74 Comments
Jun 21, 2019Liked by Terrell Johnson

I still have the Garmin 210. It is great, all I need is distance and pace. Besides my watch, all I need is Puddles my labradoodle.

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Jun 21, 2019Liked by Terrell Johnson

No. As a matter of culture, it is a personal choice of value Art, luxury automobiles, upscale designer clothes, etc. However, as amatter of pure contemplation and appreciation, the utilitarian contribution of a high tech device to the culture of running varies. I don't mind investing $300 worth of running clothing and shoes, but personally, I don't dig Apple. And If I could get away with it, I would still use a flip phone.

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Jun 21, 2019Liked by Terrell Johnson

I've run with the Apple watch for a couple of years now and recently up'd for the Series 4, cellular. I was resistant to do so, but frankly as my distances outside increase the safety features it offers tipped the scale for me. I have a minor heart thing, so it's really peace of mind when I'm out on the road.

The other benefit is not needing to carry my phone. I have my interval timer, Apple Workout app (with GPS), iTunes (playlist stored locally), and a phone if I need it right on my wrist. I listen to tunes and notifications via AirPods which connect simply to the watch via bluetooth. Sometimes you have to sit back and really appreciate the level of technology in such a small package.

I have some ultra runner buddies who swear by their Garmin watches. One guy has a Garmin but switched to the Apple Watch for battery life reasons. (Those 25+ mile trail runs.) For me, Mr. 1/2 marathon training for full marathon man, the Apple Watch is a perfect fit.

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author

I have the Series 3 Apple Watch, and I agree too, the location tracking feature is great. I need to learn more about interval timing on the watch, as I'm a Galloway run-walk-run guy when it comes to longer distances. Any tips/suggestions for interval timing on the watch?

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Jun 21, 2019Liked by Terrell Johnson

Check out the app called Intervals. There's a free and paid version. The developer updates it frequently with new features and he will even take requests for new ones. Great support and integration. You can use it instead of the Apple Activity app, and the details will sync back via the Health app. However, you don't get all the data the Activity app will track. Example, strides per minute. (If you're into such things). With the paid version you can have multiple pre-programmed intervals which will sync with the watch (from your phone). It's nice to be able to "program" my week in advance and when I set out for a run, I just select the appropriate timer and go. My routine is step out the door, select the Interval timer (set to just act as a timer - no GPS, select Open Run on Activities, start my playlist or Audible book, and off I go. Long run days I frequently leave out the music / audiobook and just enjoy the sights sounds of the morning.

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author

Thanks, Bill! I'll check it out.

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For intervals, iSmoothRun app. There’s a learning curve to create the interval sets but it works great!

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I recently ran a half marathon using a Garmin 945 with music playing (on my aftershox, open-ear) and used less than 20% of my battery, didn't need to recharge the watch for another two days after, including a GPS+music recovery run the following day. I'm not sure an Apple watch can come close to that and/or provide the detailed data I obtained from my Garmin. If it can I'd like to know how as I know others with Apple watches that can't come close to that.

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Jun 21, 2019Liked by Terrell Johnson

I think they're okay for general fitness, but I think many people are so focused on the watch, that they miss the joy of the run. Just my opinion.

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Jun 21, 2019Liked by Terrell Johnson

I enjoy mine very much. The app that goes along with it provides a lot of information that I find interesting and I use a lot of it as a training tool to improve different aspects of my physical fitness and running performance.

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I am still using and still love the Timex I bought in 2012 for $99. It tells me how far I have gone, how long I have been running, and my pace. I use it mostly for regulating my pace in the half marathon. It keeps me from starting too fast in the first three miles and going too slow in the last three. I am not interested in any other features. My oldie takes a lot longer than the new models to locate itself in a new location. I just have to remember to start it searching about five minutes before start time. I am looking to get another seven years out of it.

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author

Wow! Now that's value for money right there.

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Jun 21, 2019Liked by Terrell Johnson

When I started consistently running, I had become a bit disillusioned with the smartwatch / fitness watch trend, and just ran with my phone, tracking my runs with the Nike Run Club. Every time I saw the Apple Watch price tag, or some of the fancier Garmin watches, I really questioned if it would actually impact my training. If I was already putting in the miles and improving my splits, what is a fancy watch with a bunch of apps and notifications really going to do for me (other than the obvious HR tracking)? For a long time I just couldn't stomach the price point to pay for features I didn't truly need (or wanted, in the case of apps and notifications).

A month ago, I settled on a refurbished Garmin 235 for about $180. Not quite as cheap as the Fitbit options, which essentially do the same thing - but certainly no where near an Apple Watch or the triathlon watch models offered by Garmin. What I like most about the watch is that HR tracking has actually become an indicator of effort during my tempo, recovery, and sprint interval workouts. Best thing about my watch is definitely the battery life. Running 6 days / week and I still only have to charge it once every 7 days or so.

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Jun 21, 2019Liked by Terrell Johnson

^ side note: I still carry my phone as a safety device, because the 235 doesn't allow for calls from the watch. As long as I'm wearing the right running shorts or pouch, it doesn't bother me all that much.

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author

That's WAY better battery life than the Apple Watch. It's not a huge inconvenience or anything, but I generally have to charge mine every 1 to 2 days.

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Jun 21, 2019Liked by Terrell Johnson

Still low tech when running. I use a Timex Ironman Triathlon Shock. I work IT. Running is my time to disconnect.

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Jun 21, 2019Liked by Terrell Johnson

I love my Garmin Forerunner 30. Low end model. Doesn't have all the bells and whistles, but it does what I want and it didn't break the bank. Would never go back to Fitbit...and sorry...not an Apple fan. 😁

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Jun 21, 2019Liked by Terrell Johnson

YES! I put off getting an apple watch (and really even an iphone) for the longest time. I used more modest running-only kind of watches that just tracked steps and miles. Now, I use my watch for pretty much everything, it looks less clunky and awkward when I wear nicer clothes to work, and the tech is just way better. Cadence and cool down tracking were some of my original favorite upgrades from the basic tracker bands.

The ease of tracking different activities is also worth it. I recently started participating in sprint triathlons and being able to switch from swimming to biking to running easily in transition and without hurting the watch or compromising accuracy has been awesome.

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Jun 21, 2019Liked by Terrell Johnson

That valuation is subjective... It is worth what you get out of it. To me it is more about how you use it and what you are using it for. Some 'Runners' leverage analytics, running dynamics, any data they can obtain - detailed data that an Apple watch will not provide. Others are satisfied simply knowing how far they ran and how long it took them, they do not care about lactate threshold, they are not looking at stride, cadence, or ground contact time, or how runs impact their effort and recovery. The right running watch can enable those things. I can think of at least five (5) other manufacturers I would choose for a running and/or multisport watch before I chose an Apple product. Without getting too deep into pricing - as we can spend a considerable amount of money on shoes clothes, visibility, hydration, protective gear, and so on - or aesthetics - there are MANY better choices for Runners, a few costing less that an Apple watch that perform better with more features and better battery life. I do own multiple Apple laptops, an an iPhone - I have them for specific purposes and they perform well. That said, I have owned over a dozen different 'running watches' and would never consider an Apple watch to be included in that 'running' class [No offense meant, Apple Watch wearers]. I do not consider anyone with an Apple watch to actually be 'Runners' in that they are not as concerned with that level of detail, to those I know the detailed metrics are not as important as the style or their iPhone and other Apple integrations, which works for them. That would never be sufficient for me. Personally, I have settled on one brand that integrates to support my running and other training goals. There are things like battery life and product support that also helped me to settled on the vendors I chose, placing Apple firmly at the bottom of my list. Also, I see a lot of misguided sales persons steer folks to features such as a pulse oximeter/pulse ox, wrist-based heart rate, etc... some of those features are inconsistent at best in my experience and the results vary to a point of uselessness during periods of extended activity. GPS is generally accurate enough on most smartwatches these days, so no need to split hairs there, with one consideration to look at being the amount of battery GPS uses. There are some devices that are reliable for certain types of measurements once you get going; I am not naming any names or making recommendations - I have what works for me and they are not all from the same vendor, and none of of those vendors I use for fitness are Apple.

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author

Really worthwhile feedback -- you make a lot of great points worth considering.

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Jun 21, 2019Liked by Terrell Johnson

You're welcome, I guess :-) ... Seriously, though - my reply was intended to be vendor-neutral. Personally, I use mostly Garmin products for running and multi-sport tracking with the more recent offering being best in class for features, battery life, and durability. I use a WHOOP (2.0 current, 3.0 on the way) for HR/HRV monitoring and recovery, and use Wahoo products for the most part. I have owned others and still have a Garmin Forerunner 50 that I have had for 12 or 13 years (?), over a decade - and it still works fine. I currently wear a Forerunner 945 and while the price tag it steep it does everything and the battery life is amazing, 3 days HEAVY use, 4+ days if I am a little 'lazy' LOL. We're talking multiple long runs, with GPS, numerous other activities, cycling, strength - sometimes with music - with support for all my other devices. I had a Garmin 645 Music before the 945 and that served me well less the short battery life, that device was handed down in my family. Many people will not mind daily recharging as they do that with their smartphone and headphones already. Nothing is perfect... I had some issues with the 645 and Garmin support was top notch! I could not have asked for better support!! I have experienced the same exceptional level of support with other Garmin products. I have also had Suunto (ok), Fitbit (not impressed with the builds), Withings (not much more that a basic HR/step-tracking fashion statement), and a few other Garmin watches (running and activity trackers), including a couple of Vivos (too 'small', limited) and a couple different fenix pieces, most recently the fenix 5X Plus (too 'big', heavy, awkward for many activities). The best option for one person will not be the best for another. I suggest people go try them on, see what feels best - go for a run, or swim - spend a few miles on the bike - and decide what works best for you. HTH =]

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Agree, very helpful from someone who has first hand experience with many of these. I have had only Fitbit charge 2, and mainly use it for pulse rate. It seems to do well for that.

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Jun 21, 2019Liked by Terrell Johnson

I have a Garmin - it's very useful, but it also kinda stresses me out. I haven't been wearing it on runs for the last 3 months or so. I think it does make me work harder when I wear it, but running is more relaxing without it. Overall, I would say it is worth the money, but taking breaks from it isn't a bad thing.

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author

That's a great observation... it's been a while since I've run without my Apple Watch, though of course before buying it I *never* ran with a fitness tracker at all. Amazing how things can change. I can get too drawn into it sometimes too.

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Jun 21, 2019Liked by Terrell Johnson

Agreed! I'm thinking about not using my Garmin on recovery runs, trail runs, and just using it for tempo, intervals, race pace. That sort of thing

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Jun 21, 2019Liked by Terrell Johnson

Personally, Garmin watches and other big, clunky things like the Apple Watch don't appeal to me. I have a FitBit Charge 2, which I got for FREE by participating in my company's wellness program. It has all the features I want/need: watch, pedometer, call/text notifications synched with my phone, and the ability to track runs and other workouts that synch with and store in the FitBit app. Plus, it's smaller and (in my opinion) more stylish which is important to me.

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author

That is an appealing part of it. My wife wore one for a while and really liked it too -- she would get into competitions with co-workers for daily steps, etc. There's a cool community aspect to the Fitbit (probably has a lot to do with the price) that's really nice.

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Jun 21, 2019Liked by Terrell Johnson

Agreed! I really like the FitBit community and enjoy participating in challenges with my FitBit pals. My desk job often prevents me from climbing to the top of the pack in the Daily Showdown challenges, but I can sometimes compete in the Weekend Warriors :)

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Jun 21, 2019Liked by Terrell Johnson

I think it’s worth it since I wear/use mine ALL the time. With the call/texting/music availability I can leave my phone at home, and the vibrating wrist alarm is the only alarm that works 100% to wake me up from my uber deep sleep. The reminder feature is also a life safer for me, so yeah, my Apple Watch is my BFF.

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Jun 21, 2019Liked by Terrell Johnson

I think that the value of the watch is going to depend upon the user. I have a Garmin Vivoactive HR which I use to track my runs, various other workouts, daily steps, stairs climbed, sleep, heart rate, and calorie balance. I am a data nerd so I think that the $245 I paid for the watch was well worth the cost. Someone else may think that is way too much to pay for a watch because they don't care to see all of those metrics. So I think it all boils down to what each individual finds to be important to track, if anything at all.

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Jun 21, 2019Liked by Terrell Johnson

I started with a Fitbit, and when it shorted out for being the water (Very Upsetting) I moved to a Garmin. I am very close to saying I love mine. I do not envision myself getting an Apple Watch, but if you would have told me a year ago I would have had a Fitbit and a Garmin I would have told you, you were crazy.

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Great to hear you are enjoying the Garmin, Thank you!

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Jun 23, 2019Liked by Terrell Johnson

I bought myself the Nike iWatch for Christmas & I love it. I thought my distances were further than I was running so it has helped my training. I also like the guided runs that help motivate me on some runs. I really like the other activity app & I have used it when I’ve done other activities such as ride or swimming.

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Jun 22, 2019Liked by Terrell Johnson

I do find the information valuable from my Garmin 235 watch, such as pace, heart rate/training zones, VO2 max estimation, etc. I love to see my resting heart rate dropping as my fitness improves :) However, that is about as much information that intetests me, so I don't have a need to spend $300+ on a more advanced watch. I also don't appreciate taking a break from wearing it on my rest days, which is nice too! I think the value of these high tech watches is in your specific need/want for information. If you dont have enough interest in tracking your cardio, or would like to use a manual method, then I don't think the money is worth it. As a running coach, this is what I explain to my clients.

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Jun 23, 2019Liked by Terrell Johnson

*interests

*I also do appreciate taking a break

Had to go back and edit my post..autocorrect!

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author

Great advice!

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Jun 22, 2019Liked by Terrell Johnson

As an older runner with aging parents and a business Apple Watch works for me. I just need the basic fitness read outs along with what my 62 year old ticker is doing best of all I don’t need to take my phone everywhere and people can still get in touch with me. I agree the value is in the use. I have two lovely Movado watches that only get taken out a few times a year. The Apple Watch is my go to Watch for fitness work- I own a martial arts school so I can utilize a lot of features at work as well most importantly I’m always available for my parents. If there were one perfect watch there would only be one Watch...

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I have a Garmin that I absolutely Love! I do take breaks from wearing it on my runs and even take it off during the day. I tend to get so attached to my performance that I have to give myself a reality check now and then. When I race, I wear it but don’t time myself. The race itself is tracking me and if I am having a bad race, all my focus goes to the watch, time, mile splits, etc.

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Jun 21, 2019Liked by Terrell Johnson

love the comment by Lara. My Garmin tracker stresses me out - at times it doesn't accurately record my run due ti heavy tree canopy or dense fog which disappoints me. I feel better without it but want to know my mileage for training purposes.

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Jun 21, 2019Liked by Terrell Johnson

I just got the series 3 for about 200(which is about what a fitbit Versa would run). I love it and it has been so helpful with my running and fitness as well as my day to day activities!

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Jun 21, 2019Liked by Terrell Johnson

I got my Garmin Vivoactive three years ago, factory refurbished, for $81. It gives me everything I want and nothing I don't, and it's more than paid for itself.

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author

Now that's the way to buy one!

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The battery has been good on this model. My longest run with it so far was a really mountainous trail 50K last October. I got a "low battery" warning right at the end of 8 hours of running (after 33 miles and almost 8,000 feet of total climbing).

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Great deal! I got burned on the Vivoactive HR, mine kept dying and I had to get 3 of them replaced within 6 months. I've since upgraded to the 235, got it refurbished for $180 (which has better battery life but not much of a difference from the vivoactive HR).

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Jun 21, 2019Liked by Terrell Johnson

This is how the marketing made us think it is ok to spend that much money. I have been thinking to spend $400 to buy a low end Swiss made watch and decided not to do. But I was convinced to spend the same amount to buy an Apple watch which is going to last for maximum 3 to 4 years.

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Jun 21, 2019Liked by Terrell Johnson

I don't wear a watch all the time, but I do wear my Garmin on workouts and in races. Sometimes I'll check my mile splits, just to see how I'm doing against my perceived effort, and sometimes I'll wait till after the workout (or even a race) is done to see my splits, turnover rate, and stride length. Either way, I'm glad to have my Garmin (which I've had for about 4 years), and I do think it is well-worth the investment. Because I don't wear a watch otherwise, I really don't have any interest in an Apple (or other) 'smart' watch.

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Jun 21, 2019Liked by Terrell Johnson

I like my Garmin 235 but don't use all the features but what I do use provides this data nerd some fun. I won't pay for the Apple or any other the others with notifications, music and the other stuff I just won't use. dcrainmaker has some excellent reviews and when it's time to replace I'll check out what's available.

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Jun 21, 2019Liked by Terrell Johnson

I wish I had an Iphone but, do not any suggestions for a watch with music and heart rate along with distance? I like my simple Garmin but, does not have music or heart rate. I appreciate any thoughts.

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author

It looks like the later-model Garmins have what you're looking for -- they're just on the pricier end of the scale.

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Sometimes I do but, I enjoy it as the same time.

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I do enjoy my Apple watch and being able to track my run, listen to music and make a call if I need help, all at the comfort of my wrist.

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I bought my Apple watch before I started running. Once I started running, I was pleased with the Activity App and all the info it gives me. As an older runner, I appreciate being able to monitor my heart rate throughout the run, as it tells me when I am hitting the higher ends of my threshold before I actually feel it. Also, Apple has the emergency SOS that I can hit if I need assistance. Just recently I accidentally hit the SOS and sure enough, I was connected right to the local police. The only drawback is that playing music takes up too much battery life, so I use a simple SanDisk with blue tooth attached to my belt with simple wireless headphones and that works fine. I feel like my Apple watch was definitely worth the money

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Love my Garmin 235, and I scrutinize my stats in the app., kinda nutty. My only complaint is the interval feature, and maybe I’m not setting it up right, but it doesn’t automatically change from run to rest. I’ve had my watch for two years. I had some battery issues about a year ago and called Garmin for help. They said not to use anything but their charger and sent me one for free! That took care of the problem. I’d recommend Garmin.

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I've worn a Garmin for about 8 years now. I used to wear a Timex Ironman but love the gps features of the Garmin. I wear it all the time

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I’m an older runner and I like the woods and trails.my wife insists that she be able to contact me or I be able to contact emergency services. I don’t like to run with a phone so there is as of now no alternative.

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i could not imagine spending $300+ for a watch. When I was only a walker, I had a cheap Fitbit for a long time. I liked the motivation of competing for badges and in fact after I lost it I basically quit exercising. When I started running, I needed something and immediately thought of Garmin but when I went to their website there were so many choices, from ‘I’d have to be pretty motivated to spend that kind of $’ to ‘omg, for that price it should run FOR me.’ But the variety was paralyzing because when you spend that much $ you don’t want to make the wrong decision and find out that oh for just another $50 you could have had the one you really needed but too bad you’re stuck now.... In that respect, Apple made it easy. It’s not a Garmin, not ‘perfect’ for running, but it has served me well—from that first slog around the neighborhood through a lot of half marathons and a full. So yeah, I think it’s worth it. I did look at Garmin again this Christmas season but that ecosystem is just too complicated. If I were a RUNNER instead of just a runner I would spend the time to figure it all out but I like my AW3 just fine.

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I have a Garmin 735X and love it. I don't always use the tracking when i run. Sometimes it is nice to just go for a long run and not worry about my pace. Those days, it is nice to run because i like to run. Not to make sure I am hitting my target pace. But if I did want to track it, this watch does everything i could ask it to do and more.

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I have always tracked my time and distance, it's just part of who I am, I'm compelled to know, I just can't help myself. Back in the day I would have specific routes; 2.5k, 5k and 10k that I had measured out with my bicycle and I would combine those accordingly to get whatever my target distance was for the day and then I would log it in a journal. When I bought my first GPS watch I couldn't believe the freedom of just running whatever direction I felt like that day and still tracking my run. I love my Garmin, it would be hard to live without it!

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Who needs a watch to run. I can't stand waring watches I use to have a Garmin it was cool for awhile but then it just got in the way and I was more involved in keeping up pace instead of enjoying my run. I've ran more than a dozen marathons and getting ready for an ultra ' I've been using a app on my phone but the same goes I hate carring stuff but I do realize the benefits . What is a runner to do.

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My husband, also a runner, has an Apple Watch, but always uses his Garmin when running. He loves his Apple Watch for features other than running.

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I find the information from my Garmin invaluable to understanding my running trends over time and for keeping a target pace in workouts and races. I would not be without it during my runs! Linking it up to my laptop gives me insights I can get no other way.

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I love my Apple Watch. I use it everyday. I like the GPS, and the fact that if ever I’m in trouble, it has an emergency alarm. It show me my calorie burn, which is very important to a woman. It’s also more accurate than the phone apps I’ve used. But, I guess when it comes down to it, it’s all in what you like the most. In the beginning, I didn’t see the hype either. But, now I do. I have one of the earliest watches. So far, it’s fine.

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Love my Garmin, have been using a Garmin for years. Download runs and biking into my computer, it gives me a clear picture of exactly what I am doing and I track progress by printing out reports

Sandy

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I got my Apple Watch about a year ago and I actually prefer to use it as opposed to my phone to track my runs. However, I have always had to carry my phone as well to be able to listen to my playlists. I just got the Powerbeats wireless headphones Father’s Day, and they connect directly to the watch. So now I can listen to my playlists and track my runs all from my watch. In my opinion, although somewhat expensive, the investment is well worth it.

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I just bought the new Garmin Vivoactive 3 with music and it is a lot fancier than the old basic Forerunner I had been using forever. I don't use all of the features but decided to buy the Garmin over the new Apple Watch because it has a longer battery life. I was afraid the Apple Watch wouldn't last in a marathon. I have been pretty pleased with the Garmin but you do have to pay for Spotify to play music without your phone. I probably would have gotten the regular Vivoactive knowing what I know now since I always run with my phone.

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I have a Gramin Forerunner and I love mine. I paid over $300 for it and it is such a useful tool for running for me. It is one item I will immediately replace if it stops working. I won't run without it!

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I have an old Garmin block (forerunner 305). Love it and feel lost without it now. Others I know have gotten newer, fancier gps watches. They seem nice but mine has lasted while they have had to go through 2 or 3 of the newer types. I know this one won't last forever so I bought a second one used. This has been worth every penny to me as it allows me to make adjustments and helps me identify trends in my running that I can focus on to improve.

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Thanks Terrell.

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Thank you Diane, appreciate all the honest feedback.

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I am pretty simple myself.

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Thank you Douglas, I have looking at the Garmin 230. I appreciate your thoughts.

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The 230 has been discontinued. The 235 is the same watch but also has heart rate sensor capability.

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Thank you for heads up.

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I use a Garmin 230. It's capability is all I need. Never had an Apple watch, never will.

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