Running is one of the most accessible sports. You don´t need any special equipment – except perhaps a good pair of running shoes. You don´t need to hire a space or find some team-mates; you can just get into your running gear and set off.
But the freedom of the road is not without hazards, and runners of all levels of experience can succumb to injury from time to time.
In an effort to help improve training management and prevent injuries, researchers in Spain have been working on a prototype running shoe with an integrated hi-tech device.
Designed by El Institute of Biomechanics of Valencia (IBV) and Spanish sportswear company Kelme, the device incorporates a microelectronic measuring system which is capable of gathering biomechanical parameters that characterise the runner´s technique during a race.
That information is wirelessly transmitted to the runner´s mobile phone and an associated app provides real-time feedback, including level of performance and suggestions to change the running pattern or to stop running if it detects a high risk of injury.
Additionally, the running information generated by the device can be transferred to a web portal to produce personalised training plans, to allow follow-up of improvements and to provide recommendations in order to prevent injuries and improve performance, IBV said.
According to the researchers, this is the first device that can characterise the running technique from biomechanical variables and, together with information from the pulsometer, detect fatigue and give real-time recommendations.
Meanwhile, a separate development by experts in Germany may lead to continuous electrocardiogram (ECG) surveillance of marathon athletes, the European Society of Cardiology reported last week.
Investigators from the Centre for Cardiovascular Telemedicine, Charité-Universitätsmedizin in Berlin, have come up with a way to continuously monitor ECG data and transfer that data via mobile phone to a telemedicine centre along the marathon route. This would enable instantaneous diagnosis of potentially fatal rhythm disorders, the researchers said.