The Rookie Runner: Do I Need a Running Watch?

Follow Senior Editor Scott Brown as he trains for his first half marathon. Get caught up on the series here.

I'm gonna Tarantino this one a little bit and start in the middle so I can set up the video below. The activity tracker I've been trying out is a Polar M400 GPS running watch. It counts my steps and tells me how many calories I've burned and all that jazz, but another one of the watch's features is that it beeps at me when I've been inactive for too long. That got me thinking: What if they took it a step further and gave the watch a little attitude?

For the record, I totally ate that pizza, because that watch is NOT the boss of me! Don't tell her I said that though, OK? Be cool.

Anyway, let's time hop back a little to explain why I started using a running watch in the first place.

Part of what made the Couch to 5K® app work for me when I first started running was that I didn't really have to think about what I was doing. The app told me to start warming up, when to start jogging, when to slow down, when to speed up again and (mercifully) when to cool down. 

I like not having to think, especially when engaging in a challenging new physical activity like running. It was bad enough my lungs were on fire and my legs were liable to collapse at any second; I didn't want to have to think about timing and intervals, too.

I enjoyed the same blissful ignorance when I graduated to the 5K to 10K app. App tells Scott what to do, Scott no must think, Scott happy.

But then I finished the 10K plan and my digital trainers abandoned me. ACTIVE does have a half marathon training app, but it's currently only available on Apple products and I have an Android because I'm a rebel, man.

So I found a generic half marathon training plan (that doesn't talk to me) online and started using the watch. 

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