All About Garmin

image Last Thursday and Friday I worked at the Garmin booth in the Rock N Roll Seattle Marathon expo. We sold a lot of the new Garmin Forerunner 310XT watches, which are (in short) a replacement for the Forerunner 305 only way cooler. The new watch is  more comfortable, with a slimmer design, and less hard plastic against your wrist. Courtenay bought one, but it’s not delivered yet. Also:

  • ant+ wireless technology lets workouts transfer wirelessly to Garmin Connect when you get close to your computer.
  • The battery life is rated for 20 hours (the 305 was only ten)
  • It supports wireless power meters, like the Quarq Cinqo.
  • Is waterproof and actually swimable (unfortunately the distances have 50-100% error when swimming, and digital signals like HR don’t transmit under water)
  • Will ship with a new soft, waterproof chest strap for HR (also works with the old Garmin straps)

imageimage There’s also a new non-GPS watch called the Garmin FR60, which is ant+ enabled, waterproof, and has the smallest foot pod on the market. I’ll probably start using this watch for races and track workouts because it’s really light weight and comfortable.


At the expo I got a bunch of questions about the Forerunner 405 (still my favorite running computer). Here’s a few of the FAQs:

imageQ: My battery doesn’t last very long, even though I turn off the GPS antenna. How can I make it last longer?

A: you don’t need to turn off the GPS between workouts. Rather, make sure you stop the workout (hit the stop button, and make sure it’s stopped by resetting the workout), then switch to the clock mode and lock the bezel. When the watch is in standby it shows the time, and will last for a long time without a charge. If, however, the bezel is unlocked, the light can come on by accident (a wet towel will make the light turn on and off continuously until the battery dies). If the watch is in standby and the bezel is locked, the battery will last a while.

Q: How can I keep the watch from going crazy when I get sweaty?

A: the bezel doesn’t like being touched by wet clothes, and wet fingers make it hard to control the bezel. unfortunately, the bezel is what allows the 405 to be smaller than the other watches. The best option is to lock the bezel on the screen you look at most, or set your displays to autoscroll if you want to see multiple display screens.

Q: Can I swim with the 405? The product specs say that it can be in water for up to 30 minutes, so does that mean I can swim for 30 minutes with it?

A: Short answer is no, but I’m not good at being short. I swam with my 405 at races all last year and this year. I coated it with silicone lubricant (spray bottle for electronics), and would put Vaseline around all the places that water was likely to get into the case. It worked really well until the warm-up for Oaklahoma City last month when it filled with water and stopped working. Garmin’s 1-year warrantee is really good about replacing products, but they weren’t too happy when I told them I had ignored their warnings not to swim with the forerunner 405. The watch is meant for running, and it will work in the rain, and if you accidentally wear it in the shower, it’s not a big deal. But save the swimming for the 310xt and FR60.

Q: My wrist is really small, and sometimes the 405 can slip around and hurt, can you fix that?

A: yup. The new Forerunner 405cx comes with a velcro wrist strap that is a lot more comfortable. For people who already have a 405, the strap is available as an accessory from

Q: I’m from Florida and…

A: Lock the bezel. it won’t fix the fact that you live in hell, but it will keep the watch from flipping out. (It’s only trying to suggest that you move someplace nicer…No offense to my family and friends that live in the humidity capitol of the world – I’m sure your part of Florida is great!).

Published by Ben

Ben Collins Professional Triathlete

Leave a comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *