How does your Running Technology help you?

Jan 14, 2022

Spending more time getting ready to run than out on the road? Find out the essentials for the gadgets you have acquired…

Running becomes more popular on a yearly basis, and technology is rapidly evolving around it. But does it work, and do you need it?

Watches, shoes, heart rate monitors, pedometers, skins, compressions socks, tape, rollers, balls, thera guns the list goes on and on. It can get pricey and it can be a worthwhile investment. This will be more of an opinion piece on the different tech used in running, which I believe works consistently. I won’t be talking about prices or companies, everybody has different preferences – but hopefully this will guide you into knowing what will help your running experience.

  • Shoes
  • Monitors/Watches
  • Compressions garments
  • Tissue Release
  • Music and Water

What a discussion! And it does not need to be. Every brand will tell you they have the best shoe; fastest shoe, most supportive shoe, most minimalist shoe. Personally I go for the most colourful. However – what I can tell you as a practicing coach and sports therapist is…. Not a lot of it matters to performance. Your legs, body and aerobic system is what will dictate your running performance. Not your shoe. I would advise anybody that goes for a run, that comfort is the single most important aspect of buying a running shoe. Or maybe even comfort over distance – meaning that if a shoe starts to hurt your foot when you hit a certain point, and a previous model didn’t, then that could be a factor that influences your decision.

If you see a podiatrist that recommends a certain shoe because of your own biomechanics then by all means follow the advice of a professional. However I would strongly recommend you don’t make a decision based on a retail company’s advice after a short video. Get what is comfortable and what fits.

The drop that is spoken about refers to the angle drop between the heel and the toe of the shoe. It will be measured in mm and you will be told that the smaller drop is the better, or the smaller the drop the safer you are. Maybe in the elite 0.5% of the world’s runners this may make a difference, but not for most runners. Your running technique, mobility and strength are what will impact performance and injury rate – not what’s on your feet.

Beware the change. Some companies will bring out certain shoes that they say will give a percentage of performance. What I can tell you based on experience, is that extreme changes make a difference. If you go from a supportive shoe to a minimalist shoe – or simply one with a large heel cushion to hardly any cushion at all, there is a significant chance of injury. It will change your contact point on the surface, which although is small will shift load to different areas of the body with the repetitive nature of running. If you want to move from a supportive shoes to minimalist, do it slowly and build resistance, as you would with anything new.

Go for comfort at a distance! You won’t go wrong.

Monitors & Watches

Step count, distance, heart rate, resting heart rate, speed. This is what a watch will tell you. I believe the metrics and devices are simple to explain. If you run purely for enjoyment, you don’t need to bother with watches. They are designed to improve training and monitoring. If you run to destress and relax, I would recommend going device free!

Wrist Vs Chest heart rate monitoring. Without a doubt, chest straps are more accurate monitors of heart rate. If you use it for performance, it is a relatively inexpensive way to get good objective measures of fitness and performance. If you solely use a wrist device which tells you your heart rate, be prepared for varied and inconsistent results. They are not particularly accurate and tend to vary in quality. This may change with significant increases in price, however chest straps which sync with watches are relatively inexpensive.

As utensils that measure speed they are fantastic for pacing and recording distance and logs. If you run for goals and time I thoroughly recommend a running watch from many available brands. They can be relatively inexpensive, but as a rule I would recommend a running watch over watched used as a phone/tablet that gives running metrics. Simply because they are simple and it’s what they are designed for.

Compression garments

Compression garments, wherever worn, will not increase your performance. They can be fantastic to prevent chafing, and some studies support that compression garments aid recovery.  Comfort here is an issue. If compression shorts, shirts or socks are the most comfortable clothing you feel you can run in, then by all means use them. If you are putting the work and effort in over a long period of time, comfort is primary, and chaffe can be nasty.

Tissue release

Theraguns are all the rage right now. And similar to other myofascial release devices, if you go looking for strong research, you will be struggling to find something particularly meaningful. This kind of technology is alway evolving, so my recommendation is try before you buy. All the release devices are promising improved blood flow, improved recovery and reducing lactate after exercise. TRY BEFORE YOU BUY! There can be a range of prices, however I can’t see how the price would change what the device does. Borrow a friend, if you feel like your personal recovery is better with use of a theragun, maybe you should consider it. But like most of the running tech, it probably won’t be shaving seconds off your time.

Foam rollers and massage devices have been around for a very long time. They can be extremely beneficial if you can find the time to use them whilst being readily available to everybody. For more information see our previous blog on tissue release.


I will tell you now, you don’t want to be holding anything while you run. This is because of the bracing used to hold either a water bottle or phone. It will change and impact your arm drive. I would strongly recommend not taking water unless you are running over 60 minutes – preferably stop for a drink at a bubbler, and invest in a pair of wireless headphones and some kind of device that holds your phone to your body. The amount of twist in running associated with holding a phone or a water bottle can lead to injury and will slow you down. This one is really worth it. Drive your arms and relax your hands.


  1. Always go for comfort. A shoe is not going to make you faster or prevent injury.
  2. Running watches can be extremely useful, providing metrics to control speed and increase performance because of the data they record. If you want to measure heart rate for performance – get a chest strap.
  3. Compression garments can be comfortable for long runs and prevent chafe.
  4. Tissue release through foam rolling and self release is effective if performed correctly
  5. For hydration and musical entertainment, try and find a method that doesn’t use your hands for carrying

Building the Knowledgable Runner