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CAN TECH AND APPS REALLY BECOME YOUR FITNESS MOTIVATOR?

I’m not a runner. In fact, I’ve never really enjoyed running. I have awkwardly long limbs, a short attention span and a tendency to trip over my own feet – running really isn’t my thing. Yet, somehow, I find myself in the position of being four weeks away from my first 10K race. How I have ended up here?

Like most of us, I woke up on New Year’s Day full of resolutions for the year. Most of them were pretty standard, no mid-week drinking, sort out your life admin and stop eating all the biscuits in the infamous Ruder Finn biscuit tin.

One of the less obvious resolutions I set on January 1st was that I would complete a triathlon before the end of the year. I’m still not sure who or what triggered the sudden interest in the sport during the last few hours of 2012, but 6 months and approximately 200 biscuits into 2013 and it’s the only resolution that I’ve not yet failed at.

Ever since the success of the Brownlee brothers at the London 2012 Olympics, triathlon has taken the UK by storm. Back in January I searched for local triathlon clubs and found a new, slightly smaller club and now take part in weekly running, cycling and swimming sessions with Hampstead Triathlon Club. All members have different reasons for joining, some are accomplished IronMen, others (like me) are only just getting to know the sport, but one consistent fact is that everyone has one event they dread. Mine is running. And training for a 10K is the perfect way to get better at it.

On July 14, six Ruder Finners will be running the London 10K, raising money for Cancer Research UK. We have all set about our training in different ways and my fellow runner Laura recently blogged about the apps she has used for training. Two things that I’ve found particularly useful for both triathlon and running are my Polar RCX5 sports (and luxury) watch and RunKeeper, an app on my phone.

The Polar RCX5 is more than just a watch and embraces the future of mHealth, something we’re really passionate about here at Ruder Finn. Polar technology means that users can connect the watch and accessories (think GPS tracker and heart rate monitor) to an online portal called Polar Personal Trainer (PPT). PPT allows you to create a tailored plan if you have a specific event in mind (like the 10K or triathlon) or allows you to keep track of any completed activities to date. It also provides you with stats on calories burned, distance covered and time spent training and it’s a great motivator for those rainy days.

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While the RCX5 may be slightly advanced for the average runner, an app which has without a doubt changed my running experience is RunKeeper. The app lets users track their runs and bike rides, and reads out stats, progress, and coaching through your headphones while you’re on the run. The app is incredibly simple to use and can even be linked to Facebook to share your progress with you friends.

I’ve set mine to countdown to the 10K race and it has created a tailored training programme based on my previous runs and data to build up to the 10K race.

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My advice to people who like me aren’t born runners, but who are considering an event like the London 10K, would be the following – anyone can run, but let mHealth and a few fitness apps help you cross the finish line.

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