||11 Aug 2017
The Garmin 910XT is an update to the Garmin 310XT with extra features, but it's more expensive. Probably the most useful feature for most runners is the calculation of Training Effect, and the altimeter. The 910XT has been replaced by the Garmin 920XT which offers a lot more features, but its release has also dropped the price of the 910XT. For a simple evaluation of a GPS watch, I look at how well it can answer some basic questions:
How far did I run? This is the most basic question, and the Garmin 910XT has good GPS accuracy. It will give you a better idea than most watches how far you've gone.
How fast am I running? Knowing how fast you're running can be a nice to know, or it can be vital for your training or race performance. Because of the nature of GPS, watches that rely on GPS signal alone tend to have serious problems with current pace. Thankfully, the 910XT is one of the few devices that will display current Pace From A Footpod while getting all other data from GPS.
Where am I? The Garmin 910XT has some basic navigation functions.
Track Outline. There is a display of where you've run, rather like a breadcrumb trail. There are no maps, so this is just the outline on its own without any context. However, you can use it to backtrack along your path.
Course Outline. This is an outline of a route that can be downloaded. I've found this useful during ultras or in unfamiliar cities where I've needed to know where to go.
Back To Start. This is a simple arrow point to your starting point, so it won't help you backtrack.
Back To Waypoint. You can mark a location and use the arrow to point to it later. Again, this is a simple "as the crow flies" pointer.
GPS "Compass". There's no magnetic compass so you have to be moving for the GPS to give you a sense of direction.
What's my cadence? Cadence is one of the most critical and often overlooked aspects of running. If you get your Cadence right, many other things naturally fall into place. The Garmin 910XT supports Cadence via a Footpod, but has no alerts nor does it have an internal accelerometer to estimate Cadence.
For ultramarathon running the Garmin 910XT has the battery life to suffice for shorter ultras, but if you expect to be moving during the Second Dawn you may need to look elsewhere. (You can turn off GPS and use a Footpod; if you're okay with that compromise, the 910XT will last for days.) See Watches for Ultrarunning for more details.
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