This is the running watch I wear for the London Marathon
As a fitness publisher, I am fortunate to be able to test out a lot of running watches and fitness trackers to help my readers know what to buy. Still, when it comes to picking what I want on my wrist at the London Marathon, it wasn’t a hard decision to make. I opt for my tried and trusted Garmin Fenix 6S Sapphire, here’s why.
The Garmin Fenix 6S Sapphire is a premium multisport watch, designed for rugged terrain adventures with mapping and smart stimulation to help you walk better on hills. While the London Marathon is certainly not a multi-sport adventure and I am unlikely to need the functionality of the cards, the Fenix 6S Sapphire has a number of other brilliant features that make it an obvious choice for my fourth marathon.
1. It is easy to use
The Fenix 6S is a bulky piece of equipment. With a case size of 42mm, it’s noticeably larger than, say, my Apple Watch Series 6, but it’s still not as big as the Fenix 6X solar, which is 51mm. That said, my main challenge when working with smaller devices – say, the Fitbit Charge 5 – is trying to see the screen while maintaining my pace. The Fenix 6S has a bright 1.2 inch display that’s easy to read in the rain or sun and, as with all Garmin running watches, you can customize the metrics you want to see. on every screen.
On marathon day, I’ll keep an eye on my 5k intervals as I try to run less than four hours again, but I don’t want too much data in front of me as I focus on my run. I choose to see my lap distance, lap time, lap pace and heart rate, but all of these can be customized in settings.
One of my best tips for running with a watch at any race is to turn off the automatic lap and do a manual lap of the watch every time you go a mile. By doing this you can see your exact pace for the previous mile, as you’ll often run farther than the course distance on race day.
2. It has great battery life
Although I hope to beat my personal best of 3 hours and 58 minutes, the Fenix 6S has a battery life of six hours in GPS mode with music or 50 hours in GPS mode without music. Either way, I should With a bit of luck I crossed the line and got my feet up before I had to worry about charging my watch.
3. It has the option to add music to the watch
The Garmin Fenix 6S has the ability to store up to 2,000 songs on the watch or access playlists from various music streaming apps including Spotify, Amazon Music, and Deezer. During training runs, I often leave my phone at home and use my watch to track my run and play music or podcasts. That said, things are a bit different on race day as the London Marathon requires runners to drop off their kit bag at the race display a few days before the race. Since I wouldn’t want to be without my phone for days on end, I will be running with race day so I will play my music from my iPhone and save my watch battery, but the music integration is a handy feature that I have used the day of the race before.
4. Recovery data will help after the race
After each workout, my Garmin Fenix 6S tells me how long I need to be absent from training to allow my body to fully recover. This time is based on the intensity of training, stress, daily activity and sleep. Although I definitely don’t have any hard training planned for the week after the race, I find the recovery tool to be really beneficial during my training. Recovery time is reduced when you get a good night’s sleep, so I’ll be tracking this in the days after running as well.
5. Watch straps are easily interchangeable
The Fenix 6S came with a beautiful heather nylon strap, which looked great on the watch, but was not very practical for marathon training. Without sounding rude, the strap wasn’t the easiest to clean after miles of sweaty summer. Luckily the bands are super easy to swap out and I will be using a silicone band for running this weekend. It might not seem like a selling point for a racing watch, but you don’t want to worry about your strap pinching or rubbing at mile 20.
6. It doesn’t look like a fitness watch
One of the reasons I often opt for my Fenix 6S over, say, the Garmin Forerunner 245 or the Forerunner 745, is because it doesn’t see like a sports watch. Even though I don’t worry too much about how I look on race day, when I party with friends after the race, I know I will love the look of the rose gold bezel on my wrist.