About 3 years ago, I thought the amount of running I was putting in on a daily base justified spending some hard cash on gear & gadgets. So I bought the Garmin Forerunner 305, the most basic of all GPS watches, at just 135 Euro (about $186), heart-rate monitor included. This is still cheaper than most HR watches these days, and, while it might be a bit bulky, it offers A LOT of functionality.
I’m not the most demanding person when it comes to sports gear. I’ll wear anything that doesn’t get in the way during my runs. I don’t wear hats or gloves, glasses or any other fancy attributes. I hardly ever wear my heart-rate monitor (I find it much nicer to listen to my body instead of the beeps of my watch when running). And I don’t even look at my watch all that often during a run. If I can upload my run data afterwards and have a look on my computer (and show off to friends), I’m already more than satisfied. But there’s one thing I really, really need. One thing that a lot of manufacturers seem to forget these days: A way to find my way back home.
The Forerunner 305 has this really nice map function. It’s not a full blown gps. There’s no map with streets and directions. It’s just a very basic, blank screen, with a line drawn along the path you’ve been running. And that’s all I need. Quite often, especially when abroad and in unknown territories, I just take off and run in somewhat the same direction for about an hour or so. The, depending on how good I’m feeling, I might just continue running in that direction for another half our. But the great thing is that, when I feel like turning back, I know exactly where I run to, even when I’ve been distracted by the environment for the past hour or so.
With the RC 3, Polar seems to finally understand that runners with watches might not need a fully functional gps device, but might want to get back to where they started:
However, what their “back to start” function doesn’t offer, is a way to avoid running the same route twice, something I can easily avoid using the Forerunner 305 by steering clear of the little black line.
Recently, it’s been acting a bit up though. And the battery life isn’t what it used to be I guess. But still, I hope it never dies on me. But just in case it does, feel free to make suggestions for good alternatives!