The best tech for the London Marathon: the gadgets I

    One of many issues I’m most pleased with in my complete life is how little I panic earlier than a race nowadays. 

    I was a whole mess, altering my routines, shopping for new trainers the day earlier than, consuming random inexperienced pasta in a bid to bulk up my glycogen shops. And don’t get me began on the quantity of know-how points I’d run into at 5AM on a race day as a result of I utterly modified how I’m going to make use of it.

    OK, at the same time as I’m scripting this, I do know that I’m mendacity a bit. Simply studying again my report from final yr yielded two failures on the tech entrance: I used to be up very first thing within the morning syncing one other marathon to run in opposition to, and I had no music on my watch.

    This yr, I do know the entire routine from prime to backside: that is the tech I’m going to be utilizing to get me by the race (and a few options for many who need one thing completely different).

    GPS watch

    As you’ll see later within the week in a future diary, the GPS watch is the tech selection of each runner on the market – ‘Which watch ought to I get?’ is probably the most common query I get from anybody entering into working.

    The nice information is there are such a lot of watches on the market to attempt as a runner, and at a spread of worth factors too – and the principle factor is you needn’t carry a cellphone to make use of them.

    I’m going for the Garmin Forerunner 935 although, because it’s an absolute beast on the subject of battery life and the guts fee monitor on the underside is definitely correct sufficient that I don’t want a chest strap. 

    It will additionally immediately add my run to Strava when it will get again in vary with my cellphone, so I can begin getting these all-important kudos.

    However on my different wrist I’m going to be utilizing the Apple Watch three, with my playlist streaming the entire manner although. ‘Gareth, why are you streaming music on the go? Isn’t that gonna kill the battery?’

    Sure, sure it’s. However right here at TechSwitch we like to check issues arduous, and what higher technique to see how lengthy the battery on the brand new Apple watch actually lasts than placing it into the fiery furnace of the London Marathon?

    (If, come mile 18, I now not have music, the above assertion won’t be of consolation to me).

    If you happen to’re pondering of utilizing your Apple Look ahead to a marathon, do not forget that the smaller 38mm model received’t final as lengthy and also you would possibly must have a spare Garmin or Polar gadget kicking round for the precise race.

    If you happen to’re searching for one thing cheaper, I’d completely suggest the Garmin Forerunner 235 or the Polar M430. The latter, particularly, is an underrated coaching watch / health tracker and will undoubtedly be thought of as a very good price range possibility.


    Once more, that is a straightforward one for me: the Aftershokz Trekz Air. Nonetheless the naming irritates me (no model ought to have that many Z’s in, except it’s a mattress firm. Or ZZ High) however as a product they’re good.

    The reason being easy: final yr’s Trekz Titanium have been nice companions for the race, letting me hear my music within the quiet moments however letting the roar of the group in when wanted.

    For the uninitiated, the Trekz vary makes use of bone-conduction know-how to ship audio into your ears, vibrating the sound into your cranium whereas leaving your ear holes utterly open.

    This implies you possibly can hear cheering, adulation, marshall directions and a grumpy older gentleman shouting at you since you’re ‘on his line’ – all of which occurred final yr.

    The brand new Air vary repair all the problems I had with the Titanium from final yr – lighter and the  buttons are simpler to press, which means they’ll be much more comfy. My solely fear is battery life, as I don’t use them in coaching on lengthy runs, so fingers crossed they maintain on…

    I’m additionally a fan of the Jabra Elite Sports activities headphones, however these are fairly expensive. Nonetheless, the brand new variations have extra cost cycles from the carry case and are available in a natty inexperienced coloration, alongside being comfortable wi-fi earbuds, packing coronary heart fee displays and accelerometers to measure your circuit exercises too.

    And for extra of a price range possibility, the Plantronic BackBeat Match headphones are one thing I’ve purchased for practically all my running-enamored members of the family – they’ve acquired a connecting wire however keep in place remarkably effectively.

    Coronary heart fee monitor

    If you happen to’re trying to discover out which chest strap I’m carrying, effectively… I now not put on one. It is a little bit of a difficulty as a result of I lose one important piece of data from the Garmin, which is my lactate threshold: ie, the purpose at which I start to fatigue.

    I do know it roughly, and I’ll be utilizing that within the race to verify I keep robust, nevertheless it’s annoying that may’t be executed by the optical sensor.

    I’d all the time advise going for the Garmin official chest strap when you’re going to purchase a watch, just because it’ll provide one of the best metrics in case your gadget can present you the extra superior dynamics, however in any other case the Wahoo Tickr X stays a very good, cheaper selection.

    Even the essential Tickr will do effectively for you – it simply doesn’t have the auto-tracking characteristic that I like. (Banging your chest to alter tracks can also be cool-yet-pointless too.)

    When in Rome…

    I simply acquired again from Rome, the place I used to be out working for the weekend on one other characteristic. Caught on the south aspect of the town, I made a decision to look to see if there was a Parkrun close by.

    Turns on the market was one in Rome – one in all solely 10 in Italy, and solely the second week it had been open… nevertheless it was completely miles away. I actually could not be bothered and had work to do.

    Nonetheless, one fast WhatsApp dialog with my working buddies later, and I used to be in a quite costly cab on my technique to the startline.

    You may see how the whole expertise unfolded on Twitter right here…:

    I wished to say it right here as a result of a) I would not have discovered this excellent expertise and not using a little little bit of tech, specifically me Googling for information, Google Mapping to seek out out the place it was, then chatting with buddies to be compelled to do it.

    It was so value it. The race solely had a number of marshalls, the course wasn’t marked, it was undulating and down tracks which did not actually have a path to run on.

    It was GLORIOUS and price each penny. I got here second, pondering I might have taken first in the beginning of the second lap however rolled my ankle and price myself a number of seconds ensuring it was OK.

    (The man in entrance was undoubtedly taking it simple although, so it was most likely by no means on the playing cards).

    It is simply these experiences that make life value residing as a runner – having a race briefing with the Vatican within the background cannot be overwhelmed.

    The one factor that does fear me is my psychological state – this time final yr I got here first in a Parkrun by sheer grit and dedication. That very same psychological fortitude wasn’t there out in Rome – I attempted however I knew there was a gear I wasn’t accessing.

    Hopefully that will not matter come the weekend – final yr’s marathon was an train in torture anyway – but when it does, I am somewhat screwed…

    • Gareth Beavis is TechSwitch’s Operating Man of Tech, bringing you a day by day diary as he counts all the way down to the large race on the London Marathon. He gained a spot within the media poll, however has paid full worth for his entry. You may see the complete story right here:
    • Day 1: Why tech can be your secret weapon this year

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