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Do Pedometers Work for Running?

author image Andrea Cespedes
Andrea Cespedes is a professionally trained chef who has focused studies in nutrition. With more than 20 years of experience in the fitness industry, she coaches cycling and running and teaches Pilates and yoga. She is an American Council on Exercise-certified personal trainer, RYT-200 and has degrees from Princeton and Columbia University.
Do Pedometers Work for Running?
Man using pedometer. Photo Credit: DragonImages/iStock/Getty Images

Using a pedometer to measure your steps can motivate you to move more. Once calibrated to your stride length, the small device is quite accurate in measuring your walking distance daily. Pedometers may give you a rough estimate of how far you've run, but will not be 100 percent accurate because your stride changes.

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Step Counting

Most pedometers come with instructions for setting your stride length. Some models use the terms "step" and "stride" to mean the same thing, while other models count a stride as the distance covered by striking your right and left foot -- or two steps. Generally, to measure your stride, chose a 20- to 50-yard distance and wear your pedometer as you manually count how many steps you take. If your count is two to four steps higher than what your pedometer reports, follow the manual's instructions for calibration. Technically, you could perform this calibration to measure your running stride, but if you choose to wear the pedometer all day long to keep track of your steps, you'd have to reset it to match your walking stride when you were done with your run. If you really want to know how far you've run, choose a marked trail, map your trail with an online app, drive the route with your car or bike or invest in a GPS-style watch that tracks speed and distance; these will be more accurate mileage trackers for your run.

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