New Gadget: GPS Watch Garmin Forerunner 305

In the latest of my gadgets this year, I have to admit, the Garmin Forerunner is doing quite well. Since last year, I’ve been determined to keep up my training (at least where possible) since it’s the sort of exercise you can do regardless of where you are. Essential stuff i you’re going to battle consultant-health-unfriendly-eating-out-at-restaurants like me.

I’ve been averaging approximately 2-3 times a week running distances between 10k-16k. I’m thinking about running a half marathon later this year if I can keep it up. During winter, I found a pretty standard course in Berlin, however I’ve struggled to proper measure how far I’ve run through Tiergarden as the weather warms up.

No more with this GPS, heart-monitor watch.

First looks, you’ll balk at the size of the thing. Yes. I know. However, this is where running with a G-Shock watch already acclimatised me to the bulk. It’s not much bigger, and definitely lighter than my existing running watch. The more modern Garmin watches are definitely more stylish and they’ve done well to reduce the size of them. I bought this after talking to some folks at Runner’s Need and finding this older model available on Amazon for a bargain £120 (what you’d pay for a very beginner’s model).

The box is outfitted with everyone, and despite the huge Amazon box is pretty small.

It contains all the essentials, including the watch and it’s charging stand (that uses USB). Awesome stuff Garmin as I can reuse the USB chargers I carry around for my phone, or simply plug it into my laptop for charging.

Even better is the small charger they gave, accompanied by, get this, an EU adapter – perfect for when I’m travelling to the continent (which has been a lot this year and will be for another couple of months).

They even throw in a watch strap extender and screwdriver if you want to change the strap (for those with chunkier arms). Fortunately the standard strap worked fine for me.

On to the watch… Unlike Apple products, you have to charge the watch first. It took a good hour to actually do, but by then it worked quite well. In that time, I had other stuff to do, including downing their software and hooking it up. I don’t bother with their Mac software much, however I used the latest software off their website (the included CD a little bit outdated now) so that I could use this free software (highly recommended) called TrailRunner.

I’ve tried it for a couple of runs now. The watch took a little bit of time the first time to pick up a satellite, as it did when I started off with my run in Madrid, however once that goes, it keeps up the pace very well. You can customise the watch to show different layouts – far too many options for me to care about, but the default display is perfect – distance, time and pace.

It comes with an accompanying heart rate monitor as well that the device connects to, so when you download your runs, you can monitor time, heart rate, and elevation. This is exactly what I need right now. I flipped through the manual, but everything is pretty intuitive.

Of course, the improvements are probably the size of the watch (I kind of like the massive display so I can quickly glance to see stats while running) and the included software for Mac is a bit naff, but the free one works like a charm.

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