Running Gear: Sports Watches

1 Comment 09 April 2014 / by

At the end of 2012, after I had been running religiously for almost a year after Neishia was born I was eye-ing on a Nike sportswatch. I always love wearing sporty watch and Nike just came out with a great looking watch. It’s even better that the watch is also meant for running too. I’ve been using Nikeplus app for running for a several months at the time. In the beginning I run without watch or app, just run. But as I get more serious and the running community has become a bit bigger, app and running tools/gadgets are starting to come out. Since they are easy to use, why not? Plus I started to run longer than my usual run at the reservoir, that has a marker of km. So I usually don’t need a watch or app to track how far I went for a run.

I bought the watch at the US store, through my friends in NY, as a birthday gift for myself. It really is a good looking watch and I was wearing it more as a watch instead of sportswatch. At that time I still run with my iphone. I figured that when I run, I would still bring my iPhone with me, so why not just use the Nikeplus app in the iPhone to track my runs? I can hear music while I run too.

Only after I start running much longer and train for my half-marathon, that I started the need to use the sportswatch to tell my distance and pace. Especially that my iPhone battery usually couldn’t last too long if I run that far. So I started to use my Nike sportswatch for its original purpose, a running sportswatch. Since it connects to Nikeplus directly, it’s very easy to use, except that the GPS connection is not that easy to get, yet I find it still fine to use. I’m also become a silent runner, where I start to run without music at all. I prefer to enjoy my surroundings, listen to my own breathings while I run, no matter how far it is.

By mid year of 2013, I decided that I need to upgrade my watch to a better one, perhaps even one with Heart Rate monitor. On top of that, I like to combine my runs with swimming, so it would also be nice to have a watch that I can use both running and swimming, among other things. Garmin, naturally comes to the picture. But their multisports watches are not really great looking, usually comes in square shape. I still prefer on wearing a watch that I can also wear occassionally on a day to day basis. So the Garmin multisport watch is out of the picture. Actually Garmin just came out with the 220 and 620 series which are really good looking watches. The features are also really nice, but.. they are meant only for running. So I looked around for other watches. Though I may not start a triathlon anytime soon, but at least having a watch that can accommodate that would be great. Anyway, I’m also quite a swimmer and regularly swim in between my running schedule.

So, I really think I should invest in a good watch. Especially I have started my training for a full marathon too. So, I started lusting over Suunto watches. The only setback is that I cannot sync my data with Nikeplus. Not that it’s very important, but all my running records have been with Nikeplus. Though the app may not be the perfect one out there, the app really helps to track my runs, especially on keeping track how my kilometers I’ve clocked in for each of my shoes that I wear. Moreover, Nikeplus app also has a challenge that I usually join with my running groups. These challenges are great to keep us motivated and keep running.

However, after a long thought, I decided that maybe I should just move away from Nikeplus cuz I can’t find anything else that would fit with my preference. So I decided on a Suunto Ambit2S. After several research, I finally bought one from a retailer in Jakarta. Why Jakarta? Cuz the price is very reasonable, just slightly more expensive than the original one they sold in the US, but much much cheaper than in Singapore.

At the same time, I found a buyer to take my Nike sportswatch too.

In Dec 2013, I finally got my hands on my new watch, Suunto. I tried to connect it to my laptop but nothing happened. Somehow I got a bad one on my hand. Since it was hand-delivered by my friend, Yustin, who came to Singapore for the Stanchart Marathon race, I asked her to bring it back to Jakarta and sent back to the retailer where I bought the watch, for a replacement. The retailer agreed to do so and would check on the item that was a defect. In the meantime, my training is still going on and there’s no way I can train using my Nike app on my phone only. So, I asked my hubby (who was going to get a garmin GPS for our car) to grab the most basic and cheapest Garmin watch out there, the FR10.

It’s actually a nice looking watch. It works great for my runs and I can convert the data to be uploaded to Nikeplus. So I’m really happy with it. It looks nice and simple yet pretty enough for me to wear to work in my corporate outfits. For a while I thought that I can manage with the basic watch. I don’t need the fancy charts, as long as it can help me to tell the distance and pace, I’m happy.

After wearing it for a couple of weeks, my new Suunto watch is ready. It works fine but because I still have my Garmin FR10, now I didn’t feel the need to wear my Suunto watch for running. I just fell in love with FR10 and still not sure if I want to move away from Nikeplus entirely if I were to start using Suunto. So there was a period of time I ended up wearing Garmin FR10 for run, and wearing Suunto only for swimming.

Suunto for swimming is great! I love how it captures the time and distance perfectly. I love how it looks, but I was still not sure if I want to wear it for running yet. Until… my marathon race is near, and I know I have to familiarize myself with my Suunto watch, because my Garmin FR10 would not sustain the long distance, in terms of battery life. I wore it once for a 25km run and it’s already blinking with low battery by 21km.

Two weeks before the marathon, I finally used it on my last long run. I was amazed how fast it locks to the GPS compared to my Garmin FR10. Whoa, I was impressed! It also has lots of features, obviously.. So I’m starting to like my Suunto for running. I just haven’t connect it to the HRM because I was too lazy to wear one. After that long run, I looked for an uploader from Suunto to Nikeplus, just as my last try to see if I can still hold on to Nikeplus community. And I found… this!!

I read through the instructions and tried it.. hey it works!! I’m so happy and it was very easy. Not the best GUI to do it, because I really need to do it manually through a command prompt, but it works wonderful! I’m sold! I don’t need Garmin anymore and Suunto is just perfect.

So I decided that I need to sell my Garmin FR10 (though reluctantly) but I think it’s best otherwise I will not be wearing my Suunto if I keep my Garmin. I guess I’m the kind of girl who can only love one thing at a time.. very monotonous, I would say hahah..

I wore my Suunto on my first marathon race. I was actually quite worried that the battery wouldn’t hold too long. Turns out, even after I finished, there was still plenty battery life. My “kembardempet” runner, Yustin, wore her Garmin 610 and she was already worried from km 36 that her battery is running really low and had popped up a message of “low battery” by km 39-40.

One thing for sure, the GPS lock from Suunto is really fast and much better connected. The marathon race was started in the streets among all the buildings. Garmin had a hard time connecting to GPS, while my Suunto connected within less than 1 minute. I was impressed. I guess it’s really worth the money and I better use it to its maximum, and still exists in my Nikeplus running community :)

There surely are plenty of watches out there, and they always come up with new and better ones every year. For now, I’m sticking with my Suunto Ambit2S!

Your Comments

1 comment

  1. hobilari says:

    Wah banyaknya running gearnya mbak Shinta… Bikin larinya makin semangat


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a worker by choice, a mother and a wife by nature / owner of slesta.com / co-founder of the urban mama / the urban muslimah | email: slesta[at]slesta[dot]com

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