Wednesday 26 February 2020

what time is it?

About three years ago, I upgraded the watch I used to track my runs. Before this point, I was using a pretty basic Garmin that I'd earned as a loyalty reward at Sweatshop Running Club. It was a brilliant little thing that revolutionised the way I measured the distances I run, but it was hardly a fashion item. As a result, I wore it to run or bike, but then took it off and wore a proper watch.

This changed the day I bought a Garmin Fenix 3HR. Although this does basically the same job as my first Garmin, it was a lot more stylish and also did cool things like measure my heart rate and track my daily step count. As a result, I stopped wearing my nice watch and just wore my Garmin every day. It's amazing how quickly you get sucked into caring about things like how many steps you take and how many flights of stairs you climb in a day and how that measures against your targets.

This is clearly great for people who need a little encouragement to be more active. However, as someone who runs five or six times a week and a hundred or so miles a month, I don't really need to watch my step count. Interesting though it was, all it really meant was that I had entirely stopped wearing my nice watch. The Garmin is nice enough, but my other watch was much nicer.

I've broken the habit. I scraped my Garmin along a wall on Lady Bay Bridge when hit by a particularly strong gust of wind on Sunday's run and needed to replace the screen cover (it's a long story, but briefly: after a couple of years of to-ing and fro-ing, Garmin replaced my 3HR with a Garmin 5 to try and get around persistent problems with the altimeter. Great, but the upgraded watch didn't have a tempered glass screen and needed some additional protection).  As I couldn't immediately find my spare screen cover, and because I didn't want to scuff up the actual screen itself, I took the Garmin off and put my proper watch back on. I'd often looked at it a little sadly, but couldn't somehow break the habit of constantly needing to know where I was with my step count.

After a couple of days with my good watch on, I'm still marvelling at what a nice watch it is and why on earth I didn't do this earlier. Mind you, the Garmin takes its time from the satellite and is 100% accurate. My nice watch... isn't. It's also an automatic, meaning that it gets its charge from being on my wrist. Having barely been used for a while, it's working fine and then stopping overnight when I stop moving, and I find myself taking it off and waving it around for a few minutes to try and build up a bit of a charge. I'll probably keep it on with my Garmin when I next go for a run. Wearing two watches on a run instead of just one. I suppose that's progress? Still, I've broken the step count tyranny over my life for the time being, anyway.

What a world we live in.


  1. I started wearing a Fitbit (Charge) a few years ago. I got it free from work for a fitness program they were running. I got addicted to the step count feature, but it wasn't accurate. I could be standing at work and binding books (or collating papers), and it would count the movements as steps. Even when I crochet, the movement of my wrist would count as steps. But I learned that the step count isn't a hard & fast rule. I should use it as a guideline to track trends. If I put quite a bit fewer steps than usual in one day, I should look into why, but not be concerned that I only made 9463 steps one day vs 10123 the previous day. Over time, I ended up upgrading to the Fitbit Charge HR.

    Then I "upgraded" to an Apple Watch Series 1. It did so much more than the Fitbit, but the things I used the Fitbit for, it didn't do as well. The main feature of the Fitbit that I loved was sleep tracking. The Apple Watch doesn't do that very well at all. But I adapted.

    I now have an Apple Watch Series 5. It still doesn't track sleep all that well. I have tried a few different apps for it, and none are as good as the Fitbit.