My love for data dovetails so nicely with my favorite running accessory, the Garmin Forerunner 305. If you run semi-seriously, the Garmin is for you. I recommend the model I linked to above, the newer model is a sleeker and smaller--but also harder to read. Even though the 305 is like running with a computer strapped to your arm (I kid, it's not that big) it is really worth it. It's pretty cheap at Amazon, and if you tell them I sent you, they'll give you a discount! (Kidding again, they don't care.)
The Forerunner has tons of features I don't use, but here are my favorites:
- When looking at the main display, it clearly displays your time, pace and miles run. And heart rate, in size 4 font.
- If you get lost, it will show you directions how to get home.
- You can set it to stop timing when you stop running--no pausing your watch to tie your shoe, it does it for you!
- It beeps every mile. I pretend it's saying, "Great job Rach! You're pretty and I love you!"
- You can set alerts to beep if you go too fast or slow, and if your heart rate is too high or low.
- My favorite program, Sport Tracks, analyzes the data and shows you all sorts of cool stuff.
It takes your run and shows you the graph of where you have been. This past Saturday, my pal Jenni and I went for a run in DC. It was the only place we could find where there were mildly shoveled sidewalks. Aside from the joy I get from being able to retrace my steps on the computer screen, it was a super fun run. We leaped over mountains of snow, ran a mile and a half through barely traveled snowy paths and each only fell down once. It was SO fun to get out and enjoy the snow.
Sport Tracks also will show you your mile splits. The mile we ran through high snow? Yeah, it was slow. The mile we ran on a road with the wind? Yep, it was fast.
You can also look at graphs of your speed vs. elevation, pace vs. heart rate or any other combination you can think of. So much fun to play with!
In short, I am a nerd and you should go buy a Forerunner if you like to run. If you have one or a similar device feel free to comment on it below--I really don't know anything about any other brand.