Unlock the Power of Wearable Technology for Running

Wearable technology for running gives elite and recreational runners a lot of information towards achieving a goal or hitting that PR. Many us of turn to technology to know more about our running, but it that’s easier said (or written) than done.

If you’re into self-tracking, quantified self, or just want to achieve a goal, wearable technology enables us to get really specific. The data gathered can be overwhelming: what to track, how to track, what is the data telling me? These are questions I’ve wrestled with in the past.

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The recent blast of wearable technology in the market is exciting, but can really create some confusion on how to best use it. Here’s a five step plan to get the most out your wearable technology for running.

1. Identify a Goal

Are you looking for faster 10K or finish a marathon? Come up with the goal and the technology can help you get there.

If you want to improve, the best approach is to have a goal. The gadget or device shouldn’t be driving your goal, you should be. I learned this first hand when I first adopted a smart phone for running. The data ran me I wasn’t running the data. After a while, I wasn’t quite sure what my running goals were anymore. I was too interested in what my mobile app was telling me.

When I used the Jawbone UP band for the first time, I was a little more restrained in the excitement category. What I was interested in was hitting my goal of losing weight when I knew I wanted at least 10,000 steps a day. Between running and actively walking around the office, the UP Band helped identify trends and realize my goal.

2. Select a Tool

Not exactly an easy feat but a lot of fun to research. Are you into mobile apps, smart fabrics, or hardware? Wearable technology can take on many forms.

When it comes to wearable technology for running, think about what’s comfortable. Do you want to where your tech all day long or just on the run? Is fashion important to you? What about ongoing maintenance?

Answer these questions to help guide your selection process.

Tip: Download the wearable tech app before a purchase to determine if the data output meets your needs.

3. What’s Your Base Line?

You have your goal and you have your wearable tech, but where’s the starting line? It’s an important question to answer and identify. To get the most of out of your wearable tech data, understand where you’ve been to see your progress.

What’s great about wearable technology are the apps that support it. You can access some pretty rich data that allows you to draw some conclusions about your training or your progress towards a goal.

Establishing a baseline means collecting data points of where you’re at to measure future progress.

4. Change Incrementally

To let wearable tech do it’s job, change one thing about your training and measure it. I’m suggesting one thing because you’ll be able to clearly attribute progress to it.

To use the faster 10K example, maybe you start doing tempo runs once a week. The introduction of this training strategy might begin to play out on those longer runs. If you start returning better times on the longer run, you could attribute that to the tempo run.

Your wearable tech will allow you to capture that info and then analyze it.

5. Collect Your Data

Here’s the payoff for all your tracking efforts. Every facet of wearable tech will offer some way to view your data via their app or website.

While I think these are great for goal tracking, you can take your data further with the help of third party dashboard like TicTrac. Here you can compile data in one unified view that allows you to make some conclusions about your activity. TicTrac will also pull in tracking information from other apps or devices. Instead of managing data across multiple platforms, use one and to really get the benefit of your data. Tictrac is just one example; there are others out there that will help.

Now you can start really make some insight conclusions on your training and make the appropriate changes or receive encouragement that what you’re doing is working.

Final Thoughts on Wearable Technology for Running

The wearable tech adoption rate is still pretty low but it’s growing. With announcements by Apple and Google with their respective Digital Health platforms, you can bet there will be a wave of ramping up coming soon.

Even with the support of these major companies, wearable technology has the challenging learning curve for products to be useful. There’s certainly a cool or “it” factor associated with this technology.

However, once that fades, does the tech wind up in a bedroom dresser drawer? I hope not. A planned approach to wearable technology as a training tool to leverage ensures higher adoption rates, success in reaching goals, and growth for companies and users.

What is your experience with using wearable technology for your running?

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