Well I am in my fifties. By this time a great advantage is that your body automaticlly seems to know what effort for the distance. To many times I changed my effort for time goals and screwed up. Again, that is just me though. For an IM for the bike I will just have hr and distance on my computer and am either pleaently surprised of disappointed at mile 56. First time I will look at time.
I do not think you are using the watch as a crutch. You are using the tool correctly. There was nothing for me to use years ago for current pace, so I learned with different tools, that all.
I'm also in my fifties and got a late start to running (early 40s), and even later into triathlon. I started with the Garmin 301 many moons ago and it never trusted the current pace. I now have the 910xt and really like it, but continue to use the running in a very similar way. Here are a couple of things that have worked really well for me.
- I always display current average lap pace which really tells me the most about my pacing. Just this morning, I was finishing a 20 mile training run with a couple of friends. The goal was to do the last 5 miles at a 6:45 pace, so every 50 yards I would check the average lap pace to see if we were going too fast or slow and we would adjust accordingly. It works like a charm. Tough workout though!
- During races I sometimes set the lap distance to .25 miles instead of 1.0 miles. This way I get more frequent updates - kind of like running mile repeats on the track and checking your watch every 400 meters to see if you are on target pace. Of course you can set it to every 200 meters if you want. One of the best things about the 910xt is the vibration alerts !!! You don't have to remember to look at your watch (sometimes it is hard to hear the beep), the vibration is a great reminder and tells you that you just hit a lap (whatever the distance).
- I also display total average pace for the run. This tells me during if I am still tracking to my pace target for the entire workout. I targeted between 7:45 and 8min pace for the first 15 miles this morning; the first were a litte slow (uphill), but then averaged out nicely as the run progressed.
I use the same settings on the bike. The total average pace is a real motivator for me at the end of a ride to try to get my ride pace up (or at least not lose too much on the last hill to my house).
So far, I'm really impressed with this watch. Great in the pool and on the bike. I look forward to some of the upgrades - I think they can really add a lot of nice features in software updates AND on the Garmin Connect web site.