Friday, July 13, 2012

Running Apps Part 3: Strava Running App

This week I conclude my series of running apps.  While there are so many more apps out there other than the five I have reviewed, these are probably the most used and most competitive of the bunch.  You can find the reviews of Map My Fitness and Runtastic here and the reviews for Endomondo and RunKeeper here.

I enjoy Strava!!  When I was in the market for a GPS watch, one of the store associates at Sports Basement tuned me into the site.  You can upload your data from any device.  The greatest thing about Strava is that it keeps track of specific segments and compares your activity (running or bicycling) against others who have done the same segment.

Strava actually began as a website used by cyclists to track their performance using their GPS and cadence equipment.  They had a cycling app out a full six months prior to their running app

 I can say their app is pretty simple to use too. The GPS is very accurate, within 1/50th of a mile.  It is very quick at triangulating your location so you can start quickly on your run.
The frequency of the audio reminders is better with Strava, it will remind you every 0.5 mile which is sufficient to so that you can keep your desired pace.

Picture Courtesy of
But what I really enjoy about this app is that as well as its site is the feature that keeps track of specific segments.  I run the Embarcadero in San Francisco and can either run north through Fisherman’s Wharf to the Marina Green or south, past the ferry building and around AT&T Park.  Along each of these routes I am measured against other runners in specific areas.   

For example, the mile between the Rocket and 3rd street has over 200 runners.  I have been ranked against these people and myself so I know when I PR or move up in rank.  There are also other fun segments, like “Dodge the Tourist” in Fisherman’s Wharf or how fast you can climb the Filbert Steps  to Coit Tower.
The site does have pretty good statistics, not as much as I like,but are sufficient for the task.  They also will keep track of the mileage you have put on your equipment (shoes and bike). It also will link to your other equipment (heart monitor, cadence, power meter, etc.) if you so choose.

 If I ever chose to sign up for the premium level this is the site I would pick.   This is definitely a fun app.

In Summary

While I just covered five of the apps I have used over the last year, there are many more to try.  The best app will be the app that is easy to use and fits your needs.  For example, for me Audio cues are important (RunKeeper), but maybe you want app to provide you with the extra motivation (Strava), or maybe you want an app that focuses on the social aspect of running (Endomondo), or an all inclusive fitness app (Map My Fitness).  What ever your reason, you will be able to find an app you need.

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