Fitbit released their ‘#1 fitness tracker’ – the Fitbit Charge 6 – back in September 2023 and we, at Running Shoe Guru, tried and tested it every day, for over a month to see what type of runner best suits the fitness tracker.
We decided that a beginner runner or someone looking to dip their toe into the well-being world would have the most benefit from the Fitbit Charge 6 because of its progressive yet somewhat simplistic features.
It can absolutely keep up with your day-to-day antics and highlight where you’re overexerting yourself, or equally, suggesting where you could be more active thanks to its wealth of health metrics analysed 24/7.
But it also falls short on other features that limit its useability to the new runner.
So let’s dive into the details a bit more:
Fitbit Charge 6 Pro’s:
Straight off the bat, the biggest pro has to be the wealth of health metrics that this tracker can… track.
From weight management to blood glucose, Heart Rate Variability, stress response all the way to period tracking, sleep analytics and readiness scoring.
If there’s a health goal you’re looking to achieve this new year then the Fitbit can definitely help you track your progress and monitor how you’re body is really doing.
This is a beginner runner’s dream tool to help you understand how your body is adapting to a more active lifestyle AND to make sure you’re not overdoing it.
Often, a newbie feeling the runners high for the first time can’t get enough and tries to challenge themselves to the hefty task of running daily, when starting from scratch.
Running the risk of illness or injury (no pun intended). But, this is where the Fitbit Charge 6 can help you understand when to rest and when your body is ready to go again. It can help you learn to listen to your body just that little bit more.
It has to be said the number of workouts available on the Fitbit app is great. There’s literally something for everyone from strength workouts to mindfulness and recipes.
For the new runner, finding a strength-based workout that can help benefit your running is fantastic and there’s no excuse for ‘no time’.
You can select a time-based workout (from under 5 minutes to over 30 minutes), have it equipment-focused if you have some dumbbells or bands at home – and it doesn’t end there!
Low impact to HIIT training, to jump rope to yoga, there’s something for everyone which keeps training fun – any of these sessions will help improve your fitness when out running too – yes, even the 3-minute ab workout!
The number one tool to help anyone whether you’re already running or just starting out. It is a fantastic feature that collates very complex data and serves it up for you in a lovely score-based dish.
If your body could tell you exactly how it feels, in one word (or number) when you get up then this is it.
You’ll find similar variations on different fitness or health tracking watches out there, so it is useful to understand as you start this amazing running journey (okay I’m slightly biased).
Essentially, the Fitbit Charge 6 measures your recent activity levels, recent sleep quality and Heart rate Variability score and produces a simple ‘this is the level of activity you should do today’ to rest and recover optimally.
And yes every runner, no matter what level would benefit from this wizardry.
Fitbit Charge 6 Con’s:
No running training plans available
Fitbit has its own Heart Rate Zone system
Unfortunately, Fitbit offer a wealth of workouts and mindfulness sessions but running workouts they do not do. Inspired to run your local 5k Parkrun? Yeah, the Fitbit can’t get you there but it can tell you how to recover over the following days.
There is no set training plan for you to follow, which is where it loses out massively to its competitors.
HOWEVER, there are running workouts available. No idea where to start on your running journey? Well, there are several outdoor and indoor running workouts available.
From 2 miles in 20 minutes to introduction to intervals. There are sessions from 10 minutes up to 45 minutes for outdoor sessions so you can have a good go at what you enjoy.
Considering Fitbit doesn’t actually offer training plans they have now significantly limited your use of third-party options, especially for beginners.
Most training sessions use Heart Rate zones to monitor the effort and output of any given session, and this usually consists of 5 heart rate zones. Light effort zone 1 to maximal effort zone 5, all based on a per cent of your maximum heart rate.
Because Fitbit uses a three-zone system this is rather confusing if you decide to use a plan from here, from magazines or anything given to you via a running coach. Fitbit offers a Fat burning zone, cardio zone and peak zone.
This would be great if they offered training plans to adhere to their heart rate three-zone system, but to everyone else, and runners wanting to progress, it’s a significant roadblock.
Unfortunately, Fitbit has a reputation of lacking in the GPS department. Each Charge 6 is loaded up with inbuilt GPS and GLONASS system (same as other brand models) however we found that tracking run distances was a little off… by half a mile or more!
You can get turn-by-turn navigation through Google Maps but again getting that connection between said App, Phone and Watch is a bit of a circus.
Again this might be okay for runners who are new to the game, who are more likely to stick to places or parks they know well. I do urge you not to run too far away from home so you won’t heavily rely on the navigation system – always have your phone with you.
Do you have the Charge 6 or are thinking of buying one? Let us know in the comments!