Best Running Watch 2022: Top Picks To Track Your Training

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There's a lot to consider when searching for the best running watch, especially as there is an abundance of devices on the market, all of which differ in terms of price and features.

While fitness trackers monitor your heart rate, steps, and calories burned, running watches are more designed to optimise your cardio-based training to improve your performance each and every session.

If this sounds like the kind of device for you, then we've compiled a list of our top picks based on specs, price, and reviews to kick off your search in the best way possible.

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Whether you're looking for one of the best Fitbits around, like this Fitbit Ionic, or you're searching for something built for beginners, like this Coros Pace 2, we've got you covered right here.

Stick around too because we've answered some of the most commonly asked questions to help inform your decision on whether a running watch is right for you and your fitness goals.

Best Running Watch

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Best Everday Running Watch - Fitbit Ionic

Best running Watch Fitbit product image of a charcoal grey smart watch.
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Credit: Fitbit
Brand: Fitbit | Heart Rate: Yes | Sleep Tracking: Yes | GPS: Yes | Water Resistance: up to 50m | Bluetooth: Yes | Quoted Battery Life: up to 5 days | Touchscreen: Yes | Mobile Payments: Yes

The Fitbit Ionic is one of the brand's top smartwatches for running and cycling as it includes a number of handy features for cardio-based activities.

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One such feature includes the automatic running detection system which should allow you to jump on your best treadmill and begin your workout without having to worry about setting up the fitness tracking metrics.

Moreover, it comes with a built-in GPS and the ability to store 300 plus songs, so you shouldn't need to bring your phone with you every time you want to listen to some tunes through your best running headphones.

All in all, we feel the Fitbit Ionic is well worth considering for your cardiovascular exercise.

Best Premium Running Watch- Garmin Forerunner 945

Best running watch Garmin product image of a black watch with information regarding training on the display.
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Credit: Garmin
Brand: Garmin | Heart Rate: Yes | Sleep Tracking: Yes | GPS: Yes | Water Resistance: up to 50m | Bluetooth: Yes | Quoted Battery Life: up to 2 weeks | Touchscreen: Yes | Mobile Payments: Yes

The Garmin Forerunner 945 is a serious bit of kit if you're into long-distance running, short sprints, or even triathlons.

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It features Garmin's new Elevate optical heart rate sensor, which is designed to be more accurate than the Forerunner's predecessor, and an upgraded GPS chip which, Garmin boasts, is more precise and better at managing the battery life.

Like with the latest Garmin products, you also get PulseOx detection, Live Event Sharing, a Body Battery indicator, and Accident Detection and Assistance which is useful if you injure yourself during your workout for example.

Another reason why we're featuring the Forerunner 945 is that you can get a live GPS map on the display to help keep track of your running location on the go.

Best Running Watch For Beginners - Coros Pace 2

Best running watch Coros product image of a black watch with a white underside and a black and blue display.
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Credit: Coros
Brand: Coros | Heart Rate: Yes | Sleep Tracking: Unspecified | GPS: Yes | Water Resistance: up to 50m | Bluetooth: Yes | Quoted Battery Life: up to 20 days | Touchscreen: Yes | Mobile Payments: Unspecified

Coros strive to help athletes achieve their best through products such as its Pace 2 smartwatch.

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Firstly, Coros boasts the Pace 2 is one of the lightest fitness watches on the market today (29g), designed to make you forget the watch is even there when you're exercising.

Moreover, it comes with a Track Mode that uses a proprietary algorithm to make sure your track runs and workouts are measured accurately if you're into athletics.

We also feel like the always-on backlit display can be useful for when you want to check your stats quickly during your run, but it also comes with a Night Mode that dims the screen in the evening.

If you're not convinced just yet, then the fact the Pace 2 has been endorsed by Eliud Kipchoge, the sub-two-hour marathon runner, should be enough to change your mind.

Best Running Watch For Stats - Polar Vantage V2

Best running watch Polar product image of a white smartwatch with yellow lining.
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Credit: Polar
Brand: Polar | Heart Rate: Yes | Sleep Tracking: Unspecified | GPS: Yes | Water Resistance: up to 100m | Bluetooth: Yes | Quoted Battery Life: up to 7 days | Touchscreen: Yes | Mobile Payments: Unspecified

The Polar Vantage V2 is engineered to keep you on top of your progress by allowing you to track and test your workouts accurately and effectively.

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Firstly, its training load and recovery tracking tools are designed to help optimise your workout regime and should prevent you from overtraining and damaging your progress.

Furthermore, you can measure your heart rate, speed, and fitness zones with the built-in running and cycling performance tests to see how you're performing during your workout on your top road bike for example.

Based on these features, we feel the Polar Vantage V2 will likely be the ideal bit of kit for you if you're looking to take your athletic performance to the next level.

Best Running Watch For Long-Distance - Garmin Enduro

Best running watch Garmin product image of a dark grey watch with a fabric strap.
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Credit: Garmin
Brand: Garmin | Heart Rate: Yes | Sleep Tracking: Yes | GPS: Yes | Water Resistance: up to 100m | Bluetooth: Yes | Quoted Battery Life: up to 300 hours | Touchscreen: Yes | Mobile Payments: Yes

As the name suggests, the Garmin Enduro should be the ideal fitness tracker for long-distance running thanks to its Power Glass solar charging lens which harvests the sun’s energy to give it up to 300 hours of battery life.

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While the Power Glass is the Garmin Enduro's headline feature, it also comes with the standard fitness tracking modes such as heart rate, calories, burned, as well as a ClimbPro trail option that provides information on upcoming descents and flats to enhance your safety.

The Enduro goes one step further for trail runners by taking the inclines into account when calculating your VO2 max, which should provide you with a more accurate and useful reading.

This is, without doubt, a serious device for hardcore runners, however, we feel there are also plenty of features included for everyday use as well.

Frequently Asked Questions About Running Watches

With so many different kinds of smartwatches available, you probably have a number of questions about them, but we're here to clear up some of the most common queries.

How Much Should You Spend On A Running Watch?

The answer to this question will vary depending on your available budget and how seriously you take your exercise.

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If you run regularly and want something to track multiple stats, then spending a bit extra on a running watch should give you access to a few more features like the Garmin Enduro's ClimbPro trail information.

However, if you're looking for a smartwatch primarily for everyday use and to occasionally exercise with, then you may not need to spend as much as you won't necessarily need the most advanced and technology-packed device.

What Should You Look For From A Running Watch?

The key features for running include a GPS tracker, heart rate monitor, and calories burned, however, some devices come with a few additional features which make them even more perfect for running.

These additional features may include but are not limited to a recovery time calculator, music storage, customisable workouts, and even online challenges so you can compete against your friends.

What Does Sleep Tracking Mean?

Most smartwatches come with a built-in sleep monitor that automatically tracks when you go to bed and when you wake up.

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It uses several methods to detect when you're asleep, for example, if you haven't moved for about an hour, it will assume you've fallen asleep.

You can normally check your sleep statistics via the devices accompanying app on your phone, and it will tell you a number of things including how long you slept in total, how much you were awake in the night, and how much REM sleep you had.

Can You Use A Running Watch Without Your Phone?

Typically speaking, you don't need a phone or app nearby for a running watch to function.

You can usually leave your parent device behind and just use your smartwatch to record data about your workouts, providing it has a built-in GPS.

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A parent device like a phone tends to only be required to sync your data for a more in-depth look at your statistics.

Read More: Best Running Headphones Under 100 Available Now