To Monitor or Not To Monitor?

I read this article on RunnersWorld today called “Heart Rate Training – Is It Right for You?”  I have been considering heart rate/GPS training for a while now, but I’m still undecided.

(Don’t be shocked, all of you super-runners out there, but I’ve never gotten into the data dependence thing…)

I almost always run with my trusty basic sports watch.  It’s so basic that I don’t think it even has a lap function!  It’s small, comfy, and easy to use.  Plus, I don’t worry about it getting banged up when I workout because I’m pretty sure it cost less than $15.

With all this training for the upcoming triathlon, however, I’ve been really considering using a heart rate monitor/GPS/combination of the two.  There are a few reasons I haven’t taken the plunge yet.

First, these things can be a pricey for something you don’t know if you’ll like or not.  I’ve found near-new ones on craigslist, though, so that might not be such a hurdle.

Second, I’m unfamiliar with the options, so it’s hard to pick which one would be good.  Do I go for basic?  Should I get a watch that has both GPS functions and heart rate monitoring?  How about multi-sport use?  If I’m going to make the investment, should I get all the bells and whistles, or should I just get something easy to use so it will actually be worth purchasing?

And finally, I have to admit that I have a healthy fear of developing an addiction to split times, exact distances, heart rate zones, etc. that could be helpful at best but distracting and/or discouraging at worst.

What do you think?  Is it worth going for it?  If you use some kind of technology to track your workouts, is there anything you recommend getting or avoiding?  I’d love to hear your thoughts!  🙂