When I realized there had to be an easier way to track my mileage than doing it manually, I looked for apps on the Android Market (this was before it was “Google Play”) I tried several, and ended up using Cardiotrainer as it did everything I was looking for. As time passed, they even added a heart rate monitor, which I as a good consumer went out and bought it.
Falling for an age-old weakness- When I saw Runtastic for sale on the Google Play store for .25 for the pro version (there is a free version,) I bought it. Then I felt I had to try it (I spent a whole quarter on it after all!)
So the first day I used it, it picked up the satellite immediately, I didn’t have my usual wait to get an accurate GPS location that I do with CardioTrainer. A nice british voice started the countdown from five (This wait time is configurable), and off I went. My settings (Default) only gave me updates at the mile marker – which suited me just fine. For Comparison, my Cardio trainer gives me miles/calories/time at the mile and pace at the 1/2 mile. The problem with the pace that is given, is that it is for that exact second, not the average pace of the run which would be useful. Since the pace never had any practical use for me, I prefer its absence.
I finished the run, and in order to stop it you have to push the unlock THEN stop. Nice! IT keeps me from accidentally ending my run by hitting the wrong thing. I like it! Like most of the running programs it will automatically post to Facebook and twitter, but Runtastic has added another one. Many runners also track their food calories (I do!) especially as they start-up if it is for weight-loss purposes. Well runtastic can be automatically set to export your distance and calorie information to Myfitnesspal – Which happened to be the program I have been using to track my caloric intake. One level of duplicate entry removed! WOO HOO!
But, we have many choices that all track our runs/calories very well. Runtastic, Cardiotrainer, Endomundo, Mapmyrun, etc… So what does Runtastic offer? They allow you to sync information between devices without a problem. I take a small phone (my work one) with me sometimes when I run, and other times I use my personal phone. I like to look at my information on my Asus Transformer tablet. All of these will sync the history so I see the same information – with details – without having to worry about which one I used when I ran. By comparison – Cardiotrainer will download time/distance, but you cannot see your actual track, mile splits, altitude, etc – when you restore information.
In addition to the smooth app, Runtastic offers a large amount of information on its website.
Another interesting feature of Runtastic is the “Cheers” feature. When you start a run, it will ask if you want to post a message to Facebook. If you do so, people can “like” the post – and you will hear it as you run. I have had one person do this – and to be honest it scared the bejezus out of me. All of a sudden I heard a positive message (I am afraid I don’t recall exactly what it said at this point) out of nowhere. I didn’t realize it was a “cheer” until I got home and saw someone had liked my Facebook post! That means next time I will think it is really cool instead of being freaked out!
Runtastic also allows you to take pictures as you go – and it associates them with your run. While I haven’t used this feature yet – I will. When I used to do my long runs back in Upstate NY, I would frequently take pictures of interesting things I saw. Now I just need to be able to DO long runs again – then I can worry about photography!
One of the other features that Runtastic offers, is the ability to see the route you ran in 3D. They have worked some arrangement out with Google so that you replay it using Google Earth. I haven’t yet figured out a practical use for this feature.. But man is it cool!
I know I haven’t done more than a superficial use of the software, and will update you as I learn more! I have to say that at this point, I will not be returning to Cardiotrainer. Now if only one of these will auto-sync with Daily-mile the will have my loyalty for ever!
Editted on 4/9/2013 – For an updated look at the information available from runtastic.com, check out my posting on the Cherry Blossom 10 Mile Run: http://onceandfuturerunner.com/2013/04/09/cherry-blossom-10-mile-recap-cool-statistics/