Trail Running Gear Shopping Part 1 – Sports Watch and Heart Rate Monitor

So I’ve finally gone and done it ………………. I am the proud owner of a heart rate monitor and watch and I love them!
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For many years I have pushed off the time consuming, research-loaded, slightly geeky world of buying gear. My issue with sports watches and heart rate monitors was basically down to the perceived time involved in acquiring all the data. Why on earth would you want to spend 4 hours training then get home and have to spend yet another 4 hours analysing the data, checking out the graphs and reflecting on your run? Trust me, I’ve spent a lot of time on the receiving end and listening to post-run data analysis. Most of the time I just zone out, offering the occasional supportive ‘wow’ and ‘that’s great’ in response to hours of performance related facts and figures.

But something has changed during this journey towards the OCC ultra marathon and this girl appears to have firmly moved over to the ‘dark side’.

Taking Neil’s advice and that of some of the clients we treat at La Clinique du Sport here in Chamonix, I have opted for the Sunnto Ambit 3 Sport in blue (the nice sky blue that I like). It’s got lots of features but is not too technical and crucially, the price was within my budget. It was pretty difficult entering this area of the brave new geeky gear world and no one can really tell you which watch to buy because it we all have different motives and budgets.

Suffice to say I remember one such discussion with Neil which went a little like this …..


(Neil) The next level up and you can have the function to programme your route into the watch before you set out and if you take a wrong path or get lost it will alert you and show you how to return to the path…

(Me) But I don’t get lost!

Perfect logic from me I thought. And possibly a small example of tempting fate….I digress!

As soon as I hit the ‘Click to Buy’ button I immediately felt apprehensive: worried that I wouldn’t be able to understand all the functions and concerned that overwhelm would lead to me not even using it.

HOWEVER! OMG where have you been all my life lovely Suunto sports watch??? My endurance training has been completely transformed! I am now training within zones and I even understand why I am training within zones! And yes, I now spend hours analysing my own data and sharing it with whomever is in earshot. I had no idea what I was doing before and now I do, and the confidence that gives you is fantastic. They do say that knowledge is power after all….

The difference is that I now believe in my training and can already see the benefits of having the watch and heart rate monitor. My theory is basic – ‘don’t diet: exercise’! As you start to feel fitter, you feel better in yourself, you make better food and drink choices, it’s a cycle of good feelings and that in itself leads to weight loss and a fitter and faster you.

Next on my ‘Click to Buy’ list – my ultra running race rucsack!



Jackie Maclean-Martin
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