I didn’t do any training yesterday, wasn’t feeling quite right and after work the evening was spent sorting out wedding plans at the Hotel, so feeling a bit guilty today but will swim at lunch and run after work. Need to try and get out on the bike tomorrow as well, not been on it since the Steelman for one reason or another.
Anyways the subject of this post, Technology. I was reading my friend Michaels blog the other day and he’d written a very interesting piece about how technology affects our lives, does it make it better etc? So I thought about this from a runners point of view and yes I think it makes a massive difference.
When I first started running over 25 years ago the hobby was very very different. There was one running magazine, Athletics Weekly, this was the runners bible. Inside you’d find adverts for all the races that you could enter. Also it was the place to buy your running shoes, there were very few specialist running shops and certainly none in Barrow. You had to pick your shoes from the adverts for Bourne Sports or Sweatshop, most of mine came from Bourne as they tended to have the best offers. You had to ring up and order them and hopefully they would arrive in about 3 weeks. There wasn’t much choice other than Nike or New Balance.
Now if want to enter a race we can search for them online and enter at the touch of a button, or we can order running shoes from anywhere in the world without so much as picking up a magazine. But the internet has made running easier or should I say given runners greater advantages than before, they still have to put the training in. You can get training schedules, advice on injuries, talk to fellow runners, and wade your way through more advice on nutrition, physiology and fitness than any library can hold !
These days virtual athletic clubs exist, you need never meet your fellow club mates but you can belong to the same group. As a member of an actual athletic club you may think I think thats sad but it isn’t, its still bringing people together with a common interest. If it wasn’t for the internet I’d have never met some great friends through the runners world website : Fat Face, Dave, Viking, Min, Loon etc… There is still a place for local clubs and most of us belong to one.
The internet has also widened where we run, it was almost unheard of 25 years ago when my Uncle ran the New York marathon and then later the Paris marathon. Nowadays both events would seem passee to most, with the internet we can enter races any where in the world including the Amazon, the Sahara and Antartica. I have already raced twice in Florida because I’ve found and entered races online. This summer I’ll be racing at Disney World in a triathlon, the internet has also given me the tools to find bike hire as well. Running has boomed world wide because of the net, more people can enter more races, anywhere, the classic example of this is any Ironman race. You have to enter online and they sell out in minutes, years ago only a few knew they existed.
Booking accomodation, flights etc….all are now easy to do, basically everything is more convenient due to the internet.
Injuries are being treated through technology, 10 minutes of video analsis with a computer and a treadmill and my running problem was diagnosed. I couldn’t run but after that and given the correct insoles to wear I’ve not been injured ( touch wood ) and am runing strong. Years ago such a problem would have been missed.
I could also mention, Heart rate monitors, gps systems, bike computers, mp3 players…..all technological advances that make our training more informed and comfortable. We can now download and analysze our training runs and rides and get just about any data we want. Gone are the days of running a route and then driving round it in the car to see how far you went, now you just look at your wrist, or in the case of the Nike ipod+ lance armstrongs voice comes through your ear phones to tell you !! No need to go home and get maps out to work it all out on the kitchen table, just bring your online maps up and it’ll also give you profiles and elevations. This is the age of Geeky running and I love it, I’m a self confessed gadget freak. Does it make me run faster? I think it does, I love seeing my mile splits and then trying to beat it in the next mile, watching the speed on my bike and trying to maintain it…….data can be a great motivator.
So Technology gets my vote, I think its made our hobby more convenient and accessible. There will not be one person that reads this that hasn’t benefitted from it wether that be online shopping and race entering or training data being recorded. Even Blogs can help keep people motivated, writing mine has ben one of my biggest motivators – keep training to have something to write about etc….
Purists will say you should just get out there and run, leave all the crap behind, and yes thats great sometimes, but you can’t escape technology…..see that drifit t-shirt you’re wearing or those Nike Pegasus, all designed on computer and probably bought on one as well. And don’t get me started on our bikes……the stuff of science fiction when I was kid.
Wonder what we’ll see in the next 20 years ?