The Ultimate Guide to the Best Running Watches in 2024

As an avid runner and technology enthusiast, I’ve had the pleasure of testing and reviewing numerous running watches over the years. In this comprehensive guide, I’ll share my expertise to help you find the perfect running companion for your wrist. We’ll explore the top contenders in the market, their key features, and how they can elevate your running experience. Let’s dive in!

Why Invest in a Running Watch?

Before we delve into the specifics, it’s worth understanding why a dedicated running watch is a valuable tool for runners of all levels. Unlike standard fitness trackers or smartwatches, running watches are designed with the specific needs of runners in mind. They offer:

  • Accurate GPS tracking for distance and pace
  • Advanced metrics like cadence, stride length, and vertical oscillation
  • Customisable training plans and workouts
  • Long battery life to support ultra-distance events
  • Durability to withstand the elements

Now, let’s explore the best running watches available in 2024.

Top Running Watches of 2024

1. Garmin Forerunner 265

The Garmin Forerunner 265 stands out as our top pick for its exceptional balance of features, performance, and value. Key Features:

  • Bright AMOLED display
  • Up to 24 hours of GPS battery life
  • Advanced training metrics and recovery advice
  • Music storage and streaming capabilities
  • Contactless payments


  • Excellent GPS accuracy
  • Comprehensive running metrics
  • User-friendly interface


  • Premium price point
  • May be overwhelming for beginners

The Forerunner 265 is perfect for serious runners who want in-depth data and smartwatch functionality without compromising on battery life or durability.

2. Coros Pace 3

The Coros Pace 3 has quickly become a favourite among runners for its incredible battery life and straightforward approach to run tracking.

Key Features:

  • Up to 30 hours of GPS battery life
  • Dual-frequency GPS for improved accuracy
  • Lightweight design
  • Basic smartwatch features


  • Exceptional battery performance
  • Accurate GPS tracking
  • Affordable compared to premium models


  • Limited smartwatch capabilities
  • Less advanced training features than some competitors

Ideal for ultrarunners or those who prioritise long battery life and core running features over advanced smartwatch functionality.

3. Apple Watch Ultra 2

For iOS users who want a powerful smartwatch that doubles as a capable running companion, the Apple Watch Ultra 2 is hard to beat.

Key Features:

  • Robust titanium case
  • Always-on retina display
  • Advanced health monitoring
  • Cellular connectivity
  • Comprehensive app ecosystem


  • Excellent smartwatch features
  • High-quality build and display
  • Versatile for multiple sports


  • Limited battery life compared to dedicated running watches
  • Requires an iPhone for full functionality

Perfect for casual to intermediate runners who want a do-it-all smartwatch with solid running capabilities.

4. Polar Vantage V3

Polar’s flagship running watch, the Vantage V3, offers a compelling mix of advanced training features and elegant design.

Key Features:

  • High-resolution AMOLED display
  • Advanced running power metrics
  • Comprehensive recovery tracking
  • ECG and skin temperature sensors
  • Up to 140 hours of training time in power-saving mode


  • Extensive physiological measurements
  • Sleek, premium design
  • Excellent battery life


  • Expensive
  • Touchscreen can be finicky during workouts

The Vantage V3 is ideal for data-driven runners who want deep insights into their training and recovery.

5. Garmin Fenix 7 Pro

For those seeking the ultimate multisport watch with unparalleled durability and features, the Garmin Fenix 7 Pro is the top choice.

Key Features:

  • Rugged design with sapphire crystal display
  • Multi-band GPS for superior accuracy
  • Built-in flashlight
  • Extensive mapping capabilities
  • Up to 37 days of battery life in smartwatch mode


  • Exceptional build quality and durability
  • Comprehensive activity tracking for multiple sports
  • Advanced navigation features


  • A bulky design may not suit all wrists
  • High price point

The Fenix 7 Pro is perfect for adventurers and multisport athletes who need a watch that can handle any condition.

Choosing the Right Running Watch for You

When selecting a running watch, consider the following factors:

  1. Budget: Running watches range from around £100 to over £1,000. Determine how much you’re willing to invest.
  2. Battery Life: If you’re into ultra-running or prefer infrequent charging, prioritise watches with longer battery life.
  3. Features: Decide which features are must-haves. Do you need music storage? Contactless payments? Advanced training metrics?
  4. Size and Comfort: Some watches can be bulky. Ensure the watch fits comfortably on your wrist, especially for long runs.
  5. Ecosystem: Consider whether you want a watch that integrates with specific apps or platforms you already use.
  6. Smartwatch Functionality: Determine if you need full smartwatch features or if you’re content with a more focused running watch.

Making the Most of Your Running Watch

Once you’ve chosen your running watch, here are some tips to maximise its benefits:

  • Customise Your Data Fields: Most watches allow you to personalise what information is displayed during runs. Experiment to find what works best for you.
  • Explore Training Plans: Many watches offer built-in training plans or the ability to sync plans from apps like Garmin Connect or Polar Flow.
  • Use Recovery Metrics: Pay attention to recovery advice and metrics like body battery or training load to optimise your training.
  • Sync with Third-Party Apps: Connect your watch to apps like Strava or TrainingPeaks to analyse your data in more depth.
  • Regular Updates: Keep your watch’s firmware up to date to ensure you have access to the latest features and improvements.

The world of running watches is ever-evolving, with new models and features constantly emerging. Whether you’re a casual jogger or an elite athlete, there’s a running watch out there to suit your needs and budget. By considering your priorities and how you plan to use the watch, you can find the perfect companion to help you achieve your running goals. Remember, while a running watch can provide valuable insights and motivation, it’s ultimately a tool to support your running journey. The most important thing is to lace up your trainers and hit the road or trail. Happy running!

Related Articles

Back to top button