With the weather improving and gyms opening now that the pandemic is easing, it’s the perfect time to start running outside again – and for that, you’re going to need a fitness tracker or of a racing watch. These high-tech wearables aren’t just for humbly bragging about your last 5,000,000 time on social media; they can track your health in real time, set goals, and help you improve your fitness, while also acting like a regular smartwatch.
Speaking of smartwatches, obvious contenders like the Apple Watch and Samsung Galaxy Watch aren’t included in this article. Instead, we decided to focus on dedicated fitness trackers and smartwatches designed primarily for running. These come from manufacturers like Garmin, Polar and Coros.
Here are some of the best running watches and fitness trackers to consider in 2022:
Garmin Forerunner 945
Garmin Forerunner 945 running watchGarmin
This is a feature-rich running watch with a price to match. At $600, it’s more expensive than the Apple Watch, but justifies the cost by having a battery life of up to two weeks. It is specially designed for running and triathlons, monitors Vo2 max and records your fitness while taking into account heat, altitude, training load and recovery time.
The watch can also evaluate your recent exercise history and performance metrics to let you know if you’re training productively, peaking, or exceeding limits. It also provides information about your aerobic and anaerobic training, while your training history is sorted by activity pattern and intensity. There are color maps on board, as well as music streaming capabilities, GPS and Garmin Pay for contactless payments.
Garmin Forerunner 245 Music
Garmin Forerunner 245 MusicGarmin
If you’re looking for a more affordable running watch, we’d recommend sticking with the Garmin Forerunner range but upgrading to the 245 Music. This watch is currently priced at $339, making it almost half the price of the flagship 945. This GPS watch is still packed with health and fitness features, including health status data. workout to help you know if you’re underperforming or pushing yourself too hard and free. Garmin Coach adaptive training plans.
The watch also provides advanced running data including ground contact time, stride length and vertical ratio. There’s an incident detection system that sends your location to an emergency contact if you have an accident while exercising, and Garmin says the battery life lasts up to seven days. The “music” in its name refers to the existence of internal storage, so save your running playlist and stream it to Bluetooth headphones.
Polar Vantage M
Polar Vantage MPolar
Even more affordable is the Polar Vantage M, which currently sells for around $230. It has up to 30 hours of battery life with GPS on and active (about twice that of an Apple Watch) and provides a full view of your workout. The Vantage M has GPS, a heart rate monitor and can be used to track swimming as well as running, with automatic detection of your swimming style, distance, pace, strokes and time rest, in swimming pools and in open water.
Coros Pace 2
Coros Pace 2 running watchCoros
A great budget option, the Coros Pace 2 costs $200 and has a 30-hour battery life with GPS enabled. It is available in four different colors and has industry standard lug bars so any regular watch strap can easily be fitted. Weighing just 29g, the Pace 2 was considered the lightest GPS watch on the market when it was launched.
The Pace 2 tracks running, cycling, swimming, cardio, strength training and water sports, has a heart rate monitor, plus sleep, step and calorie tracking. Other added features include nutrition and hydration alerts, an AI trainer that estimates when you’ll be fully recovered from each workout, and an app that uses the watch’s barometer to alert you to local weather changes. .
Fitbit Charge 4
Fitbit Charge 4 Activity TrackerFitbit
Moving away from running watches and into fitness trackers, we have the Load 4 from Google-owned Fitbit. This tracker costs around $150, comes in three colors, and has a battery life of up to seven days. There’s also built-in GPS, heart rate monitor, water resistance up to 50 meters, and pace data for runs, walks, and hikes.
The Charge 4 also comes with 90 days of free access to Fitbit Premium, which combines fitness tracking, sleep data and even stress levels. Although it is not a full-fledged smartwatch, the Load 4 can handle calls and some smartphone notifications, plus music streaming from Spotify and Fitbit Pay.