Apps to Fit You Up. Part 1. Best Running and Cycling Apps
Fears used to circulate in the 1980s about the future of computerized mankind rooting down in armchairs at their PCs. Yes, even the cellular phones of that time were not as portable as today’s laptops.
But today's digital sphere has become so small and wireless that you don’t have to spend the whole day still. And there’s even more; digital technologies can help you get fit and motivate you to rise up and take care of yourself.
We have collected some of the most remarkable sporting apps. The first part of the collection includes some apps for running and cycling.
All of the apps below are available both for iOS and Android for free, though they may have paid extra options. We have willingly excluded the official apps by fitness device manufacturers as they require the original device you might not own or want to. As well we didn’t mention Google Fit or Apple Health, being sure you already know about them and search for something more powerful and specialized.
The running and cycling apps get the required data from your phone’s built-in sensors and GPS/GLONASS, so make sure you have your battery fully charged before leaving home.
Runkeeper is best known for its precision and variety of parameters it records while you're exercising. If you’re running or cycling, the app records GPS data and saves your distance, your routes, your altitude shifts, calories spending and other parameters. While recording your track the app recognizes your stops and pauses by the way you move.
This app has an on-demand feature of making routes and real-time voice navigation, like in driving GPS apps. You can both store your workouts chronicles and plan your future workouts. Runkeeper is designed to bring you the best comfort while training, so it has a clear readable interface and some built-in options like music player.
Owing to good integration with Android Wear and Apple Watch this app can use wearable devices both for instructing you and for reading your physical data like heart rate, moving speed, steps and so on. It’s as well integrated with Google Fit and Apple Health services and it even has its own location-based social network.
The only inconvenience about Runkeeper is its paid services promotion. Yes, the Pro version has a noticeable advantage, but sometimes its advertisement becomes too annoying.
Strava Running and Cycling
Another service with a large fan base has its apps available for free, though with paid extras. Strava is a good choice for runners and cyclists who want to discover some new routes and share their achievements with the community. So, Strava is even more social-oriented than Runkeeper. It allows you to share your achievements along with your photos and videos both in its own network and in other popular social media. This part of the app is a pretty effective motivation.
The screen is used so efficiently that you’d only have to take a glance to read the data. It won't distract you while cycling or running, especially if you have your smartphone fixed in a holder.
The app supports most smartwatches (Apple, Android Wear or Tizen), heart rate monitors and other specific peripheral devices, so it measures your biometric data with high precision level. It’s good for pros and advanced amateur athletes.
The most probable issues are connected with poor GPS performance, so make sure your device has location services set up well. It may be kind of outdated warning, but if you have a two to three-year-old MTK-based smartphone, known for its issues with GPS, you better not delay switching to something more recent to use Strava.
Run With Map My Run
This app by MapMyFitness is a running mate app with the typical functionality of tracking your running activity. The app uses both the built-in sensors and GPS data. There are some special features about it.
Map My Run has an outstanding hardware support. It includes not sports meters and wearables only, but even your athletic shoes you can track as long as you use them and get alerts when it’s time to purchase a new pair. A good wearable device provides more precision with your workout recording.
This app is compatible with other fitness services. It has a nutrition diary, a calories counter, good web integration and motivating challenges.
Unfortunately, the most advanced features like heart rate tracking, voice instruction and navigation, personal planning and so on, are only available in the Pro version with paid subscription. But anyway the free version is worth trying to make sure if it’s the service you need.
We’d conclude that Map My Run is the app for the ones ready to invest in their fitness activity and take the app as a part of hardware and equipment.
Runtastic GPS Running, Jogging and Fitness Tracker
One of the most advanced running trackers proposes a great lot of features you’d need both during your workout or between them. Runtastic keeps your data for the current workout and your long-term statistics, so if you’re deep into training, you can see your progress for entire periods. While training the app monitors your activity, records your track, detects pauses and stores the entire reports.
Even the free version allows you to set up your strategy. Measure your progress in distance, in pace goal or in calories burnt for any single workout. Your progress is visualized with bright distinguishable colors that make your progress easy to see.
The good part of Runtastic is its customizable appearance. The readability of the app while running or cycling is impossible to overestimate. Set the looks the way you consider the best for a quick glance. The app also has an integrated music player.
The hardware support is limited to Runtastic’s own wearable trackers. If you plan to create your fitness hardware ecosystem, Runtastic is a good option as it promotes scales and heart rate monitors as well. But if you already use a different device, think twice whether it’s worth switching. Another option is Apple Watch or Android Wear, though they would also cost you.
The famous manufacturer has given up its fitness trackers, but the cloud fitness service with the app is still intact. It’s more than just support for FuelBand owners, it’s an independent service not restricted by manufacturer’s sportsware (no typo).
The main activity supported by the app is running, just by the name. The app monitors your running condition and tracks your progress, so you can set goals and get instructions on reaching them. Nike makes an accent on its social features. You can share your results, show off your Nike+ level, post your results on your pages. Stand this competition!
Nike stands the competition with other running apps just as well. The app still gets updates and preserves good compatibility with old smartphones of 2013 and earlier. So if you plan not to give up your phone until it dies, this app is a good choice. By the way, this app has no paid extras, all its features are available for free.
Issues? Yes, it has a few. Some users admit its limited functionality and inability to customize training plans as flexible as they need. Some encounter incompatibility with new devices, so they should wait for an update. But the general rate of the app is high enough.
To Be Continued
We truly hope these apps (or at least one) will help you to run your way up to fitness success. The next part will embrace some apps for indoor training at home or in a gym.