How To Choose The Best GPS Running Watch To Help You Better Cross the Marathon Line

by On Mar 10, 2018

Running a marathon is hard and requires a lot of training and practice for making the required stamina. It requires a lot of discipline and wants you to have enough a definite plan to conquer the hour-long race and cross the finish line, just as you planned.

How To Choose The Best GPS Running Watch To Help You Better Cross the Marathon Line

In this modern era, in order to be competitive, you need to be scientific in your training. One such scientific approach is to surrender yourself to the productivity of one of the best GPS watches which has become pivotal to your success in the game.

A GPS enabled smartwatch would take the majority of the guesswork out of your training and will bring you in good shape to cross the finish line at the desired pace. Not only this but, it will also help you to structure your training and start the marathon, well ahead of your competitors who have other methods of training.

Using smart features to help you win the marathon like a pro

  • Calculating your race pace - The smartwatch with go's functionality allows to create your customised game plan. You can map your goals to the target race created in the device. It will then give you the output of the pace you need to maintain throughout the race and also at specific time intervals. Majority of the watches gives you options to create your target race with distance calculated in miles or kilometers. So, choose as per your convenience.
  • VO2 Max – It used to be a thing only for elite professional athletes, but now the most basic watches also have this feature. It is a pivotal metric that helps you identify the progress in your training, and eventually your chances of winning the marathon.
  • Heart Rate Feature – Heart rate by smartwatches is measured in Beats per Minute (BPM). You need to familiarize yourself with the heart rate zones, where the wider zone is in the range of 60 to 1o BPM. The basic HR monitor on a smartwatch allows you to program the intensity level of your training based upon the projected VO2 max. The advance watches come with the stride and speed sensors, data transfer capability and barometers to help you reach perfection in your training towards running a marathon.

    The majority of the watches comes with default HR zone settings and then you can fine-tune them as per your specific zone. HR zone should be estimated by finding the maximum heart rate of yours. Once that is done then the smartwatch will setup 5 different HR segments which would refer to the different kinds of training results that you could follow.

  • Polar Fitness – This is actually a fitness test in order to assess your current fitness and also to monitor your fitness progress over different time intervals. For this pre-programmed test, all you need is to have your smartwatch with the Heart Rate monitor. This barometer serves as a benchmark for your fitness faring against the average stats. Your training plan for a marathon would be modified based on this fitness test results. Your thirst for the following questions would be quenched through this test:
    • How long should be my training session?
    • What should be my training frequency every week?
    • How much distance should I cover in my training session?
  • Value Added Feature – The majority of the smartwatches comes with the useful audio or the vibrating alerts. You need to tune them as per your requirement and then, be ready to get a nudge when you increase/ decrease your pace beyond a certain point when your BPM raises/ drops beyond a certain point or maybe when you fall outside of your programmed training zone for a particular session. This feature is a motivator and will push you to stick to your original plan and train yourself towards the goal of crossing the marathon line.

The thing you need to vary from:

There is a common design flaw in the majority of the smartwatches where there is GPS loss reported due to moisture, such as sweat, and this could alter your results. In order to avoid that, the best thing you could do in your training is to wear a sweatband right next to your smartwatch. This will reduce your dropout issues to the minimal level, despite you being on some seriously long training sessions.

Some best best GPS watches you can use

Apple Watch Series 3 42mm (GPS) Smartwatch

How To Choose The Best GPS Running Watch To Help You Better Cross the Marathon Line

Apple works perfectly when it comes to GPS watches and this is one of the best options for iPhone users as it is also compatible with iPhone 8 Plus version. This is the third generation apple that comes with a built-in GPS to help you track your location and the data you need. With a high-quality dual-core processor, S3 and watchOS4 assure high-end performance so that you get what you need.

The widescreen watch makes it easier to view data and have a clear look at the figures without any issues. The Apple watch is surely water resistant for up to 50 M and would withstand any spills while engaging in shallow water activities and hiking tracks.

The watch also features heart rate sensor, an altimeter for better location acquisition, gyroscope, and other features to help sportsmen monitor their activities during the walk, hiking or running using the accelerometer. Though this is a GPS only model and is not the cellular version, you can find a cellular version as well.


  • Apple watch series 3 with GPS
  • Accelerometer and heart rate sensor
  • Altimeter and gyroscope included
  • Great for sportsmen and hikers
  • Water resistant
  • Easy to use features
  • Dual core processor S3
  • Available in 4 different colors
  • Compatible with iPhone 8 Plus

Garmin Forerunner 35 Watch

How To Choose The Best GPS Running Watch To Help You Better Cross the Marathon Line

Garmin has been developing some of the best versions of smartwatches and GPS enabled watches that work perfectly for hikers and runners. This is specially designed to match the needs of runners. It has a built-in GPS that works perfectly acquiring the satellites to know all the details about the distances, the speed and the area where you will be running for the race. You don’t have to make use of a phone and it will guide you on its own with features that are built-in for you to use.

The functions include heart monitoring 24 hours without any additional strap or accessory. With the help of virtual pacing and the progress indicators, you can estimate your running potential and prepare for the marathon ahead of time with confidence. The High definition display works in any light condition either day or night. The run and walk mode also guides when it is time to slow down and when you have to speed up to match your target.


  • Easy to use with all connected features
  • Walk. Run and activity modes
  • GPS enabled
  • Heart rate, step count

Golife Running GPS Watch, Compatible iOS and Android

How To Choose The Best GPS Running Watch To Help You Better Cross the Marathon Line

This is probably the smartest smartwatch that you could have for your training while keeping a close eye on your health. It is a multiple mode watches with various features, such as Microphone, built-in speakers, Google Intelligent Assistant and of course GPS. You can easily synchronise it with both Android and iOS smart devices and can personalize it as per your needs.

The product could ideally be used for tracking all your physical activities such as triathlon, marathon, gym workouts, walking, biking, hiking, indoor cycling and treadmill runs etc. This is an entry level smartwatch and might not be suitable for professional athletes.


  • It is fast to charge with fairly long battery time. You can easily trust this watch to last on its standby mode for 16 hours with GPS and 21 hours without it.
  • GPS is extremely accurate and found to be comparable to iOS and Android devices. There are Easy Share and Bluetooth Smart syncing features. So, you could transmit all your exercise records to social media accounts and elsewhere.
  • The smartphone comes with a spacious display and can be ideally used for getting your connected smart devices notifications such as accepting or rejecting calls, texts and calendar appointments etc.
    It is 5 ATM or 50 m waterproof.
  • It feels extremely light on hand and could be used throughout the day with no extra burden on the wrist at all.

Fitbit Charge 2 Heart Rate + Fitness Wristband

How To Choose The Best GPS Running Watch To Help You Better Cross the Marathon Line

Fitbit could be your firsthand choice if you need to stay intact with your efficiency levels as well as want to make sure that you can increase your efficiency without breaking your muscles. The wrist-based heart rate monitor, use workout monitoring with heart rate zones, comes with an OLED display, sleep monitor.

It also helps in monitoring and seeing your pace, distance covered with the help of the GPS. You can also track all day activity including the number of steps, the distance, calories burned active minutes and the overall physiology as well.

It operates easily within 14 to 113 degree Fahrenheit and operates without interference at the maximum altitude of 30,000 feet so that you get all the features no matter where you are using it.


  • Fitbit offers full-fledged activity tracking including heart rate and pace
  • The GPS enabled the feature to ensure distance tracking easy
  • Compatible with windows, computer, iPhone, Android devices
  • Reliable Wireless automatic connection
  • View text, calls, and notification on OLED
  • Helps in monitoring health and training for your marathon target

Final Verdict

A GPS enabled smartwatch is a game-changer for all those planning hard for a marathon. It gives you a game plan in order to train yourself for the biggest challenge of your life. The features such as Heart Rate Monitor, Polar Fitness Test, VO2 Max and the audio/vibration alerts challenge yourself to go for a disciplined and a much meaningful training program towards your goal of crossing the marathon line.

Do you use a GPS Running Watch to aid your running? Which is your favourite and why?

Harry Rosen is a freelance writer that has a focus on Outdoor, Fishing, Hunting. He enjoys researching and writing about Outdoor/ sports and how they can benefit everyone in day to day life.

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