Why I’m not lovin’ the Garmin

I told you all a while back that I was going to break down and get a Garmin. I resisted for ages because I have always been pretty simplistic with my running and that has worked for me. I’m not an ipod person nor a heart-rate monitor person. But I decided to give a Garmin a try–everyone seems to love them and I thought it might work well for some of my training. I bought the 110, which is essentially the most stripped down model.

I’ve decided, though, that maybe I’m just not a Garmin person. Before you commit me, let me tell you why:

* I have been running long enough, and know my routes well enough, that I pretty much know my pace anyhow. Looking at my splits every mile just isn’t necessary.
* I tend to race my Garmin, which is really just stupid! I’ll be out on a recovery run and decide I don’t like the numbers it’s showing and speed up. Kind of defeats the purpose of a recovery run.
* I’ve been unhappy with how long the charge lasts–I think I had it out for two or three runs and it already needed recharging. Come on!
* I think it all goes back to my running approach–running is the simplest activity you can do. You really don’t need anything other than the shoes, and for many these days, not even those. Trying to take it higher tech just doesn’t mesh with my philosophy on it.

I took the Garmin all the way to Australia with me and never even took it out of the suitcase, which I guess says something. I am still going to try to make it work for me once a week for marathon pace runs.

So–do you think I’m certifiable?

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  1. Andrew Opala says

    wow … you are at the stage that every runner wants (or should want) to be at – awareness

    I have a polar watch but I'm just a newbie wannabe [childish giggle]

  2. abbi says

    I'm not sure I've ever run the exact same route twice which is the main reason I love mine. Being a somewhat newbie, I don't have the slightest clue how far I've gone without it. I'm not obsessive about looking at mine and have never worn it during a race. Sounds to me like you are justified for not being a Garmin person.

  3. Dash says

    I agree, I much prefered when I watched my heart rate for intensity, it seems a safer way to train. BUT I do like having it for long runs when my course isn't marked – it's not completely accurate, but probably better than my guesstimates. Welcome back, thanks for bringing some great weather back with you!

  4. Robyn says

    I think every runner is different so it's not crazy you're not a Garmin girl. I certainly don't use half the features on it, but I like it for my pacing and exact mileage.

  5. Patrick Mahoney says

    I'll tell you what, I'm hopelessly hooked. Bike and Run. I've even tried to put it under a swim cap.

    But I miss the early days when I would head out the door in a t-shirt, shorts, and ill fitting running shoes. Bad strategy long term perhaps, but now it takes me forever to get ready.

  6. run4may says

    I am a recent Garmin owner and thus far love it. I however don't know the routes around my neighborhood well enough yet to just go out and run without measuring the distance. If I did then I don't think I would have a need for the garmin.

  7. Marlene says

    Hey, they certainly aren't for everyone. I totally get why it's not working for you. I LOVE my stats. But I also have to charge after every single run!

  8. J says

    I kind of feel the same exact way about the garmin. I have been running for a while so I know my routes and paces. Sometimes I feel like it would come in handy so I didn't have to map out a route or if I wanted to run on the canal or trails, then I would know my mileage. Otherwise I just use gmaps.

  9. Kovas Palubinskas says

    I'm more interested in the elevation and then open water swimming tracking, neither of which you need. For running I sometimes just go.

  10. TRI-james says

    When I started running by pace I realized that I had been holding back. I still use heart rate for training but now I factor in the pace.

    Just not in the heat.

  11. shellyrm aka jogging stroller mama says

    Not at all! I agree that my hubbs old Garmin which I borrow occasionally simply drives me crazy…losing signal, batteries dead, wiggling around while I run.

    All I really need is sneakers(and maybe not even them!) and the will. Period.

  12. Luke says

    I just got one week before last and it also has soem things i do not like. I did the same thing on my recovery run tuesday. I do like preprogramming interval workout into mine for pool. hear the sounds and start running, no more watching my stop watch.

  13. Sherri says

    I am a simple runner also! I would never even use a treadmill, if it wasn't the only way for me to run! I love running…for that reason…it takes very little! The only time I used music in a race…i ended up throwing the ipod….it just didn't work for me! I too have a garmin, and I just use it on long runs that I am not familiar with! My vote is STAY SIMPLE! IT OBVIOUSLY WORKS FOR YOU…YOUR AMAZING!!!!

  14. Happy Feet 26.2 says

    I thrive on the data so we are on total opposite ends of the spectrum, but I will say this. I use mine more for my slow days to make sure I'm not running to fast on my slow days. It sounds like you are a great natural pacer. I wish I had that talent. Before Garmin, or after Garmin, I can not pace. After ALL these years of running, I still do not have a "sense" of pace. I use mine as entertainment, and I'm thrilled when I hit my targets for each mile, etc. I like to mix up my runs, and LOVE it that I don't have to go drive the mileage to know how far that I have run for sure. In the past, I would have had more of a tendency to run the same routes because I didn't know the mileage and didn't want to take time to drive it. Gives me freedom to run anywhere. Some days I "run free" (not monitoring it) but still later in the day, I want to know what I did that day. Totally understand your perspective though. Wish you would have purchased the upper line, I would have bought it from ya. :)

  15. Katie says

    nah, i don't think you're crazy. i use mine a lot more (the old forerunner, no gps, just footpod) when i'm coming back from injury & trying to gauge RPE/pace etc after a layoff. and i think it's amazing that you know your body well enough to not need it. :)

  16. Candice @ I Have Run says

    You aren't crazy. I wish I wasn't so dependent on my Garmin. I think your reasons are perfect.

  17. Caratunk Girl says

    I don't think you are crazy. I hate running gadgets – I love running for its simplicity! Everything else requires gear. Running you really just need your sneakers, and I like that.

  18. Molly says

    The only reason I got a Garmin a few months ago was to know my mileage for my marathon training. Before that, I used a 12 year old Timex sports watch. So I don't think you're crazy.

  19. Gracie (Complicated Day) says

    I haven't bought one, either. I love to just grab shoes and go – too many gadgets slow me down. Some of my best runs are the ones for which I ditch the watch and ipod, too.

  20. Carly says

    I don't think you are crazy. They are nice but have a lot of limitations. I have one but its accuracy is hit or miss. I end up racing mine too….there is actually a little pacer feature on mine. Sadly the pacer always kick my butt.

  21. lindsay says

    you are unique, but that's ok. i mainly like mine cause i can just go and run and it'll tell me how far. i've forgotten my old routes when i moved away for a year+ and now i like being able to turn wherever and still know how far i've gone.

  22. Running and living says

    I think you should warm up to it. I never take my Garmin out on recovery runs (bc I don't want to know the pace). However, during those tough tempo runs when I feel like I want to slow down, the GArmin keeps me honest!

  23. Lisa says

    I agree! I bought a Polar (wasn't ready to commit so much money to a Garmin) and I hardly use any of the functions. I'm not as experienced as you, but I don't want to depend on beeps all the time! If you're happy running how you do, that's all that matters! You definitely don't need a watch to run!

  24. trifitmom says

    i think that is great. my problem is more that i am a stats person and seriously love numbers. but i think it is great that you are not needing it. i don't need an ipod and i am glad i don't b/c i like to race without it

  25. Kim says

    I'm with you!! Of course, I'm also cheap LOL. I think there comes a point where you can have too much data. I like data, too, but I prefer it after the run, not before it.

  26. Cynthia O'H says

    I think you and I are on the same page with this. I'm having trouble getting a Garmin (trying to order through the USA because it's so much cheaper but am having trouble with shipping) and, recently, I've been thinking it is a want, not a need. I'm doing fine with my sports watch but it would be nice to have a new toy. And, I know that I would not be able to always wear it because I'd push myself when I shouldn't – or I'd beat myself up because I can't keep the pace I want while pushing LI.
    So, we're still thinking about this one – very carefully.

  27. racing dawn says

    I agree too! Don't own a Garmin but I know I'd do the same out on an easy day run or recovery run – it would just bug me to see those numbers and want to push harder. I'm not big on figuring out gadget either. But it would be nice on long runs and race day… Up in the if I'll ever break down and buy one… Let us know if you change your opinion!

  28. Laura says

    I think if that works for you then thats brilliant – I love your ethos on running being kept simple and your obviously so well experienced that you can do this without a garmin or other such device!

  29. Johann says

    I’m with you 100% on this one. I’m pretty much the same in every aspect you mentioned. I also see all the Garmin runners are always obsessed with splits and time. I can’t be that and enjoy my running much more when I just run as I feel.

  30. Black Knight says

    Why I use the Garmin. 1) Sometimes I like to run without destination, enjoying the landscape without taking care of the pace: in this case it is useful to record the mileage to write on my logbook. 2) I record my top-ten on all my usual routes and it is useful to put the map on the top of the page.

  31. Fran says

    I love my Garmin. I don't run the same route all the time so I need it to see how much I've run. I love lists so the data from the Garmin is welcome.

    I run too fast on my long runs which causes exhaustion half my run and I need my Garmin to watch my pace that I don't go to fast. I can't rely on myself, not enough experience with running yet.

  32. skierz says

    Racing our watch, isnt that what we all do?? I am with you on your experience. If it is not faster than the last time, regardless of what kind of run I am doing I push harder. My best runs are when I leave it home!

  33. Paige (Two Runners And A Brown Dog) says

    My running philosophy is a lot like yours. I made peace with my Garmin by not looking at it until after I finish a run. I just like to hear it beep when I get to each half mile mark. It lets me know that I'm chugging along and getting where I need to be. I just run with how I feel, then look at the time when I get home. If it's fast that's great, but if it's not; then that's okay too. I know I gave it my best, and that's all I wanted to do anyway.

  34. Runners Fuel says

    Garmin just aren't for some people. I know I don't like everything all people like. Each person is different.

  35. Amanda - RunToTheFinish says

    i used to be very consistent and didn't need a garmin…yes garmin changed that and somedays it's good because I do make myself go faster, other days it's bad because like you said I need to recover and here I am pushing with a concern that I won't be as fast as last time. Overall I think it's helped me to be a better runner

  36. RunWithKate says

    I am with you! I dislike the Garmin. I like to run free, without staring down at this device on my wrist thinking I should go faster…or slower. I think the best tool is being able to listen to our bodies. I usually go off of time, and that's it.

    However, I must confess, since this is my first marathon, I am using the Garmin on my long runs so that I know I am running the full distance. Other than that, I prefer my life Garmin-less.

  37. Becka says

    I don't get the chance to run outside very often, so I love it when I get to pull mine out and use it. I hardly ever run the same thing twice… also, I like mapping splits on races…

  38. Big Daddy Diesel says

    I envy you, a garmin makes you a prisoner to your workout, when your done you are more worried about the stats then the fact you just did it.

  39. Heidi says

    I've just recently reset my Garmin so that it pretty much only tells me how far I'm running. I must say that I love it for that alone, and it was the #1 reason for buying it. It's hard to get away from "racing" your Garminc, which is why I changed my settings. It does require charging quite frequently. I just have gotten in the habit of plugging it in after each run.

  40. Holly says

    I'm pretty sure I don't want to buy a Garmin unless they get to be $50 or less. Based on your review, I'm even less interested now. HA! Thanks for being honest!

  41. Chris K says

    I haven't read any of the 45 comments above me (45!), but I LOVE my Garmin. I am a big proponent of training using HR zones and thus need it. Also, I need it when I run tempo runs on Monday nights, Intervals at the track on Wed night, making sure I stay in Zone 2 on Saturdays, etc, etc. You are probably laughing and saying, "Just run and enjoy it" :-) But hey, different strokes….

  42. MCM Mama says

    I love my Garmin, but mostly so that I know how far I've gone when I'm done. If I'm not trying to hit a specific pace, I've gotten pretty good at just ignoring it. I do find it useful for speedwork as I never run on a track or on a measured course. But, I'll admit, I'm a little OCD about knowing how far I've run LOL.

  43. Irene says

    I used to be Garminless and used a GPS cell phone app that worked well — I took a cell phone with me for emergencies anyway, but I was offered a Garmin at cost and I couldn't pass up the offer.

    I completely understand where you're coming from, however the newer Garmins are pretty sweet. You can even race against yourself with a virtual partner. They have a ton of new features plus hold a charge for a LONG time. I have the 405 CX, one of the two Garmins that figures in caloric burn based on heart rate AND distance. It was an eye opener because I found out I'm burning way less than I thought. Any way, I don't think it's odd that you would go without a Garmin or any other tracking device. My husband doesn't want one either. My only thing is take your cell phone for emergencies.

  44. says

    When I started running, I had an iPod with a Nike+ chip for my shoe. Having the ability to track my runs and prove to myself what I had done was the inspiration I needed to keep running. Without that technology, I might not have become a runner.

    I eventually graduated to using my iPhone app. But when the phone died at 30km during my first marathon, I realized maybe it was time for a change.

    I bought the Garmin 220 a few months ago and I love it. It’s basic (no heart monitor for me) and gives me what I need. Plus it works overseas (when there was no way to ‘roam’ with my iPhone!). I get where you’re coming from for sure – it’s the simplicity of running that makes it appealing. But I’m also motivated by what the Garmin can teach me about what I’ve done – and motivate me to do more!
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