Sunday, March 11, 2018

Weekly Wrap...Does Accuracy count?


I’m sure most of you run with a Garmin or other workout tracking device. But how accurate are they?  I am in training for an upcoming marathon (I know I haven’t said much about it) and have been upping my mileage the last few weeks.


Last week between the rain showers I was able to do two back to back long runs. I did 14 miles on Tuesday and my Garmin said I burned 813 calories. The following day I ran 13 miles and my Garmin said I burned 1,163 calories. I will say that day was a bit warmer than the day before, could that be the reason?

 My heart rate was raised more during the run. Even so, it doesn’t sound like it would be that much of a difference. Needless to say my calves were so tight after these runs so I booked a massage the following day.

I have been going to this local massage school. I told her my calves were super tight and to please spend much time on them. I wish she could have spent more on them, but before you know it my hour had past. Why are Massages always the quickest hour? Well she was super sweet and said I do not have any clients next so I can spend some time on your quads…yes please! She did an extra ten minutes and it was lovely. I thanked her again and gave her a big tip. She said not a problem, I like doing runner’s legs.  I’ll have to remember her next time when I book an appointment.

The next few days I enjoyed some recovery while it was rainy outside. Once the rain had stopped I was anxious to get back out there with fresh legs.


 I did 5.5 miles on Sunday (just before it started raining again) and burned 419 calories. It wasn’t too cold out, it was probably in the 40s.  The following day I ran 8 miles and burned 690 calories. It was in the low 50s. I knew the next day was going to be warmer than that day so I was planning on another long run. I decided to do 10 miles. It always makes me feel a sense of accomplishment after runs, especially double digit runs. How many sour patch kids can I have or Girl Scout cookies today?  #Motivation.

I arrived home and synced my Garmin to my phone and I saw I only burned 404 calories. What the heck? The temperature was in the high 50s as well. I thought for sure that this was not accurate. How could this be? I know that I am not burning the average 100 calories per miles but surely I burned more than 400 calories on that long of a run. I thought maybe my Garmin needs updated, but it does do weekly updates so I don’t know what the deal is. Does anyone else feel like their Garmin or other device not as accurate? -L


We will be linking up with Holly and Wendy for their Weekly Wrap!

43 comments:

  1. I know my Garmin is accurate on distance, but I don't use it for a calorie burn rate; I find that nothing (Garmin, treadmill, elliptical) seems to give me a realistic burn rate, so I pretty much don't count exercise calories as additional food calories. That said, I do allow treats on my long run Saturdays, of course. :)

    Sounds like your marathon training is going really well! I get tight calves too; I use my buffer to work on them, but a massage sounds wonderful.

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    1. I have seen those buffers at expos. They are so darn expensive!

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  2. I think you have the same Garmin as me. I don't pay attention to calorie burn but I wonder if its based off heart rate? And if you HR is not read accurately it throws it off. I know sometimes especially in the winter my watch doesn't stay still on my wrist so the reading kind of fluctuates. Just a thought!

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    1. Now that you say that I bet it does correlate to the HR because on certain days I have wore my watch over my sweatshirt so I can see it during my runs.

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  3. I know my Garmin is accurate for distance and pace. But I only care when racing. Otherwise, I run for fun. I don't care about the stats.

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    1. Yeah I don't really either I guess it is just more being curious.

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  4. A massage sounds so awesome! I haven't had one in years. I would think your higher rate and the heat would make a difference in your calorie burn. I still can't say how accurate they are, but I've noticed my Garmin and my Fitbit show very similar numbers. So even if they aren't totally accurate, I think the wrist based ones are pretty consistent!

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    1. I used to wear both a Garmin and Fitbit to see the difference and I was really surprised by how similar they were in stats.

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  5. I do not believe those calorie counts no matter what. In fact, I ignore them. Those numbers are based on calculations and don't take into account individual variations in metabolism. Enjoy eating ALL THE FOOD!

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  6. I notice the calorie burns on my Garmin (when I actually use it LOL), but I seldom really pay attention to what they say.

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  7. That's really interesting! I don't often pay attention to the calories burned when I'm looking at my stats (but I think mine is around the 100 calories per mile range when I do look). My watch is a different version than yours and doesn't track HR. Is your pace fairly consistent?

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    1. I think my pace is pretty accurate. However I can never hit race pace during training runs.

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  8. I don't pay too much to the calorie info on my Garmin. I don't know what it's based on. My calves are always in need of a good massage. It's great you have a good place to go.

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    1. I was thinking about going again before my marathon, but may just wait until afterwards.

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  9. I don't really pay attention to the calorie burn, but I think the Garmin's pretty accurate for distance and pace. What marathon are you going to run?

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    1. I will be heading to the west coast to get some much needed sunshine!

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  10. today I was running side by side with someone else the whole way. We both had on Garmins but our pace was different interesting huh?

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  11. I'm like everybody else, I never look at the calories, it's just not relevant to me.

    That massage sounds really good!! I need somebody to massage my calves too!

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    1. Those are always so tight. I can't wait to get one after the marathon.

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  12. I have noticed that the calories on my Garmin watch are very different than on my Fitbit. The Fitbit calories seem a bit more accurate in my opinion.

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    1. Funny that you say that because as far as distance and steps I think those two are very similar.

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  13. Ohhh I need to go to that massage school too-- my legs are always tight too!

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  14. I learned to book an hour and half for massages. I always have issues, and an hour was never long enough.

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    1. They do hour and a half there as well but I am always hesitant to book that before hand not knowing who is doing my massage.

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  15. That massage sounds great! How nice that she spent the extra time on your quads :) An hour on the massage table always goes by so quickly.

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    1. Massages are the fastest hour and an hour at work always just seems to drag...haha.

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  16. What a well deserved massage! I trust my Tom Tom watch for distance and pace but I haven't focused too much on the calorie side of things. So exciting that you are running a marathon soon!

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    1. As long as it is accurate for pace and distance. That is the important thing.

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  17. Like others, I know my Garmin is quite accurate on distance, but I don't know about calories. I pretty much ignore that anyway -- most device's calorie reports are notoriously inaccurate.

    Oh, how I wish someone would offer to go longer on a massage for me! Sweet.

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    1. I would like to think it is accurate because I use myfitnesspal so it always makes me feel better seeing the calories I burn through a workout, but it probably isn't.

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  18. Nice back to backs! Who is this girl who loves to work on runners legs and where can I sign up! I need that!

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    1. I know right? That was the first time that ever happened to me.

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  19. I cannot believe that it's accurate, it not possible to lose only 404 calories, especially when it's so hot, Lacey and Meranda. I never experienced any of my gadgets not to be accurate!

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    1. You would think I would have burned more. I must not have had my HR up as much as I thought I had.

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  20. I don't look at the calorie burn on my Garmin. I would assume it's a calculation based on heart rate and distance. However, my Garmin looses my heart rate often. Apparently, it thinks I've laid down in the road for a long while on many runs (if you look at the graph). So, I know the calorie calculation would be wrong. It'd be nice to have accurate info! Good luck at you train for your marathon! Thanks for linking.

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    1. I always go back and look at my HR during the run. And I can tell when my HR is up higher is when I tend to burn more calories.

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  21. I have heard that calories burned is all estimated unless using a HRM. When I counted calories, I would be all over those details, now not so much.

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  22. My Garmin gives me varying calorie data as well. I don't rely on any of it. I just assume I burn around 70-80 calories per mile.

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  23. I definitely think the calories are calculated on HR and since it's a wrist based HR monitor, it cannot be nearly as accurate as a chest strap. The Garmin has to be snug against your wrist in order to maintain a steady reading. I think the movement of your arms while running causes some inaccuracy in and of itself ...then if you wear it over your sleeve as I tend to do in the winter, that'll really throw it off.

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Fairytales and Fitness is a personal blog authored and edited by us, Meranda and Lacey. The thoughts expressed here represent only our own and are not meant to be taken as professional advice. Please note that our thoughts and opinions change from time to time. We consider this a necessary consequence of having an open mind in an ever changing society. Any thoughts and opinions expressed within our out-of-date posts may not be the same, nor even similar, to those we may express today.