Your questions answered about a GPS running watch.
A GPS running watch is a powerful tool for a serious runner. It can record your time along with the distance you ran. Don't get too excited just yet. The technology isn't perfect yet, and they are a bit expensive.
Does that mean you shouldn't get one. Not necessarily. To get an idea on how much they currently cost you can compare prices here of different GPS watches.
I made the leap while back, and I have a Garmin GPS Watch. You can watch my video review below.
I recommend a GPS watch to anyone who desires more information about how they are performing on each run. They compile a lot of data for you. You can see your pace, heart rate, speed, and so forth at any point during the run. The best way to improve at running, is first to analyze your current fitness level. What better way to get an accurate reading of how you are doing than with a GPS watch.
If the prices of GPS watches scare you, look at what a regular running watch can do. Any extra information that you can get about your runs is always valuable. Knowledge is power.
With a GPS watch, you would be on the cutting edge of running technology. I think they are great for the fact if you go trail running, it maps out your run.
Well, how do they work? Your GPS running watch receives information from satellites that transmits a signal from thousands of miles away. Your watch locates these signals and pinpoints your position on earth. As you move, the watch continues to receive satellite signals which helps it record where you are on the earth.
There are some limitations. The satellites sometimes see the earth as a flat plain. When you run a hilly course, it is difficult for the satellites to account for these changes in elevation. It takes about four satellites to pinpoint your exact location and elevation. There are about 30 GPS satellites orbiting the earth, and you need four to exactly cordinate your location. If one of the four satellite moves out of range, another satellite has to fill in.
Also satellites aren't always accurate to the exact spot of your location. If you own a GPS system for your car, you may have been on one road, but the GPS says another. Mistakes can happen. A GPS watch can error around 10 feet from your current location. This doesn't sound like much but if you run 20 feet in a straight line and it errors on the opposite side of your position both times, it could say you ran 40 feet, or no feet at all.
When your run is done, you can upload this information to a mapping program to see exactly what path you have ran. The distance is usually longer than what you ran, because of the 10 foot range around your exact location.
Overall, they are nice thing to have. Just remember, if a path says it its 4.2 miles long, and your GPS running watch says it is 4.4, trust what the sign says, and not your watch.
GPS technology will continue to get better. If you buy a watch now, it will help you in the future because you will be familiar with using them. I know many runners who use them exclusively. When the watch breaks down, they feel like they can't run without it. They also have other uses, such as if you like to Geocache. This is where you search for hidden treasures around the globe. You can use them for hiking, camping, or any outdoor activity where you want to know your exact location on the globe.