iRun ISSUE05 2015

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ERIN’S TECH

ERIN VALOIS , COLUMNIST

GIZMOS, GADGETS AND GEAR L

et’s be honest here: It’s easy to lose focus on your training plan. We’ve all done it. The start of the running year is new and exciting, but it’s hard work to keep that momentum going. Especially when the kids are out of school, the cottage beckons and long runs are interrupted by trips to the pool. Now that we’re in the swing of summer, here are some apps (and one important tool) that can keep you on track during those hot summer months when you want to be shoving ice cream in your face on the patio. (So instead you can shove ice cream into your face on the patio AFTER your evening run. Obviously.)

counting when you move. I’m always doing this awkward dance with my iPhone when I stop and start other mileage apps. Also, here’s a secret: I hate breaking in new running shoes. And as summer begins, it’s only a matter of time until my shoe disintegrates mid-race. Even worse, I always get into this terrible situation when I trudge into the running store because I’m starting to feel some pain in my shins and the salesperson holds up my shoe to show me how worn the tread is. But with the Milestone Pod, I know the total mileage of my shoes and I can actually use logic (I know, right?) to figure out when to get that next pair.

THE MILESTONE POD

KEEPING IT EXCITING

Great things come in small packages, and look no further than the Milestone Pod. It’s light and discreet—barely noticeable when attached to your running shoe. The Pod will keep you honest as you push through your summer workouts— the data provides a comprehensive look at your progress. Don’t get me wrong, I like the run trackers already on the market, but I appreciate the precision of the Milestone Pod. It starts

So, we’ve figured out how to make tracking your run a little more thrilling... but now we need to focus on the run itself. At this point in the year, it’s easy for boredom to set in: All your friends are talking about sitting outside after work, and then suddenly that evening 5K looks a little less exciting. How about a little reverse psychology? Bit Timer is an app that will make you regret putting on your shoes—at least, when you first try it out. You can

set up a variety of tabata intervals, customized to the time you need and it provides helpful chimes to tell you when to rest or start up again. I do a lot of tabata in groups—but I struggled to duplicate the effort on my own with a custom drill. Your legs will thank you. Eventually. We promise.

SETTING A BETTER PACE

There’s no better time than August to breathe new life into your workouts, and you need to start with the summer jam. Tempo Run is a $2.29 app that matches your playlist to your running pace by categorizing your songs based on their beats per minute. Your music is sorted into 10 different categories, with a 1 defined as a walk, and 10 being incredibly fast. Besides the fact I am guilty of making playlists that are too short, this helps me get into the right pace for a variety of workouts. When I listen to the same batch of songs, I find that I keep running

iRun because it makes my days so much better. — Ron Thurlow, Saskatchewan

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the same kind of interval. I struggle to slow down on my off days (I’m really bad at taking it easy) and this app allows for me to mellow.

WATCHING WHATYOU EAT

You don’t need to be a doctor to understand that the food you eat is just as important as your training. But I get lazy in the warmer months—I want to eat everything terrible. A food diary can complement your other workout records. I use MyFitnessPal. It’s especially useful because it reminds you to eat, which is a necessary evil when it comes to intense training. And if you’re feeling sluggish, you can go through your data and present a detailed account of your energy intake to pinpoint the issue. This can be especially useful if you’re a female distance runner and you need to monitor your iron intake based on diet. Erin Valois is the executive producer of digital at the National Post.

APPLE OF MY EYE PAD Running the Ottawa Marathon, I forgot I was wearing my Apple Watch. For one of the biggest tech launches, this sounds like a backhanded compliment, but I mean it as a compliment—like your sneakers, the last thing you want to think of when racing is tech. The Apple Watch is positively forgettable! It gives detailed readings of pace, heart rate and distance, and is the most accurate tools I’ve worn into battle. A luddite, I hardly have the thing working to its full capabilities—it could probably launch a missile; frankly, I just want to track distance and pace—but what I needed I received, full stop. I could even see my heart rate. Then there’s this: when not racing I still dress as if I’m 30 minutes away from my next half marathon. Pair the Apple Watch with florescent shorts and T-shirt and suddenly, you’re the best dressed in the room. — Ben Kaplan

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