With summer in full swing, who wants to spend time pounding their feet on a treadmill in a dark, sweaty gym, with creepy muscle guy huffing and puffing in the weight room corner? (You know what I mean; every gym has “that guy”). It’s time to slip on your sneakers and step outside to the great outdoors. Whether you are a novice or expert runner, these running/fitness apps will keep you keep on track!
With Nike’s long standing reputation as a leader in the fitness world, you would expect it to have a top notch app for runners. The exercise juggernaut’s Nike+ GPS iPhone app is a force to be reckoned with. With live GPS tracking while you run, runners can track their routes and upload data to Nikeplus.com, a Web community for runners. The app’s interface displays mileage, minutes per mile, and time. The history tab feature lists each route’s information with the option to upload it to Twitter or Facebook. If you’re feeling extra ambitious, the “Challenge Me” feature will extend your route just a little farther to help you push yourself or gain motivation (which, face it, we all need). Nike+ GPS seamlessly integrates with your iPod, and the app also allows users to choose and program multiple “PowerSongs” in case that energy you had in the first five feet starts to dwindle. If you don’t want to run the risk of crashing into a bush while checking your mileage, this app has you covered. The voice alert feature can be customized to alert your distance or time. Recently, Nike released the Nike+ Fuelband, a wristband that tracks your activity including, running, dancing, walking and other everyday activities. The band then syncs your activity to your mobile device or Nikeplus.com.
Arguably the top iPhone app for runners, you might say that Runkeeper Pro has established itself as “top dog.” Similar to the Nike+ GPS, Runkeeper allows runners to track their distance, pace, time and calories burned in real-time using the iPhone’s integrated GPS. Runkeeper Pro features a display map so users can see the exact path they travel. The “save run” feature allows you to upload your run and keep track of your progress instantly. Users can also share their routes and workouts via Twitter or Facebook, or with members of their RunKeeper “Street Team.” The app even provides a “digital coach” to help you reach your fitness goals. It’s like having your own personal trainer, but without the overwhelming cost! Users can build personal workouts and program target paces. For example, unlike the Nike+ GPS, users can build an interval workout, where audio cues will coach you on when to perform certain tasks. Users can also set a target pace and receive updates via audio cues on whether you are ahead or behind your set pace. The app is also integrated with the iPod, allowing users to listen to personal playlists. With this app, I can’t think of any excuse not to hit the pavement running.
Wouldn’t we all like to describe our running style as smooth, not as awkward, funny-looking, or painful? I can’t promise that iSmoothRun will make your face look less funny running up a steep hill, but it will sure make the experience a lot smoother. iSmoothRun uses GPS and an accelerometer to track your run, ensuring that if you lose a GPS signal, it will still track your distance. Similar to the apps mentioned above, iSmoothRun displays your time, pace, calories burned and steps/minute. The app tracks your running rhythm using its integrated metronome, helping you become a more successful runner. The app features automatic pause control, so if you’re stuck waiting to cross the street or stop to say hello to a fellow jogger, the app can sense when you have stopped, picking back up when you start again. Similar to the apps above, users can receive audio cues on several different features and listen to music from their iPods. Unlike RunKeeper Pro, iSmoothRun lets the user customize exercise intervals in groups, allowing the groups to integrate seamlessly with other workout groups. Not only does the app provide a coaching feature and a training log to help keep you on track, but users can race against previous runs they have completed. Runners can share their data and connect with other runners within the most popular running communities including dailymile.com, runkeeper.com, runningfreeonline.com and trainingPeaks.com. Users can also share workouts on Facebook and Twitter.
Edited by Rich Steeves