How to Choose a Watch for Triathlon

You have decided to go in for the triathlon or have been already doing the triathlon, and decided to buy or update your sports watch. You can easily get confused in the variety of sports watches, so in this article you will learn how to choose a watch for a triathlon and what characteristics and functions are needed for a triathlon.

A sports watch is an important tool for you to see the results of your workouts and is going to bring you to the best level of fitness. A sports watch provides a lot of information for analyzing and building the right workouts in running, swimming and cycling.

Let’s sort out these issues:

  1. How to choose a watch for a triathlon?
  2. What you should pay attention to?
  3. What features does a triathlete really need?

Multi-Sport function in triathlon watch

A key feature of the triathlon watch is the multisport option. The multisport function allows you to make transitions from one sport to another. At the touch of a button, you can switch from swimming to running, and then turn on cycling. This simplifies using and allows you to group workout and race data well.

The name of the function can differ from brand to brand, but its essence is in one thing – in the ability to switch the sport during training.

best triathlon watch
How to choose the right watch for triathlon

Multisport mode allows you to:

  • To conveniently cut off the passage time of stages and transit zones.
  • Display on the screen only the data that is needed at one stage or another. For example, during the cycling phase, you want to know your current speed, total time and frustration, and while running, your heart rate and pace are important.
  • Simplify the analysis and recordings of your workouts. Now swimming will be recorded as swimming, and running – as running. This is convenient if you upload your workouts somewhere, for example, Garmin Connect, Polar Flow or Strava.
MultiSport function in triathlon watch
Multisport function in triathlon watch

GPS in triathlon watch

Not a single sports device can do without an integrated GPS module. This allows you to track speed, distance, routes. The presence of a GPS sensor makes it easy to track mileage for a week / month / year, to know the total climb and other data of your training or race.

Can I do without GPS?

The ability to track mileage, route and pace is one of the most useful features of modern sports watches. Therefore, we recommend that you first pay attention to the presence of GPS in a sports watch.

Heart Rate Monitor for Triathlon

If GPS appeared relatively recently in watches, the heart rate measurement function has been known to athletes for many years. The heart rate monitor allows you to:

  • train more efficiently – within the given pulse zones;
  • be the first “bell” that tells you that something is wrong with your heart;
  • count burned calories more accurately;
  • track the growth of the form, as well as understand when your form is in decline.
triathlon sports watch
triathlon watch heart rate monitor (polar.com)

Is it possible to do without a heart rate monitor?

You can count the pulse by detecting the time and number of heartbeats, but it is difficult to do during exercise, you need to stop. In addition, such pulse measurement will complicate the task of training in a given zone, and also will not allow a full analysis of the passed competitions .

If there is no heart rate measurement, you will be limited in the options for displaying data during a workout, and the electronic diary will look inferior. Therefore, the watch must have a heart rate monitor or the ability to connect a chest heart rate sensor.

best triathlon watch for swimming
triathlon watch for swimming (garmin.com)

Functions for swimming in a triathlon watch

The most basic triathlon watches’ feature must be a water resistance. The watch tracks the distance when swimming in open water and in the pool. They will track the circle in the pool, the number of strokes and heart rate.

The main options for swimming in the watch

Watches for a triathlon usually have special opportunities for training in the pool and in open water. When swimming in the open water, they count mileage. It is not so simple, water complicates everything – if you turn on any normal training regime with GPS, for example, running, the watch will show unlikely data on mileage and even climb. The special “open water” mode in the watch allows you to get the correct data on the overcome frustration.

In the pool, the triathlon watch also knows how to calculate the distance, for this you only need to indicate the length of the pool – 25 or 50 meters.

The triathlon watch also knows how to recognize the style of swimming, counts the frequency of strokes and calculates the effectiveness of your movement.

Triathlon functions for swimming?

Is it possible to do without functions for swimming?

Calculating the distance in the pool without hours is not difficult, but mileage in the open water is difficult to calculate, so here the triathlon clock will be very useful. Efficiency of swimming allows you to evaluate your progress, and the frequency of strokes is convenient for the analysis of technology.

Watch Compatibility with Bicycle Accessories

The best triathlon watches are compatible with accessories for cycling:

  • cadence sensor;
  • speed trackers;
  • power meters.

The compatibility of the watch with bicycle accessories allows you to track more data while riding.

how to choose a watch for triathlon

Is it possible to do without connecting sensors?

If you already have a power meter, then the ability to connect the sensor to the watch is one of the prerequisites for effective training. If you don’t have a power sensor yet, it will be useful to use a cadence sensor – thanks to it you can work on the pedaling technique, and when training on a track or a special “machine” you are going to know your mileage.

Battery autonomy in hours for triathlon

If you plan to participate not only in the classic form of the triathlon but also in longer competitions, Ironman, the battery life of the watch is very important. Focus on those watches that can work in active GPS mode, in the range of 10-14 hours.

sports watch autonomy
triathlon tracker watch (polar.com)

All of the functions above are the most important in a watch for a triathlon and it is worth choosing a watch based on these options.

8 best watches for triathlon and their cost

  1. Forerunner 945
  2. Forerunner 935
  3. Forerunner 735 Xt
  4. Suunto Spartan
  5. Suunto 9
  6. Polar Vantage V
  7. Coros Apex
  8. Coros Pace

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Ralph Martin / Author
When you have to make a choice, you need to understand the choices you make. Make informed choices
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