I have a running watch that's waterproof and can track up to 40 different intervals, but it doesn't have GPS. I've periodically thought about getting a Garmin, but inevitably, I ask myself, why? If I run on a treadmill, I know exactly how far and how long I went, and if I run on a track, I don't need GPS. On all other road runs, I carry my smartphone and use RunKeeper.
So I guess it's not surprising at all to read about the impending demise of Nike's Fuelband and the troubles ahead for other fitness wearables. I mean, I'm not exactly in the vanguard of tech gadget adoption, but I am one of those semi-obsessed runners who has about as much running clothing as non-running clothing. To the extent I'm somewhat representative of a swath of fairly dedicated runners, the fact that I'm not rushing to get any of these devices is not a good sign.
To be sure, I'm not saying that the smartphone/RunKeeper combination is a perfect substitute for a GPS watch or a fitness tracker. I have RunKeeper set up to give the most frequent audio cues about time/distance/average pace, which is every 1/4 mile and every 5 minutes. In a 5K race, that means I get 12 updates from the mileage and (at my pace) four more from the time. That's not bad, but if I want to check my average pace at some other point, I'd have to get pass my screen lock, which isn't trivial when you're running at near maxVO2. I could see how a watch or fitness tracker would offer some incremental advantage there.
But enough to be worth buying one . . . when that money could be used toward more race entry fees, or tech shirts, or shoes?