So you want a running watch? Great! They can really help you get the most from your workouts. But with all of the options out there, trying to decide which watch to get can be pretty daunting. Where do you even begin?
The best way to narrow your search for a running watch is to figure out what you want your watch to tell you. Do you just want to know how far you’ve run, or do you want to know your pace, average and max heart rate for the mile you just finished? There are a TON of options out there. Some watches will only give you very basic information while other watches will tell you everything you could ever want to know about how you are running, and even having a virtual partner “running” next to you.
So what do you want from your watch? Do you want to know how far you’ve gone? There are two ways watches accomplish this, either by using a foot pod or GPS technology. The foot pod essentially counts your steps and calculates your speed and distance based on the number of steps you take. Some chips are acceleromitors, they work a little different, they measure how fast they are moving, not how many steps. These pods are fairly accurate, but lose accuracy when you are on hills or trails or anytime your stride length changes.
Nike makes a very simple, user friendly watch call the Nike+ Sportband that uses one of the accelerometer foot pods. The GPS watches use satellites to determine how fast and far you are going. The GPS is more accurate obviously, but one of these watches will cost a bit more than one that just uses the foot pod.
The second big consideration when choosing a watch is if you want a heart rate monitor or not. Training with a heart rate monitor is a great way to get more bang for you buck out of your workouts. For more on that check out BJ’s blog “Heart Rate Training.” All of the heart rate watches use a strap that goes around your chest to determine your heart rate, no good running heart rate monitor will just be around your wrist. Again, if you’re looking for a heart rate monitor watch you can get one that will tell you everything you want to know, such as the Suunto T6, or you can go with the Surge X made by Soleus which will tell you your heart rate and has a lap timer, but leaves out things like the virtual partner.
So what is really the best way to figure out what watch you need? Figure out what you want your watch to tell you and come see us at one of the locations. We’ll help you figure out which watch is the best match for you and your needs.