When Roger Bannister ran the first four-minute mile, he didn’t do it with an iPhone strapped to his arm or an app on his phone telling him about his pace.
And while the average runner today isn’t typically looking to break any speed records, the number of devices and tech-enabled equipment available today just might make you feel like you can tackle that 5k you’ve been eyeing.
At least, that’s the goal of wearable products startup Lumo, which announced the release of a new product recently called Lumo Run that claims to help running aficionados correct their postures while beating the pavement. Lumo already has a one product on the market – Lumo Life – that helps anybody who sits in an office for most of the day improve his or her body positioning.
In a blog post, Lumo’s Ellie Kulick explained how the startup hopes Lumo Run can replicate the training of a professional running coach with nothing more than a customized pair of shorts or capris and a sensor the size of a thumb.
It's also trying to squeeze its way into the saturated fitness wearables retail market with that niche.
“Equipped with 9-axis sensor technology and advanced algorithms, the Lumo Run brings the power of a running lab and the personal attention of a coach — all within the lining of your shorts,” Kulick wrote. “We’ve teamed up with Ph.D. biomechanist, Rebecca Schultz, and running experts at Loughborough University in the UK to determine key characteristics for ideal running form, as well as coaching tips to help runners improve their form for enhanced efficiency and performance. The Lumo Run smart shorts will be the first ever on the market to be able to capture research-grade running biometrics without the costly and heavy equipment of a full running lab.”
In a statement, Lumo CEO Monisha Perkash noted how there are plenty of apps on the market right now that help amateur runners track distances and times, there aren’t many that combine real-time data capture with recommendations for aspiring marathoners to take their skills to the next level. Moreover, Perkash explained how improving form and posture while running reduces the risk of injury from repeated stress on parts of the body, such as the shins, the knees and soles of the feet.
How does Lumo Run work? Currently, only men’s short and women’s capris are available, but runners interested in some digital coaching simply slip the garments on, make sure a small sensor is inserted properly into the waistband and get running. TechCrunch reported that between the sensor and conductive thread running throughout the garment, Lumo Run can supposedly track biometrics like heart and respiration rates, distance and running position. Runners need only check a companion app to see real-time data on their performances in all areas, as well as recommendations for how they can improve. The hope is that the feedback provided by Lumo Run can replicate the experience of a real yet expensive running coach for amateur athletes looking to .
"I am a runner myself and recognized the need to help everyday runners prevent injury and get the best possible form to achieve their goals," Perkash said. "Lumo Run can support runners when a coach is not present to help push them to the next level.”
If nothing else, Lumo’s timing is perfect. The market for wearable health and wellness devices is growing every day, with more than 43.8 million devices shipped worldwide as of 2015, according to Statista. About 31 percent of Americans already own pedometers, and if Lumo can convert a fraction of those consumers to try out Lumo Run for more intense yet guided exercise habits, they might just run away with the wearable fitness device market.