Ultra distance running is often two, or more, times the distance of a marathon and in many events you can be out
there for 10 hours or longer. This type of event requires highly specific tools and we know of only two GPS watches and a small handful of
foot pod heart rate monitors that actually deliver the performance necessary to hold up to this kind of, for lack of a better word,
Accurately measuring speed, distance, pacing and heart rate is tantamount to success in ultra running. Since many ultra runners must carry
hip packs and water, the last thing needed is a ton of other excess baggage in the form of accessories, which is why a good GPS watch like the Garmin
Forerunner 910XT and the Suunto Ambit 2 are so ideally suited to the sport.
The Garmin Forerunner 910XT and the Suunto Ambit 2 are the only two GPS watches made that exceed 10 hours of
battery life on a single charge. A GPS watch sucks up a lot of battery juice receiving signal and since these two heart rate monitors
were built with long course triathlons in mind, they have the right stuff to go the distance.
While they weigh about as much as a regular watch, these two watches are fairly large which contains both a blessing and a curse. The curse is more
psychological because once you put it on your wrist and start running you won't even notice it, so stop looking at it and thinking about it's size.
The blessing is that both GPS watches have large screen that allow you to display up to four metrics like heart rate, minutes per mile, total
distance, and total time. Both of these watches allow the user to custom configure the screens to display the variables that are most important to
A GPS watch is one way to have a device that will last for ultra running events, the other way is to get a good foot pod-based accelerometer
watch like either the Polar RS800sd or the Suunto Quest, but be advised that foot pods don't do distance well when stride length varies a lot.
The Polar RS800sd is the cream of the crop in our opinion because the S3 foot pod actually measures stride and tries to help you improve your
stride and turnover, so it is a truly unique product for ultra runners. Polar also has the best heart rate features in our estimation allowing you to
set up and customize many zones and custom upload workouts right in to the watch.
The Suunto Quest is similar to the Polar in that it uses foot pod technology to measure your speed and distance. People always ask us if this
is accurate and with the Polar and the Suunto Quest the answer is yes, on flat to rolling terrain if accurately calibrated. The Suunto even has a measure for post-exercise oxygen consumption.
Long base miles at moderate intensity are necessary to be successful in long distance running and then once the base is in getting some speed work to
elevate your pacing and lower your times. All of the heart rate monitors and GPS watches described above will do just that and they can very easily
help you take your ability to the next level.
If you'd like help choosing a running specific watch that is right for you, then just give us a call here at the Heart Rate Watch Company at
Rusty Squire, firstname.lastname@example.org, copyright 2013