These days there are gadgets that track your heart rate, sleep patterns, pace and even how much lactic acid is building up in your muscles. With all of this amazing technology out on the market it can be hard to know what is beneficial and what is little more than a flash gizmo. To save you the hassle we’ve done the research for you and come up with a handy guide to help you decide.
Sport watches are a go-to for runners, with many now tracking pace, distance, top speed and heart rate. They can be a helpful accompaniment to any run and can even provide coaching and performance tips along the way. Which watch you go for largely depends on your budget and how serious you are about your running. A good mid-level watch like the Garmin Forerunner 35 or the Polar M400 will do most of what you want, without breaking the bank, retailing for around £110 – £160. Both track your basic running metrics like distance and speed, as well as your sleep and have a decent battery life so they’ll last through the day and your run without dying on you.
For the more serious pacers, something like the Garmin Forerunner 235 can help to give you that extra level of insight into your performance. It comes with all the standard features plus a few additional bells and whistles like a V02 max estimate, recovery advisor and pace alerts. It also displays social media notifications and allows you to control your music via the display. This one will set you back around £250.
If you prefer things simple then a basic entry-level watch like the Fitbit Charge 2 for around £90 will set you right. It has GPS tracking and measures your pace, distance and heart rate. It also has a smart sleep tracking feature and can be hooked up to your smartphone to offer notifications on the OLED watch face.
If you prefer not to wear your gadget on your wrist then there are plenty of other options, like the Moov Now which can be strapped to your ankle. Without the need for a screen display, Moov Now wirelessly connects to your mobile device, offering voice coaching as you run and information on your range of motion, cadence efficiency and landing impact. It also has run and walk programmes that allows you to scale your training so you’re constantly improving and not getting bored with your workouts. The Moov Now retails for around £55.
Garmin does a similar device called the Running Dynamics Pod which clips onto the back of your shorts or tights. It measures cadence, vertical oscillation, ground contact time and balance. The only down side is that you need a Garmin watch to pair with this as it doesn’t work in isolation. It retails for around £50.
If you’re prone to injury or making your comeback then the Sensoria Fitness Socks could be a valuable addition to your kit bag. The socks are infused with textile pressure sensors that tell you in real-time when you are striking with the heel or ball of your foot, monitoring your foot-landing technique as you run, while also measuring your speed and cadence. The socks are machine washable and come with an anklet which transmits the data to your smart phone. Each pair, plus anklets, retails for around £150.
The Stryd power meter is unique in that it is one of the few wearables that focuses on power over pace. The small pod clip fits onto your shoe laces and measures the acceleration of your foot as it hits the ground, converting into your running power in watts. It also tracks your speed and distance and is Bluetooth compatible with all of the major sports watch brands like Garmin, Polar, Apple Watch, etc. Along with your power, Stryd can also measure your running load which can be used to monitor whether you are over or under training. The Stryd retails for around £190.
Warning: those stats can get addictive for us runners! Don’t forget to charge your devices and watch that pause button…