Timex Ironman Race Trainer Pro Review
When you train for weeks, months, and sometimes years for certain events such as a marathon, triathlon, or century ride, it’s nice to have a training partner you can count on. As most of us know, most of our training partners forget, come late to, or slack off on a run, ride, swim, etc. from time to time. And while we often forgive and forget, it’s nice to have a training partner you can depend on. For those of you out there that are in the category of training alone, having a watch or training device that you can track your progress can be priceless.
I’ve been testing out the Timex Ironman Race Trainer Pro for the past couple months to see how it compares to some of my older Timex watches I’ve used as well as other sport watches. My main sport is running and most of my experiences are running related, but as a cyclist in my down time, I feel my running experiences relate to the cyclist out there as well.
Training with a heart rate monitor can help your training tremendously if used correctly. I’ve trained on and off with a heart rate monitor for 7 years and when I’m not running with a heart rate monitor, I feel like there is something missing. Typically when I’m not using a heart rate monitor, I am usually training for life, ie. I train so I can eat more. When training for a particular race whether it’s a 5k, 10k, half marathon, or marathon, I like having the feedback I get from a heart rate monitor.
The Ironman Race Trainer Pro is a new watch to the Timex family and is for those who are serious about their activity. If you’re running a couple miles a day to stay in shape, there are plenty of other watches that can monitor your progress and typically a few dollars less too. The most noticeable ascetic difference in the Timex Ironman Race Trainer Pro is going to be how the watch sits on your wrist. Most sport watches sit on your wrist where you have to turn your arm significantly to see the watch face. In the Race Trainer Pro, the watch face in angled so you don’t have to make a major arm movement during activity to see your time, heart rate, etc. This I initially thought was a little gimmicky, but I found it to be a nice feature as I got used to the new location.
If you like to log your training on a spreadsheet or on other online training logs, it’s worth taking a look at Training Peaks. Training Peaks is a 3rd party software in which the Timex Ironman Race Trainer Pro works with. This training software is super robust and offers pretty much anything you can think of and then some. I find the software to be a little too much for me as I don’t need to log everything I am doing on my run, but I like having that option in case I change my mind. For the athletes that like to document everything about their activity, this software is perfect. Some of the more basic features that I enjoy using is being able to input my workouts so I can look back and see not just my time, but why I might have had the heart rate or time that I had. For instance, if you are running 3 miles goal pace, 4×2 miles, and 2 miles goal pace training run vs. a 90 minute run; your heart rate and mileage will typically be much different. If you are just looking at your watch, it’s not that easy to tell what workout you did. Other inputs you can use include the shoes you wore for that workout, pace, elevation incline and decline, distance, and more. These are all features that I think can be relevant for a lot of athletes. If you are training for a particular race/distance, there is also an option in which you can purchase one of the Training Peaks training plans. Training Peaks has a basic edition which comes with the Ironman Race Trainer Pro and a premium edition which you can upgrade to and cost extra. For myself, the basic edition was just fine. I know for some athletes where every detail is super important, the premium edition is worth the upgrade.
To allow your computer and Training Peaks software to capture the information stored on your watch, the Ironman Race Trainer Pro comes with a USB that plugs into your computer. When the USB is plugged into the computer, all you need to do is go to the sync mode on the watch and click the button to start syncing. In order for the sync to take place, you must download software from the Timex website. While I am not a software developer, it would be nice to see a future upgrade where you don’t have to download additional software onto your computer and allow the software to be stored up in the cloud.
The heart rate monitor in the Timex Ironman Race Trainer Pro is a little different from past heart rate monitors in the Timex HR line. Instead of having a semi-hard piece of plastic wrapping around your chest, the majority of the heart rate monitor is an elastic material allowing for a more comfortable and precise fit. In the elastic band, there are sensors on each side of the chest that take in the information. In the middle of the heart rate monitor band, there is a small detachable digital transmitter that sends the heart rate information to your watch. In past heart rate monitor watches, I would have my signal mixed up with others around me using a similar heart rate monitor watch, especially on race day. To date, I have not encountered any problems of cross-talk in the Race Trainer Pro.
The Timex Ironman Race Trainer Pro retails for $200 which is a subtle reminder that this watch is targeted to the more serious athlete that takes their training serious. If you find yourself in the category of geeking out and love to monitor your training progress, the Timex Ironman Race Trainer Pro is a great option. For more information about the Race Trainer Pro, please visit Timex.com
- Chronograph view option for time in zone
- View lap and split times in chronograph without heart rate monitor
- 5 manual zones
- Pop-up of recovery timer results
- Single-banner alarm mode with three settings
- 10-workout memory chronograph or interval based
- Target heart rate zones with time in zone and audible alerts
- 50-lap memory per workout with average heart rate per lap
- 100-hour chronograph with display options
- 5 interval timers with individual training zones
- Recovery heart rate timer with selectable durations
- Workout average and peak heart rate summary
- Calculation of calories burned
- Digital transmission eliminates cross-talk and interference
- Owner-replaceable batteries
- Water-resistant to 100 meters
- INDIGLO® night-light with NIGHT-MODE