Technology: How it can help motivate you to run your first 5K Race

Technology: How it can help motivate you to run your first 5K Race

Greetings and hello fellow readers!  I have been asked to write an article for the upcoming Reagan Run 5K race regarding technology tools that one may use to help train and prepare for a 5K race.  I must preface this article by stating my love for running and being in the great outdoors.  With this being said, I am relatively new to running.  My previous experience encompassed running one or two miles here and there.   Running in a race was not something I had ever dreamed of doing, nor did I ever have the desire to do until three years ago.

I had recently began a change in my diet and wanted to loose weight.  Therefore, I began running again for both health and relaxation purposes.  My wife knew my interest in technology.  Truth be told, she knew if a gadget had a battery and a power button, I would probably have an interest.  So that Christmas, my wife bought me a Nike FuelBand.  I was immediately hooked by the thought of a device to help me track my activity.  The actual band would track steps, activity, and calories burned throughout the day.  I would then synchronize the FuelBand with an app on my iPhone and track my workouts, runs, and daily activity.  The unrealized benefit of the FuelBand was to not only to see the day’s activities, but also a tracking system to see the highs and lows in my physical activity, not just my runs.  Seeing the daily challenges and goals that I would set on the Nike Fuel app for my phone kept me motivated.  I would try and out-do myself each and every day.

Shortly after I began using the Nike FuelBand, I found the Nike Run app and was able to use the mapping, coaching, and social media features of the app to share my excitement of running.  It was awesome!  I would begin a run and my followers were able to see that I was out on a run and would “cheer” me on!  This was beneficial as sometimes I would loose motivation at mile 4 or 5 and then I would hear a cheer from the app.  These cheers from friends helped to keep me going.

The other benefit of the Nike Fuel and Run apps is that you can network with a group of your friends.  May it be Twitter, Facebook, or just your contacts on your phone, you can see progress and effectively try to out-do your friends in challenges and in earning Fuel Points (a value that Nike puts on all physical activity).    The best thing about the Nike Fuel app is that it is now available on any iPhone that is a 5 or later.  The phone will do the tracking of your activity.  You no longer need to buy a FuelBand in order to use the features.  This is a plus as I use my iPhone for music to motivate me on my runs as well.

There is a great deal of options for the beginning runner to help train, track progress, and to share results.  I of course can only speak to the Nike apps and equipment, but I do know there are a great deal of followers of the Fitbit Surge smart-watch, the Watch, and many other devices out there.  These are great tools to help motivate and keep you on target with your 5K goals.  My only suggestion is do the research on what you personally need for an app or tracking method for your fitness goals, as well as what is easiest for you to utilize.  So get out and enjoy the great weather and get in shape at the same time!

Andy McFarlane is the CEO at the Y in Dixon, IL, runner, kayaker and lover of the great outdoors.  You can follow Andy at his Twitter account @AndyMcFarlane74.