There are many GPS watch options out there, but among our running community, it seems Garmin is the most popular. I have owned several Garmin watches over the years, and with each one, I have seen improvements, and have been more pleased with its performance. Kimberly, Erica, and I all currently own the Garmin 235. Regardless of what watch you own, there are a few must-haves: consistent pace tracking, heart rate monitoring, waterproof capability (not just for swimming, but for when you finish a summer run and jump directly into the ocean or pool!) and a good battery. The Garmin 235 has all of these plus more, and we use the following features regularly:
- Customizable workouts: When in training, you can enter your planned workout on Garmin Connect which you can then upload to your watch. Then just find your workout on your watch, and go! It will pace you and beep to let you know your next interval is coming. It basically remembers your workout for you, and tells you what to do and when to do it, so you don’t have to.
- Garmin Connect: This watch is compatible with the Garmin Connect app. This is probably the most often used feature on the Garmin 235. Besides entering your workouts, you can see your splits, average heart rate, cadence, training effect, VO2 max, map of your route, elevation, the list goes on and on. However, my favorite part is connecting with other running friends. There is a newsfeed which shows your friends’ runs, and it’s a virtual cheerleading section. I find it very motivating and inspiring to see my friends’ routes, successes, and ideas for workouts, and I love giving virtual high fives.
- Heart rate monitor: This is a useful feature to see whether you are recovering properly, how hard your body is working, and in my case, how calm I am at the start line of a race (I tend to get a bit excited and my heart rate soars before I even start…work in progress). It does not require wearing a strap around your chest, a feature that is a must in my book.
- Other health trackers: As with other running watches, the Garmin 235 also tracks steps, sleep, other exercise activities like biking or swimming. It also keeps up with your PRs and even gives an estimate of your potential race time finishes for the 5K, 10K, half, and full marathon, based on your current level of fitness.
- Notifications: You can connect your smartphone and get your texts or other notifications from your phone on your watch. I have found this useful when meeting up during a run, and one of us is running late or giving a quick update.
This by no means approaches an exhaustive list of the features of this watch, but they are the key features that we each use most often each week. What watch do you use and what features are your favorite for a running watch? Comment below and let us know!