The Runner's Watch - Three Types of Watches to Help You With Your Running

A runner’s watch is a vital tool for anyone who is trying to improve at running. The sport of running is simply distance versus time. The best way to gauge if you are improving is by wearing a watch. In recent years, their have been a tremendous amount of new technology that has been included in running watches. No longer are you stuck with a Traditional Running Stop Watch. Two other available watches are Heart Rate Monitor Watches and GPS Running Watches.

First up is the least expensive of the group, the traditional runner’s watch. This is what I typically use. This is a digital watch that measures the time you have been exercising. You simply change the watches mode from the time of day to the Chronograph mode. There it lists a bunch of zeros. Press start and it will count the hours, minutes, seconds, and even tenths and hundredths of seconds. Stop your time when you finish running.

I am fond of the Timex Ironman Series. This watch can record the time you ran, but also store lap information. For instance, if I want to run on the track, I can hit the lap button for each lap I run. When I am finished running, I can go back and compare each lap time to see where I was rolling fast, or shuffling slowly.

Another way I monitor my runs is by sticking with the same running route. I can tell if I am running well or running slow as I run by certain check points. I’ll just take a glance at the time on my running watch and determine if I should speed up, hold my pace, or slow down a bit.

The second category of watch is the heart rate monitor. Using these can really help you target how hard you should be running. For example, in Marius Bakken’s 100 Day Marathon Plan, many of the workouts are designed around running at different target heart rate zones.

The benefit of running within a certain heart rate zone is it prevents you from overworking yourself. Many runners have a tendency of over-training, which can lead to an injury. If you use a heart rate monitor watch, you can make sure you don’t work too hard, which also will lead to you getting in tremendous shape. Many runners swear by using a heart rate monitor watch along with a complete training program like the 100 Day Marathon Plan.

The newest category of running watch uses Global Positioning Systems or GPS. These watches are able to receive and translate signals from GPS satellites and then pinpoint your location on the earth. As you run your route, a GPS running watch can track your route along with how fast you are running. When you get back home, you can download this information onto a running log to see exactly where you went and how fast you were going.

I strongly recommend this watch for the adventurous type. As you blaze new trails or experiment with different running routes, a GPS watch can track your every move. That way, you’ll still be able to monitor your pace per mile while enjoying different running routes.

Many GPS watch users get so attached to their watch, if it breaks down, they feel “lost.” All the wonderful information that a GPS watch presents its user with is invaluable. Every mile is calculated along with your pace. You can constantly monitor how you perform. Instead of just seeing if your four mile run took 28:00, or 7 minutes per mile pace, you can see exactly what the pace was on each mile. Did you start off fast and fade towards the end? Did you finish strong? Was your pace even? All of these factors are important to many runners, which is why they use a GPS watch.

No matter which watch type you choose, they all help you improve the quality of your runs. The sport is distance versus time. Get a watch and watch yourself improve!

- Written by David Tiefenthaler

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GPS Running Watch
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