Track your running, walking and bicycling

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Kerry Keith The Friday Flyer Columnist

Kerry Keith
The Friday Flyer Columnist

The Techie Tipster

If you are one of the many residents in Canyon Lake who walks, runs or bikes along the main streets, a smartphone’s GPS makes it a perfect platform for a variety of walking and running applications (apps) that can track your speed, distance, calories burned, map your route, and even offer entertaining features to keep you going.

Here are some of the top apps to make your time more efficient, productive and enjoyable. Most of these apps are compatible with Android and iOS (iPhone) operating systems and most are free with the ability to upgrade to a professional app at a cost. Data usage applies for app download and use.

Strava Running and Cycling: This multi-tasking app tracks your speed, pace, distance, elevation and calories burned, plus it collects heart rate and power. It also saves your routes to compete against yourself or compare your performance against other athletes who have taken the same route. With leaderboards, challenges, and achievements, this app is an excellent option whether you’re a serious, competitive runner or cyclist – someone who wants to stay fit – or you just want to walk or bike for fun.

Runkeeper: A favorite among runners, this app uses your phone’s GPS to record your distance, pace, time, calories burned, weight loss and speed, while allowing you to take and tag pictures on the go. You can find and follow pre-planned routes, measure your progress and workout history, and post your results and progress to Facebook and Twitter.

This is a great running app because of its simplicity and versatility. This app can also be used with the iPhone watch.

   Runtastic: Besides the basic tracking, this app can allow you to set up interval training, get audio feedback at each distance marker and utilize a library of music or audio books to walk or run to.

It also provides live tracking so people can track you live, cheering that allows your friends to cheer you on from the company’s website or Facebook, and be able to analyze your run with detailed graphs. This is a top-rated app that’s always adding new features. This app can also be used with Windows phone.

Nike+ Running: This app accurately records your pace, distance traveled and time, complete with audio feedback and a route map. The app also comes with a host of gamified elements such as sharing runs, achievements, and the option to challenge your friends to beat your time or distance run. Three great features are the ability to load a “Power Song” of your choice for when you need some dig deep and push through moments, change the color of the screen to match your mood, and take and tag photos along the way.

Couch-to-5K or C25K: This app is designed to gently ease couch potatoes and casual joggers into running 5K courses over time. Users are provided a training course of 20 to 30 minutes, three times a week over nine weeks, to build up a runner’s stamina from walking gate to gate in Canyon Lake to becoming a race-winner.

Users can choose from four virtual coaches, complete with accompanying audio cues to help motivate them on the run. It also features automatic or manual logging to easily keep track of your progress. Over nine weeks, this app slowly boosts your fitness and running stamina and is a must for those wanting to run their first 5K.

Map My Run: Like most running apps, this one takes advantage of your phone’s GPS in order to track and map your running course, time, speed and total distance traveled. The app offers over 70 million routes to choose from, or you can create your own. Extras include displaying your real-time stats and your end-of-run totals, the ability to track your food, giving you an estimate on how much you should eat and how many glasses of water you need, enter your workouts manually, and share your results via email, Facebook or Twitter. If you’re visiting a new city, this app will help you find the perfect place to walk or run.

Charity Miles: This award-winning app is not just an app to chart your distance and pace; it allows you to support a good cause while staying in shape. Corporate sponsors will donate $.25 per mile to your chosen charity, $.10 if cycling. Every outing is an opportunity to support a charity. This is for iOS only and requires 8.0 or later.

Zombies, Run: There are a lot of apps being made for runners, but this one might be the most fun. It can improve your overall physical activity and offers an eight-week training program that gets you ready for a 5K race. It’s game features various story lines in which you need to run away from, you guessed it, zombies. Despite the name, the app and game follow your own pace, so you can just use it to spice up your regular walks. $3.99.

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Sharon Rice