I got a fun package in the mail this week:
All my stuff from the cancelled Woodrow Wilson Bridge Half in October! The race organizers mailed out the shirts, medals, Gu and bibs to all the participants. After some debate, I added the medal to my medal vase – I didn’t actually run the race, but I trained for it and know I could have finished it. I wasn’t sure what else I would have done with the medal, but Mike joked that I should move the medal to the bottom since I didn’t earn it.
Anyway, to get to the point of this post, I upgraded my running watch in August this year and I wanted to share some of my thoughts, in case any of you were looking to upgrade or buy your first GPS running watch. My previous watch was a Garmin FR210, which Mike bought me when I first started running a few years ago. It was still in great working order, but I was looking for a few additional features, as well as something that synced a little faster with the satellites. I actually managed to buy the Garmin FR225 with my FSA money because it counts as a heart rate monitor – pretax dollars for the win!
(Let me know if you’re interested in the details of how I used my FSA to get the watch and I’ll provide a short explanation in another post)
This won’t be a full review – if that’s what you’re looking for, head over to DC Rainmaker’s in-depth review – you won’t find a more thorough review anywhere. These are just some of my favorite (and least favorite) features.
Garmin FR225: My 5 Favorite Features
1. Fast satellite sync: When I took the watch outside for the first time, I could not believe how fast it found the satellites – less than 30 seconds! It was the same when I took it across the ocean and used it in Ireland for a couple of runs. After the watch “knows” a location, it’ll connect even faster; the watch finds the satellites outside my house within a couple of seconds now and I’m on my way. This is definitely a big improvement over my previous watch, which took about a minute on average and much longer in new locations.
2. Heart rate during workouts: Although the wrist-based heart monitor is the biggest added feature of the FR225, I didn’t think I’d use it that much. And then I realized how helpful it is in monitoring the intensity of my runs. Now, I keep the heart rate screen on for my easy runs all the time to make sure I’m not pushing too hard, and conversely I use it during spin classes to ensure that I’m pushing myself enough. I’m still working on the right placement of the watch on my wrist for accurate measuring though – it was reporting my heart rate as 200+ during parts of my easy run this morning.
3. Vibrating alarm: This is a nifty feature I discovered a few weeks ago and now use every single night! The watch vibrates and chirps quietly when the alarm goes off, and I prefer it to using my cell phone alarm because it’s much quieter (doesn’t wake Mike up), wakes me up immediately, and I can turn it off quickly. Somehow, I feel more awake using the wrist alarm as well – I find it much harder to hit snooze and go back to sleep (although sometimes I manage…lol).
4. Internal accelerometer: This feature eliminates the need for a separate footpod when you want to run indoors. I’ve used it for numerous treadmill runs already, and it’s been helpful for me to be able to analyze my paces/ cadence on those runs. While the distance is a little off (usually measures ~10% short for me), it’s not that bad and apparently it measures more accurately as it observes your cadence over time.
5. Bluetooth sync with phone: This was another feature that I thought I wouldn’t use, but I actually appreciate that I don’t have to connect my watch to my computer anymore and that I can see the data for my run on the app within seconds of bringing the watch near my phone. I believe this can also be used to enable real-time tracking if you run with your phone and watch (e.g., your friends and family can follow your progress during a race).
Other stuff about the watch:
– Sleep data: The watch reports out sleep data, based on your level of movement at night. I have a love/hate relationship with this feature – it’s nice to see that I spent 8 hours in bed, but the data is very inaccurate for me because it’s typical that I’ll lie awake sleepless for hours without moving #vampireintraining
– Step count: Garmin has incorporated various features common to activity trackers, like step tracking. I don’t count steps or try to hit a goal everyday, but it’s fun to be able to compete with Mike from time to time (he has a FitBit). I tend to win on Saturdays :)
It’s also waterproof, which makes it easy to clean after a sweaty workout – I just wear it into the shower!
With that, happy Friday friends! Hope you all have some fun weekend plans – I have a long run on Sat, followed by maybe a movie and bowling :)
Do you run with a running watch? What are your favorite features?