To an outsider running may seem like a fairly minimal, low maintenance sport; throw on your trainers and weather appropriate clothing and out the door you go! However, any experienced athlete knows that most of us are anything but simple. Detail-oriented and often Type A in personality, runners love metrics and the sport’s analytics nearly as much as the accountants down on Wall Street love crunching numbers. Where their focus falls on dollars, though, we look to pace per mile, heart rate, stride length and cadence. Those of us into cross-training and or triathlons will even delve into stroke length! Simple? Methinks not.
That said, the runner’s desire to consistently improve training and get faster combined with the incredible advances in technology have yielded some pretty amazing pieces of wearable tech, particularly in the world of watches. We’re long past the era of the basic waterproof Timex, featuring a simple stopwatch and split timer! However, with SO many choices out there - Apple, Garmin and TomTom Spark to name a few - we decided to tap MHRC Coach Vinnie Miliano and pick his brains about what he’s strapping on these days.
What’s your watch dujour these days?
- I just recently started running with the Garmin fenix3 Multisport Watch and I immediately fell in love. I was hesitant about its large dial but it's surprisingly light - as light if not lighter than my last Forerunner.
What specific running analytics and tracking does it offer? Which are your favorite?
- The fenix3 is a full multisport watch meaning it can not only track my outdoor runs via GPS, but it can also track my indoor tread workouts using its internal sensors, indoor/outdoor cycling, and lap/open water swims. For the runner (or triathlete) looking to get as much data as possible this is definitely the ticket. I love the fact that it can gauge and graph cadence, stride rate, and incline on the runs and since it’s waterproof I have a visual of my stroke rate and SWOLF right on my smartphone, downloaded from my watch via Bluetooth. This data is also great to show a coach when you're on a solo run.
What other tools and metrics does the watch offer?
- Along with a panoply of data and information on your workouts, the fenix3 also sports a very accurate (and adjustable) activity tracker for steps-per-day, sleep patterns (including light/deep sleep cycles), and when connected via Bluetooth it shows any notifications from my phone as well as letting me keep on top of my schedule without having to miss a beat.
What makes this the best watch for runners specifically, in your opinion?
- I'm a huge data geek. The more information I have about my body and my workout the smarter I can train and the fenix3 allows me to get that information immediately. If you're a runner like me and you believe in strong cross training (i.e. swimming/cycling) this watch is the perfect combination of wear-all-day styling and functionality. I love the fact that it can sync with my power meter on my bike - just one less thing to think about so I can get on with my workout. The GPS is also the fastest to find a satellite than any other watch I've owned.
If you could change and or add anything to the watch to make it an even better running instrument, what would it be?
- As far as a strict running watch, there's little left to want with the fenix3. It's more than capable of keeping up on the streets of NYC as it is in the trails. The price tag is steeper than other GPS watches but in my opinion you get what you pay for and the fenix3 really holds nothing back.
Would you recommend this watch to all runners, or just racers or people more serious about the sport? Why or why not?
- If I had to find the perfect demographic for the fenix3 immediately I would call all data junkies. This watch is great for the hardcore runner/cross trainer looking to help keep track of every movement their body makes but also for the amateur athlete looking to step up their game. The adage of "the more you know" is so important when it comes to this sport in not overtraining. Train smart with the data at your fingertips.