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Jun 18

Runmeter by The iPhone Mom

Let me begin with a disclaimer – I am not a serious runner. By serious I mean that I do
not track my pace and splits. I do not read Runnerʼs World or carbo load before a race.
My goal is to finish a run and be able to walk the next day and Iʼm proud of my humble
pace. I run because I have four kids and Iʼve got to do something to keep my sanity.
The year after my third child was born I was turning thirty. I made a goal to finish a
marathon before my birthday and I did it and was hooked. Over the next four years I ran
the same marathon, missing last year because Iʼd had my fourth baby just a few months
earlier. This year Iʼm turning thirty-five and I hope to run the race again this fall. So far
Iʼve found that in between the baby and keeping up with all the kids Iʼve been limited in
my time and ability to run away long enough to get the miles in. Weʼll see how the
summer goes.

When I was putting in the miles for my previous races I was often tempted to buy a
fancy Garmin. I donʼt care about my pace but I do care about the miles. I live in an area
that is semi-rural. Subdivisions mixed with open fields of corn and cows. Most of my
training is done running on the side of the road and I try to calculate my routes by the
“country miles” that run from one main street to another. It works but it makes for
boredom because I run the same routes over and over. About a month ago I went
looking in the iTunes App Store for an app that would help me track my miles so I could
get off my well beaten path. Basically, a poor girlʼs alternative to a Garmin. I browsed
through the App Store and tried a few different running apps out. The most I spent was
$.99, I just couldnʼt purchase any of the $9.99 ones which are probably wonderful.
Eventually I found Runmeter and the $4.99 price tag plus the positive reviews won me
over. Iʼve been using it for a little over a month and itʼs made me a happy runner.
Runmeter takes advantage of the iPhoneʼs GPS and maps your runs, measures your
run time, tracks your distance and will calculate your pace per mile and your average
pace. If you are running a route that youʼve run before using Runmeter then the app will
also tell you how much distance you have left in your run. You can name your routes so
theyʼre easy to keep track of. Runmeter is also not limited to running, it will also track
cycling, hiking, skating, skiing, swimming and walking. Because it tracks my miles I can
explore a bit and move away from my country miles. Iʼm loving that and seeing places
around my home that I was totally unaware of before.

The main screen of Runmeter is your “Stopwatch”. Itʼs here that youʼll be able to view
the key information about your current run. Youʼll see your run time, pace, distance,
remaining miles and your elevation. From this screen you can select your route (or
create a new one) and the activity that you are doing.To start tracking a run you tap the
“Start” button on this screen. When you are finished youʼll tap “Done”.
The next screen is “Map”. This shows a Google map of the route that youʼve selected.
You can view a street, satellite or hybrid map. The time and distance from the last time
you ran this route are displayed at the bottom of the screen.
Next comes the “Calendar” screen. This screen displays a calendar of the current
month and will show you the days you have run with Runmeter. If you tap on a run day
the app will show you that runʼs details. Tap on those details to see even more details.
You can see your splits and email/export them out. On the calendar screen you can also
add in a run that you didnʼt complete with Runmeter. This is great for me because
unfortunately the majority of my runs lately have been on the treadmill after the kids
have gone to bed.

The “Routes” screen shows you a list of all the different routes youʼve taken with
Runmeter. Tap on a route to see the list of dates when you ran it. There are icons next
to each run that show if the run was best, better, median, worse or worst than the others
youʼve done.

Finally there comes the “More” section. This section of the app is filled with all sorts of
goodies and tweaks you can give to Runmeter. I like the “Announcements” feature. With
this you can set a time and distance interval to hear announcements over your
earphones. Personally, I like to hear an update every mile and at every thirty minutes.
Thereʼs a list of things you can have announced but I have mineI set to tell me the time
of my run, the mile Iʼve reached, my pace and the calories Iʼve burned. The app fades
out your music, you hear the announcements and then the music starts right up. I also
set up email updates for my runs. I get an email after every run that lists the key details
and gives me a link to the Google map for my run. More importantly Iʼve also set up
email updates to go to my husband after every two miles. That way he can keep track of
where Iʼm at which is great for peace of mind when Iʼm off on a long run. In the “More”
section you can choose a setting that will turn your iPhoneʼs earphone remote into a
remote control for Runmeter. Iʼve done this because I run with my iPhone strapped to
my arm. I donʼt want to have to take it off every time I need to control Runmeter.
The last thing Iʼm going to mention about the app is that you must start your iPod music
first and then begin Runmeter. If you exit out of the app it will stop tracking your run.
Likewise, if you take a phone call or do any texting the app stops. Youʼll have to restart it
to continue from where you left off.

Iʼve been extremely happy with my Runmeter purchase. It does everything that I need
and it seems to have the capability to do the things that a more serious runner would
also want. In my opinion itʼs been well worth the $4.99.

TheiPhoneMom.com is a website written by Heather Leister which is dedicated to helping women and moms get the most out of their iPhones.  The site focuses on app reviews, how-to articles and other commentary about the iPhone, iPad and other Apple products, all from a real-life Mom’s perspective.  TheiPhoneMom.com has been mentioned on TechCrunch,com, ABCNews.com, AOLNews.com, FastCompany.com and various Globe and Mail Newspapers in Canada.  Heather lives with her husband and four children in Boise, Idaho. She can be contacted at mom@theiphonemom.com.

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