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Press Run: My new running companion is brutally honest - The Galveston County Daily News : Press Run

September 19, 2014

Press Run: My new running companion is brutally honest

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Posted: Sunday, August 3, 2014 5:03 pm | Updated: 5:38 pm, Sun Aug 3, 2014.

I finally broke down and got a running app. And it’s making a more honest runner out of me.

I suspected, and the app proved me right, that I had been overestimating the distances I ran and the calories I burned. (Conversely, I always underestimate the calories I consume, but that’s another topic for another day.)

The neighborhood run I thought was 3.5 miles was only 2.54. The 400 calories I thought I burned on that run was more like 280  — this I learned with the MapMyRun app.

The app is meant to replace a dedicated fitness watch. I’ve got the free version, which tracks my distances and calorie burn.

As I train for my first 10k, which I plan to run at The Daily News’ Press Run on Sept. 13, I knew I needed to make a fearless inventory of my progress and an app could help me do that.

I ran this morning down 25th to the seawall and then to 14th street and then back to my downtown loft. It was a 4.46 mile-run. I ran 10-minute miles, which is not a major improvement for me, or reason to celebrate. At that rate, I won’t meet my goal of running the 10k under an hour.

Last week, while visiting my sister in Austin, I ran 5.5 miles in just under an hour. I didn’t bring my phone, so didn’t have the aid of the app but did have a trail map to confirm the distance.

Although I faced a much hillier, rockier run in Austin, I was faster. First, trail runs are shadier and there aren’t any stop signs.

During this morning’s run under a merciless sun, I had to stop and wait for cars to pass before crossing Broadway and the seawall.  And I confess, I’m a distracted runner. I kept spotting pennies on the sidewalk. I can’t pass up a penny — it’s like running past good luck — and I found nine during my run. I thought it was pretty cool to make money while running. But then I started thinking about running shoe depreciation. (See, I told you I get distracted).

Although the app is objectively and brutally honest, I think I’m going to like it. The question is: Should I spring for the $5.99 monthly subscription, which would get me advanced map features, route genius, training plans, heart rate analysis, power analysis and cadence analysis? There’s also live tracking of other runners, which I think borders on stalking.

Is paying monthly fee really worth it? Before I spend money on this app, I was hoping running readers could tell me whether you track your runs with apps and whether you have any recommendations.