What should I look for in a running watch?

Can I be cheeky?

What do you want out of a running watch? If you are like me, you just want the basics. All those extra features are cool, but I can’t really be bothered to read up on how to use them. Laziness, sure, but I also enjoy the fact that I’m keeping things simple.

I have two watches that I use, a Coros and a Garmin. I love the Coros (this is not sponsored, by the way!); it has a long battery life, and I think that’s probably my favorite feature. Garmin is a traditional option; it’s very easy to use and the one I have is solar powered, so that makes me happy. And I also love that I can align that one with the Paceline app so I can get 5% cash back on health and wellness purchases just through doing my runs and going on Garmin. So that’s really cool. 

For me, another important feature is that it loads quickly. When we have limited time to get our run in, the last thing we want to be doing is spending 15 minutes staring at our watch as we wait for it to find satellites; to me, that is important. 

But beyond that, a lot of watches have cool settings to help with workouts. I have used some of those for my fartlek sessions where you can set the time or distance you want to run for a rep and then the recovery time to match. For me that doesn’t always work, as I don’t have set times for my recoveries. They are often 30 – 60 seconds, or 90 seconds – 3 minutes, basically until I feel the right amount of recovered. For me, that’s typically around two minutes for most things I do, but it’s not set, it’s kind of when I feel ready to go and I know that’s not a very easy answer to transfer to your own life. You have to be able to listen to your body, but unless you’re using one of our marathon training plans – we have marathon, half marathon, 5K/10K plans, and a speed training program – you may not have that problem. If you are using our programs, you probably won’t be able to use the workout parts of it, because they are going to train you how to listen to your body in the same way that I do.

One other feature I would say is important is that it hooks up with Strava easily; that is how most runners track their runs and connect with the community. Both Coros and Garmin make that easy, so I enjoy that.

Beyond that, going back to my original throwing-back-the-question-at-you, “What do you want out of a running watch?” You know what features matter to you, so select one that works for you based on that.

If you have a question that you’d like answered, you can email kat@runningforreal.com and she’ll pass it along to Tina!

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