If you are thinking about upgrading to a serious sports watch for running, cycling rowing or any other outdoor sport that involves moving at rapid velocity, you should seriously consider a watch with speed and distance tracking ability. The best sports watch models track, not only speed, but record distance over a session or group of sessions, log elevation above sea-level, can navigate between marked locations and offer speed, pace and distance alerts
There are several leading model sports watch that have speed and distance tracking at various price points and three main technologies for measuring speed and distance: pedometer, accelerometer foot pod and GPS. Pedometer watches like the Tech 4 O series are among the cheaper and least accurate watches. They are quite on calculating your number of steps to estimate speed and distance.
Of the GPS watches, the Timex Ironman T5E701 is perhaps the cheapest. It features 100-Lap memory, countdown timer and an odometer that tallies up the total distance for a workout or group of workouts. The Garmin Forerunner watches 205, 305 and 405 are the most popular GPS watches on the market. What is less well known is that the 305 and 405 are also compatible with a foot pod unit, just in case GPS is not enough.
Food pot devices measure speed and distance by nearly tracking leg speed and cadence. They are about as accurate as a GPS watch, but may need to be calibrated. Unlike a GPS they can be used around large objects and buildings as well as indoors. A GPS device requires a clear unobstructed view of the sky to pick up the satellite signals. The food pod, unlike a GPS, is not effective when used for rowing or kayaking and can not measure altitude or plot a course in 3D.
Other notable GPS watches to look out for include the recently released GlobalSat GH-25M, the Timex Ironman Bodylink watches, the Polar RS800CX and the Suunto Trainer Series watches.
GPS on Suunto, Polar and Timex watches is handled with an optional add-on pod that is secured to your body with a strap or clip. The GPS pods are an optional feature that does not always come as part of the watch bundle, but can be purchased separately. The Forerunner and GlobalSat watches are one-piece GPS watches.
Whatever your walk of life, if your sport involves you moving from point A to point B, a sports watch that is capable of measuring speed and distance can track your speed, calculate how much distance you have covered or even plot your journey on a map . The possibilities are endless.