RUNNING IS ESSENTIALLY A LOW-TECH SPORT,
and that’s key to its appeal – all you need is some basic apparel and a decent pair of shoes and you’re good to go. But there’s no doubt technology has made aspects of running better.
We’ve come a long way from the pre-gps-monitor days, when runners would have to estimate their distance with a map and a piece of string, or drive the route afterwards to record it on the mileometer. As we explain in our Tech Special on page 57, today’s running gadgets can analyse your gait, estimate your VO2 max, measure your blood haemoglobin and help you sleep and recover better. There are even socks that can measure your foot strike patterns.
Of course, it’s true that it’s still the person who has to do the running, and there is a risk that in becoming obsessed with your vertical oscillation you can lose touch with the simple joy of the activity. But if you can find the balance between analysis and fulfilment, there are performance benefits to be had in harnessing the power of running tech. I recently had the opportunity to run in the shoe worn in the much-publicised attempt to break the two-hour mark in the marathon, the Nike Zoom Vaporfly 4% (which we look at on page 68) and they really do feel fast, with a springiness that encourages a quick, forward-leaning gait. Of course, I’m no Eliud Kipchoge, but whether elite or mortal, when it comes to running easier or better, every little helps.