Wednesday, June 27, 2012

Running Apps: A Preview

So starting this week, I am beginning product review Fridays.  I’ve realized that one of the reasons I enjoy blogging is that it takes me back to when I was a reviewer on the high school newspaper.  I would review anything from restaurants to movies.  What’s funny is that I would always shy away from doing any type of sports reporting – I was brought up believing sports was a waste of time and to develop more of my “intellectual” side.  It is kind of funny now that I enjoy running and cycling at the level I do. Now that I also working for an Open Access Publishing company, my writers block is gone and I am really enjoying writing again.

Over the years, I have been using different online sites to track both my fitness and diet.  My favorites being,, and I will review the different sites in another post. 

The greatest challenge though for me has always been the tracking, it has been very manual.  I would map out different routes using the sites mapping program and assume with the that they are at least 95% accurate (which I have since found out that I was correct).  The greatest value though for me to use these sites is at least I can match up my diet with my exercise schedule and tweak it as I go along.  Also, one of the greatest benefits for me has been that I am able to track the mileage I put on my shoes and bike.

So last year I got my first smartphone, a HTC Sensation.  I love this phone!!  I have never been a gadget guy, I am a slow adapter.  That said, I have really enjoyed the different apps from Google Play (android market) I can download, which brings me to this post.
One of the things I look for in a running app what is the ability of the app to provide audible cues that tell me my average pace, current pace, and distance.  Why this is crucial for me is that I wanted the ability to know exactly how fast I was going, especially during a race, so that I could meet my goals.  It also is a motivator during my training runs.  This is something my watch cannot provide.  What also is important to me is the frequency of the cue. For example, if I am training, I like an the cue to tell me the above at the very least every 0.5 mile, preferably every 0.25 mile.  This way I can run fartlek’s to work on my speed.  If I am running a race, I might only want to hear the queue every mile to two miles.
Also important to me is how much of a power drain on my phone it will be.  I do have a power skin; however, it is too bulky to run with.
Finally, I prefer an app that have comprehensive level statistics as well as  the ability to test your mettle  against others using the app as part of its basic features.  This has greatly helped to further motivate me in my training runs.

I downloaded a series of running and exercise apps to use. I tried Map My Fitness, RunKeeper, Endmondo, Runtastic, and am currently using Strava.  That said, I am also running with a Timex Ironman GPS Triathalon watch now, reason being I have been using for some time and also have found that some of the apps do not use the power in the smartphone efficiently or they have problems with the GPS (this may be my fault since I keep my phone in my pocket and not on a smartphone arm band holder). 

So this week will contain a review of the Map My Fitness and Runtastic.  Friday July 6th will be a review of RunKeeper and Endomondo.  On Friday, July 13th I will wind up this series with Strava.

No comments:

Post a Comment

submit to reddit