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I am a new runner (started C25K program in December and completed it 11 weeks later) and am currently running 2 to 4 miles three days per week. I am interested in purchasing a GPS watch so I can run some different routes, and keep track of how far I have gone when I am away from home and away from my 'usual' route.
I am looking for an easy-to-use GPS watch and I think my basic needs are a watch that shows current pace and how far I have gone.
I appreciate any feedback. Thank you ~
Lots to pick from: I have a Garmin 305 it's easy and comes with a heart rate monitor (HRM) the 205 is the same watch without the HRM for approx 50 less. They are cheaper than the newer model of garmin and will give you more info than you need. You can look them up at Amazon.
Not to divert you away from a watch, but have you considered using a cell phone (if you have a smartphone, that is)? I was looking into watches as well but found that with the many free and cheap app options out there, and a cheap armband to hold it, I was able to use my phone instead. Although I am fairly new to running (only running 3 miles 3x a week), I still don't see needing to spend hundreds on a watch even if I was running a lot more. I believe there are Bluetooth HRM out there for use with your phone, too.
Again, not trying to steer you away from watches, but thought I'd throw this alternative to you in case you hadn't thought about it.
C25k completed 7/27/2012
I would second using your smart phone instead of purchasing a seperate watch. I've been using my phone to log my runs and track my routes for a year and a half or so. Just get an arm band and go. If that is not an option, there was an article on runners world that I read yesterday that talked about several such GPS watches.
I use the Garmin 405 with the heart rate monitor. The watch tracks everything you need to provide you all the information you need to improve your running performance. The software which you install on your computer allows you to sync the results stored on he watch to the program. The program also allows you to enter your age weight and to better calculate calories burned and max heart rate. A smart phone will not do that. Both the software and watch are extremely customizable and allows you to set up the information you want. There is a reason Garmin is a leader in GPS technology.
I started out using my smartphone but have moved on to a GPS watch. The reason for this is that it started bothering me to not be able to check my distance/pace while running. I only got updates every mile with the phone. This is fine if you only want to check everything post-run but during races in particular I want to check more often so I can get my splits down and know how far I got left towards the end of the race. I missed my target time in a race because I misjudged how far I got left (must have missed the voice update from the phone) and didn't increase my speed. Really bugged me hah.
I did a lot of reading up on GPS watches and there are some really good comparison sites out there. The more serious runner you are the better the watch really. Garmin's whole line-up is good and I was looking at the Garmin 610 (don't like the bezel on the 405 personally..) but ended up going with a cheaper alternative: Motorola Motoactv. I have done two long runs with it so far and am very happy with it. The built in MP3 player is nifty as well. I know some people have complained about battery life but it really doesn't seem to be that bad. Did a bit over 12 miles yesterday with music the entire time. Left the watch turned on after I ended the workout (wanted to check the stats but forgot) until 4 hours after I finished the run, and when I checked it battery life was at 60%. I like the screen, it has all the info I want on it and is easy to read while running. Synchs over wifi. For $140ish I think it is a steal.
The Runkeeper app lets you choose how often you want to hear your updates. They can be distance based or time based so you could have it update you every 1/4, 1/2 mile of every minute if you wanted. I have some serious technology envy over the Motoactv, but I can't justify the expense when I have a solution that works just as good.
Thank you so much to everyone for the feedback. I really appreciate it.
*I am not the current owner of a smartphone....so for now, the apps won't do me much good. (I am trying not to go to a smartphone due to the monthly expense, but I suppose very soon, I won't have a choice!)*
I have read a lot about the Garmins, but was afraid I would end up buying 'the wrong one'. Looks like any one that I get would be ok. I will also be checking out the Motorola Motoactv. I like the sound of the price.
Personally I sweat too much during a run to carry a phone that costs $700 to replace. I used a Garmin Forerunner 305 for awhile but the battery life was only about 12 hours and it wasn't waterproof. Not much good for doing an Ironman unless you typically win your age group and don't want to swim with it on. Then I bought a Garmin 310X to use in conjunction with my power meter hub on my bicycle. They're pretty much the same in size and thus similarly uncomfortable. The Forerunner 310x has a more comfortable band and is good for 18 hours. The problem I had with both watches is that they're basically just workout watches. Garmin products I've also found are not that intuitive and very intense to program. Plus you can't just wear them everyday to tell time. So I sold the 305 and the 310x is now collecting dust.
Recently a friend gave me a Timex Ironman Run Trainer S and D with Heart Rate Monitor (ITEM # - T5K575F5). I also have the cadence foot pod. OMG is this thing nice, comfortable, and easy to use. I wear it as a daily watch then turn on the GPS when I run. I charge it about every 3-4 weeks. It's as easy to program as any Timex Ironman watch and it's waterproof.
I would highly recommend looking into this watch.
I just got the Motoactv for my birthday earlier this month and I love it! I used my smart phone previously with endomondo and it worked fine, but I much prefer the motoactv! Good luck in your search for the right item for you!
I have the Nike+ GPS watch and it is amazing. It tracks all the necessary information while I run and then I plug it into the computer to use the Nike+ software. I absolutely love it and it has been a real motivator for me!