Walter Mencken 6:15 p.m., Feb. 28
Apps, Apps, Apps
There are several running/tracking apps available at the App Store and at Google Play. I decided to download three of them and run them simultaneously during a run up Torrey Pines.
I chose MapMyRun, Sports Tracker, and Endomondo.
I have an android phone but I believe these three apps are also available for iPhone. All three apps are free. All three apps have paid versions which support heart rate monitors and other gizmos. All three apps will share your results via Twitter or Facebook upon completion.
My little experiment yielded some interesting results. Both Sports Tracker and Endomondo came back with a distance of 7.07 miles. MapMyRun said 7.17.
I had noticed that MapMyRun tracked Lake Mirarmar at 5.3 miles. That's way off. The Lake is at most 5 miles and at least 4.95 miles. 5.3 isn't even in the ballpark. To me, this is a deal breaker for MapMyRun.
If you're training for an event and have a goal in mind, MapMyRun is going to tell you you're going faster than you actually are. If you run 5 miles in 40:00 minutes, your pace is different than if you get credit for running 5.3 miles in 40:00 minutes. If you're trying to qualify for Boston, using MapMyRun could torpedo your efforts.
Sports Tracker is a nice application. It has a gaggle of features on the free version and keeps accurate distances.
However, the default display has too much information on it. It shows distance, duration, average speed, maximum speed, average pace, maximum pace, and the number of feet traveled.
The sheer number of fields means it is difficult to see the few items that actually matter. There is a "big mode" but it doesn't reduce the number of fields, it just makes them bigger and forces you to scroll through them--which is ridiculous.
Endomondo is the bomb. It has a basic workout screen that shows you duration, distance, pace, and calories burned. The fonts are big and easy to read while on the move.
There is a "flip page" function at the bottom-right side of the screen which lets you flip over to a map and back. When starting your workout, it counts you down from 10 once GPS tracking is established making it easier to put your phone is a pouch or holder without having the clock running.
I am so happy with Endomondo I might spend the $4.99 to upgrade to the full version.