Thursday, 28 May 2015

Gadgets To Help Run Half Marathons


Running the Half Marathon
In the new modern world there is a lot of technology available to do just about anything you need. It is certainly no different when it comes to running.

There are all sorts of devices that measure distance, heart rate, calories burned and a great deal more. In the main though people will use some type of pedometer.

In this article though I just want to focus on those that I think will be useful without spending a fortune to get them. The truth is that you need none of these to help you run and complete a half marathon so please do not need to feel the need to buy them.

Remember, people have been successfully running this race for years without the need for gizmos and gadgets.

The only technology that you need to complete this challenge is the right kit and somewhere to run.

There are however some people who love gadgets and also find them to be very helpful in planning and measuring their own success. For those who are of that nature then these can certainly help you plan routes, distances and much more. Let's have a look at the individual gadgets available to do just that.

Best Watches for Running

There are quite literally now hundreds of these available in the market. They will include features like:

  • Heart rate monitor
  • Pace
  • Speed
  • Distance covered
  • Calories burned

The good news is that to get a watch with these types of features is relatively inexpensive. Now that said just be careful as some of the brand names can get what we would term "crazy" expensive.

Please don't get lured into thinking you have to spend a fortune on a watch that will basically be used to measure distance and times.

Here is a good link to a sensible review of the best 10 running watches - click here

Garmin Forerunner 220

When I started out I used the Garmin Forerunner 10 which costs around $90-100. This was a good watch and it has all the features that I liked. Eventually though I sold this one to a friend and bought the Garmin Forerunner 220.

It is much more expensive at around $230-240 but the reason I did this was because I was taking my running quite seriously and I wanted something that was very accurate. It has a ton of great features and also has the very useful heart rate monitor.

As I mentioned earlier though, it is still a gadget, but one that I have found to be really useful. If you take your running seriously, then this is a good one to look at.

It is thin, light, and has a color display and an easy to read resolution. The one thing I really like about it was that it was easy to use. Now I had already used a Garmin so that may have helped.

You can read other buyer reviews at Amazon by clicking here.

Using Nike + Website & App

This we believe is a really useful resource when it comes to running. This is a website where you can plan out your training runs and there is also an app that tracks all your runs using GPS technology. The real good news is that it is totally free and we like free a lot.

You can sign up from this link

Once you have signed up then click on the "Places" tab and from there you can begin to create your route. You click on a Google map and Nike the match that route to the existing roads and show you the distance of the route. This works anywhere in the world.

You can plan as many routes as you want and ideally you should have a route for each step of the training plan. Do this in advance and you will be well placed when it comes to start your training runs.

The Nike+ running app is available for both Android and iPhone users and here is a link to that application.

This will track your run via GPS and then synchronise your progress to your own Nike + account on the website.

You can even tell the app if you are doing indoor training on a treadmill, or whether you are running outdoors.

Ideally you want an armband to hold the phone to make this easier to work. It is certainly a great way of tracking your progress.

At the end of it all you will have full knowledge of all your running activity including your average pace, distance and times.

There are a lot of different results that can be displayed using this application. It will record your fastest times over set distances and it also synchronises all of your runs and progress. It runs in the background and easily integrates with any music player you may have on your phone.

Should You Listen To Music When Doing Training Runs?

This is a question that generates many comments. Some runners swear by this and some are against it. Personally we are not big fans of listening to music when running. We have no clear evidence to support the impact on performance. However, we have found it to be a distraction, and prefer to listen to what are called Podcasts.

Some runners listen to audio books, some listen to music and some don't listen to anything. It really is all about personal choice and the best way to find out is to try it out for yourself.

We would offer some caution in this though. If your training runs are being completed on bust streets and roads then if listening to audio, you can easily become unaware of traffic and possible dangers.

It is yet another reason why we avoid anything loud that blanks out basic background noise such as passing cyclists, cars and dogs. Staying safe should be your number one priority.

Types of Armbands

These are little more than a velcro strap with a pouch that hold your phone in place when running. If you decide to use phones and apps then we would recommend getting one of these. Typically they come with clear plastic covers allowing you access to your phone's features.

Again these are a personal choice and some people just keep their phone in their pocket.