It may seem that running requires little apart from your time and dedication. But if you know any runner, you know that it is not true. A runner always needs more of the latest shoes, nutrition gels, training techniques, GPS watches and apparel. This week we list three GPS-enabled devices, therapies and scientific tests that you could gift your runner friends and relatives this holiday season.
After the runaway hit, the Forerunner 920XT, Garmin has now come with its most advanced multi-sport watch, the FR735XT. With an inbuilt heart-rate monitor and a 24-hour battery life, it tells you not only the basics such as pace, time, heart rate and distance, but also gives you advanced dynamics such as ground contact time, stride length and steps per minute. When paired with a HRM-Run or HRM-Tri accessories (one has the option of buying the watch with the HRM chest strap), it can also tell you your VO2 Max, predicted race times, recovery time, stress score and lactate threshold. To access all this data you will need the Garmin Connect app. It is aimed at triathlons and is very effective too, in the pool and on the cycle. This smartwatch, arguably the best in the market currently, is also an activity monitor and has navigation capabilities.
Available at: Garmin.co.in, Amazon.in, Flipkart.com.
Like the Garmin FR735XT, this too is for the advanced runner. It comes with an in-built heart-rate monitor, GPS, compass as well as a barometer, can be used for tracking multiple sports and triathlons, and, best of all, can store up to 500 songs. Thanks to the barometer, this is a great one to keep track of your hikes. So, you can leave your phone behind while training. An activity tracker and a smartwatch as well, the TomTom Adventurer comes in trendy orange and black colours. You will need to use the TomTom MySports app to see and analyse all this data.
Available at: Leading e-tailers like Amazon.in, Flipkart.com.
Apple watch Nike+
If only the Rs1.25 lakh Tag Heuer Connected Android watch with an Intel chip came with an in-built GPS, it would have been the best-looking luxury watch for any runner. Since that is not the case, the Apple Watch Nike+, which is essentially, in lay-man’s terms, the original with a GPS, takes the prize for the best-looking run tracker. The data it tracks is bare minimum. But that’s good for new runners, who would be dazed and confused if too much data stares them in the watch face.
Available at: Apple retailers, resellers and on Amazon.in.
Price: Rs40,900 onwards
Physiotherapy and sports massage
No endurance athlete, professional or recreational, likes to put oneself through pain except while racing or training. So, be the good friend that you are and buy the runners you know a sports massage and a sports physiotherapy session at a specialist sports medicine centre. With their niggles and sore muscles stretched and kneaded thoroughly by trained therapists, they might be sore for a day or two, as sports massages are painful, but they will move much more freely and be grateful to you.
Available at: HEAL Institute and Kokilaben Ambani Hospital, both in Mumbai; and AktivOrtho, Delhi and NCR.
Price: Rs1,500 onwards
VO2 max test
Now that running has started to become mainstream in India, runners are constantly trying to use whatever means available to improve and realize their full potential. While your encouraging words may make the runner happy, till scientific tests show them their true potential, they won’t believe what their limits and limitations are. A number of tests that runners love to subject themselves to are available in India. While gait and foot analysis are great for new runners, experienced runners would be more interested in the VO2 Max test, which tells you the volume of oxygen that you can use.
Available at: HEAL Institute, Mumbai.
Next week, watch out for our third and the last gift-buying guide, on some of the best running shoes.