Whether you’re heading for the finish line of your first 5K or training for your next marathon, there’s a running app that can help. Runners rely on fitness trackers, apps, and emerging technologies to hit their goals, improve performance, and prevent injuries.
According to eMarketer, fitness app usage increased 330% over the last three years. Next-generation technologies are transforming the running experience. Here’s a closer look at four ways technology is changing athletic training.
Why athletes use a running app or technology
According to a RunningUSA survey, 82% surveyed use a running app to track their progress, and 65% use them to train better. The majority of runners surveyed track mileage, and two-thirds do so using an app. Yet looking closely, other technology categories are emerging, with sophisticated feedback loops for runners: 21% used virtual coaching via an app, watch, wearable device, or online program, and 52% accessed training programs across the same devices.
Smart running app: the next generation of tech tools
Runners are moving toward technologies that integrate data collection, analysis, and features like GPS for convenience and constant feedback into a single device. Tools like this watch from Suunto have models that combine GPS and performance tracking for a variety of sports into one device. Other models track stress, sleep, and recovery, while simultaneously offering adaptive training guidance. The trend that’s unfolding is packing as many convenience features (like GPS and music), tracking capabilities, and smart feedback into something that runners can easily carry and wear.
High-tech running shoes pair with indoor training options
Smart technologies, including advanced foot scanning technologies such as 3DMaxx, make it easier to create customized running shoes and orthotics. In addition, smarter shoes pair with connected treadmills to take indoor training to the next level.
Dr. Velimir Petkov of Premier Podiatry, a board-certified podiatry surgeon, said in an interview for this piece: “Earlier this year, the German company Evalu.run introduced an insole sensor for runners at ISPO Munich. The sensor detects every footprint and provides feedback on the load of the feet while running. It allows you to track your workouts and boost your performance, ultimately turning your running shoes into ‘smart shoes.’ Runners can store their data for analysis and sync it with select treadmills.”
AI personal training coaches
Runners may not be able to keep a top personal trainer on retainer, but programs like AI-powered training coach app TrainAsONE offer personalized advice.
“Runners select a training goal (5K to Ultra) and their running availability, and the system analyses their running data to provide a personalized plan where the distances, paces, and workout mix are specific to that individual. It then adapts after every run or missed run,” explained David Brownlee, CTO of TrainAsONE, in an interview for this piece.
Brownlee also noted in the interview that in addition to increasing performance, the app helps reduce injuries. As many as 56% of runners suffer an injury annually, while the app targets a 3% rate among its users. “The key trend has to be using AI and big data to provide personalization, and to be able to provide an adaptive plan—so if a runner is improving faster than average, or if they cannot run for a week, the system can stay with them.”
Technology is helping runners better equip, train, and continuously improve while working toward their personalized goals. The entire running experience is shifting in response to new apps, technologies, and gear that’s custom designed with athletic training in mind.