Running watches most often combine heart rate monitors with GPS watch technology
or make use of accelerometers in foot pods to measure speed and distance. These are key developments for the running watch because it is the
correlation between pace and heart rate that is most critical for any runner to fully understand.
What we are looking for is the ideal pace given the distance boiled down into minutes per mile. Ideally this pace will keep you beneath your
anaerobic threshold in a functionally operational zone where it is sustainable. Start too fast and you risk oxygen debt and lactic acid build up.
The GPS watch is beginning to become a favored tool by many runners, although some of the more advanced accelerometer-based, or foot pod,
watches like the Garmin Forerunner 620 are among the finest running watches we have tested. Thus, there are two categories
of running watch - GPS watches and the accelerometer type watches.
GPS WATCHES EVALUATED
Garmin has the lead at this point in GPS watch technology at this point, but not by much over Suunto, with the Garmin Forerunner 620 and the
Garmin 220, although Timex recently introduced the new Timex Run Trainer 2.0 which is a close surrogate to the Garmin Forerunner 220. All three of these watches feature real-time pacing data, heart rate, speed and distance in 1/100th of a mile. Custom interval training and vibratory, as well as audible, alerts are the standard with the Garmin 620 and the Timex Run Trainer 2.0.
The Garmin Forerunner 220 only features audible and vibratory alerts plus pace, distance and heart rate data.
With the advent of improvements in the GPS SIRF 4 chipset technology reception is rarely and issue anymore. What most runners seem
to like about GPS watches is that you have one single accessory in the watch itself with no added components and you get all of your data.
The downside to GPS is perhaps battery life, which runs about 13 to 14 hours in the Forerunner 910XT and Suunto Ambit 2, while the
Garmin Forerunner 620 and 220 last about 6 hours. For most daily training, and even marathons, this type of battery life is more than adequate. For
long course triathletes and ultra-marathon runners you will definitely want to stick with the 910XT and Suunto Ambit 2.
There is a learning curve to these more advanced GPS watches but it pays off with an incredible array of data that can truly help you advance your
For those wanting speed, distance and heart rate in a much easier to use package then consider the Garmin Forerunner 220. These watches are extremely simple to operate, create great maps and good basic data with simplicity being the key watch word.
The Forerunner 220 do not contain the Virtual Partner real-time pacing feature so really serious, competitive runners may want to stick with the more advanced models.
ACCELEROMETER WATCHES ASSESSED
The absolute best in the class of accelerometer based running watch is the Polar RS800sd. These devices
deliver accurate speed, distance, heart rate and pacing information. Both come with light weight foot pods (between 30 and 50 grams, that
typically are placed in the shoelaces of your running shoes.
With the advent of the new Polar V800 watch with 13 hours battery life and more advanced features it is probably likely that the Polar RS800CX and its days are numbered.
The Suunto Ambit 2 has all of the features you'd expect from a great running watch and one unique metric called post exercise oxygen consumption
If you are looking to purchase a great running watch that will help you get the job done just call the experts here at the Heart Rate
Watch Company at 866-586-7129.
Rusty Squire, firstname.lastname@example.org, Copyright 2014