You can no longer blame the cold weather on your lack of exercise. Grab your sneakers and check out our top gear, apps and sites to get you up and out.
By Heather Camlot
The great thing about running is that you all you really need to get started is a good pair of sneakers. Once you’ve mastered putting one foot in front of the other, you can then employ the latest technology to make you faster, stronger and healthier.
Whether you want to complete your first 5K or set your sights on a marathon, we’ve got the goods and the guides to get you there.
I swear by my Garmin Forerunner to track my time and distance, but I’ll be the first to admit it’s not exactly pretty. In the Suunto Ambit, runners get a GPS, altimeter/barometer, 3D compass, thermometer, and heart rate monitor all wrapped up in a sleek-looking watch that may very well find itself worn in the course of the every day. $525, MEC.
For a more funky look to accompany on your long or short runs, the Nike SportWatch sports a rectangular design with a back and lime colour combination. Like other running watches, it tracks your runs with GPS (though it continues to knows your route even where signals are blocked), your heart rate and your calories burned, and you can then load all the date onto Nikeplus.com to see how you’re coming along, get coaching tops and share your personal best. Comes with the Nike+ shoe sensor. $199, MEC.
Running without music is, well, in my opinion just impossible. A good beat can get you moving, push you through a tough moment (hill, anyone?) and drive you across the finish line. The Nano clips onto your clothing and is controlled with a simple tap or swipe with your finger, no fiddling around mid-course. With 8GB or 16GB, you have plenty of room to store your favourite running tunes, and with the built-in accelerometer you can track your workout, which can be uploaded to Nikeplus.com for stats and charts). Plus it comes in seven colours – to match your mood and/or your running clothes! Starting at $129, Apple.ca.
Learn to run, get walking, or train for a 5K, 10K, half-marathon or marathon – if you’re ready to get up and go the Running Room’s Online Training programs can get you there in a way that fits your schedule. The program includes an online instructor, as well as a training manual, curriculum, logging software, clinic evaluations and of course “workout buddies” via the discussion board. $49.99, Running Room.
If you prefer to take your trainer with you, this app from Active.com won the 2012 Appy Award for best healthcare and fitness app and ranks in iTunes’ Top 100 Apps. Pick your coach by personality, train three times a week, progress at your own pace, sync the app to your music, and track how far you’ve come on your iPhone or online, and stay on course with GPS. $2, Apple.ca.
When you’ve become sufficiently addicted to the adrenaline rush of making good time, you may be struck with the insatiable desire to see if you can cross an actual finish line. And if that finish line happens to be in Madrid or the North Pole, all the better. At the AIMS site you can find races of all distances listed by date. We suggest picking a location close the beach…you’ll need a good rest afterwards. For local, national and North American races, visit the Running Room’s event and race listings.
First published April 2, 2012, on WorkLivePlayCafe.com