Running watch recommendations, 2023

Hello everyone

I’m starting to get into running into thinking about buying a watch. There are millions of different choices and I am developing a case of analysis paralysis.

I’m wondering if the TrainerRoad community has any recommendations.

Coming from cycling I’m obviously interested in power. It would be great to have something that can facilitate interval, type workouts as intuitively as possible. I would also prioritize ease-of-use over a bunch of fancy features.

Are you already in the Garmin Connect ecosystem with a bike computer?

I’m a former runner with a forerunner 245 but that doesn’t support running power or a power meter for that matter but I have an edge 530 and they seem to work fine together with physio true up (it’s in garmin connect). In general the entire Forerunner ecosystem are great running watches and the Fenix series is a higher end device that is focused on multisport but would obviously be a great choice as well.

Here is a list of Garmin devices that support power:

If you aren’t in the Garmin ecosystem then there are some other options, I think the Coros Pace 2 was a great value for the included features.


Check out reviews by @dcrainmaker and DesFit.


I’d caveat that running power metrics aren’t really the same thing as in cycling (and I don’t think anywhere as where as widely used) so I wouldn’t expect an even transfer in that regard.

With that said, if you’re interested in training with power most middle-of-the-range watches from reputable brands will have that capacity nowadays, though many will require adding on an external sensor (stride, gamin’s ‘running dynamics’ pod etc.) which might be worth looking at ahead of time if you’ve got a strict budget.

I’m personally a big fan of the forerunner series because I’ve found them to be pretty robust, user-friendly, and focused on doing the basics really well. The all-day tracking (sleep etc) is also pretty decent in my experience.

If you’ve got the time/inclination to sift through a bunch of posts, the running threads also have a fair bit of discussion on watches IIRC :slight_smile:

Can’t go wrong with a Forerunner 2x5 or a Forerunner 9x5. Fenix series 5/6 can be found at a decent discount.

I like my 955 for mountain biking since I don’t really look at the computer as much.

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Good advice. Thank you everybody. It’s true that running power may not be anywhere near as useful as it is in Cycling. It seems like most devices do that now anyways so it’s not a big differentiator.

Most newer Garmin watches will come with native power, but pace is still the choice for training so far.

You can do ‘interval type workouts’ with pace. It’s the number one structured workout unit of measure. Power is nice though.

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Do all my ‘pacing’ with the Stryd power pod. Just confirms my RPE, especially on the trails. hills, muddy fields and into wind. Pace min/kms for me is useless in my environment.

Find it just as reliable and believable as my cycling power readings, though running side doesn’t use strain gauges and there isn’t a ‘standard’ on how to measure power. Upside is the power figures the Stryd gives me is very usable and consistent.

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Garmin Forerunner 9x5 plus Stryd for power. Stryd is consistently usable with a great app and data field for the watch plus the website is great for analysis and a backend ecosystem.

I am in the same boat @aaikins (did you buy one yet?)

It seems like Garmin is the consensus here – does anyone have experience with Element Rival? Currently, the price difference is $400 between the Garmin option (forerunner 695) and Rival.

The 2x5 series is great unless you have specific sports you’re looking to get in a 9x5 model or higher.

200 series can record power from bikes. The oddest exclusive is a hike mode from that watch.

first there is no standard in running power. every company builds their own standard and they are not comparable. the power output of stryd will be completely different to the one reported by garmin or even polar.

the newest garmin fenix 7 have native power, but there has been power in garmin watches for the last 4 year. just before you needed the running dynamics pod or the hrm-pro/hrm-tri chest heartrate monitor. and the garmin IQ app installed.

for power i think the general concensus is stryd has the most features… they have dedicated power trainingplans but to access them you need to buy the pod which ain’t cheap plus the powercenter subscription which cost 9.99 per month. I think upon purchase you get 6 months powercenter included.

I’ve got a casio. Tells me what time it is.
IMO the greatest joy of running compared to cycling is the lack of equipment.
If you want data then track sessions are useful. Lap times have been the gold standard for pacing for decades. Otherwise just run, on your own or in a pack.

if you want a smart watch thats plenty good enough for running then the Apple Watches are pretty good IMHO. You’ll need to charge daily or every 2 days with the Ultra. They include power etc now and with a very cheap 3rd party app ( you can add maps, routing etc.

If you want the best running/multi sport watch out there with week+ long battery life and a ton of metrics then Garmin is the answer!

these are screen shots from my iPhone following a run.