It seems that every year, technology yields new applications for improving fitness. After the iPhone came out, developers made available apps to help people improve and track their exercise patterns. More recently, avid runners started using GPS fitness watches to manage volume and intensity to improve their fitness and avoid getting injured. While a smartphone can perform the same functions, the fitness watch is much smaller and lightweight and is dedicated to your running. Steven Rindner, a dedicated marathoner, uses his GPS fitness watch to run more efficiently and to improve his race times. While the cost is between $200 and $300, an avid runner finds price is no obstacle to better running times.
A GPS watch collects data while you run and displays it on the watch’s screen so you observe it during your run. You can download the data from each run to enable you to monitor progress over time. Some models will alert you during your run if your pace is too fast or intense and you risk injury. Also, these watches are waterproof so you need not worry about running in the rain or snow. Research shows that people wearing a pedometer tend to walk more. It stands to reason that if you wear a monitor for running, you will run more often and feel more motivated.
Additional motivation comes from the ability to view your progress graphically. Steven Rindner enjoys analyzing his results and planning his runs based on the data. He has seen improvements in his race times with fewer incidents of injury as a result of active monitoring of his runs. He also likes the fact that he can set his watch so that, when he stops for a traffic light or other reason during the run, the tracker stops, as well. So, his results exclude the time waiting for the light to change.
Certainly, a GPS fitness watch is not for everybody, but it can be invaluable for runners.