Should I Get A Garmin?

Why You Definitely Want To Consider It...

By Habib Wicks, PEERtrainer Co-Founder
We have just completed a survey about running among members of the PEERtrainer community. Very interesting results- the biggest thing we are seeing is that there are a TON of very experienced runners and even more people who want to START running.

So we are going to be sending some new articles out by people who have a lot of experience to share.

We also asked about specific tools people use, and hands down the Garmin Forerunner GPS watch is the favorite. I recently was given one as a gift and I love it. I have been running seriously for half a year now, and the Garmin (310XT) added a whole new dimension to my running. Three main benefits for me:

1) it freed me to run anywhere and be able to track my run. Before I would eyeball my miles, run on a pre-determined and measured course, or run with others who had a Garmin. Now I find myself running everywhere and I find the experience more of a journey and even adventure.

2) it helps me manage my runs better- I use the heart rate monitor that came with the watch and I am watching my heart rate to make sure I am in a proper zone. Before I would burn myself out. As a result I can now run further.

3) It is helping me run faster and further. I am doing a lot more splits now, mainly mile splits, which helps me measure my speed and keep increasing it. I find that I am able to do my mile splits faster and faster.

And because I am also managing my heart rate because it allows me to run much further because I am making sure to keep my heart rate at a sustainable rate. I can rest and bring my heart rate down, which allows for a longer run.

I am just learning how to use the tool but overall I cannot imagine running without it.

Which Garmin GPS Watch Should You Buy?

The short answer to this question is get whichever one you can afford. I was given a 310XT as a gift (not by the company), which is the newest and most expensive ($400) version. It is waterproof, easy to use, comes with a heart rate monitor and is less bulkly than previous ones. The company posted the following short video which goes over the product:

How To Get The Best Price On A Garmin Forerunner:

Technology in general gets much cheaper as time goes on, and the Garmin Forerunner line is no different. The Garmin 305 is widely available on Amazon for about $150 from a variety of reputable retailers:

You can also get a Garmin Forerunner at any local running store, and as a general rule you want to support your local running store as much as possible. The people who manage, own and run these stores are often runners themselves, and tend to be leaders and supporters of the local running community. Buy everything that you can at these local running stores. (And if you have a link to a local running store in your community add a description and link to their URL on the community thread linked at the end of this post.)

In my community the running store puts out water stations on Saturday mornings, and are generally very helpful. You get the best advice on shoes, gear and you will get referrals to local specialists if you get injured and need help. So you want to support these stores as much as possible.

I mentioned earlier in this post that we got a lot of feedback from the PEERtrainer community about Garmin. Here is the exact feedback- about 26 responses so far- on what Garmin they got and how they use it and how it has helped them:

1. Garmin 405 for keeping pace, interval for walk/run

2. Garmin 305 with heart rate monitor. Garmin is useful to get to know you may sometimes feel near to the limit while you're quite below it

3. I want to get a Garmin -- I don't have one yet.

4. A Garmin to track miles run and pacing; it has the heart rate monitor but I don't use it, although I have in the past. The Garmin times my runs, so although I wear a running watch, I only set it for marathons in case the Garmin battery goes out during the run. I also have a GymBoss, which is great for the dual timers for run and walk and has a louder beep than my running watch. I'm 57 and now run 2 minutes and walk 40 seconds; this has improved my marathon time by 30 minutes!

5. I love the Garmin watch to run outside, I do a lot of treadmill running so all of the information is right in front of me. I am able to run more consistently outside with the watch.

6. I use a Garmin now. I just purchased it so Im not sure how its helped me yet. Its a fun toy though and i Love the GPS function. So far it has helped me go outside and run more as opposed to the treadmill b/c I HAVE to know my mileage I sometimes opt for the gym passing up the great outdoors

7. I love my Garmin. It encourages me because when there are moments that running seems to hurt, I look at my Garmin and I am running too fast! It helps me keep to MY pace.

8. I have the newest Garmin Forerunner with GPS and heartrate. Lets me track my pace, distance, favorite paths and times...uploading it all to my computer.

9. I WISH I had a Garmin or HRM- I want want really badly. Right now I just use an ipod when road running- no ipod on trails and currently no timing device at all.

10. Garmin, when I want to run a specific distance.Heart rate monitor to manage intensity. Watch for intervals and over all timing.

11. Garmin watch GPS and heart rate monitor - I bought it for training purposes so I could keep track of my times. But at the beginning, I just got out there and thought I would run this amount of time without trying to set goals with any tools.

12. I own a Garmin Forerunner (GPS and heart-rate monitor all in one) and use it when I run and walk. I love using it because I can see my progress charted (when I upload my runs), I can map my runs, and I can track my heart rate.

13. i'm saving up for a garmin for my bday sooo :)

14. Garmin - great to see exactly how far you have gone and at what pace. Definintely a watch if nothing else - I do long runs with run/walk intervals.

15. Garmin 305 - it kept me honest and let me know when to stop running. Without it, I would not have completed the distance run that was on my schedule.

16. Garmin 405 - helped with pace and mileage. I run faster on roads than on the treadmill so yes, it did help with pace.

17. I haven't purchased anything yet. But I plan to. A friend that runs said the Garmin is awesome, but a cheap walmart version is great for beginners. That's the one I plan on purchasing. : )

18. Garmin - love it!!! I can go out and run anywhere in any city and know how far, my pace, etc. It's great!!

19. At my age, heart rate training is the way to go. So I use a Garmin Forerunner 305 (it has a heart rate monitor). I have determined my max heart rate using the Karvonnen method and determined the various levels of activity (85, 75, 50 percent and so on) and am careful to back off if I exceed those figures. The Garmin helps because I love to keep track of the numbers as I work out and the little computer gives me three screens with four paramaters on each.

20. My Garmin "set me free" so to speak. I can put it on and just start runnung. If its a 5 mile day I can go 2.5 any direction I want and turn around. Great for traveling! I also used before my Garmin and still do. Helpful tool when you are familiar with the area and want to track mileage exactly or plan your next run. I have the heart rate monitor with my garmin but have to say that I don't know how to interpret that info. I know it calculates my calories burned and I love that feature of the Garmin program also. I think overall I feel more SAFE while running with my garmin...don't get lost, can watch my heart rate, know my distance and pace constantly, etc.

21. Garmin 405cx HRM with footpod. I love having the footpod because i live in MN where it's tough to run outside year round (I'm not that brave). The GPS on my Garmin only works outside -- but with the footpod, it tracks my distance and pace on indoor track and treadmill. I also use to track my runs .. it uploads SUPER EASY from my Garmin.

22. Garmin Forerunner 405
with a solid plan, it helped increase speed and distance

23. Have been using Garmin to track how far and fast I go. Thats very motivating as you get so exited to go further and faster, especially if you note it down after every practice so you can follow your progress. It´s so nice to see your miles/km add up :)

24. I use a Garmin to track my distance. You can log into the program on a computer and compare times, and you can race against a previous course. I love it!

25. Use Garmin with Sport Tracks freeware mostly as a mapping tool; I usually run on trails and it's fun and morale boosting to look at the terrain I've run over. Also a big believer in compression wear during and following running; really seems to help with recovery.

26. Garmin. I love seeing how far and how fast. It inspires me to try to complete the same routes faster.

Click here to add your own Garmin user review, success story or how you use it in conjunction with other tools.

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