To Have A Running Watch or To Not?

written by Rob Andro, Gazelle Sports Grand Rapids Run Camp Coordinator

The question of whether to dive into the electronics “pool”, is not an easy one.  It is not a simple yes or no answer. Asking yourself a few questions first can help the first decision, whether you need a running watch or not.  And “yes” is not an automatic answer.

  • Is running a fitness tool in your life, that you wish to improve?
  • Is there something missing in your training?
  • Are you driven by data in other parts of your life?
  • Do you think running data could help you become a better, more fit, runner?
  • Do you wish you could compare past runs with recent runs?

If you answered yes to even a couple of those questions, then the answer is yes, you should probably buy a running watch. Sadly though, it’s not that simple.  Just as the cost of watches varies wildly, so do the options included in the watches. Now you have to decide what you want your watch to do. Some things to consider:

  • Do you want heart rate data?
  • Do you want heart data via the watch, or a chest strap?
  • Do you want your watch to connect to your phone?
  • Do you want to receive text messages and updates through your watch?
  • Do you want your watch to play music?
  • Is GPS (global positioning system) enough, or do you want ABC (altimeter, barometer, compass) data too?  (ABC is a bit more accurate in hilly terrain)
  • Do you want your watch to give you running dynamic/form feedback?
  • Would you use your running (sport?) watch for other hobbies?  Golf? Cycling? Rowing? Hiking?
  • Do you want sleep/calorie/step tracking?

At the end of the day, having a running watch can take away from the experience of running, but it can also improve it.  Who wouldn’t want a watch that can offer form feedback? That will help you become a more efficient, injury-free runner? How about helping you connect with your own feedback?  Have you ever finished a run and felt great, then wondered how fast and efficient you were truly moving? What about the opposite? How many times have you had a terrible run, but now known what went wrong, or how to fix it?  The new batch of running watches on the market can do all of these things, while still mapping out your route, or helping you get back to where you started.

The bottom line, having a running watch is an undeniable plus to your running training.  The challenge is to know when to pay attention to the watch, and when to pay attention to your body.

We have many Garmin Watches to help you in whatever goals you are trying to achieve. Our staff our highly knowledgable in our watches. Stop in and let us help you find the perfect one to fit your needs!