My Quest for a Running Watch

The quest is over…. I found the watch for me!

Runners sooner or later would want to have a running watch, a constant buddy that would monitor their performance and push them to give more.  I was no exception.  Early on, I was just using a simple sports watch, one that  I already had even before i started running.

It was a Garmin I first considered having.  I didn’t really think I needed it at that time but if I were to buy one, I would have  chosen a Garmin.  Yes, I was partial to the brand simply because it was what Jun and a lot of our running friends were using and have heard them satisfied with its performance.

Since I wasn’t serious about purchasing yet, I hadn’t really researched on its features.  A piece of information however jolted me when I heard it.  Jun’s Garmin 205 and some other runners’ 305’s  and the Garmin 405 I was eyeing only has a 1 – 2 year lifespan.  Later on, I would read about less than a year old Garmins conking  out on their frustrated runner-owners.   I was aghast!  I’m a sucker for value-for-money.  Shelling out P10-15k for something I can only enjoy for possibly only 1 year doesn’t sound appealing to me.  I knew there has to be something better out there.

So began my quest for my running watch.  I was training for my first half marathon and I already felt a real need to have one.   I wanted to have the freedom to divert from Jun’s plotted route in the village and still know the distance I have finished.  I wanted to know my pace while running, too and my heartrate as well.  My old reliable Baby G sports watch just doesn’t serve my increasing runner’s requirements anymore.

My shortlist:

1) Garmin Forerunner 405 – I really liked the look of the round-faced, black model.  Unlike the Forerunner 305, this one is not too bulky and is just like an ordinary watch.   It’s cool in every way except for the very limited life span.

Handsome watch but one you enjoy only for a short time

2) Polar RS 400– The replaceable batteries sold me into this one.  It looked nice, too, but the big foot pad was a major turn-off for me.

Nice watch you can count on for a long time but too big footpod a major turn-off

3) Beurer – cool big round face with stainless-looking frame in black strap.  Replaceable batteries!  At S$300 (P10k), I almost picked this one when I saw it in the Standard Chartered expo.  It looked good and had good features except that it measures pace in kph just like most treadmills.  Again, I liked the look but Jun reminded me I will not be speaking the same runner’s language on pace and would have to keep converting.

Great-looking but speaks in kph treadmill lingo.

So, I held my horses.  I didn’t really plan on buying here anyway.   Then I saw the one for me…

Jun and I chanced upon the Garmin booth at the expo and I was introduced to the Garmin FR60.  This is just perfect for my needs.  It does more than what I really need for now so I can still grow on it.  It is not laden with too much unnecessary features that it becomes too expensive.  It is just right, just perfect!

GARMIN FR60, The One.

Great for running, great for everyday casual wear. A lasting running buddy -- Like!

The Look – This is always the topmost criteria that has to be fulfilled whenever I buy something.  The black color is what I’ve always wanted in a running watch.  This one is  trimmed with light gray around the face.  The roundish square face suits me and the size is just perfect.    Font size is also eye-friendly even when on the run.

It looks like a regular watch so I often use it when I’m in jeans, too.  That’s value-for-money for me!

Function –   With The Look out of the way, I can now focus on my next criteria.  All the basic functions I am looking  for in a running watch is here — real time, total run time, distance, pace, heart rate, calories burned and more! Tempo runs can be measured and recorded, too.  It can keep a historical record of each run and keeps count of total distance ran so far.

And since this running watch is not GPS-driven, i wouldn’t have to worry about losing signal while running amidst tall buildings (perfect for the Globe Run-for-Home route and Milo) or inside tunnel roads (Hon, perfect for the Hongkong Marathon, ey?).

The big draw-in  for me is that the footpod is so small, it fits right into the Nike+footpod slot.  You wouldn’t even know it’s there.  A perfect match for my fave Lunar Glides!

Furthermore,  it also has  a heart rate monitor that i honestly have not tried yet.  I’ll do that soon, very soon.

A bonus but one that I don’t really need now is a bike record.  I don’t think I’d ever need this but for bike enthusiasts out there, this watch can serve that need as well.

Added Features It has an iconnect application that let’s you transfer your run info to your PC/laptop and lets you analyze your stats.  Cool! Cooler still is the fact that you can remotely sync your watch with your PC/laptop without the need for cables!  How cool can that be!

The Price –  At S$ 310 (approx P10,000), this one is a steal compared to the first 2 watches in my shortlist.

I heard Garmin is now available here through an exclusive distributor.  That’s good news!  I hope they price it well so a lot of runners can get a hold of it.

I am very happy with my find.  I’ve been using it for about 3 months now and… so far, so good!  I’d say it was a very good buy, indeed!  🙂

Thanks to our friend Annie whom we consulted before we sealed the deal.  🙂


4 Responses to “My Quest for a Running Watch”

  1. 1 GPS Wrist Watch Fan March 12, 2010 at 9:40 pm

    Do you think the footpod is more accurate than GPS. I know there are times when GPS is funky, but I guess I’m a sucker for all the extras that you can get with GPS. I guess lifespan of the watch is an important consideration. I hope FR60 has a good one! Enjoy.

  2. 2 thesolemates March 13, 2010 at 10:40 pm

    Hi there, there are pros and cons for both. From what I’ve read in the forums, it seems to me that if we talk accuracy, the footpod seems ahead when you talk about running in forested or urban areas with high vertical structures where GPS signal can get lost. Both however might have some inaccuracies during uphill and downhill runs.

    I guess it really depends on what we are looking for and what best suits our needs. We just have to know what we want out of our running watches to find the right one and get our money’s worth.

    Thanks for dropping by! 🙂

  3. 3 Chris January 28, 2011 at 11:38 pm

    Nice reviews, happy to see how people like the Garmin Forerunner 405. I am very happy with my 305 and at a cheaper price but I can see why people would pay more for the 405 for a slicker watch and better usability.

  4. 4 jojo garilao February 6, 2011 at 8:54 am

    where can i buy fr60 men in the philippines?

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