If you’re going to splurge on a great GPS watch for running, then you might as well make the most of it! Just like when you get a new phone, there’s a little bit of clicking around needed to find all the shortcuts and hidden tricks.
Getting the most from your watch means taking the time to adjust the screens so you can see the data you want, figuring out how to maintain the watch, update the watch and well oddly enough WEAR the watch if you focus on heart rate training like I do!
10 GPS Watch for Running Tips
Let’s talk about how to make that expensive little toy more than something that excites you for a few weeks and turns it in to something you can’t remember ever running without.
These 10 GPS watch tips and tricks will make your running all the sweeter!
1) Improved Calorie Tracking
A wrist based heart rate monitor for a fitness tracker will give you a more accurate calorie burn throughout the day and better sleep based data as well because it can continually monitor. You’ll also get a better calorie burn for your workouts with any GPS watch that connect to heart rate.
2) Wet Your Strap
If you are using a chest strap for HR, wet the sensors first to get a better reading (yup your saliva is just fine). The wet electrodes will get a better signal when in contact with your skin.
3) Shade Your Wrist
Provide shade to your wrist based HR or ensure it’s super snug on your wrist so that light doesn’t interrupt the reading. The light-absorbing property of hemoglobin is used in the measurement of heart rate. Light from a green LED on the underside of the monitor is shone on blood vessels just under the skin. The light that is not absorbed but reflected back is captured by a photodetector.
4) Clean Your Watch Strap
If you’ve ever noticed that little build up on your strap of grayish gunk…it’s your skin and sweat…ew. Clean your sweaty watch strap – bowl of water with a little dish soap (or hand soap) then dip the strap in to it and rub with your fingers, allow to air dry
5) Clean Your Watch Face
Ever feel like your watch face looks a little cloudy, it’s likely the sweat or just life and needs to be wiped clean. The best option is to use the cloth that comes with your sunglasses or glasses to eliminate all streaks.
6) Clean Your Charging contacts
One last area that needs to be cleaned, the charging contacts on the back of the watch. These metal discs can get caked in sweat as well, which will overtime prevent a good connection with the charger and slow down or prevent charging. You can also use a little soap and water if very careful or use a pink pencil eraser.How many of these GPS watch tips and tricks did you know?! #running Click To Tweet
7) Create a Household Station
Tired of grabbing your GPS watch only too find it low on storage or low on battery? Plug your phone in to the same place you recharge your watch, this provides the perfect time to open your fitness app and sync your data without waiting around.
8) Track Shoe Mileage
While you’re in that same household station and loading your data, take 30 seconds to track your running shoe mileage! I often go by feel to determine it’s time for new shoes, but realistically that feel is the all too familiar runner’s dead legs. I could prevent that by staying on top of the miles for each pair of shoes.
Most watches now have their own free running app or sync to Strava, RunKeeper, MyFitnessPal or Training Peaks, so login, upload your workout and then note which shoe you were wearing!
Depending on the app it make keep a running total for you and provide a warning when you’ve hit a determined number of miles.
9) Lock Your Watch
AS I’ve learned the very hard way, if you’re packing your GPS watch to travel (say to that epic race), you need to lock it down or shut it off. Otherwise it gets pushed around in your bag and you arrive to find a dead watch. On the many you hold the up arrow for 2 seconds, on others you often hold a couple buttons at a time, check your user manual (or Google it).
10) Customize Your Screens
Not every watch will have this, so let me just say if yours doesn’t… you are so missing out. One of my favorite things about my Garmin Fenix (and now the Polar Vantage) is that I can customize not only the daily screens, but the screens for every single workout. This is available on many newer model watches, but often goes unused.
This ensures that when I’m training by HR, I can see my HR as the main feature while above it I see total time running and at the bottom total distance.
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A few common requests:
- Garmin vs Suunto GPS Watches
- Garmin vs Polar GPS Watches
- How to use all your run data
- Best HR monitors (from watches to straps)
- Best wireless headphones for running
Any other tricks you’ve found to help people make the most of their GPS Watch?
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