A Garmin Forerunner 305 Review on my 9.5 Mile Run & The Monsters In The Grass [Consumer]

by on March 21, 2010

in consumer, consumer reviews

Garmin Forerunner 305 GPS Receiver

This is yet another down-to-earth product review of a consumer item I’ve purchased and played with! My latest running endeavor pushed my limits beyond my longest run, which was last week, at 8 miles and this week, I ended up running 9.5 miles. That was something in and of itself. But more to the point, I was able to register exactly 9.5 miles because of my Garmin Forerunner 305 that I just purchased this week.

I didn’t expect to have my Garmin with me on Saturday’s run. I ordered it from Amazon.com Thursday morning. I just happened to be hitting up my UPS Box for my usual Friday mail run. When I got this big box, it confounded me because it couldn’t have possibly been my new Garmin Forerunner 305. I had received a bunch of movie screeners and a few other things. But sure enough, the large box was “it.”

Talk about a kid in a candy store!

Opening Up My Garmin Forerunner 305 Packaging:

The amazing part is that setting up the Garmin 305 was so easy, even a caveman could do it! dOh! I couldn’t help myself. Ir really was.

I went to lunch, kicked it and opened up my new toy and read through the manual. Yes, a real live manual. It’s so refreshing to spend money on a product and get a manual to hold and to read instead of a quick-start pamphlet. After eating and reading, getting to use the Garmin Forerunner 305 was a breeze. Here’s what I did:

  • I plugged it in,
  • let it charge.
  • When it was charged, I took it outside,
  • turned it on,
  • let it find the satellites,
  • hit start and
  • went.

If all you want is something to track your runs and tell you your instant pace, distance info, you’re done. That’s it. It was literally as easy to set up as it was to read that. I’m impressed. But this older Garmin beast has a lot more to it. You can install the software and pre-plot courses so it can tell you where to go. You can program a running buddy to help with trying to keep a pace. It has tons of options. It also has a wireless heart rate monitor.

The screen has several different display modes, all large enough to see easily, though the heart rate feedback is pretty tiny on most screens. If I’ve read correctly, the display is customizable to what you like.

How Accurate Is It?

When I went out for my run, I had read up a little bit on my new Garmin 305 toy. The one thing I wanted to take precautions with was staying under any kind of canopy of trees. My region has BIG trees around. Gigantic redwoods grow out of front yards, but they’re not clustered together. The othe real tree concern was when I was running through the Stanford campus. It’s a beautiful run through there, but there are whole sections of near forest-like sections, so I adjusted my run accordingly to either stay clear of the tree dense zones, or picked up the pace to get through the small sections quickly.

In no case did the trees interfere, despite being under some for 1 minute or so.

At the end of the run, I used MapMyRun to compare my three tests of the Garmin and in each case, pinpoint accurate. (I used to use Google Earth, but it’s messing up on my system right now.)

During The Run

I was worried that knowing distance and pace would mess me up. Knowing that I was behind a pace I wanted might make me force myself too early, but that didn’t pan out at all. This wrirst device looks big and cumbersome, but it fits wonderfully on my wrist, it’s big enough so you don’t have to worry about pinpoint accurate button pressing and the screen is big enough to make everything clear to see while running.

It wasn’t even like I was wearing anyting bigger or heavier than my Timex Ironman Triathlon watch.

The Monster in the Grass!

Great Blue HeronI did have one memorable moment in this run. I was headed off the Stanford campus and I was in this zone that I’m in my own world and don’t really notice anything except road rocks and cars. As I rounded a corner, the “grass” next to me erupted into about 7 feet of blue leaping into the air.

It seems I got fairly close to a Great Blue Heron and it decided to take off. They have up to a 6ft wingsan and this thing looks like it might have been a bit bigger. It scared the living sh** out of me, it was about 15 feet away. The funny thing about this was that there was this tiny black cat, all flat and “hunting” in the grass about 5 feet from where the bird was. I saved the bird! LOL.

After The Run

After the run, I got home & confirmed my distances. I installed the software and hooked up my Garmin to the my computer with the supplied USB cable. (Did I mention I love a quality product that doesn’t make you chase your own tail buying necessary equipment?) It showed me my charts right away for various categories of parameters.

I’m still trying to understand the ins and outs of the software, but it looks impressive.

In Closing

If you’re looking to get a Garmin GPS unit for your running that doesn’t cost $300 my intinial first-look is impressive. It’s easy to set up, easy to use, and easy to decipher. I’m not sure I’ve ever used anything that was this easy to get into. [Update]: My only suggestion with this unit is that if you’re one of those folks who likes to spin the tires the moment you turn the key, (IE: Out the door and GO!), then I’d suggest turning your Garmin on while your changing and set it in a window or outside on your backyard patio. That way, you don’t have to wait until it finds the satellites to get going!

on Amazon (It’s still priced at $155): Garmin Forerunner 305 GPS Receiver With Heart Rate Monitor

{ 3 comments… read them below or add one }

Dave October 12, 2010 at 11:22 pm

Thanks for your reply, I am English but i live in South Korea, it takes a while for the GPS to load there are alot of apartmets at the start of the run then a little bit more open. I have only had the Garmin for a while so futher test runs will tell me more. Keep on running Bruce all the best.

Bruce Simmons October 12, 2010 at 8:25 pm

Hey Dave,
I’ve uploaded my Garmin runs and they’ve been almost spot on… Do you have a ton of trees on your runs? I’ve also double checked my distances at first and the Garmin 305 was spot on for me… man, I’m bummed for you that you need to double check the numbers from your Garmin…
Thanks for visiting and the feedback Dave! I appreciate the comment.

Dave October 12, 2010 at 5:26 pm

I have had my Garmin for a few weeks and i run 10 miles or so on my runs. I found that when i upload my runs onto google earth, the running path of the red line does not show the correct path that i take, it shows the dirrections but shows that i am running though forrests and not on the path next to the forrest, so my conclusion is that it doesn’t read your distance 100 percent. So i i run 10 mile i could only be running 9 miles. I have previously mapped the distance so i know i’m right. So i have to re check distance each time i run.

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