Running USA estimates that some 17 million runners lined up for running events in 2016 ranging from neighborhood 5k’s all the way up to the Boston Marathon. Whether you’re putting in walking miles and working your way up to your first 5k or looking to get that Boston qualifying time, there’s a wide range of apps and wearables out there to help you set a PR this year. Here’s our roundup of 5 running gadgets, apps and tech for more miles and smiles.
Get Started with Pacer App
Many runners start with a walking regiment before they jump into races, 5k’s and half marathons. The Pacer app is a global, social pedometer app that focuses on community challenges to get users out and racking up steps. They also offer challenges for when you pick up the pace a bit and become a runner.
“We have a lot of people using the app for informal step challenges at offices and schools,” said Mike Caldwell, co-founder of Pacer. “Our more popular walking challenges have 50,000 participants a week.”
You’ll be competing with walkers from all over the world when you log into the Pacer app, which can help motivate you to get out there and get walking as you work toward running.
Earn Rewards for Running with VEA
Jonathan Maxim wasn’t a runner when his brother suggested they go for a run a few years ago. Seven miles later Maxim was exhausted, but he realized that the body and the mind were more powerful than he’d ever thought and he wanted to share that feeling with everyone he could. So he started Vea, a fitness app that rewards you for running and working out.
“I was inspired to share that motivation and to make it accessible to anyone,” he said. “What better way to do that than have brands pay you for your workout?”
Vea users can earn rewards by going for a run or cross-training at the gym. Your workouts could earn you rewards like discounts on running shoes, free power bars, and cheaper race registrations — you could even get sweepstakes entries.
“We take the social component seriously. We use positive incentives to drive working out,” Maxim said.
Consolidate Your Trackers with Ticwatch S & E
If you want to track all your running data, a current set up might include as many as three devices—a GPS watch, a smartphone tethered to the watch and a heart rate monitor. Ticwatch carries all of that on your wrist in one smartly designed, Android Wear powered wearable.
Ying Zhou is General Manager at Mobvoi, Ticwatch’s parent company, and in charge of the US rollout of the watch. The Chinese company launched Ticwatch S & E on Kickstarter, pulling in over $2.2 million in 17 days from excited runners. Though it launched as a Kickstarter, the watch will be available at major online retailers soon. “It’s a truly optimized smartwatch,” Zhou said. “The design is optimized for people who have an active lifestyle.”
Ticwatch integrates with popular fitness tracking apps and lets you take music on the go—without having to bring your phone along.
Talk to an AI-power Personal Trainer with Vi
A personal trainer or running coach are natural investments for serious athletes, but they can also help budding runners develop solid training habits. But who wants to pay for a trainer when they’re just starting out?
Enter Vi, an Artificial Intelligence powered-running coach you can talk to that also adapts to your fitness level.
Vi is made for runners who are just starting out because it will learn your habits. “We want to start from the beginning because we want VI to grow with the users. We want to go through the obstacles they have,” said Menachem Brodie, Fitness Consultant at Vi.
Sleep Better with Calm.com Sleep Stories
Elite running athletes routinely get 8-10 hours of sleep a night. While most of us aren’t likely to run a three-hour marathon any time soon, sleep is important for runners of every ability. Getting a good night’s sleep can mean the difference between a solid training run or bonking after a mile or two—and, it’s never been easier to use technology to help you get a good night’s rest.
Calm.com is combining technology with a tried and true method of helping you drift off to sleep: bedtime stories…for adults.
Get out there
These gadgets, apps and tech will make it easier than ever to track your progress and get a little motivation—but, it’s still up to you to lace up your shoes and hit the road. Get out there and start logging the miles, and hopefully, a lot of smiles with all this technology.
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