With its chronograph feature, the Timex Ironman Race Trainer can supplement any athlete's training, from amateur to expert. Comfortable, durable and water-resistant to 100 meters, the monitor is even capable of triathlete use.
Great combination of advanced features. The primary function of the Timex Ironman Race Trainer is to monitor heart rate and signal the user when to kick it up a notch or take it easy. The unit performs as advertised, accurately tracking heart rate to keep the wearer in a target zone. The Race Trainer offers one user-customizable zone plus five preset ones, a 50-lap chronograph feature that calculates average heart rate per lap and contains five linked interval timers, a maximum heart-rate alert and three alarm settings.
This Timex heart-rate monitor is nothing if not flexible; it allows the wearer to view heart rate in multiple formats and change the display arrangement. Most users say performance is precise and reliable.
The Ironman Race Trainer can also upload workout data to a training enthusiasts' website, TrainingPeaks.com. That's where users can view and track overall workout progress, record food intake, map routes and download additional workouts. However, it requires the purchase of the Ironman Race Trainer Kit (*Est. $50) , which includes a USB Data Xchanger module that plugs into a computer USB port. The module is PC and Mac compatible, but Mac users will need OS 10.6 or higher. The heart-rate monitor itself can save data from up to 10 workouts.
Worth the lengthy setup time. Owners praise the many features of the Ironman Race Trainer, but some find usability to be a challenge. The interface setup isn't user-friendly, and many reviews say setting up the heart-rate monitor is confusing and time-consuming. While there's a learning curve required to completely master the unit, many owners report that the user interface is easy to navigate.
The Race Trainer comes in full- and mid-sized versions to suit men and women. Comfort is excellent, most users say; one adds, "The heart rate strap doesn't even feel like you are wearing it!" However, the wristband isn't user-replaceable, and must be sent back to the manufacturer if and when it breaks. Reports say to expect a wristband lifespan of about two years.
Few customer service gripes could be a good sign. Owners don't mention any notable dissatisfaction with Timex customer service. We do see some comments regarding replacement of the wristband, which requires an extra fee after the one-year warranty period. Replacement generally takes a few weeks, but that's not outside the norm.
1. The New York Times
Review Credibility: Very Good Testers for The New York Times say they find the Timex Ironman Race Trainer a little difficult to set up. Once the watch is programmed, however, it works well for measuring intervals and laps.
Review: Marathon Tech Review: Watches, Danielle Belopotosky, Aug. 18, 2009
2. Tampa Bay Times
Review Credibility: Very Good The Tampa Bay Times recommends the Timex Ironman Race Trainer in this overview of heart-rate training. Tomalin says it's "slightly more sophisticated" than many monitors, and testers like that the optional USB dongle transfers workout data.
Review: Heart Rate Monitor Provides Scientific Feedback for Any Fitness Goal, Terry Tomalin, March 11, 2011
Review Credibility: Very Good BikeRadar.com reviews the Timex Ironman Race Trainer from a cyclist's perspective. Cook says the heart-rate monitor is a "great value," and he reports good performance throughout his testing period. However, he says the small display is hard to read when attached to a bike mount.
Review: Timex Ironman Race Trainer Kit Heart Rate Monitor Review, Nik Cook, March 3, 2010
Review Credibility: Very Good Bumgardner includes the Timex Ironman Race Trainer among her top picks of more expensive heart-rate monitors. She says this unit is similar to her favorite budget model, the Timex Ironman Road Trainer, but the Race Trainer adds a web program that lets you track your data and get training programs. Bumgardner gives it a perfect 5-star rating.
Review: Timex Race Trainer Heart Rate Monitor, Wendy Bumgardner, June 29, 2012
Review Credibility: Very Good Several versions of the Timex Ironman Race Trainer are offered on Amazon.com. The 3.7 stars out of 5 it earns here is typical among models with more than a handful of reviews. Most owners are very satisfied, but several say the monitor has a shorter life expectancy than hoped for.
Review: Timex Ironman Men's Race Trainer Heart Rate Monitor Watch, Contributors to Amazon.com, As of March 2013