I do have a masterplan for my training. Despite my thoughts being very passion driven and seemingly all over the place, I am quite a stringent person. With that in mind, my nature and my obsession with all things tech has led me down the road of using “Apps” to help me on my journey.
Allow me to regale you with my choices.
To start off with, the bread and butter of the situation, the 10K free app by Zen Labs. The app will run and tell you when to change pace, what to etc. I however, don’t use it for that. A glance at the workout profile before I start means that I can limit the amount of audible bells and whistles, meaning I can listen to my music in peace (or otherwise – more to come). Overall the app does what I need it to do. Having looked ahead, I am not entirely sure how well it will do me in the later stages, but I will update if I change.
This app is available in a variety of flavours – Free, Pro and Premium. I have opted for Pro, as some of the toys suit me and what I want to get from the statistics output. With this app, you can set it off and use GPS to track your run, you can manually update any other exercise (swimming, elliptical etc.), can connect to Facebook and add friends, join challenges, plan routes, see real-world events, and most importantly (to me anyway!) – view statistics of your exercises, including distance, calories, time, speed and much more. For a scientist and statistician like me, this is bread and butter and avoids the need for a huge spreadsheet.
This is a strange app. Born from a Kickstarter campaign, the premise of the app brings exercise and gaming together. Always one for a quirk, I have tried the app and really enjoy it! You are “Runner 5” in a post apocalyptic base. Your job is to run out for supplies, and return safely, avoiding Zombies on the way. Listening to the recorded stories, punctuated by your playlist, you can really get a feel for the environment, with voices piped through different earbuds, the voice acting really adds to the sense of drama. The app can use GPS or the accelerometer (Beta) to record your distance and map your run (GPS only). I just use this for the audio, as it really does make the time disappear.
The music I run to is an eclectic mix of classical, rap, metal, pop, jazz, ballads and electro. Each song is selected for a specific reason, whether is is fast, good to cool down to, has a strong beat for footfall, or is just a good song. My playlist is 305 songs, which at 3 minutes 30 per song, is 17 hours 45 minutes long. I have no intention of ever running for that length of time, but I am confident that each time I play my music, I will get a different mix of tracks. Keeping it fresh and a surprise keeps me plodding on. There are hundreds of websites claiming to carry the “Perfect Running Playlist“, but it is vital for each person to select their own music. I like Zombies, Run! because it includes music and speech. For some, trance music is the only way to go, for others, Mozart, and others, a simple Audiobook. Don’t be afraid of experimenting, and playing with what works for you. If you run better to music, get on Youtube with a list of other peoples’ playlists and work through. A perfect example of experimenting is the hardest track from Guitar Hero – Through The Fire And Flames. Definitely gets the blood pumping!