Running watch for couch to 5k timing
September 2, 2009 6:36 AM   Subscribe

I'm looking for a running watch with a programmable countdown timer that would be suitable for doing the couch to 5k routines. Anybody have some recommendations.

It would have to sophisticated enough to handle the need for different length intervals per the couch to 5k plan. That is stuff like beep after 90 seconds then after 2 minutes etc...
posted by srboisvert to Shopping (10 answers total) 4 users marked this as a favorite
I love my Timex Ironman. I have been using it for six years and it still serves me quite well. It has a chronometer, interval timer, regular timer, and three alarms. Sounds complicated, but it's really easy to navigate. I am, however, saving up for a Garmin so I can actually know my pace and distance from satellite feeds. It's a bit more than what you're looking for, but after a few marathons, I'm sure you'll be into it. :)

ps. I started running thinking I would just do a few 5ks or so and somehow that progressed into 4 marathons. ;)
posted by cachondeo45 at 6:53 AM on September 2, 2009

Best answer: What you're looking for is the "interval timer" function, and it usually takes a top of the line watch to get more than a couple of interval slots. The Ironman Sleek 150 lap has nine slots, but the 50 lap only has two. Either can be set to stop or repeat at the end of the cycle. What this means is that the 150-lap can handle a program that goes 2min-30sec-2min-30sec-5min-30sec-2min-30sec-2min but the 50-lap can only handle 2min-30sec before either stopping or repeating the sequence.

It's my experience that you have to read the fine print pretty carefully to figure this out. Timex watches are very much cheaper at someplace like Target, but I've gotten burned before on this feature because it's not marked on the exterior packaging.
posted by OmieWise at 7:04 AM on September 2, 2009 [1 favorite]

Best answer: I'm sure you've already seen this and I'm being that annoying person who is not answering your question, but just in case, the Couch to 5K running podcast is here. I hate looking at a watch while I'm running and found the podcast extremely helpful for timing.
posted by meerkatty at 7:22 AM on September 2, 2009

Is it worth it? The annoyingly small intervals only last for a few weeks anyway... then you're up to 5 min. run/3 min. walk etc.

When I did couch to 5k two years ago, I would just write the trickier intervals on my hand in pen before my run, time them using mental math and the chrono function on my watch (a £7 Casio) and rub each interval out with spit as I finished it. Lo-fi... but it worked. I rewarded myself with fancier gear once I was running 25 min. continuously.

Good luck with couch to 5k. It changed my life.
posted by stuck on an island at 7:29 AM on September 2, 2009

Best answer: I'm doing C25K right now and using Couch to 5K for iPhone. It's not customizable, but it's a fantastic app.
posted by DefendBrooklyn at 9:25 AM on September 2, 2009

Oh, you're looking for a watch, not an app. n/m!
posted by DefendBrooklyn at 9:27 AM on September 2, 2009

The Ironman is definitely a good watch for the price, but as noted won't do the sophisticated timing you are after. Consider whether the more expensive Sleek version would be worth the extra cost given the amount of time you would be using it with that feature.

If you are willing to spend a little more, you might think about looking at one of the GPS devices, like the Garmin Forerunner series; the more expensive models come with a heart rate timer or cadence sensor for indoor use. I have a lower-end Forerunner and have been happy with it.
posted by caution live frogs at 9:33 AM on September 2, 2009

Response by poster: Thanks for that meerkatty. Unfortunately, they are m4a and I only use a cheapo mp3 player but I can either convert them or make my own now that I have the idea.
posted by srboisvert at 9:34 AM on September 2, 2009

Best answer: If you don't want to bother converting m4a files, you can try the Podrunner: Intervals mp3 podcasts instead. Been using them for C25K and they work fine on my cheapo player. And it beats looking at the clock.
posted by Opposite George at 10:18 AM on September 2, 2009 [1 favorite]

Response by poster: I went the mp3s and they were brilliant.
posted by srboisvert at 3:24 AM on June 12, 2010

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