Training for a triathlon is no small task.
Whether you’ve never done one before or you’re gearing up for a repeat race, there are many factors to consider.
You need to balance work and life with enough time to prepare for all parts of the course. This will require a special diet and plenty of sleep and water intake, too.
Such a commitment calls for the right tools to make your efforts as effective as possible. One of the most important things you’ll need is a triathlon watch.
The right watch can make all the difference in cutting your mile times and improving your swim strokes.
Here’s everything you need to consider when choosing between different watch options.
1. Daily Activity Monitoring
Every effort counts when you’re training for a triathlon.
As such, you should invest in a triathlon watch that can monitor more than the time it takes you to run a mile.
Your watch will become a part of your daily attire. It’s something you should have on you at all times to monitor your resting heart rate and daily activity levels.
This helps you understand the big picture of your training efforts.
It shows how a faster mile translates into endurance in your heart and the amount of energy you use throughout the day. This kind of tracking helps you adjust your meals accordingly for the right amount of fuel for workouts and daily functioning.
2. GPS Tracking
Beyond tracking what’s going on inside your body, your triathlon watch should come with GPS features.
This way, you’ll know how many meters your laps in the pool add up to. Or, you’ll finally get a mile number to see just how far a few times around your favorite park is.
Plus, your watch will be tracking distance at the same time it’s taking your heart rate.
Combined, the two give you a better idea of your average pace and where you can improve. They break down a finish time or mile time to small goals, which are easier to focus on and achieve.
3. Water Resistance
Don’t waste your time looking at triathlon watches that can’t do everything you need on land and sea.
Be sure to filter your choices for water-resistant watches.
You don’t need something made to dive or go too deep, but you should be able to wear it in the water without concern. Also, make sure you can trust all the tracking methods to function properly while you’re swimming.
Some watches are water-resistant but not water-smart, meaning they can’t understand your heart rate and pace as well as those that are made for all triathlon conditions.
4. Timing and Alarms
Although triathlon training is intense, it is rarely ever a full run-through.
Expect to break up your workouts between swimming, running, and biking.
You’ll have a good amount of them focused on brick training.
Bricking is the practice of transitioning from one kind of terrain to another. It adjusts your muscles to the differences between swimming and biking, and biking and running.
To best understand how you’re performing in each section, you’ll need a triathlon watch that can handle various alarm settings.
This helps you set up a mix of interval workouts as well as lengthier runs or swims.
It also means you can separate everything you track based on where you are along a course.
5. Prediction Metrics
As you’re going over your performance numbers and seeing where you can improve, you might have trouble setting new, reasonable goals.
Thankfully, the right triathlon watch can help thanks to the help of built-in prediction features.
Predictions operate in real-time to show you how long the pace you’re keeping on a run will take to complete your course. They also stack your current performance and average time against your best time.
Some days the difference may be a matter of seconds.
But, the more you shred these off your total, the better your overall course time will be on the day of the race.
6. Data Transfer Features
It should be easy to see the many benefits of a triathlon watch at this point.
Yet, the thing about any watch is that it comes with a small screen. If you want a better interface with which to track your performance, you need a watch that comes with app compatibility.
This way, you can go through your numbers without straining your eyes.
More so, you’ll be able to better understand what you’re looking at.
Apps set up paces and workouts with trends over time. They take away the guesswork of you crunching the numbers.
Some training apps also come with workout tips or some sort of social interaction. These features help you create new routines and maybe start a friendly competition as you track numbers against your friends.
7. Fit and Grip
Right when you think you’ve found the perfect triathlon watch, make sure you try it on.
You should have a snug but not a tight fit around your wrist. Move your arms similar to your swim strokes and running motions to make sure it stays in place.
The best watches will have a rubber grip.
Rubber-made bands hold well against the moisture of water and sweat, without being uncomfortable for you.
Pay attention to the band’s width, too.
The last thing to consider before buying a triathlon watch is the price tag.
Are you training on a tight budget or going all-out for your triathlon materials?
Remember, there are many other things you’ll have to purchase. Try not to spend all your money on one item.
But, be prepared to pay the price for the quality you’re looking for.
Do your research and prioritize the watch features that will make the biggest difference in your triathlon training.
Preparing Your Gear Beyond a Triathlon Watch
Once your watch is ordered and ready to go, you may not know what else you need beyond the basics.
Everyone knows you need a comfortable pair running of shoes, some sunglasses, a bike, and a triathlon suit.
But, there are a few items of gear you may not be aware you need.
Click here to find out everything you need to wear on race day.