What is a Jogging Watch?

Dee S.
Dee S.

A jogging watch is an important accessory for many runners. Depending on the brand and model, a jogging watch can have a wide range of features. For example, it will usually tell the time and the date, and most have an interval timing feature often used for training. More advanced watches will have a Global Positioning System (GPS) feature that will allow runners to see how far they have run, their pace, their route, and even the changes in elevation. Some brands of jogging watches also have a feature that shows the heart rate of the runner and caloric burn.

Runners may use athletic watches to monitor their speed, distance, and heart rate.
Runners may use athletic watches to monitor their speed, distance, and heart rate.

Picking out a jogging watch may be an overwhelming task for many runners, joggers, or walkers. In order to purchase the right one, it may be helpful to consider what purpose it will serve. For example, some people walk or run the same route every time. In those cases, a jogging watch that has basic features may suffice. Once the mileage is calculated, most runners can compute their pace and their caloric burn without the aid of a watch. In the alternative, if a runner often changes her route or runs in areas where it is difficult to calculate the mileage, having features such as distance, pace, and caloric burn may be helpful.

A jogging watch can be useful when training for a race or measuring the number of calories burned during a workout.
A jogging watch can be useful when training for a race or measuring the number of calories burned during a workout.

An advanced jogging watch may be able to monitor a runner’s heart rate. Typically, it comes with a strap that the runner wraps around her chest. The jogging watch can then pick up the heart rate through the chest strap. Many runners like to know what their heart rate is so they can run within the various heart rate zones, such as the recovery zone, the aerobic zone, the anaerobic zone, and the red line zone. For example, if the heart rate is kept within a certain zone, the runner can focus on endurance, and if it is raised to another zone, the runner can work on speed.

One of the most interesting features of some jogging watch brands is the GPS element. Through the GPS unit on the watch, runners can see where they have run and can use it to back track, in case they get lost. Once they return home, many watches allow them to synchronize the watch with their home computer and look at a more detailed map of their route. Through their home computers, they can see the changes in elevation and their pace during the elevation changes. The information is all downloaded to the computer so that a comparison of the data can be made from day to day, week to week, or month to month.

Dee S.
Dee S.

Dee is a freelance writer based in Colorado. She has a B.A. in English Literature, as well as a law degree. Dee is especially interested in topics relating to medicine, legal issues, and home improvement, which are her specialty when contributing to wiseGEEK.

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Discussion Comments


I prefer leather watches, or watches with leather bands. They are so much more comfortable than the metal bands and they look better than the fabric and Velcro watches. You may have to replace the leather band more often, but I think it is worth the trade off.


I think athletic watches are as much a fashion statement as they are a sports accessory. I know people who never run or play a sport, but they still have their athletic watches. For my money, nothing beats a Swiss watch and you can get the Swiss Croton watches in a variety of price ranges.

These watches may not have all the features of a jogging watch, but unless you are a really serious runner, I don't think that will be a big concern.


Until reading this article I didn't know jogging watches had features that let you do stuff like mapping your route and measuring your heart rate.Remember when you had to go to an upscale athletic store to buy the really advanced watches for jogging?

There are so many of them on the market now and so many different places where you can buy them. You can get some good prices on them online sometimes, and they have a variety of features.

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