Your coach is hosed. Garmin’s Forerunner 620 sets a new bar for smart watches designed for runners. And it’s not just because this is the first running watch with a color touchscreen.
Besides the usual gamut of features you’ll see in most GPS running watches (like pace, distance, heart rate), the Forerunner 620 can estimate your VO2 max, predict your race times, and tell you how much time you should give yourself to recover after your latest workout.
It estimates VO2 max by crunching data about your pace, heart rate, and heartrate variability. VO2 max is the maximum about of oxygen a runner can process oer kilogram of body weight. That lets the watch predict how fast you can run your next 5K or marathon—a great tool if you’re training to break a minimum qualifying time (like the Boston Marathon) or you’re hopping into a new race and want a sense of how fast you should pace your early miles.
There’s also a “recovery advisor,” which is designed to take the guesswork out of how long to wait after an all-out workout—with green, yellow, and red alerts to let you know when you’re good to go.
If that’s not enough, the 620’s onboard accelerometer can also tell you the number of steps you take per minute (cadence), how much bounce you have in your stride (vertical oscillation), and how long your feet are on the ground between strides (ground contact time).
All that data uploads via Bluetooth to your smartphone and then to Garmin’s website, where it’s crunched into something you can understand.
Sound wonky? It is. But it also looks like a new high-water mark for data addicts and serious athletes. Check it out here.