When I first ventured into the world of running for health and fitness, I didn’t really have a plan or any idea of how to be effective. I’d run around my neighborhood aimlessly, and usually, I found myself fatiguing far earlier than I wanted to. I even ran into a few injuries here and there, pun intended. But, when I introduced technology to my workouts, my running lifestyle transformed dramatically. I found direction and goals through data and feedback, and this helped me develop a much more effective and result-driven routine. I’d like to share today the two areas of technology that turned my running lifestyle around for the better. Apps Since everyone and their grandma has a smartphone these days, apps are an easily accessible resource to help runners. Most running apps will provide you with route tracking, in-depth metrics that record your heart rate, calorie burn, gradient changes and pace. This kind of data helps runners to compete with previous data by giving them concrete goals to strive for and proof of their improvement. “Strava” is a fun app you can use for tracking your routes. It runs through a GPS system, and the results can be shared with your friends via social media, which can be its own source of motivation. However, I do feel it’s necessary to run your activity through a secure network when using these kinds of apps so that you can keep your information and location private. Another app that has caught the attention of the running community is “RunGo.” RunGo gives voice commands to the user so that you don’t find yourself looking down at your smartphone screen when you need directions, which can be unsafe and distracting. This is especially useful if you’ve just moved to a new area or if you wish to learn new routes to mix up your running sessions. Smart Devices Smart devices can go hand in hand with running apps if you can link the two together. Most devices will come with an app attached and are light and easy to use. Clipping a small device to your clothing or wearing a band around your wrist is barely noticeable, and it can provide in-depth, accurate feedback about your performance. I find it far less patronizing to hear feedback and data through recorded metrics than through a fitness trainer or instructor, but perhaps that’s just my stubbornness and pride. However, regardless of my personal downfalls, this technique works well. It accurately tracks the data and points to where you can improve. This, along with some commentary from a trainer if you have one, is a good recipe for improving fitness. My favorite smart device is the FitBit, as it’s versatile and can be used for other fitness activities. It can accurately record your heart rate, calorie burn and duration, and it also tells you when you’re in the “fat burning zone,” which is when your body enters a state that enables it to shed fat and calories faster. Again, this type of technology helps runners to see how and where they need to make improvements by using real evidence and data to help us make effective changes to their efforts and routines. Overall, technology, specifically apps and smart devices, is a great way to improve as a runner. These tools give you all the information you need to activate the competitive and analytical side of you that will push you towards better results, which will help you feel more accomplished and more motivated as a runner. Author Bio: Caroline is a health and tech blogger with a passion for running. She enjoys combining technology and feedback to improve her running abilities and to track her progress. Follow Caroline on @ehealth_inform.