Favorite Things Friday: Garmin FR60 Fitness Watch

I’ve been an avid blog reader (and sometimes writer) for about ten years now. Although my interests have changed, one thing that has remained constant is my love of learning about great products from people who have actually used them. Yes, advertising has its place and is fantastic for generating awareness, but there’s nothing like an honest opinion from another regular Jill to help you make a decision to buy – or not to buy – a certain product.

Between blogs and online reviews, I have gleaned a LOT of information that I’m certain has saved me a lot of money and frustration over the years. I feel like its time to give back, so I’m kicking off a new series of posts where I pick one favorite product (or place) to write about with the hope that others who are researching that particular product will find my opinion helpful.

Perhaps no product has garnered more love from me over the past two years than my Garmin FR60 training watch. I bought it in November 2009, just five months after I started running. I initially tracked my runs using the Nike Plus system, but it became unreliable with wildly fluctuating pace times even when I was running at the same speed.

the garmin fr60

I chose the FR60 because I didn’t feel I needed/wanted GPS, and I liked the smaller, lighter profile of the FR60 (not to mention the lower price).

The FR60 bundle comes with the watch, heart rate monitor strap, foot pod, and a USB “Ant” stick that you plug into your computer for wireless data transfer.

Over the past two years, I’ve experienced the following with the FR60:

-Initial installation of the software was a little awkward (the documentation isn’t the best), but a Google search or two will get you going in the right direction.
-Usually, your workout stats will automatically transmit from the Garmin to your Garmin Connect account online. In fact, my watch often transmits the minute I walk in the front door. Sometimes this doesn’t happen and a manual transfer is necessary, but it’s not difficult to do.
-The heart rate monitor strap has a small battery in it that I have had to replace twice in two years of fairly heavy use (423 workouts). You can get this done at your local jewelry store for $5-$10.
-A part of the strap broke on my Garmin about a year ago, and I sent it in and had a brand new watch within 2 weeks. Fortunately, all my workouts were uploaded to Garmin Connect so I didn’t lose any data.
-The heart rate strap is not uncomfortable at all – and I highly recommend the “rigid” version of the strap over the softer one as it’s more durable.

Here you can see how the watch, heart strap, and foot pod all work together:

garmin fr60

If you are at all serious about running or any form of cardio, I highly recommend the Garmin FR60. Calories burned are much more accurate than what is reported on the machines because the heart rate monitor measures your actual effort, and your stats (weight, age, etc) are programmed into the watch during the setup process. It’s also incredibly motivating to log into Garmin Connect and see how many miles you’ve run (or walked) and how your fitness has improved over time. The Garmin also comes in very handy during races – especially longer events such as the half-marathon – because you can check your pace to make sure you’re not going too fast out of the start (a habit that I’m still struggling with).

So, in summary:

Would I buy this again? Absolutely!
Would I recommend to others? Yes!
Overall Grade: B+ (points deducted for awkward software installation and occasional bugginess)

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