The reason you’ll need a good tracker is because you should always have an eye on your heart rate, especially when you start running.
A good tracker will not only give you valuable insights on your run – pace, speed, distance, and much more – it will also show you your heart rate and warn you if it gets too high.
And when you start running there is nothing more demotivating than when you end up standing on the sidewalk in total exhaustion, drawing in breath like a fish on land and just can’t go on.
There are tons of trackers on the market and I’ve tried three different brands until I arrived at a Garmin tracker. Garmin started out over a decade ago as a company producing devices that could show your position with degree of longitude and latitude. Then they evolved to do navigation systems and they simply have the best GPS tracking, reaching the most satellites.
All tracking is based on the GPS telling the device where you are at any point in time, so all other metrics are calculated on that. Hence it makes perfect sense that any tracker, no matter how fancy, is of no use if the GPS system isn’t great.
Even if you put that aside, I’ve found both Garmin trackers that I’ve used so far to be brilliant. You don’t need to take my word for it, there are reviews and comparative tests on youtube for every tracker out there.
Here is what you should be looking for as basic features for runners:
- Supporting the measurement of heart rate. You can wear a chest belt, but due to the average female body built they tend to slide down to the belly once you start sweating, plus they can feel restrictive
- A display that shows you your heart rate and ideally also your pace while you are running
- Supporting heart rate zones that can be customised. This enables you to find out whether you are running in your aerobic or anaerobic range and that makes a huge difference for your body, health and recovery time
I won’t lie, it all sounds complicated and there is still so much more, but you can take it one step at a time (quite literally). Once you get into the groove of running and are interested in it, you’ll find out everything naturally.
Another important and specifically female thing to consider: The size of the tracker. My wrist width is for example simply too small for many trackers out there. Most are quite obviously made for men, few women have that kind of wrist size.
But there are brands that make slightly smaller ones for women, Apple and Garmin are some of them. I’d highly recommend to try it on in a shop before buying it, sometimes the way the band is attached to the watch also makes a difference, that you can’t tell if you’re shopping online.
As I said, there is a myriad of more features to have and some are truly amazing. The Garmin Forerunners 645 Music can stream your running playlist to bluetooth headphones, so you can leave your mobile phone at home. It works too – I love it.
The Fenix 5 S has maps on it, route tracking and navigation, so if you get lost on a trail run in a forest, it can guide you back. I personally have no sense of direction, so this feature has already come in very handy indeed. Plus in a forest the GPS of a mobile phone simply stops working with the kind of accuracy you need to find your way back – Garmin has no problem with that and it works anywhere.
I could go on and on… I’d recommend you to start small but not cheap until you know what can be had out there and which features you personally want the most. Then, after half a year or so, you can still scale up.
A watch like the Fenix 5 S seems outrageously expensive in the beginning, but once you know what you get for it and when you know you need that it is actually a good price for a smart watch.
And really, who would want to have a touch display on a watch you work out with and sweat on….