Running has long gone social with countless running-focused Facebook-esque sites popping up daily. And there are already several running apps on the market. However, none have combined both the social and tracking portions as uniquely and effortlessly as Runmeter by Abvio, makers of iPhone fitness applications.
In fact, I’m going to make a bold statement and say that I believe Runmeter is the best executed running app on the market, hands down.What gives me the authority to make such an outlandish statement? Oh, a few thousand miles of running, two marathons, a couple of half marathons and about 10 pairs of worn out shoes, but I digress. I’m not telling you this so you’ll pat me on the back. I’m telling you this because I want you to know how seriously I take running and the aspects of it, whether it be a pair of shoes or an iPhone app.
Now, Runmeter has come a long way since the beginning as I found out when I had a chance to meet the app co-founder Steve Kusmer at this year’s Macworld in San Francisco.
“We started coding in October 2009, and released 1.0 in September 2010, followed by 4 major upgrades since then. We’re just now crossing over 10,000 hours of development time. Very few iPhone apps out there have had as much effort poured into them. We’re just as excited about the innovation ahead of us today as we were in day one,” remarked Kusmer.
When I met Kusmer, you could just feel the excitement in his voice about the new 5.0 version. As he showed me the ins and outs of the app on the show floor I was amazed and in awe, but a bit skeptical because some running apps look and sound good, but are difficult to use and require too much setup. Then you have to plug it into the computer and sync, etc.
Much to my astonishment, after downloading the app I was up and running within a minute or two. I couldn’t believe how easy it was to setup. I attribute its ease of use to Kusmer as he isn’t just an app guy, he is a runner too. He started running in junior high where his “crazy” track coach had them running barefoot on linoleum, which inevitably led to shin splints. His favorite pair of shoes? Brooks Addiction.
His favorite running moments – and this is the best part of the app in my opinion – are when his kids reply over Twitter and Facebook and encourage him to the finish line.
The app’s text-to-speech capability is by far my favorite feature too.
Picture this. You’re running down the street, dripping with sweat, your legs feel like oversized elephant trunks and you still have two miles to go before your run is finished. The only thing you can think about is wanting to stop. You start to justify those nasty thoughts in your head telling you that you’ve run enough this week and there’s always tomorrow.
Then, you hear “Get ‘er done,” “Run like crazy,” or “You can do it.” Are you hearing voices? Have you lost your sanity? Nope. It’s the Runmeter’s social functions that allow you to post directly to Facebook, Twitter and DailyMile and when your friends see this they can post words of encouragement and it relay’s back to Runmeter and speaks the comment back to you. Absolutely amazing!
Overall, you can be up and running very quickly. After downloading the app, you are able to click on the more tab, insert your social media login info and you are ready to go. Then you just click on the stopwatch tab, hit start and the app does the rest. It automatically posts to your sites that you’ve started your run and then tracks run time, distance, pace, average pace and elevation.
After you’re finished simply hit done and the app automatically posts to your social sites that you’ve completed your run and if you’ve setup a DailyMile account, it will automatically upload your data there as well. In my opinion, the combination of Runmeter and DailyMile is a runner’s nirvana. Trust me.
There are other great features to the app as well such as new voice options, which you can purchase and choose from 16 different voices and dialects to speak replies to your workout status updates for $0.99. There are twenty-five configurable voice announcements that speak distance, time, speed, elevation, climb, and more that do not require purchase and now have better voice quality.
A really neat new feature of version 5.0 involves advanced data import capabilities and a new Virtual Competition feature which will allow users to import a route as a “virtual competitor” so you can see the competitor’s location on maps and graphs, and hear updates of the competitor’s relative progress.
Data import from previously recorded workouts, social fitness sites, and even devices (such as those from Garmin) can be imported and included in the workout history. Routes can also be pre-mapped on sites including DailyMile, and downloaded into the app using the industry standard GPX format.
In conclusion, I can honestly say that this app is my favorite app on my iPhone. So far, I’ve put Runmeter through 23 days of training, 20.46 miles of cement, trail, mud, rain and wind, have powered a total of 49.98 TV’s, saved a total of 1.08 gallons of gas and burned 13.41 donuts. Better yet, I intend to continue abusing Runmeter as it is now my go-to running companion.
Runmeter has no ESRB rating. Runmeter can be downloaded from the Apple app store for $4.99.
iOS 4, Multitasking and Runmeter
*Editor’s note: I originally wrote this Runmeter app review for BlogCritics, which you can find the link here.