Garmin International Inc., a unit of Garmin Ltd., the global leader in satellite navigation, is now offering the Forerunner 620 and Forerunner 220 GPS running watches, both of which have color displays. The Forerunner 620 offers advanced features like recovery advisor, race predictor and VO2 max (maximal oxygen uptake) estimate to help runners train and achieve race goals. When used with the new HRM-Run (heart rate) monitor, the 620 also provides feedback on running form.
For indoor training, such as on a treadmill, the 620 and 220’s built-in accelerometer tracks distance and pace, so runners don’t need a separate sensor. Both models boast Garmin’s unique one-inch Chroma color display to easily interpret data.
“Whether running indoors or out, Forerunner 620 and 220 will change the way runners look at training,” said Dan Bartel, Garmin vice president of worldwide sales. “Advanced features in the 620 such as recovery advisor, VO2 max estimate, race predictor and stats on running economy, combined with connected features and training plan options found in both the 620 and 220, make these watches must haves for runners of all levels. To keep runners motivated the watches also notice if runners hit any personal records on that run, like their fastest mile, 5k, 10k, half or full marathon or their longest run to date.”
Regardless of a runner’s experience, motivation, or how far or fast they go, they likely want to know how they can improve and objectively measure their fitness. Forerunner 620 does just that by estimating runners’ VO2 max, which is a good indicator of athletic capability. Previously, the only way to accurately obtain VO2 max was by paying for a lab test.
When used with a heart rate monitor, the 620 incorporates several pieces of data, like running speed, beats per minute and heart rate variability, into an advanced algorithm to estimate runners’ VO2 max. The number itself indicates the maximum volume of oxygen a runner can consume per minute, per kilogram of body weight at their max performance. Theoretically, the more oxygen runners can use during high-level exercise, the more energy they can produce. A color gauge on the watch display shows how a runner’s VO2 max data compares to other individuals of their gender and age range. Based on the VO2 max estimate, the 620 can predict a runner’s race time for several distances. This can give runners a time target for their next race, assuming they’ve completed proper training.
When wearing HRM-Run, Forerunner 620’s recovery advisor and recovery check take the guesswork out when it comes to planning recovery time between hard workouts. Just like a coach, it learns the runner and their physiology based on heart rate data, so it factors this against their last workout and then shows how much time before they are fully recovered and ready for their next hard running workout. Color-coding on thehigh-resolution Chroma display gauge makes it easy to interpret — green means they are good to go. When runners see red on the display and a recovery time of more than three days, they might consider taking a rest day or just doing a light recovery run.
HRM-Run also has an accelerometer in the module that measures torso movement in order to calculate 3 different running metrics:
- Cadence — the number of steps per minute. It displays the total steps (right and left combined)
- Vertical oscillation — the bounce in runners’ running motion. It displays the vertical motion of a runners’ torso, measured in centimeters.
- Ground contact time — the amount of time in each step that you spend on the ground while running, measured in milliseconds.
Thanks to their Bluetooth Smart wireless upload capabilities, Forerunner 620 and 220 can send runners’ run data to the Garmin online community, Garmin Connect, without being connected to a computer. It can transfer the data through the Garmin Connect Mobile app on their compatible smartphone. Additional connected features include live tracking, which allows runners’ friends and fans to follow along and see their stats in real-time. Runners must have their phone paired with their 620 or 220 throughout the run to use the LiveTrack feature. Victories, goals achieved and successes can be shared on runners’ social media sites by posting updates through the Garmin Connect Mobile app.
With the growing popularity of the run/walk training method in the distance running community (example: a runner runs for five minutes, walks for one minute and repeats for the duration of the course), Garmin has included a run/walk alert. This alert allows Forerunner 620 and 220’s other features, such as, Auto Lap and Auto Pause, to remain active during a run/walk session.
Both Forerunner 620 and 220 are water-resistant to 50m and can stand up to much more than rain, sweat and splashes. The Forerunner 620 has a touchscreen display responsive enough that it can be operated with running gloves, while the 220 is operated with easy to push buttons. Both models have rechargeable batteries lasting up to six weeks in watch mode and up to 10 hours in training mode.