Garmin worth it? (Read 1313 times)


    I have recently been thinking of buying a garmin, are they worth it ,and what exactly are the capabilities> I would love any advice. Smile

    "I've been following Eddy's improvement over the last two years on this site, and it's been pretty dang solid. Sure the weekly mileage has been up and down, but over the long haul he's getting out the door and has turned himself into quite a runner. He's only now just figuring out his potential. Consistency in running is measured in years, not weeks. And over the last couple of years, Eddy's made great strides" Jeff 14 Jan 2009


      I have recently been thinking of buying a garmin, are they worth it ,and what exactly are the capabilities> I would love any advice. Smile
      Depends what you want, but I would say HELL YEAH! Wink I have a 201 and have had it for a couple of years. I use it mostly for road training and racing, and for cycling. Its accuracy on trails with a lot of tree cover or tall buildings is questionable, but other than that I find it very accurate and consistent. If you want to know how far you've gone and how fast you are going, it is invaluable. I recently used in it a road marathon and the accuracy of each mile and the total race distance was almost perfect. It has lots of other great features, like a training assistant that allows you to set a target pace and distance and then track your progress against a little virtual runner. There are multiple alarms (distance alarm, time alarm, pace alarm) to help you monitor your training. It has good tools for interval training. It has a little internal map that I once found helpful when doing some trail training in foul weather (I crossed a little creek, then it started to pour rain and when I returned to the creek it was too high to cross so I was cut off from my car and used the map to re-route around the creek). It has standard views of your workout, but you can also set up custom screens to view the data you find most helpful (my preferred screen has lap pace, lap time, lap distance). It's not perfect, and occasionally it will have a hiccup (the other day it randomly added .12 miles to an eight mile training walk), but even with the occasional glitch I love it. You can upload your data to a website called MotionBased (http://www.motionbased.com) that allows you to view your training on a Google Map, see elevations, etc. It has very good features for free, and more features for the paid version. One day soon we might be able to upload from Garmin to RunningAhead (hint hint hint hint). Overall, if you are interested in any of the features I've mentioned, I think the Garmin is great. The 205 series is smaller and has more features, so if I were going to but one I would look at the 205 (the 205 is rechargeable; the 105 requires battery changes; the 305 is the same as the 205 with the addition of a heart rate monitor). If you're a data geek (and you probably are since you use RunningAhead) then you will probably find the Garmin fun and interesting.
        The short answer: YES! The long answer: YES, YES, YES, YES, YES, YES, YES, YES, YES, YES Key features/benefits I use: - Planning workouts including splits (i.e. 2 mile warmup, 3 miles at temp pace, etc) - It beeps at me to speed up or beeps at me to slow down. - It gives pretty darn exact statistics about how long & how fast you went. - You can break it down into splits to review performance. - You're further recognized as a complete running nuthead by others with the same addiction

          I recently spent ages mulling over whether to get one of these or not. Especially with the cost. Also which model, with vast price range from 70 GBP (I think) for a 101 to over 250 GBP for a 305. I couldn't afford the new models, so I decided it had to be a 101, 201, or 301. 101 is the cheapest but i'm an IT techie, so to miss out on one with PC connectivity would have made me regret not going up a model. So i bought a 201 at the end of November and i've been using it ever since. IT IS THE BEST GADGET I'VE EVER HAD! The bloody thing is fantastic! It has loads of great features, though not everyone will use all of them. The virtual partner feels a bit gimmicky to me but you don't need to use it. Even intervals i prefer to do manually rather than use in-built feature but that's just me being "gadgety". You can used MotionBased, which i did try out but thought it was too pricey. So I prefer to use a free program called SportTracks with it. I have to say though that the first 201 that i ordered from Amazon (UK) stopped charging after about 3 hours of it's first charging and had to be sent back. The replacement i got has worked like a dream and Amazon's returns service was faultless and prompt to the point i would recommend it. For accuracy i find that the courses uploaded to SportTracks (uses Google Maps) sometimes go off by up to 10m or so but that's not a problem, and i am normally a perfectionist with this kind of thing. I run on street roads only in an urban coastal area where there are occasional trees but only single or two storey housing that's generally widely spaced, so I have a minimum of approx 25% and maximum of about 80% sky available for satellite aquisition wherever i run. As a result i've not yet had any problem with lost signal, even when cloud cover was really heavy. Do i recommend one? YES !! Big grin Cheers Davey
            I too think it's worth it. I have a Polar S625X, but I got my wife a Forerunner 205 for Christmas. I've been "borrowing" it for all my runs and haven't used my S625X at all since I started using the Forerunner. I plan to get my own 305 within a month. For now, I use it just get my run distances and monitor my pace. I can do that with the S625X, but it's nice not to have to worry about the footpod (and moving it from shoe-to-shoe, nor having to worry about calibration). I just strap on the Forerunner and go.


              Eddy, I've ran with a Garmin 201 since July 2005. I find it to be very helpful and recommend it. Ken
                TOTALLY WORTH IT! The best specialty training tool besides running shoes! I've had a Garmin 201 since Spring of '04. Even with all of it's glitches, mentioned in the above posts, I have found it incredibly helpful for long-distance training. I got mine when I was in the middle of training for my first marathon, and it was getting really difficult to determine the length of the longer runs that I needed to do. Driviing the car around got to be too time consuming, and I didn't have fast ineternet connection (and therefore, Google Earth-type maps available to help determine routes). I use only the very basic features - time and distance, with an occasional check of elevation, pace, and time of day. The elevation feature can help when you get lost - figure out where you are, as can the Lat/Long feature if you have that info on a hard-copy map. I am still using my old 201, waiting for it to wear out so I can justify a new 205, which I recently gave to my husband for Christmas. I hear the 205 is much more accurate and doesn't lose the signal as often. In fact, my husband can get a satelite signal from INSIDE our house! I guess you can now track how far we walk at work, home, etc.
                Next up: A 50k in ? Done: California-Oregon-Arizona-Nevada (x2)-Wisconsin-Wyoming-Utah-Michigan-Colorado

                  Ditto everyone's comments above. I have been using the 301 since June-05. I wouldn't run without it. If I had to do it all over again, I would probably purchase the 201 and save money. I don't use the HRM very often and when I do, it seems to spike a lot.
                    I have had the 305 since early '06 and love it! I never work out without it (treadmill, bike, trail or road). It has all the features the others have mentioned, but I would suggest training by your heart rate fitness level is the best and safest way to work out. Whether you are looking to burn some weight off, increase your blood volume and cardio fitness or you want to push your lactic threashold, only a heart rate monitor will let you KNOW you are in a particular zone. Suggestion: Well worth the money!
                    "Life's journey is not to arrive at the grave safely in a well preserved body, but rather to skid in sideways.... totally worn out ....shouting...."Holy S**t....What a ride!"

                      YES, it's worth it, if the following are true: 1) You enjoy figuring out new technology... this thing is loaded with features, most of which are pretty fairly intuitive (I think I've looked at the manual only twice?) if you like that sort of thing, but I wouldn't recommend it for someone who has trouble figuring out new devices... it's got so many bells and whistles that it could easily overwhelm such a person. 2) You don't mind having a huge watch on your wrist (assuming you're running with it). It's not heavy, but it is pretty bulky (mostly the antenna, I suspect). 3) You are a data junky... you want to keep track (very precisely) of heart rate, pace, elevation, distance, time, lap splits, and you want to graph them against each other or display them real-time as you watch yourself run on google maps. If all you want is a stop-watch and an HRM, this may be a bit of overkill. That said, I find that new technology like this can be very motivating... it keeps me interested in my running and allows me to set goals that I've never thought of before (like doing my long run while keeping my heart-rate below a certain level). Money well spent. Big grin

                        Its accuracy on trails with a lot of tree cover or tall buildings is questionable,
                        BTW, I've got the 305 and it doesn't seem to have as many problems as some of the earlier models. I run in a large city (Chicago) and have never had problems with the tall buildings. Tree cover doesn't seem bad either, though I haven't done a lot of trail running with it. I've only ever lost signal when I go through a tunnel or into a building. It does take a LONG time to make the initial satelite link/connection when next to a tall building, or on a cloudy day, but after it's made that connection, it doesn't lose it. Interestingly, I find that it is much faster at establishing the satelite link when the battery is fully charged.
                          I have a Garmin 205 on the way, and I can't wait to put it to work. I'm training for the Pig in May, and I'll also use it for my training for Chicago. I just want to use all the features and see how it helps me improve.

                            I am thinking of getting a 205 or 305. Who has the best prices?
                              I got Garmin 305 a few days ago and I like it a lot. I've been using Polar 625 for over 2 years but I think I will stick to Garmin now. I like the accuracy of measuring the distance and pace. It saves me the time of measuring my route (Polar is not that accurate on trails) and it is a really fun tool. Now it Garmin software was as good as Polar's I would be in heaven. You can get Garmin 305 from the Amazon for about $260 and it qualifies for free shipping, I think. Ewa
                              I would rather wear out than rust out. - Helen Klein You create your own universe as you go along. - Winston Churchill

                                Thanks Ewa! Has any one tried any competing GPS-based devices? What are the main competitors to the Garmins? With a quick search I found this Timex device: http://www.runningspot.com/catalog/product_info.php?cPath=57_67&products_id=163