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Are you looking for the right sports watch for you? Like many others who have tried, you’re no-doubt discovered that choosing the right running watch is no easy task! The right sports watches in these times of modern technology are complex, feature-packed wrist-watch-computers and with the endless excess of marketing hype we are bombarded with, it can be tricky separating the performers from the pretenders.
While choosing the “right watch” is a subjective thing – we are all unique after all. We have decided to give it our best shot! In the remainder of this article we will compare and choose which is the “right of the right” sport running watch out there.
Our method? Well, all we only consider watches support the features in a running watch that athletes need. These features are namely: Heart Rate Monitor Features, Speed and Distance Tracking Capability, Session History Recording Capacity.
Heart Rate Monitor Features
A heart rate monitor usually comprise of a chest strap that wraps around your chest and is sensitive to your heart beat rate, measuring it in real time and transmitting the data wirelessly to your watch timepiece. Strapless heart rate monitors are available too, but are far less popular. The watches we consider are all chest strap heart rate monitors.
The basic measurement of a heart rate monitoring system is the number of beats per minute your heart is pumping at a given moment in time. Your heart rate is an effective indicator of your intensity level in a workout.
When your heart rate is low, you are at a good fat burning intensity. This should be a comfortable level to that you can sustain for a long period to improve your fitness, but your performance will not increase much at this level. When your heart rate is high 160-180 BPM, you are working out at a much higher level of that is more effective for improving peak performance. This level is difficult to sustain for too long and will lead to over-training and burnout if you do not counter it with a suitable recovery period.
Speed and Distance Tracking Capability
Modern sports watches are capable of tracking speed, pace and distance via a GPS system, pedometer or foot pod unit. This is a great feature for performance runners. When competing in a race or within a high intensity training session, it is extremely useful to know at any given point, what pace you are currently at and the distance you have covered over the course of a run, or even a weekly distance summary of all runs, so as to record these statistics in your training diary.
A foot pod unit, which tends to be slightly cheaper than GPS technology, is secured onto your running shoe and must be calibrated to your stride. Unlike a GPS watch, a foot pod device will work indoors as well as outdoors and on a treadmill, however the accuracy of a food pod suffers when you change intensity level, making it unsuitable for measuring fartlek sessions and it must be calibrated to your stride.
A GPS unit links to a network of 24 satellite systems orbiting the earth. By linking up to three or more satellite signals simultaneously a GPS sports watch can accurately determine your precise location on earth, enabling it to calculate speed, distance, direction and altitude.
Session History Recording Capacity
Athletes, who record all their training in a personal training diary, require a large amount of storage capacity on a sports wrist watch.
The watches we have selected are able to record and organize session data by a workout date/time stamp and give the wearer the ability to drill down a lot deeper into a given workout and view the details of the session data such as lap distances and recovery time/distances and even session goals.