Garmin Forerunner 305 GPS Running and Cycling Watch Review
The Gamrin Forerunner 305 is an advanced running and multisport GPS watch that brings together some of the best features that the Garmin Forerunner series has to offer, making it not only one of the best value for money GPS running watches available on the market, but also an invaluable training aid for the serious runner or cyclist.
Garmin Forerunner 305 GPS Watch – GPS Functionality
The Garmin Forerunner 305 has an in-build high powered GPS receiver that allows the watch to track a number of useful training statistics for use with your running or cycling including:
- Time (average, last lap, current lap, stopwatch and even the current time of day!)
- Speed (average, average last lap, average current lap, best, current and target speed zone)
- Pace (average current lap, average last lap, best, current and target pace zone)
- Distance (total, last lap and current lap)
- Cadence (current, average for lap, average for total)
- Heart Rate (average, current, average last lap, heart rate zone)
- Elevation (current and total)
- Laps completed
- Direction of current travel
- Time of sunset and sunrise based on your time zone.
- GPS accuracy
The watch has three rotating displays that can be customised to show you four of the above on each screen making the watch a very flexible training aid, and one that can be set up differently depending on the nature of your training session.
I really value the Forerunner 305’s flexibility as when I go out on long runs, I like to track both my average speed over the entire run as well as my current speed to ensure that I stay on track with regards to my target pace. However, if I train on an athletics track then I can set up the watch so that it records all of the essential time, speed, pace and distance for each lap of the track as well as for the overall session.
Unlike alternative sports watches that use a footpad to measure vital speed and distance statistics, the GPS functionality of the Garmin Forerunner 305 means that these statistics are recorded much more consistently and accurately. Unlike a footpad watch, the Forerunner 405 used 4 satellites to track your progress and is therefore independent of any changes that may occur in your stride length that may vary over your session or between different types of sessions (sprinting vs distance running).
To begin with I was suspicious of the Forerunner 305’s ability to track my statistics accurately in the kind of environments that I run and cycle around. I do a lot of running in London and London suburbs, so I was unsure if the Garmin 305 would be able to keep track of my runs due to the high rise buildings and factories around where I live. However, straight from the word go the watch proved itself perfectly competent and even with the occasional loss of signal when running through covered walkways and underpasses, the watch finds a signal again after a few seconds in the clear.
Garmin Forerunner 305 GPS Watch – Heart Rate Monitor
Unlike the previous Garmin 305 model you can use a Garmin Heart Rate Monitor with the Forerunner 305 to record your heart rate or train within a target heart rate level. The heart rate monitor pairs with the device when heart rate recording is enabled and is comfortable and easy to fit and wear.
Garmin Forerunner 305 GPS Watch – Navigation
Something that you don’t have with either the Forerunner 405 or 110 is the ability to use the Forerunner as a basic satellite navigation unit.
You can create and name waypoints on your runs or other multi sport evens and save them to the Garmin Forerunner 305’s memory. You can then choose to navigate to the nearest waypoint or select the waypoint that you want to navigate towards. The screen of the Garmin 305 then changes to a display showing the waypoint as the destination and then an arrow (representing your location and direction) as you. The watch also displayed how far away you are from the target waypoint and offers a great way of finding GPS marked locations for if you are trekking or hiking but is unsuitable of your are running at speed over say uneven ground as it involves a lot of looking at the watch unit.
Garmin Forerunner 305 GPS Watch – Virtual Trainer Mode: Race a previous workout
One of the best features in my opinion about the Garmin Forerunner 305 watch is the ability for you to race against a previous workout. This can either be a route that you have run or cycled before, or can be someone else’s route downloaded to the watch using the Motionbased network. The watch displays another display when you are in Virtual Trainer mode which shows two small running figures where one represents you and one represents your previous workout. The figure representing your previous workout moves either in front or behind the figure representing your current workout depending if you are currently behind or in front of your previous workout. This virtual trainer can either be set against a previous workout (where the pace of the figure representing your previous workout will change depending on how fast you ran/biked in the current section of your previous route) or can be set to move at a constant pace.
The Virtual Trainer is a great way to track your progress over the same route or time trial and the ability to run against another person’s route is a great way to get some race experience against your competitors before the actual race day!
Garmin Forerunner 305 GPS Watch – Advanced and Interval Workouts.
Another something that the Garmin Forerunner 305 GPS watch has over the 405 and the 110 is the ability for you to create custom workouts on the watch.
It is possible to setup a quick training session where you set either the time, distance or pace that you want to train at and the Garmin 305 displays the virtual trainer for your to race against. You can also set up speed or interval sessions on the Garmin 305, where you enter your desired distance or time for each rep and then enter your desired rest time and number or reps. This is something that I have used in the past but prefer to use the Auto Pause and Auto Lap functions (as described below) as this lets me dictate the session depending on how I am feeling after the first few laps as I might want to do more or less laps than I have actually programmed into the Forerunner 305 watch previously.
Garmin Forerunner 305 GPS Watch – Auto Pause and Auto Lap
The Garmin 305 Watch can be set up so that when your pace drops below a certain pace, or you stop completely, the watch will pause your time and stats. It will then resume recording when you start moving again over a certain speed.
You can also set the watch to start a new lap after a certain time or distance. Combining both the Auto Pause and Auto Lap functions is something that I do when running 400m reps sessions as the watch beeps to let me know I have completed the 400m lap and when I stop the watch automatically pauses, meaning that I don’t have to remember to do so myself. Trust me, after 12 400m sprints I am barely conscious let alone have the presence of mind to pause the watch!
Garmin Forerunner 305 GPS Watch – Best for Cycling
The Garmin Forerunner 305 GPS watch has a wide range of functions that make this watch a great training aid to any multisport athlete. Whilst cycling I like to use the Virtual Trainer to race against time trials and races that people have uploaded to the Motionbased network or to explore new routes that people uploaded in my area. Something which it is now possible to do without getting lost thanks to the GPS navigation function build into the watch.
If you have an optional Cadence sensor then you can also record the cadence of your bike rides. Using the alerts that the Forerunner 305 has inbuilt you can program an alarm to sound if you drop below a certain cadence. I tend to use this on either sprint sessions or when I am using an indoor trainer for my bike and have found it to be a useful tool when trying to structure my various training sessions on the bike. The sensor was easy to fit and once you program your bike tyre size into the watch it is very accurate and I have had no problems with it so far.
The auto pause and auto stop features can be customised for cycling so that when my speed drops below a certain mark the watch pauses automatically and when I reach a predetermined distance the watch automatically starts a new lap. I use this feature for sprint practice on the bike by riding for 3miles fast and then coasting for half a mile or so for recovery with the watch paused. When I want to do another sprint rep I then just start riding hard again and when my pace picks up the Garmin Forerunner 305 automatically un-pauses and starts recording again.
Garmin Forerunner 305 GPS Watch – Bike Mount Kit
As the Forerunner 305 watch is aimed at the multisport market, I was surprised that when I bought the unit, it wasn’t supplied with a bike mount kit. Upon doing a sport of research a few years ago I found that a quick release kit for the 305 watch can be bough quite cheaply, and I have been using one for two years now.
Garmin Forerunner 305 GPS Watch – Garmin Connect
The Garmin Forerunner 305 GPS watch allows you to upload all of your training data to Garmin ‘Connect’ platform, where you can analyse every aspect of your training.
Although the Garmin Connect platform used to be just a quirky add-on that wasn’t really that useful, over the past year Garmin have added a variety of features and charting that makes the platform a very informative and practical tool that I use on a daily basis to track my running and training progress.
You can not only track the averages of your running and cycling training session statistics but you can also break down each session and see the stats for each and every section of your route.
The platform can also be a useful way to keep track of your overall progress as well. You can categorise each run that you upload to the Garmin Connect Platform not just by Sport type, but by training session type as well. Averages and total can then be displayed by each trainings session type over a given period of time such as months or years. I tend to use this to track the progress of my various races and speed training sessions over the athletics season.
There a lots of other things that the Garmin Connect platform lets you do such as share your training sessions in your own blog or social media profile, along with letting you set your own training goals and showing you how far you have to go to complete the goals.
All in all the Garmin Connect platform is a great tool that compliments the Forerunner 305 and Gamin are constantly improving and updating the platform to make it better and better (trust me, two years ago it was pretty basic and barely worked!) The best place to read about Garmin Connect Features is on the Garmin Connect Features Webpage
Garmin Forerunner 305 Watch – Battery Life
I have found that the Battery life of the watch is about 12 hours on a full charge and charging takes about 180 minutes with the provided AC adapter or slightly longer when connected to my laptop with the USB adapter. I have been using a Garmin Forerunner 305 watch for about two years now and the life of the lithium battery has not diminished noticeably.
Garmin Forerunner 305 GPS Watch – Water Resistance and the Swimming Pool
Although according to Garmin, the Forerunner 305 watch can only be submerged for a maximum of 30minutes in up to 1m of water, and should never be used for swimming, I did once accidentally forget to remove it after a bike ride and dived into a Lido in London before realising that was still wearing it. The watched survived the dive and subsequent two lengths in the pool without any damage at all so I am pretty happy about its rain resistance capabilities!
Garmin Forerunner 305 GPS Watch – Design
The Garmin Forerunner 305 GPS watch is slightly bulkier than either the 110 or 405 watches but handles and feels like a real watch so this isn’t a problem. The increased size of the watch is due to the large screen (larger than any of the other Garmin GPS watches), which lets you display up to 4 pieces of training data at any one time which suits me fine as I am able to get all the information I need from the watch when I am training without having to slow down and fiddle with the watch controls.
The menu is intuitive and as the Garmin Forerunner 305 doesn’t have the annoying touch sensitive bezel that the 405 has, the menu is easy to navigate even in the rain or when training whilst wearing gloves.
The strap is much more comfortable than the Velcro straps that I have worn with other watches and is easy to clean off. I have heard that you can also extend the Garmin Forerunner 305’s strap if you prefer a looser fit; something that I was unable to do with my other sports watch.
Garmin Forerunner 305 GPS Watch – Price and Cheapest Retailer
The Garmin Forerunner 305 is in my opinion the best value for money GPS enabled running and cycling watch on the market, as you have a huge range of customisable functionality at your fingertips without an extortionate price tag.
The cheapest online retailer without a doubt is Amazon where the watch is almost 30% cheaper than either the Garmin website or high street retail stores. You can find the Forerunner 305 on Amazon using the links below: