Being a (very long time) promoter of Fitbit, I recently turned the tables and went a different direction.
1. I love this thing! Technology is my friend, but I was super worried I may not “get it”. Transitioning from a touch screen to real buttons wasn’t as big of a challenge as I anticipated. There’s only 5.
2. Menstrual tracking is by no means considered glamorous. Not in the slightest. However, I had been frustrated with Fitbit because they had very few “symptoms” options when using this feature. Pardon me, but I experience more than just cramps and backache. Hello, estrogen-producing people, this is for you. With Garmin, there’s also a notes section so I can input anything they don’t cover. Fitbit originally had a notes feature, but upon some update many years ago, it disappeared.
3. Training Load. Although I’ve heard from many people who state this designation isn’t always accurate, for now I’m holding it in high regard. To explain training load, Garmin compiles your daily exercise, stress levels, sleep score, and many other data points to recommend whether or not you should be training that day or waiting a determined amount of time. I think the reason some may not agree is because there are more factors involved than just what your watch is tracking, like overall training history. Make sense? If I’m training for a double, then most weeks I will need to run back-to-back. Garmin never recommends this.
4. Size. My schmedium wrist is accommodated by most watch sizes, but it usually involves taking out the final pin. Apparently the Forerunner 945 – the one step up edition from mine – has the largest watch face. Aesthetically speaking…I didn’t want to wear everyday a HUGE watch. Turns out I made a good choice with the 745 because it fits me well.
5. Battery life. Is awesome! I was charging my Fitbit every 2-3 days. Garmin states this watch battery will last 5 days with regular GPS usage. They didn’t lie. Even with internal music controls (which I’ll get to in a moment) and GPS use during most runs, the battery is still going strong at day 5. Surely if I didn’t run or use the music function, it would most likely hold a single charge for 7-10 days.
6. Music! A new watch requirement was internal music storage and playback. #1 selling point. My Fitbit had the same feature but to add music to it was a work of frustration. It took hours. Not kidding. Garmin Connect (the desktop/user platform) has a great user interface and I added music seamlessly to the program. The volume, song shuffle, and repeat functions on my watch are easily navigated. Also – my biggest issue with Fitbit – is I can toggle between my workout and the music controls WHILE keeping the workout in progress! This is incredible to me because with Fitbit I had to start the music first then start a run. No other order of events would work. And if music suddenly stopped mid-run, the run would have to be completed or ended before I could resume listening. I ran a half marathon without music once and I was livid. Yes, I’m the weirdo who hates carrying their phone. Less is more in terms of phone use mid-run and length of shorts.
7. It coaches me. You’re not the boss of me! Well, apparently it is. It talks to me – guides me, if you will – through workouts. My least favorite thus far are the hill repeats and speed runs. And since these are the only 2 I’ve done, here we are. A very sweet sounding lady I affectionately call the ‘b’ word instructs me on each portion of the run. For example, ‘b’ will say “Run, 0.5 miles, pace 8:40 to 9 mins”. Told ya’. And then if I run too fast, an annoying beeping sound will be emitted into the vicinity of my eardrums. If I run too slow, a different but equally annoying sound will clue me in. Finally, if I’m hitting the pace, a soft, gentle, single tone will be barely heard and I’ll still wonder if I’m doing it right. But really. This is a perk because if I was running my own plan – I usually do – then I would shortchange myself.
8. Lastly (I had to end on an even number) there are sleep tracking, alarm clock, and notification settings I haven’t even begun to explore. Like I mentioned before, sleep data does play a role in training load (see #3) so it really requires no effort from me except to, well, sleep. I’ve heard several complaints about the Fitbit alarm being too soft or gentle to wake anyone. For me, it was fine but I’m a light sleeper and the understated wrist vibration was enough to wake me. Garmin has a tone and/or vibrate option. I’ve been using both for my wake-up time; so far, no complaints. Overall, I don’t enjoy receiving phone calls or text and email notifications on my watch so I always disable this feature. Don’t bother me when I’m running! Maybe eventually I’ll change my mind. For now, running or working out is my ‘me time’. There’s very few things so important to warrant the interruption.
In regards to #6 and the less is more concept, the ability to phone a friend if I’m hurt on the side of the road is also a watch asset. With one long press of a button, my emergency contacts are notified of my location. Though this wouldn’t have helped much on the VA Beach boardwalk.
But, just in case…
I ask you –
What’s the most important watch feature for you? Tells time!
Daydream a minute – if you could only have 1 extra watch feature, what would it be? I want fireworks to randomly shoot from mine!
Tell me what you currently have on your wrist! Watch on one, Just Run mantra band on the other.