Testing: cool functions on the TomTom Runner Cardio

There are a couple of really cool concepts on the TomTom Runner Cardio watch (excluding the über-coolness of having it measure your heart rate through your wrist) and although I have had a couple of issues while testing these out they are definitely worth a mention.

First up is the “Goal” target. You set up the distance that you are planning on running (also works with time & calories burned) and away you go, what shows on the screen is a percentage complete indicator which shows your progress towards completion. This is quite nice if you like to know that you are halfway there, and it gives you an alert when 10% is remaining so you know to step it up a bit to get to your goal just that little bit quicker.

I haven’t really had any glitches when using this functionality but I would LOVE it if they updated the view so that it put your current pace inside the progress bar, that way I wouldn’t need to keep switching views.

The second thing I really like is the ability to race previous sessions that you have completed. This is something The Boyf has been after in a gadget for a long time and it actually works really well. You choose “Race”, select the activity you want to race against and away you go. It appears to be time/distance dependent for its comparison not GPS trace related, which means if you are a keen parkrunner then you can use your PB activity at any parkrun in a bid to beat it. As you are running it shows you whether you are in 1st or 2nd place against the previous version of you and lets you know how far ahead or behind you are. I did try to take a photo whilst running at Wimpole parkrun a couple of weeks ago but I was 200m (ish) ahead and was trying to keep it that way. That in addition to having to dodge rabbit holes at speed means you get a great view of my trails shoes but not really much information on the watch-face.

TomTom Cardio Runner Race modeOf course I am never 100% happy (or perhaps the gadgets are never 100% brilliant) but in the 2 tests I have done on the race setting I have ended up with an incomplete race and have no way of telling exactly how far ahead I was when I was caught out by parkruns that finished before the distance of the original activity had been completed.

The unfortunate truth is that although parkrun is a 5km timed run, not all parkruns measure out at 5km all the time, either due to GPS watch wonkiness or a slightly misplaced cone on the course. This mean that in the 2 tests I have done so far I had to stop the watch to get my finish time, rather than it autocompleting and showing I had won. It’s a small niggle though and in all honesty, knowing I am ahead or behind over the course of the run itself (so I can take appropriate action) is much more important to me than a graphic at the end.

So there we have it, a positive post to balance out my last grumble. I have to say I do really like the TomTom Runner Cardio, it’s perfect for in the gym and it has been performing well on runs as well so I would highly recommend you consider buying one when you next get a GPS watch. The key thing is to know exactly what you want from your watch functionality as which you buy really does depend on the type of training you do and the amount of stuff you want your watch to manage for you via in watch instructions. As always I’m happy to answer any questions on how it compares to the Garmin 620 to help you make the right choice for you.