Have you ever talked to an old-school occasional runner before? I did once before one of my trail runs. I was about to take a list of necessary equipment’s as it was my first time. After a while, I asked him about what GPS watch should I take?
He wondered- Why do you even need that? In my days, what I used to wear was just a $5 wrist watch!
Later, I did some more researches then. And eventually found out it to be one of the most important gadgets. Because if technology can help you to track the running tracks, calculate distance traveled and the remaining, then who on earth won't be taking those features?
However, this article here is what I found out important to talk about the importance of taking a GPS device in a trail run.
Types of GPS While You’re on A Trail Run
1. GPS Watches
There are some common sports watches that can track the GPS location, provide the grid reference of the map and also can measure the distance traveled. One popular product such as these is the Garmin’s 910XT.
2. Smartphone Apps
As there are GSM mobile networks everywhere, then a GPS locator app installed in your smartphone can be a good alternative to watches. They do the basic jobs that watches do. And sometimes even more.
The Whys of GPS Carrying While Trail Running
We've been looking forward to sorting out the exact reasons behind these devices being so popular. Finally, here they are-
Record Your Own Performance
GPS devices and watches are about to navigate you throughout the track. But to be practical, expert runners don’t need them actually. But the reason behind the importance of it to them is, this device helps in improving their performances.
What they do is to load the runtime and other data on the GPS trackers and calculate the performance. For a mountain marathoner, it's as important as keeping their performances up.
Navigate throughout the Track
One of the sole reasons for using a gaps device is to navigate the runner throughout the entire track. Especially, new runners and new tracks require such a technical support. As per the experience of some trail runners, it helps them a lot with decreasing deviation from the track.
Record the Travel Distance
Nowadays, this is one feature that’s found even in some basic sports watches. All you have to do is to press a single button and start the run. The GPS enables watch will track the lap distance traveled over the ground. This can be used later to improvise your permeance, evaluate the track and many more.
It’s Not Always About the Mobile Networks
While I started to talk about it with some of my friends, many of them raised their eyebrows saying- What if there’s no network on the trail? What will these devices do?
Well, the GPS watches aren’t really a concern here. Because they don’t require internet or network connection. But in case of smartphones, there are some apps that can be loaded on smartphones and provide grid references of location and maps.
The interesting part is, most of them don’t need an internet or network connection at all.
Tips to Improve GPS Accuracy
However, if you’ve decided to get one GPS device for you, here is something more you need to know. It’s not the device that decides a perfect use of it. To get the most out of a GPS enabled device, here are some tips for you-
- Make sure both of the GPS unit and GPS chipset is powered by the latest software driver. Make updates if necessary.
- To pre-check, the satellite connection, leave the device under a clear sky for a few minutes. Check the status of the connection before you start running.
- As the devices are connected with satellites, a large peak, or the forest or anything that obstructs the sky can cause trouble. Make sure you check the GPS status and the en route before reaching such obstacles to the sky.
- Enable Smart Recording (available in Garmin devices) throughout the run. What it will do is, it will take the GPS reading more often the usual.