Garmin Forerunner 101: Affordable GPS Tech for Runners

The Forerunner 101 by Garmin: Affordable Watch for Runners, with GPS Technology. Many runners, including myself, like to record as much information as possible on the training that they do. The pedometer has traditionally been the most popular device to collect this data. Those of us who have tried to use these little gizmos know their limitations; they need manual calibration and measure the distance traveled by counting the number of strides that you had taken, making them notoriously inaccurate.

Fortunately, The Garmin Forerunner 101 has developed a whole line of training tools for us tech-savvy runners. Instead of relying on the crude formula of stride length x number of strides, they utilize GPS technology to track the distance you’ve traveled. I decided to purchase the least expensive of them, the Garmin 101, priced at around 100 bucks at Target (retail $115, according to the Garmin Website).

After slashing through the obligatory heavy plastic packaging and reading the instructions, I was a little disappointed to learn that the unit functioned on two AAA batteries. I later learned that you can shell out an additional $35-$45 for the Forerunner 201, which runs on a rechargable lithium battery. In my estimation, this upgrade would be well worth it–Garmin claims that the 101 can function for 14-15 hours on a set of triple A’s, but I only got a week’s worth of runs out of it, or 7 to 8 hours worth. Not only do the batteries drain faster than I anticipated, it’s somewhat of a pain to change them–the strap is held on by a regular watch pin, which needs to be compressed by something very small, like a jeweler’s screwdriver.

The big plus side to The Garmin Forerunner 101 is that it doesn’t need calibrated. Once you get the batteries in and turn it on, it just needs to sit outside for 20 minutes or so to locate the satellites for the GPS system. You also have to allow a short period of time for the unit to get a lock each time you go outside, but this only takes a minute or two.

The Garmin is a bit large on the wrist, but it is fairly lightweight and I didn’t find it unwieldy at all. Although the manufacturer cautions that the unit can lose signal in wooded areas, I used it on a trail that was surrounded by woods and didn’t have a problem. I also checked numbers produced by the Garmin against the trail markers which had been measured by a distance wheel (a device used to certify race courses) and found it to be spot on.

Even the Garmin Forerunner 101 that I purchased is chock full with cool training options–Virtual Partner allows you to compete with a virtual runner (either a rival or a better version of yourself), and there’s a pace alert that beeps at you when you run too fast or too slow. In other words, there are plenty of gadgets to keep you happy–and the more advanced versions (the 205 and 305) have even more options. The Garmin is really a truly Inexpensive Watch for Runners

The bottom line is this–if you want a super-accurate,Inexpensive Watch for Runners, easy to use training tool, and don’t mind buying batteries every so often, The Garmin Forerunner 101 is the way to go.

Strapped for time wrist watches put time on your side and deserve serious consideration. The Garmin Forerunner is a serious alternative for cheap Apple Watch buyers and a sophisticated sports watch choice by WatchiWatches. Check out our best Garmin watches with the link.

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