The Great Garmin Debate

I had no idea what a Garmin was…until I started reading healthy living blogs. It seemed like everyone on the earth who ran had one. Well heck, if they had one, I needed one too!

Then I saw the price tag. Ouch.

I put it off for a few months, then a year, and just got used to the fact that I wouldn’t have exact splits or know my pace on my runs. No big deal.

Then I found the iMapMyRun app on my phone. It tracked distance and pace. Ooh.

Then I found the RunKeeper app – and liked it even more.

While I was discovering those apps, I found an incredible deal on the Garmin 405x on Cyber Monday. I sent it to my husband, not-so-subtly suggesting it should be my Christmas gift.

Being the sweet, loving husband he is, that’s exactly what I got.

And it has sat in the box ever since Christmas.

Why? Not because I’m unappreciative – promise. But because I started wondering if I really needed it after all. I like running with my phone for safety purposes and I get distance and pace on the app on my phone – wouldn’t the Garmin be redundant? Should I send it back and get a refund? That would pay for at least two race entry fees…if not more…

But then again – it would be nice to have the option of not always carrying my phone. And I have noticed that my battery on my phone starts to die on my longer runs.

So let me ask you – what would you do? Would you keep the Garmin or return it?



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19 Responses to The Great Garmin Debate

  1. Keep the phone for an actual emergency and use the garmin. When I used to run, I took both with me.

  2. We have a really old Garmin, one of those huge ones! I used that up until a few weeks ago and switched to Run Keeper since I always run with my phone. I like still having the Garmin b/c I know I’m not going to want to carry my phone a long run or during a race. But I actually like Run Keeper better, especially for speed workouts without a track.

  3. Amanda T

    Keep it! I actually got the same Garmin for Christmas. I thought I was fine with just using a stop watch to time my runs and for distance, but the Garmin makes it so much easier. And you can see your pace right on the screen, so you know if you need to push harder or slow down.

  4. Amy

    I say keep the Garmin – you’ll definitely like it for group runs and your races. I now only carrying my phone when I want to take pictures or if I’m running alone. Perfect combo of choices!
    BTW – Way to go hubby!

  5. I love my garmin, my hubby has one too (his is nicer automatically syncs). It is great for not just pacing but also to track your heart rate and actually calories burned. It can also help you learn pacing through heart rate to help you go longer and not out so fast.

  6. I love my Garmin especially when it comes to Tempo runs. It is a lot easier to look at than an app on my phone. Even with my Garmin, I take my phone on most runs because I like to listen to talk radio and need it for the Sirius app.

    Maybe give it a try and see if you like it.

  7. Stephanie @ Athlete at Heart

    I also use my phone for pace and distance. I use Nike+GPS and sometimes MapMyRun because they have elevation. I’ve never been able to justify a Garmin since I can get the basics for so cheap/free and I’m also a little worried about getting totally bogged down by the amount of data and features it provides. For now I’m happy with what I have but that may change someday!

  8. I don’t have a phone with apps like that but prefer my Polar watch because I can use it for the pool and other activities besides running. I say keep it because if you keep running down your battery on the phone it could be expensive to replace.
    Besides if you aren’t running the app on the phone constantly won’t it hold the charge long on your runs for safety?

  9. That is the exact same Garmin I got for Christmas! I like it because you can use it for biking too and since you are not just a runner but also a triathlete you might find that feature useful. I used to use the Nike+ system (no GPS) on my iPod for my runs but I am so glad that I have my Garmin now. The website is really cool and you can actually create workouts (Tempo or Speedwork) to upload the watch. The watch also provides data that you can see without too much effort, whereas with a phone it can be a little more difficult to see what you have done. I still run with my phone for safety reasons but I never run without my Garmin!

    Hope that helps with your decision! 🙂

  10. I <3 my garmin. I always say that if it broke I would buy a new one the same day. It's by far my favorite electronic device…even above my phone. I promise you'll love it once you start using it!!

  11. I enjoy running without my phone usually. I like being able to get away from everything. I’d keep the Garmin! That’s a great model too.

  12. Sarah

    Keep the Garmin, I have an older version the 205 but you can upload to garmon connect, there is so much Data, splits, map of your run in many views via google,elevation, lots of traing features, Keep the Garmin , I think you will regret it if you don’t

  13. I’d keep the Garmin! A great gift and something that you should have on hand and like Marci said above, sometimes it’s nice to run without a phone or music. The Garmin is a great tool and you will have it for many years. 🙂 I’m jealous, because I’m looking for a Garmin as we speak.

  14. I’d keep it. I always have my phone with me for emergencies too. I used to just use my phone for everything. Music and My Tracks. But it really sapped the battery on anything over an hour. It’s nice having the Garmin and knowing my phone has enough juice if I need it for an emergency.

  15. Funny–I have a Garmin and used it a few times, then decided I didn’t really like it. I theorize that I have been a runner for so long, and am so used to my old-fashioned Timex that I really don’t care about all the feedback I get from a Garmin. Plus, I pretty much know my courses and can do a quick look at my watch any time I am wondering my pace. And finally–I truly believe that w/ a Garmin, you don’t get to learn how to properly pace yourself. Doing track work is a much better way to do it, in my opinion.

    All that said–I KNOW I am in the minority!

  16. I’ve found the Garmin is a bit more accurate than the apps. Give it a shot! If you don’t love it, I’m sure you can find another blogger to buy it off you.

  17. I agree with all the other commenters that you should keep it – especially since it was such a good deal. I use the mapmyrun app on my phone every once in a while and it seems fairly accurate by the end of the run, but not during the run. I have just gotten really good at doing pace math in my head 😉 A Garmin would be fun to have someday.

  18. A bit late of a response, but I say keep the Garmin! I kept holding off on making my Garmin purchase because I was using my phone apps and what not, but my friends surprised me with a check to buy one (I have awesome friends!). I still run with my phone in my SPIbelt to listen to music and for emergencies, but I can’t imagine ever using it to track my mileage anymore. Having the Garmin on is so much more convenient, but you have to get used to the size. I have tiny wrists, and it gets realllllly annoying if I don’t wear something long-sleeve to keep it from bouncing around.

  19. Pingback: The Conclusion of the Great Garmin Debate | The Wannabe Athlete

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