I am not a runner. On occasion I run, but it’s usually only to balance out repeated bad choices with food. And, when I run, it’s typically on a treadmill while watching something highly intellectual like Psych. I am actually trying to do that a little more frequently these days because my family is doing the Shamrock Run in Portland in about a month. The boys and I did it last year, so we know we can do it. Same as last year, I’ll be running the 5K (sounds longer if you put it in “K” instead of miles) with my younger son, while my older son leaves us in the dust on the same course. My younger son and I are doing the run only because it’s an excuse to go to Portland and we get cool green t-shirts! My older son, on the other hand, actually likes to run and is doing it just for that. Then there’s my husband, Mr. Über athlete. He’ll be running the 15K, then joining us for the 5K as a cool down. I think he gets a little medal or something in addition to his green t-shirt.
Anyway, my point in saying this all is that both Mr. Über Athlete and I use and like RunKeeper. RunKeeper is a free iPhone app (I think there’s an Android version as well) that tracks your exercise using GPS. It maps where I am and tells me my speed, calories burned, and pace (both current and over the course of my exercise). I can choose my activity type from a wide variety of choices including, running, walking, hiking, snowboarding, rowing, swimming, etc. or just call it “other.” In addition, I can choose music from my iTunes playlist and opt to enable a variety of different coaching modes. I don’t want anybody telling me what I need to be doing when I run or walk, so I’ve never tried it. My husband, on the other hand, is a goal-oriented runner and loves this feature and how he can customize it. He says that it gives you audio cues so you know what to do and when to do it (just what I’m trying to avoid, but good for him).
The other thing I really like about RunKeeper is that it gives me a little Google map of my run. This is cool to see, but also handy if you go running somewhere unfamiliar and need to be able to find your way home. I mostly like it for the cool factor though. Once my activity is complete, the app syncs with RunKeeper.com to keep track of all my exercise. Then, I can look back at it later and see where I went, how far, how fast, etc. I mean, hey, I want credit for the exercise. Speaking of which, if you were reading closely, you may have noticed that I said the majority of my exercise these days is on a treadmill (talk about a boring Google map route!). RunKeeper allows you to enter that mileage as well. You just choose “manual” entry instead of “GPS.”
The app is great, and I really use it pretty much every time I go out for a hike, walk, run, or whatever. If I had to dwindle my app collection down to only ten, RunKeeper would probably be one of those ten… and that’s saying a lot, because I have a LOT of apps