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The 5 Best Running Watches

Watches are by far one of the most important running gears you must have if you run regularly. Besides telling you the time and making you realize you’re late for a meeting, they can keep track of the time spent running as well. Of course, it’s all very basic, and they’re no fun in telling you about why you must own running watches for your runs.

Thanks to technology, though, smart running watches not only tell you the time but also keeps track of your pace, your calorie burn, heart rate, miles run, and much more. Without further due, let’s get right into reviewing our favorite picks in the running watches. 

1. Garmin 010-01689-00 Forerunner 35; Easy-to-Use GPS Running Watch

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Features 

Heart rate monitor 

As will be common with all the subsequent watches we will be reviewing, these watches have a built-in heart monitor that tracks your heartbeat, rate, and contractility via your wrist. The feature is prevalent in running watches, and it is something you should always keep a lookout for. If you don’t see a built-in heart monitor on a running watch, don’t buy it. 

Although not as accurate as an actual heart monitor, it’s still not bad and can give you a pretty good idea about your statistics. The watch will monitor the rate of your heart as long as you keep wearing it.

Garmin connect 

It’s an online platform hosted by the Gamin company itself. The watch automatically uploads your data (calories, steps, intensity, heart rate, etc.) on Garmin Connect. This makes it easy for you to keep an excellent track of your statistics. 

Also, you can find other people on the Garmin connect sharing the same goals as you. Perhaps both of you can go for a friendly challenge. Speaking of which, the connect gives you daily challenges and shares useful insights if you want. 

Smart features 

You can connect your smart running watch with your phone and use it to operate your phone remotely. 

We all know what a hassle it can be to keep checking your phone mid-runs. But these types of watches eliminate that need in a pretty clean manner. You can receive notifications on the watch and send messages as well. And if you happen to have connected them to wireless headphones or earplugs, you can use them to switch songs and adjust the volume as well. 

Pros 

  • Built-in GPS tracker and heart monitor 
  • Automatic uploads to Garmin connect to keep insight into your goals 
  • Smart notifications and connection to other smart devices 

Cons 

  • The pacing can be improved 
  • Switching units on the device is a little technical

2. Garmin Forerunner 235, GPS Running Watch

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Features 

VO2 Max Estimate 

The thing that stands out the most in this watch is its VO2 Max estimate. The feature tells you the volume of Oxygen you can use or used during a particular session. 

Now if you’re a little geeky, you know that the volume of Oxygen consumption relates to a lot of data about your health, and especially about your circulatory system. Oxygen consumption increases with exercise. If you see an average elevation in your Oxygen consumption over days, then all is good. If not, then you might have a problem with either your lungs, circulation, or perhaps muscles. Consult a physiotherapist in such a case. 

Connect IQ 

So this is in addition to Garmin connect. It’s pretty much like an online store, but it’s free, and you can use it to download lots of interesting stuff.

For example, data fields, weather widgets, and even watch faces, if you’re like us and get bored of looking at the same watch face over and over again. It’s a nice place to be, and there are tons of things you can download from Connect IQ, which will prove helpful in your sessions. 

Weather widget and smart Notifications 

The weather widget on this watch is very useful as it can give you an idea about the current humidity levels and UV index, to help you decide how many layers of sunscreen you need to put on. And that even if you should go for a run or not.

Like many other Garmin watches, it will also give you smart notifications from your social apps, email, and text messages. This is in addition to its featured audio prompt 

Pros 

  • VO2 Max estimate feature 
  • Connect IQ for downloading useful stuff 
  • Long battery life 

Cons 

  • A little less durable
  • The Bluetooth signaling can be improved 

3. Garmin Forerunner 645 Music, GPS Running Watch

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Features 

Music 

Using this watch, you can easily download up to 500 songs on your watch and listen to them via a Bluetooth audio device. 

This is great when you forget your phone at home, or you want to preserve your phone battery for a significant occasion later in the day. Whatever it may be, the fact that you can download songs on your watch intrigues us.

Garmin Pay 

Now, this is something that will come in handy. Because it did for us, using Garmin Pay, you can make convenient contactless payments.

This means one less item to carry around during your walks; your credit card and cash. Who knows if your running shorts have roomy pockets with zippers that can accommodate your cards and wallet? Just wear a watch that you can use for payments. Easy peasy. 

Advanced running dynamics

Don’t have the money to hire a coach to help you improve your form? Just buy a watch that will tell you where you lack in your form, and you’re on a fast track to improved form. 

The advanced running dynamics of the watch gather data that will help you improve your form seamlessly. The data includes ground contact time balance, stride strength, vertical ratio, vertical oscillation, and cadence. Being a runner, you know how useful these data can prove to be for improvement. 

Pros 

  • Advanced running dynamics for improved form
  • Amazing music library 
  • Contactless payment 

Cons 

  • The payment system supports selected cards only 
  • The screen is scratched easily

4. Garmin vívoactive 3

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Features 

Personalization 

The personalization of this watch is simply revolutionary. Connect IQ is compatible with this watch, and the fact that the watch has great memory makes this possible. 

You can download all kinds of watch faces, funky or otherwise from the Connect IQ. And not only that, you can download the apps you use on your phone on your running watch as well. Download Uber, and you won’t have to keep checking your phone when the driver arrives. Or perhaps use the SmartThings app to control the smart electronics of your home remotely. The world is on your wrist. 

Smartphone connection

Now as with all Garmin watches yet reviewed. This watch connects with your smartphone, as well. But what makes vivoactive 3 stand apart is that you can virtually control your whole smartphone with just your watch.

From email replies to text messages to social updates and event reminders. Plus, if you have your watch connected to your phone, and you, unfortunately, lose your phone, you can always locate it using the watch. You can also share your location with your family/friends to assure them that you’re actually stuck in traffic and not just bluffing.

Heart rate variability 

Just like other Garmins, this one too monitors heart rate. But it’s programs allow it to take that calculation even further. 

The Heart rate variability takes data from the previous 2 weeks of heart rate monitoring and combines them into data that will tell you how much your heart rate varies throughout the days. This can be good data when you want to know how well your body functions and how well it’s taking everyday stresses. 

Pros 

  • Great personalization 
  • Improved connections 
  • Improved heart rate monitoring and calculating HRV (heart rate variability)

Cons 

  • Transflexive LCD screen creates lower brightness levels 
  • An auto-pause function would’ve been nice

5. Garmin 010-01746-00 Forerunner 935 Running GPS Unit

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Features 

Elevation changes 

The watch comes built-in with a barometer, a compass, and an altimeter. This means you can be very well aware of your surrounding geography during your runs. 

The barometer shows the air pressure around you and the altimeter shows your altitude from the sea level. Hence, you ought not to worry when you start breathing heavily, and your heart rate goes up. Just look at the barometer and altimeter and make sure it’s not because of pressure and altitude.

Advanced monitoring 

The watch gathers your data from your previous workout and running sessions and compares them with the one you’re currently doing. It also compares them to a set threshold by yourself and gives you an estimate of whether you’re overdoing or undergoing your running sessions. 

This is helpful since everyone likes to keep track of how much they’ve been busy training their bodies. And true that calorie count and step count are useful, this additional feature can help improve the data even more.

Activity profiles 

The built-in activity profiles let you manage your separate workouts properly. For all the athletic people out there who like to go to the gym, swim, cycle, and run simultaneously, this feature is for you. 

With the built-in activity profiles, you can track all your separate exercises and compare the data on where you burned the most calories. This can help navigate your plans besides versatility, that is.

Pros 

  • Built-in activity profiles 
  • Measures biomechanical running metrics 
  • Good battery life 

Cons 

  • HRM-Tri chest strap needs improvement 
  • A little slow 

Comparison Chart 

Product name  Rating  Price  Screen size  Dimensions  Weight 

1. Garmin 010-01689-00 Forerunner 35; Easy-to-Use GPS Running Watch

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4.6 / 5 $148.99 1 inch 1.4 x 0.5 x 1.6 0.1lbs 

2. Garmin Forerunner 235, GPS Running Watch

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4.6 / 5 $149.00 1.23 inches  0.5 x 1.8 x 1.8 inches 0.1lbs 

3. Garmin Forerunner 645 Music, GPS Running Watch

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4.6 / 5  $239.00 1.2 inches  1.7 x 0.5 x 1.7 inches 0.09lbs 

4. Garmin vívoactive 3

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4.5 / 5 $154.00 1.2 inches  1.7 x 0.5 x 1.7 inches 0.1lbs

5. Garmin 010-01746-00 Forerunner 935 Running GPS Unit

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4.7 / 5 $344.90 1.2 inches  0.5 x 1.8 x 2.1 inches 0.12lbs

Buying Guide For Best – Running Watches 

Durability 

Durability is the first thing you should look for when buying running watches. Because first, they are a little on the pricey side, and hence you would want to spend your money on the right product, and secondly, the running watches are prone to a lot of friction, wear and tear, and sweat. 

You can have an idea about the watch’s durability by its material, the material of its glass covering, and its water resistance. However, the latter can be ignored to some extent. But it’s always a plus if a watch is water-resistant. 

Compatibility 

Most of the running watches are smartwatches. This means they sometimes (not all of the time) need to be connected to another smart device, most probably a smartphone. 

That’s why it’s always a good idea to check the watch’s compatibility with your phone. Most of the running watches are designed to be compatible with almost all kinds of smartphones out there, but there are still exceptions. Make sure your phone does not fall in the exceptions category. 

Speaking of compatibility, runners should also consider lightweight shoes. Here are some of the excellent running shoes.

Functionalities 

Running watches come with a wide range of functionalities. Some provide more functions while other brands are selective on the functions to offer. 

People like music when running, while others like to keep track of their biomechanical metrics. Some prefer relatively simple watches that give only distance, Heart rate, and calories burned. 

Make sure to thoroughly check out the watch for its functionalities and make sure it has all the functions you require. Not too much (as that will cost you money) and not too little (as that will be a waste of money)

Conclusion 

And that’s it for our post on our favorite running watches. We hope you liked it, and we hope you take care of your health as much as a watch takes care of your calorie count and steps. 

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