'GREAT GPS DEVICE, PITY ABOUT DODGY HRM AND SOFTWARE'
Strengths: Quick to locate satellites and keeps hold of the signal through trees. Auto lap allows you to automatically start a new lap e.g. every mile allowing detailed analysis of mile split data (if you like that sort of thing!) Cheap(er) on amazon.
Weaknesses: The battery seal on the HRM strap was defective allowing the battery chamber to fill up with sweat and other gunk - made for some scary heart rate readings before it konked out. Replacement just arrived. I found the software difficult to get to grips with to start with - training centre is CD-rom based, garmin connect is web based, you have to install drivers etc to get going and manual is pretty useless (and of course on CD-rom rather than in a handy paper form that can be read on the sofa with a nice cuppa tea)
Overall: I suspect the product is actually very good - the GPS function is excellent. Software could be better - looks like they are moving towards it being entirely web-based, but until the garmin connect site is fully up-and-running you have to use two bits of software.
'A CONVENIENT WAY OF RE-FUELLING DURING THOSE LONG RUNS'
Strengths: Carbohydrate is the body's preferred source of fuel during running. Most runners can only store enough carbs to fuel around 18 miles of running (at which point the body switches to utilising fat only as an energy source and the runner "hits the wall"). Even well-trained runners may experience a drop-off in performance well before this unless carbs are replaced. Lucozade energy gels are a small, lightweight source of carbohydrate which easily fit into a pocket. Robust packaging means the gel won't leak or split on the move. Fast acting, providing 30g of carbs per gel plus sodium and minerals to help replace the electrolytes lost in sweat. Semi-liquid form should mean it's easier to digest than jelly babies or other sweets. The box of 24 available online is good value.
Weaknesses: Some runners find the gloopy texture difficult to swallow. Must be taken with water to aid absorption by the body and to ensure that the stomach contents remains isotonic with the rest of the body. Only one flavour - orange. Can be ticky to tear open the wrapper, with resulting sticky hand syndrome. Some may find that a caffinated gel (e.g. Maxim) gives better performance.
Overall: A convenient source of carbs for runs longer than 60 minutes, but practice with them in training before using in a big race.