MSRP: $249.99

The Garmin 405 offers a sleeker version of the Garmin 305 with additional features, such as a bezel touch-screen and a USB stick for easily transporting your run data to a computer

Star rating: 4 out of 5 stars

Pros: The Garmin 405 functions well, contours to the wrist and is less bulky than many Garmin models. It is easy to snyc with your computer with the USB stick — no wires required. The watch offers detailed training information on anything you can think of that pertains to your run — including your running pace, location, lap pace, calories burned and heart rate. The Forerunner 405 comes with a chest strap to take heart rate readings.

Cons: As with many Garmin watches, the 405 has so many options that it can be confusing the navigate the interface.

Runner: Marcel Walker

They say first impressions are everything. After first taking my Garmin Forerunner 405 out of the box, the first thing I thought was “Where are all the buttons?” It seemed strange that a device that promised so much would only have two buttons. But, upon further examination, I realized that the 405’s first impression didn’t reveal the entire picture. I learned more the further I tumbled down the rabbit hole.

Instead of having the device cluttered with tons of buttons, the people at Garmin had the ingenious sense to make the rim of the watch act as a touch-sensitive bezel – much like an iPod. And while this definitely saves a lot of space, it can get complicated with many functions relying on you to “press & hold” here and “click and move” there.

For anyone that’s owned the Forerunner 305, you’d immediately notice how much smaller this new design looks. While it certainly seems smaller, the 305 and 405 both weigh about the same and share the same thickness. It’s only the 405’s circular design that makes it look less bulky. And for me, that’s good enough. One of my biggest apprehensions about getting the 305 was its brick-like look.

Now for the features. There’s plenty to talk about here but I’ll start with the reason that many would want to use the device in the first place: Tracking and logging your runs. Like the previous models, the 405 is equipped with GPS to track your location, speed and distance while you pound the pavement. Locking on to the satellites hasn’t been a problem either; it’s been picking up the signal fairly quick. It also gives you the option to monitor your heart rate if you wear the heart rate strap. One clever new feature is the Virtual Partner function, which allows you to “race” yourself based on information logged from a previous run. This feature is great on those days you want to push yourself a little bit harder.

Another new feature to the 405 unit is its wireless syncing mechanism. Instead of the old plug-in method, the 405 comes with what looks like a small USB storage stick. They call it the ANT+ and all you do is plug it into your computer. You don’t even have to take the watch off, it just needs to remain within range and all your info is synced. Once you register on Garmin’s website (yup, it’s free), you can track your runs on either a desktop or web-based interface.

The Garmin Forerunner 405 isn’t perfect; the operating system could be a little more user-friendly. Also, just like the bezel on an iPod, if you get even a drop of moisture on it, it’ll do its own version of a seizure and become uncontrollable. But the battery life is great and once you’re used to the interface, getting it to perform any of its many functions is a snap. After a week with it, you’ll wonder how you ever ran without it

Related post: Garmin Forerunner 305 Review

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Yessi and me in the parking lot after our run.

Yessi and I tackled some tough trail running today at Faust Park. Yessi said she did not feel too good and her sinuses were acting up, making her sound pretty gravelly. But being the running Nazi that I am, I still made her run.

The nearby track was in use so we went to Faust Park and tackled the never-ending hills along the back woods trail. I was hoping we’d have our walking sessions for most of the uphill part because our first run was mostly downhill. But no such luck — we wound up on a long, gradual, never-ending hill during the second run and Yessi stopped to walk for about 45 seconds toward the end of the hill. Even though I was running next to her, I was as slow as her walking pace. It was a really tough hill and I was relieved Yessi was willing to run to finish the interval once we crested the hill. And even though she said she felt bad on the hill, she said she was up for completing the workout and doing another 6-minute run, which we did on flat grass and sidewalk.

Yessi stayed determined once again today and I’m proud of her for sticking through a tough workout, especially when she wasn’t feeling too good.

Here is our tenth day’s workout:

  • 5-minute walk to warm up
  • 6 minutes of trail running at an average pace of 10:57-minute miles
  • 4-minute recovery walk
  • 6 minutes of hill running at 13:22-minute mile pace
  • 4-minute recovery walk
  • 6 minutes of grass and sidewalk running at 11:18-minute mile pace
  • 4-minute walk to cool down
Total time working out: 35 minutes
Total running time: 18 minutes
Total Distance: 2.35 miles
Trail: Faust Park
Conditions: Partly sunny, 80 degrees
Yessi: Had sinus problems this morning but did not try to get out of the workout. We tackled some really steep and long hills in the woods at Faust Park. Yessi walked a little at the end of the second run but then jumped back into gear to finish the rest of the workout. She really hung in and I’m proud of her for sticking it out. In the future, I’ll avoid these grueling hills until our bodies adjust to the heat and Yessi is feeling better.
Follow Yessi’s progress with Runstreet’s Training Tales.

Summer running is full of excitement — from offering an endless array of road races to treks over new landscapes on vacation, the season of sun brings fun and adventure. Forget the trudging runs repeating loops around your block  in winter’s cold grey claws. Warm weather brings new paths to explore, races to conquer, more running companions and longer daylight hours to run. But along with all the perks of the season, summer can offer hot temperatures, humidity and heat-related dangers. Learn to savor summer’s runs without passing out from the heat with these quick tips:

Drink plenty of water.

  1. Drink up. Even if you don’t feel thirsty, drink plenty of water throughout the day and after your runs. Drink 8 ounces of water each hour throughout the day and drink 8 ounces for every mile you run. Bring water along on runs that are more than 3 miles, or plan your route to incorporate public drinking fountains. Always bring water to drink after your workouts.
  2. Run early. Early morning is the coolest time of day, before the sun heats up the ground and air. Running early also gives you a boost of energy for the day and helps you get your workout in before any of the day’s distractions take hold.
  3. Take 2 weeks to acclimate to the heat. Don’t jump in and try to do a race or speed workout on a hot day without training in the heat first. It takes our bodies about two weeks to adjust to the heat, so give yourself time. Do relaxed pace runs during these two weeks and avoid intense training or racing.
  4. Dress with less. Don’t wear too many layers or thick clothes during hot weather. Pick light, loose clothing that allows your skin to breathe. Avoid dark colors as they will absorb more heat.
  5. Start slow. If you start your workouts fast, you’ll raise your body temperature quickly and prolong the time your body is heated. Jog a warm up and build up to faster paces if you are doing speed work or tempo runs.
  6. Drench yourself. If you feel extremely heated after a run, pour cool water over your head to help cool down your body temperature.
  7. Know when to stop. If you feel chills, start to see things that aren’t there, get light-headed, feel nauseous or vomit, get a headache or muscle cramps, stop running immediately and cool down by drenching yourself in cool water and resting in a cool, shaded place. You can also place ice packs under your armpits and on your groin. Drink plenty of water.

Baby geese along the trail at Creve Coeur Lake today.

Yessi is officially a runner! We decided this today after our humid, sweat-drenched run in which Yessi ran for the longer intervals — 6-minute sessions — with a shorter walk period in between — 4 minutes. Yessi said when she used to run by herself, she would jog for 6 or 7 minutes then stop and walk to finish the workout. But now she can do three 6-minute sessions with just a short walk between each one. And in almost 90-degree weather! On top of that, Yessi’s pace has been pretty steady, with her increasing the pace today in her second and third runs, an indicator of good endurance.

I am really excited for Yessi and glad the running program is boosting her stamina. We are definitely on track for the 5K in June.

Here is our ninth day’s workout:

  • 5-minute walk to warm up
  • 6 minutes of running at an average pace of 10:23-minute miles
  • 4-minute recovery walk
  • 6 minutes of running at 9:27-minute mile pace
  • 4-minute recovery walk
  • 6 minutes of running at 9:59-minute mile pace
  • 24-minute walk to cool down
Total time working out: 55 minutes
Total running time: 18 minutes
Total Distance: 3.72 miles
Trail: Creve Coeur Lake path
Conditions: Sunny, 88 degrees
Yessi: Was out of breath after the longer running sessions but did not slow down her pace. She actually got faster in the last two intervals, probably because she was warmed up. This is a great sign and means she had energy to spare at the end.
Follow Yessi’s progress with Runstreet’s Training Tales.

Yessi and I missed our run this morning because of the rain, but Yessi made me proud and not only did the run on her own this evening but also added extra running time, per the master plan.

Here is her account of the run, which is much more entertaining than my posts:

Ok so I did the walk 4 minutes, run 6 minutes deal. It was KILLER! I forgot I need my ipod if I don’t have someone talking to me! lol. And it was sooo humid, I was dripping sweat even worse than yesterday. But I was wearing better fabrics today, hehe. And a kid at the park (probably 15 years old, tops) yelled, “nice ass!” as I ran past him. Awesome.
I also found out that my cardio trainer app can talk to me as I’m running, every 2 minutes, so it kept telling me how far I’d run and how fast I was going. My walking time was about 3.5 miles per hour and my running time varied between 5.5 and 6 miles per hour. The highest I got was 6.3 miles per hour. I guess that means, on average, I was running at a 10-minute mile pace.
Here’s what happened on day eight:
  • 4 minutes walking
  • 6 minutes running at about a 10-minute mile pace
  • 4 minutes walking
  • 6 minutes running at about a 10-minute mile pace (this is when I got the fastest… up to 6.3 miles per hour, so a little under 10-minute pace)
  • 6 minutes walking (I didn’t do this on purpose… my boss called me right in the middle of my break to congratulate me for my rank and stuff. I told him I was in the middle of a jog so he cut the conversation short, but it still took me 2 minutes over my break)
  • 6 minutes running, this was my slowest time, probably closer to 12-minute mile pace. I ALMOST gave up, but instead I just slowed down.
  • 4 minutes walking (at some point during this walk, I turned my cardio trainer off) I’d like to note that it took WAY longer than 4 minutes for me to catch my breath and stuff, I was SO winded. So I started stretching once the 4 minutes were up.
Total time working out: 36 minutes
Total running time: 18 minutes
Total Distance: 2.6 miles
Trail: Spanish Lake path
Conditions: Cloudy, 77 degrees
Yessi: Did an amazing job on her first solo run of our training program, and on a difficult day with humid weather at that! I’m so glad Yessi slowed down the pace instead of walking when fatigue struck, as maintaining a jog is important to improve your running condition and overall fitness level. I’m so proud!

Follow Yessi’s progress with Runstreet’s Training Tales.

MSRP: $199.99

The Garmin 305 comes chock full of features.

Star rating: 4 out of 5 stars

Pros: The watch offers detailed training information on anything you can think of that pertains to your run — including your running pace, location, lap pace, calories burned and heart rate — and you can connect the Garmin to your computer to record and chart all of your data. The watch also tracks your information for cross training activities such as cycling or walking. The Forerunner 305 comes with a chest strap to take heart rate readings.

Cons: This watch has so many features and options that it can be overwhelming and take a while to navigate the programs. Also, because of the GPS system, the battery runs down pretty fast so you will need to charge the watch every few days and turn it off shortly after running. Sometimes the GPS feature is slow at picking up your location, especially on cloudy days, and the GPS does not work indoors.

Runner: Marnie Kunz

It took a while, but my Garmin and I have finally become one. I have been using the watch for months, but only for the basic timer, pace and distance readings.

I was excited to get the watch for Christmas and learn about everything it could do, but the options were almost too overwhelming at first. After a few runs with the watch in winter’s bitter cold, I had to put my Garmin away for a while and pound out my runs on the treadmill. I got along pretty well, as I’d been running with just a basic timer watch for years. I tried the Nike+ Sportband a few months prior to the Garmin, which was my first experience with a device that measured my mile pace.

Coming from a youth spent running with the old-school method of using a stop watch to clock my runs, and often estimating my mileage based on my total running times, having a pace feature on a watch is a delightful concept to me. So for a while, I was content just to know my speed for each run with my Garmin.

I did play around with the features and created a workout to follow, but when it came time to run, I could not find the workout to implement. But this is probably partly due to my bad memory and sometimes sluggish tech skills. I do, however, think the average person would also have some trouble navigating all of the Garmin features, especially at first.

Besides using the Garmin to record my run pace and mileage, I have begun using the lap feature. The lap button is very helpful when training people or for running intervals or tempo runs, as well as checking the calories burned reading.

I tried running with the heart rate monitor around my chest but found it unflattering — shallow, I know — as well as confusing, because I did not know my maximum or target heart rates, so the numbers meant nothing to me. So I ditched the chest strap. I’m sure the heart rate monitor is a helpful feature if you train using your target heart rate or if you have a health condition to monitor.

You can sync the Garmin with social networking sites such as the Dailymile, which I have done. I often do not have my wire handy to connect my watch to my laptop, however, and usually just manually enter my Garmin reading on Dailymile.

The Garmin 305 still has many more options that I haven’t used — from offering a virtual trainer to compete with and keep you on track to mapping your runs — but I will continue to try them as I get more coaching clients and begin marathon training.

Overall, I would recommend the Garmin Forerunner 305 for tech lovers, serious runners concerned with their detailed stats and runners who want a comprehensive watch with a heart rate monitor system. Also, if you are already a Garmin user and accustomed to the Garmin system, the 305 should be a smooth transition. If you are easily overwhelmed by new technology, a treadmill runner, unconcerned with your pace details or interested in saving money, I would recommend getting a basic sports watch instead, or trying the Nike+ Sportband for a cheaper, more streamlined pace watch. I plan to continue using my Garmin and consider purchasing a new one when this one dies. Once you have access to all the features the Garmin offers, it would be hard to go back to a simpler watch. R.I.P. stopwatch.

Yessi looking out over Art Hill after our sweaty run in the humidity.

Yessi and I kicked off her second full week of training by running in Forest Park this morning. We jogged on the scenic yet hilly main trail, beginning at the softball fields and passing by the zoo and running down the hill along Skinker Boulevard. We finished by walking up the hill by the Art Museum, passing the zoo and returning to the softball fields. The temperature was in the 70s and extremely humid, so we wound up drenched in sweat. It took us a while to get back to our starting point, so we had a nice, relaxing walk at the end.

We stuck with the 5-minute program of alternating walks and runs and I used my lap feature on the Garmin watch to get a more accurate reading of our pace for each interval. Yessi kept up a pretty steady pace, averaging around 10:45-minute miles, which is commendable, given the hilly nature of the course. She recovered quickly and is ready to do longer run sessions tomorrow.

Here is our seventh day’s workout:

  • 10-minute walk to warm up
  • 5 minutes of running at an average pace of 10:2o-minute miles
  • 5-minute recovery walk
  • 5 minutes of running at 10:51-minute mile pace
  • 5-minute recovery walk
  • 5 minutes of running at 10:15-minute mile pace
  • 31-minute walk to cool down
Total time working out: 1 hour, 6 minutes
Total running time: 15 minutes
Total Distance: 4.25 miles
Trail: Forest Park main path
Conditions: Sunny, 57 degrees
Yessi: Said she did not have a lot of energy from not sleeping much the night before, but once we began, she ran steadily and easily, it seemed. She did not seem to get out of breath at all, which is a great of improvement. The trail got pretty hilly in some places, which accounts for our slightly slower pace today.
Follow Yessi’s progress with Runstreet’s Training Tales.

Stop thinking about needing to run and just go. Save some mental effort.

Though it sounds strange, running is actually an ideal sport for slackers. Why? Because running burns more calories than any other cardio activity so you don’t have to do it for as long as other exercises.

Let’s say you want to burn enough calories to lose 10 lbs. It takes about 3,500 calories to equal one pound, so you’ll need to burn 35,000 calories to lose 10 lbs. A 155-lb. person burns about 350 calories by running for 30 minutes at a 10-minute mile pace. The same person would burn about 150 calories walking at a speed of 3 miles per hour for 30 minutes or 300 calories during half an hour of cycling at a speed of 11 miles per hour. So, it would take this person about 100 runs, 233 walks and 117 bike rides to lose 10 lbs. If you’re slacker, the path of least resistance is running because you don’t have to do it as much.

As any slacker worth his salt knows, the less you have to work, the better. So if you want to lose weight, here’s how to make running work for you, so you can spend the vast majority of your time doing other, more fun things…or better yet, nothing at all.

  • Run regularly. To burn calories, you need to exercise regularly. There are no short cuts to losing weight, but at least choosing the exercise that burns the most calories can help you keep your workouts short and sweet.
  • Run faster. The higher your running intensity, the more calories you will burn. Try doing intervals, fartleks or tempo runs to speed up your running pace and accelerate your weight loss plan.
  • Stop pigging out. Just because you’re exercising more (or, who are we kidding, at all) now doesn’t mean you can pig out and cancel out all your hard work. You would have to exercise more to burn junk food, fast food and other calorie-packed foods with no nutrients, so save yourself the trouble and eat healthy stuff that is included in an actual food group. 
  • Run farther. Increasing your run times will help you burn more calories to lose weight faster. Add a few minutes to your runs each week and you won’t even notice the extra work.
  • Take a break. As all slackers know, doing nothing can be therapeutic. So follow the do-nothing lead and take at least one day off from running a week so you don’t get burned out or injured from overtraining. Just remember to get crackin’ again when your workout week begins.

Jockey doesn't just have plain white, flattening sports bras anymore.

MSRP: $32

Star rating: 3.5 out of 5 stars

Fabric: 67 percent nylon, 27 percent polyester

Pros: Fashionable, non-flattening sports bra with cute striped pattern, moisture-wicking fabric, lined underwire cups for extra shape

Cons: Jockey rates this sports bra as “medium impact” and it indeed does not seem ideal for heavy use, i.e. long runs or marathons, as it is not extremely supportive. Also, does not offer extra support for larger-busted women.

Runner: Marnie Kunz

Luckily, sports bras have come a long way from the flattening, solid-colored blocks that made women feel not only like boys but unfashionable ones at that.

I picked up this cute sports bra at Marshall’s (for $14.99 – Marshall’s has great discounts on Nike, Puma, Jockey, New Balance and other brands of running clothes) and gave it a spin on my next run.

I found this sports bra generally comfortable and fun to run in for a change from my usual solid-colored bras. The sports bra has underwire cups that counteract the usual flattening effect of sports bras, offering a nice silhouette while still feeling comfortable because of the seamless, stretchy material. The lining in the sports bra also made me feel comfortable running shirtless on hot days because no one can see through the bra, unlike some sports bras, which only offer one or two thin layers of fabric.

I felt the bra was supportive enough for me, offering a decent amount of motion control. But maybe I went too far for form over function because the underwire cups may have given me too much of a boost, because I felt like my boobs were almost popping out the top sometimes, making me hesitant to run shirtless again with it on hot days. I would not advise the bra for long runs or if you have a large chest, because the support is adequate but not sufficient for any extra strain.

Overall, I would recommend this sports bra if you want to try a cute, moisture-wicking sports bra that gives you a little extra boost in the bust. But for marathon running or women who do not need a boost, I’d go for a more stable, supportive bra.

Today I started my run alone but Tupac kept me going during a challenging hill in the middle, Kanye West accompanied me along a flat, fast stretch and Jay-Z helped me finish up on a fast note. Running with music can be one of the most motivating ways to keep up a steady pace or even speed up during your workouts. I usually listen to uptempo hip hop when I run, which helps me stay running strong (as opposed to slow songs, which make me go in slow-mo).

For hip hop classics, tune into Tupac.

Here are just a few of my favorite hip hop songs to run with:

  • “Power,” Kanye West
  • “Roman’s Revenge,” Nicki Minaj, Lil Wayne
  • “Here I Come,” The Roots
  • “99 Problems,” Jay-Z
  • “I’m The Best,” Nicki Minaj
  • “Monster,” Kanye West
  • “American Terrorist,” Lupe Fiasco
  • “How I Got Over,” The Roots
  • “Encore,” Jay-Z
And here are some of my favorite old school hip hop tunes to keep me pumped:
  • “I Get Around,” Tupac
  • “Hip Hop,” Dead Prez
  • “Gasoline Dreams,” Outkast
  • “Soul Food,” Goodie Mob
  • “Juicy,” Notorious B.I.G.
  • “Lose Yourself,” Eminem
  • “Keep Your Shit the Hardest,” DMX
  • “B.O.B.,” Outkast
  • “Holler if Ya Hear Me,” Tupac (from the Resurrection soundtrack)
  • “Hell Yeah,” Dead Prez
  • “Dirty South,” Goodie Mob
  • “California,” Tupac
  • “Fly Away,” Goodie Mob
What are your favorite running tunes?