Gear Review: Mio Alpha Strapless Heart Rate Watch

Wednesday, 9 July 2014  |  Gear + Gadgets


The Mio Alpha arrived at my home in a simple, inconspicuous black box with an image of the watch on it.  To be honest with you, I had never heard of this watch so I wasn’t particularly excited about it, but one line completely changed all that for me.  One panel of the box read: “The world’s first performance level, strapless continuous heart rate sport watch!” (more…)

Gear Review: Garmin Forerunner 10

Tuesday, 15 October 2013  |  Gear + Gadgets

Garmin sent over the Garmin Forerunner 10 for road testing.


Last Sunday, I took this pretty baby (no exaggeration!) out for a spin on a 14k easy run with friends.  Without reading the manual, I wore it that morning and took off.  Good thing it didn’t rain despite the expected storm because I wasn’t even sure if it was water resistant!

– Garmin Forerunner 10 comes in various colors for Men and Women –

Here’s my review on the Garmin Forerunner 10.


+ Provides Essential Running Info.  The Garmin Forerunner 10 provides the basic and most important information a runner needs from a workout: Pace, Distance, Time, and Calories. With the Garmin’s dependable GPS-based system, distance and pace are pretty accurate.


– Screen after the run. Hey, don’t judge my pace! It was an easy run! –

+ User friendly. To start running, just press the right top button to grab a satellite signal and within a few minutes, you’re good to go. As with all Garmin watches, all you need is common sense to get started. I never ever had to read through their product manual. We all have time for long runs, but we don’t want to waste 5 minutes figuring out how to start a running watch, right? To add, all functions can be easily accessed using the two right buttons.

– Just click on the right top button and you’re off! –

– Click on the right top button again to pause or end a run –

+ Backlight. If you start running before dawn or at night, the backlight is definitely a must.

+ Virtual Pacer. The virtual pacer is available in most, if not all, Garmin running watches. It allows you to set a target pace and you can race against a virtual runner. The watch will alert you when you are on pace or if you go too fast or slow.

+ Counts laps. The watch can monitor your pace and time for laps. I usually have my laps set per kilometer and this helps to track your average pace per lap for a long run.

+ Run-Walk Intervals. For runners who practice run-walk technique, this is a God-send. You can input number of minutes running and walking and the watch will alert. No need to add/subtract while on the run.

+ Easy to charge and upload. Just attach the charger to the watch and plug it in like a cellphone. This is also the way to upload data to Garmin Center.

– The charger attaches to the back of the watch –

+ Comfortable, Good size, Lightweight. This watch is as light as a feather, it’s comfortable, and it fits on the wrist quite nicely.

– The Garmin Forerunner 10 with its siblings the Garmin Forerunner 310XT (strapless because I use this for the bike) and Garmin Forerunner 910XT –

+ Comes in various colors. Black/Red & Orange/Black and Pink/White for men and Green/White, Violet/White & Black/Silver for women.  All colors are available locally.

+ Water resistant. Up to 50m.  (Great to know I can run under the rain with the watch again in the future!)

+ Functions as a watch. This is a big deal for me: You can use it as a regular watch! Battery life on watch mode lasts up to 5 weeks.  That’s fantastic.

+ Affordable. The watch costs P8,990. Not bad compared to other pricey Garmin models.


– Limited to 2 Data Fields. While running, the interface provides two data fields at a time: one screen provides time and distance and the other calories and pace. While I appreciate the simple and clear interface, I count this is a negative for one, like me, who is used to the Garmin Forerunner 310XT or 910XT which can provide 4 data fields at once. But, for the first time Garmin user, this won’t be a problem at all. One can easily switch screens by pressing the down arrow. Data is large enough to read while running. Data can be customized as well.

– Short battery life for training. According to the Garmin website, “for typical use (with GPS on 30 minutes per day), battery life is 10 days. If used continuously with GPS on, battery life is 5 hours.” For runners who run above 5 hours for a marathon or an ultramarathon, this is a serious issue.

– Limited archives. History can store only up to 7 past runs. If you’re OC over your training, make sure to upload your data regularly to Garmin Center.


I highly recommend the Garmin Forerunner 10 as an entry level running watch. It provides the basic and essential info needed by a runner along with additional features. Garmin pretty much took the key features in their top of the line running watch and packed into this the Garmin Forerunner 10. No frills, all function.

My only concern with this watch would be its short battery life on GPS mode.  I’m assuming they designed this truly for beginner runners running short distances.

So, who is it for? I would say it’s for the beginner runner, the experienced runner (who runs half marathons or shorter) who is on a budget, the triathlete who wishes to have an extra running watch on top of his/her triathlon watch on casual days or running days. The latter is actually me. I’m pining for the purple one! Sigh.


Garmin Forerunner 10:
  • Available at: ROX, Riovana, selected Tobys and RUNNR, Secondwind, The Brick,, selected Chris Sports and  Bike Town Cyclery.
  • Price:  P8,990
  • For TBR Dream Marathon participants, avail of 20% off on this watch at NAVCO, 3/F Millenium Place, Meralco Ave. cor Julia Vargas Ave. Ortigas Center, Pasig City.  (On top of Brothers Burger)  Please present your TBRDM Card to avail of discount.

Goodbye Garmin, Hello Garmin

Friday, 9 September 2011  |  Gear + Gadgets

Goodbye Garmin Forerunner 310XT. You’ve served your purpose well from November 2009 until my run last Tuesday.  You were by my side—or more on my wrist—through my 2nd marathon in Singapore, 3rd in Condura, 4th in Hong Kong, 5th in New York and many more half marathons and happy training runs.


When I look at you, I know you’ve grown old. We’ve had to be resourceful by tying a pathetic rubber band around your straps just so you don’t annoy me during long runs.


Last Tuesday, I felt like I was running at 5:45 min/km, but you said my pace was 8. You probably didn’t lie to me intentionally. You’ve just lost your sharp wit and accuracy.


I didn’t know how to tell you, but it’s better you hear it from me rather than others. I’ve met someone else: the Garmin Forerunner 610.  We ran together for the first time this morning and we hit it off.  For now, rest well in my ol’ treasure chest of running memorabilia along with other running gear.  Be happy for me knowing I’ll be completely fine with this newer, sleeker, and lighter Garmin.  Oh did I tell you he’s touchscreen?!


My Polar Dream

Tuesday, 15 May 2007  |  Gear + Gadgets

Elite runners probably know their bodies so well that they know when to push harder, slow down, run longer, or stop. For the novice runners, it will take some time to listen and learn to what their previously indolent bodies have to say (I’m speaking for myself, really). For all types of runners though, it’s been said that monitoring your heart rate is still the best way to go to determine your pace, maximize your training runs, and track your progress.

For the longest time now, I’ve been using my hubby’s hand-me-down stopwatch that he received as a giveaway in a company sales conference. It’s not very attractive—it has a high-tech cum alien look to it—but it’s free so I don’t mind looking like a martian at all during my runs. Then, last week, Mayi and Jamike ran with us and Jamike was sporting his Polar. He even had the foot module on to track our distance and pace.

Oooh, I thought, I want one.

No, that’ll cost you, my conscience tells me.

You’ve worked hard and you deserve it.

You’re spending way too much on accessories.

Shut up, conscience, I said. Maybe my hubby can get me a second birthday gift? The following day, I drop by Time Depot at Festival Mall and pick up a Polar brochure. That evening, I show the Polar RS 200 to my Hubby and exclaim with much excitement “They are more affordable than I thought! I should’ve asked for this on my birthday instead of the ipod you gave!” Biting the bait, he replies “Yeah, if the budget permits then why don’t you get one?” I want to tap myself on the back for a job well done, but before I can celebrate my victory, my authoritarian conscience whispers “Isn’t it preschool enrollment next week?” Shucks, I nod in forced surrender.

So being the good mother that I am (don’t laugh), I shall patiently wait for the right time (read: Christmas) to buy my Polar Watch. In the meantime, I shall drool over and dream of the Polar that shall be mine.

Polar RS200

– the Polar RS 200 with the option to connect to the foot module (when I get it for my birthday 2008 haha!) –