Important Characteristics for Your Running Watch
People who use a running watch know that they are now packed with plenty of features that can make it much easier for you to train. Nowadays, there are so many terms and jargons that refer to these features such as “GPS enabled watch”, “Virtual partners”, and “Indiglo systems’ that it may be hard to really learn about them anymore.
While all of those features mentioned above do help in making the running watch more accurate and comfortable to use, the fact is that some of them can be considered as bonuses. When it comes to running watches there are some necessary characteristics that should be there in order for you to be able to train well.
We can divide these characteristics into two groups, the physical characteristics and the software features.
What is the Best GPS Watch for Running?
The most important characteristics of the best GPS running watches is that they are durable, they have a comfortable wriststrap and easy-to-use start and stop buttons, a well-working software with memory function and computer connectivity. Our recommendations in this article are the Timex Ironman Run Trainer GPS Watch, the Garmin Forerunner 305 and the Garmin Forerunner 235.
Durable but Comfortable Wriststrap or Band
As many runners know by now, running can be an extremely physical activity. The vigorous movements by your arms as you run can damage or dislodge the wrist strap of the running watch. This risk is even amplified if you start running in not so desirable weather conditions.
That is why you would want your watch to have a durable but comfortable strap. You would want it to be able to remain firmly attached to your wrist without hindering your movements or making you uncomfortable.
Easy to use start and stop buttons
You would usually use a running watch to take your lap splits and other time related data. Having a watch that has difficult to reach or use start and stop buttons can make you take inaccurate data.
In a sport where the tenths of a second is highly regarded, you should be able to start and stop your timer as soon as possible. Having buttons that are hard to press may add or subtract a few seconds of your actual time.
A running watch should be able to keep track of your laps or miles during a span of training activities. This would help you recognize if your constant and continuous training is effectively improving your pace.
There are actually some watches that can track up to 500 training sessions but leisure runners may opt to go for those that can track a lesser number of sessions since those are usually cheaper.
Computer connectivity is a relatively new trend and feature in running watches that is slowly becoming more and more important. A watch that has computer connectivity is great for two things.
The first is that you would be able to record your data and use training analyzing software for them. This would help you learn more about which training you should be doing.
The second is that computer connectivity means you would be able to upload your training and send it to people all over the world. Again, this would help in analyzing and comparing your data with real life performance from other running enthusiasts.
Timex Ironman Run Trainer GPS Watch with Heart Rate Monitor Review
In order to improve your running times, you need to have the right information and analysis in your hands. The right information enables you to pinpoint the various areas that you need improvement. Fortunately for the serious runners everywhere, this need is expertly filled in by the Ironman Run Trainer GPS Watch with Digital 2.4 Heart Rate Monitor running watch.
The Timex Ironman Run Trainer GPS Watch is powered by SiRFstarIII GPS technology. This technology allows it to provide runners with accurate pace, speed, distance, and other running information in real time. It can also measure your location with altitude ascent and descent distances and rates. This SiRFstarIII GPS technology is set apart from other GPS technologies as it requires no calibration and can provides you with precise running data right out of the box.
Aside from the built in GPS functionality, the Ironman Run Trainer GPS watch showcases its versatility by allowing you to track your data from other kinds of sources thanks to its compatibility with the ANT+ technology. First off, the ANT+ technology is used to connect with the included Heart Rate monitor. This allows you to track your Beats per minute accurately as you train. For those who are looking for other kinds of data, you can also use the ANT+ technology built into the running watch to connect with third party bike power meters and sensors. This would allow you to measure data such as cadence, speed and distance.
With all the data that you can get using the Timex Ironman Run Trainer GPS watch you may think that it would be difficult to keep track of all of it. However, this Ironman running watch is actually able to offer you the data that you want to see thanks to the Highly Customizable screen display. The screen setup would enable runners to be able to modify and personalize the data that you want to be seen. You can set one field to display your pace, the other your heart rate and the other fields other information that you would want to see while you are training.
One final thing thing that is quite helpful for all the runners is that it has a hands free feature. This Hands-free option automatically starts and stops data capture functions which would enable you to focus on your strides during your runs and not have to expend much energy in fiddling around with the screen.
Other noteworthy features of the TIMEX Ironman Run Trainer GPS Watch with Digital 2.4 Heart Rate Monitor are that would truly help runners include:
- Performance Mode that records multiple variables during your workout, including speed, distance, elapsed time, pace and calories burned.
- Multisport Event Mode that records activities and transitions in one sequence
- 20-workout memory with dated summary records up to 1000 laps of information
- Chronograph with interval and countdown timers measures performance
- Records elapsed time, calories burned and performance data for each lap
- INDIGLO night-light with Night-Mode
Garmin Forerunner 305 Review
Serious runners would always need to have a good training watch. While a normal stop watch and a coach may provide some of the data that you need, it would still not provide you with the whole host of data for improving your training.
That is why having a good GPS enabled running watch is critical for training.
One of the more famous GPS running watches is the Garmin Forerunner 305. The Garmin Forerunner 305 is considered one of the entry level GPS running watches that come from the Garmin Forerunner line.
The watch is capable of measuring and timing your exercise routines such as walking, jogging, running or even biking if you have the accessories for it. The Garmin Forerunner 305 would give you time/distance alerts when you have hit a specified distance or time during your workout. It also has Speed Alerts for warning you if you are going above or below a certain speed.
Something that is quite admirable in the Garmin Forerunner 305 is that it has built in automatic features to ensure that you can keep your focus on your running instead of your watch. There is an auto pause function that stops your timer when you are stuck on a stoplight or in traffic. The Forerunner 305 even packs an auto lap function when you reach a certain distance or point in your route.
As seen in the features mentioned above, it seems that the Garmin Forerunner 305 really caters to making the training as easy as possible for beginners. In fact, even the display of the Forerunner is customizable to show only the data that you would need. If you are not into knowing your total distance, but want to know how fast you are going and the time, then you can set the screen to show only these data.
Of course, given that the Garmin Forerunner 305 is an entry level model. There are bound to be some areas where the higher ends Forerunners blow it away. One thing that is highly noticeable is that it can take an extra minute or so, for it to connect to a satellite. This is especially true if you train in high traffic areas. Another is that it is quite bulky, and the wrist strap does not allow too many adjustments for fitting your wrists.
However, since it is understood that the Garmin Forerunner 305 comes at a lower price than high end models, I think that people would be willing for these kinds of tradeoffs.
Again, here is a quick summary of what I think about the Garmin Forerunner 305:
- Accurate Data Reading
- Customizable data entry fields
- Downloadable Training plans
- Affordable price range
- Satellite uplink, while brief, is not as fast as higher end Garmin models
- Can be a bit bulky for people with smaller wrists
Given these strengths and weaknesses, The Garmin Forerunner 305 is a great fit for people who are just beginners or are entry level runners.
The combination of great features that are a step up from regular stop watches, an inexpensive price, and easy to use controls make the Forerunner 305 a great first step, for anyone who is just entering the world of running watches.
Garmin Forerunner 235 Review
A running watch is often seen by people as a complicated piece of equipment. That is a major reason people shy away from a high end running watch. However, the Garmin Forerunner® 235 does away with this issue by offering the usual Garmin accuracy and precision time keeping, while providing you with a very easy to use and intuitive interface to set it up.
One of the best features of the Garmin Forerunner® 235 is its ease of set up. Through it, even beginners or first time running trainers will be able to immediately benefit from this excellent watch. After charging the watch and booting it up, you will be presented with a set of questions that would help you fine tune your watch. After this initial configuration, you can now immediately take it out and do your runs. With this kind of set up, even the amateur runners and the beginners can use it without any kind of hassle.
The Garmin Forerunner® 235 is not just catered to the amateur or novice users but has functions that are made for the advanced and experienced runners. The set up may be made easy for beginners but this running watch is actually powerful enough to satisfy the needs of the more advanced runners. You will be pleased with the Heart rate monitor, auto lap, interval training, and the heart rate based calorie computation capabilities that are innately stored in this running watch. With all of these features the Garmin Forerunner® 235 is truly a perfect gadget for those who want more functionality in their running watches.
Aside from the internal capabilities of the Garmin Forerunner® 235, this excellent running watch is also aided by a variety of external items. First off, this watch is compatible with the Garmin Training Center software. This software is brilliant for being able to properly track your progress throughout your training. You would be able to transfer the data gathered by your running watch during your training to the software for proper analysis and training suggestions. Also, the Forerunner 235 is compatible for use with Garmin Connect™. Garmin Connect™ is an online community where you would be able to upload your training data so that you can share and compare them with runners from all over the world. These external features definitely join the running watch in helping you in significantly improving your run times.
With all of these, the Garmin Forerunner® 235 should be one of the running watches on your mind if you are looking for an easy to use yet fully featured running watch.