One of my rare pleasures is to go running. I used to be fairly good, I could run at least three miles without stopping and everything. Nowadays like everything, it doesn’t come quite as easily to me. However, I have been trying and I have been spurred on by my new flashy Asics trainers and my new heart rate monitor watch which was kindly given to me by the PR company that represent Suunto. Suunto are a really well known sports watch manufacturer and I had been lusting after one for ages. Nonetheless, its taken me ages to review the watch as I haven’t been out running that much and I do like to give things a proper go.
My first obstacle with the watch was to actually set it up when it came. There was the usual thick digital watch manual. But to be honest I gave up. its not easy doing that sort of thing when you are:
A) rubbish at setting digital watches in the first place;
B) trying to crowd control two small children.
I am told that they are working on a new quick easy guide for setting the watch up. It’s needed so that will be great.
However, it did look nice. I liked the colour of the strap, which in fact has proved itself to be slightly uncomfortable for long uses and I liked the big flashy white dial which hubby says is trendy. About the only trendy thing I own, so perhaps it modernises outfits in the same way as a new handbag. I can hope and dream can’t I!
Let me be honest here, I liked the gadgetry of the watch, but I didn’t find it all that easy to use. I had to get hubby to give me training in it. That was a bit humiliating. He took on the task with glee. I did also find it a bit fiddly when out and about, until I actually ‘fell in’ how to use it. I’m a bit obsessed with running stats as I find them a good way of motivating me. I used to read Zest magazine and they produced a running book which is full of great tips on how to do it. This is like my bible. But I think their approach has left me a little bit obsessed with making sure I am running/ resting/ walking for the correct amounts of time. That’s where the watch comes in, you can check things like calories, heart rate and so on.
The best thing about the watch by far has to be the big easy to read dial. That is just superb, running along trying to avoid pensioners, dogs muck, pot holes, fallen branches, cars and so forth it is very important to be able to see your watch easily. Lest you slip behind your times and your 30 minute 3 mile trip takes 50 minutes and you find yourself just about keeping up with the zimmer-framed old dear in front.
The watch also has a heart rate monitor strap thingy that goes around your middle and talks to the watch via complicated wireless communication. I’ve come to think of this as some sort of magic because the battery on the watch shouldn’t be up to it but it seems to work quite well. The strap is welcomingly inclusive for the sporty and the those of the slightly less toned baby tummy, which is nice. It’s not as easy to operate as my Nike Pebble, but then it provides a lot more in terms of features. The first couple of sessions were really about finding out how to operate it properly, as much as they were about wheezing asthmatically and feeling depressed about how unfit having two children has made me. But from thereon in things picked up remarkably.
If you shop around you can pick the Suunto T1 up for about £50, which to my mind is a bargain. Hubby’s brother has a £300 Garmin GPS heart rate monitor watch that uploads the details and routes to the Internet, but he runs marathons. At about a sixth of the price, this is much more suitable for runners like me. It also looks good for everyday wear.