Thursday, September 8, 2011

Garmin Foot Pod Placement

I've been doing well with using my Garmin to track my walking but indoors I need to use the Garmin's Foot Pod to track walking on the treadmill because, well, you are walking but not going anywhere!

The Garmin Foot Pod is actually a small accelerometer you are supposed to attach to the laces of your shoes so it lays along the top of your foot. Well, this would be great if I wore shoes with laces....

Since I wear my VFF Komodo Sport shoes to walk in, I don't have laces. I have one velcro strap across the top of my foot and I initially put the Foot Pod on that strap. While it worked, it had some issues with both flopping around a bit and messing up my readings and with having to be taken off and put on again if I switched shoes to wash a pair (great plus of the VFF) or if I was outside for a walk and didn't need the Foot Pod.

When I walked on different treadmills at my gym and looked at several weeks of data comparisons between the Garmin and the treadmill readouts, the Garmin Foot Pod seems to be about .2 mph faster than the treadmill readout. Not enough that I'm willing to go through the hassle of calibrating it.

But after one day where I was somehow getting a blister on one foot and took off my VFFs to walk barefoot on the treadmill, I decided I needed to figure out how to wear the Foot Pod to get reasonable accuracy but be shoe-independent.

So, like any self-respecting geek, I googled around for other people's solutions. There were a lot of people "guessing" that it wouldn't work except if you made a sorta shoelace foot net to put it on - but I did find a few people who said they had tried or were going to try an ankle strap. Most of these were using hair ties or rubber sports bracelets but I saw someone refer to the ankle RoadID.

BINGO - I have two of these (I bought a spare).

Over the last week, I've experimented with the Garmin Foot Pod on the ankle RoadID. I have the Foot Pod on the neoprene strap and the reflective thinner strap wraps over it to keep it secure and reduce extra movement.

The most comfortable position with the least movement seems to be with the Foot Pod on the back of my ankle with the narrow end down (the end that would normally point toward your toes). Using this placement, I looked at some more sets of data and I'm getting about the same error factor as I do with the Foot Pod on top of my foot. So I'll call this a GO.

(Note: I'm using the 2nd generation Foot Pod but have ordered the newer 3rd generation one to try this also)

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