Gadgets to help you run faster

Posted on: 06/08/2018

The Cheltenham half marathon is less than 2 months away now and those miles won’t do themselves.

It may feel a little daunting around about now as the mileage will begin to become more taxing on the body and a lot of thought will be going into the preparation.

Those miles will go more quickly when you have a personal trainer in your ear and a suitable tracker to monitor your distance.  From wrist watches that track every step to water bottles that glow to remind you to drink, there is a range of tech on the market to assist you with your training.

There’s no point going the distance if you can’t track your results and feel the progress. I am certainly no tech expert, but I do like the support that modern tech provides us as it can encourage, motivate and support progression.

Check out some ideas below in relation to activity trackers, the music options, the look, accessories and apps that I either use or have experienced in assisting me with my own training.

Activity Trackers: The Fitbit’s Charge 2 is a really neat, lightweight option that’ll record all your major fitness stats, monitor your heart-rate and sleep. If you are happy to pay more for your wrist gadget, then the Fitbit’s Ionic smartwatch has a bigger screen and offers a full set of data. This will track your GPS, offer personalised workouts and let you make payments and even control your smart lights at home at the same time in addition to the requirements.

The Apple Watch Series 3 also offers many of the same tools but has an enhanced focus on your heartrate, plotting your heart rate readings on handy graphs which for me is really handy data to see to enable you to understand how the body is coping with the exertion.

The Music: The miles on the road will pass more quickly with motivational music being played to keep you motivated.  Having a Spotify account which you can create your running playlists on is just revolutionary.  It is then just a case of a smart phone case solution and which headphones you go for to ensure your playlists can go with you.

I recently purchased the Denon’s wireless sport earphones feature special ear-hook technology, so they’ll stay secure when you’re on the move. The sound is exceptionally good. For something a little sturdier, the Beats by Dr Dre Mixr On-Ear headphones have a lightweight, flexible headband that folds away when not in use and are very popular option for runners.

The Look: With a summer which has seen the sun shining almost every day, it is important to keep cool and finding comfort in your attire is therefore essential. I particularly like the Gymshark compression top range as it doesn’t squeeze the life out of you and has a snug fit which is breathable.  The ranges are really reasonably priced as well. I often use the Skins range in the winter months which are seriously effective in keeping the muscles extremely warm during those cold mornings.

I have no experience of these, but if you want to take your wearables to a real extreme, Athos’s Compression Capri Tights have embedded sensors which offer real-time biometric tracking, from muscle activity to calorie expenditure. These sync with an app, telling you which muscles are firing and how much they’re being exerted. Wow, I will be investing in a set at some point I am sure,

The Accessories: Hydration is key, especially when the temperature is high like it has been in recent months, choosing a water bottle to go around with you can provide you a surprising dilemma. Now even your water bottle has become ridiculously smart. The Hidrate Spark tracks your water intake and glows to remind you to drink. It’ll tell you when you’ve met your daily goal and syncs with your Fitbit or Apple Watch to monitor your hydration. Insane! It is not what I personally choose to use.  I often just go for a lightweight, clear bottle so I can see the level with an easy to consume cap and don’t spend crazy money.

The Apps: I am not a massive user of apps and have limited knowledge on the market which is highly saturated in running and general fitness applications.

If you’ve got all the gear but no idea, I recently heard of the FizzU app which will act as a personal trainer in your pocket. The app creates tailored workout and nutrition plans, as well as motivational add-ons, which are optional blocks of cardio, abdominal and stretching exercises.

The old favourites of Strava, Mapmyrun and Runkeeper are continuously updating and will always supply a decent application in tracking your running during your training.