When I registered 1.5 months ago for the San Francisco Half Marathon as a running newbie, I did it for the challenge. I have always been fascinated by numbers, analytics and challenges, so I wanted to see what would happen if I challenged my body to go from no running experience to running 13.1 miles.
During my half marathon training, I have been tracking everything that I care about: my fitness, sleep, heart rate, fat quality and muscles, to see how I progress throughout training.
Halfway through my training, something interesting happened. Seeing the results and graphs has fueled additional motivation to get out and run. The fact that I am tracking so many health aspects makes me more aware of them. I need to go running or my graphs will suck, I think. I need to sleep decently or my sleep score will plummet.
Wonder how I kept track of my progress? Here are the devices and apps that I used:
1. Runkeeper: running progress
Runkeeper enables runners, cyclists, hikers, and exercisers to track their outdoor fitness activities through a smartphone app.
I have been using Runkeeper for several years now. I love how their app gives me an overview of my runs on the home screen in the blink of an eye. You can see all run metrics from this week and last week, so you know how you’re performing compared to the previous period. I especially like the graphs showing my progress over time. It’s easy to follow how I am doing and especially confronting when I am not doing well.
2. Nike+: running mood, map & motivation
Nike+ is an app for Android & iPhone that tracks your runs and gets you motivated to keep going.
I started using Nike+ for the first time when I jumpstarted my half marathon training. It hooked me immediately. Nike+ is such a motivational app: It gives me a badge when I score a new record, like when I ran the fastest 5K, the longest distance and the fastest pace. On top of that, I hear a voice from a seemingly real person telling me I did well. It’s a small touch, but it makes a big difference.
Nike+ doesn’t show progress. Thank god, because the last thing I want when I’ve had a “bad” run is being confronted with it to let me know my pace and distance have bit the dust.
An extra thing I like about Nike+ is the visual component. The app has an interactive map of my run that shows when I hit each kilometer.
3. Basis Peak: heart rate, steps & sleep
Basis Peak is a sleep and fitness tracker, designed to help you get fit, sleep better, and stress less.
My Basis Peak Smartwatch has been my loyal companion since before I started this running journey.
It’s a smartwatch that continuously tracks my heart rate, perspiration, calories burned, all my activities and my sleep.
Throughout my half marathon training, it has proved again why I can rely on it. When I start my run, my Basis automatically shows my steps per minute and my heart rate. In realtime. That way I can easily understand when I need to slow down.
Afterward, I can see how my heart rate climbed, how my sweat levels faired and other metrics of progress.
4. Skulpt: muscle quality
Skulpt uses leading-edge technology, empowering you to achieve your fitness goals sooner. Measure what matters: body fat percentage and quality.
When I first found out about Skulpt Aim, I became intrigued by the opportunity to measure fat and muscle quality for every muscle. I could finally find out how my abs were and if they were really in a poor shape!
I got even more enthusiastic when I started using it. By placing the square, hand-sized device on your body, it measures your body fat and muscle quality and sends it over to your smartphone. You get a good idea of how fit your body is and how it progresses over time. Skulpt Aim breaks down “being fit” into your fat mass and muscle quality.
5. Misfit Flash: motivation
Sleek, sporty fitness and sleep tracker
The Misfit Flash is a round wearable that you can wear wherever you like on your body. It has red lights that tell you both time and how you’re progressing on your daily activity goal.
I don’t use my Misfit Flash to read my activity; instead, I rely on the red lights as good motivators during the day to get up and move. Whenever I go running, I always take it with me because it’s motivational to see how fast I could add up extra lights until I have a full circle.
6. Addapp: actionable insights in all data
Addapp delivers daily, personal insights into all your heart apps and wearable data through a free iPhone app
The only thing missing when using all those devices and apps, is a service that combines all the data and tells me how one health aspect improves another. Enter Addapp.
Besides that, Addapp tells me how I am performing compared to other Addapp users and let’s be honest, sometimes that’s the only egoboost you need to keep going.
— Judith Straetemans (@JudithStr) July 9, 2015