Getting Your First Run Watch

By Joshua Ang

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Whether you're looking to keep fit, or looking to beat your personal best at marathons, a dedicated run watch will seriously boost your performance and quality of training.


Do I need one?

With a plethora of phone running apps out there, you would think that you can just strap on or hold your phone for a run. There are plenty of disadvantages in using your phone for runs:

·       Heavy, large, cumbersome. Running with a phone is tiring and hinders your movement.

·       Battery drains fast, probably even before you are done.

·       Not water resistant. Good luck if it rains.

·       Not handy for checking or adjusting on the move.

·       Screen is hard to see in daylight.

·       Lack of advanced features.

The kind of watch you need depends on how advanced a runner you are. If you never race, never do serious run sessions, and you are just a leisure jogger, you probably don’t even need one.

But if you’re serious about your health and fitness – like most us are, you would want something to gauge your progress, and make your runs more effective.


What to look for?

With the dizzying array of running watches and features out there, how do you figure out what’s the best watch for you? How can you get the best bang for your buck?

All watches already come with a stop watch to track time, memory function to record laps, and countdown timer for interval work. On top of that, here are additional features you would need to consider when getting your first dedicated running watch

GPS – essential for measuring distance covered, know how far you are running, especially if you are unfamiliar with the route

Heart-rate monitor – does it come with one so you can track your fitness?

Water-resistance – can it be worn in wet conditions, on swims, on triathlons?

Ergonomics – is the screen readable from afar and in all conditions? Are buttons easy to use on the move?

Stylish – does it look good to you? Is it versatile enough to be worn casually?

Navigation – essential for hikers and trail runners for finding their way

Online tools- some lets you upload your stats onto a database where you can see charts of your performance, plan your training, or see how you rate against others.


What’s good?

Here are a few of the more popular models

Polar M400

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Stylish GPS watch with all day activity tracking. Designed as a runner’s watch, and for those who love a sporty design. Has GPS and a extensive activity tracker to track steps, distance, calories sleep, etc  

Running Estimator, for estimating how long it’ll take you to complete a distance at your current pace – really helpful for marathon training! 

PB support (Personal Best), which will provide feedback when you break a new PB for distance or time.


Soleus GPS Pulse

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Soleus' popular flagship product. Primarily a running watch, with heart rate monitor, and GPS for accurate run tracking. Heart-Rate Monitor measures your pulse using its 3D accelerometer and can even differentiate between steps taken for daily tasks and exercises.

EL backlight provides readability in the dark without the need to reach for buttons. Water resistant to 30m. For a cheaper option you can also consider the Soleus Pulse, which comes with the above features, minus the GPS.


Tom Tom Runner

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A GPS watch for runners and has a large easy to navigate interface. A highly accurate QuickFixGPS locks in your position very quickly.

You can set specific run goals based on parameters like distance, time, calories. Watch will vibrate to let you know when you’ve hit targets. For measuring your fitness progress, the watch works with the TomTom Mysports app and other popular ones like RunKeeper and MapMyFitness. The battery lasts to 10 hours and is water resistant to 50m.

With all these choices and variety, I'm sure there's one out there that is perfect for you!


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