After talking about my running rut two weeks ago, I’m happy to report that I’ve fallen back in love with it. Over the weekend, I finished Week 2 of 6 in my Ragnar So Cal training plan. I’ve been running three times per week, strength training twice, practicing yoga once, and resting once. This balance has worked well so far. I’m increasing my mileage in a way that will lead me right into Brooklyn Half Marathon training in April.
I’m not sure if I’ve mentioned this in the past, but I ran with my iPhone in my hand for my first two years of running. I realize that’s crazy. Somehow, I only dropped it once (no cracks). I carried my phone because I wanted to track my data but couldn’t find a GPS watch that I loved enough to make a commitment. I also didn’t prefer carrying my phone in an arm or waist band. After trialing a few watches, I have a new favorite. Keep reading to learn more about the TomTom Spark.
I’m going to break my TomTom Spark review into sections, so you can skip to the features that most interest you. I’ll be using Saturday’s 6-miler to share stats.
Aesthetic — The watch itself looks very modern. My Spark has a black, silicone band, but TomTom bands can be swapped for different colors. I love that the watch band latches in three places to ensure a secure fit. I typically don’t wear athletic watches or trackers outside my workouts, but I have been wearing my Spark and receiving compliments on it.
Functionality — The unique combination of an integrated music player, built-in heart rate monitor, 24/7 activity tracking, multi-sport modes, and GPS in the Spark makes it easier than ever to track progress without holding my phone. I set up my Spark in minutes by connecting it to my computer and visiting the website provided. I also found the watch interface to be easy to navigate. During your workout, the Spark shows live stats on time, distance, speed, pace, and calories burned. If you’re not a runner, you can wear the Spark to track outdoor/indoor cycling, swimming, or gym workouts. I’ve most enjoyed tracking my heart rate during runs to see how my body is responding to my effort and the elevation.
Connection — My one complaint about the Spark is that it takes a few minutes to connect to GPS. On Saturday, I had to wander around after my dynamic warmup to wait for a connection. However, this is the case for most GPS watches. I think the tall buildings in New York make it difficult for a watch to connect. The watch holds a great connection once I begin running.
Music — TomTom drastically updated the Spark’s music capabilities. They knew that 70% of people workout while listening to music, but that it’s annoying to have cords get in the way. You can now upload over 500 songs (3GB) to the Spark and listen to music using Bluetooth headphones. Incredible, right?! I’ve never owned a watch that allowed me to listen to music with no phone or cords involved. I haven’t been listening to music on my runs lately but can’t wait to play with this feature leading up to my Ragnar.
Dashboards — I’m a nerd, so my favorite part about using the Spark has been analyzing my post-run data on the TomTom dashboard. The watch also has a compatible app that I need to download. After I complete a run, I can plug the watch into my computer and visit a dashboard that shows my run history. Each entry includes an overview, a route map, and a chart that overlays two data points (choose from pace, speed, elevation, and heart rate). My pace (light blue) and elevation (dark blue) are shown below. I know that checking in with this dashboard will help me improve by learning from past workouts.
I can’t wait to take this watch to Southern California with me to track my three Ragnar legs with Team Nuun. When I return in April, I’ll definitely be taking advantage of the speed workouts feature to train for a PR in Brooklyn in May. Let me know if you have additional questions about the Spark!
This is a sponsored post written by me on behalf of TomTom. All opinions are 100% mine.
Photography by Nick A. Urteaga