Garmin Unveils GPS-Enabled Forerunner 201 Personal Training System

Garmin Unveils GPS-Enabled Forerunner 201 Personal Training System


Garmin International Inc., a unit of Garmin Ltd. has introduced the Forerunner 201 — an integrated personal training system that offers an easy-to-read display, ergonomic wristband and GPS sensor to provide users with precise data on speed, distance and pace for a variety of athletic applications. Thanks to its lightweight, compact, waterproof design, the Forerunner 201 is a practical tool for serious athletes as well as people simply interested in personal fitness.

“The Forerunner 201 is easy to use right out of the box and delivers the benefits of GPS technology at an affordable price,” said Gary Kelley, Garmin’s director of marketing. “The Forerunner 201 provides athletes with user-configurable features and built-in performance tracking that will help take them to the next level in their personal training.”

The Forerunner 201 uses an integrated GPS sensor to measure training time, pace, distance, lap time, lap pace, lap distance — even calories burned. Because the GPS sensor provides latitude, longitude and altitude data, the Forerunner 201 knows how far and how fast athletes have traveled — and how steep of a slope they climbed on a particular run. When users enter their body weight into the unit, the Forerunner calculates how many calories they have burned over the course of their workout. It also stores lap histories for up to two years. For instance, data like lap time, lap distance and average pace is automatically archived and statistically calculated to provide an accurate performance record over time. Users can retrieve lap data for a previous workout, for a particular date, or over a specific time interval.

Garmin has also built in three innovative features on the Forerunner 201 that enhance personal training. The first feature is AutoLap™, which automatically records lap data at user-configured distance intervals. The second is AutoPause™, which automatically pauses the lap timer when the user travels slower than a specified pace and restarts when he or she achieves the specified pace. A pace alert will sound if the athlete is going too fast or too slow, based on the user-configured pace. Further, the Forerunner 201 is also equipped with a distance-and-time alert, which sounds when the user has reached a specified distance or duration in his or her training session. Finally, users are never alone in their personal training, because the unit provides a Virtual Partner™. With this unique feature, the user sets the training goal by configuring the Virtual Partner’s pace and workout distance. By guiding users to run with the Virtual Partner, the Forerunner 201 helps them achieve their training goals. A simple glance allows users to see if they are keeping up or falling behind the Virtual Partner, and a countdown distance/timer helps to keep the user focused on the finish line.

Another feature that puts the Forerunner 201 ahead of the pack is its integrated GPS navigation capabilities. Athletes can mark specific locations, look up and navigate to these points using the plotter display, and retrace their steps to a starting point.

While the Forerunner is a self-contained training system and does not require a PC for performance analysis, Garmin goes the extra mile to provide software for serious athletes who want to track their athletic performance over time. The software will be available as a free download from Garmin’s website.

Other specifications of the Forerunner 201:

GPS: 12 parallel channel GPS receiver for 99 percent distance accuracy

Weight: 2.75 oz.

Display (WxH): 1.5″ x 0.9″; 100 x 64 pixels on FSTN display with LCD backlighting

Physical size (WxHxD): 3.3″ x 1.7″ x 0.7″

Battery: Rechargeable internal lithium ion

Battery Life: Up to 15 hours (typical use)

Water resistance: Submersible to one meter for up to 30 minutes

The Forerunner 201 is expected to be available in November 2003 at a suggested retail price of $160.70. It ships standard with a charger stand that also connects to the serial port on most PCs for uploading/downloading GPS data.