The Garmin Forerunner 205/305 is the everything-watch. If you don’t think it looks stylin’, well, you haven’t yet seen the clunker that is the previous incarnations, 101/201/301!
For what I’m accustomed to, the most desirable features are the heart-rate monitor (HRM) and interval timer (absent on my fancy Polar). The headliner GPS function is pretty neat, too. (I have thrived so far without GPS by relying insofar as I can on others with Garmins and mapping my routes with Gmaps Pedometer with the hybrid satellite/street feature turned on. GPS will be most useful for all-important pacing.)
My trusty two-year-old Polar HRM flakes out every time I changed the battery. It flaked out right before the marathon. =S I should look into getting a new one and not balk since afterall the Polar, my first training instrument, was free. To put it into perspective, the cost of the Garmin could buy ski boots but not the skis… or a Onenighter ski pass but no equipment. To put it into perspective, I’ve spent $600 on registration, the clinic, and shoes so far this year. To put it into perspective, I’m already an over-extended student….
Another thing: these watches are so chockful of features I feel like the Luddite whilst reading through the features list. I’m deserving of a treat if I could get everything to work. =P
(I am aware of a current promotion for the 101 for $80 but hesitate in purchasing only the entry-level version. Incidentally, I’m balking because due to its larger size, it will cast a larger untanned spot on my wrist come next summer!)