I picked up my running this fall and ran a couple of 5K races. I was mostly running a fixed distance (a loop of country roads around my house) and wanted to work on improving my pace. Other times, I would try to increase my endurance by running longer distances. By tracking my distance with things like GMaps Pedometer and gauging my time, I could calculate my overall pace but it didn’t tell me enough details and it was always after the fact. To get more information about my run and as I’m running it, I picked up the Garmin Forerunner 405CX GPS watch.
The 405CX, like Garmin’s other GPS watches, tracks your distance using GPS. It reports the distance you have covered and calculates a pace for you with its stopwatch functionality.
I compared a lot of the different versions Garmin and others offer and decided on the 405CX. Although I haven’t used the heart rate monitor that comes with it, it had a number of other traits that attracted me to the 405 model:
- Lighter weight and less bulky than previous models
- Quick sync with satellites (takes about 20 seconds of standing still before the run)
- Power save mode keeps its charge longer (goes into after 10 minutes of inactivity)
- Virtual partner lets you program a pace and see how far you are ahead or behind
- Rechargeable with connector that clips onto the watch
- Wireless transfer to computer with Ant technology and little USB fob
The only thing I would really like to see improved with the watch is to replace the touch bezel it uses with more traditional buttons. In the cold, it requires removing a glove to switch the display and every once in a while it will get false positives from my hand flexing backwards or a sleeve. It doesn’t stop tracking, it just switches what information is being displayed. It’s simply an annoyance more than anything else.
I have used the watch in 3 different races as well as my training runs and bike rides. It’s been very informative to know how far in a race you are for pacing sake and very motivating to know my current pace and to push it faster.
Syncing the watch with the desktop application allows you to keep your runs and look closer at the data. You can configure what paces you want to aim for and how they’re labeled like ‘sprint’, ‘fast jog’, ‘jog’, ‘walk’, and ‘slow walk’. You can also switch what activity it was so your biking doesn’t look way off compared to your running. It’s a great automatic way of tracking your excursions instead of having to manually log them. It also maps out your run so you can see the shapes your exercise made. The map in the desktop app seems to be a little off and I’ve had better luck with the Bing maps that Garmin uses for the online web service you can sync your data with.
I’m happy with the Garmin Forerunner 405CX GPS watch. I know it won’t just immediately make me faster but it will provide me the information I need to train harder and better for improved performance.