read Running Gadgets: Your Guide to Getting Started

Running Gadgets: Your Guide to Getting Started

Woman checking stats on her running gadgets

One reason why running is so popular as a sport is its simplicity. All you need is a comfortable pair of shoes and you’re good to go. Technology, however, plays a huge role in the world of sports these days, and especially in running. Just wearing a fitness band around your wrist, for instance, can give you a ton of information that can help track your progress. 

It’s however, a problem of plenty. There are a plethora of running gadgets, which vie for your attention, each claiming to be better and more indispensable than the other. How do you choose the device that’s tailored to your needs? So, here’s a lowdown on the best running gadgets to look at if you want a technological edge as a beginner runner. 

Smart watch

Smart watches have become an essential commodity for beginners and serious runners alike. Most of these devices can provide insights about your runs, including your speed, pace, time, calories burnt, and heart rate.  These are relatively affordable and easy to operate. 

The more premium running gadgets provide a lot of additional information about your training and recovery. Smart watches can come with in-built GPS trackers, optical heart rate monitors, and cadence sensors, and can be integrated with other smart tools (chest rate monitor, power meter, pedometer/ footpod) for even deeper insights.

Heart-rate monitor

As the name suggests, these devices monitor heart rate. There are two types of heart-rate monitors: optical and chest-strapped. Optical monitors (or wrist heart-rate monitors) are built into the watch, while chest heart-rate monitors come as an accessory and need to be paired with a smart watch.  

Keeping track of your heart rate may help you adjust your runs to stay within your target/ prescribed range, and also help identify any abnormalities. Coaches and athletes use this device for effort-based/ zone-based training and to draw insights on recovery. Optical monitors however, are not as accurate as the chest-straps.

Fitness app

You can simply tap your way into your favorite fitness app on your phone. These apps use GPS to track your outdoor workout route and other running stats, and can help monitor your progress vis-a-vis your past performance. Some also have personal coaches that can give you health and fitness tips by assessing your data.

Pedometer

A pedometer is a device that records your steps while walking or running. This gadget is very useful for people, who wish to target a certain number of steps per day or make sure they stay active. When it comes to a pedometer, you have the option to choose between a basic step counter that can be clipped to your bag or belt. Or, opt for a fitness tracker, which can be worn around the wrist. A number of pedometer apps are now available and most mobile phones come with in-built step counters.  

Headphone

Your favorite music, audiobooks, or podcasts can be your best running companion, and this makes quality headphones essential for many runners. There are a few factors to keep in mind besides good sound while buying running headphones. A good fit is key; your headphones should stay put even as you speed up.

There are many designs to help with this, for instance, some come with over-the-ear hooks, and others with in-ear buds or wingtips. They should also be moisture and water-resistant to withstand sweat or light rains. 

Wired headphones connect with your mobile phone, while the wireless ones may be paired with compatible smart watches to directly play audio from your watch library. Although audio entertainment helps one focus, you must also be aware of your surroundings to stay safe.

Headlamp

While running outdoors in the dark, use a running headlamp to help you see and be seen. It is a valuable addition to gears like reflective clothing. Depending on your path and how dark it is, consider factors like battery life, rechargeable or single-use battery, types of light, and their brightness, before buying a headlamp.

While there are many impressive running gadgets and devices available to make your runs more enjoyable and efficient, you do not require all of them to get a fine workout. A fine place to start would be to identify your needs and invest in top technology that will deliver on them. Happy running!      

References
1. Luff C. What to Wear Running: The Best Clothes & Gear for Beginners. Verywell Fit. 2019. https://www.verywellfit.com/basic-running-clothes-for-beginners-2911840 (accessed Feb 5, 2021).
2. Sewlani S. Top 7 Benefits of Using Fitness Apps. Medindia. 2019. https://www.medindia.net/patients/lifestyleandwellness/top-7-benefits-of-using-fitness-apps.htm (accessed Feb 5, 2021).
3. Running gear. Coach Magazine. 2020. https://www.coachmag.co.uk/gear/running-gear#running-headphones (accessed Feb 8, 2021).
4. Dengate J. The Best Headlamps for Runners. Runner’s World. 2020; published online Dec 15. https://www.runnersworld.com/gear/a23495398/best-headlamps-for-runners/  (accessed Feb 8, 2021).
5. Mcguire J. 7 of the best pedometers on the market for 2019. Runner’s World. 2019; published online Jul 9. https://www.runnersworld.com/uk/gear/tech/a28335625/best-pedometers/ (accessed Feb 9, 2021).
6. UPLARN. Running Gear for Beginners: The 6 Essential Items You Need. 2019; published online Jun 14. https://www.uplarn.com/running-gear-for-beginners-the-6-essential-items-you-need/ (accessed Feb 9, 2021).
7. Runner’s World Editors. The 15 Best Wireless Earbuds for Runners. 2020; published online Nov 23. https://www.runnersworld.com/gear/a20852590/the-best-wireless-headphones-for-running/ (accessed Feb 9, 2021).

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