This spring, we debuted G-SHOCK’s first watch with a built-in heart rate monitor and GPS tracking, the G-SHOCK MOVE GBDH1000. Now we’ve connected with an elite mountain runner, Joseph Gray, to see how he trains on the GBDH1000.
The first G-SHOCK from 1983 is an icon, and you’d probably know it even if you weren’t into watches. In fact, those early G-SHOCKs were when Gray became a fan. Decades later, he’s a titan in the running world and a G-SHOCK ambassador.
We asked Gray about his training and performance in 2020 and what he likes about the G-SHOCK GBDH1000 as a runner and trainer of other athletes.
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G-SHOCK MOVE GBDH1000
The G-SHOCK watch family takes its name from its shock resistance and water resistance up to 200 meters. The new G-SHOCK MOVE uses this iconic structure and technology to track and analyze performance measurements like heart rate and VO2 max, as well as GPS positioning to track distance, speed, split times and more.
The data can be read on the watch or you can access more detailed information in the dedicated G-SHOCK MOVE app. The MOVE platform can create personalized training plans based on your profile, training goals and data. In addition, the watch can act as a virtual coach. If you train too soft or too hard, you will be informed.
Interview: Elite American Runner Joseph Gray
Joseph Gray is an elite mountain runner who has been named Mountain Runner of the Year nine times and has won eight world titles.
As a black American, many of his accomplishments are early in a branch of the sport that sees less diversity than road or distance running. Gray is the only black American to have made Team USA the World Mountain Running Team, where he won both the USA National Mountain Running Championships and the World Mountain Running Championships.
Gray has been a fan of G-SHOCK since elementary school (when calculator watches were a big deal). Today he’s training in his latest iteration, the GBDH1000.
GearJunkie: After almost a year, what are your favorite aspects of this watch?
Gray: I am a big fan of this. Especially in this day and age when you are talking about it [the importance of] Build on something, have a plan, and be held accountable when you don’t have a coach. The G-SHOCK MOVE has a feature that allows you to create a plan for you. You can say, “I want to do a 38 minute 10k race,” and it gives you a plan and blames you for doing the work towards that goal.
My wife has the watch too, and I used it for a run once. It sent her a message about her exercise plan, in which she knew that she was way ahead of schedule and that her fitness was increasing at insane levels.
What I love most is that this watch is solar powered. As most runners will tell you, sometimes it sucks when you wake up late or walk out the door reminding yourself that you forgot your watch only to find out it’s dead. Then you’ll either have to borrow someone else’s or rely on your phone to track them.
When I’m out for a camp or race, I forget the adapters to charge a GPS watch. Fortunately, I can rely on the watch to be in a sunny spot and ready when I get back.
What lesser known function did you use?
When I’m exercising high, air pressure is another important factor that I need to monitor. Suppose you train in high mountains, you don’t feel very good. [and] You can look at the pressure and get an idea of what is going on. It can make you feel like you are much higher than you actually are.
Take the Pikes Peak Descent, for example. In 2019, barometric pressure was really affecting everyone, and times weren’t very fast. There is almost no point in comparing altitude times based on that alone. Air pressure can really change a race by minutes. That’s why I love to compete against other people, not according to time.
Did you use the watch outside of exercise?
The temperature and directional characteristics. When I’m traveling to a new place or it’s nighttime, this navigation can be useful. I’m not one of those people who follow their steps, but it does follow them. And every now and then I’ll just look at this to see.
Being able to see your resting heart rate can be a heads up when you overtrain or get sick. Many of the features cover different areas of general health, not just for runners.
Find the right dates
If you’re not using the watch on an exercise plan, what numbers do you look for most?
I will use the clock [and the G-SHOCK MOVE app] to keep track of height when trying to accumulate a certain amount in a week or training cycle. The data can give you some cool graphs to help you visualize where you are. The same goes for mileage.
Another great feature is the VO2 analyzer on the watch. Once you’ve worked out for a couple of weeks, you can know what’s going on with your fitness – in terms of whether you’re staying fit, improving, or exercising. During the training phase, it’s cool to see if you are getting fit, what your heart rate is, and if you are pacing with a heart rate that is easier than when you started the cycle. It gives a good idea of your general fitness.
I think G-SHOCK did a good job with it VO2 reading. I think it’s way more honest than other watches I’ve used that also say they track the same dates. It gives me a very clear picture of where my fitness is at any point in time.
When my V02 max fails, I usually have problems, am tired or just coming from a break or something. And when it goes up, you can tell. You can feel the speed and power in your workout.
Like that [G-SHOCK’s] Graphics are, it’s really simple. Everything is there and you can analyze what is going on when you are not feeling right.
Do you think there is a sweet spot to the role data plays in training?
Even with this watch, I probably don’t look at the real-time data half the time. I am looking at cumulative data after major training periods. There are days when I just run for fun, but I collect the data so I can look at it later and see what I’ve done.
Running is an easy sport, and in my experience, over-analyzing the data as a college athlete and coach can weigh on runners or take away the fun. I would rather have an athlete who just loves to run than one who approaches a goal only from the ego point of view.
Running through 2020
How did the 2020 race cancellations change your running season?
I honestly view the whole quarantine thing in a positive light for myself. I understand that it was devastating for a lot of people – because they lost jobs or their businesses – and I am sensitive to that. But for me personally, my daughter was born just before the pandemic. It gave me the opportunity to be with her around the clock, which I didn’t get with my son because I raced.
When she’s learning something new and seeing that development in a new mannerism or a new laugh or a new skill, it was cool to be present for those moments.
As for running, the rejections left me in a kind of no man’s land. For me, what I like to do is competition, and that’s the beauty of running. You challenge your fitness against others and their will to beat you.
At first I wasn’t a big fan of FKTs [fastest known times]but this year it was the only competitive outlet. It was a way to compete with the same people I usually see face to face.
Note: Gray did a few FKTs this year. One coincided with a trip to visit the family in his home state, Washington Enchantment Lakes Traverse. The other was where he currently lives, Colorado, where he completed the popular one Boulder Skyline Traverse in a time of 2 hours, 32 minutes and 40 seconds.
They are known to love steep descents and routes. What’s the appeal of running uphill?
I love races that end on mountain tops. I feel like you start at the bottom and end at the top, and you can take that view in and see what you’ve just been working on to get up. There’s no rush to get back down.
Going uphill is more cardiovascular, while going downhill is more of a mental thing, such as how much you fear getting hurt or falling. I like running downhill, don’t get me wrong, but I think running uphill is more of a real test of fitness and your cardiovascular skills.
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This interview is sponsored by G-SHOCK. Find out about the new brand G-SHOCK MOVE GBDH1000 Sports watch Here.
G-SHOCK for the heart: a fitness watch becomes robust
For the first time, G-SHOCK includes a heart rate monitor and GPS. Get to know the connected G-SHOCK MOVE, the GBDH1000. Continue reading…