Compact and easy-to-use, running watches and heart rate monitors can serve as invaluable tools in any runner’s arsenal. Basic running watches offer tracking of split times, programs, and give you the ability to set alarms, while more feature-rich watches include altimeters, GPS tracking, and interfacing with heart rate monitors. Heart rate monitors help you track your exertion and train your body through various exertion thresholds. Heart rate monitors use your pulse at your wrist or a separate, wireless chest-strap that transmits information to your watch or wrist monitor. Focus on a basic running watch (small and compact with time features only) if you’ve just started running and only worry about a heart rate monitor or GPS-enabled watch when you get more serious about training.
Heart Rate Monitor:
Track your exertion threshold and work within specific zones to increase your endurance. Monitors use the pulse at your wrist or a chest-strap monitor to measure your heartbeat. Make sure the monitor you choose has the alarms you want and display you like. Some monitors allow you to transfer information to your computer, too.
A running watch with GPS allows you to track your distance and elevation, determine pace and calories burned, and many allow you to transfer this information to your computer. Some GPS watches are rather large, so be sure the fit works for you and that the watch you choose outputs all your information in a method that allows you to easily integrate this information into your training plan.