When I first started running, I had no idea how to pace myself. I would put together running plans with the Runnersworld.com training tool, but still had a hard time figuring out pace. Plus, I would spend tons of time at mapmyrun.com figuring distances and routes, then when I was running trying to remember the route and the mile markers.
Enter the Garmin Forerunner. Because I'm cheap, I bought a used 201 on ebay. It was one of the best running investments I've made. This little guy is great. Yeah, it's clunky looking, but it uses satellite technology to tell me my pace and the distance I've run. Exactly what I needed! I can run out the front door without worrying too much about the route. I just run until the Garmin says stop! I do plan my routes a little, but with the Garmin I can modify on the run. It's great for intervals, too. When I run Yasso 800s, I set it for laps of .46 mile (about 800 yds.), and I don't have to go to a track.
I'm not totally without complaints, though. It does sometimes have a hard time getting a signal. I discovered this worst when I ran at Rocky Raccoon, through the tall piney woods of Huntsville State Park. Similarly, it lost the signal at Cross Timbers, but not quite as badly. I gave up relying on it for pacing at those races, but the stopwatch still worked, of course. Around my neighborhood, it rarely loses the signal, thankfully. Also, after a few months of using it and downloading runs to my computer, it just stopped downloading. So I can't track the data on my computer.
I'm still not very good at pacing myself. I am far from being a "human metronome" like experienced runners should be. So I'm glad to have the Garmin! All in all, the 201 has been a faithful running companion for me. I must admit, though, I do have my eyes on a newer model, with the improved satellite tracking and heart rate monitor. . . .