The New York Times website published an article in December 2011 about the unreliability of running watches, mobile apps and similar technology that’s meant to record your mileage, time and calories burned. Professional runners may be aware of the discrepancies of information that are possible when they use these tools, but there is a concern that new and improving runners can fall for flashy – yet fallible – technology.

Trusting an inaccurate source to act as your data counter and running coach can not only confuse your stats (such as personal accomplishments of time and distance) but actually impede your development as you prepare for marathons and try to monitor and build endurance. It can also be harmful to someone’s health. If you understand your max to be two miles and your tracking device tells you that you’ve covered 1.8 when you’ve actually run 2.1 miles, you could push yourself beyond a healthy range while trying to cover what you think is within your ability.

Makers of these devices say that they are limited by technological developments and are frequently updating their software. They site geographical confusion and satellite lags for some of the errors that can show, for example, up to a half-mile difference between what a runner has actually covered and what the device says they did. But they also state that it’s ultimately up to the user to understand that the devices are not yet perfect, nor should they be the sole source of performance measurement for any serious athlete.

One way you can attain consistency in your training is to depend on the equipment at your local Greenville gym, where data screens always show accurate and consistent statistics. If you also sometimes run at a site away from the health club (such as your neighborhood park), syncing your phone app or step-o-meter with the treadmill you’re used to can at least give you a reliable comparison for further training. You can also rely on a personal training at our Pivotal Fitness Greenville sports club who can stay on top of monitoring your workouts to make sure you’re fulfilling your training expectations and maintaining consistency throughout the course of your practice and performance.

Most importantly, you should always trust your body when it comes to fatigue, hydration and muscle soreness so that you know when it’s time to slow down or rest during a workout. Regardless of numbers and figures, learning how to read and trust your own physicality is the number one rule when it comes to a healthy running strategy.