The Best Running and Exercise App Ever Invented
The best money I ever spent was $1.99. It was on the Nike+ GPS app for my iPhone. I never thought about using my phone as a tool while running, but it is the smartest thing I ever did (not even my Asics GT 2160 running shoes can compare).
I learned about the app from a friend who suggested I download it so that friends and family can track me on the day of the Boston Marathon, April 16. They can see my location and my pace, so that they can be at the right place at the right time to cheer me on.
Not only does it track each run with a detailed map of my every twist and turn, but it also records every mile, my pace and the calories I burn (safety note: don't activate the map option if you don't want it to track your exact location). I had thought about buying a heart rate monitor of some kind, but most models cost upwards of $100; money that I don't have to spend at the moment. The fact that I already own the technology that can do the same thing is a blessing.
I've used the app on two recent long runs along the East Bay Bike Path, and through Colt State Park and Warren, R.I., and I love that it talks to me as I pass each mile. It tells me my average pace per mile and my overall total time spent running. It tells me when I've reached my halfway point, and when I'm almost at my goal. A professional athlete's voice, like Lance Armstrong, chimes in your ear offering words of encouragement to keep going to the end. If you post your run to Facebook or Twitter, and you're connected to wifi, you can also set it up to have the app cheer for you every time a friend comments or likes your status on social media. You can play music while using this app, too.
I also like that I can broadcast my results on Facebook and Twitter so that I am held accountable for my run (follow me, @JamieCoelho). That way, if I say I am running eighteen miles, I have to run eighteen miles, because everyone can see my stats. It forces you to follow through and you end up competing with yourself to improve your time.
The best part is that at the end of the run, I can see how many calories I burned. My eighteen-mile run burned 1,860 calories. That's surely justification for the veggie pizza I ate for dinner that night. The one drawback is that it does kill your battery, but if you fully charge it before you go, you'll be fine.
As a runner, it's hard enough to stick to my own schedule, never mind coordinating long runs with a partner. It has been tough to run with a buddy lately, so I am happy to have this app as my new best friend.