NWR Fitness monitor gadgets/heart monitors and running

Perhaps not an obvious place to solicit views, but is there anything the W-P forum doesn't know about?

For a Christmas present, I shall be buying a loved one a second-hand (so it's good for the environment) fitness tracker for a relative who's recently started going running.

Part of the present is to do some research on what to buy. I think there are Fitbits or similar that monitor heart-rate, and presumably have GPS tracking so you know how far you've gone and how fast - perhaps using Strava (which I've used via a phone when on my bike - though without a heart-rate monitor).

Does anyone have any views on what's good? Either type of device or specific models. Doesn't need to be high-end at all - something basic would be fine. Grateful for any advice.
 
FitBit HR is good, small and monitors heart rate. If you carry your phone with your during run (strapped to arm for example) it will also do GPS ....the Fitbit software is perfectly decent as well and is good for tracking sleep. It doesn't (for me) double as a watch substitute, though.
 
Guy,
I have an Apple Watch (series 3) and I love it. It does all what you need it to do. My wife has a Fitbit and she loves that and not the Apple Watch........

You can’t go wrong with most of the devices to be honest...
 
I think it depends on the intended use. I quite like my Garmin Forerunner. Basic functionality (i.e. I wear it when running, but not otherwise), as I like to use it for pacing and keeping an eye on distance when running. I used the heart monitoring functionality at the start but gave up years ago. I sync with Strava to track trends (and engage in the social aspect of these things). Personally I'm not interested in tracking my steps (although my iPhone tries to keep track anyway) nor wearing a device 24/7, so your mileage may vary.
 
Depends how seriously into exercise your recipient is.

Fitbits are all well and good (I wear one for sleep tracking) but they're not all that for serious running purposes. For that I use a Garmin Forerunner 910XT.

Comes with HRM and also works for swimming and cycling if your recipient gets into Triathlon. My elder boy who has recently got into park run in a serious way bought one second hand on eBay for about £35.

There are newer models with colour screens, smaller displays etc. but this is easier to read does all you need including tracking your speed / pace, route etc. you can get it to bleep at you if you want encouragement to maintain a certain speed / pace.

Highly configurable and well made.

You might struggle to get one for 25th Dec mind!
 
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I've had a Garmin vivosport for a few months and pretty happy with it. Looks like a fitbit but packs in GPS as well. Display not great but syncs nicely. Does sleep tracking as well as any device I think. Battery life 2-3 days.
 
I use and like my Polar H7. Requires an IOS or Android device to sync with but lots of data from it - pace second by second, heart rate bands, performance over time etc etc.
 
I found a basic Garmin GPS watch helpful in working on my 10k time and then getting through a marathon over the course of a couple of years of regular running, starting as a beginner. The features I valued were the miles logger, the real-time minutes per mile estimate and sometimes the intervals timer. Tried heart rate training and didn't like it. Therefore didn't need a more complex watch with other features. Nowadays there's an argument for simply using a phone for those features, and I've used the Strava app when I didn't have my watch, but I found the glance at my wrist better than looking at a phone when running hard to a pace setting i.e. trying to maintain x minutes per mile.

No idea what model number etc. I didn't wear the watch except when running.

If and when I run another marathon I'll buy another basic Garmin watch. The old one died after a few years of regular use.

If you want comprehensive info, verging on analysis paralysis, google 'dcrainmaker'
 
I second Will’s choice of a Garmin Forerunner. I have being using an FR630 for a number of years and it’s brilliant. My wife and son have FR235 and they are excellent value for money. I have seen them as low as £150 too. The FR235 has the HR monitor built into the watch. It’s a proper running watch.
 
I keep being tempted by an apple watch, but so far have (roughly) always found a place for my iPhone with Strava.
It's really a case of 'what do you want' - in many aspects (for running!) a simple stop-watch is quite enough - but now that I need glasses I need bigger numerals too! My defunct Timex Triathlon watch could do much more (eg for intervals) than any tracker. The biggest issue with trackers is that they keep telling you how fast the last km/mile was, and even at my age (I should know better, I know) it's hard to avoid the urge to run each subsequent split a bit faster - so much for a steady run!
 
Thanks for this, very helpful. Seems like a fitbit or apple watch with built in GPS would be great. But very expensive. The others, you have to carry your phone around, too, for distances etc - which seems a real pain.

The person I'm buying for isn't planning to do serious heart rate monitor training... They just want to chart their progress. Hmm.

I suspect they need to decide whether they're willing to carry their phone around ..
 
If she’s mainly going to use it while running then the Garmin Forerunner series is the best bet. I have had a 235 for about 3 years now, it’s light, reliable and easy to use with a very good battery life and does every thing a half serious runner could want (pace, distance, interval training, heart-rate). I also use it as a watch! It will also record fitness, sleep data etc, though that isn’t really what it’s made for.
 
I’d definitely go for built in GPS. I have a garmin vivosport which is great - smallest built-in GPS one available now I believe - since Microsoft stopped doing their excellent Band 2.

+1 for DCrainmaker - crazy in depth reviews that tell you far more than you need to know.

I ended up getting a stryd footpad - which allegedly is able to give you the power output of your run - and for *that* i got a Suunto spartan - it was the cheapest watch with native support for power. Now of course if I ever get into swimming I’ll need to buy one of what Neil’s got.
 
How are you getting on with the stryd Leon? I just got one and am about to start using it.
We are also getting a decent treadmill so at last I can do some hill intervals.

well - I *was* loving it - and I certainly find it makes my running a lot better...but - since lockdown I've started focusing exclusively on cycling - in particular power zone training on the Peloton. My power is better than it's ever been...and I'm using the lack of socialisation during lockdown to focus on watts per kilo.

Once travel starts again I will be back running.

With that said - I am a natural non-runner, and I'm pretty sure the only way I managed to complete a half marathon was by pacing myself with the Stryd. I don't have a terribly good body sense, and tend to either be too lazy, or burn myself out - having an objective target to aim for immediately increased my pace and distance.

I suspect the effect will be less dramatic for more accomplished athletes - I kind of see it like a sous vide machine. To the inexpert it can magically prevent you from producing crappy results. The more advanced you are, the more judicious you should be in its application.
 
Thanks for this, very helpful. Seems like a fitbit or apple watch with built in GPS would be great. But very expensive. The others, you have to carry your phone around, too, for distances etc - which seems a real pain.

The person I'm buying for isn't planning to do serious heart rate monitor training... They just want to chart their progress. Hmm.

I suspect they need to decide whether they're willing to carry their phone around ..
Carrying a phone isn’t a problem really. I’ve used a waistband that fits well with slim pockets to fit keys in one, phone in the main one.
With wireless headphones it’s essential as I need music. I’m not a naturally motivated or enthusiastic runner.
I use an app though to be honest a wrist based device would be convenient at times but the app talks to me each KM to tell me pace and distance, that’s normally enough to depress me further.

Sorry I’ve been of little help :)
 
Cheers Leon. First run today (new Adizero Pro shoes too). It certainly seems responsive. Annoyed it doesn’t upload power to Strava but it seems that Garmin fault not Stryd.

I was a total non runner until about a year ago but have seen quite serious gains using a very simple but strictly applied training regime.
 
Very true, Tom, if the motivating factor is vanity, but less so if it's a hedonistic pleasure in physical exertion and having a spring in one's step. The difference is normally plain even to the uninterested observer...

“In the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries, old people in America had prayed, "Please God, don't let me look poor." In the year 2000, they prayed, "Please God, don't let me look old." Sexiness was equated with youth, and youth ruled. The most widespread age-related disease was not senility but juvenility.” Tom Wolfe
 
Very true, Tom, if the motivating factor is vanity, but less so if it's a hedonistic pleasure in physical exertion and having a spring in one's step. The difference is normally plain even to the uninterested observer...

“In the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries, old people in America had prayed, "Please God, don't let me look poor." In the year 2000, they prayed, "Please God, don't let me look old." Sexiness was equated with youth, and youth ruled. The most widespread age-related disease was not senility but juvenility.” Tom Wolfe
Well said. I have to say that in my case, my overriding ambition is to be able to continue enjoying my wine and my family for as long as possible. This is why I ride.
 
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