Like most good ideas, the RunIQ ($299) was born out of a need for a tool that didn’t yet exist. New Balance’s product designers looked at the field of GPS-enabled running watches, heart-rate monitors, and smartwatches. They saw a lot of features they liked—just not all in one watch. So they made one that has everything they wanted: strapless heart rate monitor, easy-to-use-interface, and the ability to crank hours of music and track a marathon’s worth of metrics without having to rely on your phone for any of it. Here are eight ways they’ve created the ultimate running tool of the future.
1. It was Designed by Runners
How do we know? For starters, it tracks all the essential metrics—speed, distance, pace, running cadence, and route. But the real kicker is that laps and intervals can be entered manually by pressing a button—not swiping a blank watch face, which would require, you know, taking your eyes off the road at the end of a sprint interval to see what you’re swiping.
2. It’s Easy to Operate on the Fly
The customizable main dashboard lets you organize and prioritize up to four data flows, so all the information you need to reach your best potential is a glance away. It also means easier operation during drenching rainstorms—the RunIQ is waterproof up to 5ATM, capable of surviving pouring rain or even a post-run dip in the lake.
3. There’s No Strap Required
Heart rate monitor straps are so last decade. The RunIQ measures heart rate via sensors on the back of the watch that measure your beats per minute. For runners frustrated by straps that slowly slip down their chests, it’s a thoughtful piece of tech. For you, that means, real-time heart rate data is always available—and the more data you collect, the smarter and more effective your training program can become.
4. It Follows Sound Science
Studies have shown that exercising to your favorite music can boost performance by as much as 10 percent. That helps explain why music is an integral part of the RunIQ.
Thanks to 4GB’s of onboard memory, the RunIQ can store up to 50 hours of your favorite running tunes and running race playlists downloaded via Google Play. Whether you’re blitzing a 5k, pacing yourself through a marathon, or simply walking your dog, you music is always on your wrist—no smartphone required.
5. It’s Matched to the Perfect Headphones
To hear that music, New Balance worked with Jabra, makers of premium active headphones, to design the perfect wireless, rechargeable headphones for runners, the PaceIQ ($110). Equipped with noise cancellation tech, a snug fit, and premium sound, the Jabra’s Bluetooth connection delivers more than music: Hit the Sports Button on the side of the earpiece watch and it delivers spoken running stats. Running with your Android phone? The PaceIQ will let you make and receive calls.
6. It’s Powered for the Long Haul
The running experts at New Balance knew that for the RunIQ to be an effective training tool and motivator, it would need enough juice to power long training runs and marathons. That’s why they installed a rechargeable battery that lasts for five hours of simultaneous operation of the GPS and heart rate monitor.
7. It Comes With a Built-In Community
When runners join a club, they’re more apt to stick with their running schedule, which puts them on a better path to reaching their goals. With that in mind, the RunIQ not only automatically syncs to your Strava account, it comes with a complimentary three-month subscription to Strava Premium. Runs instantly upload to Strava whenever your Android or iPhone is nearby, allowing you to seamlessly track performances, maps of your runs, and PRs all in one place. The app also powers the New Balance Global Run Club, a social network of runners around the world who can share their workouts and races, as well as participate in group and individual virtual training programs.
8. Like You, It Gets Better With Age
Running Android Wear 1.0 software (which will be upgrading to 2.0 in the next few months!) and powered by an Intel Atom chip, the New Balance RunIQ takes a page from the smartphone world by offering runners a smartwatch that can handle software updates and a growing ecosystem of apps and features. In short, as your running evolves, so can your watch.
For more information on the RunIQ or to browse other New Balance products, please visit NewBalance.com or your local new balance store or run specialty shop.