It’s very important to be in good shape. Living healthy means living a longer and happier life and one of the most popular physical activities everywhere around the globe is running. You could just be jogging for a few miles weekly or indulge in heavy preparations for the next marathon.
Either way, your body will thank you for it. You’ll lose weight, strengthen your muscles, and increases your overall energy levels.
If you’re really serious about running you will need a certain type of device to keep track of your progress and therefore improve the efficiency of your workouts.
This is why there is a huge and growing market for various models of running watches out there. Besides serving the purpose of an ordinary watch, a running watch can show you how far you’ve run, what’s your heart rate, and it can even track your route by using a GPS system. You get all of this in a small, convenient wrist-based package.
Why Do You Run?
First of all, you need to determine the reasons. If you’re running just to stay fit without giving it any serious thought, using a sports watch probably hasn’t even crossed your mind. You’re likely more enthused by the things you’ll see during your run, rather than the time it takes you to complete the run. If you head out with no time limit in mind, a sports watch may be a wasted investment.
But if you’re serious about running and want to keep track of many different types of data, you definitely need one of those GPS running watches available out there. With the right watch, you’ll be able to track exactly where you ran and how long it took. You’ll even be able to create your own custom routes that you can set times for. Then, you can use the watch to keep track of future runs and compare the times you set with each run.
What Are Running Watches?
These watches can help you trace your routes very precisely and help you improve the overall efficiency of your training routines. One with an accurate GPS built-in can show you how fast you’re running and the problematic areas that you should avoid.
Another common feature on running watches is heart rate monitoring. Besides precise activity tracking, these devices are almost always water resistant since they are exposed to perspiration. A side benefit of that is you can even use them when it’s raining.
On the other hand, there are also quite a few runners out there who rely on smartphone apps to provide them with similar services. Sure, these apps work fine, but phones are much too bulky compared to running watches, and their battery life is also quite questionable.
To use a smartphone while running you will need a chest strap. Even though smartphone notifications are a convenient thing, any smartphone will give you only a few hours of GPS service.
In the end, if you are still partial to your iPhone, you may want to check out the Apple watch which has a similar feel overall.
Common Functions of Running Watches
Depending on the model, a running watch can usually provide you with a plethora of benefits and functions.
First and foremost, a good running watch will come equipped with advanced GPS features. Besides this, you can also set various alerts such as vibrations and sounds. These can come in handy if you want to keep your pace or heart rate in a desired range.
Also, some devices have more advanced features like the Garmin Connect app, which makes it possible to connect your running watch to your smartphone, tablet, or computer. You can even share your results and achievements on social media and elicit praise from likeminded runners.
Some models available on the market can even help you with achieving the optimum VO2 max, which measures the maximum amount of oxygen available to a runner or an exerciser. Depending on the rate at which your muscles, lungs, and heart use oxygen during your trainings, you will feel fatigue as your oxygen depletion approaches your theoretical VO2 max.
If you like swimming, you can always opt for one of the water-resistant models. These products are multi sports, not just for running.
Can a Running Watch Be Your Best Friend?
Well, if you take your training seriously, the answer is definitely yes. They say it’s always easier to keep running when you have a companion to join you. Even though it’s not an actual person, a good running watch can be your running buddy that keeps you motivated.
You can even consider it your personal trainer, once you set it up properly. After each training session, you will be greeted by precious feedback which shows you how much you’ve progressed, what you should work on next, and, ultimately, what your future goals are. This information can even give you a much-needed boost when your motivation starts to wane. Breaking a personal-best time on one of your routes is one of the surest signs of progress that you can get.
It will replace your regular watch in no time, and it will be quite easy to jump into the routine of carrying your new friend everywhere with you.
What’s the Price Range of Running Watches?
As is always the case with all products, especially little gadgets designed to do specific tasks, running watches cover a wide spectrum of prices.
If a running watch is expensive, it doesn’t mean it will fit your needs better. It usually means it is better built and comes loaded with more advanced features. Whether or not you need such features is the real deciding factor with these types of watches.
There are running watches under $100 which will work just fine, but that doesn’t mean the cheaper the better. The really cheap ones are usually very light and you may not be able to trust its GPS and Bluetooth connectivity. All of them work like a fitness wristband with heart rate monitor. But again, that could be all that you need from the watch.
From $100 to $250, you would find much better devices, which will provide you with much more accurate data from the GPS systems and accelerometers. These prove useful for those who want to create accurate routes that they’ll use to track times over several runs.
Pricy pieces of work that go for more than $250 usually feature advanced options such a built-in compass, VO2 max monitoring, and real-time coaching. Competitive runners can make use of such features to optimize their performance to give them a better chance come race time. But those who run for personal fitness purposes may not find themselves using such features too often.
Can an App Do It Better?
Some runners stick with their smartphones and an app of their choice for all their training monitoring. Sure, these can also pull off the trick, but cellphones are much more expensive and usually not meant for all the heavy use and abuse commonly associated with training.
Training watches are much more convenient, portable, and, in most cases, even water resistant, unlike most smartphones. Plus, they’re not at risk of falling out of your pocket and smashing on the floor.
When all is said and done, if you’re serious about running, and you want to keep pushing your boundaries, you definitely need a friend – a running watch.
These gadgets keep you disciplined and inspired, and you’ll find yourself eagerly waiting for the next training session. Without one, you’re just a Zen runner, without any specific goals to achieve. There’s nothing wrong with that, of course. It just means a running watch doesn’t serve your needs because it tracks data that you’re not interested in.
Ultimately, the choice is up to you. But a running watch serves an important purpose for anybody who wants to track their progress and those who want to run competitively.