Sunday, January 5, 2014

You Gotta Garmin Foot Pod? I've Got Questions ...

I'm not a triathlete ... not yet anyway.  But while looking around for a new Garmin to run with, I decided that I liked the Forerunner 910XT the best, even though it's built more for triathletes than anything else.  I liked the look and display, and especially liked that I could swim with it ... ya know, for those 3 times a year I crosstrain in the water!  It was my Christmas present from Michael.  She also got me a Foot Pod as an accessory.  The Foot Pod is capable of a lot of different things such as counting your foot cadence, and tracking your distance and speed on workouts indoors where a GPS satellite signal is not available.  For example, it's really handy for gathering and storing information available for upload later from a treadmill workout, when typically you would have to manually enter the activity.

My new Garmin Foot Pod ... if it has a specific model number I don't know it because the box got thrown away at Christmas.
Sounds great, right?  It probably is!  But I've tried using mine inside a few times, twice on a treadmill and this morning on the indoor track a my gym, and I can't get it to calibrate correctly.  Since it won't calibrate, my mileage was off considerably compared to what the treadmill display and lap count on the track indicated.  I think I just need to sync it by GPS the next time there's a temperature with a positive reading - that will most likely solve the issues.  But here are a couple of questions I have after using it a few times ...

1.  Do you use a Foot Pod, either Garmin or any other brand?

2.  Does the Foot Pod simply count the impact of each step or actually measure steps?

3.  How does it know if my strides are long or short ... for example, when we speed up, our strides get much longer and our footsteps cover much more ground.

4.  Will my Garmin get confused with other Foot Pods in the area?  Mine seemed to be picking mine and Michael's today at the gym.

5.  How is my Foot Pod special to me? I mean, could I just use Michael's and it would record the same data? 

From everything I've read, the Garmin Foot Pod will be a great addition to my data gathering.  And at this point, my questions are probably mostly out of ignorance to the product.  But I just wanna know as much as I can about it.  Have a great week!
... be great today!


  1. Hi Jim, I'm no expert but will try to answer your questions.
    1, I use a garmin footpod, I've had two. One died from banging my shoes together to remove dried mud. They replaced it under warranty.
    2, My understanding is its supposed to measure the impact of each step and calculates the stride.
    3, It bases the stride on the calibration process you are supposed to go through. Best way I found is to calibrate it over a set distance.
    4, No, it will only sync and recognize the one that's associated with your watch.
    5, See answer #4 :)
    I find mine quite accurate, I use it on my treadmill and running inside when no satellite signal is available.

  2. I've used them in the past. Some thoughts:

    a) You need to calibrate it at a track. Otherwise the distance and pace measurements can be off a lot. ~5%.

    b) I found it useful measuring cadence.

    c) I believe the newer foot pod has a binding feature which means if you bind your foot pod to your watch, it will ignore others. I've had them error out with HR straps before the binding feature and it would display a message that more than one device is in the area. Really sucked at the beginning of a race one day.

    d) I download the data into TrainingPeaks for analysis.

    Some of the issues with Tmills are that they are not calibrated either so which is wrong? Most of the time, both.

  3. Thanks Robert & RST, that was really helpful!

  4. 1. I have both the Garmin 910XT and the Garmin foot pod. I generally had no issues with it so far.
    2. I think it does both, when you calibrate it with the help of the GPS. It is actually recommended to go out and walk for 1km to calibrate it using the GPS. Like this it will know both your cadence and your stride length.
    3. The cadence is very accurate as far as I know, it matches my metronome quite well. But you have to calibrate it properly and usually wear it on the same foot and not change orientation. I rarely remove it from my shoe, but then I only have 1-2 pairs.
    4. If it's paired with both, you can switch from one to another, but it's better to avoid doing so. In case of doubt, unpair Michael's.
    5. It uses ANT+ technology, it is coded. It should not be able to talk to 2 devices at once.

    I hope this helps. I used my foot pod a lot in the first year, but now I only use it indoors because my cadence had not changed. It's good if you want to aim for the magic 180. However, the treadmill will always be off with the footpod for about 1/8th of a mile, which is frustrating for a perfectionist freak like me. I don't know which one is right!

  5. I have a polar foot pod with my SR800 but I have the same problem you have. It seems making sure it is 100% still on the shoe is very important. A little movement seems to throw it off a lot. I must admit I prefer not using it.

  6. Hi Jim,

    I think that this link will help you...



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