Thursday, August 14, 2014

Garmin Forerunner 610 Product Review

So I was fortunate enough to have a friend who was upgrading to a Garmin 620 (the newest Forerunner).  He had his barely used Garmin 610 that he sold to me for a ridiculous price.  You can find the Garmin 610 Bundle that includes the charger, heart rate strap, and USB receiver for around $275 new and $165 used on Amazon.    This has been one of the single most important accessories that I have added to my running arsenal.  The Garmin Forerunner 620 Bundle runs for $450 new, $350 used on Amazon

This watch is great if you are interested in tracking your time, heart rate, pace, elevation, and cadence among other things.  I love that each screen is completely customizable to what you want to see.  The Garmin Forerunner 610 also can be set up for specialized workouts like intervals.  You can also make your own workouts on Garmin Connect and upload them to your watch.  Garmin Connect is easy to use and tracks all of your information.  When you want to go for a run, you turn on your watch and it connects to the satellite in about 1 minute (the longest I have had to wait was 2 minutes, but this is rare).  

There is a Virtual Partner where you can set a pace that you want to stay ahead of and the watch will show where you are at in comparison to that pace.  This is great for races.  You can also race against previous runs that you have done to try and beat your best time.  Virtual Racer accounts for varying speeds and real-time conditions, so it's truly you versus your opponent. 

The Forerunner 610 also shows your training effect, which is how much stress you are putting on your body.  It is useful if you follow a training plan from Garmin Connect where they use heart rate zones and training effect to tell you how to complete runs.

The battery life is good for about 8 hours of training.  I would not suggest keeping the watch on while not running though as it drains the battery.  It does take a while to charge too.

You can purchase a Garmin Foot Pod for around $50 on Amazon that will transfer information to your watch about your cadence, or how many steps you take per minute.  This is a great tool if you want to increase you cadence and don’t want to count your steps, which in my experience was very difficult to do while I was concentrating on keeping my form and speed constant.  You just clip the Garmin Foot Pod onto your laces and calibrate the foot pod (you only need to do it the first time you use them).  The foot pod also allows you to track your mileage and heart rate if you are running on a treadmill.

I chose to get the Garmin Wrist Strap, which is a fabric strap that attaches by Velcro and is about $15 on Amazon.  The original wrist strap that comes with the watch is not very flexible and I have read reviews that they can snap off.  I love my fabric strap and would highly recommend it.  It is easy to install and comes with all of the tools to change straps.  It only takes about 2 minutes to change the straps out.

In conclusion, I would highly recommend the Garmin Forerunner 610.  If you are not worried about spending money, the Garmin Forerunner 620 does add some features like wirelessly connecting to your smart phone and telling you how efficient you are running by checking your stride distance and vertical bounce while you run.  The Forerunner 620 has a color screen where the 610 is in black and white.  While the Garmin Forerunner 620 is a great watch, the Forerunner 610 does everything that I need and I got it for a great price.  If you are looking to take your running to the next level, invest in a good GPS watch.  Let me know what watch you are using and what you think of it.