New watch, old watch, still the same

DSC_7516-forerunner-110 About a year ago I enthused about my new watch, a Garmin Forerunner 110. Since then it has become ever-more-vital, sustaining me through any number of runs. However about a month ago it started to mist up inside. I took the back off and it dried out, but then I had two wet outings, it misted up, I didn’t get round to drying it out, and it has never been the same again. In fact it no longer works. Score -1 for Garmin.

During the year I’d got rather annoyed by a couple of other flaws with it: it really won’t act as a GPS-on-the-move, in particular it won’t tell you its height; and the whole thing is a bit clunky compared to the glorious apps that Free Enterprise has created for iPhones and Androids. Music would be nice to. So I’d half convinced myself that if’when the time came to replace it, I’d just by myself an HTC or somesuch. Score another -1 for Garmin.

However, when it actually came down to it I just bought another forerunner, so the final score is in Garmin’s favour. Reasons: well, what I want is a sports watch, so I might as well buy one. At £110 it is considerably cheaper than an Android. The GPS quality in it is rather better than you get in most phones, and I couldn’t be bothered to hack through endless phone pages to try to work out if theirs was any good. I didn’t need to bother buy a new heart rate strap because (a) the old one is still good and (b) I don’t bother with it anymore anyway. But I may try to be a bit more careful about keeping it dry.

New watch

I have a funky new watch, a Garmin Forerunner 110. It lets me do kewl stuff like:


although you only get that after post-processing, of course. In fact I haven’t even worked out how to make it work like a GPS when running, i.e. display lat/long or grid refs. Nor have I worked out how to persuade the stupid post-processing software to give me mph instead of mins/mile like all the hard-core runners want, pah. But the upload-from-watch (via the provided nipple clamp) to-web-and-graph is impressively smooth and painless.

You’re fascinated – I know – so let me tell you that we did two laps: the first, slow, included the lake. The second was faster. And then at the red line I ran a bit faster back to the mothership. The heartrate peak of ~180 is when I sprinted up the A14 bridge.

[Update: give me mph instead of mins/mile – well, it has now swapped to mph, which is good, but I don’t know why, which is less good -W]

[Update: twice now the watch has frozen / locked up on me, both times when attaching it to the computer: I think it happens when you don’t get the clamp on quite correctly and it briefly connects / disconnects. If that happens, you have to reset it by pressing the “light” button for ~7 secs. But you lose all your data. Others have the same problem. Possibly press and hold Lap/Reset and the Light buttons simultaneously may be a better way of resetting.

Update on that: the problem mostly occurs if you *haven’t* “reset” the activity before trying to upload – somehow it can’t cope. So always remember to do that first.]

[Update: I’ve realised something about the tracking / recording, prompted by DHW: that although the max sample rate appears to be every-5-sec (and this isn’t configurable), it will drop samples that are “uninteresting” if it wants to. In particular, if you are erging, so the position is constant, it will quite likely not record many heart rate samples. The only solution I’ve found it to keep the watch on your wrist to generate movement and hence more logging.

Another whinge while I’m here: there is no “turn the light on and keep it on” mode, which would be useful for night time outings.]