New Technology for Marathon Runners

Published 10/29 2013 08:08AM

Updated 10/29 2013 08:15AM

If it's on your bucket list to run a marathon or you want to take up running to get into shape, there's more technology than ever to get you started and help you stay on track.  New devices are motivating runners to tackle the 26-mile race.

The Nike women's marathon and half marathon is the largest women's race in the world, with 30,000 runners taking to the hills of San Francisco.

But training for the race is a much lonelier road.
Samantha Hirsch and Krystle Lohmann ran hundreds of miles, often solo, with only their Nike Fuelbands keeping them company.

"It really pushes you and lets you know you're not just out on an aimless run hoping you get a certain amount of miles," says Hirsch.

The Fuelband tracks steps, calories and overall activity.

For added motivation, runners pair their Fuelbands with mobile apps, like Nike Training Club.

"That's been wonderful in pushing me along and to make sure I post all of  my runs to Facebook, so I can get cheers along the way," says Lohmann, a first time half marathon runner.

Those 'cheers' are sent by friends via social networks and heard by runners via the app on their phone.

More serious runners may want to consider a GPS watch, which connects to satellites to log your runs more precisely.

Tomtom offers two models - one for runners that tracks outdoor and treadmill runs --- and a multi-sport version that's designed to track swimming and cycling, as well.

Adidas will start selling its MI-coach smart run watch on November first.  It features an optical wrist sensor that can measure your heart rate. 

If you're in the Nike ecosystem, you'll likely want to stick with its GPS watch.

"I love knowing my pace. I'm a huge OCD when it comes to pace. I like to stay right on pace. And then distance of course," says Marie Purvis, a Nike master trainer.

The technology is providing runners with more stats than they've ever had and enabling beginners to tackle even marathon distances. But there is a downside.

"You can get overwhelmed in numbers and spend more time doing that than actually doing the exercise," notes Shyamal Kapadia, a Team in Training coach.

Instead of being fixated on your wrist, try enjoying those miles. 

(Sumi Das, for CBS News)

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