From the February 2012 issue of Runner’s World
Use a powerful, high-tech watch to run your best
By Sean Downey
Today's timepieces do more than just record workout data such as time and distance. They help you figure out what the numbers mean, letting you know when you’re running too fast (or too slowly), if you’re hitting your targeted heart rate, and even how often you should hydrate. Whether you’re getting ready for a 5K or a marathon, the right watch can help you train smarter.
TIMEX RUN TRAINER
A$399; NZ$595 (NZ: Only available only with HRM. Release date March.)
The Run Trainer offers distance-and time-interval settings for speedwork and automated kilometre splits for tempo runs. Its face shows up to four metrics, giving you the usual suspects like pace and distance, but also such cool-to-know data as elevation gained. Alerts can be pre-programmed to remind you when to drink during workouts. Another nice touch: an eight-hour battery.
PERFECT FOR TRAIL RUNNERS
The Quest Running Pack uses a shoe pod to track speed, distance, and stride-rate, so you don’t need to be in satellite range to record workouts. The large display lets you keep splits by tapping the face to tick off laps. Sync the Quest to Suunto’s website (movescount.com) and set a training goal, and the watch will remind you of workouts.
PERFECT FOR BEGINNERS
NIKE+ SPORTWATCH GPS
The Nike+ SportWatch displays huge numbers that are easy to read mid-run, and the watch's menu – with features such as your workout history and all-time records – is easy to navigate. The Nike+ shoe pod acts as a backup plan if you lose your GPS signal, seamlessly recording the rest of your workout. The pod also allows you to track your distance on a treadmill.
AUS & NZ 1300 656 453
PERFECT FOR TRIATHLETES
A$419; NZ$ N/A
People of different fitness levels have different needs, which is why Polar’s RCX5 sets your target heart-rates based on fitness tests it collects during workouts. Multisport athletes will love the dedicated cycling and swimming modes (the heart-rate sensor works underwater), all easily accessible through the watch’s interface.
PERFECT FOR RACE JUNKIES
GARMIN FORERUNNER 610
The Forerunner 610, Garmin’s first GPS watch with a touchscreen, has a straightforward menu that makes customisation easy. Its pacer feature will fuel your competitive fire, allowing you to race against yourself from a previous workout – or take on a friend’s performance on the same course. With an eight-hour battery life, the 610 will outlast your longest long run, and its compass can guide you back to the start of your run.
Purchase the February 2012 issue of Runner's World