Autonomy: sports best watches under 200 consume a lot of energy, especially with the use of GPS. Be sure to choose a watch with sufficient autonomy to finish the race, especially if it is an ironman ! Some watches offer an energy-saving mode (more distant GPS readings) which multiply the duration of the battery. More and more manufacturers extrapolate the GPS track from the accelerometer, gyroscope and compass data for a more precise measurement in this mode.
Comfort and ease of use: the ideal watch for triathlon is light and thin. Beware of multisport watches designed to be robust. They are heavier and thicker. The size of the watch can also be a criterion of choice. Garmin offers, with its latest Fenix 5, several diameters of cases to adapt to thin wrists and interchangeable straps. Also check the screen and its comfort of use (size, number of pixels, with or without color, anti-glare, readable in the sun, touch or not, with displays programmable by sport). Last point, if you want to wear your watch on a daily basis, prefer a model with interchangeable strap (leather, metal, silicone, etc.) to adapt the watch to your outfit.
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Choosing a triathlon watch: what functions, tools and metrics?
The ideal triathlon watch offers functions, tools and metrics used to inform the triathlete about his race, help him in the management of the event and, during training, give him indicators to monitor his progress and optimize his training. These measurements and calculations are carried out using the watch’s sensors and external sensors (power, cadence, etc.).
A good triathlon watch informs the sportsman about the distance covered, including during swimming (via GPS), race time, speed, pace, heart rate ( to manage effort effort , know your energy expenditure, possibly assess your VO2max and therefore your physical condition, determine the training zones, do not go into the red, etc.). The transition from one sport to another is done by a button without stopping the recording in progress.
More specific to each sport, the best cardio triathlon watches indicate:
For swimming: the number of movements, the type of swimming, the swimming efficiency ( SWOLF indicator ). GPS is required for distance measurements in open water.
For cycling: the power developed and the pace. Further measures may be useful (see below).
For running: cadence (number of strides per minute) and pace. The use of a cardio belt is recommended for reliable measurements in interval training. Garmin offers belts dedicated to triathlon ( HRM-Tri ) including, in addition, an accelerometer for very advanced metrics (see below).
In addition to these functions, the best triathlon watches offer metrics or advanced performance indicators and biometric measures to help the athlete in his training: estimation of VO2max and lactic threshold, forecast of running time, efficiency of an exercise, time recovery. The cyclist will have information on the power developed on each foot to correct a possible imbalance, the time spent as a dancer. The runner will know his stride length, vertical oscillation, right-left balance, ground contact time, etc. Your triathlon watch doesn’t necessarily have to be as sophisticated. These functions will especially interest the professional or people wishing to take care of their physical preparation with a view to
Below we list the main features and their importance for triathlon. To choose the right watch, see our article: how to choose the right cardio GPS watch .