Running Watch Buyer’s Guide: Track Your Progress with the Right Device
Running Watch Buyer’s Guide: Track Your Progress with the Right Device

Running Watch Buyer’s Guide: Track Your Progress with the Right Device

Find the perfect running watch to enhance your training and monitor your performance.


Are you a passionate runner looking to take your training to the next level? If so, investing in a reliable and feature-packed running watch is essential. A running watch not only tells the time but also provides valuable insights into your running performance, helping you track your progress and achieve your goals. With the market flooded with numerous options, choosing the right running watch can be overwhelming. But worry not! In this comprehensive buyer’s guide, we’ll explore the key factors to consider when purchasing a running watch and highlight some of the top options available today.

Why Use a Running Watch?

Before delving into the specifics of running watches, let’s first understand why they have become an indispensable tool for runners. A running watch offers a plethora of benefits that can greatly enhance your training experience. Here are a few reasons why using a running watch is advantageous:

  1. Accurate Data Tracking: Running watches employ advanced GPS technology to accurately track your distance, pace, and route. This enables you to monitor your progress over time and set new targets based on factual data.
  2. Heart Rate Monitoring: Many running watches come equipped with optical heart rate sensors, allowing you to monitor your heart rate without the need for a chest strap. This data is crucial for assessing your fitness level, tracking your exertion, and optimizing your training intensity.
  3. Training Guidance: With built-in training features, running watches can provide personalized workout recommendations and coaching. They can track intervals, suggest recovery times, and even offer virtual pacing partners to help you stay motivated and on track during your runs.
  4. Performance Analysis: By syncing your running watch with compatible apps or platforms, you can access detailed post-run analysis. This includes metrics such as cadence, ground contact time, vertical oscillation, and more. Such insights can help you identify areas for improvement and refine your running technique.

Key Considerations

When searching for the perfect running watch, it’s important to consider your specific needs and preferences. Here are the key factors you should keep in mind:

1. GPS Accuracy

Since accurate distance tracking is crucial for runners, ensuring the GPS accuracy of a running watch is essential. Look for a watch that utilizes advanced GPS technology and provides consistent and reliable distance measurements. It should quickly acquire satellite signals and maintain a strong connection even in areas with limited coverage, such as dense forests or urban environments.

2. Battery Life

Long battery life is vital, especially if you plan on using your running watch for extended activities or ultramarathons. Pay attention to the battery specifications provided by the manufacturer, considering both the claimed battery life in GPS mode and how it may vary based on your usage. Some watches offer customizable battery modes that can extend battery life by adjusting features like GPS tracking frequency or screen brightness.

3. Display and Usability

Consider the size, resolution, and type of display that suits your preferences. Running watches typically feature either LCD or OLED displays, with OLED offering better visibility in bright sunlight. Touchscreen capabilities may also be a consideration, but be sure to choose one that remains responsive even when wet or sweaty. Additionally, opt for a watch with a user-friendly interface and easy-to-navigate menus, ensuring that you can quickly access the desired information during your runs.

4. Water Resistance

Runners often encounter varying weather conditions, and having a water-resistant watch is crucial for durability and reliability. Look for a watch with a high water resistance rating, allowing you to confidently run in the rain or even swim without worrying about damaging your device. Ensure that the watch’s water resistance rating aligns with your intended activities, whether it’s simply handling sweat or diving into the pool for cross-training sessions.

5. Advanced Features

While GPS tracking and heart rate monitoring are fundamental, running watches offer an array of additional features to cater to different training needs. Consider which features are important to you. Some examples include:

  • Music Storage: If you enjoy running with music, choose a watch with built-in storage or the ability to connect to music streaming services.
  • Smart Notifications: Stay connected on the go by selecting a watch that can display notifications from your smartphone, such as incoming calls, messages, or calendar reminders.
  • Compatibility with Running Apps: Ensure that the watch seamlessly syncs with popular running apps or platforms you prefer, allowing you to effortlessly analyze your training data and share your achievements with the running community.
  • Customizable Workouts: If you have specific training plans or follow a structured program, opt for a watch that allows you to create or download custom workouts tailored to your goals.

6. Comfort and Fit

A running watch should be comfortable to wear, especially during long runs. Consider factors such as the weight, strap material, and adjustability of the watch. Lightweight watches with breathable straps are generally preferred to avoid discomfort or skin irritation. Some watches offer interchangeable straps, allowing you to personalize the look and adapt to different occasions.

Top Running Watches to Consider

Now that we’ve explored the key factors to consider, let’s take a look at some of the top running watches available on the market today:

1. Garmin Forerunner 945

The Garmin Forerunner 945 is a highly advanced and feature-packed running watch. It offers accurate GPS tracking, up to 36 hours of battery life in GPS mode, and a multitude of training metrics. With its comprehensive performance analysis and compatibility with Garmin’s training platforms, it is an excellent choice for serious runners and triathletes.

2. Apple Watch Series 6

The Apple Watch Series 6 combines fitness tracking capabilities with smartwatch features. It boasts an accurate optical heart rate sensor, built-in GPS, and a vivid always-on display. With its seamless integration with Apple’s ecosystem and an extensive range of apps, it is a versatile choice for those who prioritize both fitness and connectivity.

3. Polar Vantage V2

The Polar Vantage V2 is a premium multisport watch designed specifically for athletes. It offers advanced running metrics, including running power and recovery insights. With its long battery life, lightweight design, and comprehensive training features, it is an ideal choice for runners who are focused on optimizing their performance.

4. Suunto 9 Baro

The Suunto 9 Baro is a rugged and durable running watch built for endurance athletes. It features a long-lasting battery that can provide up to 120 hours of continuous tracking, making it an excellent companion for ultrarunners. Its robust construction, accurate GPS, and barometric altimeter make it well-suited for trail runners and outdoor enthusiasts.

5. Garmin Fenix 6 Pro

The Garmin Fenix 6 Pro is a rugged and high-performance multisport watch. It offers advanced training features, including detailed maps, pace guidance, and VO2 max estimation. With its durable build, long battery life, and extensive customization options, it is a top choice for runners who frequently venture off-road or enjoy exploring new routes.


Selecting the right running watch can greatly enhance your training experience and help you achieve your running goals. By considering factors such as GPS accuracy, battery life, display usability, water resistance, advanced features, and comfort, you can find the perfect running watch that aligns with your specific needs and preferences. Whether you’re a casual jogger or a seasoned athlete, the right running watch willelevate your running performance and provide valuable insights into your progress. Explore the market, read reviews, and compare the features of different models to find the perfect running watch that will accompany you on every step of your running journey.

Remember, the best running watch is the one that seamlessly integrates into your training routine, provides accurate data, and motivates you to push your limits. So, lace up your shoes, strap on your new running watch, and hit the road with confidence, knowing that you have the perfect device to track your progress and achieve your running goals. Happy running!