During Rock n Roll Seattle Half Marathon I was asked, “What’s that thing on your running shoe?” to which I replied, it’s a Garmin Foot Pod. The Garmin foot pod is approximately the size of a quarter that easily snaps onto your shoe laces. Why do I use a foot pod, when I already have a Garmin 910XT GPS watch? The answer is simple: accuracy, flexibility, and additional data that cannot be provided by having a GPS watch alone.
There are basic things required for any GPS to work. First, it needs to acquire satellite signals from several different satellites. The more satellites the GPS can acquire the more accurate it will be, but what happens when the signal is interrupted? Let’s say by a tunnel? The GPS watch will do its best to calculate distance based on the information it has, however, because it loses the signal from the satellite, it loses accuracy. A discovery made by many whom participated in Rock n’ Roll Seattle. Most of those whom I spoke with after the race, had a Garmin GPS reading of 13.5 miles or greater as their finishing distance, while my Garmin logged 13.22 this adds up to more than a quarter mile differential. My Garmin was more accurate than other participants with the same GPS watch because as the satellite signal faded, the foot pod continued to provide data to the watch until it could reacquire satellite signals.
The Food Pod itself is really easy to set up and maintain. There is no on or off switch that you have to deal with or remember to turn on or off. The battery is easy to replace and available at most drug stores for about $3.00 USD and lasts approximately a year or 400 hours of use. Pairing the foot pod is very easy. This setup will vary by device, so be sure to check your watch’s instruction manual for details. Using the 910XT as an example, you’d go into the ANT+ menu and enable the foot pod there by pairing it. Each foot pod is assigned a unique ID, which then connects to your watch, so there’s no interference with others at large races or the gym. Once enabled, you typically want to calibrate it for the highest levels of accuracy. In general I recommend going to your neighborhood high school track but you can also use GPS to calibrate it if you do not have access to the track.
Once it’s connected, you’re good to go! As long as you don’t adjust the position, you’ll never have to touch this menu again. There are only two times you will have to change anything on your watch, first is to turn off the GPS if you are working out on a treadmill indoors. This will save your watch’s battery. The second time is you will need to access the menus on your watch is when you replace the battery on the foot pod.
Not sure if your Garmin is foot pod compatible? Check it at: https://buy.garmin.com/en-US/US/shop-by-accessories/fitness-sensors/foot-pod/prod15516.html
The Garmin Foot Pod retails for $69.99 on Garmin.com but I have found Amazon has the best price at $46.34 http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B00264GKVQ/ref=as_li_ss_tl?ie=UTF8&camp=1789&creative=390957&creativeASIN=B00264GKVQ&linkCode=as2&tag=thevinetimes-20