During this pandemic, we’ve had to offload a lot of things to the Internet that we really never dreamed of digitizing before. Yes, there has been that steady trend of choosing the Internet to do things that we used to do in person, such as a lot of shopping, certain kinds of work, and certain forms of communication. However, this was a slow bit of progress in the past, and something that was more selective.

The pressure of staying isolated has changed this, and now pretty much everything that can possibly be done effectively online is done in such a way. School, work, even things like conventions, debates and lectures are all handled through an online forum now. Truth be told, this will probably remain the case well after the pandemic has subsided, because people are beginning to realize how much more convenient it is to just stay home and do things through a computer.

Whether or not the social aspect of being present in a location, directly engaging other people is a significant loss or not is up for debate, and there’s probably merit to both sides of that argument. In the case of athletics, there’s definitely some sense of loss there, and where many things may not re-socialized after the pandemic, athletic pursuits probably will.

For the moment, though, you have to go the route of an online running club, if you want to keep your athletes engaged, in shape and participating in the sport. This means that you have to choose a running club app, and there are 1 billion of them out there to choose from. What should you look for in these? How do you choose one that works well?

Equipment Compatibility - The most important thing to look for is compatibility with everyone’s smart watches, so that their biometric data and pedometers can communicate with the app, and the data can be shared, measured and cross-compared. Given that it’s wise to choose an affordable smart watch, you just need to make sure that it can read basic Bluetooth information, because that’s how these standard watches generally communicate.

You also want to be sure that it can integrate with email, cloud storage and standard communications platforms like discord, zoom or face time.

Affordability or Truly Free - Avoided app that is only “free” in the sense that you don’t have to put any money into installing it. Absent lock away features, or constantly interrupt with intrusive banner ads or commercial interruptions should be utterly avoided. If you can find one that’s relatively cheap, less than five dollars, simply invest in that for your team, and save yourself a lot of hassle.

Cross-platform - You’re never going to get a Android user to switch to iOS or vice versa. Both of these have their merits, but they also have their drawbacks, and the drawbacks of a platform are going to be significant enough to a user of the opposing platform, to where nobody’s going to switch. It is a guarantee that not everyone on your team will have the same platform starting out, so you also need to make sure that your running club app runs on both platforms equally, with the same features and the same basic interface.

If you take the sinks the heart, running an online running club really isn’t that much different, in the long run. We’ve written some other pieces on how these running clubs work, and how you can still experience the sport in real time together, even if you’re not in the same physical location. We recommend that you check these out now that you know what to look for to set your technology up!

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