Every January, millions of us emerge from an egg-noggy holiday stupor and resolve to start running. This year, we really mean it. What choice do we have? Gyms are closed. And we’ve all spent the past ten months playing Animal Crossing while eating sourdough in our pajamas. We’ve gotta get out there.
Searching for a little watch-related motivation, we turned to our friends at Tracksmith – the Boston brand that makes the coolest running clothes (and tells the best running stories) pretty much anywhere. The staff is packed with hardcore pavement pounders. If anyone knows the most useful, stylish timepieces to strap on while sweating out the miles, it’s them. See below for seven personal testimonials. And share your own picks in the comments.
Lou Serafini, Community
My college teammate (and 2:11 marathoner) Tim Ritchie used to say, “Live by the watch, die by the watch.” I’ve always liked that expression. It means if you’re obsessed with things like your pace and your miles, then you’re actually doing more harm than good. But like many, I’m data-driven. I want to know as much as I can about my runs – I just try not to obsess over it. My watch is a tool and a part of my training arsenal. The COROS Apex Pro watch gives me exactly what I need: a very clean and detailed recap of my workouts. I rarely have to charge it, and the clean design makes me feel like I’m not wearing a nerdy running watch to meetings – even though nerdy running watches are acceptable at Tracksmith. So, if I’m going to die by the watch, this is the watch I want on my wrist.
Richard Issa, Customer Experience
My watch of choice is the Garmin Forerunner 245. In an attempt to be a minimalist, I stuck it out with my Forerunner 225 for a while, but decided to treat myself to an upgrade last year. Besides telling me that I don’t sleep enough, my favorite feature is the ability to set my workouts on the Garmin Connect app and upload them straight to my watch. That really makes it easier to focus on running and not have to think about hitting that lap button. I’m very happy I made the upgrade in Forerunner models. Except for when it tells me my run is unproductive. Then I just feel judged.
Brian Hayes, Operations
At first pass, a dive watch might be an odd choice for a running watch. It eschews anything digital and seemingly beneficial to the athlete wearing it. My running these days isn’t about splits, workouts, or even tracking distance. It is about removing any barriers or excuses for not getting a run in. What this Tudor Pelagos brings is focus and simplicity, which is why I tend to pick it over anything else.
Nothing I own gets coddled, so I’ve never thought twice about taking it out on a run. On a rubber strap, it can seamlessly go from daycare drop off to work, to a run, to the shower. Being titanium makes it lightweight enough that it disappears while running. I get ready for my run then use the bezel to track the time elapsed: simple functionality built for diving that easily applies to running.
Nick Willis, Community
Simplicity and weight are the two things I like most in a running watch. I don’t need stored splits, GPS data, or heart rate when I’m doing workouts. I just want to know what my time is for that interval. Start, stop, reset. That’s how I run, and that’s how I like to time my runs.
Casio classic watches have lasted the test of time. I’m also nostalgic and love treating myself to simple purchases I could never afford as an envious youth. I wanted a Casio Calculator Watch as a kid – the ultimate status symbol for a 10-year-old. Well, now I can afford the $ 19.99, so I got one to upgrade my Casio Classic F91W-1. When my mates check their GPS watches for pace, I can joke that I’m calculating my pace with a few presses of the buttons.
Kamilah Journét, Marketing
I’m an incessant split checker, an over-analyzer if you will. So, I don’t need a watch that digs even deeper. I grabbed this Timex Ironman almost 10 years ago and find I check it more out of habit than true interest. While I tried to run without one for some time, I realized putting a watch on my wrist is part of my routine as a runner. This Timex fills that empty space nicely, and I don’t have to wait around for GPS satellites before I get going. I don’t worry about rounding out my mileage or what Strava followers will give ‘kudos’ for. This watch is a tool that allows me to make a mental note of how long I spent moving one foot in front of the other, before holding down the reset button to start fresh the next day.
Drew Hartman, Customer Experience
I train with the Garmin Forerunner 735XT. For a brief stint, I thought that this watch could make me the triathlete I never was, by virtue of its multisport functions. I can use the swimming, cycling, or running functions to track all aspects of my training. While swimming has taken a back seat in the last year, cycling and running have been aided by my watch. The current pandemic has influenced me to explore more on the bike. For an aspiring cyclist without a cycling computer, this watch may be the answer.
While stats, workouts, heart rate, and data are some of my favorite features of this watch, I’ve enjoyed running with just the watch face present on my easy days. I toggle through the different screen views until I see the time of day, and I’ll review the pace, heart rate, elapsed time, cadence, and other data at a later time. I can thank my coworker, Jason, for this idea he used during his first 200-mile week.
Lee Glandorf, Marketing & Communications
I last wore a watch for the 2017 Chicago Marathon, in which I executed the perfect “fly and die” race plan. So (im)perfect was my over-ambitious pacing strategy that I ran a half-marathon personal record (PR) only to bonk and drop out of the race. On the way home, I lost my charger and resigned my trusty Garmin to the back of a drawer. Since then, I’ve run entirely without a watch.
As someone who spent years waiting for a beep to confirm my pace, it’s freeing to run entirely by feel. While I haven’t raced a marathon since my disaster, my training has been far more consistent than it was when I was bound to my Garmin. I’ve run PRs in the 5K and the mile, but more importantly have learned to listen to my body and to embrace exploration and discovery instead of chasing a number on my watch.