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September 22, 2012

GPS watches - full of buttons, features and functions
There are more GPS options for runners than ever before. From the entry-level Nike+ Sportwatch and the multi-sport shenanigans of the Forerunner 910XT to the what-it-says-on-the-tin smartphone apps such as mapmyrun and the run-em-up game-based Zombies, Run! Yet, as far as I can see, there are a couple of simple features missing…

It might just be me who wants these features, so I’ll keep this short…

  • Count-up/count-down: When I want to focus on maintaining an even pace throughout a run, I’ll often take an out-and-back route. Start the timer on your way out, run for say 30 minutes, then try to run back before the watch hits 60 minutes. It works fine for a neat, round, out-leg, but if your chosen turnaround point isn’t so neat it can become a bit of a pain. The mental arithmetic required to work out your target full-workout time after a 43:36 first leg isn’t difficult (1:27:12), but working it out on the hoof while then having to remember that you’re shooting for 1:27:11 is a pain.
  • Dual-layer laps: Most devices will automatically mark mile or kilometre (depending on your preference) laps or manual laps, but not both. So, let’s say that you’re doing long repetitions around a 2.35-mile circuit. You could either do these as repeats (i.e. with a recovery gap for each lap) or as a continuous run (but using your circuit splits to gradually wind it up). In either scenario, manual splits are probably the easiest way of keeping track of consistency, but you miss the individual mile splits (which I personally find useful for interim pace monitoring).

Now, it’s my assumption that implementing these features would be pretty simple, but for some reason none of the devices currently available allow these. Anyone know otherwise? Would it only be me who would find these useful? Are there any other really simple features that make you think ‘Now why wouldn’t they have that?’?

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