Following the recent death of my old Garmin Forerunner 305 during the Chevy Chase, I've upgraded to the new Garmin 310 XT. My friends at Northern Runner had the heart rate version of the device in stock on the day of release so I didn't have to wait long to get it.
As sad as it may seem, I rely heavily on GPS tracking for performance and motivation during running. I always find the need to have all of the important information at hand during a run. Distance, pace, last lap time, where the nearest chippy is. Oh hang on! That last stat is what I use my iPhone for!
Anyway, the new model is a massive improvement on the 305. 20 hours battery life is double what I used to get from my 305! The interface is much improved too and far more intuitive than the 305. I could never figure out how to use the interval training features on the 305. With the 310 XT, I doubt I'll ever have to refer to the instructions for the setup of interval training. It is almost as if Garmin have listened to their users and applied the feedback to the design of the new device.
I love the fact that it vibrates too when an alert is encountered; such as reaching another mile. The old 305 only had an audible beep. This was no good for me when I had my iPod on full blast. On today's run I didn't have to look at my watch as much as I knew that, after each mile, it would vibrate to tell me that another one had been done. You can set it to vibrate for other alerts too. For instance, if your heart rate is too low then it will let you know about it and give you the chance to pick up the pace a bit.
The connectivity to my iMac and beyond has improved too. I can now upload data from each run wirelessly via Bluetooth which is immediately updated in garminconnect.com. This website allows anyone to view the stats from my runs. For example, click here to view today's run to Newcastle Race Course. I'll be uploading all runs in the future. You can view them all by clicking here. Then, hey presto, you'll be able to see all of my runs! Nice! I will be using this feature during the actual USA 2011 run so everyone will be able to see exactly where I've ran and how fast/slow!!!
All in all, the 310 XT combined with garminconnect.com is a brilliant piece of kit for me. I suspect, knowing that anyone on the planet will be able to view my runs, will improve my motivation even further. There is no hiding place now!