Wednesday, October 19, 2011

A New Toy

After much thought and consideration, my wife and I decided to spend the money and buy a new Garmin Forerunner 305. It arrived in the mail yesterday afternoon and has already been on three runs in the past 24 hours (2 by Leslie, one by yours truly). In looking at which Garmin to buy, it became obvious that the sky is the limit in terms of cost. You have everything from the ultra-sleek Forerunner 310XT to the simple-yet-functional Forerunner 110. We decided to go for a mid-range model because we liked the feature-set that this particular watch includes. Overall, our cost shipped was about $150 and so far I couldn't be happier.

In my excitement to use it for today's run, I actually forgot to "start" my workout when I started running. It wasn't until I was about 1/2 a mile into my run that I realized this...ah modern technology. I was too busy marveling at the near-real-time pace display. Anyway. I don't really have many complaints about it so far, it is a little bulky, but despite it's size, it doesn't weight much more than a regular watch. And besides, I really like having the large display because instead of straining to see the numbers while you're running, it's an easy flick of the wrist to see where you're at. If I have one small complaint so far, it's that it doesn't seem to grab a satellite signal very quickly. Today I stood outside in the rain for a good 2-3 minutes waiting for it to grab a signal so I could start my workout (and then I forgot to actually press "start"). That's a minor thing, however, that could simply be dependent on where the satellites actually are.

This "toy" is really more of a tool, and a useful one at that. If you use all of it's features it will tell you your heart rate, you average pace for the run, you fastest pace, total distance (to the hundredth of a mile), it will give you a map of your run and it will tell you the overall terrain of your run (elevation change), you can save a "course" and then use previous runs of that course as a "workout buddy" - the watch will actually tell you where you were at on the run last time vs. this time at any given point - this thing is amazing. For those of you who do triathlon, you can set it to seamlessly detect and switch between running and biking. It has a feature where it automatically stops the stopwatch if you drop below a certain speed (handy for those running in urban or suburban areas). I could go on and on I suppose, needless to say, it's a great tool to have. I'm looking forward to using it and training with it.


  1. Welcome to the world of GPS. It's a great technology though the signal acquistion issue is common. Hint: give yourself at least 5 min before race start time to be sure you're locked in by the gun. Also, be prepared to see a difference in distance recorded to actual distance raced. I compare to GMAPS and my FR210 usually under-counts by about 2%, more if there are a lot of turns. But you are going to love the metrics!

  2. Good advice on pre-starting the GPS to catch the satellites. I had also noticed a difference in distance between GMAPS and the FR305 in just my one run so far. I think my favorite feature so far is the elevation information.

  3. Glad you're liking the 305, Adam. It's typical to have satellite issues especially in Chicago. While it's annoying to have to wait for a satellite to load, it's also totally worth it. I've had my 305 since May of this year and I can't imagine training without it. One hint--disable the AutoPause feature. Especially during Chicago races that go under a lot of bridges downtown, the stats will be off for awhile afterward. Thanks for adding me to your blogroll1