How to run smarter with the right tech accessories

Summer is winding down, and by sticking to my nutritional goals and making an effort to fit more walking into my day, I'm already at the halfway mark to reaching my weight loss goals. After battling through a late summer cold that slowed me down, I'm ready to power through Autumn with a running routine supported by a few pieces of tech.

The Moov Now fitness tracker

If you've been following along with this column, you'll know that I previously advised against buying an expensive fitness tracker if you're only looking for something to track your steps, and I stand by those comments.

But the Moov Now fitness tracker is different, in that it's more of a coaching tool than a purebred fitness tracker. When you wear it on your wrist, it performs the basic functions of an activity tracker by tracking how active you are throughout the day via the Moov Now app. I like it especially because there's no distracting screen, no need to charge it nightly, it's comfortable enough that I can forget I'm wearing it, and it's waterproof enough for tracking swims or just wearing in the shower.

But the real fun begins with the in-ear coaching. Moov offers a selection of workouts and activities that work with the Moov Now to monitor your body's movements and provide instant coaching feedback via your headphones. By strapping the Moov Now to your ankle, it's able to not only monitor your time and distance progression, but also specifics related to your stride and how your feet land as you run.

Moov offers a selection of workouts and activities that work with the Moov Now to monitor your body's movements and provide instant coaching feedback via your headphones.

There are several different training modes for running and walking, which help you to train different aspects of your stride. There are programs for improving your form and run more efficiently, improve your pace and distance, or work on sprint intervals to burn fat. The feedback it provides is surprisingly accurate and helpful, offering quick tips on maintaining a steady breath, feedback if you're stepping too heavily or landing on stepping heel first, or encouragements to pick up the pace a bit. As someone who's definitely injured himself because of bad form in the past, it's nice to have a subtle piece of tech looking out for me.

It doesn't track calories or offer advanced metrics, but Google Fit still does a decent job of that for me. Plus, since it's an ambient fitness tracker I can comfortably wear it to sleep and get statistics on my sleeping habits as well. Plus, at $60 you can afford to buy two, which opens up the ability to do shadow boxing training.

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Other necessary apps for a solid run

Beyond Google Fit and Moov Now, there are a couple other apps that I use on runs. I've been following along with a Couch to 5K app to jumpstart a running routine and work my way up to running in a 5km fun run.

I've personally settled on C25K Pro because I like the look of it and it doesn't have too many unnecessary bells and whistles — key when I've got four apps working at one time. I've run into some overlap where the C25K program is telling me to slow down to a walk while the Moov Now app wants me to pick up the pace — clearly these apps weren't designed to be used together, but it works well enough to keep Moov Now for the coaching tips and the C25K app for the interval training towards increasing my endurance.

That fourth app and final app? Spotify, of course. I absolutely need music to enjoy my workouts, and Spotify Premium is packed with a ton of awesome playlists specifically for running and working out.

Armband and Bluetooth headphones

I recently did a round up of the best armband cases for the Galaxy S8 and ended up picking up the Sporteer Velocity V150 Universal Armband because it looked comfy, was compatible with big phones like the Galaxy S8 and Pixel XL, and also provided ample storage for credit cards, IDs, a house key, and any other small items I might want to have on me. It lets me keep my pockets empty and my phone secure — it can even manage to fit my phone in a case!

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For headphones, I follow the same buying philosophy as buying sunglasses: I know I'm going to drop, smash, or lose them eventually, so there's no point in spending too much money on a pair.

As such, I've settled on the Aukey Sport Bluetooth Headphones which look kind of bulky in my ear but hey, for $20 sweat proof Bluetooth headphones they will definitely do the trick for me on runs. Maybe once I'm doing 5km runs in stride I'll upgrade to something more hip and flashy, but for now, Aukey has me covered.

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Are you ready to run?

What workout tech have you tried? All combined I spent around $100 for my three running accessories — a modest investment towards improving my running stamina and endurance. Have you found any accessories that work especially well for you? Let me know in the comments!

Next time, I'm going to be looking at body weight workouts you can do around the home using minimal equipment — plus a little help from the Internet!

Read the previous entries in the Tech For Your Health column!

Marc Lagace

Marc Lagace was an Apps and Games Editor at Android Central between 2016 and 2020. You can reach out to him on Twitter [@spacelagace.