Metrics, Music and Miles
The 10 Best Gadgets to Give Your Running Partner
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More and more people are taking running seriously. They want to log metrics like distance, duration, heart rate and calories burned so they can stay fit and beat personal goals. Then there are even more serious runners training for triathlons, Ironmans and marathons, and they need more information, such as power, cadence and efficiency. Fortunately, in this day and age, there are wearables and fitness trackers that can help with all that and more.
Jaybird X4 Wireless Headphones
Released a few months ago, the X4s are one of the best wireless headphones for running, hiking and mountain biking. They’re small, comfortable and fully waterproof (IPX7), plus you’re able to tweak the sound settings via Jaybird’s iOS or Android app.
The dream of all Spotify subscribers — especially those that run — is to be able to leave their smartphones at home and still have their music. Right now there are just a few wearables by Samsung and Garmin that allow for offline listening, but they’re all pretty expensive. (And if you have an Apple device, I’m guessing you don’t want to deal with Samsung operating system.) This little device, however, called the Mighty Vibe, lets you do just that. It allows you to download Spotify playlists and podcasts (up to 1,000 songs in total) and you can connect your Bluetooth headphones, so you can run with music without having to deal with your smartphone.
Apple Watch Series 4
The Apple Watch has been the “best smartwatch you can buy” for several years now, and the Series 4 only makes the case stronger. It’s thinner, more beautiful and decked out with a bigger display than any other Apple Watch before. It’s great for notifications, fitness tracking, and quickly iMessaging friends. The only caveat: make sure the person you are shopping for has an iPhone. If so, they’ll love it.
Garmin Forerunner 935
This is a more serious running and multisport watch than the above Apple Watch. It can help said athletes training for specific types of races, such as triathlons, by tracking metrics and managing transition times. And other than being a really reliable GPS tracker, it also works with a bunch of third-party apps, such as Final Surge and TrainingPeaks, as well external sensors and power meters — all things that athletes depend on.
Belkin Fitness Armband
For those who still take their smartphone running, as they rely on it for GPS or streaming, these armbands are super helpful. There’s nothing innovative about them, but there doesn’t have to be — these armbands simply ensure you don’t have to carry or fit the smartphone in your pocket. (Belkin offers a variety of armbands that fit all smartphones. Check out the full catalog, here.)
Suunto Smart Sensor
To get the most accurate heart rate reading, you want the sensor to right over the heart. That’s why a chest-bound sensor will always be more reliable than the one on your wrist. It’s comfortable, easy to use, and great for a number of activities, including running, cycling, swimming and weight lifting.
Stryd is the first wearable for runners that measures power, which is arguably the second-most important metric (other than heart rate) that competitive runners care about. Power lets runners know the intensity of their training, and thus allows them make quick improvements to their workouts without overtraining. Knowing their power also helps them identify inefficiencies in form, technique and muscle strength — basically it helps them get faster. (For more information, read this article as three-time Ironman World Champion Craig Alexander explains why power matters.)
Scribe Labs Runscribe Plus
RunScribe is a more sophisticated (and more expensive) system than Stryd, as it provides more data. It tracks a bunch of metrics, including efficiency, shock, symmetry and power. It works with both iOS and Android, and is compatible with most Garmin smartwatches.
Tickr Fit Heart Rate Armband
For any runner who wants a realiable heart-rate tracker, but not in chest-strap form factor, there’s the Tickr Fit. It wraps around your arm, rather than your chest, and can track heart rate and calorie burn. And the best thing is that it’s compatible with a host of third-party apps, bike computers and smartwatches.
UA HOVR Phantom Connected
Not only are these really comfortable running shoes, but they’re also integrated with a chip that can track running metrics, such as pace, cadence, stride length and distance. Basically you can run without any gadgets, just your shoes, and still keep your running goals in check.
Don’t know what to get the people on your list? We’ve got you covered with our holiday gift guide.