Today’s Tuesdays on the Run topic is Running Gadgets and Technology. If you have a blog, I hope you’ll link up with me, Patty from My No-Guilt Life, Erika from MCM Mama Runs. Your post can be on the topic of the week or on any running related topic. Check out the other blogs linked below to find some new favorites!
There are two pieces of technology that I cannot imagine running without, although I did run for several years without either back in the BC (before children) years. My two must haves for running are my Garmin watch and my iPhone. If you’d asked the same question three months ago, I would have added my iPod to the list because I almost never ran without music.
Back in the 90’s, when I first started running, I would measure out a distance using the odometer in my car and then judge my pace by (I apologize in advance to younger runners who might shudder at the antiquated and basically cave-man technology about to be described) looking at the clock when I left my apartment and then looking at the clock again when I got back. OK, I’ll wait a minute while we all digest that… I didn’t even run with a wristwatch, I just ran based on feel and I actually learned to pace myself pretty well. I ran the entire Gate River Run 15k without a watch and finished exactly in my goal pace, so it worked surprisingly well.
Now I’m on my second Garmin 10. I originally got it because it did interval beeps for the Galloway method. The first one broke right before the Glass Slipper Challenge and while I rigged it up to wear it for the 10k, I knew that my McGyver fix wasn’t going to hold up for the Half the next day, so I scooted over to the Fit2Run at Downtown Disney to get a replacement. I probably should have done some research to see if I wanted to upgrade, but I didn’t want to mess with something new the day before a half marathon. I did upgrade to the purple color though!
I’ve got a full review of the Garmin 10 here, but the basics are that it gives me my current pace, my total distance, and the time. It can do one-mile splits or splits on demand (what I use when I’m doing repeats). I think the GPS is very accurate, however it can take a few minutes to get the signal at the beginning of a run. I guess it’s possible that I COULD run without it, but I really just never do. I like knowing my current pace so I don’t start out too fast and don’t slack. It’s also great for pushing myself during my speedwork. I love that my runs are all uploaded and stored so I can go back and review them to see what my splits were, what the elevation was and even what the weather conditions were.
I also never run without my iPhone. If it’s rainy, I put it in a ziplock bag, but I don’t run without it. So far (knock on wood), I’ve never had to actually use it on a run, but it is so good to know I have a way to contact my husband or the police if I need to. It’s my safety net and it gives me great peace of mind to know that I can reach out for help if I get injured or sick on the run. It’s also great in a race situation for keeping myself entertained during a long wait in the corrals, taking pictures during the race (I am a blogger after all!) and for letting my family know I’m finished if they aren’t at the finish line!
I used to run with my iPod all the time. The concept of running without music was absolutely inconceivable for me. In fact, back when I ran in the past, I either carried a walkman cassette player (talk about old school) or later a special CD player that was super skip-resistant (that was really heavy and still skipped!).
So, when I started running again a couple of years ago, the iPod nano seemed like the best invention ever (ok maybe after air conditioning). I tried wireless headphones, but the cheap ones I got were crappy so I stuck with the wired ones. I even figured out the best way to thread the wire down my back so it stayed out of my way.
About two months ago, when I really started to work on my speed, I decided to try running without any music (here’s the post that got me on that kick). And I really enjoyed the freedom of just focusing on my form, my breath and my surroundings. And then it got hotter. And hotter. And now that it’s July, I find myself dreading my runs and wanting the distraction of the music again. So for the first time in two months, yesterday I took my iPod along and really enjoyed it. It did help turn my attention away from the oppressive heat and humidity, the panting and sweating and the nasty yellowfly who decided to chase me for a block.
So, while I think I’ll leave the music at home once it cools off enough to do my repeats again (um…Halloween?), I am going to start using it again for the summer. I figure that anything that gets me out the door in the Florida summer misery (sorry to be dramatic but I just hate the summer here so much) is a good thing.
So those are my favorite running gadgets. What is it that you can’t run without?