The minute you decide to go running, you see that this hobby doesn’t take only a good pair or running shoes (even though essential), but also some other useful tools.
And if you take your running outside the gym, into the outdoors, you need to step up your game a bit. And we’re not only talking about the shoes that need better outsoles, especially for the rugged trails, but also about the gear you take along.
Timing yourself, knowing which way to go, keeping track of your previous performances and tracks are helping you to improve your running. And, as not all of us have a personal coach that can do all that, you need an assistant, non-human, that can do all of the above.
Sure, a smartphone on a run is a great asset too, as new models come with all kinds of apps to help your running performance. And, they also come with a GPS running watch for free-which is fine in the end.
In case you need real-time tracking information though, the smartphone is not able to help you anymore. There is so much other information that relates to your running outdoor that only a running watch is able to handle.
A running watch begins somewhere around $50 and may go up to $600 or more. The more you are willing to spend on your running watch, the more features you get. The watch becomes more versatile and you can take it not only when running, but also when hiking, camping or spending time outdoors in various ways.
Let’s take the Suunto Elementum Terra– a rugged watch that is able not only to time the miles of your marathon or chart your course, but it features useful functions for hiking: altimeter, barometer, compass, stopwatch. The heavy duty casing gives the watch durability and the watch is reliable not only when running, but also when hiking or camping. And you’ll pay a lot less than $600 for such performance.
If you are a tech fan, you can go for a smartwatch that provides similar run tracking as a running watch. They are the option of the occasional runners, and not the experienced ones who are dedicated enough to buy a running watch.
Choosing your running watch is not as easy as it may seem and you also need to give a thought on where you’re going to be running a year from now. The more dedicated you become to your running, the more you want to know about your running performance. And you can only get this kind of information only from a high performance running watch.
Don’t go over the top with your running watch if you only run every once in a while. A low-end running watch is perfectly able to give you the basic info on your performances.
But, if you dream big, then having the right running watch means a lot for accomplishing the dream.
What do you want your running watch to do?
A running watch comes with many various features and you need to make an idea about what you expect from it.
If it’s important to you, your running watch tells you where you are, as it has a built-in GPS, or it comes with a built-in accelerometer or a shoe pod with accelerometer.
Knowing your heart rate is important and your running watch can do that. The running watches may come with a built in optical rate (OHR) or a chest strap- these are the main choices on this one. The latter is more precise, but if you’re not comfortable with the chest strap, go for the OHR instead.
Keep in mind that there are different options for running indoor on treadmills- these watches have built-in accelerometer and indoor run option.
If you plan on running the marathon, your running watch can help you on that. You can find devices that help you create infinite interval sessions, combining pace, distance, heart rate and duration. They need to be combined though with your running watch.
The high end running watches are able nowadays to give you feedback on cadence, how often your feet strike the floor in a minute and even vertical oscillation. Once you combine these data, you get a better idea on your running and even how to avoid injury when running.
For those of you who run only on their favorite music, it’s good to know that they can also find watches that store their beloved beats. But this is not very common at the moment.
Is that all?
Few years back this seemed impossible, but not in the era of gadgets that are smarter every day. A running watch may be able to actually give you some piece of advice on your running. It can tell you for how long you should rest before running again. It’s not very common with a running watch, but it’s doable.
Let’s not forget about how you can pair your watch these days with a third-party app, and not only with its own platform.
Nothing lasts forever (well, perhaps diamonds)
The more your watch is able to do, the more energy it needs for it. And there are no running watches at the moment that run forever. Most of them out there run for around 5 hours, whereas a handful may do it for 13-hour without any back-up power packs. The running watches vary on this also and …the more you pay for it, the longer it runs JAlong you