Timing Splits When Running Outdoors

I have previously done most of my running training indoors, where it is easy to see timing details because it's on the treadmill screen in front of me.  I've been off running for several months due to injury, and because I have to now start really slowly from scratch I am beginning the C25K plan this weekend.  I have abandoned my gym for a bit, so will for the first time be doing all my training outside. 

My problem is that there are loads of minute and 90 second elements in this plan, and I am struggling to work out how I can stick to this without having to buy a posh running watch which will beep every 30 seconds (& which will therefore drive me nuts...).  How do other forumites manage? 

I'm very inclined to just go and run a bit then walk a bit & just time the overall distance, but I am really, REALLY anxious to avoid a flareup of my injury, so am trying to follow a proper plan.image  Perhaps I will have to rejoin the gym, after all...


  • You might have to look at the watch. Without having the machine that goes "bing" I don't see how you can look at the time without looking. 

  • Yes, that's what I am thinking.  Looks like at least part of my savings in gym membership is going to be spent on a GPS watch.  I gather some of those vibrate rather than beep - or as well as beep!

  • How about looking into phone functions?

  • stutyrstutyr ✭✭✭

    I have a Forerunner 405 that I use for recording all my runs and its also configured for intervals etc.

    However I recently tried to get my son into running by following a C25K plan with him, and I just used the stopwatch function for this.  This function is available in a £10 casio watch:


    It doesn't really matter if you run 95 seconds rather than 90, and if I missed the start of a running interval we just ran the prescribed time and reduced the duration of the next walking break.  You'll quickly get a feel for how much time you should be walking/running, so I dont think you need to invest in a fnacy GPS watch (yetimage).  

  • I use a Gymboss interval timer for run/walk timing. I set it to beep once when the interval is up, so that's too annoying. Can be set to vibrate although I found I sometimes didn't notice it going off.


  • Hallam BlueHallam Blue ✭✭✭

    Have you got a smart phone: either Android or iPhone. If so, download Runkeeper and you can set up a training workout, that will tell you (via headphones) when each interval starts. You can set intervals by time or distance.

  • DustinDustin ✭✭✭

    i've got a cheap timex, that you can set multi intervals on. Works fine.
    beeps load enough to hear and given its for a specific interval session then don't see how that can be annoying...now if you forget to turn it off , thats another story!
    Can't be doing with all that garmin stuff, then uploading it onto facebook so everyone can see your splits (yawn!)

  • Hog-mouseHog-mouse ✭✭✭

    Without a watch you can follow the plan. It's not set in stone that you have to do it a certain way. You could for example use lamp posts to indicate intervals. If there are no lamp posts then just use an abitary distance, the next road junction or sign post.

    I'm an obsessive counter and I count every step that I take, in the pool I count every stroke. So I'd just count my steps, that or use your breathing. When you have your breathing under control do the next run interval. 

    just different ways of achieving the same goal.

    Agree with Dustin though, that you can get too technical and involved, I like my watch so that I can see where I've run. Useful if you like just heading off in some odd direction or you run somewhere new. I don't really think it's got much to do with running though. 

  • Coudn't recommend this any more if I tried:


    The pro version (costs £1.50) is even better. All you could possibly ever want if you like to look at your statistics after a workout.

  • When I started I just used the seconds counter on my watch and stopped and started according to that. It worked perfectly well and as Stutyr says it won't really matter if you do a few seconds too many or few. Obviously it gets a bit easier as the time you run for progresses.

  • I'm with stu on this one. I used a casio digital watch that I bought from amazon for about £6 a couple of years ago. It doesn't show pace or tell you what distance you've covered but if you're starting out and just want to know how long you've run for, and to record some splits over a measured distance outside, it's ideal.

    The garmin I later bought was basically just a toy to treat myself.

  • Thanks to everyone for their responses.  I have an old timex which is slightly temperamental but I will see how I go with that!  Usually when I run outside I ignore my watch, except for hitting 'go' when I start and 'stop' when I stop!  I run on tracks and bridlepaths so will have to be a bit careful of how much watch watching I do. image  I don't really want to get too bogged down in the technicalities, and I DEFINITELY won't be loading my splits on FB....image

  • +1 for runkeeper, if you have a smart phone. Its free and you can program intervals easily. you dont have to keep looking at it like a watch either as it talks to you and beeps at the end of intervals!image

  • Personally I use a Garmin Forerunner 410 and Endomondo web application I think it's the perfect combination for recording and analysing your runs.

    Will cost you around £130 for the setup.

    Of course you can do things on a budget but when your investing so much time and effort pounding the roads it's money well spent.

  • First session done this morning using a very basic sports watch which I already had. It was slightly random, but broadly the right idea.  I think I did an extra set of reps but that's not exactly a major issue!  It was good to be out and 'doing'. image

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