Old school stopwatches definitely have their place and purpose when it comes to training, even in today’s fast paced technology driven society. Calculating quick laps on a running track is as easy as a touch of a split button on a simple Timex watch. Now, with the ever changing fitness industry, people have more options than ever to find ways to increase their game with data driven training programs. If you’ve decided to make the next step up to elevating your running performance, you’ve probably given some thought to updating your equipment and training program as well. Increasing your mileage, joining the local running clubs for track workouts, and investing in a lighter pair of trainers have all probably crossed your mind when you plan out your future training; but did upgrading your fitness tracking device? Investing in technology may be just what you need to set new goals and most importantly, achieve them.
Need a little help deciding why a fitness tracker might be the fit for you? Continue on to read some of the many benefits data can supply for your running:
Whether it is short or long term tracking, fitness trackers can monitor it all. Keeping up with your weekly or monthly mileage has never been easier than it is now. Most fitness trackers will keep a running total for miles covered, averages, and personal bests. Store the data on your wrist device, or upload the data to your computer. Analyzing your training has never been easier or faster. Being able to track trend patterns in your fitness is one of the best ways to determine if a training plan is working for you. Having data fields that can analyze increases in overall fitness which include: heart rate averages, VO2 max, and sleep data. Fitness changes do not happen overnight, and sometimes it is hard for us to see the big picture when we are living day to day. Having a program that charts out monthly fitness trends will allow you to make necessary changes to training that will improve your performance.
Running long miles or solo workouts are never an easy task. Having training partners can make even the toughest of runs seem enjoyable. Though technology may not be able to replace a real life training partner, it can certainly try to help! Fitness trackers now have many different features that make it more enjoyable than ever to achieve your personal goals, without losing focus. Most devices will include storage for personal achievements and notifications when a personal best has been broken. They also can help you stay connected to friends and training partners through online programs that allow you to upload your runs and rank your times. This can help to create a competitive social environment to boost your incentive for your next workout.
We don’t all have a coach attending every run to inform us when our running technique is starting to slip. That would be great, but it is not always possible. Now with the technology in fitness trackers, you can! Think of it as a personal running expert on your wrist. Some fitness tracking devices allow the user to analyze their running form during or after a workout. The technology in these devices can break down each runner’s running dynamics to help analyze. This means you can track your cadence, stride length, ground contact time, and the oscillation of each foot strike. An average runner strikes the ground around 180 steps per minute, that’s 5,400 steps for even a 30 minute run. That’s 5,400 reasons you should be aware of foot placement and body position to ensure that you are getting the most out of your stride. Just one step closer to narrowing in on your performance goals.
One of the biggest keys to achieving higher levels of running fitness and performance is through consistent training. The key to consistent training? Remaining healthy. Massages, dry needling, acupuncture, and nutrition are all great ways to help ensure that your body can recover from training and is ready to go for the next session or race. Aside from the pre-hab and rehab we do to help our bodies, what about listening to our bodies? Fitness tracking analytics can help determine fitness levels as well as specific training loads our bodies undergo during a workout.
This is based through analytics such as heart rate, intensity factors, duration, and speed. Our bodies respond to varying training efforts differently and require specific recovery times for each. Being able to see this data can help determine what the next training day should be; whether you’re truly rested for a hard session or maybe that your body needs an easy day to reset. Being able to take a step back and ensuring that you are not overtraining is one of the most useful metric fields a watch can do to help you reach your optimal performance goals. As the saying goes, “work smarter, not harder.”
Whether you are training for your local 5k or the big championship, having a set plan in place to achieving your performance goals is the best path to success. Mapping out key milestones to achieve your fitness goals can help launch an idea into a reality. Having a fitness tracker to oversee and collect data is one of the best investments a runner can make to guarantee that they are getting the most out of each workout. From being a personal training partner to a biomechanics expert, fitness trackers can be the final addition a runner may need to boost their performance and reach their personal goals.