By Su Reid-St. John
Ah, intervals—just about the most effective calorie-burning workout out there. But who wants to keep checking her watch to figure out when to slow down or speed up? Not me. Then again, I also don't want to have to fumble with microscopic buttons to start and stop an interval timer. To the rescue: Timex's new Ironman Sleek 150-Lap with TapScreen Mid-Size sports watch.
True, Ironman watches have been around for ages. I had one years ago, a clunky, styleless black thing. But this new version is cute and almost delicate looking—sporty, but with clean, feminine lines.
It also has a few terrific features that I'm really grooving on, not the least of which are three interval programs, each with 16 customizable intervals (you can even name them: warm-up, fast, slow, etc.). Now I'm no athlete and don't need nearly that many, but who says you have to use 'em all?
Even cooler, though, is what Timex calls its TapScreen technology, which basically means you can start and stop the various timers, turn on the night-light, or record split times (if you're into that sort of thing) with, literally, a tap on the watch face. No need to slow down to push some tiny button. Brilliant.
This watch has a target time pacer to keep you at the right speed during races and training sessions; it beeps to tell you if you're too slow, too fast, or right on target. This is kind of like having a trainer along with you, keeping you on pace—but much cheaper and far less chatty.
I do have two complaints: The plastic watch band is overly stiff, so it doesn't conform comfortably to my wrist. Also, the instruction booklet is about the size of a large matchbook, with super-tiny type, so it's a bit hard to read.
Still, the nifty features trump the drawbacks, and I foresee many happy interval workouts in our future together.
Product: Timex Ironman Sleek 150-Lap with TapScreen Mid-Size sports watch
Pros: An excellent, great-looking women's sports watch with a number of cool features you can operate with, literally, a single tap.
Cons: The strap is a little stiff, and the instructions are a bit hard to read.
Cost: $90 at Timex.com
Extra tip: You can customize the TapScreen to respond to light, medium, or hard taps.