Running Watches - Why keeping time keeps you improving.

What are the best running watches out there? It all depends on what you want your watch to do. There are plenty of great watches for running. Make the best decision by determining what you will use your watch for.

You can always go on the cheap and by a kids digital watch. I make all the runners I coach wear a watch. I once had a runner get his free buy purchasing a cereal box with a watch included inside. This watch has a stopwatch mode, I so didn't complain. If you want something nicer than this, you can compare prices right here for a quality running watch. The best brand names for a watch include Asics, Nike, Polar, and Timex.

The most important factor in determining if you want to improve at running is measuring time versus distance traveled. Sure, you can go out and run by feel, but the first step in figuring out how to improve is to measure yoru current progress. Because of this fact, all running watches you buy will have a stopwatch mode. Some call this the "chrono" mode, or chronograph. This will save your times as you run. You can record "laps" at any time you wish. Depending on the watch, you can record a lot or just a little information.

If you want to be on the cutting edge, get a GPS Watch. GPS watches are much more expensive though.

Garmin Forerunner 410 Modes

The picture above is of my Garmin 410 GPS and heart rate monitor watch. This watch came with a heart monitor strap that I have to wear around my chest as I run. The heart monitor communicates with the watch and then it displays and records my data. This is the ultimate tool if you want the most amount of information from each run. It can record so many different things. You can see your pace, heart rate, mile splits, the route you ran, and so much more. You can even program in interval workouts so the watch will beep when you are supposed to go, and take rest breaks. You can see my full Garmin Forerunner Review here.

I use a watch that can record a lot of laps because I use it for keeping time on my cross country runners. If I have a lot of runners in a race, I have to record numerous splits. My current watch can record 100 laps in its memory. Before I coached, I only had a watch that recorded 10. If you don't plan on recording a lot of information, you probably only need 10 to 50 laps of memory. The watches will be cheaper too if you only want a little information to be stored.

An Additional tool that running watches have include countdown timers. This helps if you are trying to keep a steady pace when running a loop. Say for instance you want to run an eight minute 1600 meters on a 400 meter track. You could set your watch to beep every minute. You can tell if you are on pace if the watch beeps every half lap.

This isn't really necessary if you just want to look at your watch for the time. I do find it useful for a harder workout. This way, I don't have to slow down to look at the watch. I can just listen for the beep to see if I am on pace.

Most watches also have alarms, different time zone settings, and a glow in the dark option. The glow in the dark is nice when it is dark, but sometimes it is hard to remember what button makes the watch glow. Sometimes I push five buttons before I find it and end up setting my watch for a different time zone.

Some watches don't include the GPS feature, but still can even monitor your heart rate during a run. If you are interested in this option, look at watches made by Polar. Heart rate monitors is their specialty for their products. Visit the following site to see a full range of Heart Rate Monitor watches.

When I purchased my last stopwatch, I bought one that didn't look so runnerish. I don't think runnerish is a word, but I think you understand what I mean. I wanted a quality watch that I could wear to work too. Don't sacrifice style when buying your watch. Be selective and get a watch that can fit all of your needs.

I used to use a Timex watch. I have always used one or the other for running because I am familiar with their formats. I have gone through quite a number of them since high school. This is not because they are bad. I just lose them often. The one that I have currently is over one year old. A personal record!

I figured that since I have finally become responsible enough to not lose a watch, my next purchase was top of the line. My newest toy is the Garmin 410 Forerunner. I have been using this GPS watch to monitor my heart rate as I run, as well as seeing how fast and far I travel with the GPS feature.

There you have it. Running watches are important because they can keep you motivated to improve. Put one on, start the timer and get out the door for a nice run.

- Written by David Tiefenthaler

Related Articles

- Running Gear
- GPS Running Watch
- Discount Running Apparel
- 100 Day Marathon Plan

 

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