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Fitness gadgets for running success

by Emma Dunn

I’ve just done something incredibly awesome or incredibly stupid.

I’ve just signed up for my first race – a half marathon in March.

I love running, and since taking it up earlier this year I literally crave getting up at the crack of dawn and pounding the streets – there is no better way to wake up and get you ready for the rest of the day!

Now I’m an old-hoodie and baggy tracksuit bottoms kind of runner, but I must admit I have a bit of a soft spot for my fitness gadgets. Being able to record your runs and see your progress is a great motivator and has certainly helped me along the way – there is no better feeling than hearing you iPod say you’ve beaten your personal best!

So what gadgets do I use? Well, when I was just starting out I had a bog standard iPod classic that I zipped into my tracksuit pocket and used the NHS Couch to 5k podcast. I’ve written about this programme in more detail elsewhere, but in a nutshell it is an ideal way to get totally novice runners to run for 30 minutes straight in nine weeks. It’s a great place to start and best of all, it’s free.

Once I finished the Couch to 5k programme, I treated myself to a 6th generation iPod nano. It’s much smaller, can easily clip onto whatever kit you’re wearing and is compatible with Nike +, an app that tracks your times, distances, calories burned and all sorts of other stuff when you’re running.

Back when I first got it, you needed a sensor for your shoe, but now all iPod nanos come with the Nike + functionality built right in. Personally, I believe that it is slightly less accurate without the sensor (I can trick it into thinking I’ve run further with short, bouncy strides) but it’s not a bad effort and is ideal for the recreational runner like myself.

In addition to having your history on you iPod, you can see your runs on the Nike + website, where you can set challenges, link with friends and connect to your other social networks like Twitter and Facebook. It used to be pretty glitchy, but recent updates have stripped a lot of the Flash out of it which has seemed to improve it somewhat.

So, with a half-marathon now looming, what gadget shall I turn to next? Well, I’m seriously considering getting a heart rate monitor (or HRM for short), which will allow me to monitor my heart rate while running and find my ideal pace for improving my stamina. I’m currently lusting after this Garmin number, so Santa if you’re reading this, you know what to get me for Christmas!

What gadgets do you use for training? Let us know in the comments section below!

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