My Review of the Garmin Forerunner 405 GPS Sport Watch & Heart Rate Monitor
For any runner (or exercise enthusiast for that matter) that wants to improve their athletic conditioning, performance, cardiovascular strength, speed, muscular endurance – you name it… If you’re not working out with a heart rate monitor, then you should be.
Why – You Ask?
Personally, I think it’s fun and interesting to be able to monitor my progress and results of my training. But, seriously, having the ability to track the amount of time you’ve ran, your distances and your heart rate, will tell you when you’ve worked your hardest, or ran your fastest. And with this level of knowledge, you can then design your workouts or runs so that you can achieve the full amount of benefit.
Sounds a bit like a personal trainer, doesn’t it?
Exactly, so let’s talk about what the Garmin Forerunner 405 can do for your training and how it can become your very own personal trainer.
Introducing The Garmin Forerunner 405
The Forerunner 405 is a fashionable but functional GPS enabled sports watch. Quite frankly if you use even a portion of the watch functions, your training and performance will rise to a new level.
The Garmin Forerunner provides so much value to your workout regime, that it’s difficult to know where to even start. So I’ll begin by looking at the three basic features that are packed into one small device:
1. GPS – Location Based Data
The watchpiece has a high sensitivity GPS receiver with a built in antenna. For those that are not familiar with GPS technology, I will try to make a very long story – very short. GPS systems were designed to track where in the world you are. And a GPS unit talks to satellites in our orbit, which in turn tells the unit your location. This is very useful information.
Before owning my Forerunner, my only experience with a GPS unit was in the car when I would use a GPS while driving in unknown parts of town or traveling to a new city.
But for runners who use the Garmin 405 GPS, it does so much more. It takes that location information and coupled with data provided by the heart rate monitor, it can figure out your distances, pace, elevation, calories burned, heart rate… just to name a few.
2. Heart Rate Monitor
For those not familiar with heart rate monitors, it is simply a chest strap that you wear during your workout. The chest strap receives your heart beats per minute and sends this information to the Forerunner on your wrist. Then, this information coupled with the data that the GPS provides will collect or calculate some 40+ data points for further analyzing.
This review isn’t about heart rate training, but let me just quickly say that knowing your heart rate will help you judge the intensity of your run, preventing overtraining and also decreasing the risk of injury.
Further, by learning what your specific heart rate zones are and training within them can help you to improve your cardiovascular capacity and strength, which, in turn, improves your fitness level. This is powerful information!
3. Sports Watch
At the Forerunner’s basic level, it also acts as a sleek and stylish sports watch. Unlike its bulkier predecessor, the Forerunner 305, Garmin created the 405 with watch and alarm technology. There’s no need to own a watch, when you own the 405. Not to mention, it’s also lightweight and comfortable to wear, weighing a mere 2.11 oz (60 g).
And… it comes in two colors to choose from, black or green (my favorite is the green).
Those 3 core features – GPS receiver, heart rate monitor, and sports watch make up the basics of the 405.
But wait, there’s more…
Working Out With Your Forerunner
|Goals are targets that help us stay on top of our training objectives. Goals are usually set over a period of time. For example, if my goal was to run 35 miles/week, I could set that target, then, after each run, the Garmin would tell me where I am in relationship to achieving my goal.You can easily set one goal or multiple goals for various objectives such as:
Trying to lose weight: Everyone knows that the best way to lose weight is to burn more calories than you take in. It’s so much easier when you partner with the Forerunner. Set your goals for the amount of calories you would like to burn in a week and let the Garmin Forerunner will keep you on track.
|Creating Workouts And Alerts|
|The possibilities are endless. Simple and advanced workouts and alerts are easy to create and train against it. You will see improvements in your running in no time when challenging yourself against new or existing workouts. Some examples of workout options are:
All workouts can be created on the computer using Garmin Connect or Garmin Training Center and then uploaded wirelessly back to your Forerunner.
|Setting The Forerunner On Auto|
|With the Garmin Forerunner 405, you can set it on auto and go for your run. Auto features are great for those that don’t want to be fumbling with the watchpiece during their run. There are three auto settings:
With the GPS functionality you can also be led back to where you started with it’s “return to start” option. See an interesting restaurant on your run, then save it’s location using the “save location” option. As I said, the possibilities are endless.
Who Is My Virtual Partner?
If you’ve done any research on the Garmin, you will have come across the term “Virtual Partner”. The Virtual Partner lives inside your Forerunner and can help you meet your training goals.
When training with the Virtual Partner, the Forerunner will show two animated runners on the page. The top runner is your virtual partner who is running at your goal pace and the bottom runner is you running in real time. Visually, you can see if you are running ahead or behind your Virtual Partner or you can simply look at the readout to know how far ahead (or behind) you are.
And, if your Virtual Partner is getting too far ahead, you can change the pace at any time by using the bezel.
The Power of the Bezel
The silver bezel around the watch face is touch sensitive. This means that it doesn’t use mechanical parts, so you don’t have to push it – just touch, slide or tap your finger on the bezel. If you’ve ever operated the Ipod Nano where you slide the circle to changes songs and menu, then you will get this technology.
The bezel is used to navigate the watch screens (called pages in Garmin terminology) through the touch of your finger. You can tap, hold or run your finger along the bezel to scroll through the pages, start a new workout, look at your training history, or even challenge a Virtual Partner.
Garmin claims that the bezel will even respond to your touch when wearing thin gloves.
For those getting started with the bezel, it can take some getting used to. Words of Advice: Avoid frustration by taking the time to learn how to use it. Configure the views that you will want to use during your run and then you can either leave it alone (viewing only one page), tap it to change views, or set to auto-scroll and the watch will automatically scroll through the pages.
The sensitivity of the bezel is pre-set to medium, but this can be adjusted to respond best to your touch.
You can also lock the bezel so that it will stay on the one page during your run and not change if you hit it accidentally.
Alternatively, if you prefer to look at more than one page during your run, you can set the auto-scroll and the forerunner will automatically scroll through the training pages while the timer is running.
ANT + Sport Wireless Technology
All of Garmin’s new GPS fitness devices, including the Garmin 405, Edge 605 and 705 bike computers, and Forerunner 50 heart rate monitor watches, come equipped with “ANT + Sport” wireless technology, meaning that they have the ability to communicate wirelessly with any other Garmin product (that have the ANT + Sport technology built-in). ANT is simply the name for the wireless technology it uses.
Included with the purchase is a USB ANT stick. The ANT stick is a USB device that plugs into your computer and allows the wireless exchange between the Forerunner 405 and your computer.
Just plug the ANT device into a USB port on your computer and as soon as the Forerunner device comes within 3 m (10 feet) of your computer, you will prompted to download your workout information.
Do you have running partners that also use the Forerunner 405? You can share your locations, workouts and courses wirelessly with other users. Share your favorite workouts with fellow runners and then compete against those recorded workouts.
|On Your Forerunner|
|There are 4 programmable pages on the Forerunner watch. Each page can be programmed with up to 3 of your favorite data fields to view while running. Some of the data fields I like to look at are my pace, time, total distance, heart rate, average heart rate and calories burned. The “calories burned” really keeps me running.|
|On Your Computer|
|Once your workout data is downloaded to your computer, you can use Garmin Connect and/or Training Center software to analyze, compare and store your workout information.Garmin Training Centre is software that needs to be downloaded and installed on your computer. Unlike Connect, this software can be used without an internet connection as the software and data are stored on your computer.
Once the software is installed on your computer, you can view all your work out details, a detailed graph plotted over time or distance and also a map showing the exact route you ran.
Garmin Connect runs off the internet and needs an internet connection to use. It is a great program for sharing and also claims to have the largest shared repository (storage) of customer-generated GSP-based routes, courses and maps, giving the GPS community a wealth of route options. With Garmin Connect, you can also view your activity on a variety of Google maps.
Each program operates a bit differently, but both allow you to analyze, compare and store your data.
With these programs you can create workouts and wirelessly send them back from your computer to the Forerunner.
I personally prefer Garmin Connect as I find it more intuitive to use and I really like the maps that it offers. I also enjoy the online community that you have access to when using this program.
- Unit dimensions: (wxhxd) 1.88” x 2.78” x 0.646” (4.8 x 7.1 x 1.6cm)
- Display size: 1.06 inches (27 mm) (wxh) 124 x 95 pixels with LED backlight
- Battery: rechargeable lithium-ion
- Battery life: 8 hours in training mode
- Water resistant: It can withstand immersion in 1 meter of water for 30 minutes. Prolonged submersion can cause damage to the unit. Not intended for swimming.
- Lap history: 1000 laps
- Waypoints/favorites/locations: 100
- Heart rate monitor – some versions. If you don’t have a previous Garmin heart rate monitor to pair with your Garmin, make sure to include it with your order.
What’s in the Box?
- Forerunner 405 (available in black or green)
- USB ANT Stick and heart rate monitor
- AC charger
- Charging clip
- Owner’s Manual
- Quick Reference Guide
|Garmin Foot Pod – Take your training inside when paired with the optional foot pod accessory that will track your speed, distance and running cadence when a GPS signal isn’t detected. The foot pod clips onto your laces easily and will turn on automatically when you start moving.|
|Garmin GSC 10 Speed/Cadence Bike Sensor – The bike sensor attaches to your bike wheel and tracks the speed and distance of your cycling workouts and sends the information wirelessly to your Forerunner. The bike sensor can also be used with an indoor trainer.|
|Garmin Forerunner Bike Mount – The bike mount quickly attaches the GPS receiver (watch) to the handlebar mount of your bike to collect data during cycling. The bike mount allows for a clean transition from running to biking.|
Advantages Of The Garmin Forerunner 405 vs 305
The Garmin 405 has a few advantages over the Garmin 305. The most notable would be that it is a more fashionable, regular sized watch and can perform as a watch. There’s no doubt about it, the Forerunner 405 is a whole lot better looking than it’s bulkier predecessor.
The regular watch feature is great if you are traveling or going out after a run, there is no need to pack along your regular watch, as the 405 will do the trick.
Another advantage would be the wireless ANT + Sport technology. It’s really nice not to have the messy wires and to have to take the time to hook your Forerunner up to a cradle and plug it in every time you need to transfer the data to your computer. I really love living in a wireless world.
The Garmin Forerunner 405 vs 405CX
When you compare the Garmin Forerunner 405CX with the Forerunner 405 you find that they both basically have all the same features with the exception of:
- the 405CX uses the heart rate data to track the calories burned
- the 405 tracks calories burned using data based on body weight and exercise intensity
Both models are built on the same frame, however the Garmin Forerunner 405CX is only available in blue and also comes with an extra wrist band for smaller wrists.
My Recommendation: Normally the Forerunner 405CX retails for approximately $100 more than the 405, and the couple extra features that the 405CX offers is not worth an extra $100. However, at the time of writing, Amazon has an AMAZING DEAL on the Garmin Forerunner 405CX at over 50% off its regular list price. So if you are considering purchasing either, and this deal is still on, I’d definitely be buying the Garmin Forerunner 405CX GPS Sport Watch with Heart Rate Monitor (Blue)
Where Can I Get The Best Price?
We check prices regularly, and while they do bounce around, Amazon offers consistently the best price.