I have been fortunate enough to test out a pretty cool piece of gear lately, the Tom Tom Runner Cardio. If you like to see your stats and performance from your training like I do then the Tom Tom Runner Cardio is right up your alley. One of the things that intrigued me the most about the Tom Tom is the fact I can track my heart rate without having to wear a chest strap. The most interesting part about not having to wear a chest strap is that I can see my heart rate during an obstacle course race. So I was really excited to see how the Tom Tom would pan out.
First off I’ll start with some of the specs on the watch.
Battery Life (HR + GPS) website said 8hrs, when I tested it the battery lasted just over 8hrs straight. When I used the GPS and HR for about an hour a day for a workout and just the watch the rest of the day my battery lasted about 11 days before it quit on me.
Sensors: The watch uses a few different sensors to do what it does. It has a motion sensor so you can use the watch indoors on a treadmill, GPS for tracking your outdoor runs and mapping them, and of course the optical heart rate monitor so you don’t have to wear that chest strap. Lastly, it has bluetooth connectivity so you can hook up with your phone and download all the stats from your workout.
One last thing to point out is that it is waterproof to 40m, but no I did not test that, I did swim with it though.
Now let’s get into what this watch can really do and how it performed. Like I mentioned with the sensors you can use the watch on the treadmill or outside on the trails or track and in both of those settings you have the same options for training:
- None – For those times you just want to run without your watch telling you what to do and only showing you what you are doing.
- Goals – You can set a distance, time or calorie goal and watch the progress on the gauge on your watch.
- Intervals – You get to set the warmup, work, rest, cool down and number of sets of intervals. You get to choose a distance or time for all the above. The one thing I don’t really like about the intervals is that you can’t set them for a heart rate zone or speed on the work or rest.
- Laps – You can set some laps on your watch based on a time, distance or manually while you workout.
- Zones – You can set your workout zone for a pace (min/mile or min/km), speed (mph or kph) or heart rate zones.
- Race – You get to choose between some of your recent runs or some of the My Sports pre set distances like 5K, 10K, etc.
As you can tell there is quite a bit you can set this watch to do, but on top of that you can also choose the metrics that your watch displays. While you are working out you can scroll through a few different stats, the progress gauge if you have chosen a goal, clock time, and heart rate stats.
One of the most intriguing parts of the Tom Tom Runner Cardio is the fact I can see my heart rate with out wearing a chest strap. Although I was just not sure how accurate it might be so I was looking forward to testing it out. As far as being accurate or not I found it to be pretty much as accurate as wearing my chest strap on other devices. However, I did find that the Tom Tom was a little delayed. The only time that I really noticed that being an issue was if i was doing a bunch of short intense heart rate based intervals. It is a little bit silly to worry or even watch your heart rate as you are doing short sprints but I did notice that it was about 45 secs to a minute behind my chest strap on showing my heart rate when it sky rocketed quickly. For example, if I wanted to do 1 minute intervals reaching the top “sprint” HR Zone, my watch wouldn’t show that heart rate because it seemed to take some time to catch up with my actual heart rate. Again, if you are doing sprints that short you shouldn’t really have time to check your watch. If you are doing any longer intervals, or a basic run it’s a non-issue and the HR is very accurate and it is very nice not having to wear a chest strap.
The last few things to mention are that it is pretty straight forward to set up and get going but you do need a computer. It is really just straight forward to plug it in and follow the directions and you’ll be ready to go in a couple minutes. After that you can download the mobile app and sync your watch with your phone after every workout to view all your stats. You can also set your app to automatically update with your other fitness apps like Endomondo, My Fitness Pal, Nike Plus and lots of others.
I don’t always know what to do with all the data I have from a workout but I do love to see it all. I like to see that my heart rate is where I want it to be for the type of workout I’m doing. Who doesn’t like to see progress in your workouts? You have all that information at your finger tips with the My Sports App from Tom Tom.
I have worn this watch for moths now with no issues. It is comfortable, sleek, and light compared to some other GPS watches. It isn’t the flashiest watch out there but it definitely gives you the information you need and want from a GPS running watch.
I would highly recommend the Tom Tom Runner cardio to any runner out there that wants to track their workouts and view all their stats with a few taps on your phone. You can compete with yourself and push your limits with the help of Tom Tom. I wouldn’t recommend this to people that want all the bells and whistles and are looking for something more like a smart phone on your wrist rather than just a running watch.
Tanner Farenik is a husband, father of two girls, avid OCR athlete, blogger, product reviewer and contributor to 3-Seconds.com