This week’s Tech Tuesday – TomTom Runner Cardio Strapless, by our resdident running, cycling, adventuring and just about most sport Mooiness, @Tazzipoo…
Getting intimate with Tom Tom
Apparently you are not a real athlete until you can tell exactly how many calories you burned, metres you have covered and of course, how fast you did it in.
With exercise becoming all the rage, and with the latest fashion trends all moving away from evening wear and towards your running kit, not only are people being more active, but wearable fitness and GPS technology has followed suit in this fashion trend.
So here is a girl’s opinion of the Tom Tom Runner Cardio.
Look and Feel
I have extremely dainty wrists, and many a bulky sports watch has seen its demise by being bludgeoned repeatedly on tree trunks as I jog past. Of course I blame this on the fact that the watch protrudes so far off my wrist and not that I am just clumsy and tend to run into stuff.
So straight off the bat, looking at the Tom Tom in its box I thought, here we go, another watch face bites the dust. I love being wrong about these things, the watch face itself is quite slim and after 3 weeks of wearing it I am yet to knock it on anything (quite an achievement in my books). In fact the strap is so comfy that I often forgot I was wearing it.
Colour is obviously super important, heaven forbid you not co-ordinate your shoes and watch correctly. This is easily solved by the fact that you can change watch straps with ease. The face just pops out and you can slip it into another colour that suits you (even pink!). This feature is also great for cleaning as you can just pop out the face and get into all the crevices and cracks that get a little gross when you exercise.
As the name suggests, the Runner Cardio, is targeted at runners and includes GPS, heart rate, calories burned, distance covered and pace. All the essentials that are needed to check how effective your run was.
It also has a few nifty features:
I was a little confused as to how the watch was going to work out how far I had run on the treadmill because obviously GPS wasn’t going to be much help with that, and although it took a pretty accurate estimate it then gives you the option to adjust this to really ensure that your stats are 100% when you upload to your computer or phone.
The recovery indicator measures how quickly your heart rate descends to resting, post exercise and lets you know if you are recovering well or not (it vibrates at you when you have recovered poorly). It also tells you what heart rate zone you are in which is great for those unscientific savvy.
The watch of course syncs to your computer and/or phone allowing you to see the stats of your workout easily.
And the pièce de rèsistance, the strapless heart rate monitor. This is the most appealing thing about this watch to me. Not having to wear a heart rate strap is bliss, as a girl I already have one strap in that general region and adding more to it seems like overkill, and for you guys (and girls) who chafe in the chest region, your woes are solved! Strapless is the way to go.
When I tried my first watch that had a heart rate monitor I spent the entirety of my first run squinting at the watch screen and tracking every change in the beats (let’s just say, not only did I hit that watch on a tree, my face joined it). The display function on the Tom Tom is, for lack of a better word, massive. A quick glance down and you see the function you have chosen to display immediately. So tree’s, light posts and other people are safe.
I am not one for reading the instruction manual, I may have glanced at it quickly, but to be honest I don’t even know where it is anymore. That being said, the watch is so simple to operate that you don’t really need it. The mode buttons are not on either side of the watch face as they are in most watched, they are on the strap, so no awkward jabbing at the side of the watch and no false stopping and starting because you bent your wrist by mistake and pushed a button. I really like this feature as it means the display only changes when you want it changed and I found the new placement of the buttons a lot easier to fiddle with whilst running.
As a runners watch, if you haven’t picked it up yet, I really liked it. Slim, comfortable and easy to use. What more can a girl want.
On tests, I found that the battery, when in full use with the heart rate feature on, lasts 7 hours, 29 minutes and 23 seconds. If your runs are going to be less than this, then you are set, if as I found out, you are running for let’s say 8 hours, then you may need to sacrifice the heart rate function to get a longer life time from the watch.
Saving battery, remember to turn off the heart rate function, unless you like using it in everyday life and if you are going to be using the GPS function, you definitely need to charge it the night before (I had to set a reminder to do this and still forgot) but that’s my fault not the watches.
I suppose with decreased size will come decreased battery capacity, so you just have to find ways around it
I attempted to test the heart rate functionality with another GPS watch on the Cape Town marathon, but on the morning REALLY didn’t feel like running 42km’s with a heart rate strap, which in itself proves the genius behind the strapless monitor.
All in all it is a win for a versatile, easy to use running watch that really has all the features that the average runner needs. We could quibble over altimeters and other added functions but for the everyday athlete this is a perfect match.