When I was training for the half marathon in September I could do a certain amount of the training just with a watch and mapping my routes. However, it got to the point where I was interested in my pace as I was going, rather than guessing. I decided to invest in a Nike+ Sportsband, even though I had heard some mixed reports. It was a lot cheaper than a Garmin, which uses GPS to track your runs, and so if I didn't get on with it it wouldn't be the end of the world.
It has a chip which goes in your shoe (my Nikes have a special place for the chip, but you can get a pouch to attach it to any shoe), and a wristband, as pictured above. On the wristband you can scroll through distance, pace, time elapsed and calories burned. At the end of your run you plug it into your computer and it downloads the workouts to the Nike+ website. Then you get graphical representation of your runs, and can see your pace etc.
I've found it really useful, and it seems to be fairly accurate, particularly since I have callibrated it. Obviously you don't need one to run, but it is a useful tool. Adidas offer a similar product called MiCoach. Nike are also going into the GPS market this spring, in collaboration with TomTom, so it will be interesting to see what that is like.
Worst run 1: Track session. It wasn't just that it was a tough session, I wasn't really feeling it either. But I tried to push through.
Worst run 2: 18 miles in the wind and rain. Why does it always start raining 20 minutes after leaving the house? By then it's too late to go back, but I'm not wearing waterproofs. Luckily at my lowest point I bumped into Gemma, and we ran together for about a mile, by which time I was feeling better. On the plus side, that's definitely the furthest I've ever run.
This is karma for not having a bad run a couple of weeks ago!
Tip of the week: Don't wash your running tights with Haribo in the pocket - it's really sticky!