Marathon Experiment #1 – Garmin Courses

So as I posted yesterday I did a little experiment with my Garmin on today’s long run.  I’ll post the process I took to get the garmin course loaded onto my Forerunner 405 first, and then I’ll talk about how it went.

First I was inspired to try this out from THIS post by DCRainmaker.  It turns out though that his post is from a couple years ago and a few things have changed.

Step 1- Create a route

Just like he posted, step 1 was to create a route on http://www.mapmyrun.com .  I went through and mapped out a 29 km course along the Bow river for Lori, Danielle and I.

Step 2 – Export the route

Then I went to export the route as a Garmin/CRS file, but this option no longer exists on mapmyrun, so after googling a bit more, I found that I could export it as a GPX file.  To do this, click on ActionsExport Map.  It’ll then give you an option to save a GPX file to your hard drive.

mapmyrun

 

Now unfortunately the Garmin Training Center doesn’t recognize the GPX file and needs a CRS file, so I found a web page that would convert it.  I went to THIS page, and linked in my GPX file, and it popped out a CRS file for me.  Easy, right.. 😉

Step 3 – Import the route into Garmin Training Center

Now if you’re like me, you probably don’t use Garmin Training Center much anymore… well I tried to do this via Garmin Connect, and quite easily made a Course from within Garmin Connect, but couldn’t find any way of exporting it to my Garmin… which I thought was a little weird and pointless, and maybe I’m missing something?  Please clue me in if I am!

Anyhoo, I used Training Center.  I opened it up, clicked on the Courses button, then on File Import to current user accountCourses, and then selected the CRS file I had created above.  It then uploaded the course into Training Center.

Step 4 – Upload the Course to Garmin

So last but not least, I uploaded the course to my Garmin.  This was easy, there’s a little button in Training Center, if you hover over it it says ‘Send to Device’.  After this I went and looked on my Garmin, under Menu, Training, Courses, and then I could see the new course I had created.

Those were the steps I went through last night to get my garmin ready to run! Phew…

Then this morning when we started our run, instead of just pressing START and taking off, I had to go into Menu, Training, Courses, find the course, select it, and then select Do Course.  I had created the course with a pace of 6:10/km and by setting a Course my Garmin automatically turns on the Virtual Partner, and tells you how far ahead or behind the partner you’re running.  I wasn’t really concerned with whether we hit this pace, and was just using this as a test, so picked a pace off the top of my head.

As we started running it all looked good, we quickly went off course in the very beginning to use the bathrooms at Edworthy, and then as we were heading west towards Bowness we passed the ‘Finish’ of my course, and my Garmin played us a little song and congratulated us on our workout… umm ok, we had only run 300 m’s at that point.  Then we kept running, but most of the run it actually didn’t think we were on course, the online maps of the Bow River pathway system must be off of where the paths really are, and my garmin didn’t register us as following the course.  It didn’t affect it’s tracking our distance, pace or time as usual, but the virtual partner was useless and didn’t function when we weren’t ‘On Course’.

I don’t think I’ll be using this Course function again, it didn’t seem to work, and it was a lot of effort to actually get the map onto my Garmin.  I will try the virtual partner again though, and just set a distance and time or pace goal, and not use a map.  I’ll try that next weekend and report back!!

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