Saturday, April 7, 2012

Garmin Forerunner 210 = combining my love of running and data

I used part of my tax return to purchase a Garmin Forerunner 210 with heart monitor at JackRabbit Sports (my favorite sports store). And I'm very happy with my purchase :). As someone who is obsessed with Excel (I have spreadsheets for everything) and loves running this watch was made for me.

I've wanted a GPS watch for 2+ years but $250 - 500 price tag always scared me off. Last year I used Nike+ Sensor, a $19 small device you put inside your Nike shoes (or if like me you're not a Nike shoe wearer, attached to your shoe laces). The device was ok, it gave me a general idea of my pace and ball park estimate of my distance. However, anytime I changed my running route I had to use an online map to make sure the mileage was correct. Switching the device between my sneakers and vibrams was cumbersome and threw its stats off. Plus, you can't replace the battery and its lifespan is so short I had to replace it 2x to get through my marathon training.

After 1 month of researching numerous GPS watches and talking to JackRabbit Sports' salesreps, I decided on the Garmin Forerunner 210. I wanted a watch that didn't require a foot pod. After reading numerous negative reviews, I decided against a watch that uses a touch bezel around the edge. The newest Garmin 610 watch with the fancy touchscreen was too much money for me. Also a touchscreen would mean removing my gloves to operate it during the winter. The Virtual Racer and vibration features on the Garmin 610 are very cool but were not enough to sway me.

Garmin Connect (their online database) is brilliant! Below is a screen shot from my 10-mile run around Prospect Park and Greenwood Cemetery yesterday. The GPS automatically maps my route for me. I can view charts of my pace, heart rate and elevation. It also displays my splits (avg pace for every mile). You can export reports into excel or set goals and workouts.  The most amusing/flashy feature is the "player" mode. Watch a video of my run here. It "plays" out my route so you can watch how my heart rate, pace and elevation climb changes over time.

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