201 by Garmin
uses GPS technology to produce precise speed, distance,
and pace data for runners - highly integrated into a wrist
watch type device.
Be a real forerunner! Get off these dreary well marked and pre-measured
trails. Run free! And let FORERUNNER dutifully, accurately and automatically
record your stats.
No more tracing routes with a car odometer or bicycle velocomputer
Your training plan tells you to do a "9:00/mi" pace.
Simply set up a Virtual Partner in FORERUNNER with
a "9:00/mi" performance. Now all you have to do is keep
up with your animated on-screen virtual race partner...
FORERUNNER's a cornucopia of information: calories burned,
elevation (height above mean sea level) or grade/slope
Last but not least FORERUNNER comes with fully integrated GPS
navigation capabilities. While you travel your animated on-screen
avatar leaves a dotted trail. If you like you can assign location
names and symbols to make your maps more real. Anyway, you can navigate
to these locations and quite easily retrace your steps to a starting
point - along the "electronic bread crumb trail" you left
weighs a meager 2.75 oz. covering an area on your wrist slightly
smaller than a credit card.
Note on GPS:
Same as your TV satellite dish, GPS receivers perform best with
an unobstructed, clear view of the sky. Buildings, heavy tree/foliage
cover etc. have quite adverse effects on GPS signal strength and
Ease of use:
Press "Start" / "Stop" to (de-)activate
the timer and distance tracker
Press the "Lap" button to record when a lap is completed
(FORERUNNER can automatically trigger a lap when the athlete reaches
a certain distance)
"Up" / "Down" lets you cycle through three
data screens: "Timer", "Current Lap", "Custom"
FORERUNNER automatically pauses the training timer when you
slow down below a specified resting pace (assume you stop at a
traffic light); timer resumes when you start running again
FORERUNNER calculates the mount of calories burned over the
course of a workout based on athlete's weight and GPS motion data
(i.e. time, pace and slope of terrain). (Don't be surprised to
get quite diverging calorie readings from each and every type
of runner's computer - for one and the same workout. Means calorie
consumption is pretty much "soft data")
Pace alert: sounds when you begin traveling slower than your
individual "slowest pace" or faster than your individual
Distance alert: sounds ("once" or "repeatedly")
when you reach a specified distance in your workout (e.g. "1/2
Marathon", "10 Mile", "5K", ...)
Time alert: sounds ("once" or "repeatedly")
when you reach a certain time (e.g. "2 Hours", "1
Hour", "30 Minutes")
Automatically triggers a lap when you reach a specified distance
Set "Lap Distance" to "1 mi" or "1
km" and run wherever your feet take you. FORRUNNER'll then
churn out precise performance data on a "1 mi" / "1
FORERUNNER lets you review your training records (i.e. lap time,
lap distance, average pace etc.) organized by day, week or as
FORERUNNER can save up to 100 marked locations (so called "Points
of Interest" or POI). In order to "embellish" your
maps and make them more human readable you can give these POIs
names and attach graphical symbols. Thus in the middle of nowhere
you'd simply do a "Find Location" and FORERUNNER shall
guide you from your current position to one of the saved locations.
But beware, the pointer arrow on the FORERUNNER screen works like
a compass needle: it creates an imaginary straight line from point
A to point B. Hence, FORERUNNER is not in a position to direct
to the nearest bridge across a river in an uncharted ("unmarked"
to FORERUNNER) terrain.
Speaking about Navigation features, FORERUNNER resembles the
Garmin Geko 201 give or take a couple of bytes in waypoint storage.
(Well, FORERUNNER has got no notion of a "route", whilst
the Geko can handle some 10 of these...)
At first sight FORERUNNER seems to resembles the Garmin GEKO
201 when it comes to Navigation features. However, hikers, cyclists,
mountain bikers etc. might opt for the GEKO
201: It is in the same price bracket, is more geared to navigation
and its "Trip Computer" makes a decent speedometer /
The virtual partner gives you a fun way of knowing if you're
running as fast as you hoped
There's a knack in it! Virtual Partner's great motivator. Configure
it to do a half marathon in 1:30 hrs - and chase that rabbit (Oops,
don't overdo it...)
It's a bit of pity FORERUNNER does not have a heart
rate monitor integrated. Let's make the assertion here that
a sizable number of serious runners own an HR monitor anyway.
Don't dump your Polars! Just strap it to your other wrist. Nothing
wrong with having access to both HR and current pace.
Navigation features ("Find Location", "Back
to Start"): Sure this electronic amulet will guide you back
home safely... Still, many runners are likely to leave the "Back
to Start" navigation screen dormant during their workouts.
But look at the navigation package as a freebie byproduct good
enough for easygoing trekking or orienteering events.
To be honest, FORERUNNER loses GPS signal now and then
(->Note on GPS
). You'll notice the satellite dish icon on the left side
of the screen flash and a "Weak GPS signals" warning
pop up. What might put some users off is that FORERUNNERS in that
case displays a (wildly or mildly) inaccurate "current pace".
FORERUNNER provides a "Pace Smoothing" option in its
"Settings" to counterbalance these glitches. Still,
if "current pace" is the hub of your personal training
and performance tracking, then we might have a problem here...
A companion PC software ("Forerunner Logbook")
for performance analysis is said to be available as a free download
from Garmins website in early 2004.
MarathonPeople meanwhile look into the nitty-gritty of conveying
log data from FORERUNNER to RunPlan
for Palm PDAs...