The first question is, do you really need one?
There are plenty of excellent smartphone running apps like Nike+ Running and Endomondo, and we'd advise beginners to start with them.
However, there's a real benefit to having your real-time stats where you can keep an eye them during your run, which is where watches come in.
Using a smartwatch as a dedicated running watch is still not as satisfying as it should be.
The latest Apple/Nike collaboration is the best smartwatch option so far, but even though it's a cool device, the absence of sensors such as a barometer and the fact that the Nike+ app is more about motivation than stat-tracking mean it's still a bit of an outlier in this field. The short battery life is also irksome.
Almost all of these watches sync with a mobile app and online tracking tools on desktop. These let you dig deeper into the details, create and download pre-planned coaching lessons and set up goal-specific training plans to help you achieve your running and fitness goals.
Prices vary, with some coming in at under £100, though if you're looking for something from the top drawer, expect to spend north of £200. Certain of Garmin's seemingly endless stream of Fenix 3 variants can set you back over a grand, if you're feeling flash.