Saturday, July 17, 2010

Garmin 405

So I bought a new toy, the Garmin Forerunner 405. My data addiction can continue!  It is a GPS watch targeted at runners. The reviews sound mostly positive, & a coworker has been raving about his. The Nike+iPod system has served me well, but I think it is time to try something different. The device itself is one of the first GPS watches that is small enough to wear as a regular watch. It wirelessly connects to a heart rate monitor, and comes with a USB key for syncing data to your computer, and then to Garmin Connect online. You can optionally connect it to other devices, such as a foot pod that will allow you to run on a treadmill and still gather pace and distance data and that will fill in the gaps if you lose satellite connection in trees, tall buildings or a tunnel. Adding the foot pod will also provide information on how many steps you take per minute, which is a useful metric as well if you want to improve your cadence.

You can even buy a crazy expensive scale that claims it can record "weight, body fat percentage, and hydration levels." Once you have this scale, it records all these metrics, uploads them to the watch, and the watch then transmits them to Garmin Connect. So in addition to tracking your mileage, pace, route, elevation and heart rate, you can also watch your weight and muscle to fat ratio over time. It is a data addict's dream come true. Still, I'm not going to run out and buy the scale just yet. But, I think I will start weighing myself often on the scale I have and entering that info so I can track gains and losses over time. That could help keep me focused.

So how is it? Seems great so far. The night I bought it we went to New Brighton Park for dinner with a friend and her kids. We enjoyed the beautiful afternoon, had a cocktail and ate takeout sushi. Afterwards, as the ladies conversed on a blanket and the kids blew off steam at the playground, I ducked out for a very brief jog to see what the watch could do. My first impression is that the immediate pace feedback is far better than what the Nike+iPod system provides. I set up the workout screen to show pace, distance and heart rate. A gentle acceleration or deceleration showed instant results on the pace readout. The main reason I wanted to jog around though was so that I would have some data to sync when I got the software set up. Check it out:

So the Garmin Connect site is pretty neat. You can pull lots of information out of there. I'm really looking forward to getting more familiar with this system. I did another easy run this morning. I ran an easy 4km in to work. I'm dieing to get out and do a longer run, but tomorrow morning I do the Summerfast 10k around Stanley Park. So an easy 4k was the most I could justify.

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