GPS Tracking of Your Runs
One of the main reasons I bought an iPhone was for running, and after testing a bunch of apps, I think I have finally found the best running app for iPhone: Runmeter (by Abvio LLC).
In a nutshell, Runmeter tracks your distance, pace, time, calories, etc. via GPS. It can be used for running (I like to run barefoot with gorilla shoes), jogging, walking, or biking. The app also allows you to listen to your own music in the background, and a voice will chime in at specific intervals (e.g. every mile) to provide an update on your statistics. All of that stuff is pretty cool, but there are a bunch of apps that can do the same. Some of the others you might hear about are RunKeeper Pro and Nike+ GPS. After giving all of these applications a try, here's why I think Runmeter is the best running app for iPhone:
Ghost Running - This feature is what did it for me. Let's say you have a few favorite routes that you run all the time. Runmeter tracks your best, worst, and median times for those routes. So, when you are running one of these saves courses, you will be updated along the way (by the voice that chimes in) about how you are doing relative to your previous (ghost) runs. For example, you might hear "distance is 1 mile, and you are behind your best time by 20 seconds." I love this feature, because it always encourages me to run faster.
Voice Controls - You will get updates at specific intervals (which you set up ahead of time). I choose to hear an update every half mile, but Runmeter also allows me to ask for an update at any point I want to, while I am jogging, simply by speaking into my earphone microphone.
Calendar - The calendar on this application shows all of my runs, with color coding to show which ones were faster than average or slower than average. I find this to be a nice way to get a feel for my pace over the course of a month. I tend to slow down in hot July and August, but speed up again in September when the weather cools off.
Social Features - I actually don't use these features, but it is worth noting that Runmeter has a comprehensive set of integrations with Twitter, Facebook, email, and Daily Mile. If you have a coach or running group, you can broadcast messages during specific points in your run automatically. The application will also send a detailed email after each run. I do like to look at that email, which includes a cool map showing my path.
Other Cool Stuff - I should mention a few other neat features before I wrap up this review of Runmeter, the best iphone running app I've used. Runmeter is the only app I've seen that can automatically detect when you've stopped. This is great for red lights or traffic, because the timer knows that I have stopped and will also stop momentarily. Finally, Runmeter does a good job of allowing me to export my run data whenever I'd like, in case I want to plug it into a spreadsheet and do my own analysis. Some of the other apps out there don't provide access to your raw data.
Priced Appropriately - Runmeter is $4.99, RunKeeper Pro is $9.99 and Nike+ GPS is $1.99, last time I checked. I think RunKeeper might be the most popular of the three, best I think Runmeter is the best iPhone running app, followed by RunKeeper Pro, and finally Nike+ GPS.
I hope you enjoyed this review. I encourage you to get out there and enjoy running, jogging, walking, or biking with your iPhone. My latest thrill is barefoot running. You can read about the benefits and risks here if you wish. If you are an app junky, check out my favorite photo apps and video apps. Whatever you do, I hope you use Runmeter, my choice for the best running app for iPhone.