Last night, after work, I went for a 9km run using my newly bought Garmin Forerunner 35.
I’m very happy with this running watch’s performance. I’ll be posting a full review of this watch later this week, but suffice it to say, it’s quite an awesome little tool.
Unfortunately, China has strange laws regarding GPS. If you look at the map below, you’ll notice how it looks like I ran through empty space and buildings. According to the map, I even swam through a river!
That’s because China’s government imposed a law stating that GPS signals must be intentionally ‘inaccurate’. So when you go for a run or a bike ride, and if you track your route with a GPS tracker, you may think that your tracker is wildly inaccurate.
This simply isn’t true. Some sort of algorithm intentionally throws off tracking signals. It’s not just by a simple 2 or 3 meters either; in fact, it’s closer to almost 500 to 1000 meters!
What about GPS for maps?
Here’s where things get interesting.
If you are coming to China and you want to use Google maps to find your way around town, abandon that idea right now. You’ll get absolutely no accuracy using Google maps. That said, it is good since Google maps will be both in English and Chinese. If you do end up getting lost, you can always use Google maps to look at street names and find your way around.
A much, much better option is to download Baidu maps. For whatever reason, the Chinese government decided that Baidu maps is fine for pinpoint GPS accuracy. This means that while everything is written in Chinese, using Baidu maps makes getting around much easier.
Ok, so how about my run?
My 9k run was pretty good. I actually haven’t run much since leaving Taiwan back in September. Last week I decided to get back into it.
Surprisingly, while I am slightly out of shape, my overall speed has not been reduced much after a 3 – 4 month hiatus. My average pace is slower than it was in Taiwan and Japan, but only by about 10 seconds or so. If I keep this up, I’ll be back to a 4:40-ish pace pretty quickly.
I’ll be making a new page dedicated to my runs soon, along with a description of my fitness goals. Hopefully we can go on this journey together, and please, feel free to contact me for any tips!