My Workout Watches

If you didn’t know, I’m obsessed with watches so it’s only natural that it translates into my workouts too. I do pick out my watches before I get dressed in the morning, but for my workout it, it’s a little different.  I’m a huge numbers gal.  I want to know what’s going every minute of my workout.  If I don’t have it I feel lost.  I wish I was more zen, but I’m not.

My cycle class double whammy today! Taught my two cycle classes and now I'm ready for lunch! #fitness #fitfluential

When I’m not running I use the Polar FT40!  This is probably the best heart rate monitor I’ve had.  I used many but this one satisfied all my needs.

What I love about this watch:

  • I FEEL like it gives me a more accurate calorie burn.  It calculates my V02 MAX and uses the height and weight ratio.  I’ve had some cheaper watches that showed I burned more calories than I know I did.  Of course I don’t know how accurate it is, but I do know this is close enough for me to feel “OK” about it. It’s really just a guesstimate anyway, but I need it to survive the workout.
  • It’s got pretty flowers on it.  You can’t see it because my watch is black but it’s also offered in WHITE.  But it adds a little girlishness in it for me so I enjoy it.
  • It holds a lot of workouts.  I like to go back to see my progress from workout to workout and this can take me way back.  I’m a nerd and I admit it.
  • I can also set my workout zones and it will alert me if I’m not working hard enough or working too hard. This can get pretty annoying though if you don’t want the constant alerts.  I cut them off most of the time because I just hate hearing the thing beep at me.

I started with the Polar FT4 but I eventually had to move on from it.  I like getting wrapped up in the numbers and it just wasn’t doing it for me.  The FT40 is a higher priced watch around $180.  It comes with the chest strap, heart rate sensor and watch.  The only thing is I hate polar watches because I can never seem to change the battery in the heart rate sensor so I end up buying a new sensor instead of a battery.  I think I’m going to have to take it to a pro though because I’m tired of buying a new sensor every time it goes out.  Obviously I work out a lot so it goes dead.

If $180 is too much, try the Polar FT4 for $75.  It gets the job done but without all the hoopla!


For running I have used only two running watches.  If you’re not for all the bells and whistles I do recommend the Nike Sportwatch with GPS!  I think you can probably get this watch for $125.  It was so great.  I loved it until I started marathon training because I wanted to be fancy, but I’ll talk about that later.

What I love about this watch:

  • It’s easy to use.  All you need to do is charge the sucker up and connect it to a computer and you’re ready to go.
  • It gives you all the basic information that you need for running.
  • It seems to be the watch of choice among my friends.  It has a great interface for social media with friends.  I miss competing for miles with my friends every month.  Sometimes it just pushes you.  This is one thing Nike does very well.
  • I love the colors it comes in.
  • I never really had a hard time connecting to the GPS.
  • I could connect it with my polar heart rate monitor after buying a nike plus heart rate sensor ($70).

What I don’t love about this watch:

  • It’s not a great watch if you’re doing serious training.  It does the basics of interval training so that’s a plus but it doesn’t give me much else.
  • You can’t change anything on this watch without connecting it to your computer.  Need to change the date or time? Gotta do it on the computer.  Left your watch on intervals but want to change it back?  Too bad, you have to get to a computer.
  • Battery life isn’t that great but it’s not really a bad thing.
  • If you’re using the shoe pod for running on the treadmill with it, it’s great.  But you really have to calibrate that footpod on normal runs.  The footpod is $30 and when it’s dead you have to buy a new one.

It is raining but the #run must go on! #runchat #fitfluential #sweatpink #runhappy
This is my current running watch. It’s a Timex Run Trainer 2.0! I was kind of duped into buying this at an expo in November. Probably wasn’t the best time for me to change my watch since I was seriously training for my marathon. I did it anyway. The price of this watch without the heart rate monitor is $249.

This watch has a lot of bells and whistles that took me a little longer to get use to. I was use to the simplicity of the Nike Sportwatch but this Timex watch was a different beast. I hated it in the beginning but I love it so much more now.

What I love about this watch:

  • It does everything I need it to do.  There are different screens for me to shuffle through during my run.  Best of all, these screens are customized by me.  I know what I want to know and it lets me pick from a extreme list of things I want to know while I’m out during a run.  AND I don’t have to be connected to the computer to change it.
  • This watch can tell me when to eat and drink.  I don’t use the drink alerts because I think I can remember to drink on a race.  Keeping a consistent fueling plan is always hard for me though.  I can set the watch to remind when I should be refueling to help me through my longest runs.  This is really helpful for me.
  • I can view my split times while running.
  • I don’t have to wait for the watch to shuffle through a list before I know what time it is.  With Nike I had to wait but I don’t have to do that now.
  • I feel like this watch is a little more accurate with GPS and my stride than the other watch.  I also use a footpod with this one for when I run on the treadmill and I know it’s definitely accurate.  I use the cadence setting.
  • Intervals and speed work are a breeze with this watch.  Easy settings and easy to control my workout!

What I don’t love about this watch:

  • I travel a lot to run so when I’m jumping from city to city it takes a LONG time for the GPS to connect.  I really hate it because I always forget about it when I’m at the start line and I’m always worried my watch won’t connect before we get started.
  • On a cloudy day, GPS signal just isn’t going to happen.  I know this happens to a lot of people but I find this extremely problematic with this watch.  HATE IT!
  • When the battery dies on this this, it will let you know.  It dies a very slow and LOUD death.  The only way you can fix it is if you plug it in.  That doesn’t work well when you’re on a airplane and your watch is dying.

The uploading interface Timex uses in Training Peaks.  It’s not as fun as Nike+ but the data is so much better.  I can’t stress to you how much detail is in those reports.  That may not matter to you but I’m a numbers gal!  I absolutely love this watch though and I would recommend it to anyone.

In fact, I’ve tried to recommend it but a lot of people love their Garmins.  I’ve never had this watch die on me in a race situation and I’ve never had problems with it charging.  I just really love this watch so I may have been duped but it was worth it.

I hope new runners or people trying to set up their workout game find this helpful.

Do you use a heart rate monitor and/or running watch?  Which do you have and what do you like about it?