Runner looking at his watch

The Best Watches for Beginning Runners

With running being the only exercise available these days, here are the watches to keep you fit and on track.

With quarantine in full swing for the rest of the summer, people are starting to take to the streets in their running shoes more often.

If you or a loved one want to get serious about putting in miles, then a reliable and lightweight watch is as sensible and important as a pair of snazzy new trainers. A good watch in 2020 also does more than keep exact track of miles ran each day. Most offer GPS tracking and accurate heart rate monitors, with a slew of additional features that include split times and training monitors that keep runners on pace and help avoid burnout. To help runners get serious, here are the best watches money can buy for those looking to invest in the sport.

Garmin Forerunner 235

Garmin Forerunner® 235 | Running Watch


Garmin has a history of offering sleek, affordable running watches, and the 235 is their most advanced model yet. Comprehensive GPS amidst an easy-to-use screen, the 235 is great for newbie runners because it offers a "Back To Start" feature, which helps runners get back home if they ever get lost.

It also offers marathon-specific training apps for those serious about marathoning next year, not to mention it compiles every workout into a detailed analysis so you can see your improvements. Those are only a few of the bells and whistles it offers. At a relatively low price, this is a perfect watch for runners who want to get serious about their training.

Garmin Vivoactive 3

Garmin Vivoactive 3


For those who want the high quality of a Garmin watch at an even lower price tag, the Vivoactive 3 borders the distinction between GPS sports watch and smartwatch. A sexy, minimalist design makes it wearable for any occasion but offers all the Garmin bells and whistles of the 235. The battery life is also outstanding and can last for seven days before needing a recharge. Throw in a comfortable rubber strap and a credit card payment system, and this watch will never leave your wrist.

Fitbit Ionic

Fitbit Ionic


For those who aren't runner-specific and want just an all around fitness watch, the Fitbit is another reliable brand that has provided high-tech gym watches for years. The Ionic is a smartwatch without all the unnecessary features of an Apple Watch. Offering personalized voice coaching, Fitbit's famous step tracker, and even a sleep tracker, the fitness watch will keep you healthy and motivated all day.

Polar Vantage V

polar vantage v


The Polar Vantage V is well worth the high price tag. Stylish design aside, the recovery and training insights are state of the art–such as the watch's Power feature, which allows it to monitor the amount of effort put into each run and helps runners make sure they gradually build mileage and don't overdo it and risk injury. With 40 hours straight of battery life, the Polar Vantage is a hefty watch perfect for those ready to devote their life to becoming a runner.

Apple Watch 5

Apple Watch 5


While many running traditionalists will frown upon this entry, the Apple Watch 5 is a very good fitness watch for those looking to ease their way into more physical activity. It's stylish and offers all the features of your phone, so you never miss a call or e-mail while on a run. It also plays music and offers easy-to-navigate GPS and mileage tracker. The battery life isn't the best, but for those who just want a little bit of everything, the Apple Watch will do just fine.

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