For under £11, this Casio watch is the best alternative to ‘naked’ running

·3-min read
black cheap casio watch
The Casio is our favourite 'naked' running watchHearst Owned

In a world of solar-charging watches and pages of stats, 'naked' running is having a moment. Now, let’s be clear, we’re not talking about *that* kind of running. No, we’re talking about the act of leaving your running watch and headphones at home and heading out completely sans tech.

Proponents of the trend claim that ditching your fitness tech can help you become more in tune with your body and how it feels during exercise. And while the likes of a Garmin watch can provide invaluable insights when it comes to improving running economy, feeling like you have to stick to a particular pace or heart rate zone can often knock the joy right out of a run. Ditching the gadgets and running to feel can be a breath of fresh air, not to mention you won’t be distracted by relentless smartphone notifications.

But for some people (including this editor), the thought of going completely watch-free will feel like a big leap. So at RW, we’ve been on the search for the perfect compromise. Enter, the Casio watch. For less than £11, it’s a basic stopwatch-style fashion watch that allows you to clock time and… well… that’s about it.

‘For a while, I was getting overly concerned with running data (and the subsequent tie-in with social media),’ says convert and RW executive editor Ben Hobson. ‘My watch was telling me to move more, that I wasn’t doing enough, that I was detraining and that everything needed to go on Strava or sync with other things and it all got too much. I found myself stressing about things being connected and would waste time and energy making sure things were charged and working when I could have just been running. So, I ditched it all and got this Casio watch.’

From a performance point of view, there’s very little to report about the watch; it’s very lightweight, tells the time and has a stopwatch.

But from a freedom point of view, decoupling himself from tech made a huge difference to his overall enjoyment of running, says Ben.

‘It allowed me to remember that part of running is that escape from the screens and gadgets that we use all day long – not something else to add to the mix.’

But it’s not just us feeling the data burnout. When RW caught up with British distance runner Emile Cairess earlier this year, he was sporting... yup, a Casio watch. ‘Just wearing a stopwatch takes some of the pressure off,’ said Cairess, who finished sixth at the London Marathon in April.

‘A lot of people get too tied up in the exact pace of an easy run, a steady run – when all that really matters is that it’s easy or steady,’ he said.

‘I have my routes and I know how far they are, so I do know my pace in the end, but while I’m running I’ve not really got any idea of the pace. I think it’s good for you mentally to be a bit disengaged sometimes, rather than feeling stressed about things that don’t need to be stressed about.’

Available for £10.99 at Argos.

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