Running tech is booming – stay one step ahead with our top picks from the latest gadgets
Running tech has been a hot topic for some time, but has only in the last decade become affordable and commonplace enough for everyday runners to access. The right tech can have a huge impact on your performance, whether you’re tracking your runs with a sports watch, using a massage gun for recovery or listening to a motivational podcast through your earbuds. But it can also be a minefield of techy jargon and unnecessary bells and whistles.
Here, we round up the best running tech that will make things easier as you strive for your next PB: clever, practical gear that we’ve tried and tested ourselves.
GARMIN Forerunner 745 watch | £449.99
Warning… the Forerunner could take over your life! The tech packed into Garmin’s smallest full-featured running watch is incredible. It will analyse your performance, training load and status, while with Garmin Connect you can select suggested routes or sessions. It can store up to 200 activities, while syncing to your Deezer or Spotify account. Plus, it will make sure you get all of your phone notifications and even tracks your menstrual cycle. It’s stylish and comes in a choice of black, magma red, whitestone or neo tropic. You can even pay for your post-run coffee with Garmin Pay. Genius.
SUUNTO 7 watch | £429
Part smartwartch, part sports watch, the Suunto 7 has a ton of tech under the bonnet, which might account for the size of it. It’s a beast, but a very attractive beast. You can control it via its main button as well as its neat touchscreen, which is a nice touch for those of us used to more analogue sports watches. There’s a bunch of stuff on here that you’d expect these days at this price point – heart rate, music, GPS tracking, activity tracking, and multi-sport functionality. But where it comes into its own is the stuff you don’t expect. First it’s powered by Wear OS from Google, so that means you get Google Pay, Google Assistant and Google Play. Useful. And the other mega thing is its free offline maps: you can use them to find popular routes, or find brand new ones, even if you prefer to run without a phone. Easy to set up and simple to use in action, it seems that Suunto has ticked all the boxes with this. It’s even beautiful – while you can opt for the plain black if that’s your bag, the rose gold/graphite version is just lush.
COROS Pace 2 watch | £179.99
What can I say? This watch may well be the new kid on the block, but it’s a serious challenger to the big name sports watch brands and it’s genuinely hard to fault. It’s great looking, super lightweight, and I love its slimmer and less chunky design that make it well suited to my smaller wrists, and particularly to activities where flexibility is essential. The setup was straightforward and it easily connects to sharing platform apps such as Strava. It is uber-featured with many innovative aspects, all the basics and lots more. With impressive GPS navigation, it can even calculate your stride length so you can keep measuring your cadence while running through tunnels. And, with thoughtfully designed controls, it’s wonderfully uncomplicated to use. It has a mega looooooong battery life which is a big bonus, but the best bit… its price tag. Phenomenal value for money.
ADDSFIT Mini Massage Gun | £99
I’m so impressed with the Addsfit mini massager gun; it’s a fantastic piece of equipment that’s compact, lightweight and packs a punch! Its ergonomic design makes the gun comfortable to hold and easy to use. It’s a solid, quality product that comes in a stylish carry case. I’ve found it perfect to use before or after a run to aid recovery, with the three different speed settings and two included heads. It lasts for up to six hours after a single charge, and will provide two weeks of runtime when used regularly. Not only that but it’s extremely quiet, so no embarrassing buzzing!
GROOV-E Light Curve Wake-Up Light Alarm Clock | £39.99
Calling all 6am runners, this alarm clock will help you wake up and get out the door. If you struggle to get up in the winter, this clock’s sunrise simulator will help you feel as if you’re coming round naturally. At the other end of the day, there’s a sunset simulator to help you get to sleep. You get a radio, too, and setup takes five minutes.
GROOV-E Sports Buds | £39.99
The Groov-e sports buds are great value for what they deliver. They were great to run in and stayed fi rmly in place thanks to the comfy ear hook design. With 28 hours of wireless audio playback, they also come in a really useful charging case that doubles up as an 1800 mAh power bank for other devices. It was really easy to set up and use.They’re also sweat resistant, and have a built-in mic for hands-free calls.
ACTIVBODY Activ5 Fitness System | £129.99
ACTIV5 is billed as a ‘Tiny Gym in Your Pocket’. It’s an isometric-based portable strength training device and coaching app: at first glance it almost fi ts in your hand and you think, HOW?! It offers to measure more than 90kgs of muscle force and to increase strength in users in less than six weeks. The app offers a huge amount of fun, varied workout routines, to suit all abilities. By squeezing the small pebble-shaped device you can work a variety of muscles, then take part in visual games to maintain and grow your strength ratings. This may not appeal to gym users, but can offer lots of options to a different type of resistance training if you explore the contents of the app.