Oatmeal Runner Reviews...Garmin Forerunner 25

Garmin Forerunner 25

Back in mid-December, my Polar running watch decided to stop syncing via the computer. One of the pins got bent and although it would charge, no matter what Mike did he couldn’t fix the bent pin. It was out of warranty and even though it charged, it wouldn’t be getting any of the updates pushed out to it. Since I had extra money, I decided to go back to Garmin and get a new running watch.

My first running watch was a Garmin Forerunner 15 and while I loved it, I really liked the activity tracking features of my Polar watch. Luckily, the Forerunner 25 was a good price for including activity and sleep tracking. Now that I’ve been using it for almost two months, I wanted to give a quick review of the Garmin Forerunner 25.

Wearing the Forerunner 25

I love the size of my Garmin! I bought the small size and it’s perfect. Many times, when watches have just one size, they are gigantic on my wrist. So I was very excited that there was both a small and large size for the Forerunner 25. I wear it almost 24/7 and rarely even realize I’m wearing it.

Garmin Forerunner 25

One downside is the buttons. Since they protrude from the sides, I occasionally press one on accident when I’m wearing longer sleeves or if I move my hand in a certain way. Usually it’s the “Start Run” button which if I’m not running doesn’t cause too many problems. But, I have accidently pressed that button while running this winter which pauses my run (sometimes without me realizing it).

Another downside is that anytime you press a button, the screen lights up. Which isn’t a huge problem but it’s annoying that I can’t turn this off at all. Rarely do I need the light to see the screen so it doesn’t make sense that it always lights up when a button is hit.

Running Features

There are several modes you can turn on while out for a run with the Forerunner 25 but I have not tried them out yet. They are:

  • Virtual Pacer: compares your current pace to a target pace

  • Run/Walk: set intervals for run/walking

  • Time: run for a specific amount of time

  • Distance: run for specific distance

  • Calories: run for a specific amount of calories burned

Once it gets warmer outside (and I’m not wearing long sleeves), I will be trying out the virtual pacer for my pace runs. But it doesn’t really help me to use this mode when I can’t see if I’m ahead or being my target pace. The other modes, I don’t have much of a use for right now since I prefer to just go out on my run and not have to set up anything extra.

I love that not only does this have GPS tracking, there is also an indoor mode to track treadmill runs. I’ve been using this mode a lto and find it’s pretty accurate compared to my GPS runs based on feel. The accuracy also gets better with the more you use the GPS mode since it is self-calibrating. Which has made me realize how off the treadmills I use at the gym can be….

Garmin Forerunner 25 treadmill

You can also set up two data field screens to look at on the run with a variety of data fields available:

  • Timer

  • Pace/Speed

  • Calories

  • Lap Time

  • Lap Distance

  • Lap Pace

  • Average Pace/Speed

Currently, I only look at one data page and it is set up to show: Timer, Distance and Average Pace. I also have it set to mark a lap every mile but I haven’t been looking how the lap pace/time feature works since I’m not able to easily look at my watch under my layers.

Activity and Sleep Tracking

One of my must-have features for a running watch is all-day activity tracking. I found that it’s much more motivating to get movement in through the day if I can see how much I’ve already done. Plus, move alerts (no matter how annoying they might be) keeps me from sitting for hours in front of the computer without getting at least a little bit of activity in.

I also like that the Forerunner 25 tracks my sleep. Like I said before, it doesn’t bother me to wear it while sleeping so it’s nice to see not only how long I sleep but if I had a restful night or not. The only downside is that sometimes my watch thinks I’m sleeping when I charge it later during the day. Plus, while there is a sleep goal you cannot change it from 8 hours. Unless it’s a weekday or I have the day off from work, there is no way I’m sleeping 8 hours or more.

Garmin Connect

Garmin Connect App

I love the Garmin Connect app. Not only can I sync my watch via Bluetooth with the app but it’s so simple to find information at a glance. I get a look at the previous day’s activity, the last week’s activity and my running stats for the week. I can’t wait to starting running in a new pair of shoes because I can track shoe mileage too!

Do you run with a Garmin watch? Let me know what it is and what some of your favorite feature(s) are in the comments!

Oatmeal Runner Reviews...Polar M400 Watch

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My first runs were recorded via my phone on Runkeeper as I figured out whether I'd stick with running or not. When it was clear that I was going to keep on running and training for longer distances, I asked for a Garmin Forerunner 10 for Christmas. I started off using it just because my phone's battery wouldn't be drained as fast but I loved the data I got from it. I eventually got a Fitbit Flex as well but wearing two watches when I ran got to be tiresome. Enter the Polar M400. I knew I wanted a watch that had both GPS and activity tracking plus was water resistant (my Fitbit Flex died on me when I got caught in a sudden downpour). Plus i wouldn't mind getting extra data (like heart rate tracking) that my Garmin watch wasn't giving me. After doing some research, I decided that the Polar M400 was the best choice for what I needed and wanted so I ordered it from Amazon.

I love my Polar watch! I've been using it for almost 8 months now and it's been encouraging to see my progress. You can read about the heart rate training it offers on a previous post of mine (I used it to train for my fifth half marathon which was an interesting and sometimes frustrating experience).

One of my favorite things about the Polar M400 is that I can sync training targets to it and know what I need to do for my training plan. Besides syncing to my watch, I have it syncing to a Google Calendar so I can see at a glance when I have workouts scheduled without opening up the app. However, I do have to look at the app or my watch for the specific mileage I need to run which would be nice to have on my calendar.

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I really like having the activity tracking on my watch since it motivates me to be moving more throughout the day (especially with the inactivity alert when I haven't been active for the last 55 minutes). Since I'm currently marathon training, I have my activity goal set to Level 3 which I hit easily on my running days and have to work on being a little bit more active on my non-running days.

Polar Flow Daily Activity Goal
Polar Flow Daily Activity Goal

There have been a couple of syncing issues that have popped up since I got my Polar watch, but those were easily fixed when they released firmware fixes. I also had to reset my heart rate monitor (I have the Polar H7 that came with my watch) because it was being detecting by my watch which caused some frustration as I tried to figure out what was wrong and how to fix it.

Overall, I'm really enjoying the Polar M400 and will probably stick with Polar products going forward. I'm been interested in their updated version of the M400, the M430, since it has wrist heart rate monitoring that is suppose to be as accurate as the heart rate strap and a more advanced sleep tracking system. But since I've had my M400 for less than a year and I don't have an extra $200 laying around, I'll be sticking with my watch for now.

What do you use to track your runs?