Essential features found in runners watches that can help competitive athletes train to their full potential

3 Essential Features Found in Runners Watches That Can Help Competitive Athletes Train To Their Full Potential

There is a big difference between owning a runners watch and making the best use of a running watch’s features as part of a structured training routine. Athletes who are transitioning from part-time joggers to participants of competitive events are often looking to upgrade to a better watch. Unfortunately most of this group, do not fully understand what to look for a good running watch and do not even comprehend what features can actually benefit their training.

Buying a running watch is a personal decision and there is no “best running watch” for everyone. If you known nothing about distance running watches, then your first step might be to purchase a basic runners watch that has some basic features and once you are comfortable using it, progress to a more advanced watch from there.

Three essentially “must have” features that are useful to athletes are:

  • a stopwatch that can record split segments
  • a history log that can record timed laps within training sessions; and
  • a sequential interval timer or at least a countdown timer feature

It is safe to say that just about every distance running watch will feature a stopwatch timer of some description. While it is essential for a runner to view the duration of their runs in hours, minutes and seconds, the ability of a watch to record a segment of a run is also useful if not essential and most running watches feature a start/stop pusher to accomodate this. A chronograph that can also be stopped in the middle of the run is useful for sudden, unexpected disruptions such as traffic. Most stopwatches display two lines. A data line for the cummulative running time and another for the current segment time.

Arguably the most effective method a runner can do to enhance their performance is repetition training and a sports running watch that can keep track of individual lap times within a session can help a runner keep track of their workouts, so as to guage how much they are improving. Running watches are usually marketed by the total number of lap times that can be stored in their memory, for instance a 50-Lap watch can store 50 lap times in memory, but one thing you should note is that many watches marketed as “50-Lap” watches, only store laps for one session. When the session is cleared all the times are lost. A good basic running watch should at least have the capacity to store multiple sessions and as many lap times as you need per session.

A third useful function of a distance running watch is an interval timer that can accomodate a running timer sequence. Most running watches with interval timers have two timers, but others have many more. With two timers you can set up your interval timer for fixed time interval runs, with a fixed interval recovery time. You can set the total number of repetitions of the sequence on some interval timer watches too.

There is an abundance of features on offer by manufacturers of runners watches. If you are buying a runners watch for the first time and are unsure what to get, consider buying an inexpensive watch with at least a stopwatch with split segments, interval timer or countdowm timer and the ability to record sessions and lap times within sessions in memory. Once you are used to using a basic running watch, you can then move up to something with more sophisticated functions.

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