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Published on January 13th, 2017 | by Michael

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Running and Technology in 2017

In today’s world, technology and fitness is on the rise.

Smartphones, GPS watches (now with built in HR optics), activity trackers, smart soles and apps are making a huge difference to training, racing and exercise in general, it’s incredible how much tech has evolved since the turn of the millennium when Garmin released their Forerunner 101 (many of you will know!) and when Strava, for example, first hit our smartphones in 2009.
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Since then, training has developed, ever so slightly, with runners now able to run at a set pace, heart rate or as simple as running a targeted distance. The inclusion of social media has also empowered how people share their experiences, Instagram in particular where millions, share their run with others, providing ideas – especially now that that there is a video capabilities to show examples, as well as YouTube too, where exercises and vlogs can be uploaded.

There’s the UK Run Chat also, that allows runners, beginners right through to veterans to ask questions, whether it’s about training, injuries, books or getting started in general, the online community has grown so much now, that they even have their own teams, blue or red.

Is it too much? We don’t think it is, if anything, it makes training that extra competitive while adding a positive twist. Using Strava again, there are routes that, when you run by them, offer times to beat. So if you fancy a speedy run or your block contains a speed session and there’s a section you’re eyeing up, you can challenge yourself against the leader in the lists provided – but they’re can be negatives to this, which we’ll get to.

The modern GPS watches and a few fitness trackers, some with HR reading features as mentioned, are able to track statistics such as, distance travelled, pace per mile, current pace, HR and even, where you are on your route after you’ve programmed it in – thing is, this can only grow in to more detail with more advanced features.

Watches such as the latest TomTom Runner even offers a map on display as you’re on the go, so, if the worst should happen and you’re slightly lost, the watch can take you home OR if you have a specific route you want to run, in terms of distance, you can pre-program this in via your computer, it’s incredible how far this kind of tech has come on!

There is also the growing trend of Virtual Running. The ability to run a distance to your liking and then you receive a medal for completing the race, all you do is pay a small fee to enter and run at your own time and pace – it’s that simple! There’s even an option to plot a distance in your country to run from and finish, this again, brings a competitive element as well as making running a bit more fun if it’s growing stale.

After all, this all does sound amazing but are there negatives? Some could say that it can be obsessive, checking hourly, for updates or too busy worrying about completing an objective on a specific part of a route rather than the training at hand or unnecessary going for a run, when you should be resting, to carry over a running streak you have so you’re beating someone online – like everything out there, just try take use it in moderation. For an easy plod, do you really need to track the stats? Is missing one run to rest really going to make a difference with online challenges?

Applying this to running diaries, blogs or simply uploading it to a running app makes tracking training so much easier to do – although there are a few out there, that would prefer to keep a written log of their training, total miles ran, if it isn’t broke, don’t fix it, right?

It’s an exciting time to be involved in running, we think. The amount of technology that comes in thick and fast is incredible and always impressing us, time and time again, improving training and competing too, while giving us a gentle nudge in pointing us in the right direction.

If you fancy checking out what we recommend, see the links below to get started or read up on the positives!

1: TomTom Runner 3 
2: Garmin Vivosmart
3: Strava
4: POW! Virtual Running
5. UK Run Chat 

There we have it! Has technology changed the way you have taken on training or made a difference? We want to know! Get in touch with us via our Facebook and Twitter pages!

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Written By Michael