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Women’s Running Tech Awards 2017

For Chasing A PR

Polar M430, $230

This waterproof Polar provides more than the data you’d expect from a run watch (think: heart rate, sleep and activity tracking, and workout time and distance). It also has “Smart Coaching” capabilities that can monitor training load, track your recovery status and provide training plans for 5Ks up to marathons based on your goals.

Testers reveal: Heart-rate tracking accuracy, lap counting for the bike and run (not swim), and impressive battery life (it offers GPS recording options to extend it) were the highlights. Testers wished, however, that the two Polar apps it pairs with (Flow for activity summaries and Beat for workout coaching cues) could be combined into one.

Geek-out factor: The watch includes a five-minute fitness test to estimate your VO2 max, which you can take regularly to see how you improve and to help you push yourself during workouts.

Jaybird X3, $130

If the credit for your best workouts goes to the music you were listening to, then having high-quality, sweat-proof headphones is a must. These fully customizable Bluetooth headphones deliver top-notch audio performance for sport headphones, contain eight hours of sound on a single charge and have multiple tip, fin and headphone orientation options (over or under your ear) so you can find your ideal fit.

Testers reveal: The setup was simple, and some testers were shocked by how secure the fit was; however, others (with relatively small ears) never found a perfect fit.

Geek-out factor: If you really want to customize your sound, Jaybird’s MySound app allows you to adjust your sound profile (like your bass and treble) exactly to your liking, and your settings are saved in the headphones.

Garmin Running Dynamics Pod, $70

This grape-sized device can serve as a tiny run coach to help improve your running efficiency and form. Weighing less than half an ounce, it clips onto the back of your shorts and tracks six key metrics, including cadence, ground contact time, stride length and vertical oscillation. It syncs with a compatible Garmin device (such as the Forerunner 935 on page 66).

Testers reveal: The setup is crazy simple—it practically syncs itself with your Garmin watch—and the stats are helpful if you’re looking to take your running to the next level. Finding all the metrics info in the Garmin Connect app, though, isn’t intuitive for inexperienced users.

Geek-out factor: There’s not an on/off button—it “wakes up” when it senses movement, and the replaceable battery can easily last up to a year (assuming you use it an hour every day). One fewer thing to charge!

Oakley Radar Pace Prizm Road, $449

Part eye protection, part tiny coach, these sunnies provide real-time data, including pace, distance, heart rate and cadence by pairing with external and internal sensors. Revealing how this info reflects your progress toward your specific training goals, they give you in-the-moment coaching.

Testers reveal: These are built for speed—they won’t provide feedback unless you’re running (not walking). The voice activation uses a microphone and is a handy feature, but testers did feel self-conscious about talking to their sunglasses in public.

Geek-out factor: While the price is steep, you’re partly paying for high-quality shades—they fit securely and have UV and impact protection in the lenses, plus an extra set for low-light conditions. They can even replace headphones; you can control your music from the touchpad near the temple.

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Bethany Mavis

Bethany Mavis is the managing editor of Triathlete magazine. She's a mom, rec soccer player, multiple half-marathon finisher and is learning daily how to become a better triathlete.