A few weeks ago, I received an unexpected message from Coros. I had heard of their new watches. I saw that a number of my friends, peers, and teammates across various sporting disciplines, and at the highest levels, had taken to Coros. I wondered what they were learning, and what I could learn, with their products.
A bit of background: I had not worn a watch in years. Down roads, across trails, over mountainscapes – my wrists have been bare on every run. When I was 12, I hounded my parents to buy me what seemed like the wildest, most extreme mountain watch at the time. I wore it for more than a decade. I moved along, and found the gifts of GPS-tracking, pace and distance estimates, in addition to the many features that already felt familiar –altimeter, barometer, compass. I went through five iterations of ever-evolving tools, providing a purview into my tramping across the hills of our world. Five years ago, as I tied up my runners one morning, I took my watch off and placed it in a drawer. I ran by feel, my effort externally expressed yet internally understood.
This fall, something changed again. A persistent, inner curiosity wanted to know myself and my world even more intimately. I wanted to know where I stood, or rather, where I strode. My curiosity led into a growing desire to learn more about myself, my running, and my interaction with the world around me. Then a Coros Vertix 2 arrived in the mail.
I found what I was looking for in the Vertix 2. Not surprisingly, it displayed the information that I knew intuitively. But the watch provided both a breadth and a depth of data that I have not seen before. The biometric and environmental insights that can be accessed and recorded in real time are astounding. The Vertix 2 not only reinvigorated my curiosity about my own running, training, and exploring, but has also provided an accessible, efficient platform to track and make better sense of myself. It enables me to see both nuanced variations within a single run, and the macro trends over a season.
The Vertix 2 offers biometric features well beyond any other high-end running and adventure watches I have tried, and those features have provided objective measures of the effort and self-awareness that I have been developing for years. Further, these measures laid a new foundation for mapping my training and progress. One novel wrist-top metric – power – is especially useful. Years ago, I worked with a company that was in the initial stages of producing power meters for runners. Power was touted as exceptionally effective, since it is spared from the inherent limitations of heart rate monitoring (HRM). I was delighted to see that the Vertix 2 comes with a built-in power (and HRM) meter, neither of which require a chest strap.
It was refreshing to see the simplicity and minimalism with which the myriad tools are enabled. Other welcome metrics include maximum and average cadence, stride length, left-right stride balance, blood oxygen level estimation, and on-screen topographical mapping with real-time position. The Vertix 2 is exceptionally intuitive in navigating all the information shared. The interface flows well and was even accessible mid-stride on technical trails.
My career-long proclivity for oddly long outings, ultramarathons, and technical mountain courses has often translated into exceptionally long ‘runs.’ The duration of my efforts certainly necessitates proper hydrating and fuelling and subsequent recovery. I was pleased and surprised that Vertix 2 has two features that help facilitate both: nutrition estimates and reminders about when it’s time to snack (when I’m otherwise focused on moving forward) – a clever and helpful safeguard against bonking. One major bonus that surprised me: despite wearing the watch every day since I received it, and on every run from a handful of miles to ultra distances, I have yet to charge it.
Years ago, my quest for self-reflection, introspection and awareness initially led me to put down my watch. In questing further, the Vertix 2 found its way to me. I have learned more of myself, complementing and broadening my self-awareness. I am stoked to wear the watch and explore the world and myself further.
Readers can learn more about, and order, the Coros Vertix 2 here.
Ian MacNairn is a professional trail runner and ultrarunner based in Canmore, Alta. He has a PhD in anthropology for which he studied ultrarunning around the world, including more than 3,700 runners from 36 countries on six continents.