Thursday, December 6, 2018

A Brand New Garmin

I've had a total of three Garmin watches and none of them came to me brand new.
The first, a Forerunner 410, was a hand-me-down from a friend in the Sub-30 Club who knew I was looking for a GPS watch but wasn't sure what I'd like. He was upgrading and sent me the FR410. It turned out to be a little more watch than I needed at that point in time (I didn't even know Garmin Connect existed or how to look at data), and I started looking for a different one about a year later.

My second Garmin was a gently used Forerunner 10 from another Sub-30 friend that was more my speed and served me well. At the time, I was still using the Nike+ app, but it began to get really screwy. Once it flaked out on me mid-race, I decided to give up the app and go full-Garmin. However, once I made that switch, I soon realized the FR10 wasn't quite enough for marathon training, and I started to look for an upgrade.

That upgrade came in the form of Kristina's old Vivoactive. It's just been good luck that every time I look to get a new watch, a friend is also in the market and is kind enough to pass one on to me. The Vivoactive has truly served me well these past two years, but with my new legs and my running mindset, I felt it was time for a new watch, too.
The VA was the first Garmin I truly felt 100% comfortable and happy with. It helped me get used to running with a watch instead of an app.
Now, I always return the favor of passing along my old watches. The FR410 went to Matt before he started using a Speed Coach, a dedicated device meant for paddling craft. The FR10 went to Elizabeth so she could track her distance when we weren't running together. And the Vivoactive will go to my brother, who has taken up kayaking and has started using Strava to track his miles, but is in need of a GPS watch.
Elizabeth used the FR 10 well into her pregnancy!
Why can I now pass on the Vivoactive? Because for Hanukkah this year, Matt got me an ACTUALLY brand new Vivoactive 3. My secondhand watches have always worked just fine, and I am grateful that I've been able to test out a few different iterations without committing to an expensive watch all this time...But I am so excited to now have a brand new Garmin of my choosing!
Yes, we are using all three menorahs this year.
I took what I knew from my experiences with my other watches, did my research, and picked out what I think will be the best for my running lifestyle for a long time to come. Right now, admittedly, it may be more watch than I need, but that means I'll be able to grow into it as I continue to grow as a runner. (Read: Once I get back into full marathon training and aiming for a PR.)
I chose the VA3 because I liked the touchscreen on the VA, it's loaded with all kinds of features, and it's a smartwatch (not just a running watch). I'm thinking it may replace my Apple Watch completely. I was worried it would take awhile to get used to some of the features, but after about 15 minutes of playing with it, I've got most of it figured out.

Wednesday I went for my first run with the new watch and I am in love. The screen is so easy to read! The data fields are so easy to program!
This is my first watch with a built in HR monitor, so my dashboard not only shows my run data, but also my heart rate and stress level, among other things. In theory, I could start training using my VO2 max!
Some shots of the Garmin Connect app dashboard with all the new data available. I like the weekly Intensity Minutes goal, too.
It's super lightweight and soft. Like, weirdly soft. The band is unlike anything I've ever worn on my wrist before. I've never had such a comfortable watch!

Basically, I am 100% happy with it, and for my first official new GPS watch, I feel like I couldn't have made a better choice!



  1. I have a vivoactive3 also. I like it as my everyday watch but still get fustrated with it as it seems I accidentally change screen formats & haven't figured out how to use the lap function while GPS is still going. I was just talking last night about how I need to dig out the manual and give it a fair shot. Happy Hanukkah!

  2. It's beautiful! I love that everyone passes on their Garmin when they are done with them. I had the 410 for yeaaaaars until I got my current Garmin, which I forget what it is. It's not touch screen but it's a huge upgrade from what I had.