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Best GPS Watch for Runners in 2015 - Garmin, Motorola and Nike

Updated on November 16, 2014
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Best GPS Watch for Running - Find One for Yourself!

Looking for the best GPS watch for runners in 2015? This lens will help you choose one depending on your needs, wants and the amount of money you're ready to spend on such a device. There are quite a few brands that produce GPS watches - Garmin, Nike, Suunto, Timex, Motorola and others. The main feature of a GPS watch is a built in GPS receiver that can be used for tracking and navigation.

People who consider buying watches with GPS receivers in most cases want to log their trainings (so they can share their routes with their friends or just keep the data for themselves) or simply for navigation purposes. Of course besides collecting GPS data, watches for runner have numerous additional features. Before choosing a certain GPS watch you should consider which features might be useful for you. That's because most people want to use only one of those watches for running, not a separate one for tracking, another one that is responsible for monitoring your heart rate etc.

In this article I mention only the best GPS watches for runners - there's a plethora of products, but not all of them are of best class. I hope that my research will help you with deciding on a certain product and you won't have to check all possible watches for running that are available on the market (that'd take you hours!).

Garmin Forerunner 205
Garmin Forerunner 205

Garmin Forerunner 205

Best reviews of all GPS Watches on Amazon

One of the best and the most affordable Garmin GPS watches. What makes it so remarkable? Firstly, GPS accuracy - if you'll run the same route a few times, the differences in their distances will be minimal. Garmin Forerunner 205 keeps stable connection with the GPS satellite, but you should always remember that there will be satellite drops from time to time. That's just the name of the game.

Garmin Forerunner 205 has both real-time pacing and real-time elevation features, but the second one might not work that well (probably only a handful of runners use this features). You can both charge and upload data using USB port so you can do that quickly and effortlessly.

Another feature that can be very useful (especially if you like to compete, like I do) is the virtual partner. You simply set up a virtual companion who competes with you. If competition keeps you motivated, that's what will help you break your next record. Unfortunately, Garmin Forerunner 205 doesn't have a heart rate monitor. If you need that feature, I suggest you should check out the Forerunner 305. If you're looking for a best gps watch for runners for the money and you don't need a lot of extra features such as a heart rate monitor, this watch is what you're looking for.

Garmin Forerunner 305
Garmin Forerunner 305

Garmin Forerunner 305

Feature-rich version of Forerunner 205

Garmin Forerunner 305 is a feature-rich verson of Forerunner 205. It provides all great features like a very precise GPS that doesn't lose connection with the satellite very often, charging and uploading data via USB and the virtual partner feature of course.

Besides those features, it also has a heart rate monitor and it can be connected to Garmin's wireless bicycle speed and cadence sensor. If you plan to use (or at least you think you'll use it somewhere in the future) a heart rate monitor, this GPS watch is perfect for you. Since it stores both location and heart rate data, you'll have plenty of data to play with after uploading it to your computer.

Garmin Forerunner 10 GPS Watch
Garmin Forerunner 10 GPS Watch

Garmin Forerunner 10 GPS Watch

Garmin Forerunner 10 is one of the newest Garmin GPS watches. It's an inexpensive, easy to use and pretty simple watch that offers only the basic features such as measuring speed, pace, distance or auto-lap. If you're looking for a GPS watch that isn't very large or you have small wrists, that's a watch worth considering.

There are few things you should know before buying it. Firstly, the display isn't fully customizable - the watch can display two of the following: pace, distance, time and calories, in pairs. For most people it's a minor drawback. There's one more, a pretty huge one - the watch lacks the ability to show lap pace. It shows current pace, but as you probably know, this value changes constantly and it's difficult to figure out what's the pace of current lap based on this value. This feature is important for people who run in races and have a time goal in mind. Runners hope that Garmin will fix this issue with a firmware update. If you're fine with lack of lap pace, it's a great watch and definitely worth considering.

Other Top Rated Garmin GPS Watches

Garmin Forerunner 205 and 305 are two both best-selling and top rated Garmin's GPS watches. In most cases one of those devices is the best choice for a runner who wants to record his trainings. There are, however, other Garmin's products. Here are another two top rated Garmin GPS watches, check them out!

Motorola MOTOACTV GPS Sports Watch and MP3 Player
Motorola MOTOACTV GPS Sports Watch and MP3 Player

Motorola MOTOACTV GPS Sports Watch and MP3 Player

Motorola MOTOACTV GPS Sports Watch and MP3 Player is one of the most popular GPS watches at the moment. It has all the basic features like distance, speed, time or heart rate (if you'll choose to buy an additional heart rate monitor) and a lot more. Probably the most loved feature is the MP3 player. Many runners (me included) listen to music while running so they have to always carry at least two devices - a sports watch and an MP3 player (a smartphone, iPod or a plain old simple MP3 player). Rolling those two features into one device is a brilliant idea and many people bought the Motorola MOTOACTV watch just because of that.

Besides that, it has a touch screen and looks great. Motorola made a huge effort to help users of MOTOACTV to track their progress, schedule trainings etc. All of this can be done on MOTOACTV Training Portal. The watch can also integrate with your Android smartphone if you'll install MOTOACTVTM app.

Many people pointed out that the battery life was very poor. The great thing about GPS watches is that the manufacturers update the firmware of those devices. You can simply download a firmware update from the producer's website and easily install it on your sports watch. Motorola acknowledged that the battery life is pretty poor, they've worked on that issue and released firmware that addresses this issue. That shows that Motorola guys are committed to improving the product and that's why it's worth considering. If you need a heart rate monitor feature, you can easily buy Motorola's chest strap when buying the watch.

Nike+ SportWatch GPS
Nike+ SportWatch GPS

Nike+ SportWatch GPS

Nike+ SportWatch is another great GPS Enabled watch. It has all basic features that you'd expect of a sportswatch. You can also monitor your heart rate, but to do that you need to buy an additional heart rate monitor. Nike+ watch stands out with its very stylish appearance - you can use it as a normal watch if you wish to.

Besides that, Nike has put a lot of effort into making the Nikeplus.com website a place that helps people up their game. Nike seems committed to the product - the firmware updates are pretty frequent and it's getting better and better. Unfortunately, there are also a few software issues that need to be addressed (the best way to know whether they are fixed is to check out the newest reviews of the Nike+ SportWatch.

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Optional Features of Watches for Runners

As I've mentioned before, there are many great features that some watches for runners provide. Of course the more advanced the feature is, the more money you'll have to spend to buy a sports watch that provides it. Here's a list of the most common additional features of GPS watches:

  • Speed/distance display - are you training for the next 5K, 10K or maybe even a marathon? You've surely heard about tempo runs. Sometimes it's difficult to know whether you're running at the right pace. When your runners watch measures only time, it's sometimes pretty hard to figure out whether you're running at a 4 min/kilometer or 5min/kilometer pace. You need to carefully watch the time and analyze where you are to know whether the tempo is right. If your GPS watch has the speed display feature, you can calculate the average speed you should run at during the training and you're ready to go! If your watch displays the distance, it's ever easier!
  • Map display and route tracking - it's a must when you like to run in many different locations (which you aren't familiar with) or you are a cross country runner. While running, you should enjoy the moment (that's why we love running!) and not think where you are and whether you're moving in the right direction. Having a GPS watch that can display the map will assure that you're moving in the right direction so you don't have to worry about that yourself.
  • Heart rate monitor - that's one of the most commonly used features of watches for runners. Many training programs for runners talk about heart rate in different trainings. For example - they might say, that your weekly long run should be done with your heart rate below 60 percent of your max heart rate. To make sure you're training as the plan says, more often than not a heart rate monitor is needed.
  • Training programs (e.g. intervals) - have you ever heard about Tabata or simply interval training? If not, the idea is easy - you do one exercise (e.g. run) for a certain amount of time and then do another exercise (e.g. walk) for certain amount of time. Then you repeat the process X times. If your watch allows you to program intervals, that's great!

More of GPS watches for runners on Amazon - Have a look at these, or browse using the search button.

Which one is your favorite GPS watch for runners?

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      Hironori 2 years ago

      Mrs. Terrell:Once again you have listed a great goal in conueqring your fears! I am currently in an educational media class here at the University of South Alabama, where we are taught the basics of some technologies that we can use in the classroom when we become teachers! I would have never thought about using technology beyond power points in my classes before this class. Thanks to teachers like you and my professor our students will be better off due to your efforts! So keep up the great work of integrating technology into the classrooms!!

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      mrsztuczkens 5 years ago

      @skefflingecho: Thanks for the comment. I'm glad you liked the lens!

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      skefflingecho 5 years ago from Tobermory Ontario

      I think I'd go for the Garmin Forerunner 305 running watch! Looks like it has everything you need and it's great that you can add the heart rate sensor later. Nice lens!