Running Watch?

sandam1

Mouseketeer
Joined
Apr 19, 2016
I am looking for suggestions on a running watch. I've been doing some research on-line and the possibilities are a bit mind-boggling.

My "must haves":
- Android based
- Battery that lasts at least 5 hours with GPS on
- Ability to set custom run/walk intervals with a vibration setting for transitions
- Manual lap counter since most of my running for the next few months will inside on a track
- Easy to program/use
- Small enough for a woman's wrist

My "would be nice"
- Ability to play music directly from the watch
- Something other than a black band/face
- GPS works outside the U.S.
- Ability to set up complete custom work-outs (I have a trainer that will design some weight/HIIT work-outs for me)

I don't want to spend a gazillion dollars on this (probably $250 is my max), but I want something that can give me good information and help me maintain steady pacing. I was looking at the Garmin vivoactive 3 since it was mentioned on another thread and it appears that it (maybe?) can do what I need, but I am looking for other options. It doesn't look like any of the Fitbit products have the running features that I need.

What do you love/hate about your current watch? Anything that I should be considering that I'm not? Okay, go!
 

IamTrike

DIS Veteran
Joined
Aug 18, 2010
First off have you checked out DC Rainmaker's blog? He's by far the most informative source of watch info.

I am currently a wierdo and I run all my runs with both a vivoactive 3 music and an AppleWatch 3. I consistently run with one person that wears a Forerunner 25, someone that wears a Fenix 5 and someone else that uses a vivoactive 3. Prior to this I had a 225.

I find my vivoactive 3 to be really inconsistent. I know that instantaneous pace is always going to be rough, but I have really rough issues with this garmin. During my race last weekend when I picked my pace up to 8:30-8:40 my garmin was consistently reading between 10 and 13 minute mile pace. My buddies vivoactive 3 doesn't seem to have the same issues as mine. I am not sure if it's an issue with my unit or if there is something else going on in the music version.

I got the vivoactive 3 to play with the adaptive training. The plan was novel, but it wasn't something that you could implement just using the watch. There were a lot of speed intervals and tempo intervals that the plan called for that the watch couldn't measure. The interval would start, I'd bust my butt, the pace or cadence on my watch wouldn't change, the interval would end and then it would show I'd overshot my goal, repeat several times then I'd blow up before the end of the workout because I was only ever running at my relaxed pace or as close to a sprint as I could get.

I thought I saw a deal on a Fenix 5, but can't seem to find it now. I'd be tempted to look for a black 5 deal on that or on a 245.

For sake of completeness my apply watch is dying now too though. I've only had it about 2 years and it only made it through about 3.5 hours of my last 2 marathons. (Either I need to get faster or it's not going to work for me)
 

FFigawi

DIS Veteran
Joined
Dec 28, 2009
There are numerous deals on Garmin watches available right now, and surely more to come as Black Friday offers get released. The 245 would be a good option because it has pretty much everything you're looking for.
 
  • jhoannam

    Planner-aholic
    Joined
    May 12, 2014
    I have the Garmin 235, doesn't play music but it's in your budget. The Garmin 245 would check off all your boxes but is over your budget.
     

    Kerry1957

    Will run for Hefeweizen
    Joined
    Oct 7, 2017
    Just to add to any confusion, I've had my vivoactive 3 music for about a year and love it. It sounds like @IamTrike's disappointment is with things I do not use, so we may not actually disagree. I use it for interval training (run/walk/run) but do not use it for adaptive training or use the instantaneous feature. I really like being able to customize the screens so I track time, pace, and distance for both total and for each mile on different screens, and heart rate and HR zone on a third screen. I'm not sure if any GPS watch can accurately trace my location every second to within a foot, but perhaps some watches can,.
     
  • sandam1

    Mouseketeer
    Joined
    Apr 19, 2016
    First off have you checked out DC Rainmaker's blog? He's by far the most informative source of watch info.
    I hadn't so thanks for the recommendation. It is certainly comprehensive (in a very good way) and explains what the watch can and cannot do in very understandable terms.

    I find my vivoactive 3 to be really inconsistent. I know that instantaneous pace is always going to be rough, but I have really rough issues with this garmin. During my race last weekend when I picked my pace up to 8:30-8:40 my garmin was consistently reading between 10 and 13 minute mile pace. My buddies vivoactive 3 doesn't seem to have the same issues as mine. I am not sure if it's an issue with my unit or if there is something else going on in the music version.
    Thanks for the frank assessment! It gives me something to look out for.

    DopeyBadger suggested I get the 235 and I love it as well.
    @DopeyBadger - Any particular reason why you like this watch?

    After looking at DC Rainmaker's blog, I was wondering about the Forerunner 45. It looks like it has everything that I'm looking for and, frankly, with the Black Friday specials is almost $100 cheaper than the 235. Does anyone have first-hand reviews on the 45?
     

    DopeyBadger

    Imagathoner
    Joined
    Oct 15, 2015
    @DopeyBadger - Any particular reason why you like this watch?
    Had it for years and has done everything I've ever asked it to do. Although the Garmin 45 appears newer. My personal wishlist was 1 second recording, being able to follow custom workouts from Garmin Connect, and 24/7 optical HR monitor. I'd say my watch's battery lasts probably 6-10 hrs between charges after 3 years of use.


    The only key difference between the two that I see is the 235 has 1-second recording or smart and the 45 only has smart. I know on my 235 that the accuracy of the watch's GPS is increased dramatically with the 1 second recording vs smart. With that being said, the DCrainmaker review of the 45 shows the accuracy of the watch to be quite good (even if it doesn't have smart recording). I think at a $100 difference in price, I'd probably go with the 45 unless someone else chimes in with something negative to say.
     

    Z-Knight

    DIS Veteran
    Joined
    May 3, 2015
    i have the fenix 5 plus... fyi, if you own the fenix 5 series and rub treadmill you will have ever worse distance estimates. the garmin geniuses screwed up the last update 3 months ago which cause horrible callibration. i may run 2 miles but it tells me i only did 1...waiting for an update and still none in sight
     

    FFigawi

    DIS Veteran
    Joined
    Dec 28, 2009
    i have the fenix 5 plus... fyi, if you own the fenix 5 series and rub treadmill you will have ever worse distance estimates. the garmin geniuses screwed up the last update 3 months ago which cause horrible callibration. i may run 2 miles but it tells me i only did 1...waiting for an update and still none in sight
    The only way I ever get close to decent numbers on a treadmill is with a footpod. The Zwift footpod calibrates very well with the app, and the Garmin one automatically calibrates when you run outside.
     
  • RunDopey

    Earning My Ears
    Joined
    Oct 12, 2017
    The only way I ever get close to decent numbers on a treadmill is with a footpod. The Zwift footpod calibrates very well with the app, and the Garmin one automatically calibrates when you run outside.
    Any personal preference on the different footpods? May get one for the elliptical.
     

    Z-Knight

    DIS Veteran
    Joined
    May 3, 2015
    The only way I ever get close to decent numbers on a treadmill is with a footpod. The Zwift footpod calibrates very well with the app, and the Garmin one automatically calibrates when you run outside.
    before they screwed up callibration i usually had 5 to 10% overestimation. which i felt wasn't too bad, but now it is 50% under estimate.... and no update in sight. footpods i heard are expensive.. over $100 which is why i am avoiding
     


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