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Tech & Wearables

4 Innovative Gadgets Every Runner Should Try (At Least Once)

Each of these new gadgets has the potential to teach runners something new about the way they run.

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Remember that time you spent $250 on water-repellant running shoes? Yeah, me neither. And yet, someone must be buying them, because they’re out there. In fact, there are a number of expensive technologies and resources that are coming to the running world, some of which are discussed below. If you haven’t heard of these yet, you will soon:

Garmin Fēnix 5X

Want to run the trails but still have an accurate map of your adventures? You’ll have to cough up $650, but the Garmin Fēnix will do the job. It has built-in navigation censors that are perfect for rugged environments. Plus, it has all the fancy smartwatch capabilities we’ve come to expect. That being said, if you’re on the fence about making the splurge, you might want to wait. The next Fēnix is slated to roll out later this year and is rumored to have even more features, like music, digital payment and improved GPS positioning.

The Marc Pro Plus

If you thought you needed to be an elite athlete to get electric-stimulation therapy, you’d be wrong. While the Marc Pro Plus electronic muscle stimulator (EMS) is used by elite runners—think Jordan Hasay—you can get one for yourself for $950. So, what does it do? The wallet-sized machine sends high-frequency pulses to your muscles, calming nerves and shutting down pain.

The Masimo MightySat Fingertip Pulse Oximeter

Fitness trackers are so 2016. Why track your heart rate when you can gauge your oxygen saturation and respiration rate? The MightySat quite literally places a world of information at your fingertips. Once you fit the device over your finger, it measures your breathing cycles, the amount of oxygen in your blood and a bunch of other things you’ve probably never heard of, all for $400. The MightySat even connects to an app that helps you track trends in your training so you can adapt your running as needed. With a clientele that includes Ironman champ Heather Jackson, there’s no doubt that Masimo is on to something with its fingertip technology.

NormaTec Pulse Leg Recovery System

As a collegiate athlete, I benefitted from using NormaTec regularly. I’d slip on the hip-high inflatable “boots” and relax for 20 minutes while they pulsated my legs and massaged my muscles. That wonderful recovery came at a cost of more than $2,000. Guess who’s not using NormaTec any more now that she’s out of school? If your budget is like mine, keep in mind: There are performance centers where you can pay per session to use NormaTec. It might be worth it if you’re running heavy mileage and having difficulty recovering between runs.

Your first-place prize from the local 5K isn’t going to pay for any of these running products. They’re high tech, and “high tech” often means expensive. But judging by their popularity among elite runners, the cost might be justified. Whether you’re appalled at the thought of spending more than $20 on a running watch or you’re already pulling out your credit card, know this: No technology is a replacement for consistent training and a love of the sport. That, my friend, still has to come from you.


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