GPS Systems & other accessories

There are so many electronic gadgets and other products & accessories now available to runners.

Whether you want something to wear on your wrist to measure distance & time (combining to give pace), heart rate, number of steps made or calories burned, there’s plenty of choice on offer.

Plus, there are head torches for running on those dark, winter nights, foam rollers for massaging tight muscles, and heaps of other running accessories.

We thought it might be useful to give you a bit of information to help you decide on what is right for you.

Here, you’ll find reviews, by local runners, of a range of such products.

If there’s something you’d like to review, please contact

Reviewed so far:

Nuun Active Hydration Tablets
Polar M400 GPS Watch
Garmin Forerunner 610 GPS Running Watch
Garmin Forerunner 620 GPS Running Watch
Garmin Forerunner 220 GPS Running Watch
TomTom Runner 2 GPS Watch


Nuun Active Hydration Tablets

(reviewed by RunBrighton’s Annie Broe, June 2017)

Click on image for full product info.

I had not heard about this product until a friend gave me a tube as a small gift.

On the packaging, they are described as:  You sweat, Nuun Active® replenishes, food supplement with electrolytes, and it is stated that they contain no preservatives and are low calorie (2kcal).  What impresses me the most about the ingredients is that the sweetener is Stevia (natural, plant-based).

The directions given are that you should drop 1 tablet into 475ml of water and for best results consume one serving per hour of exercise.

I am not sure whether they can be bought in shops locally, but certainly they are available via Amazon in all sorts of flavours and quantities at varying prices.


Polar M400 GPS watch

(reviewed by AB Training Group’s Ben Savill, Feb 2017)

Click on image for full product info. 

For me, running with a GPS is an absolute must. My watch of choice is the brilliant and multi-talented Polar M400, which I have been using for around 6 months now.

It is sleek and stylish and has been designed to not only be your running companion, but also your everyday watch – it has daily activity tracking (such as steps taken, hours spent sitting/sleeping/moving) as well as a Bluetooth interface which allows you to read notifications from your phone and take calls.

The watch has a large screen which makes it easy to read when running and as someone with small wrists I find that it fits perfectly.

Best of all using the Polar Flow app, you can customise your display to show as much or as little data as you please, including anything from average pace and cadence to distance run and altitude.

On top of this, the Polar M400 provides instant feedback on your activity, giving you a breakdown of your pace or heart rate zones, the number of calories burned and the average cadence to name just a few. This feature is something that I have found incredibly useful especially for being able to analyse my speed sessions and races.

Other features that I find extremely useful are the ‘finish time estimator’ and ‘interval timer’ settings. For the finish time estimator, you simply select the distance that you are running and the watch will tell you your finish time (based on your pace). The interval timer is great for speed sessions, as you can select different time/distance intervals for the watch – meaning that you don’t constantly have to look at your wrist to see when the time is up!

The Bluetooth function that I mentioned earlier allows you to easily upload your activities to the app, which in turn automatically uploads to Strava.

In terms of battery life, I have been using the watch for 6 months and I only need to charge twice a week (bearing in mind that I run 7-8 times/85 miles a week).

What I like most:

  • The ability to customise the data on screen and the post-activity feedback.
  • The ability to function as an everyday watch and a multi-sport watch (I have used it for running, cycling, swimming, walking, treadmill, etc).
  • The price – you can normally find the M400 online from anywhere between £100-£160, making it an absolute bargain!

Things which need improving:

  • The only issue with this watch is that it does not always have as accurate a signal as the more established brands such as Garmin or TomTom. I have found that, compared to the Garmin ForeRunner that I had previously, it is more likely to lose connection when running under trees, or under a bridge. However, it is quite rare for this to happen and Polar have been putting out software updates to improve this issue. I also usually find that when I upload my run to Strava that it ‘fixes’ any GPS problems that I had.



(reviewed by RunBrighton’s Georgia Steers, Feb 2017)

Click on image for full product info.

Being a regular long distance runner, I’ve invested in all sorts of recovery aids over the years. You name it, I’ve got it; foam roller, rumble roller, pediroller, spiky ball thing!  Then I was lucky enough to win a HighRoller for early bird entry to RunBrighton.

First things first, I chose a pink one to match most of my running outfits, of course.  There’s also a black and orange one available.

The best thing about the HighRoller is its versatility. As the HighRoller is on legs, you can change how you use it to reach all sorts of different muscle groups that are hard to roll with a standard roller.

For example, when you have it on the legs, it’s much easier to roll areas such as your adductors, biceps and triceps. In particular, I have found it good for adductors, which are an area I have never been able to roll effectively using a standard roller.  It’s also really good for calves and hamstrings. I find rolling my calves and hamstrings using a normal roller can often make my arms and shoulders ache as I prop myself up to move myself back and forwards. With a HighRoller, you don’t have to do this, as you can position yourself so that you don’t have to use your arms to roll, so its much more comfortable and you can roll for longer.

As well as using it on the legs, you can take one set of legs off and use it to roll areas like your IT Band. You can also take both sets of legs off and use it like a normal roller.

As well as its versatility, the HighRoller is really firm, so you feel like your muscles are getting a deep massage to help relieve tension and knots from running lots of miles. I still like to have a regular sports massage, but all in all, the HighRoller is a good recovery aid to supplement this.


Garmin Forerunner 610 GPS Running Watch

(reviewed by RunBrighton’s Brian Russell, Feb 2017)

Click on image for full product info.

I confess to being a big fan of Garmin, having owned a Forerunner 10 for several years.  With the advances of technology and as a Christmas present to myself, I upgraded to the Garmin 610.

In short, I love this watch.  The main feature for me is the touch screen, which allows you to swipe between four screens of data – speed, pace, time, distance and calories burned.  A great feature is auto scroll which, when enabled, lets you review all your run details whilst on the move.  The touch screen is easy to use and is responsive to touch either with or without glove.  The screen is easy to read – a quick glance is all that is needed to keep you informed of your progress. The light is more than bright enough to read the watch on those dark nights.

You can set up alerts on the watch, which let you know if you drop below a target pace. Interval training is easily set up and you can also set up custom workouts without having to connect the watch to your PC. Virtual Pacer is another great function to keep you in check.

One of the advanced features on this watch is the ‘Where To’ option.  This allows you to save up to 100 locations, allowing you to return to them using bearing and distance if you were to get lost on a run.

Data can be uploaded wirelessly to Garmin Connect with your PC and the Ant USB stick. Satellite fix is quick and is found in under a minute.

The battery life is fantastic – up to 8 hours training with GPS and up to 4 weeks in watch mode. My longest run recorded is 5 hours and there was still 35% battery life at the end of this run.

You can also get this watch with Heart Rate Monitor function; I don’t have this, but you can purchase this separately.

In summary, a fantastic watch which is easy to use and great value for money.


Garmin Forerunner 620 GPS Running Watch

(reviewed by Arena 80’s Emily Proto, Feb 2017)

Click on image for full product info.

I used to have a Garmin forerunner 305, which was perfect for me when I first started running. Then, after a couple of years, I dropped it and scratched the screen and decided to try a new version from Garmin.

Joe Ashley had just got the Garmin 620 and was telling me about the extra features it had, like stride length, cadence, estimated VO2 Max reading / race performance estimate / recovery timer / vertical oscillation, and so on, and it sounded amazing, so I got it.

I’ve had this version for two-and-a-half years now and I love it. I know there are newer and updated ones on the market with more features, but I don’t feel the need to change it yet. I had one stolen from my suitcase last year, but I replaced it with the same version of Garmin.

My favourite bits:

I’ve got small wrists and it’s not too bulky – the Garmin forerunner 305 was so big it looked like I had a TV set on my wrist.

Uploads quickly via Bluetooth or WIFI.

I like the Garmin app where you can over analyse your stats from the run.

Not-so-great bits:

Not often, but sometimes, it takes a while to find a signal – but most of the time, it is within a minute.

But apart from that I love it and its perfect for my training.


Garmin Forerunner 220 GPS Running Watch

(reviewed by Brighton & Hove AC’s James Turner, Feb 2017)

Click on image for full product info.

When I’m out running, I use a Garmin Forerunner 220. Garmin are a well-known and trusted brand, offering a wide range of running watches to choose from. The Garmin 220 is your mid-priced option.

The screen’s nice and simple to read, so even if your legs are full of lactic and you’re swaying from side to side, you can still check your mile splits.

The watch connects via Bluetooth to your phone and uploads your run automatically to Garmin Connect, which then transfers straight across to Strava. So, you will not lose out in vital Kudos time.

The 220 does not have a cycling function. But don’t worry – you can still use your watch to record the odd cycle to work, just make sure you manually change the activity mode to ‘Cycling’ when uploading it to Strava.

The watch is great for running speed sessions. Beforehand, you can set up the time or distance for each interval and select the rest time in between. You can also do this manually during the session by using the ‘lap’ button.

The backlight works well, meaning you’re all set for winter. The battery life is also great (10 hours in GPS mode), so no need to panic if you forget your charger during a weekend of racing away. I don’t use a heart rate monitor but one can be added. Lastly, I sweat like you wouldn’t believe so I can definitely say the 220 passes the waterproof test!

I’ve logged 5,483 miles on my Garmin 220 without any problems so I’d definitely recommend this watch to any runner.


TomTom Runner 2 GPS Watch

(reviewed by Arena 80’s Isobel Muir, Feb 2017)

Click on image for full product info.

From time to time I feel the need for a running watch. This time I have gone for the basic TomTom Runner 2. I have always got on better with TomToms.

I like the way they download satellite information for the coming days so there’s no delay in locking on.

I don’t use anywhere near all the myriad options available on the watch especially now it contains activity tracking data too.

However, I do like the function where you can race yourself from past runs.

I also like that you can buy a version with a smaller strap as often I have found a watch swamps me and spends all its time bouncing around annoyingly. I’ve gone for the plain black version though there are many colours available.

There are also versions with wrist-based heart rate monitoring, music capacity and basic smart watch functions (I think). I don’t want any of that.

This contains tonnes more than I’ll ever need and, at a bargain price less than £100, I don’t think you can go wrong.

The run data is easy to upload via the phone app and can be fed out to Strava and many other platforms.

The TomTom app is pretty basic, but everything you might want to see is on there, and as you can export it out I don’t see this as a problem.

If you’re looking for something that does the job without spending much then this certainly does the job!