If you work in the athletic world, either as a coach or as an athlete yourself, or it just so happens to be a hobby you have a passion for, this pandemic is probably hit you harder than it has other people. While switching to online versions of office work, education and shopping and social engagement were really a big transition for most people under the age of 50 anyhow, deeply physical things like athletics are a bit of a challenge. After all, I’m not even a sports person, and I remember how weird it was to walk by someone’s TV and see them watch a sports game and had no one in the stadium other than the players athletics will never be the same.

Fortunately, it’s not actually that hard to solve this problem, believe it or not. As physical meet ups aside from actual tournaments and contests you don’t even need some kind of space-age technology, just stuff that most athletes already have, aside from a specialized application. You probably already have a basic smart watch with biometric functionality, and if you don’t, you can get a fairly cheap one that will suffice just fine. You definitely already have a smart phone, as long as you have 5G data, you can use VoIP as well as these apps to run real time with your teammates, or to record your run and do virtual races.

However, we need to talk a little bit about what to look for in a running club app like this. The biggest thing to consider is one that is compatible with a generic Bluetooth protocol, so that all smart watches will work with it, once compliant with the standard forms of data. You don’t want to spend a fortune on a smart watch, because outside of your athletic pursuits, this is really a technology looking for a problem to solve, rather than a technology solving an existing problem. So, I don’t see a justification and spending a fortune on this device when it’s literally just a fancy version of a heart meter and pedometer.

Look for one that does have run recording and virtual race functionality, as well as one that can do some predictive stuff based on biometric data to give coaches better insight. However, probably the most dire thing to consider is multiple platform compatibility. See, the thing is, smart phone operating systems are very polarizing. People who like android tend to despise iOS and vice versa, and if you sit and think about it, considering the opposite of the platform of your choice probably makes you squirm, doesn’t it? If you try to get your team members to switch to a different platform, they’re not going to do it. I have been in a work situation where I was expected to switch to an iPhone when I am a devout android user, and I wound up leaving that job over it, because I just could not deal with apples interface. While I can’t wrap my mind around it personally, others would say the same about android, being more in favor of apples design. An online running club is easy, safe and you can still run and work out in nature, and some of the benefits include things like not having to fight to schedule everybody together, being able to pick your own venue and of course, far better granular data for coaches to make fitness decisions based on.

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This Article Penned by Lora Davis.