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The need for GPS watches can be controversial in the running world. It’s pretty fascinating that you can wear a device that tells you how fast you’re going, your overall mileage and even the calories you’ve burned along the way! But as high tech as this wristwatch may be, it can also become an inconvenience, or even an annoyance, at times. Here’s why we love to hate GPS watches—but also hate to love them too.
Pace. Knowing your exact pace during your training run can come in handy when you’re training for a race with a targeted and desired time. If you’re not used to running by feel only, it can be difficult to distinguish between mile paces, especially an 8-minute one compared to a 9-minute one. Having a GPS watch will give you a general idea of how fast or slow you might want to take your run that day.
Overall distance. Keeping track of mileage is one of our primary jobs as runners. GPS watches not only give you the ability to roam wherever you’d like, but they also record wherever you went for however long. If you’re like me, running 5 miles is more satisfying than 4.79 or “somewhere around” there. Having an exact measure will definitely help you plan for the following day, and the week ahead for that matter.
Calories burned. A watch that tells you the amount of calories burned can be a great advantage in terms of properly refueling after a run. Since calories are crucial for energy, it’s necessary that you replace them, and having a watch that measures this information can be paramount for beginner runners just learning how much to take in before or after runs.
Finding a signal. Sometimes your arm gets pins and needles from hanging in the sky before your watch acquires a satellite. If that’s not frustrating enough, it might often lose satellite reception when you run through a shaded wooded area, or perhaps even on just a cloudy day. Runner woes, indeed.
Too much accuracy. Some days you may want to run simply to run. Forget any form of watch or technology—it’s compelling to just hear your own thoughts without wondering which split you should be hitting or waiting to click off another mile. Sometimes runners just wish to just be with themselves and their two moving feet.
Undesired Result. This high-tech gadget isn’t always favorable when you’re having an off day. I know the pain of looking down and seeing 2 recorded miles when the goal is to complete 7. Sometimes the exact splits aren’t what we need, and we’d be better off listening to our body.