. My running friend (Shaun) couldn’t believe I was leaving Garmin – I’ll get over it! Using a third party app like MapMyFitness really makes it easier.

The treadmill side of the watch as with most watches that monitor indoors is not 100% accurate and most runs it has been .10-.20 out in terms of distance so my treadmill might say 8.20 and my watch says 8.05km but this was an issue for me when I had a Nike Plus many moons ago but the thing I like about the TomTom is I can calibrate after every treadmill run and it works it out. So before ending the run and switching off I go to pause, then down to calibrate and enter the distance it says on the treadmill and it sorts itself out which is great otherwise it would be very frustrating.

Conclusion

I do love this watch and I use it in every training session now. It took a while to get used to it and the strap but I’m all good now. I like the fact that it is easy to navigate and easy to flick through when running. The Tom Tom app itself isn’t great but it;s good that it sync with external programs such as MapMyFitness. The price is reasonable at $345 (as at 21 Feb on RunStopShop – and you can get up to 15% off your order ! – see the tag on the right hand side of the page) and I like that I don’t need to wear a separate heart rate monitor so this device gets my thumbs up.

Pro’s

  • No need for a heart rate monitor strap
  • Great price
  • Easy watch face – easy to see your stats and to flick through whilst on the go
  • Compatible with Strava and Map my Fitness and gives good stats
  • Easy to set up and to start training with
  • You can change the straps and buy new colours if you are into that sort of thing
  • Fairly lightweight to wear

Cons

  • You can’t really use the watch as a regular heart rate monitor without starting a treadmill or run session which some people might find annoying. It’s not a big deal but this watch is not a watch with a heart rate monitor it is a lot more.   You could do it by clicking on treadmill session and seeing what the HR is whilst having it on pause but I wouldn’t buy it if you are solely after a heart rate monitor that you can check throughout the day – this is more for running and getting results back not just for HR. Go and buy an activity monitor like the Loop, Fitbit, Vivo etc with the heart rate strap if thats what you are after.
  • Has to be very snug on the wrist for the Heart Rate Monitor to wear which some people might not like if you like to wear your watch loosely.

p.s make sure you buy the right watch as there are some cheaper versions of this watch without the optical heart rate monitor and you’d need to buy a strap for that additionally.

Please note this review is my own personal opinion and I was not paid for writing this. I try to keep my reviews honest and open and if you have any questions please feel free to contact me. 

Product Review – @BodyScience Fuel Energy Gel & Energy Bar

31 May

I haven’t done a product review for a while and I had a friend ask me about the products I used to power up before and during a run so I thought it would be a good time to talk about the  products I have used.

Before I had to taper down my training for a while I was on fire training wise doing a fair amount of riding as well as running. At one point I was clocking up a good 100k

in riding a week and a fair few km in running so i found I was burning a lot of energy, getting half way through and running out of steam. It so happened at that time that BodyScience who I am an avid supporter of kindly sent me their new range of fuel bars and gels to try – perfect.

So one day on a ride when I was feeling really sluggish I decided I would try them both out together as the bar is a Performance Fuel Energy Bar and you are meant to eat one bar 15 mins before your run/ride – race and then either eat the bar 45 mins into session or in my case I chose to take the gel which advises you take 30-45 mins into exercise. The result was great – I was on fire and I was able to seriously push myself and felt a bit like a Duracell battery bunny and it gave me loads of energy.

BodyScience Fuel 01 and 02 review

BodyScience Fuel 01 and 02 review

Different things work for different people but on this occasion the bar and the gel worked well for me and have continued to do so.

The bars were a bit of a trial to eat as they are quite chewy – great flavour – vanilla nougat which I really liked. I couldn’t eat a whole one in one go so munched part way into my ride. One bar (40g) gives 21.8g of carbohydrate which was a good amount and they are reasonably low in fat, providing 638KJ.

The gels I had a bit of trouble with flavour wise – the flavour was lemon and lime and I didn’t like it all. I had trouble swallowing as the flavour really didn’t appeal to me but the end result was great energy wise so I guess you have to toss it up – which is more important flavour or effectiveness. I remember my friend and I running and we both were using the Powergel gels a long time ago and the only flavour our local store had was chocolate – we both nearly gagged trying to swallow the gel so the lemon and lime in this gel was not quite that bad.

Energy wise the gel provides 418KJ, slightly more carbs than the bar – 23.6g and no fat which is a huge bonus!

I often find the gels easier when you are on the go training as they are easy to rip the top off, squeeze into the mouth and keep pushing on so it comes down to preference and what you prefer to use.

 

I’ll be running a competition soon to win some of the gels so watch this space.

Happy Running/Riding :-)

 

Product Review: C Coconut Water

17 Apr

C Coconut Water I have never tried Coconut Water but was asked if I would like to review some C Coconut Water, so I thought why not! In the past when I have  seen coconut water in the shops for some reason I always thought of it being like coconut milk, and the thought of drinking that rich flavour really put me off.

I find in my training that in the past I have used a lot of sports gels and drinks and they are so sugary they they haven’t had a good effect on my body or teeth when I have been guzzling them like there is no tomorrow, I of course know differently now in terms of to limit myself and not drink them all the time.

The benefits

Coconut Water is apparently:

  1. The only known liquid on earth that can be used as a substitute to blood in human transfusions
  2. It is also more isotonic and hydrating thanregular sports drinks and of course has no added sugar
  3. The C Coconut Water has more potassium than a banana
  4. It’s also low calorie and more nutritious than whole milk with no cholesterol and less sugar
C Coconut Water boasts that it can help clear up complexions, cure a hangover, boosts your immune system, aids circulation and increase your metabolism. I was sold based on the complexion and metabolism!

So I tried it and it’s consistency was literally like water. I found the taste quite watery (to be expected!) with a hint of coconut. I would definitely drink it ice cold as when it started to warm up a bit closer to room temperature it was a bit harder to stomach.

I am not sure how much I could drink in one sitting but I think when our palates are so used to such and sugary things it takes a while to change so I am not giving up on it especially when it has so many benefits, and if it gets me not having to drink sugary gels and sports drinks then I am sold!

Product Review – Body Science low carb bars @bodyscience

19 Mar
Body Science Lo Carb bar

Body Science Lo Carb bar

So a week or so ago  I reviewed Body Science’s  Body Shaping Protein powder in the first of a couple of product reviews of their products. You can read the review here. This week I am reviewing their Lo Carb lite bars which are a high protein thermogenic bar. They sent me the Swisse Chocolate bar and the Lemon Meringue flavour.

I’ve never really been a big protein bar person and the ones I have tried I haven’t been a huge fan of. When I was doing P90x a while ago I used to eat the Lo Carb bars and they left a bit of an aftertaste in my mouth so in order to be fair I asked one my friends who eats protein bars everyday to also try them.

I find it really handy to have a protein bar in my bag for after the gym or even if I feel I need a snack when I am racing around. The bars are not that big 40g – so fit nicely into whatever bag I am using.

So here’s what we think:

Taste

I actually preferred the lemon flavour whilst my friend preferred the chocolate. The chocolate was too much for me so if you like really rich and full on flavour go for the chocolate. We both found the bars to be filling which is good and at 141 calories a bar the bars aren’t too calorie laden.

Nutritional value

The nutritional value is very good. Low fat, low carbs and low sugar – perfect! Some bars I have had have been so sugary that I have not been able to finish them.

The protein value is very good , as it has 14 grams of protein in each bar,… (for good protein bars, you need to have at least 15 grams to help you reach your goal of 50 grams of protein a day) 

Also this has Whey protein , I’m not sure how much, but I know Whey protein is the best protein.   

The sugar value is 1.4 grams  – ( for good protein bars, the sugar should be under 5%)


Fibre – this is 6 grams fiber – (for good protein bars there should be fiber)  My friend said she has tried some other protein bars, and there has no fibre!


Fats – Bar is 3.1 gram.  (for good protein bars, they should not contain bad fats and trans fats, that can lead to heart disease.) The fats in a good protein bar should be good fats (saturated)
 and Canola oil.  This  bar  Body & Lo Carb lite protein bar, contains that. 

So all in all the bars get out thumbs up. My friend is a protein bar junkie so if she says it’s good, I believe her!

Next week I have the Body Science Lo Carb bites and the on the go protein shake to review.

Treadmill conversion sheet download

27 Jan

If you have sprint sessions in your training program like I do and need to see your per km pace in order to adjust your treadmill to the right speed, you would understand my frustration when my gym changed its treadmills. Great that they changed them and updated the equipment but the newer ones which they put near the mirrors don’t give the per km pace. I’m not vain in my needing to be near the mirrors but I am so used to running outside and have awful balance that if I run facing a wall and can’t see myself running I tend to fight to stay on the treadmill and have nearly fallen off on a number of occasions not running facing the mirror!

Anyway enough rambling, I decided that enough was enough. Since the gym doesn’t provide any guides for per km pace for the treadmill I sat and did my own using the old treadmills as a guide and if you need a copy you can download it free of course   below.

Happy running!

Listen to your heart ….. rate

19 Apr

So I think I really need to change my alarm tune on my iPhone as it is currently Bruno Mars – ‘The Lazy Song’ which the first line sings “today  I don’t feel like doing anything, I just wanna lay in my bed..” That was me this morning. I had a bit of a chesty wheeze and wasn’t sure whether I should be running but decided to get up and go for it and keep it a slow but steady run.

I put my Garmin on and got ready and started running. It was so dark and cold I really didn’t want to go but I know that once I get started I always feel better. I looked down at my Garmin which thankfully has an awesome light and my heart rate said 203!!! Boy did I get the shock of my life. I was 500m into my run and wondered whether I should turn back and felt ok so figured it must have been my Garmin deciding it too wanted to stay in bed. As I got into 1500m my heart rate was pretty much back into my normal numbers and I decided to keep things relaxed this morning and ran a good 1 minute km slower as I wasnt feeling great anyway and wanted to make sure I kept my HR down.

I was always told by one of the guys at my London running club that you should take your resting heart rate every morning and if you wake up and it is higher then don’t push it as it could mean you are getting sick. So that’s exactly what I do now.

It was depressing running a really slow pace but sometimes I guess our bodies need that recovery and to just run steadily rather than running hell for leather each time we put our trainers on.

What should you pack for race day?

25 Aug

It’s the Bridge to Brisbane 10k on Sunday, my last race for a little while.

I think I am ready although I haven’t trained this week. Going to do a speed session tomorrow morning and that should do me to be honest as I still have the half marathon training on my legs.

So I just need to get my stuff ready for race day now. I have certain things that I take with me on race day :

Race number and timing chip – These are the first things that go into my bag!!! So far I have never forgotten my race number but I know people that have!

Clothes ready - I never run in new clothes that I haven’t run a good distance in before – always ones that I know are comfortable and suitable for the race.

Shoes – I never wear brand new shoes, although I broke that rule a couple of races ago as my old shoes were giving me real hassle and I had no alternative but to wear new shoes – as it was I was very lucky and didn’t have any problems.

Safety pins – if you don’t get them provided with the race kit safety pins are a staple on the race list for the race number

Water – For before and after the race

Watch and Heart Rate Monitor – I can’t race without my Garmin 405 cx – it’s my lifeline for knowing my pace during the race and keeping an eye on my heart rate

iPod – I know some people disagree with running races with music but I need mine to pump me up when I feel tired during the race. In one of my earlier blogs I have listed the kind of music I listen to – it works for me.

Gels – For longer races like half and full marathons I take my energy gels, but for the 10k on Sunday I won’t bother too much.

Energy bar or banana – I find after races I am exhausted and hungry! so I always take something with me for after the race to munch on in case I can’t eat straight the way.

Have I missed anything? What do you take with you on race day?

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