Spoiler - I love data and gadgets. So this is totally bias.
Second Spoiler - No amount of data or any gadget should replace being able to know what your body is trying to tell you.
However, for anyone who uses a Garmin Forerunner you should be upgrading heart rate strap to the HRM run. If used well and with a purpose (HR Data aside) the metrics we can get will make us think about our efficiency, the way we move and the stress we place on our bodies.
For anyone using HR data to train I would suggest having an HR strap anyway. The data off the wrist for me is still too inaccurate to have any real meaning.
The HRM-Run heart rate monitor provides the most advanced running metrics to high-end Garmin Forerunner® running watches. The strap is seamlessly comfortable and easily adjustable while the module is small, lightweight and fits entirely within the width strap.
HRM-Run provides 6 running dynamics metrics:
- Cadence — number of steps per minute
- Vertical oscillation — degree of ‘bounce’ in your running motion; displays the vertical motion of your torso, measured in centimeters for each step
- Ground contact time — the amount of time in each step that you spend on the ground while running; measured in milliseconds
- Ground contact time balance — displays the left/right balance of your ground contact time while running (displays a percentage); for example, 53.2 with an arrow pointing left or right
- Stride length — length of your stride from 1 footfall to the next; measured in meters
- Vertical ratio — the ratio of vertical oscillation to stride length (displays a percentage); a lower number typically indicates a better running form
This real-time data can help athletes take their performance to the next level by showing them where they can improve their running form.
Using the Garmin Connect app you can analyze data after the fact too. They use some great graphs to show consistency, when fatigue may hit and how our body responds to different terrain.
Below is the example of Stride length and Vertical Ratio
Vertical Oscillation = how high we need to bounce up to go forward at a certain pace
When we start to accumulate data over a period of time and notice trends we can get ahead of the game. I've always seen the numbers get more efficient as I get fitter and the left to right balance skew to one side when I am overtraining.
Check out the Garmin HRM-Run here