Garmin GPS Tracking Watches For Fitness

Any fitness regimen can be enhanced through the use of a GPS tracking watch. They can provide precise travel information ranging from the extremely common to the outrageously awesome. A GPS watch is still a watch, so it can tell you what time it is as well as give you a precise start and end time for your exercise activity. But that it is also a GPS so it can leave electronic breadcrumbs like a digital version of Hansel a Gretel (but without the creepy witch who wants to stick you in an oven and eat you). When paired with a heart rate monitor that invisibly transmits data to your watch it can become one of the most powerful tools in the training athlete’s arsenal. They do this by assisting athletes in analyzing the relationships between heart rate, speed and the changing elevation of the course that is being run, biked, or even swam (swimming only available on selected watches).

Many of these watches also let you download this information onto your computer to interact with different types of mapping software. This allows you to interact with your workouts in a way that would be nearly impossible without it happening automatically in the watch’s computer. The mapping features will let you know which parts of your routine caused you to work the hardest. Some models and services even suggest workouts for you to help you improve your fitness level.

Garmin currently offers 7 models of GPS tracking watches specifically designed for fitness applications. Of these seven models, four also come with a heart rate monitor. Heart rate monitors are devices that strap around your sternum, with the pickup resting on your chest while an elastic band wraps around your back. As mentioned above, these monitors offer much more information to the user and are highly recommended for those seeking to maximize the potential use of their device.

Prices for these models can range anywhere from $99.99 to around $450.00 for the seven models. While you definitely do not need to spend that type of money, these devices can add significant value to activities you already enjoy or need to do for health reasons. Sacrificing twenty nights out at the movies or bringing a sack lunch to work on forty different days might be a trade off you are willing to make to buy one of these devices.

Below is a list of links(affiliate) to each of the specific Garmin products along with a brief description about them:

Forerunner 50

This is actually not technically a GPS device. Instead it is more like a fancy pedometer that has some of the same functionality that you will find with the other Garmin GPS tracking watches. It is the cheapest of the watches for this reason. There are versions of it available that have a heart rate monitor so this might be a good option for those just starting out using a watch to assist their fitness regimen.

The watch uses a foot pod to measure the distance that a user has traveled. This technology counts each step that a runner, walker, or hiker makes and then tries and determine the distance traveled by using an average of their step distance multiplied by the number of steps taken. This provides a decent approximation of the distance traveled, but it really falls apart when hilly terrain is being traversed. Running up hill shortens the gait while running downhill elongates the gait. Most step counters do not compensate for this discrepancy like a GPS device would because it does not actually measure the distance traveled.

This device should probably only be purchased by those looking to keep costs down or who do not train seriously enough to warrant a full fledged GPS tracking watch.

Forerunner 101

This is Garmin’s entry level GPS device for runners, athletes, and walkers. It can seem a little difficult to set up if you don’t have any GPS knowledge, but other than that this device delivers exactly what it promises – a reliable watch that tracks what you want it to. It is supposed to store up to 2 years of training information and has all the features that you would want on a GPS watch. There is no heart monitor with this device.

The price on this product is decent, but there are much newer models that really have eclipsed this watch. The greatest shortcoming for those who are really looking to improve their overall fitness level is that no heart rate monitor can accompany this watch. As a result you are left without all the important information that will help you push yourself into the next training level.

Runners of all levels should look elsewhere for a fitness watch to meet their needs unless you can find one at a ridiculous price.

Forerunner 201

The next tier up on the *01 series of watches is the 201. This device offers the increased ease of rechargeable lithium ion battery over against the Forerunner 101. This device is also Garmin Connect (Garmin Connect is an online training tool) and Garmin Training Center compatible. These two programs let you seamlessly record your information of your PC and provide powerful tools to help you analyze your workout, giving it some more training edge over its older counterpart.

It, however, lacks support for a heart rate monitor in addition to being a relatively overpriced piece of equipment. I would again steer clear of this watch as its blend of features and price tag do not make it worth the money to buy – at least not new anyway. If you can get this used for a price well below $100 you have probably found a good price, otherwise pass on this watch and get the Forerunner 305 or 405. They are much better watches.

Forerunner 301

The 301 is the first in the *01 series of watches that comes with a heart rate monitor. It also has several improvements in the interface allowing you to scroll through past workouts, change sports in the middle of workouts (read triathletes), and the ability to create custom, goal oriented workouts. It too has access to Garmin Connect and the Garmin Training Center. This watch is by far the most advanced of the *01 watches.

Forerunner 205

Summary coming soon!

Forerunner 305

Summary coming soon!

Forerunner 405

Summary coming soon!

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