New runners often get tripped up when it comes to gear. Without the experience of hitting the pavement (or treadmill) regularly, it can be hard to know what gear will be integral to running and what will become superfluous. It can be tempting to run out and grab all the latest gear out there. But the best product really depends on the user’s personal running goals. Are you training for a race, or do you just want to jog a mile or two when the weather’s nice? What’s your typical running routine? Do you care most about simplicity, flexibility or performance? Bottom line: choose technology that will keep you motivated and moving forward.
For the first-time runner
If you’re just getting started creating a more regular routine, choosing a running app that loads onto a smartphone an easy way to get started. There are dozens of great apps out there, such as MapMyRun for tracking route and pace, or Runkeeper for more advanced training plans and personalized goal setting. No matter which app you choose, a good-quality fitness armband can securely hold your phone in place on runs.
For the training novice
If you are prepping for your first race, however, a GPS watch would be a smart choice to help you better understand how you’re performing as you train. GPS watches typically have more sensitive sensors than smartphones, so they can capture your pace, distance, elevation, and other data points with greater accuracy. They also have longer battery lifespans, which is a big plus when you’re training for long distances.
For the crosstrainer
And then there are those people for whom running is just one piece of the pie. If you like all sorts of workouts, a fitness tracker or fitness watch can give you a more complete view of your daily activity. Besides tracking your distance and pace when you run, many models now offer built-in sensing for stationary activities like yoga or weightlifting. These wearables can also monitor your heart rate and sleep patterns, and some can even be programmed to prompt you to get up and move.