No guide runner? No problem

Post date: 
Friday, 6 January 2017

By Simon Wheatcroft

With the start of a new year it’s often time to think about improving our fitness; whether that’s due to excessive eating over the Christmas period or perhaps getting ready for marathon season. For me it’s definitely the former; whatever the reason, a great way to improve fitness is through running.

For visually impaired runners there are two main options, use a guide runner or hit the treadmill. Finding a guide runner gets easier every week, utilising social media, a specialist guide pairing service such as guiderunning.uk, or even heading down to your local park run. All are great ways to find a training partner. But what if you want to run on the treadmill?

The main issues with running on a treadmill when you're blind or partially sighted, and how to solve them 

There are two main issues when running on a treadmill, ensuring you don't fall off and accessing running metrics such as pace, distance and heart rate in real time. These are pretty easy if you can see, but slightly trickier when you can't. But thanks to some Bluetooth based devices it’s now getting incredibly simple.

The Wahoo TICKR X, is a £79.99 heart rate strap that has some great additional tracking abilities – wearing it while on a treadmill and using the Wahoo Fitness app gives you real time heart rate, distance and pace all through audio feedback. It also has a handy little feature that tapping it twice can perform such functions as starting stopping a workout, starting stopping music or breaking a workout into laps.

Handily running the app on your smartphone also serves the purpose of having a light to focus on; this can be very handy if you still have light perception. Positioning it in the centre of the treadmill console can help reduce that pesky falling off, as all the information is coming through audio; which means you can essentially make any treadmill accessible.

Even touch based treadmills still have the speed and incline functions as physical buttons. So you will be able to increase or decrease the speed and receive all the relevant information through audio, so no need to have to look at the treadmill screen. The TIXKR X is capable of so much more, and is truly a fantastic fitness assistant for the visually impaired.

I will be covering even more fitness related technology in future posts as well as in my upcoming video blog. But if you have any fitness related questions feel free to reach out.

More from Simon

Founder of Guide Running UK, Simon is competing in triathlons to add to his 2017 fitness goals. Stay tuned for more blogs. 

Follow him on twitter at @andadapt

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