The Latest in Wearable Tech–Guest Post by Sara Upton


The following guest post is written by Sara Upton, and focuses on some new options in terms of technology devices for runners and other fitness enthusiasts. If you’re at all like me, you’ve got your Garmin (or whatever you use) from 5+ years ago, and you haven’t thought about upgrading/buying something new in years. It may be time to reconsider, because these options sound really interesting. Enjoy!


Are you always asking yourself: Is there something that I can do to better prepare myself for my next marathon? For that matter, is there anything I can do to help myself be a better, healthier runner in general?

With health technology and the dual-purpose nature of mobile technology on the rise, the simple answer is: of course there is!

The success of the wearables market is booming.

Many people already sport a wearable technology device that supports fitness and/or sleep tracking, much to the benefit of their personal training and overall health efforts. While wearable tech devices aren’t necessarily everyday occurrences just yet, Verizon Wireless notes the following: “Technology market intelligence company ABI Research says wearable computing devices will be the norm within five years.”

With the recent drop of the Samsung Galaxy S5 and the upcoming delivery on the health interests of Apple, the takeaway is that industry giants are interested in health. They are planning to provide viable solutions for individuals with health issues and a heavy want for a more healthy lifestyle than they currently maintain.

On the point of current maintenance, your workout doesn’t necessarily need to go digital, that’s not the point.

What’s important is your ability to now use your smartphone in concurrence with wearable devices to check up on your progress and, in some cases, to gain readily relevant diet information.

Check out these popular wearable devices to see which may work best for you in your struggle to go above and beyond in your training or workout routines.

Jawbone Up24

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The Jawbone Up24 is, in design of the actual wearable hardware, a very bare-bones fitness device at first glance.

The device itself pairs with a neat app just for the hardware, and it communicates with iOS- or Android-powered devices via Bluetooth.

The device tracks all of the vitals, of course, including steps taken, calories burned, etc., but what makes this device and its accompanying app most useful are its abilities to track sleep in addition to activity.

There are two impressive new features available to the Up24. First, the “Today I Will” feature puts you in control of your own goals. The other notable feature is Milestones. Milestones take the form of the longer-term goal, helping you reach goals like walking a million steps or burning a certain amount of calories two weeks in a row.

At the same time, the Recent Activity and Lifeline views will organize all of your expected and actual data into graphs for you to clearly monitor your progress.

Withings Pulse O2

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The Withings Pulse O2 is a nifty device whose dual screen offers very useful statistics for individuals who suffer from health issues like asthma but still like to exercise.

The device has an onboard heart rate monitor and a blood-oxygen level indicator that may be really beneficial when used correctly. This is an especially useful feature for climbers.

Overall, this is still one of the best pedometers on the market if you’re nit-picky about how accurate your readings are. In addition, the ease of syncing with your phone and the data-rich accompanying app have all the necessities in one space.

The LED screen on the Pulse O2 shows all of the following: steps taken, distance traveled, elevation climbed, estimated calories burned, and the time.

It also has the ability to track your sleep and read your heart rate.

Misfit Shine

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If you’re into the screen-less and minimalistic side of life, the Misfit Shine may be just what you’re looking for. The self-proclaimed “world’s most elegant physical activity tracker,” the Misfit Shine delivers in that department.

With no screen and the ability to wear the device almost anywhere (meaning on your person and physically anywhere, even underwater), the Misfit Shine has all the makings of a silent tracker that will help to enhance your training and workout routines.

The Misfit Shine is a more barebones tracker than others mentioned here, but even the small amounts of data it does provide are more than enough to ensure that you’re on track with your training or workout schedule for the week. It even counts swimming as an activity and is the only one of these three that allow underwater use.

Tracking walking, cycling, swimming, sleeping, and running, the minimal aesthetic inherent to the device’s design also extends to the data.

All data tracked by the Misfit Shine is pitted against a daily goal that you set for yourself, which you can change at any time.

The device tracks both how quickly and intensely you move based on your personal information to give a reading on the amount of steps you’ve taken, the distance you’ve covered, and the amount of calories you’ve burned. It’s a great way to reach any goal you may have for yourself while keeping the device tucked neatly out of sight if you prefer.

Truly a device for all sensibilities!

If these just aren’t what you’re looking for, you can always check out what CNET has to say about some other options.

Seriously, wearable technology is everywhere, and if you look you’re sure to find something that fits the bill for your workout or training routine!

 

***Legal mumbo-jumbo/disclaimer: Some, but not all, of the links for the products that are mentioned in this post are affiliate links, which means that I earn a small commission if you click the link to make a purchase.***

The Day After National Running Day

National Running Day was yesterday, and it was quite the exciting day for runners around the country. Many races offered 1-day sales, running stores had all kinds of promotions, and there seemed to be nothing on twitter but running day love.

National Running Day 2014

Why Do You Run?

Dare I say, it was almost a little too much?

Do We Really Need a National Running Day?

What is the point of National Running Day?

Was it created to help bring runners together as a community? To encourage non-runners to take up the sport? For some other reason?

Is it just a time for us runners to talk about our PRs to our non-running friends? Because seriously, we all do this WAY too much already.

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Non-runners already tend to dislike us as it is, whether it’s because we cross the street without looking, blow snot rockets without missing a beat, or simply because they are secretly jealous. Do we really need to rub it in their faces by having our own “holiday”?

In a word, abso-fricking-lutely!

Runners are Freaking Awesome

The thing that I love most about being in the running community is how supportive we are towards each other.

Whether you’re on Day 1 of Couch-to-5k, or you run freakishly long races, other runners are always willing to offer encouragement, advice, a gel, water, or anything else you might need a long the way.

Case in point–I recently flew up to Virginia to run the Blue Ridge Marathon, and a fellow runner that I had never met in person asked me if I needed a ride from the airport to my hotel?

Really?

Who else would do that besides another runner? That’s right–no one.

I hope you were able to enjoy a run yesterday, Nikki. And thanks again for the ride.

National Running Day All Year Long

The only thing I don’t like about designating the first Wednesday of June as National Running Day is that it only happens once a year.

But the spirit of National Running Day is within us each and every day, and that is something that I’m going to keep in mind on this blog and on the twitter going forward.

Yesterday, we were all willing to support and encourage runners of all shapes, sizes, and speeds.

Let’s do it everyday!

If you want to support and encourage other runners every day, and not just on National Running Day, I want you to join my tribe as a member of my new Facebook group.

I want to cheer for you during your races, and I hope that you’ll cheer for me during mine as well.

Because that’s what the community, running or otherwise, is truly all about.

 

Let’s Keep the Spirit of National Running Day Alive for 365! Feel Free to Share This Post on Any and All Social Media Channels, and Please Invite Other Runners to Join Us! 

Blue Ridge Marathon–Been There, Run That!

This past weekend, I headed up to Roanoke, VA, to run in the mountains for the Blue Ridge Marathon.

While the trip was a blur (flight up Friday afternoon, race Saturday morning, fly home Saturday evening), I think I might have developed a little crush on the city of Roanoke and really want to head back for a longer visit soon. If you’ve never been in that part of the country, I can’t encourage you enough to go for a visit.

The race was advertised as the “Toughest Road Marathon in America”, and while I haven’t run every road race in the country (yet!) I can’t imagine finding one that is more difficult than this one.

I knew before the race started that the hills (let’s be honest, mountains) were going to be a challenge. I mean, living in Florida means we run on flat ground only. Sure, we have a couple of “hills”, and we can always run the overpasses, but we basically only run on flat surfaces.

And the only surfaces we didn’t run in Roanoke were flat.

Oy vey….

The race started out with a bit of a climb. And by a bit, I mean 7 miles. Straight up.

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Not Even Half Way Up!

Getting to the top of the first 7 mile climb was nice. Coolest thing, bagpiper at the top.

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There’s Nothing Better Than Bagpipes. Nothing.

Coming down the mountain provided a much needed break. I used to think that going down hills was harder than going up them, but that perspective changed long ago. I was flying down the hill, and I kept hearing people complain about the down hills.

I actually had to be reminded to slow down.

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Easy, Speed Racer

That first 7 mile climb was the biggest hill we ran, but it was far from the last. We kept going up and down for the entire race, which sucked, but there were some awesome views and gorgeous neighborhoods that we got to experience.

Looking Down on Roanoke

Looking Down on Roanoke

And since the hills never stopped coming, there was no shame and stopping or walking on occasion. No matter what the signs say.

So I Stopped. Do Something.

So I Stopped. Do Something.

Not a PR, But Still a Great Race

Going into the race, I knew that a new PR was out of the question. My A goal for the race was to be sub-4:30. A more realistic goal was to be sub-5:00, and I crossed the finish line at 4:52:10.

Not too shabby.

In Race Commentary

Looking back on the race, I’m really glad I took the trip north and ran the race. I got to meet some of my cool twitter friends in person, and knocked another state off of the list.

But during the race, I wasn’t quite as excited about what was going on. Check it out for yourself.

Did You Run the Blue Ridge Marathon This Year? How Did You Do?

If You Didn’t Run It, What Do You Think About Running a Marathon in the Mountains?

It’s Almost Race Time

Three days from now, I’ll be finished running America’s Toughest Road Marathon.

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How’s that for self confidence?

The Blue Ridge Marathon is happening on Saturday, and I can’t wait! I’ve been looking forward to this race for awhile now, though if I’m honest, I’ve been a little nervous about this race as well.

You see, as a naturalized Floridian, we don’t really have many hills to train on. In fact, the (only half-way joking) legitimate hills we have are actually road/highway overpasses.

No offense, but overpasses don’t quite measure up to the Blue Ridge Mountains. There is an advertised 7,500 feet of elevation change over the course of those 26.2 miles.

You could say that I’m slightly unprepared for this race, but I’m not sure that would accurately portray how this race is going to go. I know I’m capable of handling the miles, but the hills are going to kill me. If I can make it in less than 5 hours, it’ll be a win for me.

Just Having Fun

No matter how the race goes, the goal for this weekend is to just have fun. I’ll be flying up to VA on Friday morning, running the race Saturday morning, and flying home Saturday night. The travel itinerary isn’t ideal, but it is what it is.

And this way I can blame the lack of a PR on the condensed travel schedule! Hehe.

If any of y’all are running Blue Ridge this weekend, I’d love to meet you guys! Let me know, or give me a shout on twitter, and we can meet up at the expo.

And if you see me curled up along the side of the road on Saturday in the fetal positions, just keep going.

I’ll be ok.

Boston Marathon

Boston 2014

Every year, runners like me stop and dream about running the Boston Marathon.

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Then last year happened.

When those bombs went off last year, runners bonded together like never before. All across the country, different communities and clubs hosted races to help raise money for the victims, and to proclaim that the running family is as strong now as ever.

I’ve wanted to run Boston for a few years now, and while I’m still over an hour from qualifying, the dream is stronger now than ever.

So while I’m not running it this year, I’m there in spirit.

Run fast guys. Enjoy!