Developer: Clear Sky Apps (http://heavydutyapps.com)
Platform: Apple iOS (http://itunes.apple.com/us/app/5k-runner-0-to-5k-run-training/id439852091?mt=8)
Price: Free / $2.99 for full version
Welcome to the first post of a series of apps I will be reviewing into each week. As mobile technology becomes more prevalent in our society, so is its advantages to improve our health and well-being. Today, most college students have either an iPhone or an Android smartphone in their hand. The popularity of apps have made mobile phone more versatile than just making a phone call or surfing the internet. Many companies have recognized the connection of an increasing mobile market and a growing healthy lifestyle, leading to an explosion of many health and fitness apps. Many of those app reflect on the popularity of running and so, app of the week #1 is Clear Sky Apps’ 5K Runner.
What is it and how does it work?
5K Runner is a coaching app for people who want to train to run a 5K and/or want to lose weight. The app can be used from the novice runner to the advanced marathoner. 5K Runner provides an 8-week program, structured by 3 days of running per week. Throughout the 8 weeks, the app will coach and train you comfortably through an interval training system (walk-run-walk) to eventually get your body adjusted to the rigors of a 5K. The use of the app is simple after it is downloaded. Go to the app, press Run Now, and follow the audio prompts. Every session starts with a 5 minute warm-up walk and ends with a 5 minute cool-down. Between those times, the running program itself will vary every session with set interval training times. Times for each session varies and the program will tell you the duration of each run. 5K Runner saves the event after a run and throughout the weeks, you can earn achievements and share those events on Facebook and Twitter. Running tips are provided in the Learn tab of the app to help you prepare on what you need for this program as well as proper stretches. Learn more details of the apps by visiting its website and its iTunes page.
Currently, I am on my 7th week of the program and plan to run a 5K later this month. I use it during my gym days (3 days/week) to implement it as my cardio workout of the day. In my win column, this app is simple and user friendly. A press of 1 to 2 buttons and my workout starts right away. Its simple appearance and language makes it easy to use. The pause and resume buttons are really helpful if you run on the streets and stop at crosswalks. Although you mostly rely on the audio prompts, a helpful meter and a timer is provided to let you know your progress during a current run. Personally, I like the freedom this app provides. It can work in the background and let you operate other apps while in use. I can change my music and set up a tracking app like RunKeeper to map my runs/times (also a fail for me). Also, I can use this app in any environment, whether it is around the track outdoors or on a treadmill indoors. Results-wise, my endurance has improved as well as my body appearance.
In my fail column, 5K Runner’s simplicity can potentially detract advanced runners or running app users like me. Currently, the app does not map your routes or your times per mile, which is disappointing for those who want to know how much they have improved. I always turn on my RunKeeper app to do this for me but running a GPS-tracking app on top of 5K Runner can drain the phone’s battery and lack synchronization when it comes to tracking running statistics.
Overall, 5K Runner is a simple app of the many couch-to-5k running apps out in the market today. Although it lacks some of the flashiness of GPS-tracking that other running apps use now, its simplicity is refreshing for everyone, especially beginner runners. Apple users can download it straight from the iTunes app store while Android users will have to find an app similar to 5K Runner in the Google Play market. What do you think about it? Suggest any other running app? Let us know in the comments below.
Look out for next week’s post and with that, I leave you with a Song of the Week (Nero – Must be the Feeling) to get you motivated for your next workout.
Song of the Week