Athletes are suckers for details. If you go for a long run, you don't round up. (Round down? Never!) No, you proudly proclaim that you ran 5.67 miles. The Global Positioning System (GPS), a cluster of satellites bouncing signals around the sky originally designed for military purposes, makes it possible to track every detail from your route to your distance to your speed with laserlike accuracy. The result: more intel for pumping up your confidence and your performance. Here are some of the latest GPS gadgets on W's wish list:
With the touch of a finger, the Garmin 610 watch displays key data including pace, distance, time and heart rate. It also has a cool "Virtual Racer" feature that puts you up against yourself based on previous runs or against other users. Post- run, your running deets can be wirelessly uploaded to connect.garmin.com, so you can track your progress and share milestones with your fans (Hi, Mom!).
Easy on your brain and your wallet, the super-simple Nike+ SportWatch GPS system has just three buttons and a simple-to-read screen that you can simply tap to mark laps. You can customize the screen to display the data you want to see as you run, including time, distance, pace and calories burned. But don't slack off -- go more than five days without some fitness action and an automatic reminder will prompt you to get off the sofa. Beat a personal best and you get an "Attaboy." The direct connection to Nikeplus.com, a running community with more than 4 million members, lets you join challenges, access training programs, view routes that your friends have run or share your latest running activity on Facebook and Twitter. @awesomeness!
IF YOU'RE A ... CYCLIST
Get this: Garmin Touchscreen Edge 800 ($449.99, garmin.com)
When you're cruising downhill, there's nothing more satisfying than looking down and realizing, Damn girl, you're going fast! The first GPS cycling computer with a touch screen, the Edge has a 2.6-inch display that tells you your distance, speed, location and altitude (ascent/descent details). Training features like AutoLap and Courses help you compare previous rides over the same route so you can see how you've performed against your toughest competitor -- yourself.
IF YOU'RE A ... TRAILBLAZER
Get this: Magellan eXplorist 510 ($349.99, magellangps.com)
This rugged, waterproof, handheld gizmo makes a superb backcountry buddy whether you're into hiking, camping, backpacking, fishing or mountain biking. Tough enough to be submerged in 3 feet of water for 30 minutes, the eXplorist is loaded up with maps (of U.S. and Canada) and can be viewed in 3-D on its fancy 3-inch touch screen. It also has a built-in camera and a mike/speakerphone combo that allows you to record notes and keep a running commentary of your trip.
IF YOU'RE A ... GOLFER
Get this: Bushnell Hybrid Golf Rangefinder ($499, bushnellgolf.com)
Look through the binocular-like lenses and point this gadget at the pin, bunker or green, and the digital display will tell you the exact distance between you and that point -- so you'll know exactly which club to go with. It's also preloaded with more than 16,000 North American golf courses so you can get a quickie overview of every hole and the distances to the front, center and back of the green. Fore!