Düsseldorf Marathon, triathlon, bike race: almost all sporting events have been canceled this year due to the corona pandemic. Training in sports clubs, workouts in the gym, tile counting in the indoor pool: prohibited.
Sure, of course you can be happy without competitions, but for tens of thousands of running or endurance athletes such an event is the icing on the cake. Without a clear goal in mind, many find it difficult to get up in lockdown for training alone – especially when it’s pitch black after a long day at the office. Will there be competitions again in 2021? Still unclear.
But it can help to be motivated by a smart coach on your wrist. After all, there are now numerous virtual races that you can join. And you know: winners are made in winter.
There is plenty of choice, this year all the major sports watch manufacturers presented new running and multisport watches. But decide what? We will present you with an overview of the most interesting innovations.
Wahoo Elemnt Rival: 379,99 Euro UVP
A particularly exciting gadget is coming from Wahoo this year – the new Elemnt Rival multisport watch, which was just launched in November. The American technology fitness company specializes in indoor bike trainers, GPS bike computers, bike sensors, apps and sensors for runners and fitness enthusiasts. The special thing about the device: It is the first sports watch in the product range.
Wahoo promises a battery life of 14 days in watch mode or 24 hours in GPS mode. It is equipped with a ceramic bezel and an ambient light sensor, which automatically adjusts the background lighting to the ambient light situation. Also on board: a barometric altimeter, an optical heart rate sensor and live tracking.
The multisport watch is primarily aimed at triathletes, according to Wahoo it allows users to seamlessly switch from swimming to cycling to running without touching the watch. Until now, you had to stop the intermediate times for exact target times, which can sometimes be forgotten in the heat of the moment. Or it is too distracting and precious seconds are lost. In addition, many athletes use a separate bike computer on their racing bike, which they can see directly.
Instead of having to start it separately, when switching to the bike, the racing data is now automatically transferred from the watch to the Wahoo bike computer mounted on the handlebars – and then seamlessly transferred back to the Rival when switching to running shoes.
If, instead of triathlon, your passion is trail running, hiking and mountain biking, the next device is your gadget.
Polar Grit X: 429,95 Euro UVP
This robust high-tech sports watch weighs only 64 grams and, in addition to many other functions, has two features that make it something special. The Grit X is designed to accompany the user through hard and demanding training sessions.
Interesting and useful from a runner’s perspective, for example, is the new “Training Load Pro” function, which uses individual pulse values to include both the completed training units and the current status in the training recommendation: Am I rested or stressed?
The quality of sleep is also analyzed, so that after a night of partying you can postpone an upcoming hard interval session with a clear conscience, because the body would not be able to benefit from the intensive session in this state anyway.
Another new function that Polar has packed into the Grit X is the “FuelWise” assistant, which reminds you to drink in good time and to consume enough calories during a long running session or during a competition. Anyone who has ever experienced the famous “hunger branch” in the marathon will appreciate and love this feature and will probably never again have to stop halfway through while sitting on the curb with empty stores.
The outdoor fitness watch does not have another very interesting function – this is where the new Vantage 2 comes into play.
Polar Vantage 2: 499,95 Euro UVP
Because this GPS multisport watch – available since October – has the orthostatic test. This is also known as a change of position test. The heart rate and heart rate variability are measured in the morning immediately after waking up while lying down and standing. It is a test to determine the current daily form and it provides information on the extent to which there is good resilience for intensive training stimuli.
This is particularly useful for very ambitious runners and athletes, because it reduces the risk of overburdening the body with sporting activities, and optimal training stimuli can be set.
Above all, the test can also help to assess whether the athlete is on the verge of an infection. If something is on the way, you can avoid intense stress and thus also prevent dangerous myocarditis.
Another feature only the Vantage 2 has: a recovery test determines in a few minutes and without any additional equipmentwhether the legs are rested enough for high-intensity training. Premium manufacturers did something completely different Garmin thought up this year.
Garmin Fenix 6 Pro Solar Edition: 828,56 Euro UVP
The Fenix models are the flagships for the American company. The new Fenix 6 in the Pro-Solar-Edition is a high-end powerhouse: pre-installed activity profiles for every conceivable sport, precise navigation on the wrist, pre-installed maps for 2000 ski areas worldwide and a 1.3-inch display that is based on US Military standards has been tested.
The Fenix 6 can easily hold a candle to the Grit X from Polar – Garmin has put so many functions into this multisport watch that you are well equipped even in the most difficult terrain. It can even save music and pay with the watch, contactless via Garmin Pay.
The advertised running time is also impressive: up to four weeks in smartwatch mode and up to 34 hours with GPS. And with solar charging, the battery then lasts up to 14 days and longer.
The new Fenix 6 even has something to offer golfers: you can access course view cards for more than 41,000 golf courses worldwide – in color.
Garmin Forerunner 945: 536,12 Euro UVP
The new Forerunner series from Garmin is a watch for every runner. Beginners can, for example, get support and motivation from the Forerunner 45 to get fitter. Ambitious athletes get their money’s worth with the Forerunner 245 Music or 645 Music – with up to 500 favorite songs right on the watch.
Of course, these models also know whether the body is ready for the next training session or should still regenerate. Very ambitious runners rely on the Forerunner 945 to achieve their goals. With this model you have a permanent overview of the training status, training load, VO2max or aerobic and anaerobic effects.
Suunto 9 Baro: 599.00 Euro UVP
If no model has been able to convince up to this point, it is worth taking a look at Suunto, like Polar a Finnish company. The Suunto 9 Baro is a durable, optimized multisport GPS watch with long battery life and barometric altitude measurement. This allows the sports watch to display severe weather warnings in the mountains, among other things. And with over 80 sport modes, there should be the right sport for everyone.
Above all, the Finns rely on a long battery life: 25 hours in performance mode and up to 120 hours in ultra mode. The heart of the Suunto 9 is a touchscreen with a resolution of 320 × 300 pixels and a shiny sapphire crystal. A particularly useful feature: the watch shows how long the battery will last before training.
More: Smart gadget in the test – why the Apple Watch is not suitable as a sports watch.