Wednesday, June 15, 2011

Garmin 610: Some Things I've Noticed After 11 or so runs

So I've been running consistently with my 2nd Garmin 610 watch. I think I've done 11-12 runs with the watch. I still am slow and fat, but that isn't the Garmin's fault.

I've been tapping away at the screen everytime a screen pops-up (Timer Started/Lap), it seems to help, but the watch still likes to measure everything short. As documented on my previous post, DCRainmaker even performed a test that the watch was consistently 2% on distance. I haven't found that in my running, but I would say that around 1% short is what you should expect from the Garmin 610.

Yes, this is within GPS errors, but this 1% short has even cropped up in a recent USATF certified 5 mile race I ran this past Monday. When I passed the first mile marker, watch was on 0.98 miles. 2nd mile marker, watch was on 1.99 miles. The watch actually measured exactly 5.00 miles when I crossed the finish line. Either I ran the exact tangents for a 5 mile race (which is basically not going to happen) or the Garmin 610 measured my running around 1% short (so I should have run 5.04-5.05 miles). I've done this race multiple times, a bunch of times with my Garmin 305 and it usually came in around 5.04, 5.05. (Note: The course is measured by the person who is measuring the 2012 London Olympic marathon so I would think the course is accurate).

Here are some bullet notes for the Garmin 610:
  • The first mile is usually off by 0.02 miles. This is even after clearing the Timer Started window. Seems to me that there is just some sort of delay when starting this watch. I also found this when I had to stop and pick a piece of glass out of my shoe during the middle of a run. My pace dropped and I lost distance right after starting the watch.
  • When I go around turns I consistently lose 5-10 sec/mile without changing my pace. Looking at plots on maps, it always seems that my 610 ALWAYS short changes the turns where I am always running on the inside of the curve, thus making the distance shorter, pace slower, etc.
  • I have noticed that when running on dense tree/leaf cover pace might start to vary more than normal.
  • Watch those little pins on either side of the watch that attach the wrist-band to the watch. Some people have had them come all the way out. I have noticed on mine that mine are slightly protuding.
  • During Auto Uploading, my watch rebooted itself twice. I find it is best that once you come into range of the ANT+ stick, don't go back out of range. Just leave your watch by your ANT+ stick for a couple of minutes and everything should upload fine.
  • If you want to get differing opinions of the Garmin 610, visit the Garmin 610 forums at: Garmin 610 Forum. There are some other bugs I haven't encountered, such as scratched glass and the screen of the watch being totally messed up. People are also getting frustrated at the lack of feedback from Garmin with regards to the bugs.
  • I finally got the new HR strap. For me at least, I notice that it definitely wears away the skin where the monitor snaps into the strap. I need to use BodyGlide in this location to prevent this.
 I do like the vibration alert and form factor of the watch. I do HATE that I still have to tap the watch face when anything pops up to hope I don't get GPS accuracy issues. I have resigned myself that my courses will all be measured about 1% short from now on, so that when comparing to previous runs with the 305 I need to take that into account.

Also, it would be great if Garmin could release a patch so we didn't have to tap the watch every time!!

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