Ever since I have become more serious in my training, I have been looking for a running watch. The only thing that was holding me back from making the purchase was price. I love to find deals and after I found which watch I wanted to get I waited for the price to drop. On this past Cyber Monday, that finally happened. While out Christmas shopping I received an alert that the Garmin Forerunner 225 was on a lightning deal for only $200! I immediately purchased it and I have no regrets. That watch was one of the best things that I have bought for my running….well, besides shoes. Now that I have used it for about a month I am going to highlight the reasons why I love this watch so much.
Ease of use: I have to admit when I first received the watch I was a little intimidated, but once I started using it I realized just how user friendly it really was! The watch has a button to select or start the run, a back button or lap button, a screen brightness button and up and down arrows, and that’s it! The menus are very easy to navigate if you know what each button does.
Activity and sleep tracking: Sometimes I wear my watch throughout the day, but it depends on how I am feeling since it is a bit of extra weight to have strapped to the arm. If you have been following my blog than you know that I have been using the Mi Band to track my step count and sleep, which I will continue to do. The watch is just too big and bulky to sleep with comfortably. I didn’t buy the watch for these features, so I was not bothered by this. When I am wearing the watch I do like to look down at it and see my step count.
Interval timer: I was able to use this feature on a run recently and absolutely loved it! This was one of the main reasons that I bought the 225. I usually do a speed workout once a week and until recently I have been doing them on a treadmill so I could see my pace and the clock to know when to speed up and slow down. The interval is great because you can customize your entire workout. You can even turn on warm-up and cool-down, which allows you to press the lap button when you complete your warm-up to start the interval workout. The intervals themselves were pretty customizable. You can chose between time, distance or open. For my workout I did four minutes at a fast pace and then one minute at a slower pace. The only thing that I didn’t like was that there was no way of selecting the duration of the entire interval session in miles. My plan called for six miles in addition to a mile warm-up and cool-down each. I ended up telling it to do 10 repetitions of the intervals, which work out perfectly for my six miles.
The screen: The screen of the watch isn’t huge, but it holds a lot of information. The main screen when the watch starts shows everything you need during a run: current pace, duration, and distance. The best part about having a running watch for me is being able to look down at my wrist and see my current pace. I am able to gauge what different paces feel like, which has improved my running. You can also use the arrow buttons during the run to switch between different screens that also show your heart rate information and the time.
Garmin Connect App: I am very impressed with the app. The run summary screen is very easy to read and has all the information that I need in one place. There are about four screens to scroll through, each giving me different information including maps and graphs. As someone who loves running stats, this app is amazing!
Heart rate: I don’t train by looking at my heart rate, but I do find the information useful and interesting. The watch calculates your heart rate throughout the run so you are able to see where you struggled and if that correlates with elevation change or something else. I love data and stats, so every piece of information my watch can give me is useful. After a recent update the after run summary in the app also shows the percentage of the run that is in each of the five heart rate zones. This is also great information for training for race pace.
Syncing: Syncing the watch to the app or computer is very easy. I usually just sync to the app through bluetooth after a run, but it can also be plugged into the computer and synced through the cable. All you have to do for the bluetooth sync is go to run mode in the watch with your phone nearby. In run mode the watch connects to bluetooth and the gps signal, so if you bring your phone with you, your run may be already synced when you finish your run.
GPS: I have not had any trouble getting a gps single with my watch. Most days it has already found the signal by the time I reach the bottom of the stairs outside. The most I probably have had to wait was about fifteen extra seconds on a cloudy day.
Battery life: Right after I got the watch I let it run down a bit and then charged it to full. The battery lasts just about two weeks on normal use and my taper during training for my half. That is great for a watch that does so much! I now charge it about once a week or week and a half, before I go on a long run.
Live Track: This feature is pretty awesome! In the Garmin Connect app you can start a live track. When the run is started it sends an email to all of the emails that you entered beforehand with a link to your run. The link shows a map highlighting your entire run as it is happening. This is very useful if a loved one is worried about you running alone. That way they can see your progress and can call if they see movement that doesn’t look right. I am going to use this feature for the Princess Half next week. My family will be able to see when I am about to arrive on Main Street and estimate when they should be over at the finish line to see me cross. There is a bit of a lag to the data, but it is very good for estimation.
This watch has improved my running by allowing me to train outside and monitor my statistics. It has made tracking my runs so easy by only having to press a button to start or stop (extremely helpful at red lights). I can’t wait to use it during all three of my races next week!