Garmin FR305s are not available now - instead the Forerunner 310XT is approx £140, and the 910XT is £250 from Amazon. The 310XT would now be the budget recommendation instead of the 305.
Updates to 310XT firmware have brought back max speed. 910XT updates over the 310XT by having more accurate GPS positioning, faster satellite locks, thinner and better battery life.
I would be interested in feedback from Katja, Jason (Garmin Oregon) and others about their own experiences with their GPS computer units.
Measure your own progress in the water on an O1 / boat - you can use this to objectively see how well you are working and measuring stroke efficiency (distanced travelled, number of strokes, time). If you buy one with a heart rate meter, you can use this to see how hard you are pushing yourself. If you are serious about improving as a paddler, you'll find it beneficial to own one of these devices.
First post about GPS watches by Dan Chin in April 2010:
For those who want to take training a bit more seriously, there's a GPS watch that can take your heart rate and speed whilst you train. The cheapest this unit has ever been was £30+, but it always fluctuates around the £130 mark.:
There's a 405 unit, but from what I heard, its not as user friendly and the display is smaller (although it fits on ur wrist a lot nicer, if fashion on the boat is your thing )
You can measure your progress and will be able to see how your personal performance is developing. Its not a necessary tool but its a good way for you to see if you are getting the results you want. Andy, Ping and Sam have one, so you can ask them to check it out and see what its like.
Another answer to query about GPS watches from the aforementioned topic from Typhoon's oldboard in July 2010 by Sam Cheng:
Easy. Get the Garmin Forerunner 305.
- It's got a nice large display for easy glance feedback
- The display is customisable to show what you want (speed, pace, distance covered etc)
- It has a Max Speed indicator (so you know your max speed in any given workout)
- It's waterproof (down to a metre only)
- Quite a few Typhoons (and Batchworths) have this watch and swear by it
- It might be convenient to share chargers?
- At around £130, it's at the cheaper end of your list
- Garmin is a recognized quality brand
This is coming from the guy who has the Garmin Forerunner 310XT. I bought this for 1 main reason - it was waterproof down to 10m and no-one knew if the 305 was waterproof. It was only after I'd gotten the 310XT that I found out the 305 was indeed waterproof (to 1m).
An annoying thing about the 310XT is that it doesn't have a Max Speed display on the watch (it does when you connect it to the computer). Otherwise the 310XT does have higher GPS accuracy and signal.
Follow up post about a workout by Sam Cheng in September 2010:
Now that you've got your GPS watch, a really useful workout in an O1 is:
- paddle for a certain amount of strokes, maintaining your speed above a certain speed.
Even if it's for 20 strokes at first, then working it up to 40 strokes, 60 strokes etc.
Personally, I go for keeping it above 9.5km/hr. Go with what pushes you, whether it's 9km/hr or 10km/hr or 12km/hr, and keep on working at it.
I believe BW as a team paddle at around 14km/hr, max speed above 16km/hr.