The Running Watch Features You’re Not Using

How to get the most out of your running watch.

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A running watch does far more than just track time and distance. Though thousands of runners purchase running watches every year, most don’t use them to their full potential. With a little know-how, your GPS can become so much more than a tracking device! How to get the most out of your running watch to go faster and longer:


High-Intensity Interval Training can be a fast track to faster running. Inserting short, intermittent bursts of hard efforts throughout training runs can help a runner increase aerobic capacity and burn fat more efficiently. The key is to balance those hard intervals with slow recovery jogs. A workout watch can be programmed pre-workout to alert a runner to time or distance intervals and recovery periods, taking the guesswork out of speedwork.

Progress to Speed

Take intervals to the next level with progression runs. Programming a running watch to increase the goal pace at certain benchmarks—say, 10 seconds faster every 800 meters—can train a runner to start slow and finish strong. In addition to motivating a runner to a faster pace, progression runs can set the stage for a solid finishing kick on race day.

Fuel Up

For runs lasting longer than one hour, a fueling strategy is a critical key to avoiding the dreaded bonk. Programming a watch with fuel alerts every 15 or 20 minutes is an easy way to remember to hydrate early and often.

Turn The Beat Around

Experts have found the world’s best runners have a turnover rate of 180 steps per minute, compared to the average recreational runner’s 160 steps per minute. In addition to improving running economy, a 180 cadence can keep runners injury-free.

Hitting this magic number is as easy as downloading a high-energy playlist. Many fitness watches, such as the TIMEX IRONMAN ONE GPS+, are adding MP3 features. Download songs that rock out to 180 beats per minute ( has a full playlist) and let the rhythm set the pace!

Heed Your Heart

A heart rate monitor can allow a runner to monitor and adjust training efforts based on the intensity of that day’s run. In training, heart rate data can indicate a runner is going too hard (or not hard enough) to accomplish workout objectives. A quality running watch can also be programmed to alert the runner when a target heart rate is exceeded, keeping the risk of overtraining at bay.


A little friendly competition never hurt anyone! Visit Strava to find hot routes in your community and try your best to beat the current leaders. After you’ve done conquering climbs and blazing through the trails, upload your workout data to Strava from your watch to see how you stack up against your fellow runners (smack talk is optional). A product like the TIMEX IRONMAN ONE GPS+ allows you to connect and upload wirelessly via 3G connectivity provided by AT&T (no need for USB cable or computers).

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For more information on fitness watches and $100 savings on a TIMEX IRONMAN ONE GPS+, visit