Timex Ironman Run Trainer GPS Watch

Manufacturer Description

Timex Ironman Run Trainer was designed for runners who want to say goodbye to repetitive loops, complicated mapping and over-planning. With a large, easy-to-read, customizable display, you can see exactly what you want during a workout. Plus the 8-hour battery life and 50m water resistance give you the reliability you need from a training tool. Don’t let training get in the way, enjoy the freedom of running and let the Run Trainer system do the rest.

Features

  • GPS-Enabled Watch Measures Pace, Speed, Distance and More in Real-Time
  • SiRF star IV GPS Technology
  • Highly Customizable
  • Easy-to-Read Screen Shows Three- or Four-Lines of Data
  • Interval Timers
  • Alerts
  • 15-Workout Memory
  • 49 mm (1.9 in) case width
  • Display Size – 2.8 cm tall (1.1 in) x 2.5 cm wide (1 in)
  • Resin strap with buckle closure
  • Acrylic lens
  • Water resistant to 50 meters
  • HRM Sensor is Timex Flex-Tech Digital 2.4 MHz
  • Data fields
    • Altitude
    • Calories
    • Distance
    • Odometer
    • Pace
    • Average Pace
    • Speed
    • Average Speed
    • Time of Day
    • Lap Number
    • Lap Time
    • Split Time
    • Heart Rate (with HRM)
    • Average Heart Rate (with HRM)
    •  Run Cadence (with Foot Pod)
    • Average Run Cadence (with Foot Pod)
  • Measured weight – 66 g (2.3 oz)
  • Retail – $225 and $275 with HRM strap

YMMV Review

Melissa once had a Timex Global Trainer Watch that had a separate GPS arm strap, while the unit worked it sure was bulky, and she was not a fan because of that. Even my Garmin Forerunner that I used for a year was on the bulky side. Since then GPS watches have changed quite a bit in that they still have plenty of features but in a much more streamlined package. Timex now has their Run Trainer GPS watch, which was their first watch to directly compete with Garmin. After first seeing it at the Outdoor Retailer show in January, I was excited that I was able to work with Timex to do a review.

On my Wrist

Testing

Being that this is the Run Trainer GPS, I primarily used the watch when running. I used the watch on everything from short tempo runs to my long slow training runs. My runs varied from 3 to 40 miles and with the longer ones, I could get a good idea of the battery life. I would estimate that half my runs were done with the HRM on. Here in Bend we have few things to block the GPS signal, but some of my runs were through the forest.

Design ★★★½☆

Appearance (20%) ★★★½☆

Construction (30%) ★★★★☆

Features (20%) ★★★★½

Sustainability (10%) ★☆☆☆☆

Weight (20%) ★★½☆☆

The Timex Run Trainer GPS is a full-featured watch that will give you just about everything you would ever want on a run. If you purchase the footpod and HRM, it allows you to track even more data. The watch is made to be durable and good-looking enough that you can wear it as a regular sport watch when not tracking data. The Run Trainer has a large display and six buttons down the sides to operate the features. The watch uses a high-quality SiRF Star IV GPS technology to get precise measurement of your location. Using this GPS technology it can calculate your speed and distance traveled when you run. Not only that, but a list of other data points are also available, I listed them above in the feature’s section. The Run Trainer can hold up to 15 workouts in its internal memory and can upload workouts to the included Timex Online Log powered by Training Peaks on your computer. The Run Trainer has several modes for different activities and customizable screen displays with 3-4 fields on a single screen. While this may sound like a lot to keep track of and adjust, the Timex Device Agent helps you make these changes on the computer and upload them to your watch.

Getting Started Video:

[youtube http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6Gp9_sxoknE&feature=plcp&w=500]

Showing Stack Height on My Wrist

Some other important features with the Run Trainer GPS are the ability to do laps, 100 of them per workout to be exact. You can also program five interval timers with optional warm-up and cool down timers. There are interval goals for time, mileage, or altitude and variable-intensity interval timers as well. One of my favorite features on the watch is the alerts; they can be set for recovery, hydration, and nutrition. There are also five alarms and a countdown timer. If you tend to be someone who forgets to start and stop your watch, the Run Trainer GPS can do that too, just set the auto-start, stop, spilt, and resume options.

The GPS can be set to record at 1, 2, 4, or 8 second intervals. This will affect the battery time which is rated at eight hours in normal GPS mode. The watch comes with a USB clip that can be used for recharging the batteries and for data transfer. Timex says the watch takes two hours to fully charge. For power the Run trainer has a Rechargeable Lithium-Ion Battery. Like all Timex watches the Run Trainer has Indiglo nighttime illumination for visibility in low-light conditions. The watch is also swim friendly, being water resistant to 50 meters. The GPS and heart rate features will not work when underwater. The model I tested came with a heart-rate monitor. Timex sells it both with and without. The HRM Strap has a 2.4 MHz transmitter for better connection quality. The strap is very flexible and connects in the front. I was not able to find any information on the actual materials used in the watch and there is also not much information about any sustainable or green initiatives. The watch is rechargeable which I did give it credit for and scored it a one in sustainability.

Long Straps, View from the Side

Fit ★★★☆☆

Adjustability (30%) ★★★☆☆

Comfort (40%) ★★★½☆

Watch Size (30%) ★★★☆☆

With watches, there is not a whole lot that goes into the fit. That is also the case with the Ironman Run Trainer GPS. As with most watches, the buckle can be adjusted to fit your wrist no matter the size. I have a smaller wrist and there was still some room to tighten it up even further. It is a really large strap to accommodate big wrists, but they have added a retention loop to hold the extra strap in place. The main body is connected directly to the straps so it is a smooth transition from the strap to the body. It was very comfortable to the skin, even on my longest runs I did not have any issues.

Heart-Rate Monitor Strap

Compared to my older GPS watches the Run Trainer is a fair bit smaller in size. This does not mean the watch is small by any means; it still looks large on my wrist. The stack height on the wrist is a bit high, but it did not feel that large when running, only when wearing it around. I wish the watch was a bit smaller, but it needs to be bigger to have all the features that this watch has. The heart-rate monitor strap was comfortable as well. I still have issues where the strap likes to slide down my chest in the back. I wish some of these straps would have some small gripper strips to help them stay in place. Until then, I will just have to make do with occasionally pulling it back up my chest and back.

Underside of the Watch

Performance ★★★½☆

Accuracy (10%) ★★★★½

Battery Life (15%) ★★½☆☆

Data Presentation (20%) ★★★½☆

Durability (15%) ★★★★☆

Ease of Use/Set Up (20%) ★★★☆☆

Software (10%) ★★★☆☆

Versatility (10%) ★★★½☆

There is a lot going on in this watch. The basic features of the watch such as connecting to satellites and the Chrono setting are easy to do. In the Chrono setting, it measures distance, pace, time and all the other main features. The other settings are a bit more complicated to use. They are interval timer, timer, recovery, review, configure, and alarm. Each setting has different features depending on the workout. I mainly used the Chrono setting as that worked best with my workouts. The Chrono mode is best described as the standard workout mode. There are three different display pages that can be customized with three or four data fields. The Interval Mode can set up simple to complex interval workouts. While you can set these up on the watch, I found it much easier to do in the Device Manager and then uploaded it to the watch. You can actually save up to five different workouts on the software and watch with different names to make it easier to use if they are common. The Timer mode is pretty straight forward; it is a simple timer with a countdown mode. I found that I did not use this setting that much but there are instances where it could be handy. The last activity mode is the Recovery mode. I never really got the hang of using this mode. It is there to measure your heart rate as you recover from an activity. It is also handy for measuring your resting heart rate. Like the Timer mode, I did not use the Recovery mode in my normal training, just testing.

Charging and Data Transfer Clip

The other three models are not used during working out. The Review mode is used for just what it sounds like, looking at the workout data on the watch after your workout is completed. It is pretty easy to cycle through all the data on the watch. You can also upload your data to the Timex Training Log which is basically a Timex branded version of Training Peaks. I personally am not a fan of Training Peaks as compared to other options on the internet. You can download your workouts and reupload them to other programs if you wish. I do know plenty of people who like the Training Peaks’ software so you will have to try it for yourself. Data presentation on the watch was clear and easy to read. I liked being able to adjust the screens with the use of the Device Manager. Changing the screens when on the run took a bit more practice. As with all watches like this, it does take some time to familiarize yourself with all the in and outs of the device.

Video about connecting and Using the Online Software:

[youtube http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=H3_q2sEdvHI&feature=plcp&w=500]

The battery life has been as expected. On my long race, I found that my watch did get low on battery life faster than I expected, but it did last the full seven hours of my race, but I am not sure if it would make it all the way to eight hours. Nonetheless, this amount of battery if about the same as other watches in this category. Where the Run Trainer GPS excels is in its GPS accuracy. As I mentioned above I really did not get to test it in a city of large buildings or any thick forests, but we do have some forests here and some canyons, and it performed well in those occasions. I found the GPS to be as accurate as any others I have tested. You can adjust how often you want the watch to collect data, and that will also increase the accuracy but will affect battery life. The Run Trainer also seemed to connect to the GPS satellites fairly quickly. It depended somewhat on how recently I connected last. If I connected most recently in a similar area and time, then the watch connected that much quicker.

 

USB Cord with Clip

While the watch can be used for a variety of activities, it is still definitely designed to be a running watch as most of the features are geared for that. In the winter, I can see it being a good watch for XC skiing as well; this tends to be my other main application where I use my GPS watch. The Run Trainer GPS has thus far been very durable and had no issues. It seems very well-made and, the screen still looks new. It is slightly recessed from the edges to help it not take quite as much of a beating. I am also not too hard on my equipment, so I would be surprised if there were any issues. The watch has a clip connection to hook up to the USB wire. This clip is much easier to use than many others I have used. There are two plastic pins, which once aligned make the connection a no brainer.

Overall ★★★½☆

Overall, I have liked using the Run Trainer GPS. Like other GPS watches, there is a learning curve with this one. Each watch has different ways to navigate the watch or use the setting so it does take some time to familiarize with these methods. This is not to say that the watch is not easy to use because it is fairly straight forward, there just is a lot to learn. The watch has a large display that is easy to read and is designed to fit both large and smaller wrists. If your wrist is smaller like mine, then the watch will seem big on it, but once I started running I did not notice the size. There are a lot of features on the watch which is good for people who like lots of data. You will not feel short changed with the Run Trainer GPS. I was not a fan of the Training Peaks software but others like it so your opinion may vary. The included Device Manager software was very easy to use. The battery life did seem to be lacking a little on my longest run, but it was only slightly. At least, the watch can be charged quickly and easily. The watch is comfortable, durable, and full featured. My favorite feature on the watch has to be the nutrition and hydration alerts. I have a tendency not to consume enough and these reminders really help. I would recommend the Run Trainer as it is a good value compared to the competition. The Run Trainer GPS retails for $225 alone and $275 with the HRM strap. It is often found for less though. If you want a full-featured GPS to watch, I suggest giving this one a look. As always, your mileage may vary.

Pros [field name=iFrame]

  • Good accuracy
  • Full range of features
  • Customizable displays
  • Comfortable fit
  • Nutrition and Hydration alerts
  • Easy to hook up charger clip
  • Really like the Timex Device Manager

Cons

  • Battery life felt short on occasion
  • So many features takes time to learn
  • watch is still on the bigger side
  • Not a fan of Training Peaks

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Adventures

About the author

I am an avid runner, cyclist, swimmer, hiker, climber, skier and many other activities that would make this list too long. I started Your Mileage May Vary Reviews in Early 2011 to combine two of my passions: sports and gear.

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