A walk in the park is easy — that's why it's the metaphor of choice when it comes to the simple things in life. A run in the park, on the other hand, can be a bit more trying. Whether you fell asleep late, the weather took a turn for the worse, or you're way behind on a project deadline, there will always be a few good reasons to go for a run, and a million excuses to skip it. But your M.I.A. motivation isn't as unattainable as you might think.
You don't need to make a million lifestyle changes before you lace up your shoes and head out the door. But you might find that a few updated gadgets can drastically inform your running experience (aka, you'll actually understand what the heck is happening in your body), which makes the entire exercise a little bit more tolerable. Whether you're tracking your mileage, monitoring you hydration levels, or indulging in pre- and post-run exercises that relax your muscles, there are plenty of ways to make running a better experience for you.
Even if you've sworn off the whole sweaty affair, take a beat to check out the gadgets that have emerged since your last breakup with running. Even if it just takes a flashy new set of sneakers to hit the pavement, treat yourself for going the extra mile.
Listen to Your Body
Understand how far you've come with the USB-chargeable FitBit band that syncs with your phone to communicate steps taken, calories burned, and your quality of sleep levels. Not only will this band silently wake you in the morning with a vibrating alarm (keeping your partner free from your 6 a.m. workout), but LED lights signify how close you are to reaching your day's goal.
If it helps you to actually see the miles stack up, get yourself this wireless activity tracker with digital display that keeps track of steps, calories, and progress toward your goals. The records your progression throughout the day and synching with your smartphone device for additional review. Simply put: It's a zero-maintenance pedometer that makes monitoring your accomplishments easy.
Perfect Your Posture
This tiny posture coach clips onto your shirt or bra, sends your daily step count to your phone, and gives you a little buzz when it senses you're slouching. Posture correction is invaluable when it comes to running, as a hunched-over position can keep your lungs from operating at full strength, which means you'll tire out faster.
Hit Your Stride
Select the sneaker that's custom-fit to keep you comfy throughout your workout. The Mizuno Wave comes from a running shoe company that's been around the block and knows what makes for an easy ride. This style's extra padding and additional cushion is created for runners craving more mileage on a neutral-terrain run. The longer your stride, the more pressure you're applying to your feet, and this lightweight shoe stays fast without skimping on comfort.
If you're already set up with excellent running shoes, get more mileage out of them with this pair of New Balance inserts. They support the arch, minimize friction, prevent blisters, and keep your feet dry and moisture-free.
Find the Fun in Your Workout
This shock-resistant, rain- and sweat-proof armband will keep you in the zone throughout your entire workout — without blocking any part of your phone's screen. After all, having nothing to think about but labored breathing and that growing cramp in your side can be a bummer. Focus on the fun in your workout by curating a playlist of uptempo songs, and store your card and keys in the handy back pockets.
While running on the reg definitely deserves a high five, a truly well-rounded athlete runs better, faster, and longer. Take a day off from running to work on other skills, like strength building and endurance training. Treat yourself to the tools that help you enjoy these activities even more.
Weightlifting: Start light with the weightlifting set that's compact, travels well, and is covered in colorful neoprene for indoor and outdoor workouts.
Cycling: Get those hamstrings in shape with cycling — made better with a pair of these clip-in shoes, specifically crafted with triathlon transitions in mind. If you're looking to up your racing game (or just want the highest quality of cycling shoe for an affordable price), these shoes will withstand the miles and look good while doing it. Whether you're a road cyclist or just headed to spin class, you'll be able to move your feet faster and make the most of your workout.
Swimming: Working out in the pool gives your joints a much-needed break from running, too. Practice strokes to the beat with this waterproof MP3 player that hooks over your ears to keep buds in place. The rechargeable battery and 4GB of memory means about 800 songs on lock for your next lap around the pool. Users praise this player as being the only one up for full-water submersion in the long haul.
This gym-quality, multiple-loop stretching belt will keep your muscles loose and stretched, which helps prevent the painful aches you get the morning after a hard run. While you may already stretch after your regular run, warming up is just as important. Plus, this multi-functional belt can be worked into yoga and pilates exercises.
Embrace the latest and greatest in sportswear technology, and throw on this mesh-like Adidas top, which features technology that pulls heat away from the body. Dressing up in a sharp, sporty shirt can be fun, but it's also an actual necessity when it comes to keeping your body cool and comfortable when running.
Keep Yourself Hydrated
Drinking a ton of water is always a good idea when you're exercising. But using a super-smart water bottle that monitors your hydration levels and tracks your fluid consumption? Genius! Get your eight cups a day with this tech-savvy water bottle.
Early Bird Gets the Worm
You can definitely run after work, but ever notice how many more things you've added to your to-do list by the time 5 p.m. rolls around? Set this natural sunrise-simulating alarm clock to wake you up gradually. It will put you in a good mood first thing in the morning, making sure your run gets done.
Boost Your Breakfast
A helping of veggies or salad can be made even better with a sprinkling of this nutritional yeast, which raises your vitamin B and B12 levels. Packing your meals with vitamins that help regulate adrenal levels (for lowered stress and a healthy nervous system) means an anxiety-free, more enjoyable run.
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