Like a lot of people, I use my phone to track my workouts. I may one day get a dedicated GPS watch/unit but for now I’m sticking to the toy that I already have, as it seems to work pretty well for me. I use a HTC Inspire 4G Android phone personally, but there are apps available on all of the major smartphone operating systems that will run the apps that I am going to cover or others much like them. Please note, I am just giving you some info on the apps that I happen to use. I have tried just about every application for activity tracking that is available for the Android platform and there are a number of good ones but these are the ones that I actually use regularly.
The new face of Endomondo (8.0)
My primary app is, and has been for quite some time, Endomondo. It didn’t used to be particularly pretty but its accuracy was as good or better than any of the other and it gave me my mile splits, a decent web interface to track my workouts and let me easily export my workout data so that I could use it elsewhere. (more on that later) Beyond that I didn’t really care. It does more but that was all I was concerned with.
Endomondo got a big update yesterday which makes me even more crazy about it. (Its also what gave me the idea to write this post in the first place.) It still does all of the same things that it did before but the interface is vastly improved and they added some things that I really like. First among the changes (for me) is the ability, much like a dedicate GPS device, to configure what information you want shown on the main screen. The app will show 4 of the 11 different metrics that are available (speed, pace, average speed, average pace, calories, heart rate, average heart rate, goal and cadence) on screen at one time in whichever order and combination that you choose. This isn’t intended to be a comprehensive review so I am skipping over a number of functions that Endomondo also does very well because I simply don’t use all of its bells and whistles but I will say that for tracking my running and cycling (again, more later) I think that is the best all around option on the market currently.
I’ve been using Strava for the past couple of weeks when I ride my bike. I’m still undecided as to if I will continue or not. The app itself works very well for tracking my rides but that wasn’t my main reason for downloading it. I was more interested in the social aspects of using Strava. I am not a competitive cyclist of any sort at the moment so it is thus less compelling as that is the focus of the “social network” part of Strava. I will also say that I am also not really taken with the interface. Much as the original Endomondo interface, it works perfectly well but seems inelegant. Strava can be used to track activities other than cycling but I far prefer Endomondo for my running. I may very well drop Strava but not because it is lacking in some way just because I prefer Endomondo.
This is more game than fitness app but it has some of that rolled into it too. Zombies, Run! is an interactive story game set in a post zombie apocalypse world where you are a “runner” or messenger/gofer/pedestrian rescue person/etc. for a small outpost. The story segments are fed to you in between songs from your phone. I am not particularly impressed with the accuracy of the GPS tracking but the story is fun and compelling and makes the miles roll by a little easier. I typically run it along with Endomondo. (Zombies, Run! for fun and Endomondo for tracking)
Dailymile is my exercise related social network of choice. If you want a place to keep all of your hard work and get tons of positive reinforcement then this is the site for you. I record my workouts with either Endomondo or Strava, export the GPS files from them and then upload them to dailymile.
I will be playing with the recently updated mapmyrun/ride and the just released for Android Nike+ apps in the near future. I just can’t resist trying new toys.