comment courir connecté

Are you a connected runner?


The popularity of running is fuelling more and more technological accessories that allow us to measure basic data from our training sessions. Time spent exercising, distance covered, heart rate, average speed: running, 2015-style, leaves (almost) nothing to chance…


An appetite for staying connected

In the space of a decade, plenty of runners have got into the habit of taking their phone with them when they train. Do they just want to stay in contact with friends and family, or want to reassure thermselves? No doubt, a bit of both. A recent study showed that 41% of men and women now went for a run with their smartphone on them.

And what's even more remarkable is that 54% of runners will wear a GPS watch. This proves the mass adoption of a relatively recent technological accessory whose features have evolved dramatically over recent years.


Learning to run intelligently

You only need to bring up the subject with people who have been running for several decades to understand how far things have come. Dominique Chauvelier, a French marathon legend and creator of the concept of pace-setters, notes: "Before, we used to just train with a stopwatch. But not any more! It was never a question of VO2max (velocity at maximal oxygen uptake) or HRmax (Maximum heart rate)…

" Times have changed. Now, runners carry with them – in just a simple GPS watch – a tool that is capable of feeding back all sorts of data. These new training techniques are more fun, better calibrated, and certainly becoming more "scientific". But above all they guarantee better control over your progress.


A few tips:

- Use your imagination. This technology allows you to do an almost infinite number of different training sessions. However make sure you increase the distance covered and the intensity of your exercise gradually. Likewise, don't forget to include recovery periods which are vital both during a session and when switching between intensive and more moderate exercise.

- It's common sense, but worth repeating: comply with your heart's training zones if you are wearing a heart rate monitor.

- Don't let your GPS watch take over. It is best to religiously follow an approved training plan that takes into account your starting level and goals. So don't add pointless extra miles or modify the programmed time just for the "fun" of beating the records stored in your watch's history.


Don't become a slave to technology

If it's legitimate to want to measure your training more objectively and keep a record of it to analyse your progress, but it should not become an obsession. If this is the case, you might lose the enjoyment you get out of running going down that route…


A few suggestions:

- Whether it is good or bad, put the data from each training session into perspective. Pacing yourself throughout the season (as you gradually get better) will involve stronger and weaker periods. In other words, some days your legs and even your cardio will be better than other days. As a result, don't get carried away by euphoria or disheartened by a bad run…

- Do at least one run each week without a GPS watch or other electronic accessory (including your mp3 player and smartphone). The aim is to listen to your body and feel at one with your environment.


Many runners swear that they can't get through a session without their mp3 player. Others think that listening to music disconnects the body from the brain. According to certain studies, the notion of exercise is more tolerable when a musical beat sets the tempo. Nevertheless, keep in mind that you shouldn't turn the volume up too high as you still want to be able to listen out for any potential hazards…