Fitbits and other similar activity trackers have seen a surge in popularity over the last few years. But while activity trackers are great to get a feel of just how much walking you do and how many calories you burn in a day, they are not very useful for tracking your runs. Of the various Fitbit models, only the Surge can give you all the data most runners are interested in (pace, speed, distance)directly on the tracker, other Fitbit products except for the Zip and Ultra, can show you real time data but require you to have your iOS enabled phone. The same tends to be true of other brands of activity trackers: only the most expensive models have run tracking features. Be sure to do your research though, because if you have a favorite running app on your phone, not all activity trackers can be connected to all apps. Fitbit in particular has a very limited number of partner apps, while Garmin’s Vivoactive, for example, and has a much wider selection of apps that it can connect to.
Although Smart Watches, like the Apple Watch or the Samsung S Gear are expensive; they do have features that appeal to runners. Because many Apple and Samsung phones have native health apps, it comes as no surprise that their smartwatches have similar features that connect to those apps. Many smart watches also have 3rd party apps that can be download to the watch, such as Nike Running. The more popular smart watches also have the ability to connect to apps on your phone besides the native health apps, but do your research, as like activity trackers, not all smart watches can connect to all apps. So if you have a favorite running app, make sure that any smart watches you look at can connect with that app.
GPS watches tend to be the most popular bit of wearable tech among runners. While not cheap, they tend to be less expensive than Smart Watches and most activity trackers, as they only have the basic features that runners need. The most basic models track your runs and display your statistics (distance, time, and pace), some of the more expensive models have added features like interval timers and heartrate monitors. Most of these connect to either an app or to your computer. Major brands, like Garmin and TomTom can connect either directly to your favorite running app, or you can link your TomTom or Garmin account to the running app which can then access the information from your GPS watch once it has been synced.
Ultimately, wearable tech is not a necessary investment. Your smartphone can do pretty much everything you need to track a run. That isn’t to say that it isn’t a good investment, but as a beginner you are better off spending that money on race registrations, a good pair of shoes, or other running gear.
TMSM is very excited to publish the “Racing Disney” runDisney series by Addie Clark and Tali McPike. Please keep an eye out for more of their amazing and informative articles! If you missed of the articles in this series make sure you check them at www.themainstreetmouse.com/tag/addie/ and www.themainstreetmouse.com/tag/tali/
If you are planning on running in a runDisney event and have questions, or have participated and want to talk about your experiences make sure you visit our runDisney Forum at http://goo.gl/RLB5ka
- Racing Disney: The Importance of Tapering - January 4, 2016
- Racing Disney: Running (But Not Racing) at Walt Disney World - November 30, 2015
- Racing Disney: How Running Changed My Life - November 23, 2015