There has been alot written on these threads about GPS v Footpods. Generally received wisdom is that GPS is less fussy (less bits to 'wear') and likely to be more accurate over total distance - any error in calibration of the footpod will accumulate over distance. Footpods on the other hand are more accurate on pace as GPS just isn't accurate enough for this and so pace measurement on GPS is fairly worthless. Boils down to what's most important to you I guess, but no one system is categorically better than the other.
Certainly interesting to see Garmin get into the non-GPS market and the 50 seems to be very similar to the Polar RS800 at around a third of the price. Don't know if it has all the same features; we'll have to wait and see. Would imagine Polar are pretty worried by it, and it could mean some of their products have to drop in price.
Like you I use a forerunner and will be very tempted to try the 50. The footpod appears very small as well - all the Polar models other than the 800 seem to have one roughly the size of a housebrick !
The Forerunner 50 is much cheaper than the RS800, that's for sure! It is being aimed primarily at the RS200 end of the market but its features are those of the RS400. With bits it will retail for less than the RS200 + pod.
The F50 pod uses the same sensor technology as the S3 pod. (Garmin own the manufacturers that make both).
I run with a 305 and an RS800. The RS800 has to be quite badly calibrated for there to be much of a discrepancy between the two in terms of total distance. Even during very unevenly paced runs on undulating terrain my units come up with the same results to within a few tens of metres, and that is at distances anywhere from 6.3 to 23 kilometres. But this is with one proviso: that I avoid certain stretches of our forest trails and a single stretch of road where the Garmin loses the plot. I know where these are, so when the Polar tells me I have done 1200 metres and the Garmin tells me 1k, I know to believe the Polar (these stretches have been measured for official race purposes, and the road is marked with posts every 100 metres and kilometre stones, done by the highway authorities).
Polar are releasing a GPS module for the RS800, and there is a footpod for the 305. so I suppose it would be possible to use both technologies. But how would the software know the correct reading?
Re pace: the S3 is very responsive and returns a realistic pace within seconds of starting or adjusting pace. So the F50 will probably do the same. The 305 takes a while to get into its stride but once it does so, I find current lap pace or average pace to be pretty well accurate; I've tried this on a track and the 305 coped during 200 metre reps (after I'd done the first 50 metres!)
But ... really and truly, the data we get from these gadgets is only of historical interest. I love it because I get twice as much out of each run: the run itself and then hours spent at the computer scrutinizing the pretty graphs (Polar) and cursing the rudimentary Garmin TC software and blessing SpotTracks
They tell us how far we've run. And how slowly. But in the end we can't run faster than we are capable of on the day, and on training runs it's surely better to listen to our bodies than to force tire dlegs along just to attain some notional target and risk over-reaching or injury in the process?
I agree with what the other chaps say about GPS vs footpod.
Another factor in the equation is user-friendliness. I plumped for GPS (Forerunner 201, then 205) because of the virtual trainer feature, which the Polar lacks. I use it pretty much every run. I'm not bothered about uploading to the PC, crunching stats in spreadsheets etc. But it does mean that I've paid for a bunch of features that I'll never use.
Looking at initial info on the Forerunner 50, the virtual trainer seems to be absent. This is a shame, and will stop me from buying. I know the screen is watch-sized so there's no space for the little graphic. But if there were a feature whereby you could key in a target pace and just have the screen say, eg, +150 m or -85 m in relation to that pace, I'd be sorely tempted.
as far as I am aware the Garmin HRM is accurate.
I may just bite the bullet then and go with the Garmin FR 50. I had heard the polars were somewhat better at reading HR, but I guess there are sacrifices to be made on every unit. The pricier polars have a load of data/features that i'll never use.
I Will be quite interested to try and pair the garmin with the concept2 rower, given that both sync with the bluetooth-like ANT+ coded wireless link (means I don't need to buy a suunto HRM too).
Seems to be pros and cons with footpods vs GPS.
What with christmas coming up and my old polar s120 (!) dying was thinking of the Garmin FR 50 ( i do use the fun Nike+ as a sdm though) but am tempted just to buy a reliable Timex just for the watch functions.
Then again the lure of a new toy which will hopefuly be more straightforward and user friendly than polar may be too good to miss.
Besides i've been a really good boy this year...
I have 305 seen the 50
Ithe HRM has never been accurate stopped working 3 replacements cut my losses got the polar RS800hrm so run with garmin one hand 800 on other hand and the hRM is fab and fi=ts me better than garmin and is fabric so no more welts on my body!!
This thread definitely has me scratching my head. I have a Polar S610 HRM and the Nike+ Sports Kit (the iPod footpod, etc), which I've been using together to reasonable effect. My distances are quite low at the moment, so I'm not worried about superfine accuracy over a marathon distance - nor will I be for some time.
However, I've recently started going to an excellent running club and they have a "no iPods!!!" policy on their track, which I can understand. I find the Nike+ and Runner+ websites to be quite useful and encouraging (the challenges, goals and community idea), though I use Cool Running for my running log. I could probably get away with using the Nike+ and iPod kit at the club without the headphones, but I've not tried.
I had been looking at the top end of the Forerunner range and had liked the idea of the F305. But I just found out about the F50 with its options, so now I'm scratching my head.
So do I ditch what I have in favour of a F305, or do I get a F50 and keep the Polar and/or Nike+? Oh, the gadget dilemma!
Bit of an update...
Had the Garmin FR 50 for about 2 days now. It's taken time to get my head around the software uploads and the manual isn't the best, but i'm getting there...
The download works well, with good - if more simplistic analysis than on polar units. You can graph cadence, pace, hr, distance etc so there is quite a lot of data. The HR data is regular, if not second by second. It is a comfortable HR belt and does seem accurate at present, contrary to other stuff i've read on garmin units.
Similarly, i'm happy the footpod seems accurate enough for my purposes, but haven't yet had the opportunity to go on the track to check it's accuracy properly over an exact and measured distance and/or do a manual calibration.
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