The funny thing about runners is that we all think we have fine form until we snap an IT band or strain a tendon. And even then, we blame it on “going too fast” or “pushing too hard” rather than on poor run mechanics.
In my previous article, I talked about the Altra Torin IQ smart shoe that gives you feedback on your footstrike and the Vi headphones that use some basic run metrics like steps per minute and heart rate to help you go faster. Both pieces of gear give you insight and data about your running; but neither gives you a lot of input on how to fix bad mechanics. Even my favorite gear, the Garmin fenix 5, is guilty of this – it will tell me when I’m training too hard, which is effective, but I’m not left with a lot of information about how to reach my aspirational goals.
That’s where the Lumo Run is different. In a market that’s awash with devices that count steps, measure heart rate, and provide all kinds of data on how we’re running, the Lumo Run measures running mechanics and gives you information to improve your form and run better.
The device sits in a rubberized clip that fits snugly on your waistband at the small of your back. You fire up the app and go for a run. After ten minutes (or the end of your first run, your choice), the device provides metrics to the app on cadence, bounce, braking, drop, and rotation; key mechanics all runners need to be aware of to optimize their runs. The Lumo Run app gives a handy break down (with video) of what each one means.
If any of those metrics are suboptimal (indicated by a yellow line), the app doesn’t just tell you – it will give you exercises to help improve the next time you run. And before you start your next session, it will provide you with a warmup exercise to remind you of what it is that you’re working on. In my case, my cadence was under 180 steps per minute (spm), so Lumo had me doing toe taps to help improve and a “Puddle” warm up exercise to remind me of what kind of motion I was looking for. My very next run, I was able to keep all my metrics in the green, with Lumo’s occasional chime (when I did well) and sad trombone (when I fell below my desired spm) to keep me on track. I appreciated that the app added cadence to my half-mile updates without any input from me. With my goal in mind, combined with the active coaching from the Lumo Run app, I felt much more engaged in improving my form.
Which is exactly the goal that CEO Monisha Perkash and Product Lead Rebecca Shultz (who holds a Ph.D in Clinical Biomechanics) had in mind when launching the Lumo Run. “Since it launched eight months ago,” Monisha told me when we chatted, “the data shows that Lumo Run is validating its run promise, helping thousands of runners improve their form, distance, and pace.”
And she’s got data to back it up! Just today, Lumo Bodytech released results from two internal studies, showing that, over 27,200 runs, 97% of the runners in the data group improved their form within three runs. In the second set of data, between 84%-72% of men and women in the data set saw improvement in their pace, distance, or both.
But what if your pace is perfect, you ask? I posed a similar question to Monisha. “We have an internal joke,” she laughed. “If you’re always in the green, then you need to run harder.”
Rebecca chimed in here, mentioning that the Lumo Run helps you figure out what you need to work on when you start pushing harder, lets you see where problems are cropping up as the difficulty of your training regimen increases. One of her future goals for the Lumo Run is to incorporate speedwork drills to give consistent runners new goals to work on. They’re also looking at including multiple voices in future app updates (the default voice is nice; but Vi’s conversational tone might have ruined me for all other AI helpers).
But what about all this new data – do you really need yet another app to keep track of your workouts? Lumo Bodytech is working on that, partnering with other run and fitness platforms. Their goal, ultimately, is to “be where the runners are” to help everyone move better and prevent injuries.
After all, no one ever improved their pace while sidelined with a torn Achilles.