4 ways to track your running workouts
Get faster and fitter by setting goals for your runs. Here are four ways to use technology to stay on track
Record your runs
Sure, running is a fun and simple workout when you’re playing it by ear. But if you want to see if you’re getting fitter-or faster-you need a way to track your progress. Luckily, there’s a lot of technology available nowadays to make it easier, from GPS and heart rate monitors to shoe pods and online coaching tools.
So how do you pick the gear that’s right for your needs? First, figure out what you want to know: Is distance and time enough, or do you want to track your routes and how hard you’re working? Next, think about what will motivate you-do you need the assistance of online coaching tools, or want to post running updates on Facebook or join a virtual running club? Once you’ve got your needs in mind, browse our roundup of running watches and tools to help you go farther.
1. Timex Health Touch Contact Heart Rate Monitor
Want to gauge your heart rate-and track how long you run-without messing with chest straps and expensive GPS? This entry-level watch will get you there. Measure your heart rate before, during and after your run (or while doing intervals) by simply placing your finger on the bezel ring; use the built-in stopwatch and countdown timer to help hit your goal times.
$75, at select retailers and timex.ca
2. Adidas miCoach
The miCoach running system tracks your heart rate and footsteps and connects with your mp3 player to coach you into target training zones for optimal fitness. Sync your runs with micoach.com to develop training programs, analyze your workouts and check your stats. (For a free GPS-only system and to try out micoach.com, download the mobile version for iPhone, BlackBerry or Android.)
$170 for Pacer Bundle, at select retailers and shopadidas.ca
3. Garmin Forerunner 210 watch with heart rate monitor
Like data and spreadsheets? You’ll love the endless information available through the GPS and heart rate monitor on the Garmin Forerunner. Track pace and distance and create up to five target heart rate zones (the watch will warn you when you go over or under). Upload your data to the Garmin website to view route maps, track performance and build goals.
$245, at select retailers and mec.ca
4. Nike+ SportWatch GPS
The Nike+ system has been around for years-it uses shoe pod technology to track your footsteps, and an online community for motivation-and they’ve been upping the ante lately with the GPS iPhone app and the new GPS watch. The SportWatch keeps track of your runs via both GPS and the optional shoe pod, using both for maximum accuracy (like when you run where GPS can’t always reach). As with all Nike+ products, you can sync to the website to log runs and create challenges with friends; fun features include celeb recognition for reaching milestones and automatic reminders from the watch when you haven’t run in five days.
$250, at select sporting goods retailers (visit nike.ca for stores)