Garmin Forerunner 405 Review

June 28, 2009 by
Filed under: Knitting 

Well, I’ve been using my new Garmin Forerunner 405 since mid-May. I’ve been meaning to write a review sooner, but life has happened.

Earlier this year I started to run more than 2-3 miles eat a time and wanted an easier way to calculate my distance and pace. Mid-January I got a Nike+, basically because I wanted something but didn’t want to spend too much since I still wasn’t sure how committed to running I was. The Nike+ is cheap. I used it with my kids’ Nano. But I had issues with the Nike+: figuring out how to carry the Nano was always tricky; adjusting volume, or skipping a song, or checking current pace was difficult without messing with my workout; and it wasn’t very accurate even with re-calibration.

As I got closer to the half marathon, I new how committed I was to running, and how much I enjoyed it. REI’s Anniversary Sale was perfect timing. The new Garmin Forerunners had come out by then, and REI had a couldn’t pass up sale on the Garmin Forerunner 405 with heart rate monitor. So mid-May, I finally had my own new fancy GPS watch.

And I love it. I have a math background, with a statistical emphasis, and I’m crazy about data and numbers. Running has been a ton of fun, but now it’s even more fun. There’s so much I like about my Garmin. The size/weight has not been an issue as I feared. It’s not petite. But I’m able to tighten it enough that it doesn’t bounce around. I do have quite a tan line forming, but I don’t care a bit. The other problem I’ve read about the watch is the bezel. But it’s been working for me. I’m mostly used to navigating through the menus by now. And I haven’t had problems with accidently stopping or pausing a workout. It has three separate views of data fields (in addition to the heart rate view) and are totally customizable. I’ve found that having one with lap pace/lap time/lap distance, one with avg pace/total time/total distance and one with current speed/total time/total distance works great for me. The current pace while running seems to fluctuate way too much and just makes me anxious. The lap pace is the view I use the most while running. I have it set up to lap at each mile. So it’s been easy to see if I’m on pace for each mile as I’m running.

I’ve tried to use the interval feature but find that I don’t have the same flexibility when it comes to views. But I can start a new lap by the press of a button. So recently when I did a track workout (400 m with jog intervals in between) I could press the lap button at the beginning and end of each 400 m lap and be able to see all of my splits for each 400 m and each rest interval. Very nice.

The Garmin also has a biking mode which I’ve been using. I think the only difference between the two is that it’ll calculate your calories differently. While biking, I’ll use the current speed view since I don’t have a bike computer. I’m so new to biking that this works for me. But I can imagine adding the cadence accessory some day, once that’s something I think I need to keep track of.

I’ve only used the heart rate monitor once. It took a little getting used to having the strap around my chest. But after a mile or two, I didn’t notice it. I mostly pay attention to my breathing. I know how it sounds when my heart rate is getting to the top. I’m not sure how much I’m going to use the monitor. I think it would be nice to periodically use it for a 10min/mile test and see how my fitness is increasing as I train more.

I know there’s a lot more I can do with the Garmin that I haven’t tried, geocaching and uploading planned routes to the watch are a couple I can think of off the top of my head. I also haven’t taken the time to figure out how to upload workouts to any of the training logs I use. I’ve been using Garmin Connect to view the maps of my workouts. It’s so much fun to see the maps, especially if I’ve been out of town (a lot lately) or taking a crazy route. It’s easy to read all of my data from the workout, splits/heart rate/pace.

So I’m super happy that I got the Garmin. I love the instant feedback as I run. And it’s great to just head out the door and run, and not have to map it out ahead of time.


4 Comments on Garmin Forerunner 405 Review

  1. madonnaearth on Fri, 10th Jul 2009 3:03 pm
  2. That sweater is so gorgeous! Congratulations on finishing it; great job!

  3. Ross on Sat, 13th Nov 2010 2:32 pm
  4. I have been using a 405 for about three years now and honestly don’t know what I would do without one! I have tried out a few of the other Garmin models but keep going back to the 405 for the advanced workouts and the virtual training partner. Best bit of running kit I own by far!

    My Garmin 405 Review

  5. Dan Morgan on Thu, 19th May 2011 10:24 am
  6. Wish I could agree with the positive comments. I guess my problem is that unlike one of the commentators I don’t have a “math background with a statistical emphasis.” To get alot out of the Garmin 405, I really do think you need to have those skills.. It is not for the ordinary running klutz like me. My watch died after about a year, but I was not in mourning. Very unreliable, overly complicated, erratic product, way overpriced. It could be very slow to respond with that weird system of touching the rim. Slow to find satellites, too. When I called Garmin help desk I got a guy who sounded as if he was on pot and made me feel particularly stupid — why are you calling me with these dumb questions.. On days when it decided to work the distance accuracy was phenomenol – unless the course involved going thru a tunnel. I would never buy another Garmin product.

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