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Product Review: Top Watches for Endurance Athletes

July 22, 2014

Whether you happen to be a Saturday morning jogger or a fervent marathon veteran, GPS watches provide an invaluable service. In addition to accumulating a live stream of facts and figures, such as speed and heart rate, these devices allow you to evaluate data and monitor your running evolution (pardon the poor pun). Undoubtedly, especially with the more inexperienced runner, a mixture of inadequate recovery time and excessive intensity is a recipe for injury. So, with this being said, a quality GPS watch will allow you set an almost perfect tempo, thus encouraging a runner to pace themselves and avoid injury. The following five run-tracking watches are at the forefront of sports technology, allowing progression at a speed that suits you.

While these watches can’t stop you from pulling a hamstring or twisting an ankle, they certainly promote clever training, enhance the ability to recognize faults, and help prevent a runner making the same mistakes over and over. After all, isn’t insanity defined as the process of repeatedly committing the same action and hoping for different results?

GARMIN Forerunner 220

Garmin ForerunnerInitially, if you happened to be in the market for a rather simplistic, easy-to-operate watch, the Forerunner 210 was Garmins go-to product. However, with time comes technology, and with time came the Forerunner 220. For any fans of HBO’s late, great TV show, “Entourage”, Vince is definitely the 220 here, while Johnny is the older, less desirable 210. Not only is this wristwatch far more attractive, it’s also sharper and lighter. While it still maintains some of the lovable, simplistic elements of its predecessor, the 220 offers us an opportunity to broaden our horizons and take today’s run to a different level. Maintaining the lengthy battery life of the Forerunner 210, Garmin decided to adjust the wardrobe, so to speak, opting to upgrade comfort and efficiency while downgrading the bulk. The Bluetooth connectivity coupled with slick touch controls make the 220 one of the most impressive watches around. In addition to its improved functionality, the Forerunner 220 tracks your personal records and, via Bluetooth, offers the option of social media sharing, all helping to solidify Garmins stellar credibility.

Price: $220

Garmin Forerunner 620

Garmin Forerunner

Like Usain Bolt off the block, Garmin have been running the GPS sports watch game at a ferocious pace.  Nevertheless, even with their impeccable history, the 620 series is simply a stunning slice of elegance. Boasting a color display and high-resolution touch screen, the wrist piece delivers essential biometric data in a marvellously vivid manner. The 620 is the only watch that delivers information[C1] , such as run fluctuation, a feature that helps you gain a clearer understanding of biomechanics. Weighing a mere 1.6 ounces, Garmin’s magnum-opus features Bluetooth and WiFi, along with an extremely snug hinged band.

The science of running is fascinating, a fact that the 620 acknowledges. When the wristwatch is used with a heart rate monitor, a runner is presented with vital statistics, most notably an approximation of your VO2 max.

Garmin Forerunner 620 Price: $400

Garmin Forerunner 620 w/HRM-Run - Price: $450

Polar V800 GPS

Polar WatchSuccessfully designing and producing a great product might sound straightforward, but many companies find it a difficult, highly complex affair. But the V800, Polar’s beautifully functioning watch, combines numerous features into one aerodynamic package. Not only is it a great-looking product, the V800 also boasts integrated GPS and observes your movements 24 hours a day, which assists in compiling tailored training and recovery data. Tracking your speed and distance, the GPS also maps your course, and, via its integrated barometric pressure sensor, the V800 offers precise altitude analysis. In addition to boasting a battery life that can last close to 50 hours in low-powered GPS mode, Polar’s impressive device is extremely light and comfortable to wear.

Polar V800 GPS Price: $499.95

Timex Ironman Run Trainer 2.0 GPS Watch

TimexThe Timex Ironman Run Trainer 2.0 with GPS and Heart Rate Monitor boasts some notable features, from its GPS function, which measures pace, speed and distance in real time, to its 8-hour battery life in full GPS mode.  Weighing in at 2.3oz, the Run Trainer comes with easily customizable settings and a digital 2.4 heart rate sensor.

Timex has created a watch worthy of our attention. Featuring high-resolution screen display, the lustrous Run Trainer offers a perceptive menu-based interface that assists in recording your pace and distance, while also providing pace indicators and interval feedback. If these features aren’t impressive enough, perhaps the inclusion of independent nutrition and hydration signals politely encouraging you to re-fuel might entice you into purchasing the product. When you’re done admiring all these qualities and actually go for that glorious run, you can upload your workout and review stats using the online diary powered by Training Peaks.

Price: $219.95

 Suunto Ambit2 R GPS w/HRM

 SuuntoThe Ambit2 R running-focused watch, an expansion of the Ambit2 range, offers a lower-price product without skimping on quality. A sophisticated product, Suunto’s beautifully designed watch allows you to record heart rate data, distance, pace and cadence. The integrated GPS and wrist accelerometer coupled with an altimeter are all decidedly inspiring features, especially the latter, as it presents accurate elevation statistics and a 3D compass that provides the runner with course navigation for ascertaining and trailing new routes.


Price: $300

This article was written by John Glynn


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