People use many different gadgets in order to keep track of their performance while they run. Running gadgets are generally intended to keep track of one's average speed and distance traveled during the course of a run. Some running gadgets, such as stop watches and pedometers, are quite simple and can only record the overall time of a run and make rough estimates of speed and distance based on the average distance one covers in a single stride. Others, including some applications that one can load onto a smartphone, can be synchronized with a global positional satellite (GPS) system and record speed and distance more precisely. Many people also use running gadgets to store information every time they run so they can track their progress over time.
Keeping track of distance is one of the most common applications of running gadgets. People can keep track of their workouts by keeping track of the distances that they run on a daily or weekly basis. Endurance runners and individuals training for marathons often focus on increasing the distance that they cover each time they run. It is often difficult to quantify progress if one does not have a precise idea of how far one has traveled. Crude devices that estimate distance by counting strides and making estimates based on estimating stride length can be used for this purpose, as can more advanced devices that synchronize with GPS systems in order to give more precise distance measurements.
For many people, particularly those who run competitively, keeping track of speed is at least as important as keeping track of distance. Running gadgets for this purpose, again, range from the crude to the complex. If one knows the distance of one's run, it is possible to simply record the time at various points throughout the run and calculate average speeds based on time and distance. Running gadgets with GPS systems can, however, provide far more accurate information concerning one's pace at any given point.
Some running gadgets are used to record information after a run while others can actually be quite valuable while running, particularly for those who run competitively. Some running gadgets that record distance, for instance, play a sound after each mile in order to update the runner about his progress. Others may notify the runner if his speed drops below a certain pace. This can be important for competitive runners who aim to complete runs in a specific amount of time.