As I've already mentioned before, I use a Garmin watch a heart rate band to record my training. I currently own a Forerunner 310 XT; my first watch a Forerunner 305. The most important features for me are the speed and distance measurements, which are enabled through GPS. With this, the watch also has the feature of displaying a basic map of your track. This feature was several times of great help to me when I ran or biked far and didn't remember where I came from anymore. In fact, this is the main reason I decided to invest in such a watch to start with after I got lost a couple of times while running in the woods behind my house at that time. The sun had started to set and I couldn't see much anymore as it was getting darker and darker. Somehow I was lucky to be able to get back to the track I came from. My fear back then was the reason I bought my first Garmin.
Although I'm satisfied with the performance of my Garmin, there are at least 2 things that need improvement. First, the power cord of my current watch is specific to Garmin. This wasn't the case for my first watch. Several times, while I was traveling (I spend more than 50% of my time traveling for business reasons) I forgot to take the power cord with me or have the watch fully charged before leaving, such that the watch ran out of battery and I couldn't use it anymore. Worth to mention though, is that the 310 XT model works for up to 20 hours without the need to re-charge. The other negative thing which I hate is the quality of the hear rate band that comes with the watch. My first stopped working suddenly without an obvious reason, my second has had quality issues from the beginning. It often measure my heart rate wrong for complete training sessions or a big part of them (I don't think my heart can reach 230) such that it becomes difficult to even know my average heart rate approximately. It seems that I have been unfortunate as I know from many of my friends that they don't have any similar problems. Still, due to these issues I am considering to try different watches in the future, such as Suunto or Timex.
One of the most important feature I'd miss if I chose to go away from Garmin is the ability to share my training sessions with friends and following their training. This feature is helpful in many ways. First, it gives you the feeling of being a member of a group. Triathlon is an individual sport, but having friends with a shared interest makes is more enjoyable as you can talk with them about training sessions, performance and the latest Triathlon news. Additionally, knowing that others can track your training motivates you to keep it up, an often much needed motivation for us non-pros. Also, you can share your training data with your coach who can analyze your performance and progress and suggest next steps for you to continue improving as long as possible.
Sharing training data is done through a respective Garmin website. There, it is possible to create a group to make it easier for members to find training sessions of other members more easily.
I have started a group named "Arab 3-Athlete" for any of you readers who owns a Garmin and would like to participate and get advice or motivation by me and other group members, or provide advice and motivation to me and others. I'd be very happy if you joined. Click here to do so:http://connect.garmin.com/group/95273#.UV04qRPDmo0.email
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