Are you hitting the tracks to soak up the gorgeous summer sun and epic mountain views in Whistler? Or maybe donning your best winter warms and braving the icy trails of the valley in winter? Before you tie your laces and dash out the door, make sure you check out our GPS running watch comparison review to get the most out of your run.
Garmin Forerunner 610
It’s hard to put together a list of GPS running watches without mentioning one of the many Garmins on the market. For us, the Forerunner 610 is hard to beat. This running watch lets you measure the distance of your run, your pace, GPS position, your heart rate, and the amount of calories you’ve burned.
It also lets you wirelessly upload, plan, review, and share runs via Garmin Connect, an online training tool that can be used to store and analyze your running data. The Forerunner 610 also comes equipped with two training modes: Virtual Racer lets you race against your personal bests or even challenge any runs uploaded to Garmin Connect, while Virtual Partner lets you to set a static pace for your next run and try to match it.
The Garmin Forerunner 610 features customizable vibration alerts for time, distance, calories, heart rate, and cadence, that let you know you’ve reached your target with a gentle vibration.
The Forerunner 610 is also Garmin’s first sport watch with Training Effect, a feature that aims to help you train more effectively by measuring a specific activity’s impact on your aerobic fitness. Pack all that under a fully-responsive touchscreen that’s resistant to all weather conditions, and you’ve got yourself one of the best running watches on the market.
While this may be a GPS running watch comparison review, our next contender’s uses extend well beyond where your own two feet can take you. The Polar V800 sports watch tracks pretty much anything you do on two wheels, two feet, on dry land, or in the water. This high-end running watch is the perfect solution for any runner who also swims and bikes regularly, letting you take complete control of your workouts and even keep track of your daily activity 24/7, including everything from how many steps you take during the day to the duration and quality of your sleep.
The Polar V800 comes with integrated GPS and an interval trainer/timer that allows you to create interval workouts based on time, heart rate or distance, and even receive guidance on those workouts. It also lets you set a daily activity goal based on your personal data and choice of preferred activity, and can help guide you through a training session with vibration and audio alerts when you may need to slow down or speed up to help reach your goal.
The Polar V800 also comes equipped with an altimeter, Bluetooth connectivity that allows you to analyze your workout results via your smartphone, and the ability to wirelessly upload your stats and data to Polar Flow’s web and mobile applications.
Probably the most exciting feature of this running watch is its Recovery Status and Orthostatic Test features that allow you to see the impact of your previous workout and even predict when you’ll be ready to train again. The Polar V800 is also pairable with a shoe pod to give you extra information on your cadence and stride length and give you advice on how to improve your running form.
To top it all off, the Polar V800 features customizable screens that let you focus on the most important aspects of your workout. If you’re a runner that enjoys a regular swim or bike session, then this is the watch for you.
Suunto Ambit3 Sport
Looking for simplicity and style without compromising on features? Then the Suunto Ambit3 Sport is the perfect GPS running watch for you.
This watch comes equipped with GPS tracking for speed, pace, distance and altitude, and features Bluetooth connectivity so that you can hook it up with your phone and change its setting on the go or delve deep into your workout stats.
The Suunto Ambit3 Sport features route guidance and a compass to make sure you stay on path. A potential shortcoming, however, is that when kept on five second GPS accuracy, this watch only holds a 15-hour battery life. Although if you switch your setting to one minute GPS accuracy, it will boost your battery life up to 100 hours.
It’ll also measure your heart rate while swimming, help you with your interval workouts with its built-in interval planner with voice guidance, and run tests on your recovery and sleep to accurately estimate when you’ll be ready to train again.
Finally, the Suunto Ambit3 Sport running watch also comes with access to Movescount training program and Suunto Apps. Throw all that together with a super slick design that’s great for everyday wear, and you’ve got yourself one of the neatest running watches on the market today.
TomTom Runner Cardio
Built by Swedish satnav specialists, the TomTom Runner Cardio is last but certainly not least in our GPS running watch comparison review. This running watch comes complete with a whole list of features that’ll keep you working out on a daily basis and reaching your potential every time.
It comes with super accurate GPS and a built-in optical heart rate monitor, as well as the option to race against your own past performances. The heart rate monitor can be used to set and track your optimal heart rate zone, and then notify you when you’re in that zone so you get the most out of each workout.
The TomTom Runner Cardio can also be synced up with the TomTom MySports website and apps, where you can review your stats, map your runs, and set up training sessions.
It also features an interval trainer, and allows you to see your distance, time, pace, speed and calories burned in real-time on an extra large display that you navigate with a simple one-button control. All that is wrapped up in a super slim and lightweight design for ultimate comfort during your training sessions. A multi-sport version, the TomTom Spark, is also available for those of you who also swim or bike.
Now that you’ve read up on the best GPS running watches, are you just itching to get out on the trails? Contact our friendly Whistler concierge services, who can help you plan the perfect Whistler running vacation. And, while you are here, why not read up on 8 workouts with a view and discover your ultimate fitness inspired vacation.