If you go for a run and there’s no trace of it online, did it really happen? While veteran runners will groan at such data dependency, for many modern runners a jog isn’t over until it’s been uploaded, the results scrutinised for signs of progress and they’ve received a few “likes” and comments for their efforts.
Most running apps will track your run using your smartphone’s GPS, creating a map of your route, plus data about your pace and distance. If you use a smartphone you’ll probably have to strap it to your arm – the advantage of this is you’ll be able to use your device to listen to music and podcasts as you go; the disadvantage is that reaching the screen (particularly through a plastic rain protector) is a faff.
As you pile on the miles you may prefer to invest in a sportwatch such as those made by Garmin, Samsung or Fitbit – if funds allow, try to buy one with a built-in heart rate monitor and music storage, such as the Apple Watch 2, LG Watch Sport or the Samsung Gear S3.
Sportswear companies have been snapping up fitness app firms – Under Armour bought MapMyRun, Asics now owns Runkeeper and Adidas took over Runtastic. So expect more shoes and clothing with built-in accelerometers and heart-rate monitors – and to be pestered to buy more kit. And as these multinationals harvest more data from their users, one would hope the charges that some of them make to access premium features will get left on the start line.
Strava: Best for fierce competitors
Via your smartphone, TomTom, Garmin or recording device of choice, Strava does an excellent job of recording and presenting your efforts – particularly if you are triathlete type and want to keep all your disciplines in one place. It will also integrate photos, if you like to share panoramas with your strides. Moreover, you’re likely to have pals on the site already, which ramps up the social element.
However, Strava’s main draw is its “segments” feature, which…