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Okay, so I love gadgets but I HATE wasting money. I have found some things that I LOVE, some that didn't work for me, and I am still looking for the perfect solution to some of my frustrations...
In the interest of saving my friends some time, frustration, and money I am going to try to review some of my favorite things. If you find something that is AWESOME then please share the secret to the rest of us! NOTE: I do not purchase anything electronic without reading the incredible reviews written by DC RAINMAKER the official sports electronics guru! I would encourage you to do the same!
This phenomenal bike trainer CHANGED my bike riding life! With this Kickr I can create my workout in TrainerRoad, start it, and then DO it! I don't have to have a piece of paper next to me telling to to increase this, do that, yatta yatta. None of that. I can also pull courses off of Best Bike Split, build them to my personal cycling abilities or desires, upload them into TrainerRoad, and ride them. This is EXCELLENT preparation for races. I am working on an article explaining how to do all of these cool things...coming soon...I promise.
Until then checkout what DC RAINMAKER has to say about the Kickr.
Also check out his 2014-2015 Trainer Recommendations and you will see he rates the Kickr as the best available. I happen to agree.
Okay, I love this watch. In fact, I get pretty depressed when I forget it and I have to actually exercise without it tracking my every move! It does an excellent job tracking my swim, bike, and run. A few keys: when you swim you have to be moving your arms for it to work. Therefore if you are doing kick drills or anything not using your hands then it will not add those laps to your total (See the Garmin 920XT below for this great addition!). Also, it can be thrown off by sudden increases in speed since it uses an accelerometer to determine when you are starting a new lap. I love that it lets you chose a pool swim or open water swim and even put in the length of your pool laps. It puts out a lot of information about your swim but I only really focus on my speed/100 meters and my efficiency scores. The GPS for running is about as accurate as any other. I have the foot sensor too so that I can measure my cadence. On the bike I have the sensors to track my distance and speed for indoor/trainer rides. This is AWESOME! I will note that it is very easy to accidentally turn this watch on and drain the battery. For me this is a MUST HAVE!
Con: This version is not bluetooth and so I have to use the usb dongle to sync it to my computer. I would love to be able to sync it immediately with my phone so that I didn't have to wait until I got home to add it to my TRAININGPEAKS (an online training program that many triathletes use to plan their training and track their results)!
Well, my wish for bluetooth has been granted by Garmin! In December I sold my 910XT after a year of use (still an amazing watch that I HIGHLY recommend...especially if you can get a great deal on a used one) and upgraded to the red/white 920XT. Why? Well, it has several functions that really work well in my insanely chaotic life. The first is bluetooth connectivity. This allows my workouts to automatically sync to Garmin Connect and TRAININGPEAKS. Bam, no more driving over an hour home, trying to search for internet in the country where it is often nonexistent, getting my little ant+ dongle to work properly, and finally uploading my workout. I LOVE THIS!
Other awesome features are notifications. Since I have a young daughter when I was riding or running and my phone would ring I would almost always try to stop to make sure it wasn't her or work. Now when this happens I just glance at my watch without having to stop and continue to workout when it is someone I can call/text/FB message later in the day. Without a doubt this makes my workouts less stressful and more enjoyable. I can concentrate more on training.
A third upgrade I love is the drills setting for the pool. Previously I would have to try to write down my workouts and put a column for total yards and one for yards minus kicking drills so that as I swam I could keep better track of where I was based on my watch values. Now, I merely place my 920XT into drill mode, do my drill, stop the mode and enter in the distance. Once you get the hang of it you will love it!
The upgrades continue...another feature is "Race Predictor". This is well, ummm, how shall we put it...let's say that my Garmin believes I am much more BADASS than I believe I am. The race predictor uses some algorithm based on previously tracked runs to predict how you would do in a 5K, 10K, half marathon, and marathon. Mine believes I am only a hop, skip, and a jump (by 5 minutes) away from a BQ (Boston Qualifier) time. Sadly the rest of my body hasn't figured this out and seems to be sitting about 40 minutes shy of the coveted BQ.
Other odds/ends I look at....
Recovery Time: After a workout it will tell you the time you need to recover.
Records: It tracks your records so you immediately know when you have PR'd an event (love this!)
VO2Max: It estimates your VO2Max.
In the end, I love this watch. READ DC RAINMAKER'S IN DEPTH REVIEW HERE!
Garmin 800/810 Bike Computer:
Okay...I am directionally challenged!! And so once I got more comfortable riding on the road this was a MUST have. When I purchased it I had no money (like I have no money now!) and so based on DC Rainmaker's review I got the 800. Part of me wishes I had the wifi possibilities of the 810 so I could load new routes on the fly and upload my data on the go. Regardless, this is a great bike computer. I love how you can easily customize the screens to show the information that you want. I also love the turn by turn navigation.
Jaybird BlueBuds X Bluetooth Earphones:
I bought these after earning a discount on EveryMove.org. I absolutely LOVE them!! I hate random cords and floppy stuff when I exercise. These connect to my phone via bluetooth and so I don't have that cord going from my phone to my ears. They stay IN my ears where they are supposed to be, have EXCELLENT sound quality, and have an easy to use switch to change the song, volume, and turn on/off. My only is complaint is that they haven't made a one ear model. Real athletes only use one earbud (if any) and it is a pain to tuck the other one away. I have abused these earphones for well over a year and they are still hanging in there. Definitely worth the money!
This iPod works great during boring swims. I have used it for over a year without problems. When I received my first one it was defective and I was so busy that I held onto it for a year before contacting Waterfi. I finally emailed them, the warranty had expired, but they didn't question it one bit. I returned it and they sent me a new one. No problem. I am not posting a review for earphones because I haven't found a pair that I LOVE yet.