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Tips for New Forerunner Users

BY JONATHAN MELBY

You'll probably be a little anxious to get going when you first open the box and take out your Forerunner. Here are a few tips that will help you get off to a good start.

Enable "Auto Lap" with distance set to 1 mile.

This is an easy way to break your runs into manageable chunks and save data for each mile along the way. As you complete each mile, Forerunner will beep and show you the average pace for the mile just completed. After you run, your history will have data for not just the overall run but separately for each mile as well.

Setup your custom screen with Lap Pace, Lap Distance, and Total Distance.

These are good values to get you started. With Auto Lap enabled (as recommended above), they give you a very accurate read on the average pace for the mile you're working on. You can use this data to help you hit the pace you want for each mile in your run.

Run in areas that have mostly open sky.

Like any GPS device, Forerunner needs exposure to the sky to receive satellite signals. Partial or occasional obstructions such as trees along a road should not be a problem, but you probably won't get great results if you try to use Forerunner for long distances through thick forest cover or in "urban canyons" between tall buildings in a large city.

Let Forerunner determine your location before you start running.

progress bar shown at startup while your initial position is being determined

GPS devices need signals from at least 3 or 4 satellites to calculate your position. When you switch Forerunner on, it usually takes 40 - 90 seconds to gather enough data from satellites to begin tracking your location. All Forerunner models display a "progress bar" during startup while your initial position is being determined.

Startup works best when you switch on your Forerunner outside in an area where most of the sky is visible. It also helps to keep Forerunner relatively still and oriented in the same direction so that signals it's attempting to receive do not become blocked by obstructions. Many people set Forerunner on something stationary (like the ground or their car) during this process.

Give Forerunner a chance to capture data from additional satellites.

If you wait an extra 30 to 60 seconds after the GPS progress bar clears, Forerunner may be able to pick up data from a few additional satellites. Extra satellites help improve accuracy, particularly as you move around and Forerunner's view of the satellites in some parts of the sky becomes blocked.

GPS recievers need to capture data from a satellite for about 30 seconds before it can start to be used in position calculations. This data can be saved for a few hours, so "reconnecting" with a satellite can happen in just a few seconds.

GPS information page on Forerunner 301

FR 301 users can view the Navigation / GPS Info screen to see how many satellites Forerunner is currently using. In the example shown on the left, Forerunner is using signals from just three satellites (#27, #03 & #23) -- not bad considering it was inside a building at the time.

The GPS info screen is not available on Forerunner 101 / 201.

Load your data into Training Center (Forerunner 201 or 301).

Forerunner 201 & 301 both have the ability to transfer data to Training Center software on your PC. Training Center lets you see more details about your run than are available through Forerunner's run/lap history screens. In particular, you can view graphs of data such as pace, elevation, and heart rate in much more detail than just the lap level.

Forerunner 201 users should upload data to Training center at least once every 10 runs. Forerunner 201 is only able to save extra data points and map detail for your last 10 runs (up to 250 saved points per run). Before you do "run reset", Forerunner 201 has up to 3,000 data points for the last run. If you want more than 250 data points for longer runs, upload before do "run reset" after every run.

Forerunner 301 does not appear to drop detailed data after 10 runs like Forerunner 201.

 

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