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An aspect of running that I’m really enjoying is all of the technology and advances in pretty much every imaginable area. I don’t want to paint myself as old (I’m still in denial) as I still have many great years of running and adventure ahead, but I think if I went back to the early 90s to tell high school Paul what was to come, he wouldn’t believe me.

Some of the things that are new to me have probably been around for several years or longer, but that’s one of the advantages of being away from something for 15-20 years. Other gadgets are much newer and more advances seem to be coming at a fast and furious rate.

In no particular order, here are the things that are “new to me” (meaning 1985 Marty McFly would have his mind TOTALLY blown!)

1. GPS Watch – Being able to accurately track your pace, distance and location for training purposes is amazing. In high school I had a Timex watch for timing and if I knew approximate distances, I’d have a fair idea of pace – after all, who doesn’t love math while running long distances?? My Garmin has been a revelation and I think it is probably the most useful of my training tech thingies, as it also doubles as a…

2. Heart rate monitor – At the suggestion of my coach, I purchased a gps/hrm combo. I don’t use the monitor super frequently, but it’s an excellent tool for making sure you don’t overdo a specific workout. It’s also good to accurately check your resting heart rate in the morning as this gives you feedback on your fitness level (and if you’re possibly fatigued from overtraining).

3. Wicking/tech clothing – As somebody who sweats a lot when I’m training, having clothes that keeps me relatively dry and comfortable is awesome. It’s also super comfortable and helps me save on my power bill as the vast majority of my clothing I hang to dry now J

4. My coffee maker – Yeah, I said it. While there are cups of coffee I like better, my Tassimo is super easy, super fast and saves me money per cup (compared to my fav). If coffee isn’t part of your training regime, lucky you – but for me it is and I have genuine affection for my coffee maker. Don’t judge me.

5. Energy gels, etc – I certainly didn’t carry nutrients (or water) with me on long runs when I was in high school. My long runs were considerably shorter back then but it didn’t matter. The only time I took in anything at all while running was at the water/Gatorade stations during a race. There are so many different kinds of gels, beans and other products out there that you can certainly find something that works for you. I’ve recently been trying out Energy Bits (which are tablets made of pure algae) and have been impressed with the results so far.

6. Instant information/feedback – It used to be if you had a question about running you had to ask your coach (if you had one) a doctor or one of your friends.  And it was still iffy on how practical or logical their responses were going to be. Thanks to smartphones and social media we now have access to virtual mountains of information and can interact with experienced professionals and experts within seconds! Finding routes or events of specific distances when you’re travelling is also super easy which is great if you’re on the road a lot.

7. Foam roller/massager – These things probably existed back in the mid 90’s but were likely secreted away in peoples hidden S&M chambers. Ok, not really – but anyone reading this who has used a foam roller knows what I mean. They freaking hurt! But it’s a good hurt, right? I’m still at the point where I have to build up the courage to roll out my legs, but the difference it’s made on recovery and keeping me on track is considerable. There are loads of great videos on youtube and other places that can show you how to properly use these evil (and wonderful) devices.

Have I missed anything? Are there things that you use now that you didn’t in years gone by? Or are there things that you’ve heard of that you’re curious about trying? Post a comment here – I’d love to know what’s out there and what I’m missing!