Garmin Forerunner 205 or 305? (Read 894 times)

    Hi, I'm Steve. My 41st birthday is coming up, and I'm thinking about the Forerunner 205 or the 305. One side of me doesn't want the extra complexity of the heart rate features that the 305 has. I want to learn to listen to my own body. I want to just run at whatever speed and intensity that I feel like on any given day. Basically, I want to love to run, and not be a 'slave' to a heart rate monitor. Another part of me realizes that there are times when I might want the 'coaching' that a hrm provides. I may at times decide to follow a stricter training program and not just 'follow the wind.' Can anyone with the 305 tell me if I could use the 305 without the cheststrap? And in so doing, use the 305 as if it was the 205? Then I could just use the HRM features when I wish. And also, feel free to chime in on my conflicting desires: running 'free' vs. running with the hrm 'coach'. How do you feel about each? And if all this sounds a bit crazy to you... well, I'll admit to being crazy: I'm returning to running after almost 20 years and 60 lbs gained!
      Hi Steve! Well, like you, I've been going back and forth about the Forerunner. In my case, it was due to cost, as it's quite a bit of money to spend on something you wear about 4-6 times a week. today, I just bought mine and am liking what I'm seeing/doing so far. I was always going to go for the 305, as I think having the HR option to use at any given time is better than not having it at all (because those are the times when you would want it). for the difference in cost, it's not a bad deal. the basic Polar HR watches, the ones that will record and download to your PC I should add, are well over $100. I'm not a slave to HR, but, after training for two Ironman triathlons (uh, I should say that was a long time ago...) and basing most of my training on my HR for recovery purposes, it's a very useful tool to have access to. My main reason for wanting/purchasing the 305 was the amount of traveling I have to do for work. I'm constantly trying to map out courses before heading out on a run and, when in a foreign country or new state, it's a bit hard to remember all the twists and turns I would need to make. Now I just need to head out the door, mark my starting point and start running. I'm familier enough with the areas I visit to know the general area, but at least I won't have to remember street names and can see just how far I've run. That all said, I wish I could utilize this website for downloading the information, as the ones that come with it (Motion Based and Garmin Training Software) are OK, but nothing fancy. You need to subscribe to get all the neat features. As other members here have done, it's just a matter of uploading the data into the Garmin version and then just typing it all in here. sorry for the long reply! Darrin
      Run long, run strong

      Gotta Flee Em All

        I have the 305. I love my 305. Most of the time, I do not wear the chest strap. When I do, it is good to have. When I don't, I am fine as well. It provides me extra flexibility to decide what data I want to capture. I believe that there are some other differences between the 205 and 305 in terms of how they capture the data and do laps, etc.

          Hi Steve, I have the 305 and have had no problems using it without the HRM. I agree with the others, if you're spending the money on a Forerunner and think you'll use the HRM occasionally, it's probably worth getting the HRM. As for your more philosophical question, I agree that it's important sometimes to run "free", just for the love of it. That makes a lot of sense to me. When I run free, though, I'd rather not wear any watch at all, so I not only leave the HRM, but the whole thing behind. But it's also essential for me to have those strict days (most days) and then I like to have ALL the data I can get to understand my progress.. the Forerunner is pretty complicated (probably a little too much for the beginning runner) but it will give you LOTS of data! I love my Forerunner 305, but I have to say the only downside to the device is that it's a little bulky. It's VERY light-weight, and, yes, I know it's a lot smaller than the previous version, but it still really sticks out on my wrist. This is really more of an aesthetic complaint than a functional one: sometimes when I'm going for a run with some friends I wish I could wear the HRM but not the big GPS watch so I don't look like the big geek on the running trail! Anyone else have 'Forerunner shame'? Big grin In any case, I think there are lots good reasons to buy (and wear) a Forerunner. I bought mine for a combination of reasons: 1) Helps me know my mileage/pace when I travel, 2) HRM function will help me run better Lac Threshold and VO2Max runs for marathon training, 3) new toys like this help me keep motivated on those days I don't feel like runnning. Good luck on your decision! Happy 41st B-day! Big grin
            Since I'm also new to the 305, does anyone have a preference as to which software they use to download the information? Do you just use the GTC one and copy the information over to this website or do you use the Motion Based one? I wish there was a way to import the maps into here as I really like to lay out my routes here and maintain a log of them visually.
            Run long, run strong
              FYI, I've started a user group specifically for GPS training. I thought this would make it easier to have all the info on these devices in one place. It's called 'GPS Running', under training groups.
              Run long, run strong