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I'm a long time reader, but first time poster. Whilst I wouldn't consider myself a beginner runner, as I'm fairly confident doing reasonable distances, I am new to the world of running tech, I've been doing a bit of research and am ready to take the plunge into tacking my tracking to the next level.
I'd like to get myself a GPS watch, and having looked around, Garmin seems to be the standout option. Essentially I want to be able to track my runs GPS, be able to pair a chest HRM (can non-Garmin HRMs be linked to Garmin watches/app?), also considering getting a footpod (again can non-Garmin devices be paired with Garmin watch?) The footpod would mainly be for using on a treadmill/Zwift, but was also curious if it would add additional value to outdoor runs?
I don't want to break the bank getting the latest and greatest smart watch but would like to start looking at some metrics to measure my fitness over time - not sure what level of watch I need for this?
Any advice would be greatly appreciated.
 

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Some Polar HRM straps are compatible with some Garmin watches (ANT+ devices). Ebay and CEX are a good source of affordable tech. I have used quite a few Garmin watches over the years, Forerunner 10, 35, 205, 305, 310XT and currently the 235 They have all been very good, I have also had a couple of TomTom watches, Cardio and Runner and they both malfunctioned within a year of purchase, so I avoid TomTom now.
Decide what features you really need and read lots of reviews.
 

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Yes, you basically need to check whether the watch, the devices and the straps can use ANT+ or Bluetooth to communicate. For example a Garmin chest strap uses ANT+ and will pair with all Garmin heart rate watches. A Wahoo chest strap sends out both Bluetooth and ANT+. I can pair this with a Garmin Fenix 5 either way but I find Bluetooth uses more power so I use ANT+. Phone/music controls and headphone pairing is always Bluetooth so if you want your watch to do this it must have Bluetooth.
 

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unless you're honing in on major competition, I would recommend keeping running simple and get the minimum tech. Forerunner 35 is a good start. forget the foot pods. still minimum 10% error on those
 
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