Garmin Running Watch
by Dr. Dave

I love my Garmin Running Watch . I can use it to motivate myself to run better, faster, or farther.

running watch

Two years ago I bought my running watch.  It was the Garmin 210.  It cost about $200 and has been worth every penny.  I use it on nearly every run.  I wear it as a regular watch, too.  It looks like any other watch – not bulky. 

What does it do?

It uses GPS, global positioning system (satellite), to tell me all kinds of information about my runs.

Look at all it does -

  • Watch
  • Stopwatch
  • Shows route and elevation
  • Tracks speed
  • Tracks pace and time
  • Gives alerts
  • Online features and a community of runners/walkers/hikers

Is it complicated? You do have to spend some time learning how to use it, but it’s easy. You can also buy cheaper Garmin watches that are simpler to use with fewer menu questions. But if you want more data and more functions, get a more advanced watch.

Watch: It tells the time and is the size of a regular wristwatch.  Already it’s better than a stopwatch in this regard. We all have scheduled lives and exercise usually needs to fit into a specific time slot in the day.

Stopwatch: When I train, sometimes I do sprints with my teenager. The stopwatch is perfect for this kind of running. It also comes in handy at sporting events, like our kids’ cross country and track meets.

Route and elevation: At the end of my run, I can come back home and attach my watch to the computer (the cord came with the watch). I can see the route I ran and even the elevations. It’s pretty cool to see how much the ground changes, even on a straight road. A tiring point in the workout may have been because we were running gradually uphill and didn’t even realize it.

Speed: There’s so much you can do when you know your speed. The watch tells my current pace - for instance, a 6-minute mile pace. One optional feature of the watch is the foot pod.  It is a devise that I attach to my shoe in order to track my runs indoors where the satellite cannot reach.  It is not quite as accurate as the GPS but it does pretty well. 

Pace and time: It keeps track of how fast I ran my last mile and gives me an alert. For example, I usually have my watch set to notify me with a beep every 1 mile.  At each mile marker it will show how fast that I ran that last mile for around 15 seconds.   It then will resume showing me my instant pace in minutes per mile.  I can set it to show splits in other intervals (1/4 mile, 1/2 mile, 1 mile and 2 miles).  It also shows my total run time all along. 

I love the watch during races, too.  I can keep track of my splits and total time in order to keep myself on pace for goals.  I can tell if I need to increase my speed. 

Online features and community: I can compare a workout with prior runs or share the run with online friends.  It will also automatically keep track of my record times for commonly used distances such as my best 5k.  I also like analyzing how my run went for the day – pace, elevation and distance. It can actually show your pace at any point in the run. Maybe you slowed down in the middle but now see you were running gradually uphill. It can really help with your motivation for running.

Charging

If I just use the Garmin Running Watch as a regular watch, I charge it every 2 weeks. If I’m running using the GPS functions, I charge it every 2 days.

Cost

A Garmin running watch costs anywhere from under $100 to over $400. Like I said earlier, it depends on how many of the functions will be useful to you.

You can also get other “stuff” to go with your Garmin Running Watch, like a heart rate monitor, bike clip, quick release kit, straps, other charging equipment, etc.

Other Running Watches

My son has a Nike watch.  The one feature that I really like is that it has a button to push at each interval.  This is great for doing track workouts where you need to see the time for each interval (or lap) but don’t want to stop the watch from timing.

It’s fun to be at a school running event and see the kids press their running watches as soon as they cross the finish line. Some coaches even require every runner to have their own running watch so they can train at a certain pace and report to the coach how they did. 

A Garmin Running Watch is another tool to make exercise fun!

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