The Unbreakable 1000 challenge is gaining momentum within our communities. Some of the participants have been asking about the variety of technology aids to help track your progress. We spoke to Carl Worrell, a former U.S. varsity track athlete and board member of CameronHelps, for some suggestions as you begin your journey.
CameronHelps: Carl, for starters, what type of information do these devices usually track?
CARL: The aps available in the market pretty much track all of the following information: speed, distance travelled, calories burned, route taken, elevation changes and total exercise time. A few also can give you leaderboard information to compare against your group and a section on achievements/challenges.
CameronHelps: Can you tell us about the free apps you would recommend?
CARL: The technology of the android and iOS phones means that they can record a remarkable amount of useful data about each run. They are most useful as they aggregate information or provide comparisons for runs. Each emphasize slightly different features and I would not want to endorse any one app, but I believe that Smashrun has a feature that works well for groups.
CameronHelps: Let’s start with the aps you would suggest and then go back to Smashrun…
CARL: Fair enough, any of these aps will do the trick: Strava.com; Endomondo; RunKeeper.com; MapMyRun and iRun
CameronHelps: Why do you like Smashrun?
CARL: While not a running app, Smashrun is a computer program that aggregates run information so you don’t have to do the daily or weekly addition. Data can be downloaded into Smashrun from either a running app above or a watch, outlined below. Data is aggregated by day, month, and year and comparisons are readily available.The feature that I like best is the ability to invite others to witness your accomplishment. We track each other’s runs in my running group, and it acts as an incentive whenever an athlete is tempted to miss a run.
CameronHelps: What about the run watches available?
CARL: These apps just mentioned should not be confused with the new technology in run watches. Garmin, Tom Tom, Suunto, and Polar are the best technologies on the market for run watches. The data collected by the watches is downloadable into the running app mentioned at the start of this story. The higher end watches now provide data on heart rate, elevation, cadence, stride length, oscillation and time on ground. Basically you have to be a high calibre athlete for any of it to make sense, or for it to influence your training, but in all cases we have more data than we need!
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