Do you remember the days of simple sneakers, a singlet and some running pants? When all you had to do was get dressed and walk out the door to go for a run. There was no making sure your Garmin was charged, your Strava account is loaded, and your state-of-the-art headphones are snuggled comfortably in your ear. Those were the times.
But really, were they?
How cool is the current running environment with the evolution of running watches, smartphone apps, and wireless headphones? Going for a run is now accustomed to taking a leave of absence from life, and transporting yourself to a fun world of bright lights and exercise nirvana.
So, what are some of the best technology tools you can use to take your running into the next frontier? We’ve delivered to you a list of some of the best, readily-available equipment you can use today.
Almost any watch you can buy at the moment is a smartwatch, capable of connecting with intelligent life from far reaching corners of the galaxy. Watches from companies such as Apple, Garmin, Suunto, FitBit, and TomTom are actually brilliant pieces of hardware that can change the way you run. From collecting simple data such as heart rate, distance run, and cadence, they can extend right along to tell you your vertical oscillation, ground contact time, and stride length. All at the availability of your wrist.
For those not aware of the capabilities of running watches, they can tell you as much or as little detail as you like. Once your run is complete, you can then sift through the magnitude of data available to you, to track your progress from one run to another. But from all of the current running technology available to you, a running watch is a must-have for your arsenal.
Smartphone applications are a godsend for those who struggle for motivation to get out running. With applications such as Strava, RunKeeper, and Nike+ run club, you can essentially join a worldwide community from the comfort of your local trails.
Running applications allow greater accountability when looking for fitness progression. By joining the apps community, everybody can see your run and how you went, meaning inspirational support or friendly banter is only a few buttons away. If you like to keep your running behaviors private, you can set your profile to private, and all your data is kept to yourself.
Essentially the best feature of running apps is to compare your progress from previous runs, or challenge your friends and community to fun competitions. Apps such as Strava have inbuilt ‘segments’, where a leaderboard is established on times over that particular section of road or trail. Runner beware though, there exists strava anxiety, where you can go mad if you hold 1st place over a segment and a notification comes along saying you’ve been knocked off your perch. Runners have been known to lace up in the dark hours of the night to reclaim their prized segment after receiving a notification that a new time has been set.
No longer is the general population happy to exhaust themselves on a run and only listen to the rhythms of their body. They now have to have the latest chart-topping music, informational podcast, or TedTalk playing in their ears to help them transport to their running happy place.
Wireless headphones, hardwired earpieces, bone-conduction vibration panels are all the rage with runners currently to listen to their poison of choice. When a run doesn’t call for close analysis of the body, using an audio stimulus while you run is a great way to pass time. For those who like dissociative strategies (where you prefer to focus on anything else than the pain of your running muscles), using music can really pump you up to get the job done. Studies have also shown that using music can enable you to run faster or further, by providing you with added adrenaline to keep your muscles pumping.
Whether you enjoy your running as a pure exercise in fitness, or if you like to challenge the traditional norms, technology for runners is definitely a step in the right direction. With new equipment continuing to roll out to further track and quantify performance, technology is quickly becoming a runner’s best friend.