That which does not kill us, makes us stronger. - Nietzsche

Sunday, November 21, 2010

There's an app for that!

This morning, my wonderful husband informed me that he's found two free running apps on blackberry. Both claim to use the blackberry's GPS to time and record distance, mile splits, speed, etc. My Christmas list unofficially includes a Garmin, but it's really really hard to pass up free, especially knowing that I can finally comfortably carry my berry while running. (Thanks spibelt!) So I downloaded them both.

The long run on the training plan this week is 8 miles. I decided to do 6. I did 8 prematurely in the training plan, and the plan is set up for a 10k on a Saturday, not on a Thursday. I want to make sure I'm sufficiently rested Thursday morning and 8 miles just seemed unnecessary, especially considering that zicam aside, I may not be 100% healthy at the moment.

So I used the 6 mile run as a test drive for the new apps - endomondo and runtastic. Since I couldn't decide which one to try first (endomondo has better reviews; runtastic was a much larger download - so fancier? Plus runtastic can upload to facebook) soooo I decided to see if both would run at the same time.

First of all, a garmin would be easier. I had to set everything up on my phone, get both started, and then while running (no time to waste!) settle my phone into my spibelt in a way that it wouldn't accidentally get pushed or scratch against my car key, get the spibelt addition to doing the usual fighting with my ipod to get the earbuds to stay in my ears and the ipod to stay clipped on. After 2 minutes or so of looking like a spazz, I was running for real.

My run was AWESOME. The weather was gorgeous. I wore capris and a lightweight long-sleeved shirt and ended up with the sleeves rolled up. And I was at my fastest. I'm worried that I might've pushed harder than I needed to be pushing, but I was having too much fun to slow down.

Finished the 5 mile loop plus .5 out and back. There are mile markers that should be accurate. I was excited to see how the app results measured up.

Well, runtastic crashed somewhere in there, so I've got nothing recorded. I won't blame runtastic just yet; it may not have been able to work with endomondo already running.

Endomondo recorded my km. Well crap. The stupid thing is that even after I changed my preferences, it won't convert it for me. Well, it did on my phone, except that it literally changed km to mi and nothing more. So my phone now says my average speed was a 6:23 minute mile, which I must admit does look pretty freaking cool.

After converting (9.24 km), it recorded that I did 5.7 miles in 59:09. My stopwatch and the mile markers say I did 6 miles in 58:47. The time, of course, has to do with the fact that I had to take the time to start and stop the apps. I'm not sure why I'm .3 miles off, unless the mile markers are off, which would be weird. I'm not gonna lie, either, it's a little discouraging to do an awesome PR run and then be told that it wasn't as awesome as you thought.

I got on endomondo's website to check out the more detailed stats. The cool thing is that it actually shows my running route, and it's dead on. It follows the trail exactly. It's obviously not perfect, as it says that my top speed was 1:03 min/km. (Huh??? - maybe it thinks I did the last .24 k in 1:03??)

Other cool things include that it does indeed have the option to post to facebook, as well as to share with others. Well, here; see for yourself:

And when I logged on to the website, it listed everyone who was out running/walking/cycling and their distance and time so far. That's pretty fun. You can also stalk these people by clicking on their names to see where they are. How fantastic for creepy people everywhere! I watched some guy running around England for a few minutes. Apparently there is another feature called peptalk, where you can type a message for your friends during their workouts, which will be read to them out loud. That would be really fun to have during, say, a marathon. However, I don't listen to music on my phone, so I wouldn't have my headphones plugged into it.

Runtastic's website seems to have a similar setup as far as seeing your workouts, friends, etc. but I don't think it has as many features.

I'll have to do more trials with both apps in various locations to see how it turns out. I also hope that I really am as fast as I think I am. :) Sub-10 minute miles would really be amazing!

Does anyone use/know of someone who uses a phone running app?? I'm trying to figure out if this is worth it or if I'd be better off with a garmin.

Edit to add: I managed to get my run converted to miles after all!! I can tell the 1 mile mark is later than it is on the trail. Same with the 4. As for the others, I have no clue. Obviously the 5 should come at my starting point since it's a 5 mile loop. And obviously I never ran at a 1:41 min/mile pace like it says. However.....10:18 also sounds more like my usual pace. Hmmmm.

One more edit: I just mapped the trail on, which shows it to be exactly 5 miles. So the inaccuracies are indeed with endomondo. A closer zoom-in does show where it thinks I went off the trail (trust me, I was not off running in the trees or onto runways.) However....for a free phone app, that was impressively accurate! Now I'm going to stop obsessing about it, walk away from the computer, and take a shower. :)


  1. I have sport tracks on my DROID and while it works in a pinch, it isn't as convenient or give data of the same quality as my Garmin.

  2. I use CardioTrainer on my Droid. I think it somewhat overestimates the miles, but it's my only option for weeknight runs when it's too dark to hit the trails.