The best fitness tracker for runners

Fitness trackers are all the rage, but are they actually necessary? Today, I want to talk to you about how you may already have the best fitness tracker around.
The best fitness tracker for runners

Fitness trackers are all the rage, but are they actually necessary? Today, I want to talk to you about how you may already have the best fitness tracker around.

I'm Jesse Funk, the founder of and the host of this show Runner's High where we talk about everything running and endurance related. So if you're a runner or an endurance athlete, you're going to want to stick around for more episodes every Tuesday and Thursday. Hit that subscribe button in the bottom right hand corner. You'll get more episodes of my show right on your homepage on YouTube. You don't have to search for me and we can hang out and talk about everything endurance-related.

Now, I want to talk to you about fitness trackers and how you may or may not need them and how they're kind of developing. So the thing I always want to point to as your greatest sense of fitness tracking is rate of perceived exertion. If you're not familiar, rate of perceived exertion is simply, how do I feel? How do I feel? And we talk about it in particular when we're actually working out.

So how do I feel in this moment as I'm running, as I'm cycling, as I'm swimming, whatever it is, how do I feel? What is this rate of perceived exertion? And then you try to tie that to particular paces so that you know, "Hey, I want to run this time. I need to feel like this." Well, there's actually new research out from the laboratory of Sports Psychology. They're looking into mood changes, heart rate variability and trying to correlate that with fatigue levels.

And what they found basically is that there's a correlation between training intensity and the mood that you have the next day. What's important to note here is that this kind of takes my idea about rate of perceived exertion and its importance back to an everyday occurrence rather than solely thinking about it just in terms of your workout. It's that idea about listening to your body, which I know is tough for some of us because we're so externally focused.

We want to we want that fitness tracker to tell us how do we feel? What should we be doing? You know, there's there's different trackers out there. They'll say, you've got enough sleep or you didn't get enough sleep or you're too stressed out. I think eventually these fitness trackers will help us better than they can right now. But I know that there's some difficulty in trying to correlate all of these data points for any given individual.

And we already have a supercomputer up here to try to tell us a little bit about what's going on and how we feel, what our fatigue level is. So the researchers found basically when heart rate variability went up, which is an indicator of high loads of fatigue. That in turn, the athletes felt worse. Their mood went down or was depressed. They weren't as in good a mood when their workout was too hard.

So we can say, and I think with a little bit of anecdotal evidence, but also with this particular study, that there's a good correlation between how you feel the next day and how hard you went the day before.

This is, again, an idea where you need to start working on how do I feel both in the workout and outside of the workout. And the best way to do that is to keep a training log. I know it's a little old school, but a training log is still going to be one of your best tools to keep track of how things are going, because you can write that rate of perceived exertion down for any given workout and then you can write how you feel the next day compared to the previous day.

What's important to mention is actually from another study I've seen, where our rate of perceived exertion over time gets changed by our memory, and it depends on how the session went. This is a study done on marathon runners in particular at the end of the finish line. They were given the chance to rate how hard they felt that their marathon was. I think the average rating was somewhere around like six or seven, which makes sense for the intensity and duration of it.

But what the researchers found was that later on when they asked those same people, "How do you feel like that went?" They changed their answers from what they said previously, because we have this ability to forget. I talked about this a little bit in another video, if you didn't see that, subscribe. But the people that did really well or met their expectations or exceeded their expectations tend to look back on the race and rate that perceived exertion as lower versus people who did poorly.

It was like as bad or worse. So keeping a training log and trying to be honest and objective about how you feel day-to-day helps keep you and your built-in fitness tracker on course. So then when you come across a similar pattern later on, you can go, "Oh, okay. So I had an eight today and then the next day it was another seven." Even though it's supposed to be a recovery day, I really probably need to back off because the last time that happened, then I got hurt or had a really terrible session or argued with my spouse, whatever it was, because your mood was depressed.

When you keep track of these things, this kind of subjective data of how do I feel? It gets combined with a little bit more slightly objective data when you look at it over time and how it correlates with your own training schedule. So although I think fitness trackers are coming along, I think inside your head is probably the best fitness tracker you already have.

So do you have any questions for me about running about running gear, about shoes, anything endurance-related? Leave them in the comments below. For more content like this, subscribe to the channel or go to or all of our new content comes out each and every day. I'll see you next time on the next episode of Runner's High.

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