Product review: Running happily with Garmin Vivoactive (Part II)

Garmin Vivoactive - everything basic and more on running, swimming, cycling.

I wrote about Garmin Vivoactive's running features in my previous article: PRODUCT REVIEW: RUNNING HAPPILY WITH GARMIN VIVOACTIVE

After a few more rounds of Sunday runs and 2 full marathons (Putrajaya Night Marathon 2016 and Yoma Yangon International Marathon 2017 ) to figure out how Garmin Vivoactive can best satisfy my needs especially in races, I'm very happy to share with you the additional running features which I didn't cover in my earlier article.  I will also cover the settings that suit my racing needs as well. I hope you might find it useful.

1. "Cadence" & "average stride length" feature - keeping me in tact with injury-free running

Cadence counts how many steps per minute (spm). 

This is a very very important feature to me as it helps me not to over stride in my steps and also to ensure that I have an injury-free running

And the average stride length feature helps me to understand my own body and strides better. 

For example, during my recent Yoma Yangon International Marathon 2017, my average stride length was 1.01 m. Not sure if it's too big or small. But at least now Garmin Vivoactive can give me the indication. 

Before I bought Garmin Vivoactive, I have been depending on my running music with specific beat indicating specific steps per min (spm) to help me in my running. I follow the running beat to ensure I keep my cadence high to avoid over striding and injury.

Now with Garmin Vivoactive's "cadence" feature, I can make do without my running music already. Yohoo! :) It also helps me to run more freely without having the need to carry an MP3 player and the headsets during races. 

During the recent Yoma Yangon International Marathon, Garmin Vivoactive recorded 182 spm as my average run cadence. Min 180 is the spm that I'm trying to keep with. I'm glad Garmin Vivoactive helps me to monitor and measure.

Of course, Garmin Vivoactive has many other wonderful features like elevation gain, elevation loss, temperature, heart rate, etc. But being a technical idiot as I'm, I will focus on what's important and critical. :) This saves me headache and helps me to focus. May be one day as I become more technical in running, I will then slowly explore other features. 

But for now - the cadence and average stride length features have already put my in cloud 9! It's exactly what I need as a runner. :)

2. Three sets of data fields on auto scrolling mode

My old Garmin Forerunner 10 has 2 sets of data fields. Each set of data field can contain 2 different customized data - be it distance and timer, distance and pace, timer and pace, etc. There is no auto scroll function, which means that in order to see another set of data fields, I need to manually press the button on the watch.

For Garmin Vivoactive, there are 3 sets of data fields. For each set of data field, you can have 3 different customized data, which is pretty cool! Additionally, the awesome auto scroll function allows a runner to set in 3 different auto-scrolling speed: slow, medium and fast.

After some trial and error, I have set my Garmin Vivoactive on "medium" auto-scrolling mode with the following 3 sets of data field for races:

  • First set of data field : Cadence, AVG. PACE, Active Pace
  • Second set of data field : Avg. Pace, DISTANCE, Timer
  • Third set of data field : Avg. Pace, TIMER, Distance

There is a reason why I focus mainly on avg. pace, distance and timer. I like to keep things simple in running full marathons. And this is actually all I need to know in a race. 

Active pace is to ensure I don't run too fast or too slow at a particular stretch - a check if required, but not necessary.

As for cadence, this is to ensure I consistently keep high cadence (around 180 spm) for efficient running over 42 km distance.

3. Black background for clearer read

Honestly speaking, Garmin Vivoactive screen is a bit small to squeeze in 3 customized data in one set. But of course, there are so many benefits of having 3 customized data on 1 screen instead of only 2 customized date. 

But I'm a weird person. :) I wear contact lens to run but my contact lens is not 100% power correction as it doesn't correct my astigmatism. Therefore, at times I find it hard to read the data on my Garmin Vivoactive screen. haha!!

At one point I was so frustrated that I wanted to sell off Garmin Vivoactive. I even posted up at some sites to sell it off. But then, I decided to further explore the features of Garmin Vivoactive.

Viola! I have found a marvelous setting that could make the background screen black (instead of white as factory's default setting) and turn the texts into white (instead of black as factory's default setting).

And it works marvelously!!

Now I have no complaints! Even with my contact lens that doesn't correct my astigmatism, I still can see clearly the data on my watch. :) And during night running (i.e. Putrajaya Night Marathon), I just switched on the back lit to make it brighter. 


This Garmin Vivoactive is here to stay for good!! :) With the new discovery of wonderful features which my previous Garmin Forerunner 10 doesn't have, I'm a happy runner. :)

I already tried out "run free / run naked" new running strategy last week at Yoma Yangon International Marathon 2017. I plan to use this run strategy (with modification as I learn more about running) in all my races in 2017, 

And Garmin Vivoactive would be my best companion. Period. :)

Written on 2017.01.14


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