GPS Runners Watches for Ladies Reviewed
There are so many fitness watches and trackers on the market these days that it can be overwhelming trying to decide on the best one for you. Stripping it back to basics, when making that decision think about what features you want in a sports watch and combine that with how much you are willing to spend.
Garmin are still the leading brand in the world of GPS sports watches making them great for runners but there are also other brands to consider including polar, fit-bit and coros to name a few. GPS is a fantastic feature for runners of any level making a GPS sports watch better than an activity tracker that doesn’t have GPS. GPS watches use satellites to accurately track location and distances. Many also make it possible to share your location whilst running which is an obvious safety advantage for anyone but particularly women who run alone. Long gone are the days of your sports watch acting only as a stop watch!
All smart watches cover similar basics such as counting calories, daily steps and resting heart rate tracker to monitor all aspects of health. Most also contain more advanced health tracking features plus ability to track distance, pace and intensity of training which is a great way to improve your running and keep you motivated. Watches can be connected to a corresponding app such as Garmin Connect to upload training plans and other data plus third party apps like Strava to view and monitor data/progress through graphs and statistics on your phone or computer.
The following watches are great options for women and yes they happen to be Garmin for reason previously mentioned. They all have smaller watch face and narrower strap generally more suitable for smaller female wrists. Also have ability to track information around menstruation and pregnancy which both impact on training and performance, plus advanced health monitoring data such as energy levels, sleep, health snap shot and VO2 max/fitness age predictions.
Firstly, worthy of a mention is the Garmin Venu 2S which was voted top Garmin watch for women in 2021 by the Independent newspaper with its sleek and modern design, touch screen and cutting edge features. At the time of writing is was also number 1 best seller on Amazon for GPS running monitors adding to its credibility. This watch does absolutely everything that the Venu 2 watch does, tracking 25 different activities from paddle-boarding to yoga whilst recording very specific activity related data. This makes it a good choice for a runner who enjoys a variety of sports and ways of keeping fit. There are 6 colours available and the one size wrist circumference fits anyone between 110 -175mms. Retails at £349.99 but can often be found cheaper than this, white/rose gold version currently £277.26 on Amazon.
- Good battery life – from 8-11 hours depending what mode you are listening in.
- Preloaded running specific training programs through Garmin Coach (available for 24 other sports/activities too!).
- Good for cross-training as can follow animated workouts on watch – yoga, strength workout, Pilates.
- Can download and store 600+ songs so don’t need to take smart phone on run.
- Extremely accurate GPS.
- Advanced health monitoring to include blood oxidation, menstruation and pregnancy monitoring.
- Quality AMOLED colour touchscreen display.
- More expensive than some other versions.
- Forerunner is likely a better option if you don’t do any other activities other than running.
It is fair to say that the pros outweigh the cons however if it is mainly a GPS running watch that you are interested in then the Forerunner 245 Music or less expensive Forerunner 245 (without music) may be a better option. The main difference between these 2 models is that the music version can store 500 songs whereas other doesn’t store any. Forerunner 245 is smaller, lighter and more compact than Forerunner 235. Berry coloured 245 is currently on Amazon for £208 and music version is on average around £50 more.
The Forerunner watches are clearly aimed at runners and cyclists however it does offer other sport functions such as new indoor swimming mode, yoga and strength training as well as treadmill, cross trainer and rowing machine features to name a few more. Data and metrics for some activities is however very basic compared to the running and cycling features.
Useful features for runners include ability to set pace for a virtual running buddy to help push you. It will motivate you to keep up by recording how you are doing in comparison. There is also a race pace mode which can help with pacing on race day.
The Forerunner 245 also tells you accurate information about the effect each run has had on both aerobic and anaerobic fitness. It also analyses recent data to advice on whether you are over or under training by comparing your training load with VO2 max. This is a useful tool to improve your running providing guidance on when to push yourself or when to scale it back and allow body extra recovery time.
The Forerunner 245 gives predicted race times for 5K, 10K, half marathon and marathon and this becomes increasing accurate as watch records more data from you and gets to know all of your running statistics.
As said earlier the Garmin Forerunner 245 is a great choice for majority of runners, particularly the music version which is most reasonably price GPS watch to offer this feature.
Garmin Forerunner 245 Music
- Easy to use, lightweight and comfortable to wear.
- Can synch music to watch meaning don’t have to carry smart phone on run to listen to favourite audio.
- Storage for 500 songs accessible through watch.
- Preloaded running specific training programs through Garmin Coach
- Accurate GPS, heart rate sensor, advanced health monitoring and running features on par with higher end models.
- Can pair with compatible smartphone so loved ones can live track your run and you can receive alerts/texts plus accept incoming call whilst running.
- Battery life is weaker than on other models but still 6 hours when listening to music.
- Does not have a barometric altimeter which may be an issue if you train on hills or do lots of trail running.
- Does not feature as many sports/activities as some.
- Does not have ability to download and follow animated exercise videos like Venu 2S.
- Not touch screen if this is issue for you.
- No triathlon or open water feature.
- Subscription to streaming service such as Spotify (needs to be premium version) is extra cost.
Other watches to look at or consider include Garmin’s own Forerunner 45 (£130) or Garmin 235 (£192) if you don’t want music or so much advanced tracking features and data. The 235 is still a great GPS watch but the price saving is not significant enough for the fetures that you would not get whereas the 45 is even easier on the pocket and would still accurately track the basics that a certain level of runner may need. Good budget option.
Triathletes may prefer to invest in a multisport watch with a triathlon mode that specifically tracks open water swimming. Moving away from Garmin, although there are Garmin options including Garmin Forerunner 745, the Coros Apex (£265) and Polar Vantage M2 (£233-£270) may be worth looking at for triathletes, although only Polar Vantage offers music mode. The Coros Apex reportedly has an insane battery life and also a barometer to measure elevation.