Your virtual running coach


By Prasun Chaudhuri
  • Published 27.11.17
GADGET: Stridalyzer by ReTiSense
TECH SPECS: Syncs with an app through Bluetooth; app available on iOS and Android 
PRICE: Rs 5,540 (Marathon) on Amazon
BEST FOR: Measuring your running gait and stride; coaches you to run better

Marathon running started as an inexpensive fitness fad, and now you can see legions of enthusiasts ready to test their stamina in one or the other “city marathon”. There are also sponsors galore and organising a mini marathon is turning out to be a money-spinner. The trend these days is to invest in fancy kits — expensive trainers, pace bands (trendy stopwatch) and sports drinks.

The past few years have seen a lot of new devices —  especially wearable tech — entering the market. But very few of them have the depth of detail Stridalyzer Smart Insoles have. “It is essentially a sensor-fitted insole to be worn while running and works in combination with an app on the smartphone,” explains Anshuman Singh, who left a cushy job in Intel Corp in the US to co-found the Bangalore-based start-up, ReTiSense. You put these inside your trainers to record exactly what is going on at the level of your feet. “It analyses the stride and gait and, among other things, can predict if one is heading for an injury,” he adds. When the wearer is jogging, the device constantly gathers data, learns the runner’s form, style and various pressure points, and provides real-time advice to him or her. He has applied for patents for his product in both India and the US.

Singh himself had been an avid runner until he tore a crucial ligament. “I realised professional runners need to be extra-cautious about such wear and tear. Also their coaches are always worried about potential injuries,” he says. Singh proudly says that even an Olympic medal-winning runner uses Stridalyzer technology.  

What was launched as specialist gear in 2014 started selling briskly in India and abroad — among professionals as well as wannabe marathon runners. Now they have a wide range of products, including special packages for coaches and physiotherapists. For specialists, there are performance analysis tools; they can access real-time dashboards and drill down to step-level data with action replay.

The Stridalyzer may appear a little expensive. The basic model, Stridalyzer Marathon, costs Rs 5,540 and the value-added Performance costs Rs 11,000. If, however, you look at it for what it really is — a virtual coach — it is not expensive at all.