Endurance sport tech: an emerging sector from the new mid-life crisis

In a couple of months, our Chief Technical Officer Adam Fleming will be attempting an Ironman triathlon – but during his training, his combined passion for sport and technology has opened his eyes to the world of endurance sport tech out there. In the first of his 4-part series, he’ll deliver an industry expert insight on this emerging sector.

A few months ago, I read an article suggesting that endurance sport was rapidly becoming the new mid-life crisis for “men of a certain age”.

In an attempt to deny the implication of thinning locks and expanding waistlines, it’s become increasingly common to see middle-aged men signing up for extreme physical challenges – transforming themselves physically and emotionally in an attempt to reinvent themselves whilst there’s still time.

Everything from mud-runs, obstacle racing and long-distance running to triathlons, mountaineering and yacht-crewing – the sky is pretty much the limit.

That article had a certain poignancy for me.

At the time, I’d begun training for my own mid-life crisis challenge: the Ironman (one of the most formidable triathlons, consisting of a massive 2.4-mile swim, a 112-mile cycle followed by a marathon run).

I’ve been an intermittent and indifferent triathlete since doing the 6th London Triathlon in 2000 as part of a relay team. I’d been persuaded to take part by an Irish co-worker who had just finished Ironman Florida – I remember thinking that you’d have to be some kind of super-hero to race over that kind of distance.

The idea took root in my mind. I started toying with the idea of signing up for my own Ironman ticket to super-hero-dom. For a long time, it was ‘maybe one day’. But before I knew it, it became ‘it’s now or never’.

So on 14th July 2019, I’ll be lining up alongside 2,000 like-minded idiots, all attempting to swim 2.4 miles in Pennington Flash, cycle 112 hilly miles around Bolton, and finish with a 26.2-mile run in under 17 hours.

Endurance sport tech - Adam Fleming

Endurance sport tech

So – what’s all this got to do with tech?

As the CTO of a tech company, it shouldn’t be surprising that I’ve taken a keen interest in watching the progression and application of technology in sport, so I’ll be writing a series of blog-articles over the coming months to discuss the impact of these developments on amateur sports – with a particular focus on swimming, cycling and running.

There have been a number of key endurance sport tech innovations which have come to the market over the last few years – and as a true technophile, I’ve used several as part of my training.

Over the rest of this series, I’ll be highlighting:

  1. Software – what app and desktop software is out there to help you monitor and improve your performance, including analysis, training systems and more
  2. Wearables – an area that’s expanding rapidly, the wearables market is flooded, but that also means they’ve been in development for a long time and are already showing huge advancements. I’ll cover smart-watches and sensors through to clothing, with a few tips on what my stand-out products are
  3. Everything else – there’s a wealth of other tech out there that people just don’t know about, mainly focussing on technique improvement devices. For any budding athletes, these could give you the edge by helping you to learn and evolve your technique much quicker.