Garmin required or not?

Hello all.

Im a novice, been running under a year, but already done some 10k's and ive entered my first half marathon later in the year. As i am now training and not just upping my mileage, im finding it increasingly infuriating trying to log how i am improving by the old fashoined methods of clocking route mileage on my bike and then running it and timing myself with a stopwatch. Its also impossible to follow training plans accurately. Im looking at getting a garmin, but my, for a single mum they are a bit out of my price range!!

Can i have some views please? Are they worth the money? Do they make training easier? Im also not very technologically minded, so im scared of spending a large amount of money on something im not going to be able to use!!!

help and views please......image


  • the garmin 305 is my latest running toy. I bought it on Amazon.

    it is good but I also bought the lakes memory map software for my laptop. It is a good piece of kit but it is a bit nerdy. If you arent into all the computer software stuff then it isnt worth the money. it just over complicates the simple art of running.

    But im a nerd.

    there are cheaper less complicated heart rate monitors about. If you wan to track your route and mess around with all the training centre stuff, then Amazon is as good as many for price.

  • You probably won't use 90% of the features of a garmin, but it is nice and easy to just download your runs and view them on a map, keep statistics etc. It's not essential though. Alternatively you could use a site like gmap-pedometer though there are lots of similar ones, to measure a route. Instead you could just see what your average pace has been for you last few runs and then just calculate by the time you've run. If you run 10 minute miles on average then if you've been out an hour, log 6 miles. If you went a bit slower or faster it isn't going to make a big difference.
  • hi,

                                I too am looking at getting a garmin as my cardiosport hrm has packed up.

                                Thinking about the 301 or improved 305, check out for some

                                 good prices.

                                 Good luck with half marathon later this year.

  • You could use to check the length of your routes, no need to cycle. Fetcheveryone has a similar feature. But it doesn't do heartrate, of course image
  • You could wait till the 405 comes out. The 305 will probably come down in price then (although it's quite cheap already on amazon)
  • Garmins are great we've had 201,301,and 205 all superb
  • I've always been very regimented in my training routes, always following the same 3 or 4 routes, so that I could compare times. My Garmin has freed me from this, and I can now run as I feel. I can also ensure that I have run the required mileage on a strange route AND the virtual partner is excellent for racing against. image
  • Thank you all for your responses.

    I think ill have to carry on with the ol' wristwatch and bike routine until i get my head rwnd sites like map my route. Im going to start saving for a garmin though i reckon, didnt know a new model was out soon, so think ill wait for the 305 price to drop. image

  • Try 'Runfinder' - it is really easy to use to plot routes - trust me - I too am cr4p at anything remotely techno.  I used it religiously before I bit the bullet and got 305 - best thing ever and I don't know what I would have done as am in training for first FLM.
  • Is a garmin necessary?  No its not

    Is a garmin a great piece of kit that helps to motivates you and improve your running?  Yes it is.  And its quite easy to use too.

    I managed for years mapping runs on different web sites (they are easy - honest) and making do with a stop watch.  Many sites now have individual training logs too.  I use but it costs £10 although a free trial is available.  So my advice would be to certainly consider getting a garmin but there's no need to rush into it if you have other priorites.  Good luck with your running. 

  • finished my first run yesterday with my Garmin 305, have to say, I love it already. I am a complete novice and also a bit of a gadget boy. The run I did yesterday is one I have done a few times before and I am always dead at the end(its only 2 miles btw) I decided to strap the garmin on and not look at it and just do the run as I have before. After uploading the run to motionbased(amazing for a free service btw) I have discovered the reason why I feel like never getting up after a run is because I have been pretty much running at 90-100% of my max HR the whole time. Tomorrow I am going out again but this time using the HR zones so I can complete more than 2 miles.

     Thanks Garmin for showing me I am not superman and stopping me from letting my heart leap from my chest and stopping before my very eyes(think of the mess!).

     If you are a novice like me and have no idea what you are doing buy a Garmin I think its great!!image

  • Sorry to hijack your thread, but a quick question about the Garmin.

    One of the reviews on Amazon says that "It has excellent GPS reception in the woods". Is this correct? Most of my runs are on tree lined pavements, & I'd always believed that I would have problems with the GPS.


  • Is it  just speed and distance you want or heart rate as well?

    You could take a look on ebay.  I have a nike triax speed distance monitor with footpod I was going to put up as it has been superseded by my nike plus ipod and Im sure I came to the conclusion that it would sell for only a few pounds (hence why I havent got around to selling it yet!)

  • Mark T - I often run with Sezz in a park that has a lot of trees. My 201 loses the signal whereas her 305 always seems to keep it.
  • Cheers ff  image
  • Hi fellow plodders, after reading various reviews on the 305 i,ve got one coming for my birthday

    off amazon, should be here end of week..

    Better start getting me brain into gearimage for attempting to fathom out its many functions.

  • - looks like the garmin fans are out in force here.

    Yeah its a nice piece of kit. Is it essential ? Certainly not.

    Most runners havent got them. Just get out and run.
  • Agree with cougie!!

    In fact I went out on my last 2 runs with no time piece at all. Running free, it was great! Recommended! 

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