Those men and women who are keen on running and orienteering should be looking at the best GPS watch functions available. This will help them get from their start to finish point by the quickest and most efficient route possible.

How does GPS work?

Let’s take a very brief look at how the GPS system works before we get into what facilities such watches offer.

GPS is short for Global Positioning System and is a means for locating any point on the earth. It uses are many; navigation, survey use, vehicle tracking, and outdoor recreation which includes hiking and running are just a few of the less sinister uses.

This system was born in the 1970’s by the U.S. government to accurately determine the position of submarines using ballistic missiles prior to their launch.

GPS Satellites

The satellite network that makes GPS technology possible is looked after by the US Air Force and is made up of 27 satellites. 24 of these are always in use with the other 3 used as backup. These satellites are referred to as a constellation, and it is the responsibility of ground stations to keep these satellites in precise orbit.Best GPS Watch

The satellites derive their power from the sun and each satellite weighs two tons. They are 18.5 feet long and can orbit the earth in a little less than 12 hours.

The precise positioning of these satellites is essential and they must remain at an altitude of 10,900 miles to ensure that at least 4 of them will be above you wherever you are on earth.

Each satellite has its own unique signal and the GPS unit has these 24 separate signals stored so it knows the position of each satellite. It constantly monitors the distance to at least four of these and this is how the GPS receiver can be pinpointed to as close as 3 metres from where it actually is.

Which is the best GPS watch for your purpose?

When you are considering which GPS watch to go for you should take time out to jot down what you expect from it, and then put these functions in order of importance. This will help you to quickly and clearly understand which models offer the things you are looking for.

Features which may be of interest

To get you started on this quest think about things such as; do you need to upload information from your run once you have completed it?

If so, such functions as uploading the exact distance you travelled, or the average speed at which you completed the run can be uploaded to an electronic device such as your computer. You can then use these statistics to analyse your performance whenever you wish.

How to choose GPS watches for runners depends upon such things as whether you want a heart-rate monitor function? This can help you when it comes to running more efficiently, but altitude tracking could be more important. This is certainly a consideration for:

Cross country runners

If you are more into cross-country running than track running then you should consider a watch that offers altitude tracking. You can then reel off lots of statistics in terms of the terrain you are covering on those punishing routes.

It is important to understand that the best GPS watch for one person will not necessarily be the most suitable for another. This means comparing the range of watches and their functions is an important step to getting exactly what you want.

To finish off on altitude information it is important to understand that it can give you a vital edge if you are competing in cross country competitions. This is because you will have information at hand as to how you do over certain elevations and altitudes.

You can then compare this with the layout and elevation of the different courses you will be competing on to understand where you can take advantage of your strengths.

Is size important?

This is a question which is asked on a regular basis in relation to other energetic activities, but we will concentrate on it in terms of the topic in hand!

The watch you choose should be lightweight. It should not interfere in any way with the natural movement of your arms when you are running.

Please do not dismiss this point, by doing so you could find the watch you purchase feels cumbersome and distracting. To reduce this possibility you would be wise to visit a well stocked high street sports shop or outdoor activity centre and try a variety of different watches on.

This will give you a feel for how comfortable different makes and models will be. Remember, this watch will become your best friend during your training and competition runs so you want it to fit as if it was merely an extension of your arm.

Extra accessories

In terms of which is the best GPS watch for running, some models come with built-in functions such as the heart rate monitor we mentioned while others require you to use an extra accessory such as a traditional heart rate monitoring band to function. Decide how much you want on your wrist before purchasing your watch.

There really is an excellent choice out there

Since GPS devices really took off there are a whole host of different types you can purchase. This is whether you are out driving, sailing, hiking or running. The choice of different functions means that the features to look for in GPS running watches are varied. When comparing them you will quickly notice that certain models major on certain functions.

A tip to help you choose

Think back to when you first started running. The likelihood was that you did not have anything so sophisticated on your wrist. During and after those runs there will have been things that you could have found useful if they were available to you. Think about those things and then see which GPS watches offer these functions.

Time taken to choose will reap rewards

Making the correct decision by deciding in advance on the most important functions for your needs is key to getting the most out of the best GPS watch, and at the end of the day it is what you want that is important when it comes to getting from A to B and back again in the most time-efficient way.