Posted in Run and tagged run, run training
Running watches

What good is running a 5K on a damp Monday night if you can’t parade the evidence in front of your partner or upload diagrams of it onto social media?

Well, a lot, as you probably know, but having a way to track your progress is valuable not only for kudos but also for taking a serious and structured approach to your training.

The most successful fitness regimes have goals, and to know if you’ve accomplished your goals you need to track your progress.

This is where the running watch has made a significant contribution to modern training methods.

Not only are they conveniently small and lightweight, but even the most basic watches open the door to a world of visualisation and data analysis that was once the preserve of Formula 1 teams.

With a running watch you can dive into the data, helping achieve your fitness goals by monitoring your progress and allowing you to see what methods are paying off and where you’ve been wasting your time.

Plus, you get to plaster your achievements over the entire internet, which is a bonus.

Basic running watches

Basic running watches have pretty much everything you need to get your journey into fitness data started. Typically they’ll track the number of steps you’ve taken and can be paired with a smartphone or computer to help you retrace your route. And as the technology becomes cheaper, even some basic models now come with heart rate monitors and text message notifications. The data can also be used to monitor your improvements and tightly track your gains against your goals.

TomTom - Touch Cardio + Body Composition Fitness Tracker

What has it got? 

Heart Rate tracking, body composition data, phone notifications, sleep tracking, water resistant (IPX7), Bluetooth, and ANT+

Battery life?

Five days (depending on usage)

What's the top-line feature? 

Body Composition Analysis

The Tom Tom - Touch Cardio + Body Composition Fitness Tracker is a lot of tech for a small price. It's unusual for an entry level device like this to offer a heart rate monitor, but the Tom Tom comes complete with an optical pulse reader that puts many hi-spec watches to shame. Coming in at less than an ounce (the module weighs 10g), it's light too, and looks slim and stylish. Its big selling point is its Body Composition Analysis feature which measures your body fat and muscle mass percentage with the touch of a button. 


Garmin Vivofit 3 Activity Tracker

What has it got? 

Steps, calories, distance, intensity, and sleep trackers

Battery life?

One year (battery needs replaced at end of lifespan)

What's the top-line feature? 

Move IQ motion detector

The Garmin Vivofit 3 Activity Tracker is a do it all activity tracker. Pair it with your smartphone and the watch automatically syncs to Garmin Connect² for a huge array of insights into your training. The Move IQ motion detector technology, meanwhile, automatically detects when you're on the move and begins recording your data. It's a perfect watch for those looking for a hassle free relationship with their tracker.

Intermediate

The tech integrated into intermediate running watches can vary considerably, so it’s worth finding out what tech you’re interested in and checking the descriptions carefully before you buy. You should expect to see GPS capabilities, Bluetooth, and real-time pace/speed counters.

Suunto Core Classic Watch

What has it got? 

Altimeter, barometer, compass, temperature, storm alarm, sunrise / sunset indicator, 

Battery life?

One year (battery needs replaced at end of lifespan)

What's the top-line feature? 

Rigour

The Suunto Core Classic may not have the tracking tech that attracts many runners, but what it does have is a range of accurate readouts that aid the explorer. If you're a trail runner, then this could be right up your bracken-besieged unbeaten path. 

What has it got? 

GPS, Bluetooth, touchscreen, pace/speed counter, heart rate monitor, music playback and voice control

Battery life?

Two days

What's the top-line feature? 

Compatible with Android Wear

The M600 is a GPS Sports smartwatch, integrated with Android's wearable tech platform. This means you can use Knight Rider-style voice control commands, reply to texts, and listen to music while you run. It's also packed with training-tracking tech and is priced keenly for the amount of functionality. 

Advanced

Top-of-the-range running watches come loaded with tons of top tech that’ll take the totality of your training to travails to task. Expect to find turn-by-turn route navigation, progress metrics, extra-long battery life, and multi-sport support.

Garmin Forerunner 935 Multisport GPS Watch - AU

 

What has it got? 

   

GPS, heart rate monitor, recovery advisor, Smart notifications, lots of training software, Water resistant to 5 ATMs

Battery life?

24hrs to two weeks, depending on whether you're using the GPS

What's the top-line feature? 

Data driven technique analysis specific to your activity with built-in activity profiles for a multitude of sports 

The ultimate training partner, the Garmin Forerunner 935 GPS Watch is stuffed with advanced hardware and software in a neat, lightweight package. Built-in navigation sensors include GPS and GLONASS satellite positioning, using a 3-axis compass, gyroscope and barometric altimeter to create one of the most accurate sports watches available, with over 30+ sport modes pre-loaded for the multisport athlete. 


Suunto Spartan Ultra Titanium GPS Watch

Suunto titanium

What has it got? 

Everything, except ANT+

Battery life?

16 hours or 26 with GPS off

What's the top-line feature? 

Full colour touchscreen

The Suunto Spartan Ultra Titanium GPS is pretty much the Rolls Royce of sports watches. It supports over 80 sports, tracks every conceivable element of your movement and fitness, syncs with your iOS or Android phone, and even offers peer-to-peer coaching. 

 

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