Iphone Running Apps – What is New?

October 30, 2011

There are now over 1,000 running apps to choose from.  This proliferation of running apps compounded by the weak search features in the iTunes App store, makes it tough to choose one that fits most runner’s needs. With 20 different features, app reviewers often turn to the route of least resistance avoiding the new apps in preference to the older apps like Nike+, Log Your Run, RunKeeper, MapMyRun, Jog Log, Runtastic, and Runmeter.

Most running apps share the same core feature set: GPS with route views and elevation, the free lite  or fee versions, shuffled music, logging, and speed/distance/voice cues. In the last year, two new features have become popular upgrades (1) insert a dongle for adding heart rate display and storing the data (2) uploads to social sites or email results to share your workout with friends.

For those of you who are interested in a well-researched comparison chart of the established GPS enabled running apps thank Tim Adam at Log Your Run for sharing his chart.

But if you are at all like me, I like to give the newer apps a chance to be the buzz and gain some traction by affording them their chance for a modicum of recognition and some buzz.  And, one of the features that I love in a running app is some form of motivation or inspiration. That can come from a power song or a positive not corny voice cue. What I like the most is coached workouts during the run. One of the features that I like the least is the voice cue about pace – it usually says that I am slow so I just turn it off.

So, given my predilections here are a couple of new running apps that I like:

  1. iSmoothRun: Focused on providing runners with best of class, this new running app provides a new feature: it uses both GPS and the built in accelerometer allowing you to switch between the two automatically if your are first indoors on a treadmill to warm up, and then head outdoors for your workouts. Plus, it tracks your running cadence using the built in metronome which helps make you a better runner. And, your data is yours – easy to export or let RunKeeper store it for you – you choose. Check out the Ghost Run feature – fun to challenge yourself with or if you follow a training plan add your interval workouts and let iSmoothRun guide you. According to support team member Manolis from iSmoothRun, “iSmoothRun offers a set of features that are very advanced, unique and differentiate it from the average GPS tracker that can be found on the App store.”
  1. Endomondo Sports Tracker: In October of 2009, Endomondo Sports Tracker launched. It’s a powerhouse of an app if you like competition with your friends or against yourself, this might be the running app of choice. It has a pep-talk feature to keep you motivated and you can review your workouts and your friends online with auto-save to the Endomondo site. Strong social features in the app. And, it’s not run specific so you can use one app for cycling, hiking, skating, and more rather than having to download separate apps for each activity. According to  Jakob Nordenhof Jønck from Endonomondo “So when you couple fun and social in a meaningful way, you can really motivate people. We are lot of passionate people in Endomondo working on this goal.?
  1. iMobileIntervals: This is a new running app first released in January 2010 with new features. It is the first app to integrate all the interoperable protocols known as ANT+ and their sensors which are supported by the WahooFitness API. Another first, it was the app with telemetry (now copied by others) so you can track a friend during a race or for safety and it shows the location and the performance during the workout to your coach or to anyone you want to share this with.  IMobileIntervals telemetry has a unique aspect: you can embed the telemetry widget anywhere you like. According to Ransom Weaver, the developer of iMobileIntervals “For instance on your team’s website or personal blog. It also can use Facebook to notify your friends when and how to see your telemetry, and when and how to see your workout results when you complete.

Enjoy these fresh new features and innovative running iPhone apps to make your workouts more fun and easier to stick to a running program for the rest of your life.

Sally Edwards
Author, Be a Better Runner 



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