Saturday 25 April 2015

Best GPS Watch for Triathletes: Garmin Forerunner 920XT

Price: $440 (plus $50 for compatible heart-rate monitor)
Mobile compatibility: iOS and Android
Data transfer: Bluetooth, USB
Features: tracks indoor and outdoor running, cycling and swimming; multisport or triathlon mode; daily activity tracking; vibration alerts; ability to create and follow custom workouts; live race tracking (i.e., send live GPS data to others); smart notifications from mobile device
The Garmin FR920XT close up.
The FR920XT is fairly wide, but it's thin enough to slip inside your wet suit or under your running glove.
Credit: © Jeremy Lips /
The FR920XT may not be the smallest GPS watch (in fact, it's rather bulky), but it is slim enough to slip under a wetsuit or tuck under your sleeve. And though it's large, it's very comfortable to wear when you're working out, and the device's four buttons are easy to press. The watch also has a bright backlight that makes it easy to read, even if you're underwater.
The FR920XT tracks all three triathlon sports (running, cycling and swimming) and is loaded with features. You'll want to spend a bit of time getting to know the FR920XT before using it during a workout, but once you familiarize yourself with the watch, it's easy to navigate.Garmin's website also has some great video tutorials that can help you get started with the watch. Unlike most GPS watches, the FR920XT connects to Wi-Fi, which makes it easy to upload data from the watch to your mobile device or computer. You can also transfer data to your phone or tablet via Bluetooth, or plug the watch into your computer with a USB cord to upload your workouts.
Value of information:
The FR920XT tracks a lot of data, from the most basic stats (e.g., distance, time and pace) to more advanced metrics, like running and swimming efficiency and VO2 max (maximum oxygen consumption during a workout, a good measure of physical fitness). All of this data is displayed in an easy-to-read format on the Garmin Connect website or mobile app. Both the site and the app have a few features to help you make sense of the data. For example, if you use Garmin's HRM-Run heart-rate strap, you can collect information related to running efficiency (such as vertical oscillation and ground contact time). This data is graphed out and color-coded in Garmin Connect. (Purple dots on your cadence graph mean you're a very efficient runner, whereas red dots mean there's a lot of room for improvement.)
When you achieve a fitness milestone while wearing the FR920XT, you'll be rewarded with a "badge," which is like a congratulatory note after you run your fastest mile or bike your longest recorded distance. I really liked this feature and found that it kept me motivated during workouts. Garmin Connect also doubles as a kind of social network for fitness lovers, and you can use the site to connect with athletes in your area or get some insight into how others are training with their GPS watches.

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