What has changed with fitness and working out over the years? What were the recommendations in the years past that we no longer follow?

Stephanieruns Fitness

April 21, 2019 Newsletter

How Has Running Changed?

This is the second newsletter in my series that looks at the changes in running, fitness and working over over the past twenty years. Last week I looked at how fitness and running has stayed the same. I think it's important to note we can reinvent and remarket the wheel but it remains a wheel. Today I want to look at the changes we've seen in fitness over the past twenty years. The basics of fitness have remained the same however, we have still seen in influx of technology which has changed the way we run and workout.

This week I asked on twitter if you think the technology and technological advances we've seen in running have changed how you run for the better. Over 80% of you said yes. So clearly you like the technological changes to running! I also asked what your favourite technological change to running has been. Most of you said running watches or shoes. We sometimes don't think about how much running shoes have changed over the years but we've learned more about running and running shoe companies have used to to adapt their shoes.

Over the past twenty years we have advanced technology especially sport specific and wearable technology. In the 2000's we saw the trend of fitness video games. Remember gathering around the wii fit to burn a couple calories with cardio and strength training? The will fit balance board brought strength training and yoga to a wider population of people.

After the wii fit craze we saw an increase in the wearable fitness trackers. Long gone were the simple step counters we now had a stylish wrist watch that counted out steps, displayed our text messages and gave us our heart rates. We could also challenge our friends and family to see who got more steps. Now there's been a lot of research that shows that wearing a fitness tracker alone doesn't change your fitness habits but I think it's been a good trend for runners. We have more information at our fingertips to help our training. I myself use a Polar watch which tracks my heart rate, sleep, steps and training workouts. I like having my heart rate and sleep tracked so I know if I need to adjust the intensity of my workouts.

Twenty years ago we didn't have the ability to listen to music as we ran. Can you image taking an old walkman or discman running? They were too bulky and heavy to take running. With the invention of the ipod and mp3 players runners are now able to listen to music as they ran. Treadmills also have speakers where you can plug in your phone or mp3 player and listen to music as you run.

We've also seen big improvements in running clothes and shoes. We have clothes that wick moisture and are more comfortable to wear. We have sports bras that support and breathe and shoes that help support us. With all the changes in clothing and shoes we have seen prices increase. This has taken a simple and supposedly cheap sport and run up the costs (pun intended.) However at the same time there are companies making quality workout clothes that are comfortable and moisture wicking at a good price. 

Even the way we register for races has changed. It's now pretty easy to register and pay for a race online. There's no forms to mail in or cheques to pay entry fees. You now can even pay for extras like medal engraving or parking when you register for a race.

I think that running workouts and running haven't changed much over the years however we now have this layer of technology which is meant to assist and better our training. Do you think running has changed for the better over the years?

Fitness Trackers

Over the past decade we have seen a rise in fitness trackers. They have become relatively affordable and accessible to the masses. Now runners have had GPS running watches longer than fitness trackers have been around. However with the increase in fitness trackers we are seeing changes in our running watches as well. 

There have been reports that fitness trackers don't change your fitness habits. You'll be the same athlete with or without your fitness tracker. However when I talked about fitness trackers on social media you brought up some fantastic points.

Wearing a fitness tracker can make you more competitive and more likely to get more steps. If you're challenging a friend or family member and they are a couple hundred steps ahead of you, you might decide to get up and go for a walk. If you're on a training plan this could mean you skip your rest day or get more 'junk' steps. It can be hard to stay true to your training when you're seeing people get more steps than you. It's harder to trust your training. This can derail your training.

Wearing a fitness tracker could have the opposite effect too. You could see all the steps everyone is getting and decide to bench yourself. You might think that you aren't good enough, and why bother training?

If you're wearing a fitness tracker you still need to do you. Trust your training and your plan. Don't let your fitness tracker change your plan or you might ruin your chance of reaching your goal.

Using Technology

Since we now have all of this running and fitness based technology how can we use to to help our running and working out?

If you use a fitness tracking website like Strava, you can log your gear and it will keep track of how many miles you've put on your gear. This is a fantastic way to keep track of miles on your shoes. You just need to be sure to track all of your runs so the program can keep track for you. This can help you avoid an injury by wearing your shoes too long. Although if you've been running a while you can probably know when you need new shoes.

If you have a fitness watch or tracker with a heart rate monitor you can use heart rate training to train smarter not harder. Your heart rate doesn't lie, it tells you exactly how hard you're working out. It's also amazing to see how you can change your resting heart rate and heart rate zones by using heart rate training.

You can use your running watch to keep you on track with your workout. Are you running within a certain zone for certain intervals? You can load that into your watch and it will beep if you're outside of your zones. That's like having a coach with you when you run!

Technology has provided some great changes for us as runners. What is your favourite piece of technology or gear that wasn't around a decade or two ago? How has it changed the way you run? Send me a tweet @srunsfitness and let me know! I think most technology has changed running for the better.

Did you know I offer one on one coaching virtually? I use Training Peaks and coaching calls to deliver you your workouts and help support you along the way. If you're looking to reach a new goal or distance we should talk, send me a message!

You can see the training plans I have for sale in my Training Peak's store

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Stephanieruns Fitness

461 North Service Rd West
Oakville Ontario,  L6M 2V5 - Canada

Website: Stephanieruns Fitness

Twitter: @srunsfitness

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Disclaimer: Always seek medical advice before starting an exercise program. This newsletter is not medical advice. Medical advice should be sought from a medical professional. Stephanieruns Fitness assumes no liability for any injuries or damages as a result of the above content.

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