For almost the past month I’ve been tracking my training runs with the Nike+ Sportswatch GPS. I did a lot of research on GPS watches during the month of June. As my training distances began to grow, I realized that tracking via an app on my phone was not going to cut it once I got around to training for the Walt Disney World Marathon. One option I explored was purchasing a second battery for my phone. However, that would not be able to last long enough once my training runs approached 20 miles. So, I was going to need a watch that would last long enough for me to finish 26.2 miles.
As I began my search, it looked like the two brands getting the best reviews were the Garmin watches and the Nike+ Sportwatch. There are a lot of options if you go with a Garmin watch. The prices also widely vary. Whereas, the Nike watch only seems to vary in color. One thing you need to do in evaluating what you should purchase is to know what you need the watch to do for you. For me, I needed a watch that would track my distance, time, average pace, and give me a place where I could track all that information. Both the Garmin and Nike watches do just that. I found that, the price for each were pretty similar. Of course, there are Garmin watches that do much more than that for a lot more money. However, I stuck with watches that met my minimum needs.
So, I read the reviews on Amazon (as well as tracked the prices), Runners World and other running web sites. From what I could gather, the Garmin Forerunner 210 and 110 were pretty comparable to the Nike watch. All three of these had similar comments made about them and had users who were generally happy with them. So, then it came down to style for me. I chose the Nike+ pretty much for the style.
See what I mean?
Here are the specs on this watch…
- Water resistant Nike+ SportWatch features TomTom GPS for accurate speed and distance information, indoors or out–even if the GPS signal gets interrupted
- Track your time, distance, pace or speed, beats per minute (BPM) heart rate (with optional HRM sensor sold separately by Polar) and calories burned; view your mapped route with pace data/changes in elevation on Nikeplus.com, Stopwatch feature
- Track NikeFuel on Nikeplus.com after every run; Time/Date set feature
- Rechargeable lithium polymer battery charges via USB, provides eight hours of run time with the GPS and sensor both turned on, up to 50 days of standby power
- Join challenges and connect with friends as a member of Nikeplus.com-view/share routes, find popular running areas, share activity on Facebook or Twitter
- Track your time, distance, pace or speed, beats per minute (BPM) heart rate (with optional HRM sensor sold separately by Polar), and calories burned; view your mapped route with pace data/changes in elevation on Nikeplus.com, Stopwatch feature
I really like that the watch has 8 hours of power on run time with GPS and sensor both turned on. From reviews and user comments, it looks like the actual time people experiences were more like 7 hours. That’s perfect for me.
Stopwatch: You can start, stop, pause and mark up to 50 laps by tapping the screen. Once you are done, you can review your total time, best lap time, average lap time or individual lap times. This data is stored on your watch until you rest it and will not be uploaded to nikeplus.com.
Alarm: You can set an alarm on your watch. When the alarm is set there is a visual indication on the watch face.
Time Set: The time of day or date can be set on the watch without needing to plug it in and use Nike+ Connect.
Pace/Speed: Runners can now choose between displaying pace and displaying speed on the watch.
Laps: The sensitivity of the tap feature has been improved so that users can confidently get a tap when they want, and not when they don’t.
Tracks your time, distance, pace, heart rate and calories burned. Nike+ SportWatch GPS works with the Polar Wearlink Transmitter to track your beats per minute.
Inverted Screen: The screen can be inverted to display black text on a white background for those runners that prefer it.
Favorite Metric: Runners can choose between displaying lap time or a different favorite metric when in auto or manual laps mode.
Auto-Looping Metrics: In addition to pushing the buttons to scroll through secondary metrics, runners have the option for their metrics auto-loop.
As you can see, this watch fits me perfectly. My experience with the watch has been excellent. I’ve made a couple of errors in using it properly. However, it only took me a couple uses before I had worked the bugs out (on my end). I like that the screen has two things being tracked while I’m running. I have chosen to have the stopwatch going and the distance. You can scroll through other items that are being tracked as you go. However, the only two things I’m concerned with when I’m running are distance and overall time.
Also, I love that at the end of each run, you get some encouragement from the watch. Additionally, if you set a new record, the watch also gives you that information. Then, it gives you a rundown of everything that was tracked. There is a USB port built into the band of the watch which you can plug directly into your computer and download to the Nike+ software. This software is also available to you via the Nike+ web site which has all sorts of useful information. (My favorite being the color coded map of your training run so you can see where you were fast and slow easily.)
To be fair, there are a couple of drawbacks to this watch. First, this is designed to be a runner’s watch. If I were to use this watch for anything except running, it would be a total waste of money and time. I keep a record of my gym workouts in Map My Run because I haven’t figured out how to input those into the Nike+ web site. Secondly, on the display while I’m running, I can only switch the top display on the watch. The bottom display is set through the computer software with the watch being plugged in. Even though, all of the options are available in the top display, it would be nice to have the option to alter the bottom display on the go.
Overall, I’m very happy with this watch. As I move away from being a newbie runner, I might later consider upgrading to the more expensive Garmin watches. However, for now, this watch will serve me just fine.
How about you? What do you use to track your training?