Tracking in 2009

With the first post of 2009, I'd like to do something a little different — I need your opinion. I'm looking to purchase a GPS running watch fairly soon and am unfamiliar with which watches are better than others. I'm not looking for something extravagant loaded with bells and whistles, but there are key elements I would like:

Tracking distance. I would like to walk out my door and run a spur of the moment course. If I'm trying to get 7 miles for the day it would be nice to run and turn at any corner, knowing it is tracking my distance as I go.

Tracking pace. On a given run, I average 10 min miles. However, that usually includes a couple 8-9 min miles. It would be great to be able to view my current running pace and be able to improve or maintain it.

Tracking the route. Post run, it would be beneficial to be able to view my running route on line so that I can see where I ran faster/slower and where I could possibly improve.

Usability. During my run, it would be nice if I didn't have to maneuver through various screens to see my pace, distance, time, etc. If multiple screens are needed,  it would need to be easy to use while running.

Intervals and chrono. I am currently running a 9:1 run/walk ratio. My current watch is able to notify me when I am running and walking. This is essential along with keeping the chrono (total running time).

Most of my running friends use the Garmon 305 (above)and I have been impressed with what they are able to do. Garmon recently came out with the 405 (below) and it appears to be much smaller and sleeker. Appearances aren't everything, especially when running, but I am open to various options and other brands. 

So here is where I need your opinion/expertise: In the comments section, please feel free to share any insight you may have on GPS running watches. The budget is $200-$350 and that would hopefully include any accessories (FYI: Not interested in a heart monitor at this time).


mbiff56 said...

I have the 205, and although it is bulky it is all and more than i need. As i run i can moniter my pace,distance and time. i can come home hook it up the computer and view my route on a map, and break down pace,grade,elevation,calories burned. Plus i've never tapped into all the other bells and whistles that Garmin offers. I'd say go with the new Garmin

Kristina said...

I've had nothing but problems with the 405--same goes for others I've talked to who have that model (which is, incidentally, not much smaller than the 305). Garmin cust. service has not been great in my experience, either.
A friend runs with a Suunto, which uses a foot pod instead of GPS, but he has had great success with it through training for ultramarathons.

Paul Scherbak said...

Ive had great results with my Garmin 305, which I bought from Costco a few months before the 405 was released. I read several blogs about some of the issues with the 405 mainly touch wheel/selectionand programming and based on that Im glad I stuck with the 305..so no buyers remorse here mate!!

Brianna said...

I've encountered the same feedback from folks about the 405. I have the 305, and while it is a bit bulky, it does what I need it to do without any issues. I don't know about you, but I don't want my run to be interrupted by technical problems - takes the fun right out of it!

garmin 350 gps said...

I like the ability to plan a week of runs on the Training Center software, and load the workouts in advance into the 205.