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How much running technology do you need?

April 27, 2015 Ryan Schuster

By Mike Carlson

Today's fitness technology provides new insights into our personal performance metrics.

The question is, ‘Does it help or hurt you?'

Of course the answer to that question is highly personal; however, I will give you my take on this. During one run this winter before I went out the door, I made sure the following were all on and ready:

  • my stopwatch
  • a device to help monitor my current pace and distance
  • a device to monitor my heart rate
  • a Bluetooth pedometer that tracks my steps, syncs with a portal and gives me incentives for those steps
  • my smartphone to listen to music.

This technology allows me to better understand my performance, both during and post workout and it does provide me with the thresholds that I need to reach to improve my overall performance.

Here are some examples of wearable technology products that are gaining traction with runners.


Here are some 5K training tips.

With all the technology that is available now it's easy to forget why I run in the first place — to get lost in thought and at the same time challenge myself both mentally and physically. I have since learned that although this technology is here and fascinating, if I learn to do more with less, I have a better experience and performance.

What are your thoughts on wearable technology? What products do you use and how do you use them?

Carlson is director of consulting and wellness services at Blue Cross Blue Shield of North Dakota (BCBSND). Carlson is an avid runner and he has a bachelor's degree in athletic training from North Dakota State University and a master's in exercise science from St. Cloud (Minn.) State University.