Ok, confession time. I have made no secret that I am a Tech/ Gadget/ Accessory guy. When I go out to run, it’s a process. GPS Watch, Heart Rate Monitor, Compression Socks, Compression Shorts, Energy Gels, Hydration Bottle or Backpack (depending on how far I’m going), Dry Fit Visor or Bandana, Sunglasses, Moisture Wicking shorts and shirt, iPod Shuffle and Yurbuds earphones, etc, etc…the point I am trying to make is I run with a lot of stuff. All of it is useful in its own way, but a lot is “nice to have” and not “need to have” stuff, if you know what I mean. I love it but when you look at it all it adds up to quite the little collection of equipment for a sport that is supposedly easy and inexpensive. I saw this cartoon online the other day and had to laugh, because it may as well have been drawn from any random day in my house.
But even when you consider all that stuff, if you were to ask me “out of all of your gear, what is the one item that is really indispensable?” If I had to pick only one thing to carry with me at all times, and was only allowed to carry that one and only one item, I would not even have to hesitate. RoadID. Without question it’s the most important thing I put on every time I go out for a run (or bike, or swim, or whatever). RoadID was my first ever review, and I am now getting a chance to go back and revisit it with a lot more perspective (and sweat, and runs, and miles) under my belt. It was really important back then and is even more so now.
So, if you are not familiar, RoadID is a company that specializes in producing “wearable Identification” so you can have a permanent source of your personal info on you at all time, with the express intent of it being able to speak for you in the event something happens and you are not able to speak for yourself. It’s EXTREMELY durable- your info is engraved into a metal plate and then very securely attached to one of the various straps. There are a few options to wear it on your wrist: a nylon bracelet strap, a wide rubber strap, a thin rubber strap (resembling a “livestrong bracelet”), and then a bunch of other options like an ankle strap, shoe tag, dog tags, etc. They are all reflective, super durable, waterproof, and designed to stand up to the mast hardcore of workouts and stand the test of time. I can’t recommend this strongly enough. Most likely, you won’t ever have to deal with a situation where you (or more specifically, emergency personnel) even need to reference this, but in that off chance that something ever does, it can literally be the difference between life or death, your loved ones tracking you down in an emergency, etc.
There was a story shared in one of the online running groups I belong to telling about how the one of the member’s spouse was running in a larger race (a marathon with several thousand runners) and she was waiting for him at the finish line and he never showed up. Turns out he had collapsed (from dehydration/exhaustion…luckily it all worked out ok and he is doing fine now) on the course and was taken care of by emergency crews at the race immediately and transported/checked into the hospital while they treated him. Since he was not running with any form of identification on him he was registered under the name of John Doe. Long story short it took several hours for the wife to track him down and find out what happened. That story alone gives me a stress headache, and should cement why you need to get yourself one of these. If he had a RoadID on, the wife’s name and phone number (not to mention his own name and info) would have been right there, and she could have been there with him the entire way. If that were me, or even worse, if the shoe was on the other foot and it was my wife that was missing and I did not know where she was/ what happened to her it would be absolutely nightmarish for me. For that thought alone I will flat out never leave the house to work out without this product.
I was given the opportunity to update my RoadID (which is great, because I moved, changed my phone numbers and needed to get a new one), and was graciously provided the chance to order a new RoadID Sport and the corresponding ankle strap. The nice thing about these two products is that the same plate from the wrist strap and be removed and attached to the ankle strap when I want to switch it up. I got the Bracelet ID for my running, and thought it would be a good idea to have the Ankle Strap on hand for when I start my Triathlons next year. (The timing chip issued to you during Tris is typically attached to you via an elastic ankle strap, and this one will serve to hold my RoadID as well as accept the timing chip…2 birds, one awesome stone). I’ll touch on each separately.
The bracelet style ID I ordered, The RoadID Sport, is a single strap with a loop on one end and Velcro closure. This is good because you can size it as needed. This is great if you are wearing it a little higher up your arm to accommodate an additional something on your wrist like a wristband or gloves, this is easy to adjust and stay secure. It’s a basic black nylon woven strap and the white stitching on either side is actually reflective material, so it reacts and is pretty noticeable when any light hits it. There is even a little white rubber box seen into the band that says ID on it in case people are looking for it. The nice thing is that (by design) all the materials used to make this are built to last. There is no clasp to fail, the strap is Velcro, and even the engraved plate is metal hooked onto elastic loops to attach it to the strap. So everything is completely sweat/waterproof. I don’t think twice about going for a summer run (where I know it will be completely drenched by the time I’m done running) or jumping in the pool with this on. All in all, it’s as durable as it is important. Great product and highly recommended.
The ankle strap is about an inch wide piece of foam to rest against your leg, with a nylon Velcro closure that wraps around and fastens it securely. The closure also has reflective material all the way around, and a built in place for the engraved ID place to affix to the strap as well. I’ve worn it now on a few runs and bike rides, and I literally forget it’s on. At least with my wrist, I’m always aware of it because it’s always right there in my line of sight. With the ankle strap, however, I sit down and go to take my shoes off and “oh yeah, the RoadID”. It’s nice I know that it won’t be a distraction when it comes time to train for and participate in my upcoming Tris. There’s not terribly too much to say about it, it’s a strap that holds a little metal plate that is engraved with all of your personal info. It exists solely for one single purpose and it completes this purpose extremely well.
I hope I have stressed the importance of this item enough, and the last word I want to say on the subject is: dude, it’s twenty bucks. If you are willing to trade your Starbucks for a week or two in exchange for a piece of gear that can literally save your ass in an emergency, why would you not do it? There’s a lot of frivolous running gear out there that you definitely do not need, but this is not one of them. I honestly feel like this should be mandatory. Just do it.
The other aspect of this review that I wanted to touch on is another new offering from RoadID; their new iPhone app. This free app is in keeping with the same safety minded approach to your workouts as the wearable identification, and is actually intended to compliment, not replace it. But the basic premise of the app is this. It allows you to set up to 5 contacts to be notified via email or text that you are out on a run/ bike ride/ workout and offer those contacts a link where they can track your workout path and location in real time on an online interactive map. The interactive map is important because that means that they get a text or email with a link to the map that they can access from any device that can get to the internet, so they do not need to also have the app downloaded in order for you to utilize this. The location is provided by your phone’s GPS.
This is huge for me. I always run with my phone anyway. Now I know that if she ever has any question, my wife can log in and see exactly where I am. In addition to my family being able to gauge how far I am from home, there is also a built in feature that can be enabled where if the user is stationary for more than 5 straight minutes it will notify all of your selected contacts and send them info regarding your location. The logic behind this is that although the app does not know if you have actually been in an accident or not, being stationary for 5+ minutes can be a very good indicator of that. The app plays a warning to the user as it nears the 5 min threshold, in case you stop for a bathroom/water break, are changing a bike tire or just bumped into an old friend and have been chit chatting and lost track of time. And lastly, on top of all that, the app allows you to set the lock screen of you iPhone (the screen that comes up when you press the power button but have not done the “slide to unlock” thing to get into the actual phone yet) with your name and the name/phone numbers of your emergency contacts as well. This will allow first responders to call your peeps from your own phone in the event of an emergency. Just imagine if the “Hospitalized Hubby” from the story above had his phone and this app enabled when he went down. It could have been a drastically different story, both for him and his emotionally put out wife.
So Real-Time Tracking, a notification if you are stationary for 5 Min or more, and a Lock screen on your phone with access to your emergency contacts. That’s one hell of a good set of safety and tracking features.
I have used this app now on several runs as well as a few bike rides, some as far as 17 miles. It’s kept up and accurately reflected where I was when I was out there. The nice thing is, it plays nicely with other apps, too. I recognize this is a matter that is largely determined by the user and their particular iPhone, but every time I run I already have my phone on because I am an avid user of Charity Miles (www.charitymiles.org), and I am happy to report that the RoadID app runs right along and does not interfere with the Charity Miles app. A little something for me, a little something for others. All good. It does deplete your iphone battery faster with the GPS constantly running, but that was a reality that I was already dealing with by using the Charity Miles (as it also uses the phones GPS to track you) and adding the RoadID app does not make it deplete any faster than it already was. So it’s a free app and has no negative ramifications at all. Again, it does not make sense not to use this if you can.
*I am attaching some screen shots of the app so you can see what I am talking about, or you can follow this LINK directly to the app store and download it yourself. Again it’s free and designed to protect you. It seems like it’s in your best interests to use it. I know that I now consider it an integral part of my workout. Yes, it takes a few extra swipes to get it up and running, but for me it’s worth it.
As always, these reviews are designed to point you in the right direction. Check out the RoadID Website HERE for yourself and see if you agree with me/ decide for yourself if this type of product is worth it. Thanks for reading, and I hope this helps.
I am approaching this review from my standard viewpoint of what I believe the core interest of this blog really gets at: that is to say I am presenting my review by looking at this product from the perspective of a person who is relatively new to the running world, has some weight to lose and wants go about losing the weight by starting to incorporate a more active lifestyle and want to know how sift through the volumes of available gear/ equipment out there.
One of the great benefits to running a blog like this one is that it puts me in a position from time to time to receive various products to use and review for you. Oftentimes, these items are provided to me free of charge. This is the only type of compensation I have ever received, and my acceptance of these items in no way constitutes any obligation to provide an unwarranted positive review. My opinions on the products are unfiltered and 100% my own.
**This product was provided to me free of charge, but again, this does not influence my review or views on the product in any way**
Also please note that these are the personal opinions and experiences of one individual (me) on my personal blog, and intended to be taken as such. I personally, and The Running My Ass Off Blog do not accept any liability from the purchase or use of any products reviewed on this blog.
**Sorry, just have to cover my ass here. These are unbiased reviews, intended only to help. I’m not going to try and sell you anything, nor do I want you to take my opinions as the final word on any product. Let me help you figure out what you should check out, and then check the stuff out for yourself to see if you like it.**