Choosing the Best Running Timing Equipment
Accurate Timing of Runs
It is hugely useful to be able to time runs accurately. For most runners the use of a stopwatch is good enough - but sometimes, particularly for sprinters you want to be able to time things a little more accurately than this - taking out the manual element of a human starting and stopping the watch.
To be able to do this you need some kind of electronic timing mechanism, such as is used for timing big races. These are, unfortunately, very expensive - costing in the region of £10,000.
Also, with these systems you will have photo-finish facility, not something you are all that likely to want to use much in training.
However, at Momentum Sports, we invested recently in a timing gate system which works off radio waves to "talk" to the watches that do the timing. The disadvantage of these systems in the past was that you had to break a laser beam and setting up the system was often as time consuming as the sessions themselves.
Freelap Timing System
For about £300 we bought a system which you can set up in about 2 minutes.
It has a starting button (which activates the watch on release), two timing gates (which create a lap time on the watch), the watch itself and a strap for putting this round your waist (as this is far more accurate than on your wrist).
To time a run you simply release the start button, having got the watch started, or just press start on the watch, and run within 1.5m of the timing gates. A lap is created on the watch each time you run past them. If you wanted to do laps (say put gates at each 100m) you could record many splits for each 100m in the course a run. These can be recalled afterwards.
We have been very impressed by the Freelap system and have already recommended it successfully to other athletes. The accuracy is to be within 0.02 second (should be accurate enough for most purposes!).
There are also items on the market which won't time runs, but act as speed-guns and will measure you speed as you travel - which can be very useful for measuring tops speeds etc.
Learn more / further reading
- Starting Blocks
- Running GPSs
- Heart Rate monitors
- Running Pedometers
- Running iPod / MP3 Players
- Weight Training Equipment
- Cross-Training Equipment