Forerunner 220 measures essential running data including distance, pace and heart rate¹. It’s like having a coach on hand, providing constant feedback and recording all your stats so you can focus on your run. In addition to using GPS to calculate distance and pace, the 220 has a built-in accelerometer. So you know distance and pace data when you’re running on an indoor track or treadmill, with no need for a separate foot pod. The accelerometer can also track distance when GPS is unavailable, such as when you run through a tunnel. It’s compatible with free training plans from Garmin Connect, which you can schedule and send to your watch, for real-time coaching.
I’ve run with an older Garmin, the Forerunner 305 model, for several years. It worked perfectly but was so heavy and bulky that the only time I used it was on tempo runs and some long runs. I kept wanting to buy a new Garmin but had a hard time justifying the cost when my current GPS watch worked perfectly. Fast forward to Hood to Coast a few weeks ago. The weather was chilly and wet on my night and early-morning legs, but my GPS watch was so bulky I couldn’t even put on and take off a warm-up coat over my Forerunner 305. A few girls in my van had the Forerunner 220 and loved theirs, so I bought one on Amazon (for about $200) before we even reached the beach. So far after 13 runs, varying from long, interval, tempo, and recovery runs, I love it.
Size: Even though the watch face looks large for a small wrist (see photo), the watch feels light and unnoticeable on my wrist. I actually think the design of the watch is pretty cute.
Accuracy: After 13 runs, I feel confident in the accuracy of the watch. One morning I wore it for 800 repeats on the track, and each interval consistently measured 0.50 miles.
Lap Pace: I love this model over the more basic Forerunner 10 because it includes lap pace. This field is so important when I’m on a tempo run or doing off-track repeats so I can see what pace I’m trending for the current lap. There is also a lap button, so it’s easy to start a new lap (repeat) at any point in a workout.
Fields: The only fields I really care about on a GPS watch are time, distance, average pace, lap distance, lap pace, lap time, and time of day. The 220 offers all of these fields and several more. When in use, I have access to three screens on the Garmin 220. There are three customizable fields for screens one and two, and the third screen displays time of day.
Wristwatch: As compared to my old 305, I love that the 220 can remain on all the time and be used as a wristwatch. Because the time of day is synced with satellites, it’s perfectly accurate. Awesome.
Bluetooth: The 220 syncs via Bluetooth with my iPhone. When in unlocked mode, it can connect to my phone and sync my runs with Garmin Connect. I have Garmin Connect set up to link automatically with Strava, so my run data is all there almost instantly when I finish running.
So far, I feel like this was $200 well spent, even with my old GPS still workable. The lighter/smaller profile, ability to use as a wristwatch, and the Bluetooth syncing feature have made it a worthwhile purchase.