I started running a few years ago. I don’t remember exactly how I convinced myself that I wanted to become a runner. It just sort of happened one day, and the next thing I knew I was running my first 10K.
I do remember how I felt the day I ran my first race, the Beaches Jazz Tune-Up run in 2011. I remember that runner’s high and telling anyone who would listen to me that they had to sign up and run next year.
I’m still running. I’ve run about a dozen 10Ks and even tackled my first half-marathon a year and a half ago. But, it’s a new year and I’ve made some pretty aggressive fitness goals for 2016. I want to get in better shape. I want to run a second half marathon this fall. I want to be healthier. And, just over two months into the New Year, I’m (kind of) on track to meet those fitness resolutions. But I struggle. We all do.
While trying to teach myself how to overcome those mental obstacles, I started to research how wearable technology could help me stay on track with my fitness goals. I mean… the wearable technology movement continues to gain speed. There’s been an explosion of new wearable products and everywhere you look at the gym or even in the workplace, you’re likely to see people wearing their tech. But where does one start?
There are so many great fitness trackers on the market—choosing the right one can become an impossible task. Trust me…I was lost. But an afternoon visit to the recently opened TELUS store at the Toronto Eaton Centre proved to be the best first step (pun intended). I sat down for a (free) one-to-one session with a Learning Centre Expert, who helped me figure out exactly how I could make the most out of every workout using the right fitness tracker for me. We chatted about my daily activities, my lifestyle and, most importantly, my fitness goals. I wanted to watch my heart rate, track my calories and monitor my sleep. I wanted to push myself with my workouts, and improve my overall pace when I’m running.
Out of the entire collection of fitness trackers in the store, we determined the Fitbit Charge HR (in black, of course) was best suited to my needs. The flagship Fitbit tracker that my Learning Centre Expert recommended based on our discussion, is a super-slim step-counting band, plus a round-the-clock heart-rate tracker that doubles as a watch with a small LED display. I’m wearing it now. It tracks my every step, my workouts at the gym and my sleep. It monitors my active heart-rate levels when I’m at work, when I’m working out with my trainer at the gym or when I’m resting. It then syncs the data to my Fitbit profile online, which was set up for me with the assistance of my Learning Centre Expert during my TELUS visit.
Eat, walk, workout, sleep, repeat.
The Fitbit Charge HR records all of the usual stats from my walk down the street, to a run or a gym session. I tag all of my activity later in the app and even use the MobileRun feature to help me keep track of my pace, distance, splits and routes. I’m data obsessed so I’ve been taking the Fitbit Charge HR’s data in the app and translating it into useful coaching. That coaching motivates me and that motivation has helped me improve my pace. But, there’s one other feature that I’m convinced has really pushed me and help take almost a minute off my per kilometer running pace…
I’ve used apps to track my average pace since that very first run. What I didn’t expect was that the Fitbit also offers built-in social challenges through its app to keep you motivated. The challenges are a fun way to help you stay motivated by competing with friends and family who are also Fitbit users. You can initiate challenges and invite your friends (after finding them through the Fitbit app for iOS) and monitor each others goal progress and achievements in the challenge. I definitely didn’t expect to get hooked on them. I mean, what better way to challenge yourself and stay motivated than to compete against old friends and new friends. Watch out Mark – I’m coming for you this week.