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Pedometers - Tracking How Far You've Walked (or Run)

Pedometers To Buy

Pedometers are useful tools for runners who are interested in tracking how many steps they are taking each day. With a few basic calculations a pedometer can also be used to determine the distance a person is running or walking each day. Pedometers are readily available and are far less expensive than costly speed and distance monitors which rely on built in GPS to let the runner know the distance he has traveled during the course of a run. However, novice runners who are just starting out may wish to purchase a pedometer instead of the more costly alternative at the start of a running program when they are still unsure of whether or not they will actually stick with a running program. This article will provide advice for calibrating your pedometer, understanding the usefulness of your pedometer and learning how to use your pedometer effectively. Additionally, we will describe some situations in which a pedometer is typically not very effective for runners.

Although pedometers are rather simple devices which are used to measure the number of steps you take each time you use the device, most are not ready for use immediately out of the box. There is typically a calibration process which is involved in preparing a pedometer for use. The most important element of the calibration process is to establish the length of your stride so your pedometer will recognize when you take a step and will record this step accordingly. Your pedometer should come with instructions for calibration and the instructions may vary slightly from one model to the next but the basic steps involved in calibrating a pedometer will include attaching the pedometer, pressing a start button, taking a stride and then pressing the stop button. These steps may need to be completed a number of times so the pedometer can determine an average stride length for the user. Once this stride length has been established, the pedometer is usually ready for use. Other pedometers may require the user to physically measure the length of his stride and enter this number into the pedometer. In general a stride length of 2.5 feet is an appropriate average for men and 2.2 feet is an appropriate average for women. Using these averages will allow you to get started right away but the information obtained from the use of your pedometer may not be completely accurate.

Although pedometers are largely used by walkers, they do have some usefulness for runners as well. The pedometer serves the same basic purpose of measuring the number of steps the user takes while wearing the device, however, there are some subtle changes which should be noted by runners who plan to use a pedometer. Most importantly, the device should be calibrated using a running stride as opposed to a walking stride. This is a significant detail because the userís running stride may be longer or shorter than his walking stride. Failure to calibrate the pedometer correctly will likely result in inaccuracies.

The usefulness of a pedometer is largely based on the premise that taking 10,000 steps per day will help an individual to improve his overall health and live a longer and healthier life. Statistical data has shown most people, especially those who work at jobs which require them to be sedentary for the majority of the day, do not take enough steps each day. The use of a pedometer can provide the user with an accurate account of the number of steps they are taking each day and can help to inspire the user to find ways to incorporate more walking or running into the day.

Runners who are using a pedometer in an attempt to ensure they are running a certain number of steps each day should understand how to use their pedometer effectively to reach their goals. The first step in using a pedometer effectively is to establish a baseline for the number of steps you are already taking each day. This can be accomplished by using your pedometer every day when you run and recording the number of steps run each day. This will help you to determine a fairly accurate account of how many steps you are taking each day during the course of your running. If you find you are not meeting your goals, you can implement a plan to incorporate additional steps into your day. This may include increasing the duration of your runs each day or adding a second shorter run into your day. Once you have implemented these changes, record your step totals for a few more days to re-evaluate your progress. You may find you are now routinely reaching your goals at this point or you may need to make additional changes to your running routine.

Pedometers can count the number of steps you take each day but they can also be used to determine the distance you are running or walking each day with the help of a simple calculation. Some of the more advanced pedometers may perform the calculation of converting steps to miles for you but the less expensive models will not likely do this. Fortunately, the equation is quite simple. One mile is equal to 5280 feet, therefore, to determine how many miles you walked or ran while wearing your pedometer the following equations can be used:

Number of Steps * Stride Length = Distance Walked in Feet

Distance Walked in Feet / 5280 = Distance Walked in Miles

One important fact for runners to note is pedometers are not very effective in all situations. Pedometers are likely to be most effective for runners who mainly run on flat ground. This is because the stride length is likely to change when hills are encountered so the calculation of the number of steps may not be as accurate in these cases. Additionally, pedometers are best for runners who maintain a constant pace while running. Runners who incorporate sprints into their runs also typically alter their stride during the sprint portions of the run and therefore may not achieve optimal results when using a pedometer because the stride length will vary.


The video clip above is from my DVD about running stetches and other running related information. Click on the DVD case below to find out more.

Running Stretches and Running Tips

Click Here to view the DVD.

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