Technology on the Trails

Smart gadgets that improve your off-road training
Staff Writer

Granted, many run trails to get away from technology, as a true escape that is a Zen-like “be in the moment” experience. And while the gadgets included herein don’t necessarily detract from that, they can either enhance or help preserve it. Included in this story, you’ll find high-tech devices that enable you to monitor your progress and performance, record it, sustain the power supply that gives them juice, and even to keep you on track. With GPS, a video cameras and sophisticated watches that record or provide your location, speed and other elements of the run, you’ll be able to share your trail adventures with friends and family, download all sorts of mapping, heart rate, elevation, speed, cadence, distance, and other information, and even share that with on-line communities or your coach. And with solar chargers and power storage devices, you can even stay charged out on the trail.

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Yes, you can turn off these devices and use them only on a need-to-know basis. You can leave them at home and run closer to nature. But on days when you want to know more about your run and record the excursion for recall or sharing, these lightweight, high-tech, easy-to-use tools are at the ready. If a tree falls and you run by it and record its falling; you can be sure the tree really fell.


Timex WS4 ($200): The intuitive user interface of the WS4 from Timex gives you access to an altimeter, barometer, compass and thermometer. It's ideal for the outdoor adventurer who spends a ton of time on the trail!

Restwise ($119 for a 6-month subscription): Restwise takes the science of recovery out of the lab and puts it into your hands.The Restwise Oximeter allows you to think about, quantify and evaluate the relationship between exercise and recovery.

Restwise is the tool that makes monitoring fatigue simple, inexpensive and effective for athletes and their coaches. Years of research experience taught the Restwise scientists that athlete compliance depends on simplicity. Each marker is easy to track, the software interface is very intuitive, and daily information can be entered in less than a minute through any web-enabled computer or through an iPhone, Android, or BlackBerry application.

Nike + Sportwatch GPS ($169): Using GPS by TomTom with the Nike+ Sensor, you can start tracking your run instantly, and get accurate speed and distance information, indoors or out—even if the GPS signal gets interrupted.