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How technology can help you run a marathon
Has Sunday’s London Marathon inspired you to get into training for the race yourself? Here’s how we think technology can help you get into shape…
There’s no escaping the fact that it’s impossible to make it through a marathon without some seriously gruelling graft on the treadmill and plenty of muddy early morning runs in your local park. Yet bit by bit, technology is making the experience of training for the race a little easier. Here, the O2 Gurus run down the freshest bits of kit capable of easing you across that elusive finishing line, with help from this year’s Gadget Show Live 2014.
Watches now do far more than just tell the time. They also serve as the ultimate workout companion, keeping you updated on the length of your run, your speed and your heart rate. Models such as the Garmin Forerunner 610 will also show you if you’re managing to keep up with your targeted finish time. You can then review all your stats and achievements online.
Marathons are major physical exertions, making it vital that you pay attention to how your training is affecting your body. The iHealth Body Monitor is a great tool for this. It measures your weight, body fat and muscle mass, making it far easier to keep track how your body is reacting to your carefully regimented training plan. It’s fully compatible with major social channels, too.
Fitness tracking bands are everywhere in 2014, and for good reason. They can be remarkably beneficial to your mission to get fit: they track how many calories you burn, count your daily steps, and can also monitor your sleeping patterns to ensure you get the best night’s rest possible.
The Fitbit Flex (image above) remains one of your best bets – it comes with an effectively designed app which connects with the wristband via Bluetooth, and there are various different models to suit varying types of user. We got to try out the Fitbit at this year’s Gadget Show Live – and it’s certainly easy to understand what all the fuss is about.
The Endomondo app makes excellent use of a smartphone’s GPS technology to provide you with maps of your route, a recommended pace and details of ascents and descents. It’s fully hooked up to social media, too, giving you the opportunity to challenge your friends and send them motivational messages in real-time. If you’re a serious runner with a little more money to spend, it will also monitor your heart rate through a chest strap.
We also like Zombies, Run: 5K Trainer – a fitness app with a twist. It’s a personal trainer that also immerses you in your own horror movie, guiding you through a training regime whilst immersing you in a story of a zombie apocalypse, from which only you have the power to save humanity – just in case you needed any more motivation!
Don’t let the elements get in the way of your training. Clothing items such as the Nike Shield Flash Jacket are made with Storm-FIT 10 fabric to provide protection from difficult conditions, keeping water out whilst letting sweat escape at the same time. Thumb loops give your hands protection from the cold, whilst it also comes with smartly-placed pockets to protect your smartphone.
We also like the thinking behind the Sensoria Fitness Tracking Socks. They’re made with textile sensors which send data to your smartphone detailing your cadence (steps per minute), heart rate and information about how your feet are landing – especially useful if you tend to struggle with injury. They’re washable, plus they operate in real time, meaning it’s possible to monitor and alter your performance on the go.
Decent headphones are a staple item for the typical runner – and specialist models are making them increasingly suited to the experience of exercising. We like the Monster iSport Victory headphones – they’re a tad pricey at £130, but offer some highly useful functions to the runner in training. They come with a tangle-free cord – which, for a change, actually works – and are built with a hygienic, anti-microbial finish, making it easy to keep them clean and free of sweat.
The best in-ear option is the Yurbuds, which claim – with justification – to never fall out during a run. They’re made from soft silicone earbuds and contain TwistLock technology, meaning you’ll never be without your beats when battling through your latest training session.
Are you in training for a marathon or running event? What tech do you use to give you the edge? Tweet your responses to @O2 using the hashtag #O2Guru