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My Garmin 405 Travails

Posted Sep 13 2008 11:50pm
A month or so ago my brand new Garmin 405 arrived. It provided me with my first experience in the world of satellites and GPS and I was excited about the prospects.

The 405 is truly an amazing machine. Its function and design are sleek and simple, and the unit is fairly small and very light weight. This model seems to be light years ahead of previous versions – in size if nothing else.

Now I have always considered myself technologically flexible and able to master the latest computer programs and devices that come my way. However, the 405 has brought me some challenges.

For example during my most recent 10 mile race when the event started I thought I hit the start button. Actually, instead of hitting the start button, I hit the two buttons on the side of the watch simultaneously. And rather than starting the watch, this actually locks the bezel to prevent the user from inadvertently changing things. As a result it took me about a third of a mile, while I was weaving in and out of the starting crowd, to actually get my watch working to track my pace, HR and overall speed.

The 405 offers a large number of options including interval training, easy programming for specific training events, the requisite HR data, a little man that one can chase down on a run and probably many other options that I have yet to experience.

And rather than pushing a bunch of buttons to get things to work, the user simply touches the bezel. Then when the appropriate selection comes up on the screen, the user can slide his/her finger around the bezel to view the available options. This is a feature that is easily learned and I like it very much.

One option that I really like is its ability to download my run data directly to my computer without me needing to do anything. The unit comes with a USB stick that grabs the data anytime the 405 is within eight feet or so of my computer. In fact, when I finish my runs I usually perform some stretches outside on my front doorstep. During these stretches my 405 and the USB stick have recognized each other and have already downloaded the data by the time I enter my house.

Upon receiving this sleek new toy I dutifully read the owner’s manual and played with programming some of my runs. My coach often provides training runs that include a number of combinations of running for time and/or distances at specific paces and/or HR zones and I program the 405 via the Garmin Training Center on my PC, hit the Send to Device icon and I am set. I no longer need to carry my workout in a plastic bag stuck in the front of my shorts.

I will admit that I have had some challenges in mastering this versatile device. I was just not getting the hang of using it to its full capacity. My solution was to call the Garmin Help Center. The bad part of making this call was that I was placed on hold for about 30 minutes. However, I just put my phone on speaker and went about my business as I moved up the queue.

The good part in contacting the Garmin Help Center was that once I was talking to a Garmin expert, he provided me with all the time I needed as we went through the many features of the 405. He patiently answered my questions and helped me change some of the setup options that were causing me problems.

However, that brings to my latest technological test. I was scheduled for a challenging one hour plus run this morning with a number of intervals at higher speeds. My coach recommended that I not pay attention to HR or speed this morning, and instead push as hard as I could where specified. Last evening I diligently programmed my 405 with this morning’s training event. Then, as I headed out onto the street I hit the start button and took off. I did not look at my numbers and only reacted to the beeps which would tell me when an interval began or stopped.

Upon my return this terrific unit, as always, immediately downloaded my information into my computer. I was looking forward to seeing my speeds and also uploading the run to Training Peaks so my coach could evaluate the data.

Unfortunately somehow I had inadvertently turned off the GPS portion of the 405. As a result I had all of my different intervals saved; however they only showed HR and not speed nor distance.

So in conclusion, this is an amazing device. I think that once I master it, I will be extremely happy with its functions and capabilities. However, until then, please consider my relationship with my Garmin 405 to be a work in progress.

Thank you for reading.
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