Artificial intelligence isn’t unusual anymore. The high majority of us have smart phones with virtual assistants built-in.
But have you ever considered incorporating this technology into your exercise routine? Why hire a coach when you can download one? The Sensoria Run mobile app includes virtual coach Mara and today she’s the topic of this entire article.
Sport trackers come in all shapes and forms - from watches to heart-rate monitors and ankle straps: if you aren’t wearing a ridiculously bulk watch, are you even a runner?
As it turns out, all this cumbersome equipment might be a waste of money (as well as a fashion faux pas). Everything you need to accurately track your performance both during and after a run can be done directly from your smart phone.
Numerous mobile apps are available for this purpose. Most of these provide you with the same useful features: GPS tracking, pedometers, and estimated calories-burned. What you probably haven’t seen is a running coach in your phone.
What is the Sensoria® Run Mobile App?
“Your personal coach for every run - monitor your running form as you run”
The first benefit of Mara is tailoring your goals and providing customizable alerts. You can receive certain types of feedback and isolate the type of heart-rate section you want to be in during training. This also allows you to track progress and keep a close eye on your goals. You’ll need to have their smart upper garments either with their HRM or one that is compatible to make use of this app function.
The app can be used in conjunction with a pair of hi-tech socks that have built-in sensors to determine your gait pattern and the length and cadence of your stride. These communicate via Bluetooth through your phone to reduce the risk of injury and provides information on what sort of shoe you’ll perform best with (and when to switch).
The app itself carries a whole host of excellent features above and beyond the gait analysis from training plans and heartbeat monitor compatibility to the shoe library and GPS tracker. The versatility of this app is a big plus and we’re always a fan of adding more tools to your training toolkit!
The Benefits of Feedback
Feedback is a key element in almost everything we do. Without feedback, it’s almost impossible to improve and innovate.
From school age we’re taught how to take in and utilize feedback to improve our performance in all sorts of subject areas (remember how constructive teachers were when you were just starting in school). Naturally, applying this crucial skill to improve your running is the basis of coaching and improves your technique and performance.
Traditional methods of feedback for sports performance involve training partners, team mates, and crucially, the watchful eye of a coach. While this set up still works in many settings, for the average runner, it may not be practical.
If you need to fit running around work, family, social events or education, the struggle for time is ever-present and the logistics of a dedicated full-time coach are huge. For the vast majority of runners, the feeling is that running simply isn’t serious enough to drop thousands of dollars and hundreds of hours on a full-time running coach.
Between running alone and having a full-time coach, there does exist an alternative: Sensoria’s A.I. coach Mara.
Mara’s Coaching Benefits
Coaching places the runner at the center of an engaging and involving education and feedback structure. The athlete is asked to actively engage with, analyze and process feedback being given by a coach. This makes lessons and adaptations more likely to stick in the long-term.
But what about if your coach is your phone?
Traditional coaching models can be intimidating, stressful and time-consuming for everyone involved. So, while Mara is still there to hold you accountable, keep you motivated and speed up your progress - she does so on your terms.
Mara is more flexible than any human coach would be: she’s available to you 24/7 - as long as you keep your phone charged! Her form feedback also uses analytics and technology in real-time, something that a real coach simply doesn’t have access to. Using sensors that connect with your socks, Mara’s analysis when it comes to cadence, foot landing and foot contact time are un-paralleled.
Injury Prevention: Where the Sensoria App Stands Out
Runners are all too familiar with injuries. In fact, in any given year, between 65 and 80 percent of runners get laid up with injury at least once.
Amongst the biggest contributing factors to this, poor running form is the #1. Common form errors include excessive pronation, over-striding, heel-strike and inadequate core strength. Sensoria’s approach provides information specific to these problems so you can figure out what you’re doing wrong and fix it.
With the prevalence of injury in the running community and the huge role of the foot in running technique and injury risk, Sensoria stands out as providing real-time feedback on the key metrics.
Another application of foot health in running is the choice of adequate footwear for your goals – improper support is going to contribute to foot problems and injury risks. Sensoria’s app also includes an extensive shoe library so you can find the footwear that’s right for your postural needs.
The Final Word on Mara
Mara is another great example of how technology is revolutionizing sports – it provides a comprehensive approach to gait and stride patterns without the need for expensive or time-restricted coaching. For coaches, Mara also provides excellent running analytics and the opportunity to keep your athletes on-track when you can’t be there to keep an eye on them.
We think Mara is an amazing step forwards in the way that athletes can self-coach and develop healthy, efficient technique without investing the time and money in a full-time running coach.
Written by contributing author, Amanda Roberts