We run for all kinds of reasons; some run to lose weight, others to clear their head, and some run because it offers a nice break from the everyday routine. Regardless of the reason – you want your run to be relaxing and free from exterior problems and concerns, and you want to improve your performance with time. Perhaps you would like to run faster, or further, but it can be difficult to see your own progress!
You can easily solve this with a runner watch, as these will often feature training plans, fitness apps, running metrics and more, to help boost your performance, but also to inspire you to continue running.
These are some of the best running watch products currently available to both hobby runners and professional athletes, to help you run more efficiently and to better yourself and your results with every run.
View The Best Running Watch Below
1. Garmin Forerunner 645
A phone can be a very clumsy item to bring along for a run, but the good news is that you don’t need to bring it with you when you have the Garmin Forerunner 645! It can store up to 500 of your favorite songs so that you can listen to music anytime you want by using a pair of Bluetooth headphones. Streaming services, like Spotify, can also be used if you sync the playlists of your choice for offline listening before you get started.
It has wrist-based heart rate measuring, great time telling accuracy, a large round display with touch, a wristband you can easily wipe off if it gets a little muggy and the smartwatch mode allow it to receive incoming calls, text messages, and social media notifications when paired with a smartphone.
+ Large touch display
+ No phone needed
+ Room for 500 songs
+ Monitoring of stress levels
Why We Like It – This product has multiple modes you can use during workouts and exercise; and it is a GPS running watch you can use both paired with a Smartphone, but also without.
2. Polar M430 GPS
These GPS running watches are the latest when it comes to fitness tracking and advanced running technology, and it has built-in music storage, heart rate monitoring, multi-sport modes, and easy navigation. The trackers run 24/7 and monitor your sleeping habits, the steps you take during the day, how many calories you burn and your overall daily activity, and while you are working out.
It collects data in regards to the speed you are running with, how far you run, where you run and more. The Polar M430 has an impressive battery life, strong GPS signal with hours of GPS, training plans and apps, making it a running power and a force to be reckoned with that you might not have known you needed.
+ Tracks routes, speed, running pace and distance
+ Integrated sports GPS function
+ Long battery life also when using GPS
+ Lightweight and highly water-resistant
Why We Like It – A fitness tracker like this lightweight sports watch has a strong battery that lasts for a long time, and the improved GPS functions will make sure you don’t get lost while out running, and also to provide you with valuable data at the end of the run.
3. Timex Ironman Classic 30
This is a brand that has been making quality watches for decades, and their Timex Ironman watch is no exception. It has over 12 hours of battery time, app options, a high rating in watch reviews from all over the world, it is easy to wear with any outfit, can be used when training for sports both on land and in water and it has a large display that you can easily attend to and manage also while you are out running.
Get a watch that won’t force you to stop every time you want to change a setting or check an incoming message, and let this Timex watch take you along for an adventure. The dial is 38mm, making it the perfect size to go on most wrists, it is made with durable resin that is both water- and sweat-resistant, and you can wipe it off with a wet cloth after use so that you can wear it again to your next event.
+ 30-lap memory and 100-hour chronograph
+ 38mm durable black resin case
+ Watch dial with Indiglo light-up
+ Water-resistant to 330 feet
Why We Like It – A smartwatch like this is perfect for running, but it is also great for everyday wear, to check your favorite apps, download an app you want to start using, and for scheduling your training.
4. Garmin vívoactive 3
Do you want something that does more for you than just track your training? With the Garmin Vívoactive 3, just like with the Forerunner 35 and the Garmin Forerunner 945, you get a whole world of options! They have Garmin Pay contactless payments, which makes it possible to carry out your banking directly through your watch.
It is a smartwatch that you can download your favorite training app to, you can keep track of dates, days and more, and it has excellent accuracy when it comes to time-telling. The screen is large enough to read also when you are moving, and the gorgeous design makes it active gear you can wear also for other occasions.
There are features including GPS tracking, quick charge functions, Smartphone connectivity, an optical heart rate monitor, and more, and it is no wonder this series has such a high Amazon rating.
+ Large screen for easy reading
+ 1.2-inch diameter color display
+ All the basic fitness features
+ With Vo2 Max
Why We Like It – A protested product like this Garmin (similar to the Garmin Fenix and Coros) will make running easier and more fun, just like their advertisement says, and they are GPS watches that are easy to use thanks to the large touch screen.
5. Timex Ironman Essential 10
This full-sized watch is one of the best watches available for training and sports. It has a simple design, stopwatch, Indiglo back-light, calendar displaying days, months and year, accurate time count, 100-hour chronograph, training load suggestions and other functions that are ideal for all your runs.
It is a lightweight watch with several different sports modes, and the price is affordable enough to suit also the runner on a budget. If you are looking for a practical watch that still has that classic aspect to it, and if a smartwatch and app download isn’t for you, then perhaps this gorgeous and sporty timepiece could be the best watch for you.
+ Calendar with days, dates and months
+ Comfortable 16mm resin strap
+ 100-hour chronograph and Indiglo light-up dial
+ Long-lasting battery for uninterrupted use
Why We Like It – Not up for wasting time on app downloads and complicated touch features? This classic digital sports watch has al the fitness features you need to improve your running performance.
6. Garmin Forerunner 235
It can be difficult to choose between similar products like the Garmin Forerunner 245 and this beauty right here – the Garmin Forerunner 235, but the truth is that each one has something the other hasn’t got.
The Garmin Forerunner 235 is a watch with heart rate tracking, audio prompts, you can check your smartphone notifications, see incoming calls and messages, monitor your running routes, calendar reminders (with days, dates and months), alarms, app downloads, ease to navigate while moving and more – it has all the benefits you would expect to get from a product out of the Apple watch series or from a Fitbit ionic, making it the best watch for someone who wants to get the most out of every run, but also to have a watch that will accurately tell time.
+ Improved heart rate tracking
+ App download and smartwatch features
+ Tracks routes, speed, pace and endurance
+ Audio prompts and incoming call notifications
Why We Like It – Gone are the days when you had to carry your phone with you when working out, and this watch has everything you need to keep track of social media, calls, and texts when out and about, while also tracking your fitness progress.
7. Marathon by Timex
A watch like this has an 18mm resin strap that is adjustable to fit wrists all sizes, it has a 24-hour countdown times, 100-hour chronograph, days and months calendar, two time zones, 50 meter water-resistance, acrylic lens and 24-hour Military time, and it is one of the best watches for a runner that wants a watch with all available fitness features, but without having to deal with the additional features for example an Apple watch would have.
With the Marathon watch – it is all about fitness and physical health, and the black and silver-toned case is discrete enough to go well with any outfit and for any occasion – sport-related or not – and you can easily change the setting by using the large buttons on the side. It can be used for recreational swimming and worn in the shower, but should not be used for snorkeling or scuba diving.
+ Full set of fitness features
+ 45mm resin case with acrylic lens
+ Indiglo light-up watch dial
+ Excellent water-resistant
Why We Like It – This is the kind of watches that are frequently used by professional runners and athletes, thanks to the full focus on fitness features and the resistant design.
8. Casio STR300 60lap
When you set out to find the best time-telling device for runners, you will likely come across at least one Casio watch, and this charming sports watch is one that stands out! It has a Japanese quartz movement, a nicely sized digital display, accurate distance calculation that even compares to Apple products, a 35mm resin case with a non-scratching mineral dial case, and it is water-resistant down to 165 feet.
While it looks similar to watches like the Polar Ignite, Coros, Timex products and more, it has something you don’t usually find! It is available in discrete black and grey, but there is also a pink and black version that will stand out, and have you feeling a little extra excited to go for your morning run.
+ Two exciting color options
+ 35 mm durable resin case
+ 60-lap memory and stopwatch
+ Total of four daily alarms
Why We Like It – Why not look good when you go for a run? This is a smaller digital timepiece with buttons and a perfect watch for someone who is just getting started with their running!
9. Garmin Forerunner 35
Forget Apple watches and Coros, and say hello to this modern timepiece! It is incredibly easy to use, both for the tech-savvy and for someone who isn’t too familiar with smartwatches, and it is one of the best watches for running you can get for the price. It comes in blue, black, lime and white, has the option to set vibration alarms – ideal for when you can’t have a loud sound interrupting your day, and it has Pixel transflective memory.
Don’t worry about sunlight, as this high-resolution display was designed to allow you to see also when it is bright outside. With a watch that is ideal for use both indoors and outdoors, you won’t even bother getting another one for when you are not exercising and working out.
+ Four different colors to choose from
+ MIP – Transflective memory in pixel
+ Wrist heart rate monitor
+ High-resolution digital display
Why We Like It – Say yes to the best with this practical sports product, where you can make use of features like incoming call notifications, wrist heart rate monitor and more, and you have four bright colors to choose from!
Running Watches Buyers Guide
Running is an activity most people can do; you can choose your own pace, distance, and speed, and with time perhaps you can improve your overall results, become faster and stronger, and get more out of every run.
A tracker with a smartwatch mode will let you check your social media notifications, see incoming calls and texts, and keep track of your health and fitness levels. There are a few tricks to help you find the ultimate training device, and we are going to do our best to cover everything you need to know when you start shopping for running watches.
Running Watch vs. Fitness Tracker
Someone who is only just starting to run is definitely going to benefit from a simple fitness tracker. A fitness tracker is a device that does simple things like counting your steps, the distance you’ve run, calories burned, your heart rate and sometimes also sleeping patterns, and many wrist trackers tend to have long battery time due to no advanced functions running in the background all the time.
When you are new to running, you don’t really need much more than that, but once you learn what a running watch has that the other doesn’t, it is easy to tempt and opt for one of those instead,
Running watches have all those brilliant features a fitness tracker has, but on top of that, they are also compatible with Smartphones. Once you set it up properly and pair it with your phone, you can then listen to your music while you run, check your social media notifications, receive calls and texts and much more. The running watch is like a perfect combination of a tracker and a smartphone, and they will almost always have built-in GPS, activity tracking, workout schedules, and accurate time-telling.
Heart Rate Monitoring & Sleep Tracking
A newer feature in these kinds of products is a heart rate sensor, which makes it possible for the device to better make recommendations for how you can take your training further. By measuring your pulse and your heart rate, it becomes easier to calculate the appropriate routes, workout sessions, the speed you would most benefit from using and more, and it also sets you up for a lot more accurate fitness tracking.
All this was not possible only a few years back, but as technology has advanced – so has the quality and accuracy of sports watches. Heart rate is usually monitored through the pulse in the wrist, or by using a chest strap, as a chest strap lets the sensors monitor the actual rate of the heart.
It may seem irrelevant for a GPS watch to track your sleep, but there is a lot of interesting data hidden in your sleeping routines, and in how much your body rests every night. A heart-rate tracker will usually also come with sleep tracking features, to give you a complete fitness tracking experience and to support you in your progress.
You may have only planned to use your watch for running, but the truth is that it could be beneficial to look for a watch designed for multiple sports. Many of these will have different sports modes you can use depending on what type of physical activity you are engaging in.
This does not only provide more accurate data and results, to help better your training, but they will also be more resistant to different conditions such as weather. A water-resistant watch won’t be at risk if it suddenly starts to pour down rain while you are out running, and it can become a key element for future exercise commitments and for any sport you would feel like trying out.
Price isn’t everything when you are looking for the best watch running enthusiasts will benefit from. While the cost of sports watches could indicate quality, there is also so much more than goes into it, and you should therefore not judge a smartwatch only by its price.
How many functions it has will have a direct effect on how much money it will cost you to get it, but here is where you need to know that you might not need all the features found in some of the most professional (and expensive) running power watches. If you are only just getting started then perhaps fewer functions are enough to cover your needs, and if so, you are likely to benefit from lower-priced products.
What do running watches do?
A good product will track your exercise routines by documenting the routes you have run, how far you ran, the distance and more, and if it is smartwatch compatible, it will also make it possible to receive notifications from your phone, such as for important phone calls, text messages, and social media.
Is an Apple watch good for running?
Apple watches are made to be useful whenever you are working out and training for something physical, and this means that they are great for running, thanks to the many advanced Apple features. They are also waterproof and can be used for swimming when you get in the shower and more.
Running is supposed to make you feel good, and it doesn’t matter if you are a beginner or an avid runner – you can always improve and get better! Watches with features like smart notifications, apps, tracking features, and other running technologies can help motivate you when you need it the most!
Finding the one that is right for you does not have to be hard, and this review of some of the best running watches was put together to make your decision-making process even easier, and to get you into your running shoes and out on the roads to start your journey towards a healthier life and a better fitness routine.
When you first start running, always remember to start out slow, and to use your watch to slowly build up your resistance and improve your results.
Did You Know
Having GPS on your running watch isn’t necessary if you have a Smartphone, but it makes it a lot easier since it often means that you won’t have to carry the phone when you run.