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My (not so new) Best Friend: Garmin 405CX Review

April 7, 2011

I used to think that I was a zen runner, I would just put on my shoes and run and be happy. I’m not sure where or how I arrived at that notion, because I’ve always been a girl who is fixated on competing and constantly improving upon my last race. My obsession with competing and training hard all started with swimming.

SwimmyKimy in her natural state

I’m not sure where it came from, but there was something inside of me that loved and craved pushing myself to the limit and giving a practice my absolute 100%. I was absolutely infatuated with knowing my splits my every time I dipped a toe in the pool, whether it be the biggest race of my life or a regular ‘ole practice. I was known to haze younger swimmers forcing them to choose the harder interval with me. On occasion I also went a bit too far when hyping up teammates before a big race, oops. Oh, and on top of that, I was plain CRAZY when it came to beating my opponents.

So where the HECK did this idea come from? That I was going to just go for a run, not really know my time and be happy with that? Hmm. Seems like an ill-fated idea if you ask me.

Well, it was.

Slowly over time several of my running buddies have taken the plunge and bought a Garmin or Polar GPS watch. I was always intrigued, and I loved hearing my splits. I found myself obsessively asking friends that owned a GPS watch what the pace and current mileage total was. Finally around Christmas time I found a good deal on Amazon.com for the Garmin Forerunner 405CX. I mulled it over for a few days, read some reviews and then when Santa brought me money for Christmas I decided to take the plunge.

I know I’m a little late to the Garmin party, but here are my thoughts on the product

Pros

  • It’s small, so it doesn’t bother me when I’m running – Call me picky, but the Garmin 305 looked like a huge remote on your wrist. I’m very particular with how things fit/feel when I’m running, so I knew that wouldn’t work. The smaller/sleeker design did just the trick!
  • Garmin Connect – This is absolutely life changing. Uploading all of the data is extremely easy, almost too easy! Instead of having to where a standard watch, track my route on mapmyrun.com and then figure out my “average pace” Garmin collects all the data for each mile, elevation, the exact route, etc. Pretty much any and all data that you would want from your run. Cue massive geek fest.

  • Ease of use – After playing around with it for an entire weekend, I figured out all of the fun features & Garmin Connect. I’m sure I will continue to find new things, but for now I have the basics down
  • Perpetuating my competitive edge – Having the ability to constantly know my run stats has made me more aware of my training and I’m looking forward to using it throughout this marathon training cycle

Cons

  • Obsessively checking my pace- The Garmin is amazing, but sometimes I feel like I can’t just relax and RUN for enjoyment.
  • Loss of signal – Living in a city with tall buildings, every now and then I lose the Garmin signal. Which creates waves of panic and hysteria. But then I just remind myself,  it’s just running!

Abridged version: I am hooked. I’ve waved goodbye to the “Zen Runner” I once thought I was and I look forward to a long friendship with my (not so) new best friend. Lizzy, thank you for introducing me to Garmin. I know it won’t always be a great friendship, so sometimes I will leave G at home, but for now it’s opening a whole new world of running to me!

Do you have a Garmin? How did it change the way you train and run?

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6 Comments leave one →
  1. Emily permalink
    April 7, 2011 2:48 pm

    My Garmin changed my life as well. I have a 310, which is enormous like the 305, but it tracks EVERYTHING and makes me much more aware of what I’m doing. As in, I don’t just go out and run — I can do it for a specific purpose and know all the info and how it plays into my training plan. I’m like you though — I get super antsy when I lose the signal!

    Also, Garmin Connect is the coolest thing EVER.

  2. April 7, 2011 3:02 pm

    Garmin is so addictive!! When I am wearing mine I check it every other minute for pace and distance updates, then download all the info to see how I did.

  3. April 7, 2011 3:12 pm

    I don’t even pretend I was ever Zen. I NEED NUMBERS NOWOWWWWWW!

  4. April 7, 2011 7:29 pm

    Oh I love that it’s smaller than my Garmin! I just got a garmin for the first time in December, after running 4 marathons, and it definitely has changed the way I train. I do see some cons (like worrying about my pace on runs when that’s really not the point), but now I just try to take my basic watch when I don’t want to be focusing on pace. In general I think it’s been SO great particularly for speed training and tempo runs, because I don’t need to memorize distance markers or worry if I feel like going off my planned route.

  5. April 7, 2011 8:06 pm

    Oh, Garmin! We have a tumultuous relationship. When I got my Garmin, I fell head over heels in love. It has been a great tool for training and long runs, so I know we’ll never part ways for good. That said, I haven’t worn my Garmin since the marathon and I don’t miss it. I got too weighed down by the stats and good runs suddenly weren’t good enough. I think it’s great to use it sometimes, and run “zen” other times.

  6. April 7, 2011 8:47 pm

    I love my Garmin!! I agree with you on your pros and cons, but I just can’t seem to be able to go out and run with out it.

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