Best Fitness Trackers for Marathon Runners iMore 2020

Whether you're training for your very first marathon or you've been around the block a few times, having a reliable fitness tracker can make a huge difference in your experience. Fortunately, there are many great products to choose from these days. We've gathered some of the best ones you can buy as a marathon runner.

Best all-around: Garmin Forerunner 45

Staff Pick

The Garmin Forerunner 45 is the perfect mix of fitness tracking and tech. It gives you the full picture by recording your activity, sleep, stress, VO2 Max, and heart rate. You'll have access to Garmin's unique Body Battery feature that lets you know your current energy level so you can plan your activity and rest accordingly. Garmin Coach offers training plans and custom workouts, which many users will appreciate. It also has built-in GPS and 5 ATM water resistance. Plus, the battery lasts seven days in smartwatch mode and 13 hours in GPS mode.

$172 at Amazon

For Apple users: Apple Watch Series 5

Those who already swear by Apple products and are looking for an easy way to track their runs should consider the Apple Watch Series 5. It will easily track your pace, time, distance, and heart rate. Automatic exercise detection is a lifesaver for those who are constantly on the run and forget to start recording a workout manually. It also offers a swim-proof design and built-in GPS, which is perfect for enjoying phone-free runs. If you opt for the cellular version of the watch, you can also stream music without your phone close by.

$355 at Amazon

Budget-friendly tracking: Amazfit Stratos

Amazfit may not be your typical go-to brand for serious runners, but the Stratos is an exception. You get your usual 5 ATM waterproofing and built-in GPS plus GLONASS. The Stratos can track just about any sport you have in mind: walking, running, trail running, cycling, swimming, elliptical, triathlon, and more. As far as metrics go, you can track steps, distance, calories, heart rate, sleep, and VO2 Max. You also get smartphone notifications on a gorgeous 1.34-inch color display. The battery lasts five days with regular use and for 35 hours in GPS mode.

$160 at Amazon

Slim design: Polar Ignite

The Polar Ignite is an impressive multi-sport GPS watch with a solid set of tracking features. Perhaps one of the most appealing traits is the ultra-slim design, which is ideal for highly active individuals. It has an optical heart rate sensor and will track your speed, distance, and route when you exercise. The battery lasts for up to 5 days in watch mode with continuous heart rate and 17 hours in training mode with GPS and heart rate. Don't forget about FitSpark, which analyzes your data, offers advice, and provides you with ready-made daily workouts.

$179 at Amazon

For serious runners: Garmin Forerunner 245

Considering that Garmin offers running watches that are double this price, the Garmin Forerunner 245 is an amazing device for the price. You can rely on the accuracy of the GPS+GLONASS+Galileo positioning system when tracking your route. It has Garmin Coach, which can help you train to run a certain distance within a set time limit. The battery lasts for 7 days in smartwatch mode and 24 hours in GPS mode. If you're willing to pay a bit more, you can upgrade to the Forerunner 245 Music, which comes with music storage.

$270 at Amazon

For Fitbit fans: Fitbit Ionic

Whether you're a fan of the Fitbit ecosystem or you want to stay on the low end of the price range, the Ionic is a great pick. It offers built-in GPS and music storage, which is a rare combo in the Fitbit lineup. It can track activity, sleep, heart rate, pace, distance, and calories. There are 15+ exercises, including running, biking, swimming, yoga, and more. There aren't many extras as far as metrics go, so serious runners may want to opt for something with more detail. Your battery will last for 5 days with typical use and 10 hours in GPS mode.

$169 at Amazon

Get your run on

These are just a few of the fitness trackers that will get the job done for marathon runners. We think most people will be happy with what the Garmin Forerunner 45 has to offer, and the fact that its price tag isn't too steep. It may not be the cheapest one out there, but it has a lot to offer that running enthusiasts will appreciate. You'll enjoy heart-rate monitoring, 5 ATM water resistance, sports apps for running, cycling, treadmill, cardio, and more. The battery will last for up to 7 days in smartwatch mode and 13 hours in GPS mode. This is an ideal choice for those who are new to fitness tracking and want to get their feet wet with a more detailed device.

If you were already thinking about buying the Apple Watch Series 5, fitness tracking may be another selling point that will seal the deal for you. In addition to tracking your heart rate, distance, time, pace, and cadence, it will also allow you to enjoy your runs without having to keep your phone on you. With the LTE version, you can enjoy both phone-free GPS and music when you're exercising. While this isn't exactly a revolutionary device when it comes to tracking runs, it'll get the job done and doubles as an everyday smartwatch for Apple users.

Whether you're new to marathon running or you consider yourself a certified pro, there's a fitness tracker out there for everyone. As long as you make sure you're getting the features you need, you'll be on your way to an excellent tracking experience.

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