Ten Random Tips for your Garmin Forerunner 305

I wrote up some of these a while back in a comment after a friend got her new Garmin 305 GPS late last year.  But figured I’d clean them up, add a few and put them here for all the world to see.

  • Never ever use/open up GTC (Garmin Training Center) again. It’s crap.  Instead, go download (for free) Sport Tracks (2.0):
  • Don’t worry about doing splits using the watch itself. Do all split stuff in software later (which is automagic with Sport Tracks). You can set the watch to autosplit as well btw, but I don’t bother as sometimes obstructions will incorrectly autosplit.
  • In Sport Tracks you can overlay your route/course right onto Google Earth (or Virtual Earth in ST 2.0) – pretty cool.
  • Remember to wipe the metal contacts on the back of your watch after you run. After a while (a few months) if you don’t the sweat will cause corrosion.  Which will in turn cause other problems.  If it gets really out of control, use an eraser to clean the contacts.
  • For about $21 or so you can pick up the velcro wristband and associated bike quick release kit, which is much nicer than the rubber wristband thingie that came with your watch. Great for quick transitions.
  • If you don’t like standing out in the cold, before your run starts toss the watch in a window sill while you put your shoes on. By time your shoes are tied up, the watch will be ready to go. And that will reduce the awkward standing around outside looking at your wrist dance that you do.
  • When you download the stuff to your computer, there is an option in Sports Tracks (ST) to ‘automatically turn off device and start charging it back up’. This makes it dead simple to go ahead and always ensure you have a charged unit when you’re ready to go.
  • If you want to swim with your Forerunner, go here.
  • Don’t try charging it in the middle of a rainstorm outside (don’t even ask how I managed to do that)…it kills it.  The good news is that in under two weeks, Garmin fixed it all up again.  Garmin Customer Service rocks!
  • You can change the data fields that are displayed on the watch.  For example, I changed my cycling one so that by default it displays four things: Cadence, Total Distance, Current Speed and Total Time – in four little quadrants.  You can add any of the gazillion fields to make your own custom view.  You can even save multiple views per sport.

To read all my other random Garmin Forerunner posts – just click here or here (first link is more ‘refined’).


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  1. Great post, i just can’t get SportTracks to work for me which is a real bugger as if i could it would sync up with my online training calender buckeyeoutdoors.com.

    Good to know about the swimming thing as well, you had me wondering until I saw the pictures about how to secure it! Velcro, Elmers etc!

  2. Wow. That just overwhelmed me. I’m not a gadgets gal.

  3. the prospect of having a garmin to me is exciting…but I am like rachel…not a super gadget person..it might freak me out….
    but man is it tempting….

  4. Pretty cool that you can swim with it on! But eh I’m not even gonna try to do that… besides lately I’ve been swimming hard enough that I know my heart rate is up there!

  5. OhmiGod thank you.
    I need the velcro strap for starters–I’ve been puzzling over that prob. for months. What’s wrong with me not to have figured that out?

  6. Aaron

    My Garmin refused to charge anymore a couple of months ago and has been sitting in a drawer ever since. I had to go back in time and use a stopwatch for my runs (the horror!!).

    I read your post and thought “An eraser? Really?” Sure enough, two seconds later it was charging on my counter. Thanks for getting me back to this decade.

  7. Thanks, I had never thought of an eraser to clean the contacts. Worked great!

  8. zenrunning

    Thank you so much! I’ve had my Forerunner for about a year now. Wish I had found this sooner! I’ve used it mainly for running, but I hope to do a tri this year.

  9. thanks for the great info. I received the FR305 for Christmas and was up to date on all the functions because of your posts!

  10. Anonymous

    Is there any way to use it for a duathlon?

  11. RE: Use in Duathlon

    Yup, you can simply specify two sports instead of three. Good to go!

  12. Thanks for the great info on your blog. Question… I have a 305 and use a Macbook, sportstrack 2.0 is not compatible, any suggestions???

  13. Hi Kevin-

    Unfortunately I don’t have a Mac, but I went back into the Garmin 305 review post and added some suggestions based on Mac users comments (in the comments section). Check that one out and see if that helps a bit.


  14. Thanks for the tips!!

    RE: Kevin / Macintosh

    I use Ascent. It’s AMAZING software and very similar to SportTracks. The only down side is it’s $40… but if you’re serious about your stats, it’s well worth the price. (and supporting a small business) This stats nerd LOVES it.

    link to montebellosoftware.com

  15. Hey Ray,
    I can’t seem to locate the setting which would allow me to move HR into a larger view field on the watch-I’m able to toggle items like pace, time, etc. but, can’t get HR into a larger view. Doing intervals and trying to see the really small HR # in the corner=impossible. What am I missing?

  16. Hi Martin-

    When you go to change the data fields, it will ask you how many fields you want, with a little up/down arrow. Simply choose a smaller number, which as 1 or 2. One data field will take the entire screen, and two will split it horizontally. Three will split it horizontally, and then the bottom row will be split vertically as well.

    Hope this helps!

  17. This is one of the best reviews I’ve seen in a while. I love Garmin watches, I’ve had most of the Forerunner watches and I find each new model more and more exciting. My running and biking is truly amazing experience with the 405cx nowadays.
    Anyway, thanks for the nice post.

  18. I know I’ve seen it on your site somewhere before, but I just can’t find the section of your site where you describe the device one can buy to extend the life of the battery. Or did you remove it recently? Thank you for performing such a great public service with all your reviews and advice!

  19. Hi Rico-

    Here’s the post you’re looking for:

    link to dcrainmaker.com

  20. Fabulous — thanks a million, Ray. I’m running the Lean Horse 100 Miler in August and I’ll definitely need the charger to capture the splits for every mile!

  21. Hi, in your list, number 7, I can’t find this setting in SportTracks. I’ve only had my Garmin 6 days and love it. And love SportTracks but there’s no help file so I’ve been clicking on everything in search of the setting you mention. Can you provide a few more details? Cheers.

  22. Great list, I love my FR305!!

    Here’s one more tip; I use the Interval Training feature on time/rest/time setting to time my stretching/exercise routines before or after a run. I’ll set it to 35 secs, then 5 secs and repeat say 12 times. Then I’ll start my stretches, hold for the 35 secs, change or repeat the positing in the 5 secs then hold for the 35 secs again. I’ll then do say 4 sets of calf, quad, hamstring stretches, with the FR305 bleeping when I need to change, and I get the little fanfare jingle when the full set are done! Saves me from guessing the timing or buying another timer.

    It also uploads to Garmin Connect which I log in as stretching – so I can keep on track with the stretches! If I miss any there’s no excuse now!

    Happy Miles,


  23. Many thanks for useful information. Take few minutes and turn your attention to outsource software development team, I know you it would be interested for enterprise companies.

  24. what’s the current best software solution? still sport tracks? I hear you have to pay for it now :(

  25. It really depends if you want online or offline software. For desktop software, ST is still the best (and it’s free with up to two plugins, but after that $35). Otherwise, online, Training Peaks is your best bet.


  26. I’m with you guys. I’ve had a 305 for about 4 years now, and it’s finally gone kaput on me. This site was great for a new brush up. I was trying to see if anything had advanced in the past few years, but it appears that the 305 is still the Cadillac (and for as much of a Bentley that the 310 is, it doesn’t seem worth the extra cost).

    I’ve always used the Open Source Garmin software and never had problems, but after reading about SportTracks and ZoneFiveSoftware, I got really excited. Unfortunately, it is STILL not compatible with a Mac. I’m going to give the Ascent a try…it might be fun. But–does anyone know if more progress has been made for ZoneFiveSoftware being compatible for Macs?

    Thanks for all your research DC!

  27. Hi Brian-

    It’s unlikely that we’ll see it Mac, as it’s written in .Net Framework (a Windows based programming framework) and there aren’t any plans to port it to Mac. That said, Mac users that want to use it, simply run a program such as Parallels. Not ideal, butit does do the trick.

    Hope this helps!

  28. Anonymous

    I usually download my runs to Sport Track after each run and everything works great. However, if I’m travelling and can’t get to my computer, I would like to download the runs from 2 or 3 days onto my computer when I return home. I’ve tried it, but it never seems to work. I seem to lose everything except that last part of the last run. I know that things got recorded because the Garmin keeps track of my 3 runs over 3 days (it treats an individual run on separate days as a lap) Any suggestions on overcoming this problem?

  29. Are you resetting the watch (holding lap button) after each run? It sounds like it’s coming up as one giant run. Older versions of Sport Tracks had an issue where it didn’t support a given activity over 24 hours (crossing days) – which would fit your description. But newer versions do.

  30. Thanks for the quick reply. Your suggestion was spot on. You definitely know the Forerunner! I’ve learned a lot from your tips.

  31. Anonymous

    Hi , great reviews. I have a garmin forerunner 305 and can’t seem to get the distance accurate when running. It always shows that I have run about 1.5 miles more than I have. Any suggestions maybe I have something set wrong.


  32. Hello;

    Traveling overseas for the first (and only) time. 305 recorded the data, but when I downloaded it in sporttracks, time correct, not distance or map. Also, I cannot get topographical map for spain when I download info.

    Thanks for any help. Love your blog.
    Bob in Spain.

  33. Hi Bob.

    If you look at it in either Garmin Connect or Garmin Training Center – do you have a map at all (even if wonky)? I’m wondering if perhaps it didn’t initially acquire satellite and thus thought you were indoors. So the time would be correct, but not map.

    If you’ve got a little track though, without any map behind it, then try changing the map provider/type to show something different.

  34. Thanks, your probably right. Must not have gotten a satellite, as I have no map at all. Any thoughts before we return from Spain to US? I’ll try again. I was in a window seat, but did not turn it on until we were on the runway.

  35. Window seat is key, but even more so turning it on before departure is most important – otherwise it won’t usually get signal due to changing location.

  36. Laurent

    Thanks a lot for this fantastic review. I have been using the forunner 305 for a couple of years until it failed recently. The battery was not charging anymore. As I thought it’s a problem mentioned by other users that the sweat is somehow getting inside the watch corroding the contacts/pin…Now I came to the point that I’ve got to but a new watch but as I don’t know this to happen anymore I think I’ll go for the 310XT…It’s a pitty no review exposed this kind of problem…

  37. i have a garmin 305 for almost a year now and it works great . i have one big question? i accidentally drop the watch(without straps) 2-3ft high, althou it still works. does it have a affect the accuracy of the watch? you reply is very much appreciated

  38. brett regulski

    I have turn down my contrast too far on my Garmin 305 and i cannot for the life of me get the contrast to go back to its normal setting can anyone help please

  39. Va Burke

    Any tips on how to clean the wrist band?