Gps watch / running watch for a 24hour race

I ran a 70 miler a few months back but the low battery warning came on after about 12 hours. What do people use for the longer event? Not sure how I 'd manage without knowing how far I have left to run!


  • Suunto ambit can last 50 hours when taking a gps reading once a minute, otherwise garmin 310 and 910 xt claim to have a 20 hour battery life, not that it helps you for 24 but you could change watches for the last bit!!!

    I can't think of any others!
  • ironically the 205 seems to last for ever...  I know it's a bit retro, but the battery life is astounding compared to my 305.  I too want an ambit as that would see me through the longest events I ever do.  image

  • I'm sure I read somewhere (think dcrainmaker's site, but can't find it now with a quick look) that you can get one of those things which takes a couple of batterys (AA I think) and has a usb connector, and plug that in to recharge say a 305. Trying to remember exactly what he said, but I'm pretty sure that you couldn't see the screen whilst it was charging, but it would keep recording the data.

    I'm sorry I'm not being very specific, but might be an option worth exploring!

  • Is it a timed 24 hours or a course that takes about a day ? Cos surely if its the former- then any running watch will tell you how long you have left ? 

  • Thanks for replies - will check them out. It's 100 miler cougar which I'm hoping to complete in 24 hrs
  • mr fmr f ✭✭✭

    Andy, im a garmin fan and have been running ultras for a number of years now. My trusty 205 typically last s for 16hrs (although it screams low bettery from about 12!). The way Ive got through either 24hr or 100mile races id by borrowing a friends to supplement mine from the midway point.


    However, the cheaper more brick like series, the 105 maybe? with the batteries? is a really goo shout over ultra distance. a friend uses his over long ultras as you can change the batteries and it still recalls your current run etc when the new batteries are put in.

  • Do you need GPS? I have the Garmin FR60 which uses the footpod and is very accurate for recording distances.

    Not sure how many hours the battery lasts but it was OK for about 1000miles before a battery change.
  • It's not the 105 you are on about - no such thing, it's the 101. I've got one, but have never tried a long continuous session with it, but you certainly get a good few hours with a decent set of batteries. I do know they are used by some ultra runners because of their battery life. I suppose if the batteries did run out, you could change them for a new pair, and it would only take a few seconds to do. Might need to do it before they actually ran out, reset the watch, then change them and start a second session - be best to work it all out before race day.

  • I used 2 x garmin 305's for the lakeland 100. First one went after about 14hrs..

  • my 305 low battery warning comes on after around 6.5 hours!!!

  • The new Magellan Switch Up has the ablity to add an extra battery - not sure what time that extends to but dcrainmaker has a review.  Not Garmin but functionality is very similar.

  • Exiled you're right the Forerunner 101 with the disposable batteries will run over 20 hours on brand new duracells and will continue to record the run during a battery change. I have an old one and a newer 305 which is a better watch for short stuff (as you can download routes etc) but for anything longer than 8 hours I will use the 101


  • That's frustrating. I bought the 310xt because it was supposed to have a long battery life (up to 20 hours claimed by Garmin). Longest I've used it continuously so far is 10 hours (and I forgot to switch it off for a couple of hours after that); it managed three shorter runs before the battery went, so about 16 hours including 14 hours of running & heart monitor, which would hopefully take me through Lakeland 50 but not through a 100-mile race image and now you're telling me I'd be better off with a 101???!!!

  • Debra I had the same problem, I got sick of buying batteries for my 101 and bought the 305, the most I ever had was about 9 hours, then dead flat. The 101 goes on longer and doesn't lose the run when you change, it has most of the features except HM and it's not got the download facility but more reliable on a long trek.

  • I think the maximum time Garmin state is without the HRM and things like auto scroll, light, bleeps and vibrate turned off.

    Have seen someone running around with a USB battery pack in an arm band and a  cable to there Garmin. However, I read somewhere whilst it works the screen just says charging so not sure how much use that is if you want to keep to a pace. 

  • EG Graham: Ah, swings and roundabouts: I could get a 101 and have distance & pace throughout, or use the 310xt and have HR and be able to download afterwards. Or I could see if I could borrow a second 310 xt from someone in my club for the weekend when I get to doing a 100-mile race, like mr f suggests above.image 

    James Joy: I'll have to try turning off vibrate and see if I can make it last longer. I don't have it beeping nor use autoscroll. I would want to be able to turn the light on during the night part of the race, I think (although I'd be wearing a head torch, so maybe not. HR is interesting data to have afterwards, but not essential (well, none of it's essential, but...). What about the GPS? Can that be set to sample less frequently to save battery life? After all, I want to use it for a 100-mile trail race sometime, not a track run.

    To be fair, when I got the 301xt, I was thinking Lakeland 50 would be about my longest race (and it should cope with that) - doing a 100-miler wasn't on the horizon. Now I've done my first 50-miler and I just know I'll go longer sometime!

  • Plugging a 305 into a charger unit works. I did the NDW100 week before last and was going along with 2 fellas who were using that. Basically they'd bought a £10 or so charger unit at Amazon that takes a couple of batteries, plugged the USB cable into it, zip tied the 305 to the charger cradle, turn on the 305 when it starts charging, away you go. See the DC Rainmaker article here;

  • Polar watch with footpod but must admit getting to the stage where i only use watch as a way of reminding me to eat drink map/check point will tell you the distance.this combination will last 20 hrs for footpod watch will go on for 2 yrs
  • HowFar??? Pity that won't work for the 301xt (different charging system, not USB) - and if I'd known about that option I could have just bought the 305 and the charger system. Oh well.

  • If the footpod method works on the Polar, how about getting a footpod for Garmin 310XT or whatever you have, and turn off the GPS? Only just thought of this reading the thread, but since I have a footpod for my 310 maybe it is worth a try. (I got the footpod originally so it would take over when running through tunnels in marathons.) But do I have to run for 20+ hrs to find out if it does the job?? 

    BTW on the 310 IIRC the charger is plugged into with a USB connector, so you could separate it there, Debra.

  • Get yourself one of these:

    It doesn't take any batteries, it IS a battery. Rechargeable - just plug it into a wall socket. Small and light enough to just hold in your hand for the 45 mins or so it'll take to recharge your Garmin once it's started beeping at you. When it's charging you can't access your data but I suppose 45 mins isn't too long when you're doing a 24 hour race!

    I've got a 405 that starts beeping at 4 hours and dies totally at 6. Nearly splashed out £350+ on a 910xt but spent £10 on this option instead. Probably the best £10 I ever spent... image

  • RWD - and this works well enough to give a continuous run record with no loss? how long does the recharge last? sounds a decent option

  • CharlieWCharlieW ✭✭✭

    (Thanks for tipping me off about this Jools)

    I've developed my own solution for keeping a 305 running continuously for 48+ hours, on my wrist, without using the cradle -- bit of a bodge but it does work: Garmin 305 with USB socket and external charger page. I wanted it to work primarily for navigation to do the Bob Graham Round, so I could follow the wiggly line on the map screen for 24 hours but leave my hands free to scramble up rocks.

    In fact I'm charging my 305 right now at work using a USB cable from my laptop -- no cradle involved!

  • CharlieWCharlieW ✭✭✭

    Incidentally, I tried on a MotoActv at the VLM expo this year. It isn't supposed to have a good battery life, but it does have a USB socket built in, to that would be much easier to charge on the go (assuming it allows charging while being used). And good mapping (of streets at least).

  • Okay, so the 410xt screen goes blank except for the "charging" icon and % charged bar when it's plugged in to charge. Does it keep running and recording data, if it's on when it's set to charge? If so, one of the mobile chargers would be a good solution. And if it could be done a bit at a time, even better - charge for 5 mins while grabbing food, refilling drink bladder etc. at an aid station...

  • EG Graham wrote (see)

    RWD - and this works well enough to give a continuous run record with no loss? how long does the recharge last? sounds a decent option

    It works perfectly. Keeps a continuous record of your run even through the charging. The recharge lasts as long as any other time you recharge your Garmin - once your screen says 'Charging 100%' , you can unplug it and it'll then last as long as it normally does when charged whatever other way you usually do it.

    I'm not sure how much charge is in the little Duracell pack though, as in, how many times you could recharge while running before the charger ran out. I think the leaflet that came with it said it would give you 3 hours of extra talktime on your smartphone, so going by that with a normal recharge taking 45 mins, you could use it at least four times before it would run out. Meaning my 405 with a battery life of 6 hours total (5 hours before it starts beeping low battery at me) could likely be extended to 20 hours continuous with the use of the charging pack. I haven't used it on anything longer than a 9.5 hour run yet, and on that I only had to recharge once...

  • CharlieWCharlieW ✭✭✭

    With my setup the PowerBee "Executive" charger, which is rated at 3400, kept my 305 going for about 50 hours before I cheated and recharged because I wanted it to last through some training. It probably would have lasted longer if I'd only turned on the charger intermittently, but actually I just left it turned on (trying to output 5V) to the Garmin the whole time. After 50 hours the external pack was dead and the Garmin was showing fairly low battery, but wasn't yet complaining at me. I used it on quite a sunny day but it wasn't aiming straight at the sun very much, and carried on through the night(s) of course.

    (Anyone else find the 305 can get so low on battery that it won't let you reset at the end of a stopped workout -- maybe the beeps are too much for it! Even if it has enough charge to keep acquiring for some time...)

  • CharlieW - really like your improvements! Don't think my DIY skills would ever be up to attempting something like that though. Were you not a bit twitchy about modifying a £200 bit of kit? I think I'd be crapping myself I'd just break it...

  • CharlieWCharlieW ✭✭✭

    My alternative plan was to buy a 310XT (as well) which would have cost a bit, so it was worth the gamble! Mind you, I'm getting a few beepy off/on noises now when I move the watch around sometimes when plugged into the computer, so maybe one of my connections is getting a bit iffy already....

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