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#1 on my list would be a Garmin. I'd love to be able to know precisely how far I covered and I keep hearing so much about them. Any recos?
Also saw this, but most would not be on my list except the last one: http://ccooper.typepad.com/writing_on_the_run/2011/11/a-runners-12-days-of-christmas.html
Love my 610... hate my 405. Running with a GPS has really helped because always knowing my pace helps me from burning out in the beginning of the race. Get the heart monitor addition.. worth it as well.
I received a Garmin 410 (the water and sweat resistant upgrade to the 405) as a 2010 Christmas gift and I give it 5 stars for both training and racing. I use it primarily for data analysis after the run (comparison with other terrains and distances, noting how pace varies with the conditions, etc.) but also look at it periodically during runs to keep from going out either too fast or too slow. If you wish, you can also program it with all sorts of simple and complex training templates and courses. The computer interfaces (Garmin Training Center on your local computer, and Garmin Connect online) are also straightforward to set up and use.
Heart of the City Run, Los Angeles, CA, 24:13
Downtown Anaheim 5K, Anaheim, CA, 24:32
Claremont Turkey Trot, Claremont, CA, 24:20
The Great Race - Old Agoura 10K, Agoura Hills, CA, 51:12
Fiesta Days Run, La Canada, CA, 49:31
LA Cancer Challenge, West Los Angeles, CA, 51:21
Long Beach International City Bank Half Marathon, Long Beach, CA, 1:54:31
I started with the 405 and the bezel drove me nuts, only way I found to use was lock it down during a race which eliminated some of the functionality so I went to the Garmin 310XT last year and love it. Its waterproof so you don't worry about it getting wet, its has buttons versus the bezel so easier to operate and it has vibration alerts. Big screen easy to read and scroll through the multiple screens.
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You guys might find this useful, a review of the 210, 410, and 610: Garmin Watch Review. I don't own one myself, so I asked an expert review to do these for me.
I think the consensus in the comments though was that the 305 is the best option out there.
When in doubt though, go find a good running book! The perfect gift