I went running today and when I returned I checked the data on my Garmin (on the device itself and then more in depth on the computer…and then I compared it to Kimberly’s), the data on my FitBit (device and phone app), and then I entered in the stats manually into my Nike Running App on my phone. I did all this before a recovery coffee, shower or meal. I’m thinking this is normal right?! If not, get me and several friends that I won’t name (YOU RAN WITH ME TODAY THOUGH) to a 12 step running device intervention program!! I love my running gadgets and for the most part I will say the more information the better…and I say for the most part because there have been seasons of my life where data and competitive phone apps have not been good for me, but for the most part I think it’s pretty cool that we can measure all this information and it certainly makes running interesting in a techie kind of way. This will be kind of a product review type post as well as what information I find helpful and I will tell you my coveted gadget of the moment….watch out friend who has one cause I’m bigger than you and think I can take you:)
Currently in my device rotation I have a Garmin Forerunner 310XT, a Fitbit Charge HR, and the Nike Running Phone App. I know you may be laughing right now since my Garmin is pretty outdated and maybe even my Fitbit too, but I promise these all serve a purpose and even though I do want that GARMIN MY FRIEND HAS I’m good with mine until I concoct a good plan to steal hers. Let’s check out the
obsession features each of the devices offer. (OH…this is going to be a very un-thorough review…if you are really in the market for anything gadget related I suggest you read this while watching the Bachelor and then head over to DC Rainmaker with your pen and paper to take notes…he does a great job reviewing devices related to running, biking and swimming).
Garmin 310 XT
Or…a laptop on your wrist is how I refer to the Garmin 310XT. Backstory to me having this very large Garmin is my first Garmin running watch I received in 2010 was the prior version the the 310XT. I LOVED this watch. It was right before the smaller and more streamlined version came out and I was one of the first of my friends to have one and it was life changing as far as running was concerned. When I trained for my first 1/2 marathon pre-Garmin my friends and I ran the same boring trail all the time because it was mile marked. After Garmin we could run anywhere which was so freeing! The larger size of this original Garmin didn’t bother me….and I found after my friends were getting the new smaller versions that mine was always the most accurate and didn’t lose satellite as often. I mean it’s like the size of a big screen TV so surely it’s easy to see from space! I also liked and used the multi-sport features for my triathlon training. I even took the time to put it on in a few races. When my original Garmin died I searched for the 310XT because it had the same large screen. Honestly, I like the original better (the multi-sport function was better), but this has still been a trusty watch. I still feel it’s very accurate. There have been a few times it’s been off, but it’s usually just been in the first mile. The other thing I don’t like is it is very easy to lock the keys! I do this all the time and for the life of me can never remember what combination of keys unlock them. I’ve had to google this EVERY. DARN. TIME. The feature I use on my Garmin the most is the instant gratification feature. That would be the one where you are finished running and instantly find out your pace and pace per mile by viewing the history. This feature has also been known as the “no way, I’m sure we were faster than that mode”, or “we’ll go with your data if it’s better function”. Regardless, it’s nice to know because it will determine my mood until the next run and lately the watch is behaving and telling me nice things so life is good. I have used my Garmin to swim and bike too. I’ve only used it to swim in Jordan Lake when I can’t gauge the distance. I would say it works great in the water. My friend Andrea uses it in the pool and sets it to lap every 100M. I would do this too if I could figure it out, but I’m also okay not knowing how slow I swim. I’m really excited about this, but I finally set up a Garmin Connect Account two days ago…probably only 10 years behind that trend, but now I can see trends and connect with my friends. This will really open a whole new level of
obsession understanding to my data. So excited to finish this post and go run reports on pace, speed and elevation. Overall I really do love my Garmin and while I haven’t used any other GPS watch I can’ t imagine any other would come close to the accuracy and functions of a Garmin.
Fitbit Charge HR
I had a Fitbit Flex a year ago and thought it was ok. I liked the step data and even entered my food in the App a few times, but overall I didn’t think it was giving me anything special. I also found the band to be very flimsy and it quickly ripped and that was the end of that. Then I caught wind of the Fitbit Charge HR and was intrigued. My Garmin has a HR strap, but I have never used it. It’s enough that I remember to keep the gadgets I have charged and haven’t lost them so remembering and wearing a HR monitor seems unlikely. I did like knowing my daily steps too and I would push myself to get in extra steps most days….I’ve even walked around my house before bed to meet my step goals! So, when Kimberly had upgraded her Fitbit HR and offered to sell me her old one at a great price I was all over it. I have actually really enjoyed wearing the Fitbit HR and find the data very useful. I really like the sleep data and find it very accurate. I have found waking patterns and even though I’m not sure what to do about them I at least don’t stress out when I wake up at times in the night and am encouraged to see even with the wakeful or restless times I still get decent sleep. The feature I love the most on the HR is what I call the “running man”…..
“Running Man” is the feature right under my active minutes that gives me this cool HR information. I understand this is not 100% exact, but I use this information to see patterns and to make sure I’m not overdoing every workout. For example, if I see that I have run mostly in “peak” HR I make sure to do an easier run the next time or next few times. I also really find this helpful when I do one of Holly’s speed or hill workouts. In a speed or hill workout I know that I want to see a difference in my work/recovery. It’s cool to see the surges in HR on a hard interval and shows me I’m doing what I’m supposed to be doing. However, I also see I’m not always recovering like I should. Another cool thing about this feature is now that I’ve had my Fitbit a few months it is starting to know me and my patterns. I don’t have to start and stop Fitbit for my workouts, but it will still record them according to the HR fluctuations it picks up. I also notice it will name my activity accurately. When I run it knows I ran and when I’ve taught a class it will record it as an “aerobic workout”. I have never specified those workouts into the Fitbit! It’s also nice to see your random walk to drop off your kid at a friends house recorded as activity. And, like I said earlier there is always this….
Nike Running App
My final gadget I like to use is the Nike Running App. I could see not using this now that I’m on Garmin Connect, but I’ve had this App for years and it’s kind of habit now. It also keeps me connected to my running friend Evelyn who lives in Greensboro and is always kicking my butt in miles. I figure I’m doing ok if I stay within 20 miles of her haha! Besides checking out my competition I like how I can get a snapshot of miles and pace for a given month quickly. With this feature I was easily able to see that I’ve dropped almost 20 seconds off my average monthly pace thanks to Holly’s speed workouts! You can run with the Nike Running App and use if for GPS. I did this for a while and it’s good, but I find the Garmin more accurate and I don’t like running with an armband.
I love all the devices, but I’m coveting the Garmin Forerunner 235! Kimberly just got one and it seems like it combines all the features I like in my 310XT as well as the Fitbit. The 235 tracks all the usual Garmin stuff like pace and distance, but it also has a wrist based HR monitor…tracks SLEEP…and steps even when you aren’t running. All of this and much more. Check out DC Rainmaker’s detailed review for more. Kimberly is loving this watch and I’m going to beat her up and steal it on our next run…totally kidding of course because then I would be out my favorite running buddy and I still like to compare notes because I clearly don’t have enough data on my own and need more. Right?!!!