Best GPS 2011 For Running

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The great thing about running is that it can be completely free. Unless you need to go out and buy a new pair of running shoes or you want to look the part with all the flashy running gear, there is no great cost in just getting up and going for a run. Like Nike says - "Just Do It"

There is one must have accessory you should consider if you are serious about running. Hey, even if you are not that serious a GPS running watch is a great addition to your fitness regime. Of course, if you are just as happy with your run of the mill digital watch with a stop watch, lap time function that's OK, we will not judge! With a GPS running watch you will get the added benefit of being able to track your progress easily over days, weeks, months... even years.

By recording data at set intervals a GPS running watch tracks your times, distance, work rate, pace, heart rate, route and much more. Many of these watches have separate GPS modules that attach to an arm strap or running shoe. Some of the best GPS watches for running have the GPS unit built into the watch itself. This means you can wear a stylish looking watch on your wrist, press a button and forget it.

When you get home or back to work you can download your data to a computer. The software provided will allow to analyse in detail all of your data. Use interactive graphs and charts, overlay your route with Google Earth, check your progress against other runs you have done. You can even exchange data with other runners directly from your watch if you wish!

By using a heart rate monitor the watch records your heart rate to integrate this into calculations made on work rate, fitness and so on. Usually the monitor is a wireless chest strap that fits comfortably against your skin without looking obvious under your clothing. These GPS watches are brilliant for organised events such as marathons or 10k competitions. You can see anywhere on the route whether you were going uphill, downhill, what exercise zone you were in, whether you were doing better than last time or not.

If you are an established runner or just starting out, you should consider getting a GPS watch for running. Some of the best on the market at the moment for a reasonable price are

Garmin Forerunner 305 (with heart rate monitor)

A well priced, very popular watch by Garmin, who are pretty much top of their tree when it comes to satellite navigation and GPS. All the benefits of a good quality GPS running watch with software for computer downloading and analysis. The watch itself detaches from the strap and sits into a USB cradle for connectivity.

The Garmin Forerunner 405CX (with heart rate monitor)

This is a step up from the 305, which is also reflected in its price. With most of the same features as the Forerunner 305 it has a smaller display, which may not suit many as it may be more difficult to look at and read during a run. This model does have the latest ANT wireless technology, though. This is what allows you to exchange or share data between watches and it even downloads data to your computer automatically when in range. How about that?!

The Timex Ironman Global Trainer

This watch looks more like a conventional digital watch. With the GPS technology incorporated within the watch itself it still manages to look slim and sleek. It can be worn as an everyday watch and not look out of place. Again, this watch is equipped with the usual running watch features along with the software included for detailed analysis and the charting of your progress.

Polar RS800CX

This is possibly the best looking running watch of the four featured here. Well engineered and designed the latest offering from Polar is a good all round fitness watch, suited to a range of different sports. It can be purchased with additional attachments allowing it to be secured to a bike. Polar have been in the fitness industry for many years and now a thing or two about heart rate monitors and interactive fitness products.

There are other GPS running watches out there but these are believed to be the top four at present.

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