When it comes to staying fit, healthy, and active we all need a little motivation, whether it’s new running shoes, lululemon activewear or a sports watch. This article is about how to choose the best running watch.

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There are times I receive messages from friends asking for recommendations on which running watch to get so I guess it’s about time I share this with you. I also decided to ask fellow runners for their number one consideration in getting the best running watch.

As a runner, I have started from wearing a basic running watch or a beginner’s watch only to realize its limitations that I needed an upgrade and do another upgrade because I am not satisfied with the features.

Use this article to guide you in selecting a watch that will be your companion with your daily activities especially when it comes to running. 

In choosing the best running watch we have to take several considerations and features like battery life, options for multisports, track steps, menstrual period, sleep pattern, and so on in order to maximize its use. Because once you own the best watch that works for you, you will hardly wear your other watches.

When I mentioned the basic watch I got, it’s definitely budget-friendly and offers the basic thing I needed which is to record my running activities. But unfortunately, I didn’t realize that it would be slow to use because of GPS (global positioning system)  issues.

I’m ready to run but my watch has not yet picked up a signal from the satellite in order for the GPS to work. Therefore it is not able to accurately record the distance and pace of my run. There are times I have to raise my left arm where my watch is believing it will help pick up the signal faster.

Aside from GPS being slow, another thing I didn’t realize that I need to consider is the battery life. It can record my 5k’s and 10k’s but when I started training for half marathons I had to charge my watch frequently and several times a week.

Then I also happened to cycle and swim and my watch is solely made just for running activities and therefore I have to use an app from my phone to record my cycling activities.

If you are looking for the best apps without using mobile data check my article Best Running Apps Without Mobile Data.

Good thing after doing an upgrade a few years ago I’m happy to say that I’m still using my multisports watch and not planning to upgrade anytime soon. It is an old model in the Fenix series but it’s made of steel and very sturdy as compared to the latest Fenix models.

Now let’s dive into this deeply to help you choose the best watch.

Best Running Watch
Image from Unsplash

Choose The Best Running Watch

BUDGET

When choosing the best running watch, set a budget to how much you are willing to spend on it. Once you have set a specific amount of money and maybe give another extra few dollars if needed you’ll be able to narrow down your choices and work on it.

You don’t have to spend too much on buying a sports watch because just like our mobile phones they do depreciate a lot and almost every month or week new models always come out, therefore, it is important to justify the amount you are willing to spend and for as long as it functions according to your needs.

Your budget will also depend on your level of fitness, if you’ve been training and exercising for quite some time now and you want to reward yourself then you can go for mid to high-range watches.

KNOW YOUR STYLE

Ask yourself if you really want a sports watch and if you are committed to using it to record your runs or other activities. Do you like a sports watch that mainly focuses on tracking your sports, specifically running, or do you like something that also acts like a smartwatch or a multi-sports watch?

Do you want something fashionable, trendy, sturdy, and if it can go with you from the sporty outfit to casual days and even something that you can wear on event nights?

Like I  mentioned before, at most times you’ll be wearing it every day and you might forget your other watches. It is important that you get a sports watch that is durable and something that also has the feature of easily interchangeable straps.

FEATURES OF A SPORTS WATCH

Most watches now have evolved, here are the features you should consider:

  • BLUETOOTH – common feature of a sports watch to upload your activities to an app. in your phone.
  • SMART WATCH – when bluetooth is on, your watch can act as a mirror to your phone and you can select apps which can receive notifications so even if your phone is inside your bag it will notify you of incoming messages and calls.

CONS: uses battery life faster but depending on the specs of the watch you will get.

  • MUSIC – while not really necessary but for those who like to run with music there are not so expensive watches that offer this feature but also you need to consider battery life.
  • INTERCHANGEABLE STRAPS – there are watches like the Fenix series and other latest models that offer interchangeable straps  and you don’t need mini screwdrivers at all.
  • BATTERY LIFE – a smart watch can last a day or two like an apple watch or maybe just a day if you are always exercising and at the same time uses bluetooth function for other apps.
  • WATERPROOF / RESISTANT – if you are a heavy swimmer a sturdy waterproof watch is what you need, something that can tolerate salt water and chlorine as it can be harmful or can tear straps faster too.
  • MULTISPORTS – for those into ironmans, triathlons or you just want to cross train and use it for yoga, skiing, hiking, even walking and other sports.
  • HEALTH MONITORING – take advantage of the features of your watch from VO2 max to oxygen level and even sleep patterns.
  • SENSORS – make sure that your watch is accurate especially in recording your activity and compatible with your phone.
  • SAFETY AND TRACKING – some watches now offer safety and tracking features where you can save a phone number of your family member as an emergency contact and just in case something happens to you they can be alerted when you give them a call.
  • TRAINING, PLANNING, AND ANALYSIS – watches also have built-in coaches to help you with your training and goals.
  • ACTIVITY TRACKING – The most important feature is that your watch should be able to record your activity accurately. It should be accurate in tracking your distance, speed, elevation, pace and heart rate.

RESEARCH / REVIEWS

When you have identified your budget and listed down the specs or features you want to have in your watch it’s time to check reviews or visit a local shop. You can bring a pen and per and write them down so you could compare the models better.

Research about the specifications of these watches are they made of plastic, steel, is the screen made of gorilla glass or sapphire. Try out the watches as well, whether it’s too big or small on your wrist.

Having a sports watch can be a good motivator in achieving your fitness goals so here’s a list of watches you may consider checking out.

ENTRY LEVEL

MID LEVEL

HIGH END

Feel free to share this article on how to choose the best running watch with your friends who want to know more about running watches and I hope this article can help you to decide on which to get. Happy Running!

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20 Comments

  1. I’m not a runner so who knew there were so many things to consider when choosing the right sports watch. However, I am a walker and a biker and I like that you gave options based on different fitness levels while being mindful of the budget.

  2. It’s cool to have a watch but I’m still working on making a habit to run every day. These are some great tips to help get the best watch. Thank you for sharing!

  3. I am looking for a step counter since my husband’s employer offers gift cards for exercising. Maybe someday I’ll get into running, but for now, walks are good! Thanks for the tips!

  4. I’m not really fond of watches but, it’d be great to pick one for you know, just fashion and style hehehe. Wonderful content

  5. Great tips! I always get overwhelmed when looking at all the different options. They aren’t always cheap, so want to make sure I am picking the best one!

  6. For health reasons, running is out for me. However, I love my Apple Watch for tracking my exercise and fitness. I’ve had simpler watches that really only count steps. I do like also being able to see my heart rate during exercise.

    1. Apple Watch is a good watch to have as it can track different activities or exercises and is not limited to running, thanks.

  7. I love how you break down the information. So true about needing a good battery life when training for longer running sessions and a GPS that updates quickly enough with your running speed.

  8. Running watches can be so hard to decide on! I ended up getting both a garmin but also use my apple watch. You mentioned some good tips on different features to look out for.

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