This past week and a half I have been on vacation enjoying sunchine, relaxation, oh and vacation food –foods on my no fly list! Don’t get me wrong, I was visiting a whole slew of phenomenal chefs and we had some great meals in the mix, however the occasional pizza and birthday cakes I ate my weight in are foods I normally don’t eat much of anymore. So, it was only natural that after a few days I had to put my vacation on hold and lace up my running shoes. I’ll admit, this two-mile jog was rough on so many levels. It wasn’t my best time, coming in at average of 10 minutes per mile, and not to make excuses but…here are my excuses: It was over 100 degrees, continuously up and down an elevation of about 1,000 feet more than what I’m used to, and I’ve been stuffing my face with multiple forms of chocolates and carbs while thinking my short walk from pool chair to bar sufficed as exercise. (I thoroughly enjoyed the latter). At least I sweat out toxins by the pool right?
The good news – aside from not having to call the ambulance I had on speed dial to pick me up from the side of the road – is that I finally got to really test out my fancy Garmin Forerunner 405CX Running Watch with Garmin Connect. I had been meaning to get a review up on the watch for a while now (since Christmas when I got it) so here is a little breakdown.
- ANT+ and Garmin Connect: The ANT+ is the USB stick you plug in to your computer so that all the stored data from your watch will transfer over to the Garmin Connect website. It uploads every little detail about your run, such as elevation, average pace, temperature, distance, calories, best pace, a map of your run, etc. Here’s a screenshot example of my latest run uploaded to garmin connect.
I think one of the coolest features is seen in the blue “time” chart at the bottom right hand corner of the picture, and the green “elevation” chart, which unfortuantely you can’t see, that is located directly underneath it. The big blue troughs represent the times I ran the slowest, and the elevation chart under it matches those dips with huge spikes in the elevation. It is fascinating to see exactly what gave me a run for my money. Now at least I know where my problem areas lie…hills! I suppose this makes sense since I currently live in the flattest part of Florida, with an elevation of roughly 10 feet. Let me put this in perspective: back in the day I had to park on a hypothetical hill during my drivers test to prove I knew what to do because we had no real hills accessible!
- Touch Screen Bezel: I was a bit nervous about this one because I thought my sausage fingers would accidentally hit something that would erase my workout mid sweat. Fortunately they child proofed the watch for people like me. You can lock the watch on a single screen so you can’t hit anything while working out, but I found this unnecessary as it is rather handy to be able to switch through time, pace, calories, etc. with a single touch. It also makes scrolling through the menu screens extremely easy with just the swipe of your finger and for that reason, the bezel may be one of my favorite parts of the watch. Not to mention the clean look it gives the device only having two buttons sticking out!
- Interval Training: Since I’m a huge advocate of circuit workouts, one of the criteria I was looking for when picking out a watch was wether or not it had the interval training feature. The Garmin Forerunner 405CX has the ability to set a workout and rest duration in miles or time, as well as the amount of reps you would like to do. It even notifies you once your workout or rest duration is up and you’re ready to move on to your next rep. For example, you can set your workout duration for 2 minutes or 1 mile and your rest duration for 1 minute or a quarter mile. Once your two minutes or mile is up, the watch will beep to let you know it’s time to rest and will automatically begin counting down the 1 minute or quarter mile rest period. Once that rest period is up, it will beep again and begin the second 2 minute or one mile rep, and so on and so forth for however many reps you choose to do. It’s like a mini personal trainer!
- Virtual Partner: Speaking of mini personal traininer, the Forerunner 405CX offers a virtual partner – someone to run against and keep you motivated. You can set the pace you would like your virtual partner to run. This is usually the goal pace you want to strive for – in my case it’s a 7 minute mile. As you run, with the touch of a finger, you can switch menus to see how far behind (or ahead) of your virtual partner you are. This motivates you to run faster and push yourself harder!
- Heart Rate Monitor: Another reason I settled on the Forerunner 405CX is for the heart rate monitor that can be used to monitor calories torched during interval training. This heart rate monitor is shockingly comfortable for something you strap around your chest while working out. It even offers a Premium Soft Strap HRM with flexible straps all around rather than just in the back if you so desire. I haven’t had any issues with my original though so I haven’t felt the need to upgrade.
- Cadence Sensor For Biking: The Forerunner 405CX is compatible with the attachable Garmin Cadence Sensor and Bike Mount for biking. It’s much more fun to be able to strap the watch on to the bike and just go without having to map out your route and distance before hand. Instead, you plug the watch in to your computer at the end and the Garmin Connect site does the mapping for you, giving you your average speed, calories, distance, etc.
- 1,000 Lap Memory: Sometimes life happens and we are lucky to squeeze in our workout, let alone time to upload them to the computer each time. Luckily, the people at Garmin recognize our oh so popular lifestyles and gave the Forerunner 405CX a crazy memory of about 1,000 laps. For me, that’s about 1,000 miles considering each of my laps is only a mile. Unless you’re running marathons on the daily, that memory storage should last a good while.
I have nearly fried my brain trying to think of something I even slightly dislike about the watch and am still coming up empty. I suppose my only con would be that the watch isn’t waterproof, though I don’t utilize the pool enough for that to deter me from buying it. However, I have recently become addicted to obstacle races such s the Spartan, Warrior Dash, and Tough Mudder. It would be nice to wear the watch during those races but I don’t think the muddy water they force you to swim through would do it much good. Overall, the watch is simply amazing and I would recommend it to anyone who is looking for a normal sized, comfortable, and effective GPS running and interval training watch! I’ll admit it is a bit pricy but total worth it!