The Garmin Forerunner 305 has many great features but are they the right ones to fit your running lifestyle and needs?
To add a bit of clarity to this question, I will highlight some of the main groovy and useful features that many runners may appreciate and also some of the unit’s limitations.
- 35 Data Fields – You can monitor a whole range of parameters such as calories, distance, elevation, heading, heart rate, heart rate avg, heart rate zone, laps, pace, pace avg, pace zone, speed, speed lap, speed max, stopwatch time, and many other variants of these fields. This should cover most anyone’s training or racing data desires.
- Up to 12 Data Fields Viewable During Your Training/Race – The display screen is called a page. You can configure up to three pages of viewable data fields. Pages are easily rotated through using the up and down button on the Garmin. You can configure one to four data fields per page. Three pages with four data fields per page equals 12 data fields at your finger tips.
Personally I currently only use one page with four data fields (pace, heart rate, distance, and stopwatch time) for training but I did create another page that only has the time-of-day on it.
- Alerts – Configurable Alerts based on time, distance, pace, and heart rate.
– When has 15 minutes passed?
– When has two miles passed?
– I want to run between eight and 10 minute miles.
– I want to run between 130 and 150 bpm.
Variations of all of these concepts can be setup with the Alert functionality.
- Virtual Partner – Turn your run into a bit of a game while racing against/with the Virtual Partner. When using a Quick Workout or a pre-programmed Course, you can watch two little runners (you and the Virtual Partner) heading across your page (screen) while letting you know the distance ahead or behind the Virtual Partner.
- Workout Flavors – Quick, Interval, and Advanced. If you like a little guidance during your workout, these can be helpful features.
Quick workout flavors include distance/time, time/pace, and distance/pace. As noted above you can use the optional Virtual Partner feature with these workouts.
Interval flavors include (dist run / rest time), (dist run / rest dist), (run time / rest time), and (run time / rest dist). You can also state the number of reps and include a warmup and cool down. Anywhere can be a track with this feature!
The Advanced workout feature allows you to create much more complex workouts that have varried distances, time, goals, etc within the same workout.
- History – Of course the Garmin stores all of your workout data and you can view some of the data on the watch or look at all the goodies on your computer.
- Heart Rate Monitor – Do you like to train with pace? Do you like to train with heart rate? Do you like to train with both? You can do it all with the Garmin Forerunner 305. I have been real happy with the heart rate monitor. Just add a bit of water to the chest sensors before putting it on and your are ready to go. It has been very stable for me.
- Continuous Battery life – The specs say 10 hours of use before recharge is required but I ran a 50 mile trail run and the Garmin completed the race with me in a little over 12 hours. It did start beeping at me towards the end stating the battery was low or maybe I was just hallucinating at the time, not sure.
- Indoors Functionality – Since GPS is used to determine pace, speed, distance, and calories, the Garmin is not ideally suited for indoor use. GPS requires actually physical movement, a treadmill won’t cut it. Of course you can easily use the treadmill display for your workout. Also GPS does not go through structures (buildings, etc) very well or at all. The heart rate and timer functionality will still work though.
- Water Resistance – The specs say you are safe for 30 minutes at one meter in depth. This may not be the best device to use in an adventure race or swimming some laps. I wouldn’t risk extended periods of time submerged in water with this device. Most runners shouldn’t have a problem with this.
As you can see the Garmin Forerunner 305 can do a lot but it does not shine nearly as bright indoors. Depending on your primary desired use, the limitations may or may not be a factor.
Now you have a pretty good idea of what the Garmin Forerunner 305 can and cannot do. Hopefully this helps in your search.
I have been using the 305 for nearly a year and have really enjoyed it. It is a fun and useful tool/toy.
Amazon.com still has one of the best prices around unless you can find it on sale somewhere.
If you know of any other great running features or significant limitations runners should be aware of, please share in the comments section below.
Be active – Feel the buzz!
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Posted on 15 Apr 2009
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