Thursday, March 03, 2011

Polar vs. Garmin

Polar F7
 I seriously love my Polar F7. It's a solid heart rate monitor that is easy to use and has a lot of basic features. When I got it in June '10, I wasn't sure long term what I would need (or if I would even like wearing a device) and didn't want to make a huge investment. I wear it for bootcamp, gym workouts, and treadmills. BUT since I haven't been asked to be a "Polar Ambassador", and my feelings are HURT, I don't wear it for my half training...nah, that's not really the reason, but I do think I'd be an AWESOME Polar Ambassador!

Garmin Forerunner 305
The Polar doesn't provide me with distance (GPS), pace, or any type of easy functionality (at least that I can figure out) to get splits. So, I decided to get the Garmin Forerunner 305 for my training runs.

When I opened it, while I had been warned, I was still a bit shocked at how big it was. Thankfully though it actually fits on small wrists and snugly too! I was still intimitated though and it took a few weeks (OK, hubby asking me if I was ever going to use it) to get it charged up and plow through the manual...which turned out to be easy to understand

My running challenge for the half was that my pace SUCKS. Seriously. I have no idea what my pace is and have not figured out how to moderate it. This is fine for a 5K, but for longer distances it's a killer---pace too fast which leads to running outta "gas" later. That's where the Garmin comes in. I have it set for a narrow 1 minute window of pace time and I've been using it for my training runs. The first couple there was a whole lotta beeping going on - GO SLOWER! GO FASTER! etc., but I'm getting better and just as my buddy said I would I am enjoying long runs much more!

Interested in getting a device? Here's some thoughts...
  • What features must it have? Figure out what you want it to do before you start looking. For example, I want a device that monitors my heart rate, time, and calories.
  • What's your budget? These things can be expensive! I said that I would not spend more than $100. When I got mine, I scored a coupon to a local athletic store that totally helped.
  • Do your research. Research devices on the internet. Read manufacturer's sites where you can get a lot of information on features and benefits, but I also read a lot of reviews. I looked at major retailers that have customer comments as well as blogs to see what "real" people had to say.
  • What's the return policy? Check out the return policy of where you decide to purchase the device. I always like to have the flexibility to return it if it turns out that I don't like it or it doesn't meet my needs.
Have one of these or another? I'd be interested in what you think or hints/tips you have for either!


FitBy40 said...

I too struggle with pace. My miles can be anywhere from 10-15 minutes, depending on mood! It's horrible, but I cringe at the thought of buying yet another piece of technology that I probably won't use to its fullest potential. I don't even use my MP3 player!
I'm glad it's working for you, and now you have me looking at it...possible b-day gift!

Beth Ann said...

I wish I would have found you before I bought my watch today! HA!! I think I went through all of your suggestions, so I should be okay. Can't wait to figure out how to work it. :)