The question of what’s the best watch for runners is not a very easy one to answer. First of all anytime anyone always brings up the word “best” that brings in issue of differing tastes and differing opinions. What one runner is looking for in a watch might not be the same thing that another runner is looking for in their watch. However, in general there are certain traits that many runners look for in a watch, and based on those traits you can at least get a decent idea of what some of the best potential running watches are, even if you can’t completely narrow it down to just one particular brand or model.
It’s also important to keep in mind, that I prefer certain types of watches based on what I’ve owned or plan to own in the future. And the most important aspect of any running watch is what the overall goals are of the person using it. For example, I do triathlons but I also consider myself a runner. But since I swim and bike also, I like things like the Garmin 305 because they can work well for more than one sport or activity. But when you get down to it, there really are a core set of essential things a runner wants to be able to track: time, distance, and pace. Granted, there are things like calories burned, power variables, etc. but when looking at the basics for a runner, the best watch for runners may come down to style more than function.
Before jumping into what watches are commonly mentioned among serious runners as being some of the best, first you will want to think about which traits make for a good running watch and why. The most common reason for wanting a watch is the ability to time yourself whether it’s for a mile, 5k, 10k, 10 miles, or any variation of those. Marathon runners time themselves quite often for quarter or half marathon lengths in order to chart consistency and progress. This also means that no watch can even be considered as one of the best watches for runners unless it has a memory function that allows you to record and save your times.
Without this function, how are you supposed to chart improvement and keep track of how much progress you’re making? All the best runner watches will have memory to allow you to record and organize your times. Check out the memory for each model you’re looking at. Garmin watches for runners are famous for having hundreds or thousands of spaces to record individual run or lap times. This is part of the reason Garmin watches rank so highly among serious runners.
Many running watches come with a variety of other bells and whistles, but do these really make them better? It depends. Some people like being able to see their heart beat, others are fine with just using two fingers and finding a pulse. Another point is graphics or display. Can you see it on your wrist while running, or does it seem so far away as to make it virtually useless? It’s not really safe to be running with your watch three inches from your eyes. Then there’s cost. Just because a high end runners’ watch like the Timex Ironman Run Trainer runs in the $200 to $300 range doesn’t make it automatically better than many of the Garmin watches that are priced right around $100 each. Then again, if you like to go cross country running and off the beaten path and need GPS functions, then the Timex might be the better watch for you even with the higher price.
As you can see, when it comes to finding the best watch for runners, there are many considerations that need to be taken into account. Timex and Garmin are just two of the companies that enjoy a reputation for making excellent watches for runners, but there are many more and you should be able to find a good one in your price range by knowing exactly what you want and shopping accordingly.