One of the coolest developments in running technology in the last few years has been the GPS running watch. The ability to track your workout’s mileage, pace, and calories burned is a great way to maximize training. Many companies make GPS watches, including Timex and Soleus, but the best known company is Garmin.
Garmin makes some awesome running watches, but with so many models, it can be difficult to choose the right kind of watch.Here is a brief summary of the best Garmin running watches. Click on any of the watch titles to be taken to a purchase page for the watch.
Garmin FR10: This watch is an entry level GPS watch that can track your time and pace. It does not have the more advanced features of other models, but it is also less expensive. One nice aspect of the FR10 is that it has a sleek design, which makes it great to wear as a daily watch. One negative is that it does not record elevation changes when running.
Forerunner 110: The Garmin Forerunner 110 is similar in features to the FR10 with two key differences – it records elevation and is compatible with heart rate monitors. Like the FR10, the Forerunner 110 can also be worn as a daily watch. With that said, some reviews have found that the 110 is not as waterproof as the FR10. Additionally, the 110 does not show a runner’s “current pace;” only the lap’s specific “average pace” is shown.
Forerunner 210: The Forerunner 210 adds additional features to the FR10 and 110, including current pace and the ability to design simple interval workouts. Like the 110, however, there are some reports that the watch is not 100% waterproof. It has can be worn as a daily watch.
Forerunner 310xt: The 310xt is an update of the popular Forerunner 305 model. 310xt is designed for triathletes, as it includes a multisport mode that allows tracking of swimming, cycling, and running. Even if you aren’t a triathlete this watch make a great running-only watch. It allows for advanced workouts (i.e. staggered warmups), and uploads all data to the Garmin connect web site via a wireless USB sick. Unlike the 110 and 210, it has much better waterproofing. The 310xt can not, however, be used as a daily watch (too bulky and no power save mode).
Forerunner 405/410: The 410 is an update of the 405. These watches have the advanced features of the 310xt without the multisport mode (they are made primarily for runners). The 405 and 410 are pretty bulky, but can be worn as daily watches. One major issue for the 405 is the “touch bezel,” which allows runners to select options with a iPod like touch function. Many runners have complained that the 405′s bezel does not operate in the rain – most reports say that the 410 improved the bezel’s performance.
Forerunner 610: This watch is also designed for runners. It has a cool touch screen that allows runners to quickly select options. The 610 has all of the advanced options as the 310xt (i.e. advanced workouts, uploading to Garmin Connect, etc). The 610 also has good waterproofing and can be worn as a daily watch. The 610 is probably the best bet for runners who can afford a more expensive option.
Forerunner 910xt: The 910xt is currently the flagship for Garmin watches. It has all the advanced functions of the above models, it is waterproof, and it has great multisport options for triathletes. There is no doubt that it is a great watch – but probably overkill for runners who do not participate in triathlons.
Garmin FR70: Due to its lack of GPS capability, one watch that runners often overlook is the FR70. However, with the purchase of a Garmin foot pod, the FR70 can track your distance and pace just as good as a GPS watch. In addition, the FR70 is waterproof and has the advanced workout features of the higher-end Garmin watches. It can also be worn as a daily watch.
I hope this quick summary of Garmin watches for runners was useful – they are really great devices.