You’ve probably heard many times that running is the cheapest way to get fit-all you need is a good pair of shoes, right? Yeah...but then you decide to try a local 5K race or two; which then leads to more races and then longer races. A 10K here, a 10-miler there. Then you think, let’s go for that half marathon! And of course after a bit you want to start doing races out of your area to see new course and such...and after several half marathons you finally decide to try a full marathon. And all you need to do all of this is a good pair of shoes, right? Right??? Uh-huh, sure thing.
If you’ve ever been to a decent-sized race expo, you’ll suddenly find that there are TONS of things you really, really need (read “want”, “covet” or “desire”) and just can’t train without. And while a lot of the stuff out there may seem like (or actually is) overkill, I’ve found many items that have proven quite useful to me. So I’ve decided to do some blog entries highlighting my favorite pieces of running gear.
First up-my absolute favorite piece of running gear-my Garmin Forerunner 305 GPS watch and heart rate monitor. When I first started adding running intervals to the walking I was doing to try and lose weight, a friend had given me a Polar F11 heart rate monitor watch which, when worn in conjunction with its chest strap, would calculate calories burned when I was exercising and it was a great way to keep track of my calorie burn on my exercise tracker. Then I started to read about the different GPS watches and many of my running forum friends recommended the Garmin 305 so I put it on my holiday wish list...and my hubby kindly put it under the tree for me.
I love my 305. You can set it up to view several things at once on the large screen; I have mine set up to show elapsed time, distance covered, current pace and heart rate. I can even set it up to beep when I’m supposed to change from walk to run. It has cool software that you can download so when you connect the 305 to the computer, it can show you how fast you did each interval (I have my intervals set up as 1 mile so I can see my per-mile stats), elevation, calories burned, average heart rate, maximum heart rate...plus it shows you your route on a map. There are so many things you can do, like marking certain points on regular routes and such, that I haven’t even tried everything on it yet and I’ve had it for over a year. You can even you it for multiple sports, so if you want to try your hand a a duathlon or triathlon it will measure the different sports (run/bike/swim) for you---yes, you can swim with it on.
Nowadays I almost never run with the chest strap to monitor my heart rate as I tend to have chafing issues with my sports bra even without the strap on. The 205 model is basically the same as the 305 but without the chest strap/heart rate monitor...but I like having the HRM available to me if I want to use it (and I did use it all the time for about the first 6 months or so). Amazon runs some great deals on the 305, I’ve even seen it as the Deal of the Day on the Gold Box page a couple of times. This is one piece of gear I’d highly recommend, it really is a great training tool and one thing I’m really glad we splurged a little bit on (well, DH did since it was a gift LOL).
Since it is a GPS, normally you’d be using it outside so the satellites can track you to provide the feedback, but if you want to use it for indoor training (like an indoor track or treadmill), they do sell a foot pod accessory so you can use it indoors. I do 99.9% of my miles outside and when inside use a treadmill which measures my distance anyway so I haven’t gotten the foot pod. Also, another accessory they offer is a quick-release kit which has a velcro wrist strap and quick release bracket and bike mount. I’ve got this on my Amazon wish list as my current wrist strap is starting to crack between the holes a little...plus having a velcro-adjustable strap is just more comfortable...and I eventually would like to get a bike and then I can use my 305 while biking too.
Tune in next time for more Gear Talk...and feel free to post your favorite things in the comments, you may see them in one of my future Gear Talk blog entries :-)