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Testing the Garmin Forerunner 305 by Nancy Toby
My training buddy David kindly let me borrow his Garmin Forerunner 305 and I tested it out on our local high school track. It's a wrist unit that combines readings for time, position via GPS, and heart rate (with chest strap). I was able to get it up and running quickly with just a few glances through the manual.
I put it on the "running" setting, wore it over to the track, started up the timer and ran a mile (4 laps), walked a quarter mile (1 lap), reversed, ran a mile including three 50-yard pickups, and walked a quarter mile.
Loading the data analysis program onto my computer was seamless and I was able to look at the charts (YAY! CHARTS!) of my workout easily within five minutes:
1) Manuals and setup are surprisingly easy and user-friendly.
2)The wrist unit feels a bit big and clunky, but I could get used to it.
3) There is some 50 feet of play in the position data, even though I ran in the same inner lane every lap.
4)Total distance ran a bit high - distances measured around the track ranged from 0.25 miles to 0.28 miles. It probably would work better in straight-line running. It really got mad when I reversed on the track.
5) The heart rate meter was a little flaky at times (notice some anomalous readings in the red line, plus it started beeping at me for low heart rate once while walking), although it did find the 3 brief periods of elevated heart rate in the pickups I did in my last 3 running laps (while the pace data was too variable to pick out these increases).
Garmin track results Still, it was fun to play with (I love CHARTS! Even though it seems to auto-calculate the axes to
include the anomalous data spikes, and they don't seem to be user-scalable) and I think it would be helpful for heart-rate based training - especially for running on local roads and doing followup post-run data analysis. I also think it would be fun to use during races. There are tons of features that I haven't tried yet - like the virtual running partner to help you pace yourself with, or using it on the bike. I wish it were waterproof enough to use during pool swims or open water swims, too.
I may just buy one for myself as a reward toy for reaching a weight loss goal. But that will have to wait a while until I actually reach said goal, about 25 pounds from now.