Why You Should Try Running With a GPS Watch

© lzf | Dreamstime.com

© lzf | Dreamstime.com

The amount of technology that has grown in the last few years is amazing. Even just five years ago many runners did not use a GPS watch.

GPS watches were just entering the running scene and a watch that said your pace, distance and speed were big and bulky. Some runners even felt as if the watch prohibited them from running well.

Now if you go to any road race, you’re bound to see runners of all ages, paces, and abilities sporting their GPS watches. Those who are running without a watch, or “naked,” are in the minority.

So what are the benefits – and consequences ∼ of having all of that technology on your Wrist?


Knowing your pace: When you’re training for a goal race, you want to occasionally train at the pace you are going to run. Knowing your exact pace during training runs can help you. It teaches you how your goal pace feels.

Sometimes running only by feel, won’t result in the goal race pace. Your goal race pace won’t always feel as you expect it too. Having a watch that can tell you how fast you are running can help.

Knowing your distance: Personally, knowing how far I’ve run is my favorite part about having a GPS watch and you’re not stuck running one route or the same routes.

Any runner will benefit from keeping track of their mileage and knowing your distance will allow you to plan your daily, weekly, monthly and yearly mileage.

Knowing all your information NOW: One of the biggest advantages of having access to your pace and distance the moment you’re running is you don’t have to wait until you get home to see if ran the correct distance or pace; and if you have accurate information instantaneously.

Plus, you don’t have to go back and try and remember what route you ran. Sure you can log into a computer and try and figure out your path but that can often get tedious. I’m lucky if I make it home without getting lost, let alone trying to retrace my steps online.

What about the consequences?

You’re never disconnected: Now many watches will also receive text messages, tweets, and Facebook posts. I occasionally think the point of running is to “get away.”

Sometimes all of that technology is more of a burden. Every so often sometimes we just want to get away without worrying about pace, time or distance.

Finding a signal: Has it ever taken you more than a minute to find a signal? Occasionally buildings, woods or even clouds will block the satellites from linking up. It’s silly how frustrating the extra few minutes can be.

That time could have been spent running an extra half or even a full mile instead of waiting for a signal.

Unnecessary pressure: Sometimes, it’s just not your day. Maybe you didn’t get enough sleep, you aren’t feeling well or maybe your legs just don’t have “it.” A watch that is constantly nagging you with unwanted beeping reminders can be frustrating. These are days that the watch is better left at home.

Would I recommend investing in a GPS watch?

Yes! The benefits of knowing pace, time and distance far outweigh any consequences. Once you own a GPS watch, you aren’t forced to wear it every run.

On days you aren’t feeling it or just want to get away, leave the watch at home. The benefits of knowing pace, time and distance far outweigh any consequences.

Hollie Sick is a New Jersey-based runner and blogger who has completed more than 30 half marathons. Learn more about Hollie at her blog, or follow her on Twitter.

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