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Every runner has a toolkit – a couple of items and tricks to keep them on track and reach their goals. I’ve been running for more than 20 years, and my own toolkit hasn’t changed much. But recently I added the MapMyRun app into the mix, and I wish I’d done it sooner. Whether you’re just starting out or you’ve been running for decades, this app should be a part of your toolkit.

There’s An App For That

I know what you’re thinking…great, another app.

But hold that thought. This is no flavor-of-the-month app from some fly-by-night startup. The parent company (MapMyFitness) had 20 million registered users back in 2013 when it was acquired by Under Armor.

Today, Under Armor claims that their health and fitness community is the world’s largest, and there’s no reason to doubt it. Thanks to all the social features of the app, runners that use MapMyRun join a huge support network where they can get advice, ideas, and encouragement.

Favorite Features

MapMyRun has features to track progress, keep a schedule, record distances and times, plan meals, you name it.

Here are three of my favorite features.

 

  1. Retrospective Tracking
    Sometimes I’ll decide to make an impromptu detour on a run, maybe to check out some scenery or grab water from a bodega. Mapping my unplanned route post-run lets me know exactly how far I’ve gone. No more guesswork.
  2. Find Routes From Other Runners
    I love the fact that other runners make their favorite routes public. Before traveling to another city, I’ll do a quick search based on my destination zip code, and ta-da! Running routes from locals!
  3. Keep Your Data Private
    Many runners choose to add their information to the public platform. If you want to keep a lower profile you can elect to remain private and still have access to the vast amounts of publicly-available info shared by more social runners.

Carry Your Phone – Or Leave It At Home

Many runners carry their phones for safety or to access their music library. If you’re one of these runners then you’re in luck because MapMyRun can use the GPS in your phone to track your run in real time, giving you instant data on your route.

Runners who are more old school like me (I run with my old iPod for music) can take advantage of the manual mapping tool to pre-plan routes. No more approximating. Stick to the route and you’ll know exactly how far you ran. You’ll be able to increase your mileage in a methodical way, even if you’re running brand new routes every time!

Next Level Data

But what if you want the best of both worlds – GPS tracking without having to lug your phone with you? Runners who want to take advantage of MapMyRun’s full functionality can buy Under Armor Smart Shoes which have a GPS chip embedded in the foam.

The Under Armor Smart Shoes sync with the app to provide a trove of granular data: average stride length, average steps per minute, average pace per minute, and more. I couldn’t possibly trade in my favorite running shoes even for this kind of data, but if you already use Under Armor running shoes or are willing to make the switch, you’ll now have access to the kind of information that only elite runners had in the past.

The Final Word

Digital Trends contributor Rachel Cavanaugh sums it up nicely when she says, “It’s fully adaptive — changing as you go based on progress — and works for runners of all skill levels. You can also log meals, track calories, set daily nutrition goals, monitor weight, track sleep, count steps, create goal alerts, and share progress with friends.

And it’s free, so why not try it?

It may just be your new favorite running tool.

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