How many gadgets is too many for a runner?

How many gadgets is too many for a runner?


As I tumble out of bed at first light to go running, these oh-so-hot Delhi summer days, once I’m dressed & caffeinated, I have a checklist that I quickly run through (no pun intended).

I thought I’d run this list past you (no pun intended), and ask for your thoughts.

Are we runners all getting a tad over-gadgeted?  Or is it just me?  Am I carrying too much stuff?

Here’s my list of extras, over & above the car key & the house key.

Water bottle ✔
Cap against the sun ✔
Mobile ✔
headphones ✔
Garmin GPS ✔
Fitbit ✔

Too much?  Or is this pretty much standard kit for you, too?

Hey, I could be worse, like this bloke.

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Water, cap, phone I think are essential, and even though friends have suggested that I leave the phone behind, I take it along because:

(a) it’s a safety thing

(b)  I can take photos of the amazing things I might encounter while running.

(c) it has my music on (hence the headphones) AND a nifty running app that maps my route and calculates my distance (mapmyrun) and tells me how many miles are left to run on my lovely new shoes.

So if I have such a nifty mobile running app, I hear you say, why the need for a Fitbit and a GPS?

Well, the former doesn’t weigh a thing –  that’s my excuse.

And the GPS is a backup against the phone app not working/phone battery running low.  Which has happened on several occasions, usually on super long runs.  The theory is, that for longer distances, I use the Garmin not the phone app, to preserve the battery for all that uplifting music, so I have to be totally comfortable with both.


However, having said that…

1) I do worry that having so much clobber might attract undesirable attention.

Having been groped twice whilst out running alone, I know I should also carry my pepper spray, but I’m still a bit lazy about it.

2) It’s surely not good for running posture is it, to have stuff in both hands?

3) The day I fall (again) everything will go for a toss and I’m not sure my iPhone will survive a second running accident.


So, what’s your verdict?

Too much stuff?

Too many gadgets?

Do share your thoughts, but just remember, if we are de-gadget-ed, how will we all be able to upload our track logs and timings and photos?


And yes, I did exactly this today.  I was at 4.98 km (not miles) so I ran an extra 200 metres in the car park…


  1. My running checklist contains phone and earphones only.

    Few weeks ago, I was thinking and looking out online for which GPS watch to buy. Don’t know where/how the search ended and I’m not buying it for some time now, or, till the phone is recording my runs perfectly or I’m running such long distance which my phone can’t bear.

    I use my iPhone and Nike+ Running app to record my runs. Also I was checking other running apps and there are so many apps available that I decided to continue with the existing app I use. Simple!

    When running on road I never listen to songs or anything else except the voice feedback of the run after every 250m or 1Km.
    When running in park I listen to BBC documentary podcast as this is the only time I get to listen to it.

    And yes, it is used to click pictures while on the run. Without a photo my run is almost incomplete. 🙂

    Then comes the data uploading part on FB/Twitter/Instagram which silently inspires many among my friends.

    “Workout Completed!”
    The sweet sound coming from the app when run is completed, is something to run for. 🙂

    – Harminder

    Harminder Singh
  2. My running gadgets list is small it contains my phone containg app runkeeper, mobile arm straps only.. I dont play any music.. As running time is my time for contemplation in silence.. Though i enjoy sounds of music emanating from any far source..chirping of birds etc.. I remember i was motivated by the song.. Jai Ho.. Played by Christine in her phone while running its last km in noida event in October, last year… I Enjoy the music played by various DJ grps on route during ADHM, as it charge up the whole atmosphere, i never use any ear plugs..for safety as well as to observe the surroundings in silence…Sometime especially i run with my buddies.. I like to take pics .. For me using too much running gadgets takes away the natural joy of running.. And makes it somewhat mechanical activity, when i run solo.. It is mostly my time for dynamic meditation.. When i run in a group.. I enjoy the fun and competitiveness..Thanks Christine , for your thought provoking blog..

    Pankaj Arora
    1. Pankaj, thanks for such interesting thoughts. And as for your comment re hearing my music…that was a day when I was in complete gadget meltdown. I thought my Bluetooth headphones weren’t working, so listened to my music without them…only to discover later that headphones were fine, and I was being silly.


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