Wednesday, June 14, 2006

Garmin Forerunner 305

My new Garmin Forerunner 305 arrived yesterday and I did what any gadget geek would do. I quickly started charging it via the USB cradle and customized it to my liking. I also played around with the hear rate monitoring (HRM) function to see if I had a pulse. Here are some intitial observations after running with it this morning:

  • now that I'm also tracking my heart rate, I have less display real estate to track all the other data fields on my three customizable screens. I currently have 4 fields per screen and by adding a HR field to each I decided to drop the average pace, current pace and elevation fields.
  • Currently the 305 only allows you to display beats per minute (BPM) OR % of maximum heart rate. My old Polar s610 HRM had both. I sent an email to Garmin and I hope they add the ability to have both in the data fileds when they update the firmware
  • the 305 for some weird reason fits a little better on my wrist then my Garmin Forerunner 205
  • the heart rate strap is not the most comfortable thing. There are some edges and seams that rub the wrong way
  • the 305 seems to be more accurate than my 205. While a good GPS Accuracy signal on the 205 was in the 18-30 foot range with 15 feet being the lowest I've ever seen it go, the 305 so far has regulary been in the 15-25 foot range and it has gone down to 12 feet.
  • the 305's audible beeps are louder than on the 205.
to keep my heart rate down. It was kind of tiring trying to do this, but I believe I was successful. I averaged about 136 BPM which is either 75% or 67% of my max HR depending on which formula you use.

One of the challenges with heart rate training is figuring out your maximum heart rate since so much is based on all important number. The Garmin uses the standard 220 minus your age calculation, which is for obvious reasons not exact. There are ways to determine max HR, so I'll see if I try one of them.

The other thing is some folks train using the heart rate reserve approach which is based on your max HR and your resting HR. I might try this one if I can ever figure out all the calculations and stuff.

In the end, it's just more numbers to throw around. When did running get so complicated? There's lactate pace, marathon pace, max HR, etc. Can't I just go out and just run? Nahh. Then there would be no need for all these cool running gadgets....

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