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What Is a Jogging Computer?

By Page Coleman
Updated Feb 20, 2024
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A jogging computer is a device, frequently a wrist watch, that runners may use to keep track of mileage, speed, heart rate and other aspects of their runs. Running computers can help in training and in races. With the use of Global Positioning System (GPS), the jogging computer may also be programmed for use in other sports. Although they are usually wrist watches, they can be found in other forms. Similar applications are available for smart phones.

These specialized computers may make use of inertial devices called pods, that are placed in the laces of a runner’s shoe. The use of Global Positioning System (GPS) has, however, become more popular then the inertial devices. These running computers do not require pods, and they can be used for tracking other sports, such as swimming and biking, making them ideal for triathletes.The GPS systems usually need to be used outdoors, with few obstructions, to ensure a clear signal to satellite systems.

Many jogging computers also come with heart rate monitors, which often consist of a band that goes around the athlete’s chest. Using a heart rate monitor can help the athlete determine whether he is working too hard or not hard enough. This is helpful for athletes who are concerned about training within certain heart rates zones. In addition to heart rate monitoring, athletes may find that feedback on their current and average pace motivates them to increase their speed. Running a certain distance is also easier, as the athlete will not need to calculate distance before or after the run.

Many of these devices track multiple runs, and some allow the athlete to upload results to a computer or a website, which may display reports and graphs. This can make it easier for the athlete to track progress over time. Some websites allow the athlete to share results with others, adding a competitive facet to the workout.

A running computer can be a useful training device, and it is sometimes also useful during races. Many running computers show current pace, so the athlete can be careful to maintain a pace that lets finishing at a specific time goal.The athlete may also appreciate knowing how much farther he needs to go to complete a race.

Although many jogging computers are built into wrist watches, a runner with young children may find a stroller jogging computer is more convenient and safer to use. The runner does not need to take either hand off the stroller to check pace and mileage. Athletes who use a smart phone and don’t wish to invest in a jogging computer may wish to research applications that track runs. The applications may also track cycling, canoeing and kayaking. If taking a smart phone on the water, the athlete may consider purchasing a waterproof bag for protection.

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