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One of the most powerful and practical tools that can be used in running, or essentially any modern sport is an Interval Timer Watch. An Interval Timer mode on a sports watch is a series of variable duration timers that can be used by sports men and women for structured training workouts. For example if you wish to do multiple repetitions involving 5 minutes of work with 3 minutes of rest, a sports watch with an interval timer can be configured to guide you seemlessly through your workout.
While many watches feature a Countdown Timer that counts down to zero from a specified time and then repeat, variable length timer intervals are superior because they allow you to vary the lenght of your efforts against your recovery, whereas a Countdown Timer only allows a set timer interval.
An interval timer by contrast, features at least two timers that run in sequence and can be set independently from each other allowing much greater flexibility in terms of the structure of a session. The watches listed below are distinct, in that they are all interval training timer capable making them a great choice for anyone seeking a sports watch that doubles as an interval workout timer tool.
Interval Timer Watch Choices
|Polar RS300X Heart Rate Monitor Watch (Orange)|
|Timex Men's T5C291 Ironman Data Link USB Watch|
|Timex Men's T5E231 Ironman Traditional 100-Lap Silver-Tone/Black Resin Strap Watch|
|Timex Men's T5H721 Ironman Triathlon Sleek 150-Lap Resin Strap Watch|
|New Balance Vent Mini Trail Chronograph Watch (Graphite)|
|Timex Ironman T5F011 Men's Bodylink Heart Rate Monitor Watch|
|Timex Ironman Men's Race Trainer Heart Rate Monitor Watch, Black/Grey, Full Size|
|Timex T5E451 O.V.A. Ironman Triathlon Watch|
|Nike Men's A0024-064 Oregon Series Digital Super Watch|
The standard watch with interval timer features just two timers, for an effort/recovery sequence, however many watches have a lot more and some even allow complete flexibility in session design – some can even accomodate the creation of complex sessions comprising of multiple session “stages” or “steps” with perosonal goals at each stage. These advanced watches are often programmable, can hook up to your PC and are configured with bundled software that also provides tools to analyse variables of your workouts and a history of past exercise.
But for most of us, the latest high-tech interval timer software is not needed, a simple two timer is perfectly adequate for a wide range of different activities. The choice is a very individual one however. If you love playing around with technology or you are an elite athlete and need to push yourself through a complex set of workouts, then the more sophisticated choices offered from Garmin, Suunto or Polar are probably worth looking into. Timex offer plenty of affordable options for the rest of us, with many watches in the Timex Ironman line supporting an interval timer mode, although Timex offer more sophisticated watches too.
The most essential thing is that you ensure the sports watch you are keen on, supports interval timers if you need them as there are many cheap watches that do not.
For those who have not gotten very far into structured training, the Interval timer concept can be a tricky one to get one’s head around when you first start. But most people, with a little practice, can quickly learn to use interval timers and utilize them to their full potential and they do not even have to strictly be used in the realm of sport. They could – for example, be used by students to establish a set study ritual – say 50 minutes of study followed by 10 minutes of rest. They could also be used to time house work for 45 minutes followed by a 15 minute coffee break, the possibilities are endless and for the person who tends to gets sidetracked and distracted a lot (and in this realm yours truely is guilty as charged!) an interval timer watch is perfect!