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Best Running Watches

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Updated April 04, 2014

Yes, it's true that running is a low-maintenance sport, for the most part, and all you really need is a good pair of running shoes. But a running watch can definitely come in handy. For beginners, running watches can be helpful to keep track of how long you're running or to measure your run/walk intervals. More experienced runners like to use advanced features such as heart rate monitoring and GPS to help improve the quality of their training and their performance. If you're thinking about buying a running watch, here are several good options:

Nike+ SportWatch GPS

Nike+ SportWatch GPS
Photo courtesy of PriceGrabber
This Nike+ SportWatch GPS running watch does more than just tell time. You can get accurate speed and distance for your runs, indoors or out -- even if the GPS signal gets interrupted. This running watch also shows mapped routes, marks laps ran, and tracks track heart rate and calories burned. Use it to get a motivation boost by viewing previous runs (up to 50 runs) and PRs, and setting automatic Run Reminders when a run hasn't been logged for a period of time.
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Garmin Forerunner Series

Garmin Forerunner 405
Photo courtesy of PriceGrabber
Any runner who is into gadgets or tracking their distances will love one of these Garmin Forerunner wristwatch GPS systems. They track all kinds of information, including how far you ran, how to get back to your starting point, and lots of statistical data that can all be downloaded onto your computer. The Forerunner tracks the amount of calories burned and calculates them over the course of a workout. One of the unique features is a virtual partner -– it allows you to race against yourself or a set pace that you want to follow. Newer models have more features -- with a higher price tag, of course.
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Timex Ironman Run Trainer with GPS

Timex Ironman Run Trainer Watch
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The Timex Ironman Run Trainer shows you real-time distance, pace, heart rate and more on a large, easy-to-read screen and customizable display. After your runs, you can review your map and performance with online training software powered by Training Peaks. This watch also features 50m water resistance and a rechargeable battery with 8-hour life.
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New Balance N8 Trainer

newbalancetrainer
Photo courtesy of PriceGrabber
The N8 Trainer from New Balance tracks your speed, distance, and heart rate at a reasonable price for those features. Easy to calibrate, the Speed Distance transmitter (a small footpod) laces onto your shoes to track your pace, distance, speed, and number of steps. The ECG accurate heart rate monitor provides you with a continuous reading and keeps track of your calories burned. Audio and visual alerts help you keep your heart rate in the optimal zones, which are custom set or automatically set at three levels based on your maximum heart rate.

Also see: Basic Marathon Training Gear
7 Running Essentials
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Timex Ironman Triathlon Watch

Timex Ironman Triathlon Watch
Photo courtesy of PriceGrabber
If you're looking for an inexpensive running watch without GPS technology, the Timex Ironman Triathlon Watch is simple and very easy to use, yet it's powerful enough to meet your training and race timing needs. It features a 100-hour stopwatch with 1/100 second resolution; 50 lap memory, 50 split memory, 50 workout memory; a training log with best lap, average lap, and total segment time with date; indiglo backlight for easy viewing in low light conditions; 3 alarms; and 2 interval timers with 99 rep counter. In addition, it's very sleek, stylish, and available in several different colors.
Women's Timex Ironman Triathlon Watch
Men's Timex Ironman Triathlon Watch
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Nike+ SportBand

Nike Sportband watch
Phot courtesy of PriceGrabber
The Nike+ SportBand 2 tracks distance, pace, time and calories burned, and is another great option for a beginner runner who just wants a basic watch without advanced features such as heart rate monitoring. When you finish your runs, you can upload your data to nikeplus.com to log your runs, track your progress, see training trends, set goals and challenges, and more. where you can learn more about your training trends by plotting charts for speed, distance, and estimated calorie counts.
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