Best Triathlon Watches. Top Affordable Triathlon Watches Reviewed.
There is something very exhilarating and immensely satisfying about participating and completing a triathlon. A full triathlon involves swimming 2.4 miles, biking 112 miles and then running a full marathon, or 26.2 miles. Certainly not for the faint of heart or untrained body! But, what is the best way to prepare for such a grueling event? Well, there is no shortage of triathlon training plans and they all agree on one thing, you have to work hard and you need a watch to help keep track of your progress. Which, of course, is why you are here!
We’re going to walk you through what to look for in a best triathlon watch, the benefits of using one, leading brands, price ranges, and the differences between different models and prices. When you are done reading this, you will have all the information you need to make sure you get a triathlon watch worthy of the herculean task ahead of you.
What to look for
There are quite a few things you will want in a quality triathlete watch. First and foremost, you will want it to be a GPS watch. A triathlon GPS watch is going to be your best friend while training and competing. This is because the GPS function allows you to get important feedback. With GPS, you can see how far you have gone, your speed, pace and more. You will quickly find this data to be critical to your training regimen and during the competition itself.
This Fenix 2 watch from Garmin is designed with the triathlete in mind. It comes with a bundle that includes everything you want for your next race or training event. You get the watch, a heart rate monitor, a bike mount and more....
2Garmin Fenix 2
4Garmin Forerunner 920XT
6Garmin Swim Watch
12Suunto Ambit3 Sport
14Timex T5E901 Ironman
|Dial window material|
|Water resistant depth|
You Don’t Want a Paperweight on Your Wrist
One thing to consider when looking for a GPS watch is the size, weight and usability. You aren’t going to want to huge, bulky device on your wrist. You also want to make sure the display on the device is easy to read. This may seem like a bit of a challenge, since you also don’t want a huge watch. The key is to find the right balance between size and weight for your preferences.
Ease-of-Use is Also Important
Make sure you also consider how easy, or difficult, it is to use the watch. There will be times you want to switch modes or to a different view. You want to be able to do this with ease and without having to press a bunch of different buttons in a certain order.
The key, as with most things, is to perform your own tests after you’ve read our reviews. Put any watch you are considering on your wrist, see how it feels and go through the different screens and settings. You won’t have the time, or want to waste the energy, trying to figure out how to find your average pace or the distance you’ve traveled.
Take Your Data with You and Access it Anytime
Since we’re talking about looking at speed and distance, you also want the ability to download the data or send it to another device. This will be a great way for you to keep track of your training workouts as well as your results from actual triathlons. Make sure the watch has the ability to connect to a computer via USB cable or Bluetooth wireless connection. You won’t be able to analyze results during a competition or even training, so the ability to look at your training data and race results will be crucial.
Triathlon watches - What You Need for Swimming
Since you are going to find yourself in the water at some point, either in the pool or open water, you want to make sure you triathlon has the right features for swimming and can stand up to that environment. Naturally, the first thing you want to check is that the watch is water resistant. You don’t need a watch designed for deep sea dives. But, you also don’t want a watch that will only stand up to light water use.
Another feature to consider, which will also be useful for the other two triathlon legs, is the ability to sync with a heart rate monitor. This is especially important to advanced trainers. Keeping track of your heart rate is crucial to maximize training and ensure you are putting for the right effort.
Other features to continue include GPS, which we mentioned before, and the ability to track laps for when you are swimming in the pool. You are going to be spending a lot of time in the water, so you want a watch designed for that environment that will also give you the data you need to track your progress.
Time to Hop on Your Bicycle
When you are ready to train or compete for the bike portion of a triathlon, GPS is going to be your friend. With GPS capability, you can track how far you’ve gone, how much is left, how fast you are going and more.
The bike portion is another area where you will benefit from a heart rate monitor. In case you haven’t noticed yet, GPS and heart-rate monitor capabilities are two important features!
At this point in your training, or in a race, you will have been going for quite some time. Because of this, you also want to consider battery life. You want a watch that will literally last for hours and hours, if not days and days! You will be extremely upset if the watch dies in the middle of your biking, I promise! One way around this is a watch with solar charging capabilities. Let the sun do the charging for you to make sure the watch lasts as long as you need it.
Finally, best watch for running
By now, you are ready to run the final leg of a triathlon…and it is a full marathon! You’ve probably figured out a couple of the important features for the run, right? Of course you have…GPS and heart rate monitor.
GPS is really nice during the run since it tracks how far you’ve gone and how fast you’re running. It should also be able to tell you your pace, which will help keep you on track for a personal best performance!
Another nice feature to consider is the ability to create workouts or load pre-configured routes. If the watch will hook up to a computer, this will help you create different workouts and also give you the ability to look at your training sessions and see how you are doing.
OK, So Now What?
Now that you know what to look for, what next? Well, it is time to start looking at different watches to find the one that is right for you. Some brands to consider because of their popularity amongst triathletes are Garmin, TomTom and Polar. Each of these brands makes a watch that can be used during a triathlon.
If you want the best bang for your buck, Polar is a great brand to look at. You won’t be able to get open-water GPS tracking, but you will have GPS and the ability to track your heartrate with a strap that is sold separately.
As you go up in price you will find more features and more advanced capabilities. Top of the line watches will probably come with a heartrate strap so you don’t have to purchase it separately. Some will even have the ability to send reports to other devices while you are using them, so friends and family can keep track of your progress.
The key, as with other devices, is to find the one that fits your needs and personal preferences. If it doesn’t feel good on your wrist, it will feel even worse after swimming a couple miles, biking a hundred miles and running a marathon! If you can’t read the display standing still in a store, you probably won’t be able to read it while zooming down a hill on your bike or without breaking stride during a swim or run.
Make sure you try different brands and models out to find the one that is right for you. The best triathlon watch for you is out there, and you will quickly find it to be a needed companion during training and competitions. Good luck!