Fun Running Gadgets

by Jessica B. | January 17th, 2012 | Running

I started running because I thought it would be cheap and easy. Cheap, because all you needed was a good pair of shoes. Easy, because all you needed to do was to open the door. And in truth this is really all you need to be an effective runner, a good pair of shoes and a sidewalk/trail/road.

But then I caught the bug. I fell in love with running, and became obsessed with all of the extra trappings. How long was my route? What was my tempo? Was my heart rate where it should be? And most importantly – how could I get better, faster?

My first purchase was the Garmin 401. I loved it for the first few weeks; it told me how far I ran and where. I could track everything online, most of the time. But I ran in a heavily wooded area, and often times the tree coverage interfered with the GPS. While I am sure GPS technology has improved since my first investment, making this work for me was a struggle.

My next purchase was the heart rate monitor, a Polar with a strap wrapped around my chest, and a watch I wore on my wrist. It was great to be able to track my heart rate while I ran. I tried to make sure I was in the zone, and I was able to push a little harder. But for me, in all honesty, the heart rate monitor didn’t tell me much I didn’t know. If you run, you can feel if you are pushing things or not. My comfort zone on the HRM was easily measured by my own assessment of my effort. While I used the online tracking of my heart rate in the beginning, this soon became too much work. In the end the HRM ended up in the same drawer as my GPS.

My third purchase was my Nike iPod attachment. This was an easy choice because it was cheap. I slipped the Nike piece into a self-made shoe pocket. and Lance Armstrong started cheering me on on all of my runs. Basically this is just an upscale step counter, but with a twist. It talks to you. Sadly, I could never get this device to work accurately. I don’t run on a track, so I couldn’t adjust the step counter to my stride. The Nike online tracking software was by far the most annoying tracking software of the bunch, and I only used it about three times. In the end I retired it as well, because I started to get really annoyed with Lance Armstrong.

In the end, after all of the apps and gadgets, I am right back where I started. I have my sneakers and my front door. For me, running is really about simplicity. But for anyone who loves a good gadget, have fun!

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