You’re never going to do an Ironman Triathlon, but you would like to put a little extra zip into your regular runs around the park. A gadget to monitor your progress may be just the thing to spur you on. Navigation company TomTom is the latest to enter the fitness market with its Runner GPS watch, a slim and straightforward wrist companion that’s waterproof and simpler to use (and less expensive) than more sophisticated models such as the Suunto Ambit.
The GPS device will track your route, pace, time, and estimated calorie burn and give you an added kick in the shorts by comparing your times against previous runs or by pinging you to mark your progress as you try to reach personal goals. It’s all easily adjusted – even while running – using the watch’s four-way button. And when inclement weather forces you inside, the watch gauges your distance on the treadmill based on arm swings.
The only downsides: You have to pop the watch face into a special USB cradle connected to a PC to track your progress and, like most of the competition, if you want to get serious and monitor your heart rate, a separate chest strap is required on the basic model we tested, though TomTom also offers the pricier Runner GPS HRM watch ($220), which comes with a wireless heart rate monitor. Best of all, the TomTom Runner is inconspicuous and lasts for several days on a single charge. [$170; tomtom.com]