Between working and balancing time with family, us, dads need to stay fit. This way, we are always in great shape when our family needs us most. Many of you will agree that running is probably the most convenient way of doing that. You can squeeze in at least 30 minutes in the morning, which is also a great me-time before hustling to work and bringing the kids to school. But to ensure that you’re recording new milestones, you should have the best watch to track running.
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In this post, I reviewed five of my favourite running watches that you can get as a treat for yourself (because you deserve it!).
|RUNNING WATCH||BRAND||EXPERT RATING||CHECK PRICE|
| My Top Pick! |
|POLAR Vantage |
|Suunto 9 |
|POLAR M430 |
GPS Running Watch
What is a running watch?
Unlike typical timepieces, running watches have built-in digital features that track your distance, heart rate, steps, and other statistics. Some models can even store your running data or be connected to another device.
It’s optimised to track your performance, although it can still work as a typical smartwatch. The best thing about using a running watch is you can leave your phone at home.
Modern running watches have calibrated GPS for accurate and real-time reporting. If you don’t like chest straps to monitor your heart rate, running watches become a stylish and convenient alternative.
Why should you get one?
You’re probably asking yourself why you should get a running watch. Sure, you can always use your phone and several apps to do the job. However, running watches offer a lot more functionality that you will enjoy.
Personally, I’m an avid runner, and I see to it that I get to hit the road for at least 30 minutes on weekdays. With this, I can confidently say that running watches make a big difference than merely using your phone.
No need to hold your phone
Before, I also used my phone to track my running statistics. It works, but my biggest pet peeve is when it slips off the armband that I use. Holding it is a pain when running.
It records a lot of data
The first time I got my POLAR running watch, I was mind-blown about the things it can do. It can store running statistics for several days. It can also be connected to a mobile app if you want to compare your progress.
Running watches are multisport watches
When you buy a running watch, you’re also getting a watch for a variety of sports. Some models can be used for swimming, hiking, diving, cycling, and more. It’s a feature-packed device you can wear comfortably on your wrist.
It prevents over-exercising
Many runners who don’t track their heart rate tend to go beyond their maximum capacity. This can be very dangerous, especially if you have an underlying condition. A running watch has alert features that will sound off or vibrate if you’re getting too fast or too slow for your heart rate range.
Buying Guide for the Best Watch to Track Running
The market is saturated with a lot of running watches, from premium ones to cheap options. If you want to get the best watch to track running, the following are some of the points you have to keep in mind:
Long battery life
Whenever I’m purchasing timepieces, the first thing I check is the battery life. As much as I can accept a trade-off for extra features, decent battery life will let you use the watch without repeated charging.
The last thing you want is your running watch dying down in the middle of a race or marathon. It’s a bummer and a big hassle if you like joining competitive running.
The heart of every running watch is its actionable features. Some of these include heart rate monitor, climbing/elevation, distance, number of steps, and so on. These are the features that record the basic statistics of your exercise. Make sure that the watch has an accurate gauge all the time.
Aside from that, look for navigation features. This will let you map your course and find your way back. Such a feature is very helpful if you’re hiking or trying a new trail. Besides, who carries a print-out map during a run, right?
Alerts and notifications
This one is very critical. Alerts and notification features will let you know if you are going beyond your maximum heart rate. You can also set a minimum heart rate to ensure that you’re not going to experience a plateau, especially if you’re aiming to shed some pounds.
Notifications will also let you monitor for text messages, calls, emails, or social media notifs if you’re connecting it to your phone.
Technicality aside, one of the make-or-break parts of choosing the best watch to track running is its fit. No matter how feature-packed it is, you can’t wear the watch if it’s too small for your wrist.
Always measure your wrist circumference and compare it to the sizing chart of the specific brand. Also, you should consider checking the diameter of the watch face. Most running watches nowadays have larger faces than typical timepieces, which can be an issue for users with slim arms.
Durability and waterproofing
Running watches have to endure outdoor elements, including sunlight, rain, wind, dust, and so on. It should be tough enough against wear and tear if you’re running, hiking, camping, etc.
If possible, look for a waterproof running watch. I’ve been caught in the rain once while running, and it’s day-saver if your watch can resist water. Also, this feature will come handy if you are into swimming.
I always opt for running watches that I can connect to my mobile phone. This way, I can pull out my exercise data from the watch and check it out using the app. Usually, running watch brands have their own apps for this purpose.
The extra features of your running watch make it worth every penny. To make it simple and realistic, look for additional features like recovery advisor, recovery time calculation, and customisable runs. Also, you’d love a watch pre-loaded with maps. The Garmin fēnix is one of the best choices for this (full review below)!
5 Best Watches to Track Running
MY #1 CHOICE
MY TOP PICK: Garmin fēnix 6X Pro
Product Name: Garmin fēnix 6X Pro
Product Description: Calling all running dads out there! If you're going to ask me what the best running watch is, it would be the Garmin fēnix 6X Pro. This is a powerhouse device equipped with a 1.4-inch display that's sunlight-readable as well as a chic stainless steel bezel. It comes with heart sensors, Pace Pro for pace guidance, and VO2 max to monitor your oxygen uptake. What I really love about this running watch is the TopoActive Europe Maps that includes 2,000 ski maps all over the world. The cherries on top are the built-in barometer, gyroscope, satellite system (Galileo, GPS, GLONASS), and the adjustable rubber strap.
Offer price: £££
Value for Money
Moreover, this watch comes with a customisable power manager mode where you can change settings to increase the device’s battery life. And speaking of battery life, this watch is superb. It will last for about 10 to 15 days if you’re using the GPS and actionable features every day.
Sure, this is a bit of a splurge, but every pound is worth it if you’re looking for a running watch with great features.
Superb battery life
A bit bulky if used as a regular watch
POLAR Vantage Multisport Watch
Another favourite of mine is the POLAR Vantage. This is made for running, with its POLAR Precision Prime Sensor that gives accurate optical HR monitoring. You can use this running watch for over 140 sports, including cycling, swimming, hiking, and marathons.
If you’re into swimming, this watch can also detect your strokes, rest times, and distance in open water.
I also like the Recovery Pro and Training Load Pro features of this watch. These two technologies give you an accurate view of your training sessions. It also offers insights on your sleep, recovery level, and strain level.
Also, the POLAR Vantage comes with overreaching notifications if you’re going beyond your set strain and tolerance. It also comes with a visual gauge with levels like Detraining, Maintaining, Productive, and Overreaching.
Amongst its extra features are phone connectivity, GPS, barometer, and Running Power from the wrist.
As for the battery life, POLAR Vantage will give you 40 hours of training time with the GPS on.
Suunto 9 Multisport Watch
If you want a minimalist running watch, I’d recommend the Suunto 9 Multisport Watch. This is made to support 80+ sports so you can utilize it in different outdoor activities.
What I really like about this running watch is the straightforward controls. It has a colour display with three buttons on the side. The stainless steel bezel doesn’t have features, but it adds a clean look to the watch’s face.
Back on its features, the Suunto 9 boasts a 7-day step and calorie count, fast GPS, GPS altimeter, FusedTrack distance, and heart rate monitor. It’s also waterproof for up 100 metres with a battery life of up to 120 hours per charge.
I also love the navigation of this watch that includes real-time breadcrumb trail and waypoints. If you’re trying a new trail or bringing the kids on a hike, you can count on this watch to mark your way back.
You can connect this watch to the Suunto app to view your statistics.
Garmin Forerunner 235
Another Garmin running watch I count on is the Forerunner 235. This one has a high-definition face and large digit display. Nevertheless, the true highlight of this running watch is the customised training plans through the Garmin Connect app. Here, you will get real-time coaching and an immediate review of your statistics.
Like the Garmin fēnix 6X Pro, the Forerunner 235 has the V2 max estimate, heart rate sensor, smart notifications, distance tracker, calorie tracker, and pedometer. It also has a recovery advisor using the Elevate Wrist Heart Rate technology. This wristwatch will also remind you to move when it detects that you’re sitting for an hour.
Overall, this running watch looks sleek with its thinner head, black colour, and premium construction. If you want, you can purchase this watch with the monitor strap for more accurate heart rate readings.
Lastly, the Forerunner 235 can run for 5 weeks as a smartwatch and 16 hours of continuous training.
POLAR M430 GPS Running Watch
Lastly, I’d end this roundup with my first running watch: the POLAR M430. What I really love about this watch is its enhanced training features, including running programmes, fitness test, and running index. It’s a rugged and durable running watch that’s still working on my end even after years of abuse.
Moreover, the POLAR M430 comes with GPS and A-GPS navigation for better accuracy. It also measures your heart rate through the wrist while tracking your activities.
This watch comes with vibrating alerts if you are overreaching. You can also connect this to your phone to receive smart notifications 24/7. Just install the POLAR flow app to sync your data automatically.
You also have the option to wear POLAR’s chest strap and connect it to this watch for more accurate heart rate readings.
Overall, this watch is almost perfect, except for some niggles. One of which is that it doesn’t have an audible alarm. Still, if you’re running, it’s not much of an issue.
The best watch to track running will help you exercise safely and efficiently. As a dad of four, I can’t stress enough how important staying in shape is. You can start by running and using the right tools to monitor your progress.