Friday, May 22, 2009

The 3 Best Sports Watch Features For Runners

So it's time to buy a new watch and you're wondering what to look for. One thing is for certain these days, there are a lot of choices available! As well as prices. You can pick up a relatively cheap running watch for under $50, or you can spend in excess of $500 for a sophisticated wrist-watch computer that virtually requires a sports science degree to operate!

While you might not necessarily want to get the "latest and greatest" sports watch, you do take your running seriously and at least want something that can provide some real benefit to your performance training. Let's assume that you compete regularly, or at least in fun runs, you do interval training once or twice a week and long runs in between. You maintain a training log of your training and fitness progress.

What features should you look for in a sports watch? Here are three main ones.


The running stopwatch or "chrono" is the most important feature of the watch. The stopwatch enables you to record your time over long runs and in competitive races. The digits need to be clearly viewable at arms length and while you are moving and it is also an advantage if your timepiece allows you to view two or three simultaneous data fields and supports customizable screens.


Runners who keep a training diary require a watch that can store their training data long enough to record it in their logs. Many watches can store a session log in memory and individual laps of the session. More advanced watches can even accommodate the warm-up and recovery periods of a session and statistics over a long term period.


A countdown timer features is exactly what it claims to be. It counts down to zero from a specified time.
It is useful because a runner's repetition training is often structured around timed efforts and a timed recovery period.
An interval timer is a series of varying length countdown timers that run in sequence. When the last countdown timer in the sequence has run, the session either stops or repeats depending on how you set it up. This is even better for repetition training because the duration of the effort and time of the recovery can be different lengths.


Here are a few other features that can be nice to have in a running sports watch:


Most advanced running sports watches provide a heart rate monitor device. A heart rate monitor measures the frequency of your heart beats and displays it to you in real-time. Knowing your heart rate at any one time can help you determine if you are exercising at a high enough intensity level to achieving a performance gain.

Another useful measurement is heart rate recovery. Your heart rate recovery rate can be a telling indicator of over-training. Over-training is bad because your body will not respond optimally to your training efforts.


Speed and distance measurement can be extremely useful to runners. Knowing your pace can be useful in competition or training so as to guide you to the right effort level to achieve your goals. It is also useful to know the length of your runs and how much distance you have covered over a certain time period such as a week.

Sports watches can measure speed and distance using pedometers, foot pods and GPS tracking devices. Generally GPS and foot pods are the most accurate speed and distance measuring devices.

These are only a few out of many sports watch features available, but are probably the most useful to runners. By being aware of these features, you can probably save you a lot of time and frustration when choosing a watch that compliments rather than complicates your running and fitness goals.

Visit our website to learn much more about choosing the best sports watch for your needs. Check it out here. Sports Watches

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