When I first started running, I purchased the Nike + SportBand, which is a slim-profile USB pedometer that syncs to your computer, can be used by 3rd party software to track your runs, and allows you to access the Nike+ community website and tools. It’s a great, low-cost, beginner’s tool, but it’s also inaccurate for tracking mileage, and doesn’t keep you from over-extending yourself, as that it has no heart-rate monitor.
After buying a separate heart rate monitor, that didn’t sync to my computer, I eventually gave in and sprung for the Garmin Forerunner 405CX GPS Sport Watch with Heart Rate Monitor It’s huge for my wrist, and the chest strap is a little awkward as that though I’m medium for a woman, I’m not one-size-fits-all. It is, however, fairly accurate at tracking my mileage, and I have no complaints on the heart rate monitor. It does, however, require regular charging, and recently, I’ve found that twice it was uncharged when I was ready to go on my run, and the last time I grabbed my seldom-used Nike+ Sportband, and found that also uncharged.
This led me to grab my trusty Casio Women’s Baby G Watch BG169WH-2V. I’ve had my current watch for about two and a half years now. I purchased it before my Hawaii vacation with the family, loving the fact that it was good for 200 meters (a dive watch, though the display leaves a bit to be desired for that purpose.) It has the handy function of being able to switch time zones, use it as a stop-watch, and also as a timer. I’m sure there’s other functions I don’t even use it for. It has the time and date right up front. It’s clunky and durable, and candy colored (mine’s orange). It’s also a great stand-in for a training watch, as that if you can plot your route and mileage (I use http://www.gmap-pedometer.com/), you can plan your splits, and your target pace. It’s not as automatic, but it turns out my Baby G is a great standby. I’ve used this twice for a run – once in Hawaii recently, and once at home – and it gave me at least a good idea of my pacing. If only I had written it down when I got back. That’s the big draw-back. No automatic syncing!