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Thursday, June 16, 2011

Apps Josh Loves: Nike+ GPS

by Josh (bio)

When I was thinking about writing this series I was going to call it “The Twelve App-postles” or “App-ide with me, ‘tis eventide.” But then I thought that seemed a little silly, or sacrilegious, or both.

So I am calling simply “Apps Josh Loves.” I am hoping to regularly share apps that I use that make my life a little better. I am a bit of a techno-geek and always want the latest and shiniest new toys. And what I love about apps is that they are constantly giving me new ways to use devices I already love. Full disclosure: I am a dyed in the wool Apple Fanboy, so these apps will all be iOS apps.

In the last couple of years, Amy and I have both taken up running. I travel a lot for work, and while the fitness facilities in hotels are pretty hit of miss, they almost always have a couple of treadmills. And running is the workout that can be done anywhere. All you need is time.

But running outside has always been a little intimidating to me. I was never sure where to go, or how far I had run, so I tended to stick to the treadmill. That is where today’s app comes in.

Nike+ GPS. If you are a runner, this app is a must have. First of all, it is only $2. Well worth the price. And it makes tracking your run super easy. You just hit “Start Run” and go. The app uses your iPhone’s GPS to track the path of your run and your distance. (So you don’t have to have special Nike+ shoes.) You can even look at the map of your run and see where you ran your fastest and where you were your slowest. But it doesn’t stop there. Here is what I love:

1) It makes running into a video game. You can set the app to announce, in your headphones, when you pass certain milestones (every mile, every 10 minutes, etc.) and, when it does, it will tell you your running pace, time distance, etc. I found myself pushing to improve my overall pace at each announcement. You can also set goals online (run 10 times in the next four weeks, but 4000 calories in the next six weeks, etc.) and track your progress.

2) There are “running games” you can play with friends. Start a game of tag with your friends and, at a random point in the next 72 hours, the app will announce the game has started. The last person to start a run after the game starts is “it.” (Want to play games with me? My user name is “jooshanoosh.”)

3) You can post your runs to Facebook when you start. If your friends “like” your status while you are running, you can hear them cheering over your headphones.

4) You can set up a list of power songs -- those songs that you know will pump you up when you are running out of steam. Any time during your run, you can hit the “power song” button to give yourself a boost.
Maybe you are one of those people who doesn’t need that type of external motivation. But if you do, you will love this app. And it is free. You’ve got nothing to lose.

All images via: Apple

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