February 7, 2010

The Sunday Sampler

One thing I love about blogging is that I can gain perspectives on different things from so many different people.  Although I enjoy reading magazines and end up oogling over the latest and greatest gear, clothing, etc., that is reviewed in the magazine, sometimes I find it hard to really trust their opinions.  I mean, magazines make money by advertising and I'm sure the companies that put money into their magazines get reviewed highly...if you know what I mean.  That's what's so great about blogs!  I love reading "real people's" reviews about anything and everything and it has helped me make more informed decisions when I eventually go to buy a product.  I have also gained tons of tips that have helped me along the way.

So, I thought I would do a sort of "pay it forward" with my own blog.  I've decided to start a new Sunday post called, "The Sunday Sampler."  My plan is to share my insights, thoughts, and opinions with you about different things in three categories: fitness (gear/clothing/accessories/etc.), parenthood, and health rotating each category each week.  I hope that makes sense! :)  
My hope is that I will be able to help you along your adventure just like so many others have helped me. So, let me know what you think!  I'd love to read about your perspectives on these things as well!  :)        

Fitness:
Garmin Forerunner 305
Here is some general info. about the 305.  If you want to learn more about the 305, you can find lots of information on the Garmin site or on Amazon.com.
The Garmin Forerunner 305 GPS System combines form and function. This combination running partner and personal trainer is designed for athletes of all levels. It features a high-sensitivity GPS receiver, new courses feature, and robust ANT wireless heart rate monitor for optimal performance. The super-sensitive GPS tracks your every move, even working on tree-covered trails and near tall buildings. The heart device monitors your heart rate, speed, distance, pace and calories burned so you can train smarter, more effectively. These taskmasters will continually push you to do your personal best. Courses feature lets you download recorded courses and compete against previous workouts. Auto Pause pauses and resumes training timer. Lap Memory - 1,000 laps. Rechargeable internal lithium ion battery - lasts 10 hours (typical use). Waterproof - Submersible in one meter of water for up to 30 mins. Alerts - Time, distance, pace and heart rate. 

I bought my Garmin last Christmas when I decided to sign up for my first Half Ironman.  I wanted something that I could use in my training and racing.  I was new to following a "training" plan and was pretty much clueless about heart rate zones, pace, and cadence on a bike.  So I wanted something that would give me accurate heart rate data, speed, pace, GPS data, cadence, etc.  Bascially every type of data I would need for running and biking.  I already had an Ironman Timex that I used for swimming, so that wasn't a necessity for me.

Pros:
* It is super easy to use and set up.
* I was worried that it would be uncomfortable on my wrist, but it is actually pretty comfortable to wear.  I don't even notice it's there.
* You get instantaneous data during and after your workout.
* The display screen is clear and easy to read.
*  You can customize the data fields so it displays whatever you want (ex. pace, time, distance).
*  Uploading your data onto your PC is a cinch!
*  The heart rate strap is comfortable (see con below).

Cons:
* It is pretty chunky on my wrist.  I have pretty tiny wrists and the thing looks huge on me (see pic).  However, I don't mind it because the display is so easy to read.  I think if it were smaller I wouldn't be able to read it as easily while running and biking.  

*  In order to use it for racing I found I needed to buy the quick release kit which costs extra money.  I tried to just wear it on my wrist to get bike data, but it was difficult to read with my hands in the aero position.  The solution: get the quick release kit that attaches the 305 onto the bike where you can then release it and mount it on the quick release strap to run with.  I have used this setup in every triathlon and I love it!  

*  Acquiring the satellite feed can take time in some places, but the longest I've ever waited was a couple of minutes.

*  I wish the heart rate strap could be cinched a little smaller.  I actually had to cut and resew the strap to make it small enough to fit around my chest.

* The training center it comes with to upload your data is just alright.  The maps could be better, but it is great for storing your info.

*  In order to use it with your bike you have to buy the cadence sensor which again, costs more money.  However, if you don't want to mess with having another bike computer, then this is an awesome accessory.

All in all, the 305 has far exceeded my expectations!  I love my Garmin! It has really helped me improve my biking and running, and I can't imagine training without it!  I hope this review was helpful.


So, do you use a Garmin for training?  If so, how do you like it?  If not, what do you use?

8 comments:

Anne Marie said...

Hey! so funny you wrote about this b/c it's on my radar to buy. I tried to get it at REI yesterday, and they only had it online. huh.
And my DH keeps asking me why I want the 305...well now I can show him your blog;-). My plan is to get it this week. I need it mainly for pacing and hr.
Thanks for the post!

Julie said...

Hi Aimee,
Great post! I just got the garmin 305 for Christmas this year and I love it. I don't use it for everything but I like the stop watch, pacing timer and calorie counter. I still need to figure out the heart rate attachment and a few other things. Thanks for the information...I look forward to future Sunday's.

Julie said...

I have the older 301 and love it, but agree that the training center is not that great. Mine stopped working for some reason and instead of figuring out why I found that I can upload my data on Running Ahead which is what I had been using anyway. Love it, the maps are so much better.

Looking forward to your next review!

Missy said...

I love my Garmin but almost never race with it. I just go with a watch. My most fav feature is just pace/distance - I don't feel like I have to map everything out. It just let's me run out the door for XXX miles. I love it.

Big Daddy Diesel said...

Ihave a 305 and I love it, I should really sit down and learn all the little ins and outs of it while its cold outside.

I thought of getting a quick release, but I couldnt see how it will set up nicely on a TT. And of course, being OCD, i would need quick release kits and cadence sensors for both my roadie and TT. UGH, just when you think you have what you need (ok, want) I still see I need to shell out tons of more money. When will it ever end.

Jon Gilchrist said...

that is a great tool. I'm glad it's working for you!

Krista said...

I love my 305 too! I would recommend the Sport Tracks softwear (http://www.zonefivesoftware.com/SportTracks/). It is a free download and much better than the standard one that came with the watch.

Amanda@runninghood said...

I'm so glad I found this! I am looking into buying a Garmin or asking for one for Christmas and am clueless...If I'm just using it for running would you say I need the 305? You're right, that thing looks huge on your wrist!