How to Use Technology and Get More Out of Your Running - ITS Tactical
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How to Use Technology and Get More Out of Your Running

By Mike Petrucci

I’m not a professional runner by any stretch of the imagination but I do thoroughly enjoy lacing up my shoes and getting some run time in. I find running to be a great stress reliever in addition to the obvious health benefits.

With technology today, most people become obsessed with their stats when they really should be running more like a dog. Dogs are simple. They don’t care when they run. It could be night or day, rain or shine. They are just happy to run.

That said, it is still a good idea to keep track of your running so you can measure growth and performance. There are a number of apps and websites out there that enable you to get more out of your running but won’t distract you from enjoying the great outdoors.

RunKeeper & Nike+ GPS

  • RunKeeper iOS – Free
  • RunKeeper Android – Free
  • Nike+ GPS iOS – $1.99
  • Nike+ GPS Android [Unlikely because of contract with Apple.]

These are smart phone apps that use GPS to track your location and speed. These produce useful little graphs of your runs that you can share with others or just record and use as a for yourself. The ability to add friends is fun. You can keep track of how each of you are doing and even challenge one another to a race.

These two apps are in competition which each other and do similar things so you’ll have to try for yourself and see if you have a preference. RunKeeper has a very grass roots startup feel to it and Nike just feels much bigger. Actually, RunKeeper was first to the “game” and first to make their product free but the Nike team has certainly kept working to advance their app.

My Favorite Features


If you pay for RunKeeper Elite, you can broadcast your run live to your profile page so anyone can track your progress. This would  be great for races or even if running alone so you feel more secure with someone watching over you.

Nike+ GPS

The “Cheer Me On” feature. When you start running, you can tell the app to alert your Facebook friends by updating your status. Once a friend comments or likes that post, the sound of cheering and cowbells comes over your headphones. It’s actually very cool and worth checking out.


The idea is simple. Exercise and get rewarded. Incentivizing your workouts is a great way to stay motivated and go the extra mile, literally. Once you sign up for an account, you can link your fitness accounts (RunKeeper, BodyMedia Fit, FitBit, Foursquare, Nike+, Garmin Connect) so that every time you run or workout, you’ll get points based on that activity and duration.

Their list of rewards has really gained some vendors in the past few months and it’s worth checking out. Most of them don’t require much on your part, just redeem your points and reap the rewards. The best part is that it’s completely free so there’s no reason not to sign up.

Fun Run Trainer Pro

If you are unfortunate enough to be forced to run on a treadmill, don’t worry, there is still an app for you. It allows you to run famous races like the Boston, New York, and London Marathons and any number of other popular locations.

You just input what your pace is set to and a faux satellite view will change, moving your position as it really would in a real run. This may or may not help take your mind off of running on a treadmill though. In my test, it appeared to make running on the “dreadmill” only slightly more bearable.

Get Your Run On!

These are just some of the tools you can use to get more out of your running. I like these in particular because they are mostly passive and don’t require attention during the run. What are your favorite running tips, apps, or websites?


Some people run with headphones while others like the noise of the city or woods to be their soundtrack. I find myself going back and forth between the two.

I have two basic playlists I’ll turn to depending on what I want to accomplish. A longer run with no real goal will merit film scores or soft reflective music while a shorter and intense speed workout will call for some hardcore, aggressive tunes.

What do my playlists look like? Here’s a sample…


  • Your Hand In Mine – Explosions In The Sky
  • On Forgetting – Jeff Pianki
  • Holocene – Bon Iver
  • Death Is the Road to Awe – The Fountain


  • Believe – Breaking Benjamin
  • Ante Up – Mash Out Posse
  • Cochise – Audioslave
  • Chop Suey – System of a Down

My list may be quite eccentric but that’s because it’s mine. Make yours exactly how you see fit. Experiment and see if you don’t enjoy your running more. There’s really no wrong way. Share your  favorite running tips, apps and websites in the comments below.

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