Training Update + Soleus GPS Fit Review

by Sarah Cummings from Sarah Runs the City

After a handful of days off after Chicago I was eager to get back at it! With the Boston Marathon in recent memory, I found myself repeatedly comparing the recovery process in the weeks following Chicago. Between the Boston course and the Penn Relays Corporate DMR 400m “sprint” later that week, I think I set myself back a bit more than I realized at the time! The transition back to a full mileage load + workouts has been much smoother post-Chicago. I am looking forward to wrapping up the year with some smaller local races, followed by the USATF Club Cross Country Championships with my New York Athletic Club team on Dec 13th!

Week of 10/13
20 miles
2x spin
2x yoga

Week of 10/20
71 miles
1x MLR
200s “workout” @ Riverbank State Park
Alexi Pappas run/visit

Week of 10/27
79 miles
1x MLR
1x strides
16mi LR
NYC Marathon/Meagan Nedlo weekend

Week of 11/3
80 miles
1x yoga
1x strides
1x MLR
Progression Run (5mi)

Week of 11/10
93 miles
1x MLR
1x strides
16mi LR
2x3mi with Allie (!!)
on/off 400s (4mi) @ Riverbank State Park

Week of 11/17
85 miles
2x strides
1600m repeats with Allie & Alexi @ E. 6th
15mi LR with NYRR Race to Deliver (4mi) in 22:08

Soleus GPS Fit Review:
For the past month or so I have been training with the Soleus GPS Fit ($99 MSRP) thanks to Sara Slattery at ModCraft! For all you naysayers out there, I am not going to try to sell you on the GPS watch. You can “take the plunge” whenever you are ready. I started wearing a GPS watch after graduation (2011), adding a much needed element of flexibility to my training. For me, the GPS watch removes much of the stress of planning runs and workouts over marked distances. With many of my runs and workouts done solo, the GPS watch acts a little built in training bud, providing some feedback and (occasionally) an added boost!

I’ve used a few different Garmin models during my short GPS stint. My first purchase was the Garmin Forerunner 410 which was ultimately a bit too high-tech for my liking. I didn’t use many of the features so when it started to falter, I downgraded to the much simpler (although still very complex) Garmin Forerunner 110 model ($150 MSRP).

This was my first experience with the Soleus brand. The functionality and ease of use of the Soleus GPS Fit is perhaps its biggest selling point. I was up and running and well-versed in all features of the watch after glancing over the quick-start guide. The settings are easy to navigate and quite fluid (even on the run). This is not a feature the Garmin 110 possesses. For example: the Soleus Fit gives you the option to switch between kilometer and mile auto-laps. A warm-up could be run using the mile auto-lap function and with a few button-pushes the watch could be set to auto-lap for a 1k (400m, 2k, 3k, 4k, 5k) repeat workout.

The Soleus Fit screen is larger and much easier to read than the basic Garmin models. Although the watch itself is also a bit larger than comparable Garmins, it still retains a sleek quality. The diverse color options don’t hurt either! I do ~70% of my runs in the dark so the “always on”night light feature was a HUGE selling point for me. I customized the light timer for my schedule so that it automatically turns on when needed. Another feature that differentiates this watch from the basic Garmin models is the multiple beep auto-lap. I workout surrounded by the hustle and bustle of NYC. The West Side Highway is very loud and I often miss the single beep of the Garmin 110 and am left feeling frustrated with little guidance as to how to proceed with the remainder of the workout. The Soleus Fit beeps a handful of times at each lap so is very hard to miss.

My biggest issue with the Soleus Fit is its inability to display average lap pace. Current pace can fluctuate dramatically and it doesn’t present the best picture when trying to run longer intervals or tempo runs. One potential solution to this shortcoming is to switch to shorter auto-laps (i.e. 1/2mi or 1km). While the Garmin 110 can show average lap pace or current pace (depending on the setting) there is no split recall function while on the run. The watch must be plugged into Garmin Connect via USB to recall intra-run splits. This is a huge shortcoming of the Garmin 110 model. In NYC, the Soleus Fit takes a bit longer than the Garmin 110 to acquire satellites but once going the accuracy is top-notch. In terms of data analysis, I’ve found the Strava software and website to be extremely user friendly. Garmin uses its own platform that is a bit trickier to navigate and doesn’t have offer the same social media/runner community experience.

Although Garmin is the default option for many who look to purchase a GPS watch, I would highly recommend looking into the up and coming Soleus brand. With Thanksgiving behind us it is time to start Christmas shopping!! Does your favorite runner have a GPS watch?! A Soleus GPS could be just the answer!

Soleus GPS
One of my run to work (RTW) loops uploaded from the Soleus GPS Fit to Strava!

Find unique ways to engage with and support Sarah on her Olympic pursuit here