Having skated the Berlin Inline Marathon in 1 hour 35 minutes in September 2008 I’m determined to do better in 2009. So I need to make my training regime more professional…

forerunnerProblem: when skating there’s no way other than GPS to measure your speed. Pedometers don’t work. So I managed to persuade my parents to purchase a Garmin Forerunner 305 for me for Christmas. I’ve taken it out for a couple of training runs, and I’ll use it for the first time skating in Brussels in early January.

First of all it’s worth saying that this is a seriously chunky watch. The bottom part of it contains the GPS antenna and while it sits snugly enough on your wrist it’s rather large and takes a bit of getting used to.

But the crucial bit is getting the data off the watch, and doing something with it. Quite frankly the Garmin Training Center software for Mac provided with the gadget is rather basic, and indeed the CD in the box does not even contain the latest version (which you can instead download here). Make sure the Garmin software is installed – you need it for the next step, but you won’t be using it too much.

picture-12Instead download the brilliant (and free / donationware) TrailRunner software for Mac. As you can see from the screenshots this is a much more pleasant Mac user experience than the Garmin software. You can also save routes you run regularly, and all of these are plotted on maps that are very easy on the eye. TrailRunner gets the data from the Garmin Training Center software, so you need both of them installed.

Plus once you have downloaded the data from your GPS watch you can publish your training schedule using the blog-publish function – you can see my training runs here. There’s relatively little scope for formatting the blog, but you do get excellent web based maps like this.

So don’t be at all concerned by the questionable software for Mac that comes with a Garmin Forerunner 305 – TrailRunner does a brilliant job, and then some.

Happy running / cycling / skating!


  1. I have been running for what seems forever and I have to say that I am in love with this GPS watch. Its accuracy and dependability are second to none. I first had the 205, moved up to the 305 and am now thinking of the 405. Training seems to be far more intense and focused with the help of this device.

  2. This really seems to be cool. The integration with web based maps is super cool.

  3. Thanks for the comments. Yes, all the extra stuff is a bit over-the-top but if it’s going to encourage me to train more than I’m happy with that! 🙂

  4. After a couple of years with a Nike+ iPod add-on, I’ve been running with a Garmin 205 for the past few months; fantastic piece of kit. (Didn’t feel the need for HRM.) The Windows software is equally disappointing; I’m using a companion/replacement called Sport Tracks which is a bit better in several aspects, but still isn’t perfect. Mind you, at the end of the day, the only ‘must have’ is the timing; all the other mapping, charting etc is cute but hardly essential.

  5. I now see there is a new version of TrailRunner I didn’t try at the time. I’m going to give it a try, it seems quite good!

  6. Jon,
    I bought my Garmin 305 in September. I got a good deal on ebay. It didn’t work very well at the beginning but I got it replaced it in London in a matter of days, very effective support service.
    Anyways, I use it with Ascent. It is not free, but I reckon it does a better job than TrailRunner.
    I used it for mapping my biking in London and posted the map on my blog in October here

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