How to Choose a Watch for Running

Once you start running you definitely get very much involved , so here we are going to tell you how to choose running watch, no matter  you are a beginner or a profy. There is a huge need into using this device. You will understand it once you read about the options of watches for running with heart rate monitor.

watch for running

Why Watches for Running are Needed?

When you start doing sports, and you understand running is made for you, you need some tracking systems to improve your performance. Nowadays there is a huge market of watches for running. Different brands make various products filled with a lot of functions. This can also depend on your professional skills and level.

best running watch

Are these Watches for Running?

Sometimes, when people are about to buy watches and trackers for running, they need them to be able to count their activity during any other sports, work out, swimming, cycling etc. But if you do need specially running watch hrm, interval timer etc you need to be able to compare and differ them:

running watch interval timer


This is very visual and easy feature to indicate. Special running watches have several traits:

  1. The material. This watches are made of hypoallergenic materials, because when sportsman is sweating there is a big risk to bring bacterias on the skin which provoke allergic.
  2. The lock. It must be really strong, because there is a huge risk to loose your best running watch when you are running.
  3. The weight. Running watches, as well as running shoes, should and even must be light. Sport brands that produce running watches understand it and try to improve running models – for example, Garmin Forerunner weighs about 40 g. Form and weight are also important for girls, so you rather try your watches on before you buy it.


This is important if you are doing sports with watches in any weather. Most sports devices are waterproof and can be used underwater – the only difference is the depth and diving time. You must wash your watches in the running water after swimming into the sea.

watch for running with gps

Display and Control Keys

There are several very useful options in running watch heart rate.

  • The screen is turning on itself and also the backlight once you place your hand on top of it. It is helpful if you are running in the evening, or the sun is shining just too bright.
  • Also watches can notificate you when they need the charge. It is very useful if you are a marathon runner and this is the option you may pay hard attention on when buying the watch for running.
watch for tracking running

What Best Running Watches Must Do?

There is a huge need for people, when buying these watches, to know exactly the options and functions of the product, much more than the design or usability.

  1. The running time. Of course this is one of the basic things watches for running must do. This option counts time you have spent for a  running, the difference is that more professional watches can count time including the rest time and the auto-pause;
  2. The distance. Also one of the basic features. Simpler watches count the distance itself, but more pro count the changes in the landscape, angle of the run and the height(pressure);
  3. The speed. Watches count your average speed indicator or the speed you had on different areas of your distance;
  4. The pace. This indicator shows you the average pace of your running, and tells you when to fast up or slow down during the running;
  5. The heart rate. The running watch with heart rate monitor helps you to measure your heartbeat and to choose your heart rate zone, which is based on the index of your MAX heart rate. All you have to do is measure your heartbeat by your fingers or use special equipment.
  6. Running dynamics: Steps per minute count. Both right and left steps are shown up in total.
  7. Surface height measurement. This depends on the landscape in which you run. Required for skyrunners and trailrunners – those who run in the mountains. Barometric altimeter – another useful feature for running in the mountains. The watches measure height independent of satellite signal based on pressure.

Features of Running Watches Depend on the Level of Professionalism

Whether you are beginner or the profy you need your watch for running. They differances are the options and prices that every brand and model provide. There are 3 professional levels and features your watches should maintain.

watch for tracking running

Occasional Runners

The activity trackers or fitness bands are for you. The main features your running watches should provide:

  • Calories loss;
  • Steps count daily;
  • Speed and pace and distance measured by accelerometer;

If your daily activity features are more important for you to measure than specific running indicators then fitness bands are better to use.

running watch garmin

Beginners and Regular Runners

There is a little bit bigger variety of needs. You would rather need running watch GPS to:

  • calculate and measure the distance, speed and pace more accurate;
  • it also can upload your results in the app on your phone to calculate your progress to construct a program including your running areas and to share it with your friends.
best watch for running pace

Professional Runners or Running Enthusiasts and Athletes of Marathon

This is much more than the watches you could use before. You need a special running watch interval timer. It counts your intervals, also it has a recovery advisor which also helps you to make your trainings smarter, to rate your physical indicators etc. Also there is a very useful device for profy runners – chest heart rate monitors. They are the bands putting on across the chest. This monitor helps you to measure your heartbeat much more accurate and needed for most professionals runners.

Most Relevant Sport Watches Brands

Nowadays, the market of watches for running is very wide developed. But we have chosen and compared best running watches brands among them all.

How to Choose a Watch Running Garmin Polar Suunto Apple Watch
Year of foundation introduced watches in 2003 1977 1936 Apple watch realease by Apple company – 2015
Country USA Finland Finland USA
Level speciality Beginner and Regular, but also all runners professional but also all runners All level of professionalism runners All level of professionalism runners
Average price for occasional runners (in $) >120 >150 >150 300-350
Average price for Beginner and Regular runners (in $) 120-250 150-250 150-250 600-1100
Average price for Professional runners (in $) 250< 250< 250< 10 000-17 000

This huge difference between the prices of all brands and Apple Watch is due to Apple watches are not specially made for sport. This is a full computer and phone on the hand, it has a lot of different options absolutely not made for Sport as well.

best watch for running marathon

Running Watches Application Maintaining

All of the modern models of these watches definitely maintain the connection with the Internet and the application on the smartphone of the owner. Different brand provide different system of connection to the user:

  • watches Garmin – application Garmin Connect in Google Play and AppStore;
‎Garmin Connect™
‎Garmin Connect™
Developer: Garmin
Price: Free
Garmin Connect™
Garmin Connect™
Developer: Garmin
Price: Free
  • watches Polar – application Polar Flow in Google Play and AppStore;
‎Polar Flow
‎Polar Flow
Developer: Polar Electro
Price: Free
Polar Flow – Sync & Analyze
Polar Flow – Sync & Analyze
  • watches Suunto – application Suunto in Google Play and AppStore;
Developer: Suunto
Price: Free

But also all of them can provide the connection with the side apps such as Strava, Nike Run Club, Runkeeper.

‎Strava: Run, Ride, Hike
‎Strava: Run, Ride, Hike
Developer: Strava, Inc.
Price: Free+
Strava: Run, Ride, Hike
Strava: Run, Ride, Hike
Developer: Strava Inc.
Price: Free

These are the main features of the running watches to choose your best one. Now you know all of the indicators of different watches provided for you. So when you are about to make your purchase you definitely will know what to pay attention on.

What do you think is most suitable for you?

4.9/5 - (22 votes)
Ralph Martin

When you have to make a choice, you need to understand the choices you make. Make informed choices

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How to Choose a Watch for Running