GPS Apps Help Runners Train

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GPS apps might be able to solve a problem that runners have been grappling with for years: How can we accurately record our time, distance, and speed statistics while also concentrating on running? Aside from having an assistant keep track of progress, it’s very difficult for a runner to log this information while devoting his full attention to the run itself. Up until the era of smartphones and GPS apps, that is.

A number of different companies are working to develop tools that will do all the timing, recording, and mapping that a runner could want, all with minimum attention required. As you can imagine, the statistics produced by these apps are quite detailed, and some go so far as to add bells and whistles that, while perhaps not necessary, make the exercise process a little more fun!

Take the Runmeter and Endomondo apps, which both offer a “trash-talking” feature. As your friends watch your progress broadcast in real time, they can send you messages, which the app then reads aloud to you. This could allow your girlfriend to encourage you if your rate is slowing a little bit…or, of course, allow your buddy to mock you mercilessly to try to keep his record intact!

All of these GPS apps give the runner valuable advantages that have never been so accessible: accurate recording of distance, recording of stats on a website that you can review later, and an important safety component. If you become lost or injured during a run, someone else can easily see exactly where you are by checking your GPS signal.

Some runners’ apps also help out before the run, calculating ideal workouts based on the information you enter. They function almost like a personal coach, giving advice on how you should pace yourself, how long your total run should be, and how hard you should work for optimum benefit.

These apps range in price from about two to five dollars, and some are even free. Many of them run on either Apple or Android systems. It’s fairly easy to find detailed reviews of each one online, so you can decide which one would be ideal for your current condition and interest levels. Of course, if you’re not a runner yourself, you can still make use of the “trash-talk” feature to heckle your friends who are!

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Mark Rummel

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