I started running this year and bought an iPod with Nike+ early on to track my mileage. I had some initial frustration with it, subsequently learned how to hack it to recover my run data, but for the most part, really love it.
Then I became a bit more serious about my running — I’ve logged about 640 miles so far this year, have begun training for my second marathon, and recently ran my 6th race — so I started to get frustrated with the fact that the iPod with Nike+ wasn’t totally accurate in terms of distance and pace (I was calibrating often and it always seemed like it was either telling me I was running too far or not far enough; the accelerometer technology is cool, but not without fault).
It was time for GPS — on my wrist:
So I started doing some research and knew pretty quickly that I wanted a Garmin Forerunner. My buddy Alex, with whom I trained for the Rock ‘n Roll Marathon in San Diego, picked up the Forerunner 205 during our training, and loved it. Given that it’s GPS and all, we always used his watch to track our distance and pace vs. my iPod, which was pretty accurate, but not exact.
The 205 is an older model and doesn’t have a heartrate monitor, which is something I was also curious about doing: Monitoring my heartrate while I run. So that narrowed it down to the Forerunner 305 or the Forerunner 405.
The 405 is the newer, smaller model, just released this summer, and which is getting all the hype. I read lots of reviews that compared the two and ultimately decided to go for the 305 for a number of reasons:
- Money: I saved about $150 (I bought my 305 on Amazon for about $210 vs. the $350 it would’ve been for the 405 with heartrate monitor).
- Display: The 305 has a bigger display (I love data and the 305 can display 4 data fields at once).
- Features: From everything I read, the 305 and 405 are virtually identical besides the design (405 is much smaller and sleeker, but I wouldn’t have worn it when I wasn’t running anyway) and the fact that the 405 has iPod-like “touch bezel.”
I’ve only run with my 305 a couple times this week so far, but already I’m loving it. There are so many features that I haven’t really leveraged anything but the basics yet.
Some features that are really cool about the watch:
- GPS tracking precision
- Accurate pace
- Heartrate monitoring
- Race against a virtual running partner
- Map courses & compare past results with current
- Create quick, interval, or advanced workouts
- Download data
- Follow on map and graph what my current pace & heartrate were at any point
Some things I don’t like about the 305 so far:
- Connecting to the satellites can take a while
- It is a bit on the big side (but doesn’t bother me too much)
- Every time I download my data & close the Garmin Training Center, the data seems to go away (so I have to download again)
Overall, it’s a great investment and I’m excited to leverage it to help me take my running to the next level.