Garmin Forerunner 220 vs Nike+ App on phone
I got the Forerunner 220 from my girlfriend for my birthday in 2014 and ran two marathons with it. I am very happy with it and with the addition of the heart rate monitor. If you are considering to buy one and you are currently using your Nike+ iPhone app only buy it when you are trying to get seriously into running or you have training runs which go beyond 1.5 hours.
The garmin watch
The watch itself is snug to your arm and also does not get itchy even on longer runs, as the band has wholes in it to allow you to transpire without the sweat being caught in the wristband. The notches are also close to each other so I think it is fair to say that it will fit on most people's arms.
You can set yourself up to measure your runs in kilometers or miles. Same goes for the pace. The alarm function is good to have in the mornings to wake you up for an early run.
Navigation is straight forward and easy to handle if you know how to operate a gps. All of the data is shown in numbers and you can feel that a man designed the Forerunner 220 for other men who are running. No fuss about it and no gimmicks, just pure facts.
Intervals can also be freely adjusted and tracked. The watch vibrates to inform you 10 seconds prior when you have to switch from high intensity to low intensity for your interval runs.
Warm ups and cool downs can also be implemented and controlled on the touch of a button.
Battery life lasts for days, even if running 10km each day and the GPS signal was good everywhere I went and I used it in Ireland, Germany and Austria.
The software also gives you the information you need to become a better runner and has additional on your running cadence.
I am currently using an iPhone with Nike+, should I get the Forerunner 220 or another running watch ?
I think for 80% of people contemplating that question the answer would be to stick with the free version of things. Of you are not a serious athlete and just go out for several 5k runs a week the free Nike+ app is all you need. Yes the GPS can be buggy with that software, but overall I found the interface of the Nike+ running app and the possibilities to interact with others and get rewarded for your runs way more entertaining than Garmin's approach. Garmin's marketing department is geared towards fact driven middle aged men who do not really care about nice emoticons and what their friends are doing (at least that is the impression I am getting, even though attempts at this are being made). Nike+ is just overall better when it comes to the marketing department of things, which is not really surprising.
However if you are serious with your progress in running this means you will run at least one "long run" in the 8km+ range a week. For that I found the "strap on and go solution" with your smartphone irritating at least and nerve wrecking at best. Especially the battery life of your smartphone will lead to frustration in that area. Second thing to consider is interval training. For interval training the Forerunner is just way more practical than the NIke+ app as you have to "stop and go" it for every interval you do, whereas the Forerunner just lays out the program for you.
So Daddy with midlife crises who runs a lot and wants to be the next Paula Radcliffe yes to Garmin Forerunner 220. Mommy squeezing in a late run and wants to show off to her bestie a definite no to the Garmin Forerunner 220.
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