You can’t run away from technology — not even when you’re actually running. And when it comes to crushing kilometres on foot, having a few running gadgets can benefit your progress. Tech helps runners like you in many ways, from providing the data you need to giving you some mechanical recovery assistance.
Whether you’re just starting to increase your running pace, adding running to a training program, or an ultra-marathon runner (go you!), everyone interested in this full-body cardio exercise can benefit from a running gadget.
This article will introduce you to the 5 essential gadgets for different running styles and levels. If you’re expecting a list of smartwatches, you’ll be pleasantly surprised to learn there’s more to running tech than just wearing it on your wrist. As a bonus, we’ll list a runner-up gadget for each style (no pun intended).
Before we jump into the list, we’d be remiss not to mention *the* running app, Strava. If you’ve ever chatted with a runner or are a runner yourself, you know about this must-have app. On the app, you can share your strides and images of your route with a like-minded community — and we’re all about community.
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The 5 Best Running Gadgets
Now, here’s the list of the top 5 running gadgets that are perfect for gifting your running-obsessed pal or buying for yourself to get motivated on the track, treadmill, or trail.
Best Gadget for Trail Running
Trail running takes you to dense forests (where you may get lost), muddy paths thanks to ever-changing weather, and challenges your legs to oh-so-many ascents and descents. You want a gadget that can handle the highs and lows of trail running.
Polar Grit X Watch
With the Polar Grit X Watch, you could be in the woods for up to 40 hours, and the battery would last. Apart from the long battery life, its military-level durability pushes this watch above others on the market. It has been tested in extreme temperatures and humidity levels, so whether you’re in the desert or on top of a mountain, this watch powers through.
It also has the classic features you need in a trail running watch, including GPS navigation, weather updates, climbing metrics, and training tip notifications. It weighs only 64 grams, so you can’t blame it for slowing you down. Running not your thing? This watch has 130 activity settings. It works for any fitness that moves you.
Runner Up: Garmin inReach Mini 2
When you prefer dirt paths to the pavement, you’re likely running further away from cell service, so it’s a great idea to have a satellite messenger in case you need to contact someone in an emergency. The Garmin inReach Mini 2 is super light and easy to carry. It links to an app on your phone, allowing you to send and receive short messages when you don’t have a signal.
Best Gadget for Long-Distance Running
Long-distance runners, this one’s for you. If the numbers 26.2, 13.1, or 10K mean anything to you, you’ll want to read about the top running watch on the market. (To satisfy your curiosity, a marathon is 26.2 miles, a half-marathon is 13.1 miles, and a 10-kilometre race is referred to as a “10K”).
Garmin Forerunner 945
This watch was designed for runners. It boasts every feature you could imagine — some you didn’t know you needed. The Garmin Forerunner 945 has enhanced metrics and tech specific for long-distance runners. Here’s a sneak peek:
- Garmin coach training plans custom for you
- Wrist-based heart rate tracker
- Access to multiple global navigation satellite systems, including GPS
- V02 max metrics projecting your cardio and aerobic capacity
- Measures pace, training load from the last 7 days, endurance progress
- Daily workout suggestions and recovery time advisor
- Full-colour mapping, precise navigation, and suggested routes
- ClimbPro ascent planner to monitor your distance, gradient, and elevation gain
As if you need more information, it also allows contactless payments and syncs with your music.
Runner Up: Bose Frames Tempo Smart Sunglasses
Long-distance running usually equates to long periods with the sun in your eyes. Protecting your peepers is essential, but with Bose Frames Tempo Sunglasses, you can listen to tunes, too! Their design allows you to hear your music and surroundings; they’re lightweight and aerodynamic. Really, they’re everything you need in a pair of hybrid sunglasses while clocking in the kilometres.
Best Gadget for Data Analysis (Read: Best Gadget for Tech Geeks)
We’re not knocking any tech geeks out there! In fact, we’re obsessed with analyzing data. We’re creating a system to track all the facets of health in one place. But we digress.
Garmin Running Dynamics Pod
Surprised to see Garmin on this list again? We’re not. Garmin has some of the top gadgets for runners on the market, and they’ve earned that recognition.
The Garmin Running Dynamics Pod is an itty-bitty attachment that you can clip to your waistband. It connects through an app and automatically syncs your data. What kind of data, you ask? All the stuff that science-leaning runners yearn to know.
This clip measures your cadence, ground contact time, ground contact balance, stride length, vertical oscillation, and a ratio of some of those metrics. These biomechanic metrics can inform you about your running form, review it, and tweak it, so you’ll perform better on your next run.
Runner Up: NURVV Run Smart Insoles
Pop these insoles into your running shoes and clip the tracker on the outside to measure your performance from the point of impact. With 32 sensors on the sole, they provide data on footstrike, pronation, and balance, which are metrics that no other device can accurately detect. Pretty neat, right?
Best Gadget for Beginner Runners
As a new runner, you’ll want proper shoes and technical socks to avoid foot issues, namely blisters. Before attempting a 10K, we recommend training and working up to longer distances slowly, especially when you’re breaking in a new pair of running shoes. Here are a couple of gadgets that will help you get motivated to start.
AmazFit Mini GTS 2
When you start running, you may lace up your shoes and head out the door. That’s fine if you have no interest in monitoring your progress and just need a jog every once in a while. But if you want to get serious about progress, you’ll need to track information to determine your baseline and strive for improvement.
The AmazFit Mini GTS 2 is a great entry-level smartwatch with basic features and an affordable price point. It monitors heart rate, calories burned, blood-oxygen saturation, and steps. When you start a run activity, it will track your route with GPS. The battery life is impressive, lasting 7–14 days on one charge, depending on your activity level. It’s sleek, thin, and compatible with Apple Health, although it uses its own app to display data.
For a user-friendly and inexpensive smartwatch to start tracking your running data, this watch hits the mark.
Runner Up: Beats Powerbeats Pro Wireless Headphones
There’s no doubt that music helps you find a rhythm, which is essential for running. Beats Powerbeats Pro running headphones offer excellent sound quality, wireless Bluetooth connection, and a comfortable ear hook to keep them in place while you move. Just make sure your volume isn’t cranked so loud that you can’t hear your surroundings. Run safely!
Best Gadget for Recovery
We’ve said it before, and we’ll say it again: Recovery is essential for progress. When you strain and stress your muscles, you need to give them time to repair. Doing so ensures that you’ll be stronger for your next sweat session. While stretching and massage can open the door to muscle repair, tech gadgets kick you through.
Want a hand-held machine that feels like a day at the spa? Enter Theragun PRO, your at-home massage therapist, without the awkward tension. This device is a motor-powered deep muscle treatment that can reach 60% deeper than a human massager at a customizable speed. Use this machine after an extended run for enhanced muscle recovery, deep stress release, and to soothe tension.
If the Theragun PRO sounds too intense, Therabody offers different levels — Elite, Prime, and Mini — to address all budgets and muscular needs.
Runner Up: Zyllion Vibrating Foam Roller
Foam rollers help release muscle tension, reduce inflammation, and help recovery. Add vibration into that, and you’ve got a gadget that will make rolling your muscles feel like a massage (instead of torture, which can happen if your muscles are sore and tight). The Zyllion Vibrating Foam Roller hits the mark with high-density foam and 4 vibration settings. It’s good for tight budgets and even better for tight muscles.
What did we learn?
Investing in a running gadget can assist you with fitness tracking, data analysis, and progress. It also helps motivate you to lace up your sneakers: Once you invest in a gadget, you’re more inclined to use it. So whether you’re a first-time runner or a long-time marathoner, having a gadget on hand (or wrist) is key to understanding your fitness.
The trainers at EverFlex have decades of collective experience in fitness programming, and we’d be happy to help you incorporate running into your fitness routine. Get in touch with us to learn more about unlocking your fitness potential and achieving your goals with our all-in-one training program.