Garmin Forerunner Review

As I've stated in previous blogs, I've been using a GPS device, Garmin Forerunner 201, during my runs to track mileage and pace. I first saw this device while running with Scott Jolly at the CEC 2004 conference near Chicago last year. Basically the device uses GPS data to track longitude/latitude/altitude throughout a run. Other features include the ability to set target times, paces, distances, track pace, calories burned and keep a running log of your running history.

As an example, I've included the data from my run this last Tuesday, Sept. 6th. The graph you see below is a graph of our pace while doing 6 Yasso 800's on the track:



I've reduced the size of the image to save on the size of the image. With this graph, you can clearly see each of the sprints as the pace dips down to a 7:30/mile pace. And then you see the rest, maybe more than I should, between each Yasso. The approx 9 min pace before/after the workout is the approx 1.25 mile run to/from the track.

So, here's my review of the Forerunner:

Positives
  • If you want a really accurate running log, this device is much easier than a paper or excell spreadsheet log.
  • Long battery life. Approx 12 hours on a single charge.
  • Good if you Geocache.
  • IMO, it's not near as expensive device as you'd think. (see links below to Amazon)
Negatives
  • Device is too big (leads to other negatives below)
  • I seem to log shorter distances than my running partner. I think this is due to the way that I hold my arm while running. If I run for a distance and don't receive a signal because it's faced towards the ground, then it recieves some signal, I believe it assumes a straight line, which as you know is the shortest distance between two points. If I was on a curved section of the route, I've now by robbed of that distance.
  • Seems to take two long to turn on and recieve a good signal. Especially if I'm not totally still or in a new city.

If there are any others out there with opinions, your comments are most welcome. Also, there is now a Garmin Forerunner 301, which includes heart rate monitor. I'll leave it up to running partner, Derrick, to blog on that device when he gets his.



OK, I know that you can get by just fine with that $19.95 Timex, however this is perfect for that gadget person runner.
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