Monday, February 25, 2013

Apps for Runners: The Good, The Bad & The Scary

I admit it. I am completely addicted to my smart phone. I wonder how, just a few short years ago, I lived without it.  How did I not get lost drive anywhere without my GPS app? How did I keep up with email and Facebook? More importantly, how did I let every person I know see my food plate before a meal without Instagram? Or most baffling, get married without the genius of Pinterest?  It was a sad time before the smart phone.

The good news is that while I work through my addictions, there are some perfectly healthy apps that can help you, and maybe even help others.

The Good:

Charity Miles

Let's start with Charity Miles. This is an awesome app. You are going to run those miles anyway, why not run them for charity?

From the site:

Ready to become a sponsored athlete? Simply turn on the app, choose a charity, and press start. As you exercise, we'll track your distance and the money earned. When you're finished, accept your sponsorship, spread the word, and we'll send you a note confirming your good work.

How it Works It's as easy as this: get moving. Bikers earn 10¢ a mile and walkers and runners earn 25¢ a mile, up to our initial $1,000,000 sponsorship pool.

Basically, you run, choose your charity and Charity miles donates money to your charity of choice based on your mileage. Run more. Help Yourself.  Help Others. Win-Win.


MyFitnessPal is a free calorie calculator, fitness and diet journal. It is one of my favorites because you can track calories and workouts in one app. You can add your friends to encourage them and they can return the favor. I particularly like the iPhone app, because you can scan the bar code of the food you are eating and it automatically adds all the nutritional information to your food log. It is so easy.

Yes, I eat peanut butter for breakfast.

Reader's favorites

I reached out to you on Facebook and I asked you to share your favorite fitness apps since I haven't tried everything and I mostly use my GPS watch to track pace and distances. This is what you said:

  • Runtastic:
    • "It links to myfitnesspal, sends me motivation to get up and go every Sunday, and my husband can send me cheers through it while I'm running!" - Natasha
    • "I like runtastic because it seems to be very accurate with the GPS and pace. I have a hard time with that on other apps living in a rural area." - Shelley
    • "I love all the cheers from friends all over the world." - Aimee  
  • Runmeter:
    • "I use Runmeter because it emails my family a map of where I am while I'm running and emails them when I'm finished so they don't worry." - Desiree 
  • RunKeeper: 
    • "It keeps me from having to spreadsheet everything." - Jon
    • "Loving their little push notifications recently - nicely reminding us to run." - Ribbonworthy. go Run. be Proud.  
  • Nike Training Club:
    • "Because it's easy to use and rocks!" - Flor

The Bad:

While I hesitate to say anything negative about Jillian Michaels because she might come to my house and kick my ass, her free app has much to be desired. It seemed liked everything I wanted to do was locked behind the paid version. Maybe the paid version is worth your while, but I got frustrated with the free version quickly enough to delete it from my phone. While I love the Biggest Loser, I love her DVD's, and I love her hard-core, no-nonsense approach to fitness, I just don't love her free app. Sorry Jillian, don't beat me up.

The Scary: 


Zombies, Run! What is more fun and scary than being chased by zombies? The thing about running is that it can be more of a mental challenge then a physical one. Once you get past your brain, running is easy. Take it from me. What better way to distract yourself from your pesky brain than to have a zombie chasing you? If that doesn't make you run fast, I don't know what will. This app is so fun! You get so caught up in the action, you forget you are working out.
From the site:
  • 30+ gripping missions
  • “Zombie Chase” interval training
  • Run with your own music
  • Play outside or at the gym
  • Build up your own base

What are your favorite running or fitness apps? Which ones aren't worth your time?

Keep Running,


Ways to (legally) stalk me:

"LIKE" the Running for Dummies Blog page on Facebook
Follow me on Twitter @GeaLenders
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  1. I need to check out the Zombies Run app! The thought of the undead chasing me might just be the extra motivation I need!

  2. I mostly use RunTastic, I also have Zombies, Run! which is so fun, but I get too carried away and run too fast, and I always end up with a sore foot! It is so cool, though, and once I grow up a little, I will start using it again! My base needs me, after all!

  3. I had not heard of Zombies Run. That sounds like a great one to try. I get bored too easily! I love My Fitness Pal. I wish there was a way for Charity Miles to do treadmill runs too.

  4. awesome, thanks for these suggestions!

  5. Love the Nike Training App and My Fitness Pal! I'll have to check out the Charity miles.

  6. Didn't know about the till i read this... Did it this morning... Thanks!

  7. I love, love, love CharityMiles!! I used to use MyFitnessPal in a time before smartphones (only web version). I should maybe revisit it. I'll have to check out runmeter and zombies run. Runmeter so my husband won't worry so much and zombies because it sounds fun!

  8. I don't tend to use an app for logging miles as I always wear a Garmin. I love the Nike Training Club app though!

    1. yes me too, that is why I reached out to my readers to tell me their favorite apps as well! :)

  9. I like Log Your Run. It's easy to use and keeps me going on my intervals. I'm definitely going to try Zombies, Run! and CharityMiles


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