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Product review: Garmin 910XT

Training vs Exercise

Both place stress on the body and both come with gains in fitness. But when you dedicate every "training" session to a key race, your body is primed to perform optimally......that is, if you trained it properly.

As someone who is married to the GM of the Trek Bicycle Store of Jacksonville, I am always up-to-date with the latest in technology and gear, thanks to Karel. He knows the inside scoop before most of the triathlon, cycling and running world and he is often the first to test products and gear before providing his feedback to consumers. This is a great thing for me as a coach because for athletes, it's easy to get caught up with the "latest" when it seems like every company is trying to one-up the competitors.

Just like finding the "perfect" bike, it is easy to question expensive purchases, regardless of your fitness status. Whereas some individuals will not look at the price tag just to have the latest and greatest, others will hesitate, feeling as if they aren't worthy of having an expensive product/gear because of fitness level or inexperience.

One topic that I receive a lot of questions about is race wheels. Well, your race wheels are only as good as your training. Want to train smarter? Invest in a power meter.
BTW - several people have asked me about the new PowerCal "power meter strap". I don't feel that this should even compare to having a power meter hub, quark or power pedal. Power is a function of work/time. You have to apply force to move something, in order to give you power. I feel this is a good investment for someone who is riding indoors like a spin class or needs something to be more consistent with riding but just can't invest the money in a power meter. However, there is no question that nothing compares to training w/ power (not a function of power based on HR). Also, from what I can tell from the site, the PowerCal needs to be calibrated with a powermeter hub or a ANT+ enabled hub.

Another question - sport nutrition on race day. Again, your sport nutrition on race day is based on your pacing strategy, weather and terrain on race day as well as your training and nutrition leading up to the race.

As you can see, training is an essential component to successful race day efforts and I think we all know that. It's hard to fake fitness when it comes to multisport events - especially if you are competitive.

I'm all about quality training when we put our body under stress. I'm a firm believer in sport nutrition during training (when necessary - fluids, electrolytes and carbs), I'm also a firm believer in technology. Although I don't consider myself super tech savvy, I like to utilize my gadgets to their max capability in order to train smarter and harder.

What's the point of a pricey gadget if you don't use it or don't know how to use it?

Two great websites for analyzing your data are
Garmin Connect
Training Peaks

Both are free and w/ easy downloading from your device, make it super easy to use and to see what your body is doing during a workout. If you train w/ a coach, be sure your coach takes advantage of these websites for there is no reason why you should be paying for "professional" to help you with your training if he/she is not making sure your body is adapting to training, consistently. Also, your coach can not only "see" what you are doing during training but also read the athletes' comments to hear what is going on - to better plan upcoming weeks of training.
Both are great sites and have features that will help you. If you have the 910XT, take advantage of the swim data page on Garmin Connect for great details as to what you are doing while you swim (stroke rate, laps, etc.).


I had the opportunity to speak with a Garmin rep at the Oakley Women Napa Fitness retreat earlier this summer and I really enjoyed trying out the 210 forerunner. A simple watch w/ basic functions that will help any new runner or fitness enthusiast learn to pace smarter and to train w/ heart rate (HR).

But I need more than pace and HR in order to train efficiently.

For the past 2 years I have been training with the forerunner 405 which has been a great watch for running but not being waterproof, it hasn't served me well in races when I putting my training to the test.

As a lover of effective and quality gear, I was so thrilled to have received a free Garmin 910XT. Karel has been enjoying his gift as well - especially with his new triathlon lifestyle.

I can't describe how much I LOVE this garmin. Already, my swimming has improved because I am able to analyze my swimming after each workout. That is worth the price of this watch!

I used this watch in my last triathlon on Saturday and the multisport function was fantastic! Although I wasn't perfect w/ hitting the lap button for every transition, the watch performed great for all three sports, w/ different screens for each discipline.
I currently use the Edge 500 as my bike computer as I find it easier to see a screen on my aerobars, rather than looking at my watch for power, speed, HR, time, etc.

Although I love to train w/ gadgets, I understand that gadgets are not perfect and will fail. Therefore, it is important to not rely on gadgets 100%, recognizing that often times you have to go by perceived exertion or by wearing an "old fashion" Timex Ironman stopwatch.

Here's a video on the 910XT

If you aren't a triathlete or feel you aren't ready for the 910XT, my recommendations would be the forerunner 410 or 610. The 310XT is great as well.
No matter what device you are thinking of purchasing, always review the specs to see what functions you want. For example, for a triathlete, make sure it is waterproof and you may want a multisport function if you don't use a bike computer. Another great feature of the newer garmins is the ANT+ wireless technology for automatic transferring to your computer after your workouts.
The newer garmin's come w/ super comfy elastic heart rate monitor straps (you can remove the "monitor" part for easy washing) so if you are still training w/ a firm, hard strap, it's time to update your strap.

Lastly, on the topic of knowing how to use your gadgets, it's one thing to know how to turn it on and to download data. One of the many benefits of Garmin is having multiple screens to see different data as you are training.

For example, when you are doing intervals, you may want to see lap heart rate, lap pace and if on the bike, lap power and lap cadence.
You may want one screen for race day, to be overall time and overall pace.
One thing I have learned with pacing your own race, is to NOT rely on average speed or power of the duration of a race. Instead, have a page for average bike speed and power or average pace for the run but another page where you can see what you are doing at that moment in time to prevent overcooking yourself. Far too many athletes get caught up with speed and pace and this can lead to a poorly planned effort especially if it is windy, hot/cold, hilly/flat or if you go out too hard or too fast.
Take some time to sit down and scroll through your screens on your garmin to make sure your screen shows info that will help you train and race smart. I find the auto roll screen function to be super handy in training to see different screens without pushing a button.

Any questions? Feel free to email.

Don't miss this special before 8/31/12 - buy a new garmin and sell back your old one for $50
Special mail-in offer

I was not paid to write this review or asked to write a blog after receiving my free Garmin 910XT. I love reviewing products on my blog since I receive countless emails from athletes, asking for my suggestions. Hope this review is helpful :)