Friday, July 31, 2009

I Endorse: Garmin Forerunner 305

For the past three or four years I have been a runner. I don't compete or do the "fun runs" that so many runners do. The one time I did a 10K it ended up being a 7.2 miler due to a mis-measure by the organizers, and while I placed seventh among the men, it was completely miserable. When my competitive juices start to flow, it makes me run much harder than I should and takes the fun out of the competition. But, I digress.

I am a 3-4 day a week runner, usually doing 5 to 8 miles per clip depending on my mood and whether it is a substitute for my hour long lunch break. And since running is not all that fun for me (as some claim that it is) I look for any way I can to motivate myself. So, about two months ago I bought a Garmin Forerunner 305. I love it.

The Forerunner 305 is a GPS wristwatch and heart monitor that basically tells you everything you would want to know about your run. Incidentally, it is also capable of being used for cycling and swimming for the triathlete, but for me I only use it for running outside and monitoring my heart rate on machines I use in the gym on off days or when it is too inclement to hit the pavement. Again, I love it.

The 305 links to your PC and gives you info about your run, including graphic scales for speed/pace, heart rate and elevation change. It also displays a crude map that shows your route, although to me the graphs are far more useful. Among the items I don't use are cycling cadence, and a feature where you can race yourself from a prior run/bike. Nonetheless, the few features I use are fantastic.

On the face of the watch display (which, by the way, is huge on my wrist) I can see clockwise from top left: current heart rate, distance, total time, and current pace. You can manipulate the display to show whatever you want, but this is most useful for me. I especially like that I know my pace and heart rate. Wind conditions and how my body feels on any given day come into play, and I like to know when my speed is lower that my heart rate is still on target (or vice versa). Best of all, the Garmin allows me to aggregate all the stats over time and see how much work I've done for a given day, week, month, etc. I also love that I can challenge myself for a personal best. For example, on Tuesday I ran my standard 5.1 mile run from my office around the Lincoln Memorial to the Capitol and back and averaged a 7:20 mile. Heart rate averaged 144 bpm. While it is heavily dependent on how many times I have to stop at a crosswalk, I felt great about this run.

Bottom line: if you are anal like me and like to see tangible results (other than those you see in the mirror) the 305 is a fun toy for a couple of C notes.

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