GPS Running Watches
At its core, running is a simple sport, requiring little more than a pair of running shoes and the motivation to get outside. So why do you need a GPS running watch? From tracking your data to mapping your runs, a suitable watch will help you monitor your progression and meet your goals, allowing you to optimise and personalise your workouts to suit your individual needs. Whether chasing PBs or looking to share your progress with friends, a running watch is a window into your performance, displaying the data needed to help incentivise your running.
Through this article we explore how a GPS running watch can elevate your training, highlighting the benefits they bring and outlining the ways they can amplify your workouts.
What is a GPS running watch?
Simply put, a GPS running watch is a reliable way to track your sports activity data. By offering on-the-fly access to your running pace and distance, these straightforward devices help you keep check of your workout progress, helping you stick to a training plan and providing a vital comparison to previous efforts.
This makes achieving your goals all the easier, arming you with the data you need to improve your fitness. With an array of devices available, it can be intimidating to know which model is suitable, or even if a GPS running watch is the right choice for you. Thankfully there is a watch for every runner, no matter how basic or advanced you feel your needs are.
GPS watches, fitness trackers and smart watches - what's the difference?
Although aesthetically similar, these three types of device are notably different in their capabilities. GPS watches work by connecting to satellites to accurately determine your location, delivering unrivalled precision for activity tracking. Smart watches often feature GPS chips but incur a high-cost, and are often less durable than a sports specific GPS model. Fitness trackers utilise an accelerometer to estimate distance and are ideal for tracking steps, but are heavily lacking in features for running and multi-sports use.
How can a GPS running watch optimise your training?
From targeted training plans to planning your recovery, GPS running watches deliver an unrivalled training experience for those looking to take their running to new heights. With even the most basic models offering a range of useful features, there is one out there for every runner and budget, making now a better time than ever to embrace technology.
For active lifestyles, many of these models offer multi-sport functionality for cycling, rowing, gym workouts and more, tracking useful, functional metrics to help you chart your progress. To boost motivation, some higher-end models can include a built-in music library, allowing you to sync your watch with your favourite streaming application for music and podcasts on the go.
Can monitoring my heart rate enhance my training?
Considered one of the most determining metrics for training, heart rate BPM (beats per minute) is a crucial performance indicator. Many models will see a built-in heart rate monitor, allowing the user to check their BPM in real-time and train to specific heart rate zones. This data can be used to estimate your fitness levels, highlight recovery recommendations, and even offer an indication as to if your training load is too high or low.
Social integration - can I share my run data with friends?
With a myriad of activity tracking applications being available, it has never been easier to share your workout progress with your friends and family. Many of these applications are community-driven, offering the ability to see other athletes progress and share your own achievements with slick social media integration. Some tracking applications even allow for participation in virtual GPS races, letting you race other local runners on timed sections.
Can I use my phone to track my activities?
By all means, modern smartphones are an excellent choice for tracking your running progress. GPS chips and a wide range of applications ensure you can map your distance, pace and time, although the unwieldy form-factor can make phones hard to lug around. GPS running watches are lightweight and comfortable, allowing you to leave the phone at home whilst offering the metrics you need with fast, easy to navigate menus. GPS accuracy between handsets can vary wildly, with the more established hardware of a run-specific watch delivering premium accuracy.
No, you don’t need a GPS watch to run - but it can enhance your training by offering you a vital insight into your performance. Whether driven by the on-screen data or sharing your progress with friends, these devices can deliver exceptional results and help you take the steps needed to improve your pace, distance and overall fitness.