Thursday, November 15, 2012

Runtastic

Couch to 5K apps really got me running.  I am ready to begin the 21K (or 1/2 marathon) training, but with my current schedule I need to wait until January-ish.  In the meantime, I wanted to increase the number of days I run as well as my speed while maintaining my current length of time spent running.  I just can't fit longer runs right at this moment.  

In comes Runtastic (click the image for more info).  I haven't had the opportunity to play with all of the app's features, but there are a few key reasons why I choose it.
  • It is GPS enabled, and will track your routes for you.  This tells you exactly how many miles (or kilometers) you have run.  You can also save your favorite routes, but I haven't played with this feature too much yet.
  • Because it is GPS enabled it calculates your speed.  Based on your distance and how long it took you to travel that distance it is able to calculate how fast you were running.  
  • It runs in the background.  This is really important to me because I usually like to listen to the radio while running.  I appreciate being able to listen to the radio and track my run at the same time.  You can also play your iTunes music, and you have the option of choosing power songs; songs that will pick up your speed.  I haven't played with this feature too much yet because I listen to the radio, but plan on it.  
  • It connects to MyFitnessPal, Facebook, and Twitter.  I love that it connects to MyFitnessPal.  It automatically posts the activity I did as well as the calories I had burned during the activity.  I'm kind of torn right now about it posting to Facebook and Twitter.  I hadn't realized that it posts when you begin your activity.  On Facebook it encourages your friends to cheer you on by clicking the like button.  I need to find out if it shows where you are running. 
  • It does more than its name suggests.  Although the app is called Runtastic, it also tracks walking, hiking, biking, etc.  This was great when I was wandering around San Fransisco and wanting to know how many miles I walked that day!
Funny story:  I had not realized that the app posts the start of your activity to Facebook.  Well, I was running and a P!nk song happened to be playing.  When all of a sudden I heard, "I like it!" in a fairly deep and creepy male voice.  I looked all around me to see if there was someone around.  Was I being followed?  Did someone hack into my phone?  It wasn't until I got home and saw that my uncle had clicked like when my session posted to Facebook.  It was around the time he had clicked like that I had heard that message.  I now think that's pretty cool to hear your friends and family encourage your running that way.  Even if I don't like the creepy voice the app uses to tell me. 

I'm sure it does even more than what I've listed above, but I really like it so far.  Since I've begun using it I've trimmed my time by about one minute.  I love hearing how fast I am running!