Can i use a fitness watch to track my speed and pace?

Almost all of my running friends have what's called a “GPS watch”. Low-end watches can record distance, pace, calories and steps quite well. How can a smartwatch or any other activity tracking device calculate it? A watch's interface is also easier to use while you're running. Many of them dedicate buttons to commonly used functions, and they can be easier to use than a touchscreen while you sweat.

You can see your pace and distance at a glance, so you can pick up the pace or slow down. The best ones allow you to display up to four total statistics at once to get quick information on other important measures, such as heart rate (if combined with a chest strap or optical sensor), part time (per mile or other measurement) and total time elapsed. Most fitness trackers and smartwatches are limited to showing one or two of these statistics at a time, so they're not as useful during an actual race. GPS watches also offer more advanced metrics, such as step cadence or maximum VO2 score, which aren't important to most people, but can be useful if you're training for a marathon or other race.

The Garmin Premium Multisport watch is a high-tech sports watch with a long battery life and lots of sophisticated features. As Katelyn DiGiorgio, vice president of training and technique at Pure Barre, says: “The activity rings on the Apple Watch have kept me more active than other fitness trackers I've used. For a fraction of the price of most sports watches, you can buy a fitness tracker, music player, and watch all in one. A full charge will make most sports watches work for about a week (sometimes even less), but this watch will run for up to 25 days.

Regardless of the type of exercise they do, fitness professionals agree that the Apple Watch keeps their training progress up to date. Plus, since the watch syncs with Apple Pay, you can leave your wallet at home and use the watch to pay for things. These features are practical, but the best added value of the waterproof watch is its Polar Fit Spark Daily Training Guide. Most GPS watches even offer a change in settings to prefer cycling to running, and more expensive triathlon-oriented watches also have swimming modes.

The watch acts like a fitness tracker, allowing you to track classic metrics, such as sleep, heart rate, stress levels and activity levels. The watch records a series of health and fitness metrics, allowing you to easily monitor your heart rate, sleep quality and progress in achieving your goals. The best fitness trackers also use software, social media connections and progressive goals to continue to advance people in their fitness level. The Apple Watch SE doesn't announce a particular battery life, but Apple has said that the batteries in its watches are designed to last up to 18 hours straight.

We've tested dozens of portable devices to help you find the one that best fits your lifestyle, whether it's a smartwatch for everyday use, a fitness tracker or a running watch.

Amie Atanacio
Amie Atanacio

Evil coffee enthusiast. Professional beer ninja. Devoted social media aficionado. Proud pizza advocate. Typical internet nerd.