Running with apps

I’m not much a user of apps. I have an iPhone, but I just use it for Twitter, Facebook, my blog and email. Oh, and to check the weather, because I am British after all. That’s plenty for me. I know people who have apps for every area of their lives, who don’t need to fart because they’ve got an app to do it for them. But that just isn’t me.

But then I read about a couple of fitness apps, so I thought I’d give them a go.

I remember paying about a tenner for a step counter 10 years ago. You know when doing 10,000 steps a day was the big thing? Now you can get it in a free app, called Moves. Not only does it count your steps, but it can differentiate between walking and running steps. And it measures how long you cycle for too. I’m not a cyclist, but as it happens I’ve just started going for little bike rides with the kids. I love this app! It is so simple, yet strangely addictive.

Just a regular day for me. 10,000 steps is for wimps!


Then there’s Now That’s What I Call Running. I went for the free version, but you can upgrade so it can measure calories burned etc. I don’t need that because I don’t run for weight loss. I run for fitness and the sheer love of running. Basically you tell it how long you’re going to run for and it creates you a playlist. It turns out if you’re running for a long time it thinks you need indie, soft rock and Take That. Now I like all of those, they’re on my phone after all. But I like a bit more of a mixture. I like dance music too. Presumably if I told it I was going to run for 15 minutes, it would give me dance music. It also measures how far you’ve run and your average speed so that’s good. But MASSIVE DOWNSIDE – it won’t let you run for over 90 minutes. So it’s basically crap for me.

Just when I was getting into the idea of using apps, I realised I couldn’t find the right one for me. Then a friend, who read my post about running the Camel Trail and not knowing where I was, got in touch to suggest I try RunKeeper.

Well, I tried it yesterday, and it was awesome. There’s no limits on how far and how long you run for. It mixes your music too (again, it thinks I mainly want to listen to Take That – I don’t) and every five minutes it talks to you. It took me by surprise the first time – it tells you (sadly in a rather annoying American voice) that you’ve been running for five minutes, that you’ve run 0.65 miles and your average speed is 8 minutes and 51 seconds (please don’t do the maths on that one, I’ve just plucked it out of thin air).

This is surprisingly motivating. I’ve always considered I run a mile in 10 minutes as a rule of thumb, but more likely I do it in nine and a half minutes. For the first four miles I was running at around eight minutes and 50 seconds! I’m sure knowing this made me run faster. Once I’d gone over four miles, I was running at around nine minutes and seven seconds, which I was pretty impressed with.

Another good thing is you can pause it for toilet stops or when the gates are down on the level crossing. For example. These are just the things I would pause it for. Other reasons for pausing it are available.


It was the best run I’d done in ages. Probably it was because I’ve done a few 12 mile runs now and my stamina and muscles are ready for it. The weather was also perfect. There was a nip in the air when I started out and although it started to get warmer and sunnier, it never got too hot. And there was no wind or rain to bother me either.

But I think the RunKeeper helped too. I really pushed myself at the end and finished how I like to finish, but haven’t done for a long time. With a smile on my face.

This is not a sponsored post. I just wanted to share my experiences of running with these apps.

Author: Sarah Mummy

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  1. You should try MapMyRun. I use it. It doesn’t do anything with music, but it announces every mile (it’s what got me through Race For Life) and your current pace and total distance. You can choose from walking, power walking, jogging, running, racing etc (loads of options) and it has a pause function. It also does calories, but the best part is it maps the GPS of every inch of your run – so you can look back after and see where you ran and where each mile marker was. You can save them if you want to compare your next run or if you want to run the same route again. It’s brill. I used it for all my training as well as Race For Life. I only got the free app – but again I think you can upgrade if you want it to do really fancy stuff!

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  2. That sounds really good – and even though it was Take That, the change in music could be beneficial if it is tailored to helping motivate you. Wow at your stats – I can barely run to the end of the road.

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  3. I don’t have apps because I hate smartphones (old dinosaur that I am) but do run – well, jog slightly faster than I walk – with my trusty MP3 player on shuffle. Most of the time it’s fairly user-friendly and delivers an interesting mix with a few unexpected twists and turns that leave me thinking ‘oh yeah, haven’t heard that in ages, cool’ but sometimes it gets the hump and throws on three or four quieter songs in a row and I lose the will to live. Or jog. Not everyone’s cup of tea, but LCD Sound System were commissioned by Nike to make an album specifically for jogging to. I love the noises James Murphy / LCD SS make, so it works for me!

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  4. Thanks very much, everyone! Some good tips there.
    MapMyRun does sound very similar, Emma, but I might give it a go too. I don’t think you need more than the free app with any of these apps.
    You could run if you worked up to it, Pink Oddy, I’m sure!
    I ran with my iPod on shuffle until a couple of years back, lovely2cu. The phone is good because it’s music and phone in one – in case of emergencies. The apps are a new thing! The Nike album sounds interesting, thanks for the tip.

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    • I tried to help encourage my oldest when he was cross country running when he was 10

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  5. I use Run Keeper too – although I haven’t gone for a run in quite a while!

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  6. I use this app and love it, I like seeing where I’ve been as well as how many steps – only thing annoying is that it drains the battery!

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  7. Thanks very much, everyone. I’m surprised you don’t use an app, Claire!
    It’s a nightmare for the battery, Emily! I have to spend the rest of the day with it plugged in after a run!

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