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Running Review: Garmin ForeRunner 405CX

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These days it's all about numbers. Time, mileage, pace, heartrate--you can't run away from them. About three years ago, I was introduced to the realm of heart rate monitors. I thought, "How cool! I will know how hard I am working on a given day based on my heart rate, and how many calories I am burning based on my personal profile!" Since then, I have become addicted to numbers. 

When training, it is important to keep track of your progress. As runners and athletes, we want to know that we are getting faster and stronger. We want to know that our pace has dropped from 8:30min/mi to 7:50min/mi or that on an easy day our heart rate should be around 130 BPM, whereas on a hard day we should be pushing our limits above 170 BPM (Note: Everyone's heart rate levels will differ. Some people have what are called "hummingbird" hearts, meaning that their heart naturally beats at a faster pace, whereas some people will have slower beats per minute. Just as all runners have a different stride, so too everyone has a different beat). 

I know that I harp on numbers more than I ought to, but I am not the only athlete guilty of this.

My first heart rate monitor (HRM) was the Polar FT4. This is your basic HRM--it tells you the date/time, records your workouts, reads your heart rate from a chest strap transmitter and lets you know how many calories you have burned given the input of your personal information. I love my Polar. It is lightweight, simple and easy to use. I would highly recommend this watch for anyone who is looking to buy a HRM. 

The only thing that my Polar lacked that I wanted was a GPS! More numbers to track! As a runner, I can plan and map out my runs ahead of time via MapMyRun or RunLogger, but sometimes it is nice to just go for a run and explore. (Also, having a built-in GPS is more precise in mileage.) That is when I decided to take a leap of faith and order the Garmin Forerunner 405CX
 


 

This watch can be a bit pricey. It starts in the $450 range, but if you do some searching you can get it for much cheaper. I happened to get mine for under $100!

Upon opening the box, I was overwhelmed by all the equipment and how large the watch was compared to my Polar, but it is because of the built-in GPS that the watch looks so hefty. The Forerunner 405CX is the evolution of GPS-enabled training. This sleek sport watch tracks your distance, pace and heart rate, then wirelessly sends the data to your PC for later analysis. The 405CX features heart rate-based calorie computation and comes with a second wrist band option suitable for smaller wrists.

One of the cons of this watch is that there is a lot to learn before you can take it for its first run. The other frustrating feature I have found is that everytime I want to do an indoor workout, in order to record calories burned and retrieve my heart rate, I have to turn the GPS off. It is a tad annoying to have to turn it off and on all the time. It also takes awhile to get use to the touch sensory bezel. 

Would I recommend this watch? Yes and No. If you are looking for a watch that offers a GPS feature and pacing option, and are willing to take the time to learn the different features, then yes. If you are a beginner and not tech savvy, then no. 

Overall, I have mixed feelings about the watch, but I am sure that once I master all that techy things that it has to offer, I will love it. For now, I like to switch between my Polar and the Garmin. 


Your Running Tech, 

Jane 

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