With the Calgary Marathon running this weekend, thousands of people are fully into the running season. If you’re a fair weather runner, and just getting started, there are many apps, gadgets and wesbites to help you do your best.
Once you know how far you need to run, you need to measure that distance and there are a number of ways to do that. Nike+ GPS [$1.99 iPhone] turns every training run into a race. It can automatically tweet our your times to friends. You can compare times on routes with friends via Nike’s social forums, and it keeps track of your totals to encourage you to go further. You can get audio queues during your run at intervals to get your splits.
RunKeeper [free iPhone] was one of the first apps to offer this sort of GPS tracking, it was a paid app for a long time and it’s a great deal now that it’s free.
iMapMyRun+ [$2.99 iPhone] offers a chance for people to follow you virtually. It does all the GPS tracking of pace and time and distance, but also posts the information on the web. Doing a big marathon and friends and family want to track you to know where to go to cheer? If you want, this app will broadcast your exact distance online so people can chase you down. The Map My Run forums online are also a great way to find new routes to run. People break them down by distance and location.
If you’re wanting to run with your iPhone, you probably don’t want to carry it around on each trek. Armbands are a great, easy, comfortable way to keep your iPhone with you to measure your distance, and also let you listen to the music or whatever. While I like the comfort level of things like the Belkin Armband, I find they make it difficult to use the iPhone. If you want to pause your time, or switch your audio, the plastic screen is not a simple one to use. Also, it’s hard to tell your pace when you’re running because the screen is facing outwards on your upper arm. You can’t tilt it to view.
The inability to see the screen is why I still run with a GPS watch. My choice is the Garmin Forerunner 405CX. It’s a small watch, and while the bezel is a little finicky to use, once you get used to it, it’s fine. You can track time, distance, heart rate, and you can upload your runs to the web for tracking. For me, it’s the best way to do training or races and see all the information I need in just a glance.
When it comes to headphones for a run, I’d recommend Yurbuds. These ear buds have little bumps on them so they click in to your ear and won’t slip out as easily (especially if you’re a sweater). They also don’t get stuffed right into your ear (like the white iPod ones), they sit on the outside of your ear canal so they are very very comfortable.