Friday, March 6, 2009

Got Garmin?

When it comes to running and pacing, I've always been "anti-Garmin". There were three main reasons why I never had any interest in this device:

1. It was way too huge for my wrist
2. I enjoy the challenge of pacing myself with mile markers, and I get a great deal of satisfaction out of being able to pace a perfect marathon.
3. I become numbers-obsessed very easily and I could envision the Garmin controlling my run. I could see myself becoming a slave to my Garmin and if it didn't work one day for some reason, getting all bent out of shape about it.

Recently, I have been looking into heart rate monitors. I use the sensors on the treadmill to view my heart rate, but I am positive that my heart rate is lower outside, where I am not as affected by the heat and humidity of the gym. I also wanted to collect heart rate data for long runs and speedwork to see where everything fell.

Someone suggested to me that I get the Garmin with the Heart Rate monitor, but I immediately refused. In fact, many fellow runners have been trying to convince me to "Go Garmin". Finally, they won this battle and I lost. I broke down and bought a Garmin.

I know that they are a lot smaller now than they used to be. So I was optimistic that this 405 might fit my wrist (even though most watches don't even fit my wrist). And the Garmin would allow me the freedom to run wherever I wanted and automatically know my distance. I wouldn't be restricted to the trail (that has mile markers). I am running the Toronto marathon in September, which is measured in kilometers, and my watch can only take up to 30 splits, which isn't enough for 42K. So I needed a watch upgrade anyway. I also wanted to be able to track my splits and take heart rate data at the same time, and I think that most HR monitors don't have a "split" button.

The Garmin came today, and I am specifically blogging about it before even reading the directions or running with it. These are my pre-Garmin thoughts and concerns and I wanted to document them before I actually went out and used the thing.

I did, however, try it on for size. It's absolutely massive on my tiny wrists:

The non-flexible part of it is longer than the width of my

This is as tight as it gets.

It's so bulky and heavy on me-- I can't imagine ever racing in it. Or even doing speedwork with it. But I am going to give this thing a chance, since it comes so highly recommended. But no matter what, I still think that I will race with my watch. . . . with the exception of the Toronto Marathon.

The heart rate monitor strap also doesn't fit. Even on its tightest setting, it is too big and slides down. I had expected this, though, after trying on other HR monitor straps. I will try to safety pin it and if that doesn't work, the Garmin web site sells a smaller version of the strap.


  1. OMG. That is laughingly large on you. I have the same color. Jackie said something about putting a wrist band underneath it. You will love the garmin. I just downloaded the sport tracks that GIM recommended. It's pretty easy to use.

    Let me know if you need some help getting the ant agent all set up.

  2. I never race with mine, I find it far too distracting. It will,however, teach you how to pace.

  3. I just got a 405 for my birthday 2 weeks ago and I absolutely love it! I was horrible at pacing myself, but now all of my MP runs and long runs are right where they should be. I love the freedom af knowing how far I've run at any time during my run. If you can make it fit comfortably...give it a shot, you might be surprised how much you like it!!

  4. I have a 205, and it is very big but I have pretty small wrists too. The thing is brusing my left wrist a little even. So you were smart getting the 405.

  5. i bought the same exact garmin about a month or two ago. same color and everything. i kinda hated it at first bc it was really hard to work and figure out and be comfortable with. it def fit my wrists better than your tiny ones!
    but now after using it quite a bit, i love it and cant imagine running without it!

  6. I still am anti Garmin... I've only used a plain ol 50 lap Timex to record all my runs throughout my life. Of course I had to change the battery at times but that takes years too. Maybe if I'm ever no longer living where I live I'll end up getting something like a Garmin so I know the distances of my route. For now my routes were all measured by odometer of Target Car (you know that story I sent you awhile back that I was starting to write, right around this time period of your blog.)