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How To Choose An Athletic Watch

smart athletic watch

Athletic Watches For Every Activity

Much can be debated about technology in this Age of Information and how it has enhanced our lives or numbed our senses to the natural world that surrounds us. But when it comes to devices and software that are used to track, improve and motivate athletic and physical performance, there is no doubt that the metrics and data provided by these devices make us better. 


Athletic watches have become a staple for daily workout routines for amateur and professional athletes, weekend warriors, gym rats, and outdoor enthusiasts. There are watches for any sport or activity you can think of, designed to capture your every move and download that delicious data for tracking your fitness level. It has never been easier to stick to a workout plan, get more fit, achieve goals or explore the world and share every sweat-filled session with your online social circles who are just dying to know how far and hard you went today.


Did you get 10,000 steps in today? Did you spend 20 minutes in your target heart rate? How many strokes per lap did you take in the pool? What was your elevation gain? Max speed? Resting heart rate? All these questions and many more are instantly answered by the vast selection of athletic watches on the market. 


Which Athletic Watch is Best For You?

The humble beginnings of running watches only had a stopwatch mode that left you with some basic math to calculate your mile pace along a course you brilliantly mapped out with your car's odometer. And who can forget jogging in place at a street corner, trying to take your pulse, fingers crammed into your neck to calculate a beat-per-minute while deciding to count for 10 seconds or 15? “Do I times that by 4 or 6?”


And this simplistic style may be all you really need, but even the entry-level watches, priced under $100 are equipped with basic GPS and heart rate monitors. As expected though, you get what you pay for with less than accurate heart rate and positioning sensors.


Having the ability to keep track of your fitness by comparing your improvement with heart rate data and speed over distance is extremely valuable. That’s the basic allure of athletic watches. Crunching these numbers to weigh if all this hard work is paying off is like having your own motivation coach in the palm of your hand. 

Athletic Watches to Consider

You will no doubt want to head down the rabbit hole of athletic watch selections online before settling on one that is right for you. And there are many to explore. Smartwatches have widened the base and include snazzy features like access to email, music, reminders, sleep monitors, you name it. We will hit a few price point selections to get you started on your deep dive.


Huawei Band 3 Pro ($74.00) 

The sleek touchscreen style Band 3 Pro has an entry-level price tag but delivers a lot of bang for the buck. With GPS and built-in, accurate, TruSeen heart rate monitoring, the Band 3 also provides sleep analysis and data-driven coaching. Waterproof to 50 meters, the Band 3 follows your workouts in the pool or open water. Many extra fitness analysis tools are standard in the Band 3 to geek out to. But if all that is beyond your interest level, it is still one of the best values available.


 Coros Pace ($199)

This multi-sport watch touts an astounding battery life of 25 hours in GPS mode. The Pace has all the components for taking your fitness to the next level with running stride analysis, algorithms to measure stroke rate when swimming, barometric altimeter and compass. The quick export of data to the accompanying app, easy to navigate data charts, and super reliable GPS connection means less time fidgeting and more time training.


Garmin Fenix 6X Pro ($749)

The Garmin brand has been in the GPS watch game from the get-go and has become synonymous with athletic watches like Kleenex is to tissues. The latest drop-the-mic release from Garmin is one clever piece of bling. Wifi, music, grade adjusted pacing guidance, weather and sunset info are just the tip of the premium mega-capabilities of the Fenix 6X. It also will estimate sweat loss to maximize hydration, adjust VO2 max to heat and altitude, and includes features based on blood oxygen and aerobic/anaerobic training effects. 


But does it count steps and provide sleep data? Yes. You can also watch animated Yoga and Pilates instructionals, peruse over 2000 preloaded ski resort topographical maps, access 41,000, full-color golf course maps with PlaysLike shot targeting info and tons of other granular data grabbing features to pour over during your recovery time.


And if $749 is just not enough of an investment for you, get the battery life-extending solar version of the Fenix 6X for a cool $1149.



New Sports For 2020 Summer Olympics

New Sports For 2020 Summer Olympics

2020 Olympic Games in Tokyo Expands With 5 New Sports

The Summer Olympics are quickly approaching and will feature the largest number of sports in the history of the Games. Five new sports will be added for a total of 33 in the program that kicks off on July 24th. 


The Olympic Games are returning to Tokyo for the first time since 1964. Two of the new sports, baseball/softball and karate have been added, most likely for a one-and-done appearance in the Games. Karate originated in Japan and has been proposed to be featured in the Olympics since the 1970s. With Japan’s deep history with karate, it seems perfectly fitting that karate will make its debut in Tokyo.


Baseball and its sister sport, softball, last appeared in the 2008 Beijing Olympics. The sporadic inclusion of the sports is closely tied to the ability of the host city to propose new sports, considering the popularity and loyal fan base within the host country.


5 New Sports For 2020 Summer Olympics 


Skateboarding

Traditionally an anti-establishment culture, skateboarding is now included on sport’s biggest stage. Skaters will compete in the street and park disciplines and showcase to the world the technical progression, skill, and creativity involved with skateboarding. 


But don’t call it a sport and don't call them athletes to their face. The mainstream rebellion of skating’s early days in the 1970’s lives on, when trespassing to drop into drained swimming pools was the only venue. Regardless of what your perception of skateboarding is or how it’s inclusion in the Olympics makes you feel, one thing is certain. It’s gonna blow minds. But what will the uniforms look like?


Sport Climbing

The growth of the sport of rock climbing has provided the green light for inclusion in the 2020 Summer Olympics. Medals will be awarded for men and women in three disciplines: lead, speed, and bouldering. Speed climbing will feature a race between two climbers, bouldering and lead climbing measures height scaled in specific times.



Surfing

It has taken over a century to make the Olympic program since first the “father of surfing” Duke Kahanamoku asked the International Olympic Committee to consider adding surfing but the tide has finally turned. Many believed that wave pools would foster the Olympic age of surfing but the event will actually be held at a Pacific Ocean beach break about 40 miles outside of Tokyo.


A quick look at the World Surfing League’s leaderboard will give you a list of potential favorites, with Brazil, Australia, and the United States stacking the field.


Baseball/Softball

Although the two sports did not make the shortlist for the proposed sports in the Paris 2024 Games, the sports are wildly popular in Japan and the United States. Both countries have professional leagues for each sport. Major League Baseball athletes are highly unlikely to compete in Tokyo due to the conflicting schedules at a critical point in the season but minor league players will likely fill out the roster.


Karate

Two disciplines, Kumite and Kata, will be introduced this summer. There will be three different weight classes per gender in the head-to-head fighting event of Kumite and one per gender in the individual discipline of kata. 


The Olympic Effect on Sport Growth


There can be no doubt that the exposure the Olympics affords any sport, generates growth in youth interest and involvement in those sports. Although baseball and softball have deep traditions and massive participation globally, the new sports will experience a boom period. It should only be a matter of time till your kid comes home beaming with the news that they just made the varsity skateboard team.

Training For A Triathlon

Training For A Triathlon

Pick Your Triathlon Distance

Although most people are familiar with the Ironman World Championship held in Kona, Hawaii each year, it is the growth of the more approachable, shorter distance triathlons that have led to the sport’s explosion. The “Full Ironman” distances of a 2.6-mile swim, 112-mile bike, and 26.2-mile run sure is a huge accomplishment, but not everyone is physically or mentally wired to take that on. Watching the Kona race on TV or in person is incredibly inspiring.


The shorter varieties, Sprint, Olympic and Half Ironman events can be found locally and these versions have become more popular each year. The Sprint Tri distances of a half-mile swim, 12-14 mile bike and 3-mile run are great for beginners who want to test the waters. The Olympic distances, 1.5k swim, 40k bike, and 10k run, are about double the length of a Sprint race and a Half Ironman is exactly that, half of a Full Ironman.



How to Get Started With Triathlon Training


Typically, athletes who are considering doing a triathlon bring some sort of background in one of the three disciplines to the table. Having a “strong leg” in triathlon racing is a great springboard to enter the sport. Simply meaning that if you have always been doing some sort of running, you know you can rely on that experience for the advantage at the end of the race. Swimmers have always been successful at triathlons as well since it is the most technical portion. 


Still, others are drawn to the sport because of the diversity of training that is required. Planning workouts to feature each aspect removes the monotonous nature of striving to increase fitness with the same activity. Training for triathlons provides a well-rounded level of fitness that helps to prevent injuries that come with the repetition of a single sport.


One thing is certain though, improving at all disciplines requires planning and commitment. The triathlon lifestyle can be a guiding force to make healthy decisions that are focused on a training and recovery schedule.

Advice on Triathlon Training

2016 Olympic triathlete, Joe Maloy, the top USA finisher in the Rio Games and currently leading the US College Recruitment Program, emphasizes that a broad fitness base is crucial to success in triathlon. Logging over 30 hours a week during the heaviest phases of his training, Maloy points out that Olympic distance and Half Ironman training is similar, though he focuses on the speed difference.


“The distance of the swim is relatively the same between the two but the bike portion and run are twice as long for a Half Ironman. So my workouts feature more intensity to develop speed”, Maloy points out. 


52-year-old amateur, Vince Mancuso has competed in 20 Full Ironman’s and participates in various distances just for the love of the sport and the fitness it provides. “I typically train seven days  a week, three days a week riding, one long run a week and another day with a short speed run. I am in the pool at least 1 day a week and I include 3 days in the gym lifting”, shared Mancuso. “As a race approaches, I increase the swim days with open water sessions.”


But it’s the community that surrounds the sport that Mancuso draws on for motivation. “The groups that I train with have become some of my closest friends. It’s great to support each other and have our own little competitions within the bigger picture. It’s a healthy lifestyle and I see each race gaining more participants each year.”


Needless to say, choosing which triathlon distance is right for you will really depend on how much time you put into it and how it fits your lifestyle. Warmer weather and triathlon season is right around the corner, so get out there!