Being back in the UK has been the start of my running journey once again a path back to fitness that has been aided and abetted by my TomTom Cardio Spark + Music watch. Taking me on a path from half walking, half jogging a 5km park run at 33minutes 55seconds to my latest parkrun time of 30 minutes 15seconds.
My Running Journey so far…
You may have seen my parkrun update.
You may have seen #myrunningjourney over on Twitter.
— Life with Baby Kicks (@Laura_BabyKicks) June 30, 2016
You may have seen a very proud photograph of a very shiny TomTom Cardio Spark with a *nearly* under 30 minute 5km parkrun
We’re headed out on holiday for 5 days this afternoon but before we went myself and the husband headed down to do this weeks Park Run after a couple of drinks in the pub last night we decided that my husband would be my pacemaker and I was aiming for a sub-30 time. Turns out going to the pub the night before isn’t the best practice to run 5km at #parkrun but still, another personal best and a plan for next time I run. After all, the tortoise wins the race….
A photo posted by Blogger | Life with Baby Kicks (@laura_babykicks) on
Yes, since my TomTom arrived and I started #myrunningjourney on Twitter I have become accountable and so I have been keeping up with my running. Sticking to a routine of 3 times a week at 3.1miles at a time, or in new money 5km and the TomTom Cardio Spark + Music keeping track of my progress.
The TomTom Cardio Spark + Music Review
Since my watch arrived on that fateful day back in early June I haven’t taken it off, its become my everyday watch, my time keeper, step counter and keeper of my dreams by watching over me as I sleep. As well as being my GPS running watch…
The question is, what do I think and where has it got me?!
First things first, I always thought I wasn’t enough of a runner to warrant my own watch. I made do with my phone and borrowing the husbands older TomTom Runner. I switched up between my iPod and my phone for music, generally getting irritated when the headphones were being pulled from my ears as I jogged with the phone in my hands. Having a watch, and the wireless headphones, has made me realise you don’t need to be a marathon runner, an every day runner, an elite runner, you just need to want to run. (Or cycle and swim but hey, I don’t do either of those!)
Getting Started with the TomTom Cardio Spark + Music
Getting started was simple, take the watch out of the box and follow the step by step instructions on the Getting Started on the TomTom website, finishing up by downloading the app on your smart device so you have your activity tracked on the go. It really is as simple as plugging in and following the instructions. Music is transferred from your iTunes playlists BUT only as a playlist so I suggest you set up a list before you start downloading, mine is full of inspirational music such as the legend of Barry Manilow singing Copacabana….
If that’t not for you, never fear, the lovely people at TomTom have preloaded the TomTom Cardio Spark + Music with music from the Ministry of Sound, being the Queen of Cheese I haven’t listened to it, nor could I tell you what was on it…..
Running with the TomTom Cardio Spark + Music
Once I got over the fact that I assumed everyone was looking at me running with a sports watch was thinking why is she so slow?! I really got down to it.
With the TomTom Cardio Spark + Music incorporating over 500 songs on your wrist (unless you’re like me where you only have about 13 songs you listen too….) there is no need for a separate iPod on the go. No arm bands. No wires. Just you and your watch good to go. Switching on the wireless headphones, the button flashing red and blue to indicate Bluetooth is working, it’s a simple press up of the watch button to pair them. Music blaring. The wireless headphones twist into your ears with the wire tucking round the back of your head.
The only thing I found was because I wear thick, plastic framed glasses was that the wire slipped from behind my ear as the glasses frame takes up most of the space. But as I’m pretty short sighted running without my glasses isn’t really an option no matter how irritating it is them falling down my nose.
Side note: If anyone has any tips on running with glasses I’d love to hear them!
Though, the times I’ve been out running without my glasses (normally because of the bouncing rain) the display is large and clear enough for me to be able to see, even without my glasses…
When running there are various options available to you
- Average pace
- Current pace
- Heart rate
To begin with I ran with it on current pace, trying to maintain an average speed, enter my marathon running husband one parkrun later telling me to change my settings to average pace and then I’d know if I had to move my legs quicker to get that all elusive under 30 minute 5km. I have to say it works, and if you’re wondering it needs to be a 9 min 40 seconds (or less) average pace for an under 30 minute 5km.
Analysing my running with TomTom Cardio Spark + Music
And with that, how has the analysis of my running going? On the set up of the watch I also set up the app on my phone, with it I have also learnt the following:
I am not a consistent runner
I am a little bit like Phoebe from Friends, running all over the show, I run fast, then plod, then maybe a little bit of the average pace in the middle. It is not the graph of a steady runner and is something I need to work on; which is why running using the average pace setting is helping somewhat as I know to stay slow and steady. Like a tortoise.
My splits aren’t equal
In line with the fact my running is all over the place, my splits are obvious very different. But I can sprint finish….
I never have a plan when running
And run random routes up side streets to add to my mileage leading to some funny looking laps, planning is key and I need to do more of it!
Running is better when you do it more often
It’s more consistent, you improve, you enjoy it and you feel better going out and running. The weeks where I’ve ran at least 3 times a week I’ve felt a lot better than the weeks where I have not.
TomTom Cardio Spark + Music – the other bits
Whilst predominantly a multi sports watch, that’s not all the TomTom Cardio Spark + Music can do. It’s a heart rate monitor, a sleep monitor, a pedometer, a watch.
Monitoring sleep by reduced movement, wearing the TomTom Cardio Spark + Music has shown me how little sleep I’m getting, I need to go to bed earlier to try and combat the fact that my Baby doesn’t sleep and I’m up in the night with him. Some nights I’m on as little as 4 hours sleep, no wonder I feel like a zombie!
Monitoring steps daily, striving for a goal of 10,000 a day. Easily met when I run, getting there most days thanks to chasing after two small boys!
And finally, a watch. A large display, a back lit face activated by simply placing your palm over the face (so you can see what time the Baby is waking you….)
The TomTom Cardio Spark + Music Going Forward…
And so my running journey continues, I will have a consistent under 30 minute 5km pace, I will beat my best ever personal best of 29 minutes 30 seconds and I will be taking part in a 10km race before the end of 2016. Bring on #myrunningjourney with TomTom Cardio Spark + Music….
I received a TomTom Cardio Spark + Music for the purpose of this review, all bad running, poor jokes and opinions are my ownYou can follow our adventures from the sandpit (and beyond) over on Facebook, see you there!