Ask the Trail Sisters: GPS Devices
I really like GARMIN (I wear the Forerunner230) because they have the best, most accurate satellites … and I like to count my steps. (But, be warned: This can lead to obsession ;)). Newer models also monitor heart rate through the wrist and track sleep, a really supportive feature when it comes to training. Also, the battery seems to last a while.
I’ve used both Garmin and Suunto and both are great. I am rather simple in regards to what I look for in watches. I don’t do all the hard data that some runners do. I really prefer to just know my mileage and pace. And both offer that! But again, I’m a simple woman as far as all that stuff goes.
I use the Suunto Ambit 3 Run and absolutely LOVE it! I have had it for a little over two years and worn it about 2,500 miles. It has never lost signal, even deep in literal wilderness. The battery hasn’t lost a minute of its 10 hour expected life, and you can charge it while you’re running. The charger clips onto the watch while it is on your wrist, so pack a power bank and you’re ready to go! I can upload routes to the watch and get turn by turn directions while on the trail. But My favorite feature has to be the track back function. When I’m out and about and get lost (I cant resist exploring the animal trails) I can choose between it back-tracking me the same way I came, or an arrow will come up on the watch and lead me back to my start point in the shortest possible distance. Those two features could literally be life savers when you’re out and lost.
I have not used a GPS device per se, but here are the things that work for me. Running in a new area this week, I relied heavily on my Suunto Spartan watch. The app that goes with the watch allow you to make up routes and then track your progress along these routes during your exercise. Those have helped me tremendously. When I haven’t taken the time to add routes to my watch, I rely on my Strava app to live track me alongside the route I’m trying to follow.
I’ve used a Suunto GPS watch for a few years now. The Suunto Ambit 2R is the smallest & most comfortable one for daily use — the battery life is long enough to last for regular training runs (even your long weekend trail outing) but it won’t last for a full 50 miler. I’ve got small wrists so I don’t like the bigger bulkier models. However, some of the more expensive Suunto watches offer fancier features like mapping and route planning which can help you navigate new trails.
I just upgraded to a Garmin Forerunner 35. It is not the fanciest or most expensive GPS device, but it works great! I am not a gadget girl. Less is best in my opinion. For years I ran with a simple Timex digital watch. I wasn’t necessarily concerned about distance but time. These days I do like to know how far I am running, how fast, miles splits and average pace. I think if you want to improve as a runner these are necessary things to know.The Forerunner 35 is a good basic tracking device that can provide all the necessary items mentioned above without confusion. If you want to get into things like elevation, heart rate, or other specs then consider the Garmin 235.
I use my Garmin Forerunner 235 for GPS. It is not always perfect, but it seems to be pretty darn close. It is not a multi-sport watch, so it is a little more affordable than other models. It also has a wrist heart rate monitor that helps me regulate my effort levels when I am out.I also have small wrists, and it fits well and does not bug me very much on the trail and in my day to day activities.
Trail Sisters contributors are a group of inspirational, educational and empowering Women who share a love for the outdoors and trail running. We come from all over and share a bond through our love of the sport.