Recently, I’ve had several coworkers and running friends ask me questions about our foot pod, so I thought it was time for a quick overview of the pod’s purpose. First and foremost, you ought to know what this tiny tool is — an accelerometer. And what it’s not — a pedometer. The primary purpose of the foot pod is to gather precise speed and distance data when used with a non-GPS fitness watch like the FR60 or when used indoors with a compatible Garmin sport watch like Forerunner 210, 410 and others. In the second case, the built-in GPS on Forerunner is giving you speed and distance data when used outdoors, anywhere in the world. But since your watch can’t receive GPS signals indoors, the foot pod gives you the option of capturing your data from indoor treadmill or track runs.
The secondary purpose of the foot pod is to track your running cadence, or foot strikes per minute. Certain compatible Forerunners like the 310XT, 405 series and 410, can even display cadence on the watch if you customize the data fields to show that data. Other watches, like the 210, will simply collect the cadence data and show it when you upload to Garmin Connect. Some runners use cadence training to help optimize their speed or stride length. Beginning runners sometimes fall prey to overstriding, which can lead to injury. To avoid this and to sharpen foot turnover for speed, some sources recommend runners aim for a “sweet spot” of 180 steps per minute. So, if you’re using the foot pod for cadence training, you could aim for a cadence around 90 since it’s counting the number of steps taken by one foot.
Where it goes: This tiny tool can snap onto your shoelaces or fits in the sole of certain running shoes. Make sure the arrow on the foot pod bracket points outward, to your toes. This is to ensure the best accuracy. When I ran the Rock’n’Roll Arizona half back in January, I did a little on-the-spot tech support in the porta-jill line. I noticed a woman had her foot pod positioned the opposite way, so we got her pod pointed in the right direction and she was grateful for the tip.
To learn more about the foot pod, watch this video showing how it works with the FR60. And stay tuned for a more in-depth rundown in an upcoming fit tech blog post.