This is a review of the Garmin Forerunner 305 Running Watch. Garmin makes other models but this one seems to be the best for running (it also works for cycling and walking) and the most bang for the buck. It is not cheap. Regular price is $199.99 but it can be found online for $150 or less. And it lasts a lot longer than running shoes which run $75-$100 or more.
Calling it a watch is not exactly the correct terminology. It is bigger than a normal sized sports watch. It's more like something Inspector Gadget or Get Smart would wear. It is a tad bulky but you do not notice it after a few runs.
some of the data features it records are:
-pace (or speed if you are biking)
-heart rate (you wear a chest strap for HR)
-plus averages and maximums of those fields
-altitude in feet above sea level
-plus lots of other things I don't use much
It can also download data to your computer and use their software to track all the stats.
I have had the watch for 2 years and it has worked flawlessly and is very accurate. I have tested the distance feature at a track and on race courses that have been certified as correct and the Garmin comes in within 1% of the correct distance.
The watch has a built-in rechargeable battery and sits in a cradle when not in use so that it stays charged. I believe the battery will last up to 7 hours when fully charged. I have used it for 5 hour runs and it was still ticking. It also comes with an USB cable to hook it up to the computer and transfer the data and install any software updates from the manufacturer.
You can program a specific workout that you want to do and it will record it for you and also give you an alert when you are supposed to change speeds. For example you can tell it you want to do: a 1 mile warm-up, then run 4 1mile repeats with a 1/2 mile easy job in-between each mile, then a 1 mile cool down. It will sound a bell when you are supposed to slow down or speed up and at the end of the workout you can see all the data.
Here is a picture of my watch on my forearm that is hairier than Roseanne Barr's (after a Nair treatment) and Ricardo Montalban combined
-Will it is water resistant, you can run in the ran in it, it's not recommended that you swim with it
-It can take a minute or two for the unit to acquire a satellite
-you will find yourself 'racing' the watch and trying to beat your time from previous runs. Not always a bad thing but some days you just need to chill and run easy
-you can become a slave to it and have to wear it for every run. I suggest that if you get the watch you run 'naked' every once in awhile. ie no watch, iPod, cell phone etc....
Here is what Garmin has to say about their watch